Wednesday, May 25, 2011

My Parents Are Troglodytes

(meaning cave-dwelling peoples; has nothing to do with the level of embarrassment my dad might try to bestow upon me)

My parents are in France, and apart from a nightmarish experience on French highways, are supremely enjoying themselves. I am also supremely enjoying their visit, because I haven't had to buy a meal for myself almost all week! Hooray cheaps!

About an hour ago, we finished up a delicious meal at a soufflérie, a place that specializes in soufflés. Mine was basically a pizza-flavored egg cloud, scooped from a low-lying mass of fog above Sicily, I believe. It was delicious. This restaurant has obviously served Americans before, because they brought us carafe d'eau (pitcher of water) after carafe d'eau. After a long day in


we were ready for the hydration. In Saumur, a nifty town outside of Angers 20 minutes by train, we went to a wine cave. Saumur is built almost entirely on, of, and in tuffeau stone, a soft, limestone like material. This particular cave (2 km of cave, actually) dates from the 1500s, when the soft stone underground was needed to construct Saumur's castle and big houses. The cave had been storing wine for this particular wine family since 1859; the name of the company is Louis Grenelle, and makes sparkling wines (not champagne, as saying 'champagne' puts you under big copyright penalties with the EU).

We had a little bit of a time crunch, so the kind bilingual guide let us have the wine tasting first. She only poured us very, very narrow, small glasses, and I think we only tried four wines. I, however, had not had enough water this morning, and it was probably 80 plus degrees in Anjou today, so I had sweat profusely on the way to the cave. What's more, I drank them all one right after the other, so about two minutes after she took away our last glasses, I was thoroughly amused by all the nifty little wine how-to displays that you could sniff, touch, lift, etc. I don't think I was the only Carmical who was having an unusually good time, however, because I noticed my Dad was taking the rail-less stairs rather carefully.

After dinner, we met with my good friend Claire for about a half hour, and my parents and I marveled over how she is the sweetest person ever, and wondered how French people ever got the reputation for being unwelcoming to foreigners. Quite the contrary, at least outside of Paris.

But then again, are Parisians really French themselves? They're in a league of their own, I think, but it seems like they're the only team in it. Maybe they get together with New Yorkers on holidays and take turns wearing impossible shoes while blatantly smoking on the metro.

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