La Remise et Son Jardin Resto in Cucuron, France

We’ve been coming to the Vaucluse for a few years, and have decided to rent a house in the small village of Cucuron. For those of you who have seen “A Good Year” with Russell Crowe, you may remember the scene where a movie is being shown at night in the center of town, above a rectangular pond (étang) as the lead characters are falling in love. This is Cucuron.

An apéritif while overlooking the "etang" in the center of Cucuron

Having an apéritif while overlooking the “etang” in the center of Cucuron, around the corner from La Remise…

We have eaten at La Remise a number of times and have always enjoyed their warm and friendly service and excellent salades composés during the long, hot Provence summers. They have indoor dining and a friendly garden, each table shaded with it’s own umbrella.

Menu for La Remise et Son Jardin in Cucuron

Menu for La Remise et Son Jardin in Cucuron

 

Owned and operated by Franck and Claire de Best, La Remise et Son Jardin is a pizzeria as well as a restaurant. The pizza is excellent, with a thin, crispy crust and a wide selection of delicious fresh toppings.

Salade Lardon from La Remise et Son Jardin in cucuron, France

Salade Lardons from La Remise et Son Jardin in Cucuron, France

 

 

Always one of the best lunches in Provence, visit them when you’re traveling in the Vaucluse…

 

 

 

La Remise et Son Jardin
Boulevard de Nord
84160 Cucuron, France
Tel: +33 4 90 07 53 44

Lyon’s Canuts: The First Revolt of the Industrial Revolution

Maison des Canuts

Canut Uprising
When I first came to Lyon, I kept hearing about Canuts but it registered as Canucks. This I vaguely knew was a name for Canadians. Derogatory? Ice hockey? Of course I then associated Canuts with Cajuns or Acadians, the French who fled Canada for Louisiana. All of this has absolutely nothing to do with Canuts.

Canuts were the silk weavers of Lyon. And they are famous for several work-related things: making beautiful silk cloth, embracing the Jacquard loom–a precursor to computer technology, and organizing the first worker’s revolt of the industrial revolution. In addition, they actually owned the means of production, working and living in lofts with soaring ceilings that accommodated their own Jacquard looms.

The Maison des Canuts tells the Canut story from Croix-Rousse, the hilltop that was populated by the Canuts and their looms. The small museum is spread between two buildings and consists of a boutique where mostly silk scarves are sold, a classroom where the guided tour stops to learn about the life of the silk worm, and two galleries with fabric samples, memorabilia, and antique equipment, including a working Jacquard loom for demonstrating the weaving process.

The standard French language tour, which is given twice a day, begins in an original Canut workshop. Visitors are provided with a brief history of silk weaving in Lyon and a demonstration of the Jacquard loom. The French silk industry grew in response to the financial drain of importing silk fabric. To keep French wealth at home, silk merchants were charged under royal decree, to buy from French weavers. In addition, mulberry trees needed for silk worm production were planted throughout the warmer parts of France. When Louis XIV built Versailles, the industry kicked into high gear to meet the huge demand for silk tapestries and brocades that covered the palace’s furniture, walls, and windows. Other European royals and eventually, the new wealthy Americans would not be outdone, and a steady market for fine silk fabrics built the wealth of Lyon’s silk merchants.

French Brocade

The artisans who created the fabric benefited little and lived in poverty. Yet a new loom that would streamline the silk weaver’s work was under development when the French Revolution suddenly shut down the silk industry. The royalty and church clients who could buy silk left the country, and lost their properties and their heads. When Napolean III brought luxurious silk fabric firmly back into vogue, the Canuts had embraced the Jacquard loom and over 90,000 people worked in Lyon’s silk industry.

Joseph-Marie Jacquard, the inventor of the loom, benefited his fellow silk weavers more than himself. The king put the patent in the name of the people and paid Jacquard a small pension. But the loom revolutionized the life and industry of the Canuts. The more efficient one-man loom with the support of family and apprentices made weaving more productive and more profitable.

But the industry was marked with prescient unrest. When silk merchants began slashing pay, Canuts joined together and rebelled in 1831, demanding a fare wage. Described as the first worker revolt of the industrial revolution, the violent uprising was eventually quashed and only better economic times improved the worker’s situation. Two more revolts in response to the weaver’s exploitation by the silk merchants occurred in 1833 and 1848 (one of many worker revolts throughout Europe that year). The Canut’s actions marked the emergence of a communal worker response to capitalism — and of modern socialism, communism, and anarchism.

Silk weaving was industrialized towards the end of the 19th century. Today there is still a Croix-Rousse workshop owned by the luxury silk manufacturer Prelle that uses both antique and modern, computerized looms to create reproduction and other silk cloth. Clients for reproduction fabrics include historic properties in Europe and the US.

So, where did the Canuts get their name? According to my tour guide, a likely origin is that Canut is a form of the word canette which means spool, the small cylinder that holds silk thread.

La Maison des Canuts
10 &12 rue d’Ivry 69004 LYON-France
email: info@maisondescanuts
Check the Maison Des Canuts website for hours, fees, and additional information.

Dinner from the Croix-Rousse Market: Fresh Produce for Simple Recipes

Olives from Nyons, chickens from Bresse, local farmer’s cheese, fresh bread, and vegetables and fruits that mark the changing seasons– these are among the products at our Sunday food market. Each Sunday morning, our Lyon neighborhood, the hilltop “village” called the Croix-Rousse, hosts a busy food market. Block after block of foodstands offer whatever is fresh and local along with produce that expands the growing season by drawing from Southern Europe, Africa and the Middle East.

The Croix Rouse hosts markets everyday except Monday. But Sunday is the biggest market and the focus is food. Located along the edge of the Croix-Rousse plateau, just before the landscape takes a steep dive towards central Lyon, the Sunday market attracts hundreds of food shoppers with meat, fish, bread, wine, spices, and lots of vegetables and fruit.

Last week we bought early carrots and spinach, eggs, and farmer’s cheese to make a vegetable terrine. We bought ripe avocados, lemons, and écrevisse with tiny black eyes for an amuse bouche of guacomole and crawfish. For our main dish we chose cabillaud (cod) from the North Atlantic, some baby potatoes and haricots verts (french green beans) from Kenya (via the Croix-Rousse).

Sunday dinner with friends and family was fun to prepare with so many really good ingredients. We served the meal with some white wines from the market and a neighborhood wine shop. For the apéritif, a fragrant, Alsatian Gewürztraminer accompanied the amuse bouches and meaty Nyons olives. Then a white Burgundy was a good partner for the terrine first course and the main course of poached fish. Dessert was a chestnut mousse that we whipped up from ingredients on-hand, followed by a digestif called Genepi that was brought to us from Savoie. Genepi is a pale liqueur made from Alpine plants that is a favorite for aprés ski–it also worked aprés this meal.

It was un bon repas that was simple to prepare and tasty. We look forward to cooking and eating from our Sunday market as the season progresses.

Vegetable Terrine
250 grams carrots (about 1 1/2 cups chopped)
250 grams spinach (about 10-12 oz of spinach)
250 grams parsnips (1 1/2 c)
200 grams farmers cheese (1 c –or use sour cream, creme fraiche, whipped or light cream cheese, fromage blanc–something mild enough to let the vegetable flavors through)
3 eggs
salt and pepper

Chop and cook each vegetable independently until soft. Add one third of the farmer’s cheese, one egg, and salt and pepper to taste to each vegetable, separately, mashing vegetables or pureeing them as you combine. Lightly butter a small loaf pan. Make a layer of the first vegetable mixture and cook at 180 C (350) for 10 minutes in a bain de marie (set loaf pan in a pan of water). Add the next vegetable mixture and cook 10 minutes. Add the final vegetable mixture and cook another 40 minutes. Serve warm, tri-color slices accompanied by a small salad for a first course. Optional: Saute shallots and red peppers and garnish the terrine.

Poached Cabillaud
This can be done on the stove or in a hot oven. Heat enough water and wine (50:50) in a pan large enough to just cover the fish. (Stir in some seasonings and onion to the liquid for a real court bouillion) Add fish and simmer for 10-15 minutes until cooked through. Drain well and serve with a lightly seasoned sauce. We made a small amount of simple sauce with butter, heavy cream, and a little soy sauce. We served the fish with tiny boiled potatoes and almost crisp, very thin, cooked green beans.

Easy Chestnut Mousse with Fresh Strawberries
Whipping Cream
Chestnut Puree
One whipped egg white
Optional: vanilla sugar to taste

Combine 2/3 portion well whipped cream to 1/3 portion chestnut puree. Add whipped egg white and vanilla sugar if needed. Divide into small serving dishes and refrigerate while preparing dinner. Strawberries: slice strawberries and mix with a few teaspoons of sugar to create a sauce. Serve with mousse.

Dejeuner in Lyon Part I: Affordable Dining

It is said that Lyon has more restaurants per capita than any other city in France. Spend a few days in Lyon and you will have to agree. There are restaurants for most budgets and for many tastes, especially at lunch (dejeuner). Sandwiches and salads are affordable at some restaurants and at cafés, salons de thé, and sandwich shops. Or for a quick lunch, visit a boulangerie for a pre-made sandwich-to-go on a crispy baguette.

Our favorite dejeuner is to take advantage of multi-course, dejeuner menus offered midday, at prices ranging from 11 to just under 20 euros.  The dejeuner menu is usually substantially less than the evening menus or, more typically, the à la carte dinners. We prefer restaurants and cafés with small menus that change daily and feature seasonal, fresh ingredients. Complete the meal with a carafe of very drinkable and inexpensive Rhône wine, served by the pot and demi-pot, and a café (small coffee) served after dessert.

Des Galets bleus de nuit Dining RoomA three-course lunch menu consists of an entré (first course) plât (main course) and dessert. A two-course, cheaper formule offers a choice of entré and plât or a plât and dessert. Good to know: le menu and le formule are fixed-price offerings of courses usually displayed on a blackboard that is changed daily.  La carte is the list of dishes that waiter hands to you, and à la carte, like in English refers to individually priced items on the menu (la carte).  La carte is also the word for map, which makes sense in a restaurant setting.

To research Lyon restaurants, read the menus posted at the resto’s door, visit the Lyon section of the Qype website, which has some English-language, user reviews and lots of listings, and try using Le Petit Paumé, an annual (French language) publication and website with funny and useful reviews of restaurants organized by neighborhood, price, and cuisine.  Surprisingly, many restaurants do not have websites, but just google the name to pull up phone numbers for reservations.

Dejeuner in Lyon Part II

All Lyon Restos we’ve experienced

Dejeuner in Lyon Part II: Some Restos We Love

Some restaurants we have enjoyed at lunchtime are listed here. All are located in the 1st, 4th, or 5th arrondissements. This list is a random drop in the pool of wonderful restaurants that you can dip into here in France’s food capital.

Des Galets Bleus la Nuit: The affordable, three-course lunch at this tiny Croix-Rousse restaurant, is served by a friendly two-person staff that is concerned that you will enjoy the food and is happy when you do. The small selection of fresh, seasonal dishes includes a choice between two entrés, two plâts, and several desserts. My favorite entré was a fresh pear, cored from the bottom so it retained its stem, stuffed with green tapenade, and baked and served, upright, in a creamy rouquefort sauce. Like many restaurants, there is always a choice of a fish dish and beef, chicken, or veal, accompanied by vegetables that complement your selection. The desserts are all rich, homemade, and delicious. See video, pictures and information.

Les Enfants du Paradis: Also on the plateau de Croix-Rousse at 2, rue H. Gorjus, is another amazing, small restaurant. We tried Les Enfants a few days after stopping to ask directions from a group of laughing and chatting smokers huddled outside. It seemed like a friendly place and the name is taken from the classic French film. Good choice. This paradise features a tasteful, simple décor and food that is fresh and beautifully prepared. The young waiter managed to single-handedly serve the first two courses to a full house that arrived almost at once. The simple chicken dish that I enjoyed as the main course had the real taste of chicken that is rarely available back in the States. Tel 04 78 29 99 47

Café de la Place: We keep returning to our local café for lunch and why not? It is close to home, just across the Place Sathonay. Its two- or three-course dejeuner is consistently good and Annie Perrier, at front of house, is infinitely kind and helpful. I am always happy with whatever fish is on the menu. While rich dessert is a special treat at home, it is the new normal for lunch in France. My favorites are anything chocolate and anything chestnut (marron/châtain). Tel: 04 78 28 26 88

Bangkok Royale: Also close to home for us is one of two tasty Thai restaurants that we have sampled. Bangkok Royale, at 40 rue de Sgt Blandon, offers a two-course lunch that features exotic tastes and good value. We enjoyed the vibrant Thai salad first course and flavorful curry plat. Tel: 04 78 28 19 83 The other tasty Thai is Les Chats Siamois, located near the Rhône on rue des Feuillants. Here they encourage you to “partager” (share) dishes to enjoy the maximum “goûts” (tastes) of their fresh and flavorful cuisine. Tel: 04 78 39 34 72

La Cuisine Restaurant: More slick and branded than our usual choice of restaurant, La Cuisine Restaurant surpassed our expectations. Located downhill from St Polycarpe’s big clock on rue St. Polycarpe, we stopped here on a rainy Monday when many restaurants are closed. As les parapluies (umbrellas) passed by, we were cozy inside enjoying an entré of perfect mussels, followed by a flavorful plât of white fish in a wine sauce. (I am still struggling to learn the American names of fish since they often differ from both the French and their British translations.) Open daily, La Cuisine has a warm atmosphere, free wi-fi and good prices. Tel: 04 78 28 15 31

Les Ventres Jaunes: Vieux Lyon is the city’s tourist center and a don’t-miss destination if your time is limited in Lyon. It is a lovely and fun place to visit, with a wide selection of bars, cafes, and restaurants that feature eclectic, ethnic fare as well as classic French cuisine in a range of prices. Of the handful we have sampled, Les Ventres Jaunes, at 2, Place Neuve, can be good. Influenced by Bresse (known for its poulet-chicken) in both its charming décor and menu, this is where we go with out-of-town visitors. Unlike Lyon’s quaint bouchons that celebrate foods I usually avoid, such as tripe and other organ meats, Les Ventres Jaunes is less intense. Here you find Lyon’s traditional meats and quenelles as well as other area classics including salad Lyonnaise with its poached egg and lardons, escargots and other Burgundy favorites, and a classic poulet à la crème. Tel: 04 78 42 16 49

Explore Lyon’s Traboules

On the way to French class, at Lyon’s École interculturelle de français pour étrangers near Croix Pacquet, I like to leave the sidewalk and follow the sheltered passages, courtyards, and stairways of the area’s traboules. These varied, old pedestrian walkways make Lyon’s historic neighborhoods personal and a little mysterious while providing quirky shortcuts and surprising vistas.

On the hillside leading up to Lyon’s Croix-Rousse (des pentes de la Croix-Rousse), the traboules offer staircases and passageways between the area’s narrow streets, and insider views of the multi-storied courtyards in buildings where silk workers once lived and worked.

Today, in addition to long-time residents, this is a neighborhood of artists, designers, students and architects. New art galleries proliferate along rue Burdeau. A business incubator for fashion designers is sheltered on Place Therrioux, off rue René Leynaud. Original clothing and accessories are sold in the area’s designer shops and co-ops. St Polycarpe, the neighborhood church with its huge clock, is tucked into the narrow streetscape. There is an endless game of pétanque under the trees of Place Sathonay. The pedestrian-only rue des Pierres Plantées offers a steep walkway straight up to the plateau of Croix-Rousse. While exploring this area, don’t miss the Amphithéâtre des Trois Gaules, just above the Place Sathonay, a ruin from Lyon’s early days as the capital of Gaul.

The Tourist Information Center at Place Bellecour offers guided tours in French and English (limited English tours off season) that include traboules or incorporate them into general city tours, depending on the time of year. A self-guided tour and map are available online in English or explore the traboules on your own by looking for small markers–square, yellow and blue signs on doorways and passageways in both areas.

Lyon’s Two Rivers

Lyon, like Manhattan, has two major rivers on either side of its “downtown.” See this video about the rivers of Lyon, as reported by Logan Connors. And read on, below, about the two rivers that define Lyon.

Lyon is located at the confluence of two rivers—the mighty Rhône and the more tranquil Saône. This strategic location has made Lyon a hub for travelers and a center of activity since it served as the Roman capital of Gaul. Through the 19th century, Lyon grew to be the center for European silk production. Today greater Lyon is an industrial center and transportation hub. While commercial and tourist barges do ply the rivers, today’s transit hub includes the rail lines, air routes and roadways that link Lyon to major destinations in Europe and beyond.

The Saône flows from the Vosges in the North and becomes part of France’s canal system as it moves through Burgundy to Lyon. The Rhône begins as an alpine torrent and then a river in Switzerland, entering France near Geneva. At Lyon, the two rivers become one—the Rhône—continuing south to the Mediterranean.

The rivers flow together below the historic center of Lyon, at the tip of a peninsula or la Presqu’île. Bridges link the riverbanks on either side of the Presqu’île to transport rail, tram, automobile and pedestrian-only traffic over the two rivers. Quays and shoreline parks offer miles of walkways and bicycle paths. Fine old buildings line all four riverfronts in the old city center while redevelopment of le confluent, the industrial end of the Presqu’île, is extending the central city’s residential and business centers.

Stand in the center of the red, suspension footbridge, Passerelle du Palais de Justice, on the Saône and your eyes will be drawn to la Basilique de Fourvière. Below Fourvière, is Vieux-Lyon, the city’s tourist center and oldest quarter. Across the river, to your right, is the other Lyon hillside, Croix-Rousse. Known as the hill that works as opposed to Fourvière —the hill that prays, Croix-Rousse is a residential area of sweeping vistas and steep staircases that was once the center of silk production. At the foot of Croix-Rousse is the Presqu’île, Lyon’s classic city center, rich with architecture from the middle ages through the 19th century. The Presqu’île is home to Lyon’s Musée des Beaux-Arts (fine art museum), Hôtel de Ville (city hall), major theater, opera house, tourist information center, and hundreds of restaurants, cafés, theaters, clubs, bars, as well as a shopping district with international, French, and local magasins (stores) and much more.

Walk onto the Rhône River footbridge, the passerelle du collège, from Presqu’île, for a glimpse of the city’s first skyscraper above the rooftops across the river. Known locally as le crayon (pencil), it is in the city’s vibrant business district, near Part-Dieu, the modern train station that offers direct train links throughout France and beyond, including TGV service to Paris in less than two hours. This side of the Rhône has many residential areas, universities, (with 100,000 students, Lyon is a young, fun city), museums, medical facilities, and le Stade de Gerland—home to Lyon’s famed football team, Olympique Lyonnais.

Upstream and high above the Rhône is Tête d’Or, Lyon’s central park. It offers a lake, zoo, botanical gardens, and acres of beautiful open space. On the edge of this park is Interpol’s modern headquarters and la Cité International de Lyon, a modern corporate, convention, and residential center that is also home to Lyon’s contemporary art museum.

To the south, the Rhône joins forces with the Saône through Lyon’s industrial center where refineries, factories, and a nuclear power plant are located. This is the area that has fed Lyon’s reputation as a business destination and industrial powerhouse. As the Rhône continues south, the steep hillsides bordering the river become the vineyards of the Rhône Valley, acclaimed vineyard areas that include Côtes du Rhône, Gigondas, Vacqueyras, Crozes-Hermitage, Châteauneuf-du-Pape and many more.

Two rivers. A great city. Lyon.

Des Galets Bleus la Nuit Restaurant (4th arr)

Des Galets bleus la nuit Dining Room

Des Galets bleus la nuit Dining Room

Des Galets bleus la nuit, a small restaurant in Croix-Rousse area of Lyon, is one of our favorites. Run by Brigitte Appaix with the able help of Monique, the resto is small and comfortable. The food is fresh and delicious.

Desserts offered at Des Galets bleus la nuit

Desserts offered at Des Galets bleus la nuit

Typical of small restos throughout Lyon, there are only two or three main dishes on the menu, which changes each day. By keeping her mine small, Brigitte can focus on providing fabulous, classic home cooked dishes, sometimes with a hint of Moroccan spice. All desserts are created by Bridgette and are divine.

Bridgette Appaix & her assistant Monique of Des Galets bleus la nuit

Brigitte Appaix & her assistant Monique of Des Galets bleus la nuit

Des Galets bleus la nuit Restaurant

18, rue Pailleron

Croix-Rousse, 69004 LYON

Tel: +334 78 29 60 14

NotesOnFrance Video Team at Work

NotesOnFrance Video Crew

NotesOnFrance at Le Gribiche

We try to follow many of the ideas first developed by French and American filmmakers: a cinéma verité style of shooting video. Unless we’re specifically doing an interview with a subject, we “shoot from the hip” and try not to influence what we’re shooting. We use a small crew, minimal equipment, and we usually shoot hand-held without a tripod. This method gives us the flexibility to respond quickly to people and events.

Rather than imposing a preconceived style, we want to see life unfold before the camera and capture it. In fact, shooting is the wrong word to describe what we’re try to do; rather, it’s more like fishing, trying to find the exact moments, actions and images that can tell the story, and tease them out of reality and into the camera. That’s our goal, but like anything else, as T.S. Eliot said, “Between the idea and the reality, between the motion and the act, falls the shadow…”

Domain Philippe Collin – Vins de Pays d’Oc

The local wine back in New Jersey (where we come from…) can be a valiant effort, but it will never match the quality and success of the local Jersey tomatoes. France, of course, is a different story. French wine has a level of quality and variety throughout the country that makes exploring local vineyards a fun experience.

When we complimented the white wine that our friends served at their home near Toulouse, they asked if we would like to visit the vineyard where they buy it. “Bien sûr!”

Olive trees at Domain Collin

Olive Trees & Vineyards at Domain Collin

The next afternoon we set out to Tourreille, a village south of Carcassonne, near Limoux in the Languedoc – Roussillon region known for Pays d’Oc wine. This is the old region of France above the Mediterranean between the Pyrenees and Provence where Occitan, a language similar to Catalan, was spoken.

Philip Collin

Philip Collin

Philippe Collin is originally from the Champagne region of France and not surprisingly, he makes a wonderful Crémant. This is a sparkling wine that is not grown in Champagne, a region well north of pays d’Oc, so it cannot be called Champagne.

Crément Rosé

Crément Rosé of Philippe Collin

We savored Philippe’s Crémant Rosé (a pale pink sparkling wine—not sweet) and also loved his other wines including a simple, slightly sweet, white vin de pays d’Oc called Clos de L’Olivier, a creamy Limoux Chardonnay, and a sweet white wine (Chenin Douce D’Automne) that is perfect for an apéro or dessert.

We all tasted the wine and then toured the hilltop facility, which is encircled by ribbons of olive trees (oliviers) and acres of verdant, rolling hillsides of grapes. The vineyards extend in every direction creating a spectacularly perfect location for buying wine directly from the family who makes it.

Before leaving Domaine Collin, we sampled a red wine from an enormous vat in the production facility. It was the 2009 red—just two weeks old. We didn’t realize that it would taste like wine so quickly.

Madame Collin

Madame Collin with a Magnum of their Crément Brut

It was young but sampling it brought us into the process between the vineyard and the bottle. When it was time to go, we loaded the six-bottle cases of Crémant and white wines into the back of the car and our friend’s cocker spaniels sat on top of the wine as we headed back towards Toulouse through miles of vineyards.

The wine required an extra trip in the tiny elevator (ascenseur) to our fifth floor (4ème étage) apartment in Lyon and has already been shared and enjoyed. Salut!

Selection of Domain Collin wines

A Selection of Domain Collin Wines

To contact Domaine Collin and sample some of their fine and affordable wines:

Philippe Collin
Domaine Collin
11300 Tourreilles (near Limoux)
France

Tél. 04 68 31 35 69

Tél. from the US = 011 334 68 31 35 69

Fax. 04 68 31 59 64