It’s All Maya!

If Life is an illusion, then why do I keep banging my head against the wall?

Si la Vie est une illusion, pourquoi je n'arrête pas de me taper la tête sur les murs?

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Autumn Round Up Once Again

December 21st, 2015 · 8 Comments

My Christmas tree this year.

It seems my blog has become more of a phlog lately and it’s not a bad thing, just different. I mean why spend hundreds of words describing my adventures when photos will do it for me.

Candles and flowers for those who died at Bataclan.


After our trip to the south of France to see Jackie and Gégé at the end of September, it seems like we haven’t stopped. First of all, we went to pay our respects to those who lost their lives at Bataclan.

Patrick put out a flag from our office window.


I was invited to spend Thanksgiving with a market class at Cookn’ With Class. Patrick was the chef and it was a lot of fun. He gives quite an interesting lecture about all the different seasonal produce you can find at the street market and then everyone decides what they would like to eat and make for dinner back at the school.

Patrick entertaining the class.

You not only watch, but you get to cut, chop, and cook along with the chef before sitting down to eat your 4 course meal. It’s the second time I’ve gone and it was as much fun as the first. The bottles of wine are a plus.

Not turkey, but it was yummy!

A gorgeous hotel/resort in Bretagne.


A few days after Thanksgiving we took off for Brittany to surprise a friend for her birthday. Jackie hadn’t a clue that her family and friends were all literally going to the end of the Earth for her. Her son, Laurent, owns a 4-star hotel in the region of France called Finistère which is latin for, well you guessed it, end of the Earth.

Our lovely hotel room.

Patrick getting acquainted with his surroundings.

The view from our window.

Laurent, had asked her to go spend the weekend so they could have a little party for her birthday. Then she found out that the hotel was full and she couldn’t stay there, but had to get a room several hundred kilometres away. Needless to say, she was a little miffed and clueless that over 50 people were traveling to her son’s hotel and he had booked all the rooms.

When is Jackie going to get here?


The birthday girl finally arrives.

Anyway, everyone was there and when she finally walked in, she was taken completely by surprise. Laurent and his wife Sandrine, and Jackie’s daughter, Christelle, had done a marvelous job of arranging everything.

Christelle, Jackie and Laurent with her birthday cake.

I would be remiss not to say anything about the hotel/resort. Laurent and Sandrine took an old abandoned village from the 1600s and converted it into a gorgeous resort. The old stone houses with the fireplaces, the wooden beams, etc., were kept intact as much as possible. Only the plumbing, heating, and electricity were modernized for the comfort of their guests. My photos don’t do the place justice, I would suggest going to their website and seeing for yourselves how truly beautiful it is. Les Moulins du Ducs

A seafood tray for each table at lunch!

Dinner time with friends, what could be better?


We spent hours at the table eating and drinking. Laurent, who’s also the chef in his kitchen along with his brigade outdid themselves. From 12:30 pm to 5:30 pm we had a wonderful lunch and then by 7:00 pm we were gathered once again in the large salon for cocktails and amuse-bouches. By 8 pm we were seated once more for dinner that went on until 1 am. Everything was wonderful.

Stéphe, Jackie and Jos, the three sisters.

Someone with Polnareff, who could it be?

Patrick waiting for breakfast the next morning—hungry again?


If you’re looking for a place in France to relax surrounded by the natural beauty of Brittany, this is the place to do it. The food was wonderful and the scenery was simply beautiful.

Getting ready for our guest.

The very next day after we got home, I began putting up my Christmas tree and decorating the apartment for the holidays. It took 4 days to complete, but the result was well worth the time. We then began preparing for our Christmas party/sit-down dinner. Patrick took care of the menu; I did the table arrangements, music, and making my favorite holiday cookies. We said we’re getting too old for this, but when our guests were still having a good time at 3-4 am, we knew the party was a huge success once again.

I want some.

Soon after we got the apartment back to normal, we were already making plans for next year. Funny how quickly we forget all the work involved when we can share special moments with friends.

Christmas lights on the Champs-Elysées.


Patrick and I went to the Champs-Elysées to see the Christmas lights and the marché de Noël as we do every year. We weren’t disappointed. The lights were a lot better than the past few years. The big ferris wheel has increased in size, but we still haven’t gone on. We keep telling ourselves one day we’ll get around to it. The market stalls have also increased in number, but there seems to be a lot more shops selling food and drinks than things to buy. I hear the Christmas market is better at la Défense, so we’ll have to go check that one out soon.

Fourme d’Ambert, a mild blue cheese I actually liked.

Is it time to eat again? I think so.


This past week, I did a Cheese & Wine Pairing class. We tried 5 different cheeses, a glass of champagne, and 4 different wines – 2 whites and 2 reds. I hate blue cheeses and Roquefort, but Preston, the wine expert, told me I would love the blue cheese he chose. I never say I hate something unless I at least try it once, so I gave it a go and I have to say I really did like the cheese. Fourme d’Ambert is a blue cheese, but quite mild in taste. Patrick loves blue cheese and Roquefort, so he now has one blue he can buy that I won’t mind eating.

Who wants macarons…

when you can have petits choux.

Mmm! This was my choice of little cream puffs.

Two days later I did a Paris Gourmet Tour with a few people from the Cheese & Wine Pairing class and from the market class. We visited some of the gourmet places that are a must. We then went back to the Cookn’ With Class school and had a light lunch with the goodies we got from the different shops we visited. We had a dry wine with lunch and a sweet wine to go with our desserts. Yep, we had more than one! All in all, it was great fun.

A vin chaud in Montmartre.

Walking around the quartier and listening to good music.


After lunch, I called an old friend that I’ve known for over 30 years. Marie-Agnès happens to live in the same neighborhood as the cooking school. We met and walked around Montmartre the rest of the afternoon and were entertained by three jazz musicians. We stopped to have a drink at a café before I headed home after a long day.

Time to shop before it’s too late.

Maya Muses: I haven’t even begun my Christmas shopping and to think Christmas Eve is only 3 days away. The weather has been warm, too warm for this time of year. A few days ago it was 17 C (61 F) in Paris and warmer in London than it was in Madrid. That’s a first I think. I don’t know if it’s El Niño or global warming. Either way, it’s a little disconcerting.


Hope everyone is ahead of me with their Christmas shopping!

Photo Credits: Personal Photos

Tags: Food and Wine · Is Anyone Listening? · Paris - Paname · Shopping · Special Moments · Travel

8 responses so far ↓

  • 1 angie Arcangioli // Dec 22, 2015 at 7:55 am

    The food looks scrumptious. I’m sorry I missed it.

  • 2 Lynn // Dec 22, 2015 at 9:37 am

    The food and wine were wonderful. I’m sorry I got to you so late that you really didn’t have time to get organized.

  • 3 Harriet // Dec 22, 2015 at 11:39 pm

    What a lovely post! Loved all the photos and hearing about your adventures. Does Patrick give his class in French or English? Thanks for the tip on the blue cheese. Richard loves it. Me, not so much, but I will try to find this one so that I can try it. Joyeux Noël et Bonne Anée!

  • 4 Lynn // Dec 23, 2015 at 10:31 am

    Thanks, Harriet. Most of the classes are done in English because people come from all over the world and English seems to be the common language for everyone, but Patrick does give classes in French as well. So do the other chefs.

    I was surprised that I actually did like the Fourme d’Ambert, but as I said, it’s quite mild. It may be too mild for Richard if he likes Roquefort or a hardy blue cheese.

    Nice that you now have an authentic crêperie in Charleston and from Finistère no less. I hope you and Richard have a wonderful Holiday Season!

  • 5 Sandy // Dec 26, 2015 at 5:13 pm

    Lynn I really enjoyed your beautiful blog you are amazing thank you for sharing your adventures. God bless you both

  • 6 Lynn // Dec 27, 2015 at 10:17 pm

    Thanks Sandy. I hope you and Rick are doing well. I loved the photo of your Christmas decorations and thanks again for the beautiful card.

  • 7 Lilac Shoshani // Jan 6, 2016 at 8:21 pm

    What a beautiful and colorful post, Lynn! I loved reading about your lovely adventures. Thank you so much for sharing them with us. <3

  • 8 Lynn // Jan 9, 2016 at 9:00 am

    Thanks Lilac, I enjoyed your post very much as well. I’m glad you decided to blog!

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