Category Archives: United States

Finding France at Pike Place Market

Finding France at Pike Place Market

Finding France is what I do; finding France is what I enjoy, wherever I happen to be. In France, even in touristy areas like Paris or Nice, I look for my France, and I find her if I am lucky: I remember feelings or experiences I once knew before relocating to the United States so many years ago. I catch fleeting moments when I recognize a sound, a smell, or spot a scene I used to take for granted when I walked French streets on my way to school, to work, or while running errands. In the United States, where I live, finding France can be a lot of fun, especially when I travel to another city, or another state. This does not mean I don’t enjoy new locales for what they are, of course, and I love researching, learning and exploring. Still, I manage a community of francophiles in social media, and I have this blog, where many expect to read about France and all things French: Finding France is what I do, including in the city I live in, Seattle.

Finding France
I see the Puget Sound. I see West Seattle. I see… France

Pike Place Market: My favorite corner in Seattle

One of the oldest Farmers’ markets in the United States, Pike Place Market opened in 1907, thrived through the first half of the 20th century, then almost disappeared in the 1960s until it got rescued by the city and her people. Today, the market appeals to locals and visitors alike. During the summer months, when cruise ships heading to Alaska dock along the waterfront, wise ones stop by early in the day, or stay away altogether on weekend afternoons to avoid crowds. As a French native, I enjoy visiting Pike Place Market because it reminds me, un peu, of Europe. Like many North American markets, however, it is different from its European counterparts: Half of the stalls sell food, fresh produce, and flowers; the other half specializes in local crafts and other items popular with tourists. One thing is for certain: The market’s neighborhood changes throughout the day, the week, and the seasons. It is a wonderful place to people-watch, as illustrated in this article I published a few years ago. If you have never been there, voilà a few iconic sights:

Finding France

Finding France

In the belly of Pike Place Market

My favorite section in the old market is underground. It’s a great spot to beat tourist crowds that tend to congregate in the upper level where fresh produce and flowers are displayed. At Pike Place Market, (and in many other places,) it pays to venture below the surface, to scratch the attractive, colorful veneer of the stalls at street level, and go deep in the belly of the beast. There, time has stopped. Gentrification and globalization have not yet taken hold. The old wooden stairs have seen it all, and whether approaching the visit from below (going upstairs from Western avenue,) or from above, off 1st avenue, many surprises await.

Finding France

Finding France

Finding France

There are stores down below that may have been around at the turn of the 20th century after Pike Place Market opened. The Market’s belly is one of these places where you think: “If these walls could talk...” There are intriguing smells. The old wooden floors creak at times, as the sound of footsteps echoes along the long corridors early in the morning. Checking out window displays – we, French, love our lèche-vitrine offers a chance to travel back in time.

finding France

Finding France
The Magic Shop
Finding France
Giant Shoe Museum

Finding France

Pike Place Market: A French hub

In this neighborhood, finding France is easy. There are at least two French bakeries and four French restaurants at, or near, the Market. If you follow the French Girl in Seattle Instagram feed, you have seen photos of delicious treats I buy for myself or co-workers (one of my two offices is within five minutes of the Market,) at Le Panier, one of the oldest French bakeries in Seattle. I recently started working downtown part of the week, and have been known to pick up a handful of chouquettes on my way to a staff meeting. Recently, I discovered another small pastry shop specializing in éclairs. Choukette, owned by a French couple, is a cute boutique sitting right below Pike Place Market. The selection is seasonal, and limited. Their designer éclairs are as pretty as they are delicious. Did I mention they also serve coffee… and chouquettes? Prices aren’t cheap; but what is in Seattle these days? (April 2018 update: We are sorry to report Choukette is now closed. Other French bakeries within walking distance of Pike Place Market area include le Panier and la Parisienne. Both offer an excellent selection of French pâtisseries including éclairs.)

finding France

finding France

finding France

finding France
Chouquettes, chez Choukette

Those among you who do not have a sweet tooth can walk less than a block down Western avenue from Choukette, to find the Paris-Madrid grocery store. I have visited the place for many years. In the old days, there were two different boutiques, the Paris Grocery and the Spanish Table. Being a big fan of Spain where I spent some of my best summer vacation as a child with my family, I love visiting the store. It’s like traveling back to the Mediterranean region where we hail from.

Finding France

Since we are focusing on finding France today, check out part of the selection at the Paris-Madrid grocery store. As you can tell, they cover all the essentials, (with an emphasis on French and Spanish wines,) with a few interesting twists along the way, caught by this French native’s eye.

Finding France

Finding France
Two Bonne Maman products hard to find stateside
Finding France
If you grew up in France when I did, you have sampled this refreshing drink

Our story is coming to an end. All good stories, like an Asterix and Obelix adventure, end around a table, with a good meal, good wine, and good friends. There are quite a few French restaurants to choose from within walking distance of Pike Place Market, yet my favorite remains cozy and welcoming Café Campagne. Whether I go alone, or with old or new friends, I always have a great time there. It’s not quite Paris, but as French bistros go in the United States, it’s pretty close.

Finding France

Finding France
Great view from my favorite table

Finding France

The Chef-owner has recently renovated the kitchen. The food, bistro fare, is consistently good. My favorite dish? Les oeufs en meurette, a specialty from Burgundy; but I have been known to stray away from this great brunch dish to order a quiche du jour, moules marinières, or un steak frites (I recommend Campagne’s Freedom Fries. They are to die for, and should be renamed “Fantastic Frites.”)

There are many reliable options in Seattle for diehard francophiles to indulge in their passion: finding France. Over the next few months, in anticipation of the new French Girl in Seattle website to be launched this spring, I plan to check out a few new places, and update stories I wrote over the last few years about local French-themed businesses. This will give some of you a chance to capture that elusive French magic when you visit the Emerald City next. For now, a heartfelt Merci for all your creative and enthusiastic contributions to help me find this blog’s future tagline. I will be announcing the winner(s) of our Giveaway over the next few weeks.

A bientôt.

All photos by French Girl in Seattle. Please do not use text or images without permission. 

Finding France
A French Girl in Seattle and her French besties, Café Campagne

18 Responses to Finding France at Pike Place Market

  1. Thank you so much for the shops I have not seen yet in Seattle. I’m new here and still exploring Pike Market. Excited to explore the shops you recommend.

  2. You are quite correct There has been a revival of markets throughout the Anglosphere in the past 20 years or so, but they are different. They are one manifestation of gentrification and indeed usually spring up in inner-city areas that have been gentrified. As a consequence, the produce is often at eye-watering prices and one is not always convinced the quality is so much different than the usual supermarkets (which these days in Australia & UK are pretty good in that department; well Waitrose/John Lewis in UK).

    I suppose Paris is constantly gentrifying too but I think both tradition and its mix of covered (permanent) markets and biweekly street markets (or some permanent street markets like Mouffetard, Le Cler, Aligre etc) means they can avoid the worst of the trend. I like Pike Place Market because it is permanent and indoors (more or less obligatory due to the weather).

    Here, we also have a proliferation of “genuine French bakers” but they are never as good; even with French boulangers I think the problem is their market, ie. we Anglos (though Australia is a saved somewhaat by its big European immigrant population, not many French but plenty of Italians, Greeks, Dutch and others, to counter the awful influence of the Brits): you simply don’t get real French bread outside France. It has to do with the flour, and the lack of other additions (illegal in France of course) that prolong “shelf life” that we Anglos demand!

    Ditto, for croissants which I assume are just too labor-intensive, use “expensive” ingredients (like real butter) and in the end the public simply don’t appreciate the real thing (while paying at least double Parisian prices for an inferior fake!). Not far from me is a “real French bakery” called Chouquette which does have a French baker and whose goods are quite … good. But still not really French.

    In fact there is a place in Melbourne, called Lune, which apparently has been proclaimed by the NYTimes to make the best croissants in the world:
    The owner/chef, Kate Reid learned her trade from Christophe Vasseur the owner/boulanger of Du Pain et des Idées, in the 10th arr.; so maybe it might pass my test (though of course the NYT author really meant best in world “outside France”. But from experience I reserve my judgement until I try their stuff.

    I love the look of Cafe Campagne, and your top photo is very evocative for me. One reason is that the dinner service is almost identical to mine! It has the fine red line around the perimeter (and on the cups) but without the printing. IMO trés elegant, simply without overt fussiness. I bought a setting-for-two from BHV (now BHV-Marais) when I lived on Ile St Louis (it being my neighbourhood store!) but sadly removalists managed to crush (or drop) the box containing them in one of my house/country moves and one of every pair was broken or chipped. So now it is a setting-for-one; but whenever I get it out, it still brings back my days in Paris. It’s just as well I don’t live in Seattle or I would probably attempt to steal some of their fine China!

    • Bonjour. Another informative comment from you, faithful visitor. Merci. Great observations about French bakeries (and pastry shops) abroad. They often charge high prices and fall short of delivering quality products to their (often) unsuspecting clientele. I guess after 20 years as an expat in the US, I have learned to be less discriminating and enjoy my “French moments” when I can, even if I have to pay a small fortune to do so (wine price tags, in particular, are very hard for me to stomach in the Seattle area.) As for Café Campagne and its lovely plates, it is indeed a wonderful place, one that never disappoints. Like Pike Place Market, it continues to do what it does best, without pretentiousness, ignoring the sound and the fury resulting from Seattle’s lightning speed expansion. That is why I like it there. It stays real, in spite of tourist crowds. That is more than the Emerald City can say, in many places, right now, sadly.

  3. Merci pour ça ! I have not been to Seattle in years. Inexcusable, when you consider I only live just on the other side of the Straits. This has definitely given me a new incentive to visit, especially Pike Place. A bientôt.

    • Well, then, Dave, what are you waiting for? Do cross the Straits and head over to Pike Place Market! I bet your camera will be all the happier for it! Let me know when you are in the area. Who knows? I may be around to share a cup of coffee or a glass of wine.

      • Absolutment! I need to get off my … anyway, you know about me and my camera? Believe it or not, Seattle is high on this year’s travel. (Lille and then Nice are already booked, so they are a little higher). I will definitely let you know when I am in the area. Ce serait un plaisir de prendre un café ou un verre de vin avec vous.

  4. Bonjour V. This was a great post! Did I ever tell you, I lived in Seattle for 9 months in my 20’s? I worked at the 4 Season Hotel as Valet. I saw Bill Gates a few times and I parked Melinda Gates Porsche. I also parked Ed Norton and Selma Hayek’s ride. I remember Ed and Selma had Starbucks coffee cups in their vehicle. I was there during the 1999 Seattle wto protests. I remember walking home (capital hill) and getting pepper sprayed by military. It was quite a time. I also remember, I was happy to find crepes easily in Seattle. 👌🏻💕🙋🏼🤔😊 Looks like there is a lot to choose from.

    • Bonjour Sandy. You knew Seattle at the right time, before the craziness (resulting from unbridled expansion) started. I bet working as a Valet at that chichi hotel was quite entertaining at times. Ed Norton and Salma Hayek: Talk about a blast from the past! She’s gone up in the {jet set} world since, hasn’t she? It was still cool back then to drink Starbucks coffee, as illustrated in movies like “You’ve Got Mail.” Funny how most people don’t remember that and love to hate the brand that started it all. They forgot the only coffee available in the US before Starbucks was “jus de chaussette” at McDo and other fine retailers. Times change… Hope all is well in New Mexico, friend.

      • You got that right V! I also worked at Starbucks in my 20’s. I still like Starbucks. Is that bad? I had great benefits and I had stocks in Starbucks. After leaving Starbucks, I sold my sticks for a trip to France. The irony. I’d probably have some money about now! I was young and wanted to have adventures. Tant pis 😉 🙋🏼

  5. hello ,mafille!!!!oh,stupefaction!!!!j’ai pu lire tout ton article en Franç!ais sans avoir rien touché!!!un miracle!!!et bravo bises

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Long weekend in Boston: A pictorial tour

Long weekend in Boston: A pictorial tour

“Welcome to Boston. City of the future. Cradle of American history. Hotbed of innovation, bastion of tradition (…) Boston has so many facets that discovering it can entertain visitors for days on end. It dazzles with renowned museums, great shopping, lush gardens and parks, and vibrant public spaces. (…) The easiest way to fall in love…

22 Responses to Long weekend in Boston: A pictorial tour

  1. Boston is one of my favorite cities. I have visited several times. There is much to see and do. And I love the history! Thank you for sharing your wonderful weekend trip and photos. I always enjoy your posts so much. This Boston trip photos provided me with familiar places I visited. So nice. Thanks again.

  2. I have never been to Boston but need to change that especially since I know I can navigate the city using public transportation. Great pictures!

    • Thank you Jeanne. Boston is extremely easy to navigate. The public transportation system seems pretty good, but I always give enthusiastic thumbs-up to a city that is mostly “walkable” i.e., to this French Girl, “civilized.”

  3. Loving this post, Veronique! C’est parfait!! I’m so happy you had a wonderful stay in Boston and enjoyed Ma Maison. I had a feeling you might like it there! 🙂

  4. I have been there too, 30 years ago…There was no Cabernet but I still remember the lobsters…
    Great pictures, Véronique!

  5. Cela donne effectivement envie de s’y rendre…. Pour manger. Je n’ai pas accès à ce type de délice dans mon bled au Tennessee
    Katrien. Bellaventure USA

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15 Responses to Move over, fleece: Yves St Laurent is in Seattle!

  1. Ma chère Véro, you have written a post after my own heart. If it were not for Chanel and YSL, what would the modern woman do for sartorial inspiration? She was “la reine” and he was clearly “le roi” of “la mode”. It would be worth a trip to Seattle just to see this beautiful exhibit. Of course, seeing you again would be wonderful, too.

    I owe you a nice, long e-mail.

    je t’embrasse, M-T

    • Bonjour M-T. Wonderful to hear from you! Yes, Coco was the queen, Yves the king, not just because of their talent and unmatched creativity, but also for the longevity of their careers and the iconic brands they built. I believe the exhibit is headed to the East Coast after Seattle. You may be able to see it there early next year. A bientôt!

  2. Madame Veronique,

    Love, love your post! Everything you wrote is spot on!
    When I see this total genius initials…what a blast from the past…

    My classmates and I grew up with a beloved friend whose father was president of our country for a very long time. She of course could afford real couture. We were still young when we saw at her house a movie of Yves Saint Laurent’s revered Rive Gauche Fall/Winter “Russian Collection” from 1976.
    We loved his iconic corset tops! They were also shown in several other collections.

    YSL’s “Rive Gauche” was my mother’s fragrance. To this day, if I happen to smell it, I’m left in rag doll mode for a while, so strong are the “añoranzas” I have since she passed away.

    And I totally agree: the slogan for this season should be move over, fleece!

    Thank you so much,

    P.S. Did you know Seattle has The Pacific Northwest Ballet School, one of the best ballet schools in the world? And of its Principal Dancer, Carrie Imler?
    Colleagues and friends describe her dancing as fierce. Here’s a sample of it, even though this clip shows just a rehearsal.

    She’s a dancer with a power that reminds me of those fortunate ones, trained by the great Baryshnikov, so long ago.

    And last but not least: you look absolutely stunning in that photo with your red umbrella!

    • Dear Maria. I do not know where to start… This is such a great comment. First, thank you for your visit. Bienvenue chez French Girl in Seattle! Thank you, as well, for sharing personal memories here, and what memories they are! I am so grateful you shared this video of the beautiful Carrie Imler. I confess I do not know much about ballet, but have heard about the Pacific Northwest Ballet School. Watching Ms Imler in action, I can tell why the school is so renowned! She is obviously a skilled ballerina, but i was most impressed with her natural energy. The lady has a strong personality, and attitude, I can tell, and I love her for it 🙂 Finally, thank you for the nice compliment. I think my beautiful new umbrella did a lot to enhance that photo outside S.A.M.! A bientôt.

  3. Chère Véronique, I have greatly enjoyed your blogs ever since I started receiving them awhile back. I appreciate your articles promoting the beauty and culture of la belle France. I have written a blog about you and your work featuring your latest one on Yves St-Laurent. You can find it on my website, under “blog”. While you are there, please take a look at my work which is promoting a more authentic French accent to Anglo-American speakers. Under “courses” there are a few short videos that illustrate my teaching style. I would love your comments. Amicalement, Geri

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Recipe for a French Mother’s Day

Recipe for a French Mother’s Day

Ma Fête des Mères – A French Mother’s day – in 13 shots. by French Girl in Seattle There was a great restaurant, with architectural details imported from France… There was delicious French fare with a Northwest twist… There was a lively outdoor market, complete with a crêpe vendor… There were Boutiques with a French flavor… There were artisans…

12 Responses to Recipe for a French Mother’s Day

  1. This is so fun, thank you for posting. I will send it to my niece in Seattle who’s a mom and up for much cultural flavor! A l’annee prochaine!

  2. Formidable journée pour vous et aussi pour nous et toute la famille of course… Que du bonheur!! On vous souhaite beaucoup d’autres fêtes comme celle ci! Et puis ballard nous avait fait une excellente impression.. Souvenirs..
    En plus “môm” sait répondre maintenant?? La totale!!

  3. OH V THIS SOUNDS JUST PERFECT- lovely unique and oh so French-junior is quite handsome-he has really grown-what a beautiful day together

  4. Just popped by to say ‘Bonjour Véronique!’ I see that we have both taken a little break from blogging although after a holiday and a busy few weeks I am slowly getting back into a routine! I can see that this was the perfect Mother’s Day celebration for you and I certainly would have enjoyed all these French goodies. I think it’s time to book a little weekend en France!
    A bientôt!

  5. Bonjour,
    Je viens de tomber sur votre site.
    Ou c est passe cette fete des meres?
    J aimerai bien y aller, l annee prochaine.
    Je vis dans Kitsap County, mais je suis originnaire de Lyon.


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Trader Joe’s 10 best French finds

Trader Joe’s 10 best French finds

You recognize the logo. You know the stores. Trader Joe’s: The brand that has redefined grocery shopping, and turned it into an fun experience, full or discovery and surprises. Trader Joe’s, the *cool* brand, and its cult-like following. I am lucky: I have two Trader Joe’s stores less than 15 minutes away from my place. There is…

45 Responses to Trader Joe’s 10 best French finds

  1. Great post! I do most of my grocery shopping at TJ’s and like you always keep a bag of French Green Beans in my freezer. But there are a few things I haven’t seen yet (Fleur de Sel is one of them). I’m going to check out the Queen of Croissants, too. Looks delicious.

  2. I was just at Trader Joe’s today, but now I cannot wait to go again, and select so many of your suggestions! I’ve never tried those desserts but I will now!

  3. 2 more things:
    – La moutarde de dijon de marque t-joe. Tres bonnes
    – Les petits cornichons! Parfait avec le saucisson…

    et d’ailleurs à ce sujet, le salami Secchi en pack de 2 à T-joe est un des plus proches de ce que l’on trouve ne france (baton de berger :-)).

    • Merci de votre visite Olivier. Je connais bien le salami, que j’utilise l’été pour les pique-nique (avec mon couteau Opinel, bien sûr! 🙂 Et les petits cornichons sont indispensables à une bonne raclette! Merci de vos suggestions. Et merci Trader Joe’s!

    • Trader Joe’s cornichons are way too sour. The ones by Maille are much better and more like what I can buy in France. Plus they have the little green plastic insert that helps you pull the cornichons out of the liquid for easier grasping.

  4. I shared this with my daughter, who just moved to a new apartment in NYC and is happy to have a Trader Joe’s nearby! Hopefully she will be able to find some “good French food.”

  5. My French teacher said Fleur de Sel was expensive, even in France. I’ve always wanted to try some. Guess I’ll be going to TJ’s today.

    • Your French teacher is correct. Fleur de Sel is expensive because it is harvested by hand, a time consuming process. The flavor is also more concentrated than regular salt, so you have to use just a pinch! This is a really good price for it, though, and the tin container is so pretty!

  6. I so wish we had a Trader Joe’s in Central Illinois! The closest is about 3 hours away 🙁 I believe they also have the orange drink that is so popular in France — can’t think of the name. My youngest granddaughter asked for it every time we stopped to eat!

    • Bonjour Sandy. You are referring to Orangina. I once wrote a story about this popular French drink. You can find it on the blog 🙂 I have not seen it at Trader Joe’s for a while. It may be a summer product for them. Sorry you live so far away from a Trader Joe’s. Keep your fingers crossed. They open new stores all the time, and you can check out future locations on their website. Bonne année !

  7. Salut & Bonne Annee! Tarte d’Alsace is always in the freezer for a quick Friday dinner with salad, a glass or two of wine and Bill Maher on the television. The potatoes, green beans and cheeses are seen on my list often. Will have to try the croissants, raspberry tarte and the brioche toasts as well. As to the wine, I will try them all! Merci!

    • Bonjour Holly. I have not tried all the wines at Trader Joe’s, but they have a decent Bordeaux selection if you like them. I picked up a bottle of Sancerre yesterday. I used to enjoy it when I lived in France. Glad you already know and use their French products. Bon appétit !

  8. v- I was so happy to see an expanded piece on your most wonderful finds at Trader Joes-My sister saw the FB post and showed me-we happened to be spending the day in Princeton-well the seed had been planted and I was like a mad woman-“had to get to the closest store”-there was one close to Princeton but I chose to proceed to the one closest to the house, which is not close! You would think living in a city like Philly there would be some scattered in the various zip codes-but NON! So I set out in search of the products picture on FB – well the store was pretty empty which made the experience more enjoyable-I scored the macarons-which I agree are good but not my favorite-haven’t tried the pear tarte although there is one in the freezer-I purchased the eggplant parm, frozen leeks and various cookies, which they have all the time, oh…. and a new coffee I had not tried– BAY- in a blue canister- dark roast and it could definitely give any of the dark roasts at Starbucks a run their money-I usually drive to New Jersey to do a Trader Joes run-the store is ALWAYS super crowded and the diagonal aisle lay out poses its own set of tactical nuisances or annoyances depending on my mood-in short going to Trader Joes is a conscious decision for me due to location and atmosphere in the store…but a store I will not give up on-Oh how about the 99 cents cards and the flower selection good quality and reasonable prices-and the health and beauty section-VERY SMALL and VERY LIMITED but GREAT QUALITY and fair market prices-many come from France . Oh and the nuts are fair, if not better priced than most supermarches in this area; although I have taken to going to the ethnic stores for a wide variety of raw nuts-ALL IN ALL I ADORE A GOOD TRADER JOES RUN-sadly it is not as frequent as I would like. This comment is super long but do you know the store ALDI-Trader Joe’s cousin-a rift between two German brothers gave birth to the 2 stores like addidas and puma…HAPPY NEW YEAR DEAR FRIEND-another great read AS ALWAYS!!

    • Loved your comment, g. Thank you! It shoes how determined some Trader Joe’s shoppers can be. 🙂 I agree with your reviews of the other products. I did not mention them here as I was focusing on French ones, but I do enjoy their nut selection (a lot more affordable than the supermarket versions,) their fresh flowers, and most of their dry or canned grocery items. I am not too fond of their produce, fish or meat, usually, but I can get those somewhere else. Since you mentioned the Health and Beauty department, they have an excellent French soap there. I picked up a bottle yesterday for my bathroom. Orange flower. It smells heavenly, and again, so much cheaper than anything you would buy in another store. Thank you for your visit, dear g. I wish you a Happy New Year, too!

  9. Wow, you are so lucky to have two TJ close by. Finally, we are getting them in Florida. In the future I will have to look closely in the frozen food section for these products….love TJ!

  10. Merci beaucoup for all the wonderful French finds at Trader Joes. I must make a trip there again soon.

    Happy new year! Cherie

  11. Three years in France and I didn’t know it is customary for a hostess to purchase dessert… I could have saved myself a lot of trouble! We finally got a TJs in our town four years ago… a month before we moved to France!

    • Bonjour Liene. I am sure your guests appreciated the trouble you went through! 🙂 Many French women still serve home-baked desserts, especially when entertaining in the afternoon, for the “goûter” ritual. But nobody frowns on those who don’t, and why should they? Most pâtisseries offer stellar desserts! Happy New Year to you and yours on the East Coast.

  12. Bravo ma fille,pour ^ta publicité des produits français de trader joes:Il devrait te faire une bonne réduction pour cette publicité gratuite et en plus tu en fais profiter les fabricants français:génial!!!!(tu pourrais demander une commission pour cela!bises mom

    • Bravo à la maman! Elle a raison!!
      Mais je suis sur votre site par accident. Je me fais régulièrement une petite tarte d’Alsace mais l’autre jour je me disais que je les trouvais moins bonnes qu’avant et ce soir, a mon 33e éage à New York, même impression. Alors, j’ai regardé la boîte et je ne vois plus le “Made in France” ou “Imported from France”….Est-ce que TJ nous aurait trahis???? Ou est-ce que j’ai rêvé? Ou confondu avec d’autres produits?

  13. I don’t miss much about about living in the United States to be honest Veronique, but goodness knows I do miss Trader Joes. We absolutely loved it and shopped there a lot! One little tip (not France related)… hunt out Argentine Red Prawns in the freezer section.
    They come in approximately a 1 pound bag. They aren’t available all the time as they are seasonal so when they are in stock, get a dozen bags for the freezer. These prawns are red in colour before cooking and their taste is somewhere between prawn and lobster – amazing! Oddly enough, we also found these for sale in France (at Auchan) – not with TJ’s packaging of course but from a Spanish supplier. Sadly, we can’t get them in the UK. I think I need to make a shopping trip to France – it’s a bit easier for me that Trader Joes!

  14. 🙁 I finally got around to making a trip to TJ’s, but I was too late to buy the Fleur de Sel you mentioned. At least at the TJ’s in Ballard, they have not carried it for a while. Oh well, I’ll just have to go to Camargue and some 🙂

  15. Ironically enough I am in France at the moment, Nîmes specifically. Have you any recommendations for stores anywhere in France that are similar to TJs or my other fave, Grocery Outlet. Thank you!

    • Thank you for your message. I do not know stores like Trader Joe’s in France. I know the Monoprix chain (usually in city centers,) appeals to a wide audience. Locally, you will also find more specialized grocery stores. Paris, for example, has stores carrying Asian, African, even American products. Enjoy your stay in Nîmes!

  16. I love the pear tart too. It’s amazingly good. However, I was so sad to hear at my local trader joes that it is now discontinued across all stores. I wish I had filled my freezer with them.

  17. I cannot understand why TJ has stopped carrying Trader Joe’s Pear Tartes in Prescott, Arizona. I believe I am having withdrawal symptoms. Yes, I admit I am addicted to them. An employee told me they were discontinued because they had poor sales. I find that hard to believe. I would buy them by the case if they would keep in my freezer. Its’a sad, sad, sad day in Prescott!

    • Same at my local Trader Joe’s Ralph, but they still carry the raspberry tart. I have heard similar stories from readers around the country. There must have been a problem with the pear version, though they won’t publicize it. C’est la vie!

  18. Love your list! We are headed to France. Is there anything like Trader Joe’s in France. And do you happen to know some reasonable priced good wines we should try in France?
    Thank you in advance!

    • Bonjour Susan. Merci de votre visite. There are plenty of grocery stores in France, though Trader Joe’s is pretty unique. As for wine, sample “un pichet” of local wine at the local restaurant. You will be amazed at how much more affordable wine is in France. Bon voyage!

  19. Hello. In our store there is now salted butter from brittany and freezed mini croissans and chocolate croissant

  20. Does anyone know if Trader Joes has continued to sell Calvados for Christmas season 2016. I’m looking for case quantity if available.

  21. La tarte d’Alsace est faite par une compagnie qui vend des flammenkueches extremement similaire dans l’est de la France 🙂

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16 Responses to A French Christmas in the California desert

  1. Very different Veronique but soooo fabulous. Gosh your son is shooting up, looks like his love of photography is growing with him.. Best wishes for the new year.

    • Merci Grace. Yes, Junior is already taller than I am! He has loved photography for quite a while now and shoots with film only (and uses all his manual settings.) I am afraid I am neither as tall, or as proficient with a camera as he is 🙂 — Happy New Year!

  2. I’ve been away from blogland for a long time Veronique. Some friends recently were in Nice and their trip whetted my appetite to return to the beautiful city. Suddenly I remembered that it’s your favourite French city and I looked you up! I’m sorry to hear about your dramas this year. But you and your son look well. As does my old home town of Palm Springs.
    Lovely to catch up with you again. I shall try to visit more often. All the best for 2015 to you and your family. Maybe I’ll see you in Nice one day!

    • What a nice surprise this morning! Welcome back, Craig. I have thought about you when I saw you had stopped blogging and was wondering how you were. I am glad your friends talked you into visiting Nissa la Bella. Isn’t she a beauty? My love of that southern belle remains, but I have not visited in over a year, unfortunately (I was in Paris and Toulouse last summer.) Please do come back when you can. Old friends are always welcome here. I wish you and yours a very happy New Year!

  3. v this sounds like a lovely love filled Christmas! I adore Jr.’s hair longer such a handsome young man and you look like a teenager yourself-Palm springs(although not gay PARIS) seems to agree with you….

    • My dear g. Thank you very much! It was, indeed, a good Christmas in beautiful Palm Springs, and a welcome change of pace and scenery. I don’t know about looking like a teenager myself, but I will accept the compliment, gratefully. I hope you had a good, relaxing Christmas as well, and the East Coast climate is treating you well. Best wishes for a healthy, fun-filled, and rewarding 2015. I am personally looking forward to starting a brand-new year 😉

      • My dearest v I never pay an empty compliment and-I am glad you graciously and cheerfully accept that compliment as it is true ..inner age and spirit comes to the surface more than one may realize-I too am looking forward to a new year-one filled with happy moments and sweet times…our Christmas was very low key, thusly LOW STRESS! Our weather for the most part has been warmer than usual but a lot of grey and rainy days-this week brings a dip in temperatures-Yuck– just in time for the Mummers to strut down Broad Street – Here is to the NEW YEAR MY FRIEND -may all your heart’s dreams be realized and may love surround you peace follow you and joy always hold your hand—-with my best wishes always….

  4. As usual, you capture the essence and beauty of a city and make one feel they are taking a mini trip there. I’m glad you had such a wonderful time. Happy new year!

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10 reasons Seattle is better than Paris

10 reasons Seattle is better than Paris

Seattle Body Art  (   Seattle vs. Paris. The Emerald City vs. the City of Light. They have a lot of things in common these two, and not always good ones. Under *areas for improvement,* I could list their notoriously unpredictable, and depressing weather; traffic; parking; or the cost of living (as anyone trying to…

35 Responses to 10 reasons Seattle is better than Paris

  1. I love Seattle….lived there in my teens, and the moved to Nothern Ca. Then then settle in Southern Ca.
    I so miss Seattle, would move back in a minute. But I do lové France as well, Seattle feels like home.

    Wonderful post.



  2. Really fun reading that, Veronique…to me what’s best about Seattle is the “Sleepless” film and the WA islands…. Did you know that San Francisco (where I lived for 20 years) is a Paris sister city? I’d have trouble choosing which is best considering those two…love both. Cheers!

  3. V I couldn’t wait to read this post-It was so entertaining as well as educational-I have never heard of the underground passages before-that is so cool. I have never been to your neck of the woods-I like the outdoors but am definitely a city girl who loves her coffee…I would love to spend some time discovering this part of the US. As ALWAYS a great post-You are so good at what you do here-love being a reader of yours-as you know! Have a wonderful week-I am recovering from having all the windows replaced in our home-now its the put back time-ugh-henceforth the lag in reading/commenting-till next time

    • Bonjour g, and many thanks for the compliments. I know you like it here, because you are one of my most faithful readers – I believe you found me during my first blogging trip, in Paris, December 2010! Wow. How time flies. You will definitely have to come out here one day. It is truly a beautiful area, and thank goodness – since I do not care for snow or rainy weather – we have all these wonderful coffee shops, the flying salmon, and the Troll. The troll is really cool. Straight out of a Harry Potter book! Take care, Philadelphia friend.

  4. Ah, this makes me miss Seattle all the more. I keep wadding in the nostalgia of the two great years we lived in Redmond. And what’s more, I embraced the rains too! 🙂

  5. What a wonderful post, ma grande. As you know, Monsieur Dan was stationed in nearby Tacomah during his military service many, many moons ago, and we have visited Seattle many times, mostly for the fabulous Wagner “Ring Cycle” operas that they perform that I will stack up against any we have seen, and we have seen more than a dozen complete Cycles all over the world. Pike Street Market is just a joy, and I have such fond memories of a wonderful lunch w/you. Hopefully soon again???? Or in NY???

    All that said, however, Paris will always be my first love. It holds my heart. Just ask Monsieur Dan. His love affair w/Paris was a coup de foudre and he is still a faithful lover.

    Gros bisous, M-T

  6. I would compare Seattle — which I have only visited, but many times — to Rouen or Caen, but not to Paris. Even San Francisco, where I lved for more than 15 years, is a ville de province compared to Paris, with its long history and international status. De beaucoup de points de vue, Paris est le centre du monde.

    • Point taken, Ken, but this French Girl – as mentioned in the blog title – lives in Seattle, and hails from Paris so I had to make it work 😉 And you are right, it is hard to compete with Paris, but so much is written about the French capital every day. It seemed like a fun idea to give Seattle a bit more attention, for once. Thanks for stopping by!

  7. This is so on time! I just finished purchasing my tickets for my trip to Alaska in mid August that includes a stop over in Seattle oh thanks so very much for such bunch of information and great pictures! I’m searching for information about ferry to Victoria then back to Seattle for two days then fly to Anchorage. I lived in Alaska for sixteen years and never vacationed in Seattle….heresy!
    Thanks again! I am a big fan of yours♡

    • Bonjour Luisa, and merci for the kind words. Look up the Victoria Clipper website for info about traveling from Seattle to Victoria. That’s a fun ferry trip, and pretty quick, too. Hope you enjoy your Alaskan trip. That is a very special part of the world! Bon weekend!

  8. ive lived in Seattle most of my life and have traveled to Paris many, many times. Seattle is an amazing city, but I don’t think it can hold a candle to Parisian public transportation, museums, parks, flea markets, multitudes of independent shops, architecture and access to so many other beautiful cities…..oh, and did I mention book shops? Merci beau coup for your wonderful posts.

    • Merci beaucoup Suzanne. As you can tell if you are following the French Girl in Seattle Facebook community, this post has created some (healthy) controversy this morning. I loved it! Seattle is a wonderful city, but I agree with you: Few cities compare with Paris. Irony is a beautiful thing, isn’t? 😉

  9. Great comparison of two great cities. You most definitely did Seattle justice. You are lucky to have lived in both places. I think the biggest difference between Seattle and Paris (and any other city in Europe) is age. Seattle is still a teenager while Paris is the grande dame. I love them both in different ways as clearly you do, too. Well done.

  10. “Ever tried fishing in the Seine river? All you will catch is an old Louboutin shoe, the occasional [ugly tourist] corpse, and millions of silly little keys left behind by visitors after they hooked their love locks to Parisian bridges.”

    I absolutely died laughing at this! So true! I think you have a legit argument. I’m looking forward to putting Seattle on my list of places to visit!

    Great post, as always!! 🙂

    • Merci Jessica. Glad you enjoyed my little story. I know there are ugly tourist corpses in the Seine river, as I pushed a couple down a bridge myself after they asked me for directions to le Pont des Arts and waved a “lovelock” under my nose. 😉

  11. Bonjour Veronique,
    Fun reading your article this morning. I am actually doing the opposite of you. I lived in Seattle for 11 years and am now on my 8th year in Paris. I also love both cities. I guess I could never say one is better than the other. I think Seattle was wonderful for raising a family and Paris is wonderful for raising young adults and definitely allows for more entertainment for my husband and I! I guess there is also a phenomenon of “The Grass is always Greener”!
    Enjoy your time in Seattle. You probably know many in the French community we were such good friends with when we lived there!

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26 Responses to New Yorkers and Parisians: So different, yet so alike…

  1. My impression is that the French code of politesse is different from that found in American cities…Our French teacher taught us, when we go to France, to say: “Bonjour, excusez-moi, je ne veux pas vous déranger, mais où est…?” Or at the very least, “Excusez-moi, monsieur, madame….” I think the American way is to efficiently, directly just launch the question. I think both cultures value the use of “thank you.” “Bocheball”, above, is rude & mean by any standard of etiquette…and I must say, rush hour in the metro in any big city is stressful!

    • Thank you for your input. You made a good point: Codes in the US and France are very different. Many visitors have learned the lesson the hard way when they approach a French shopkeeper and ask a question without saying “Bonjour” first. All they usually get instead of an answer is: “BONJOUR, Madame/Monsieur !” — Always fun to watch, especially since it happens among the French too. La politesse, Madame, la politesse! 🙂

  2. V- ONE OF YOUR BEST!!! LOVED IT-AND SO TRUE ON EACH POINT- Love of one’s city can often blind us in so many ways-after all there is no place like home but when experiencing a new city- kindness politeness and empathy can go a long way much like a smile being universal! this goes for both the visitor and the resident!-Have a wonderful week!

  3. Dearest Véronique,
    Loved the most the sign about ‘La Politesse’; it indeed pays off big for being polite all the time. I’ve witnessed this too often in foreign countries where people got literally ripped off for lack of politeness!
    Guess this does apply to each city you travel to. Loved the Frog’s advice for not wearing the t-shirt I Love New York; that acts like a target board!
    Enjoy your week ahead.

  4. Le Bobo (celui qui n’achète pas sa baguette chez le boulanger mais du pain complet dans sa “Biocoop”, ne prends pas le métro mais circule à vélo, bois du thé vert et passe ses vacances sous une yourte) est une espèce en voie de disparition, maintenant place au “Bomo” (bourgeois moche) qui refuse les modes et les codes esthétiques : La revanche du moche

    • Quelle bonne histoire, Alain, merci. Je n’avais pas encore entendu parler du “Bomo” dans ma campagne américaine reculée. Le site internet est excellent lui aussi. N’hésitez pas à partager d’autres observations. Je suis preneuse ! Bonne journée !

  5. Excellent analysis. My experience in Paris is that if you stand on a street corner with an open map, after only a few minutes, a Parisian will stop to offer directions… and often in English.

  6. Very funny and, well, true! Since I am looking forward to being a tourist in Paris in about a week, I’m take all Jean’s advice very seriously! Have a lovely week, Veronique. XOXO

  7. Eternel débat entre touristes et indigènes, degrés de politesse reçus ou perçus, modes de vie différents..
    On est toujours le touriste de quelqu’un à un moment ou à un autre de sa vie.
    Alors , faisons simple ,et restons tous ouverts et courtois.
    Et entre NY et Paris, je choisis Londres ! ;o)
    Bises et bonne semaine!
    PS le café à 2,5 euros, même avec la politesse, c’est sacrément cher!

    • Très juste, Marie, très juste. Entre New York et Paris, surtout pour vivre, je choisirais probablement Londres moi aussi, au moins pour un moment. Pour le tourisme, alors une des trois. Elles ont chacune un charme et un intérêt bien particulier!
      Et tu as raison pour le prix du café: Pas donné, donné, mais il faut bien amortir le coût du beau panneau émaillé. 🙂 Bisous

  8. I love the sign about the coffee (cheaper if you are polite), well even with the polite Australians, coffee costs an arm and a leg here! ($5 upwards). I have visited both cities, but Paris is my favourite, even though I can’t say I found the French that polite, certainly no one came to my rescue when I was stranded in an underground station when there was something wrong with the train, and I spoke to various people in English and they just mumbled and ran off in various directions….of course in the end I got on a bus, but got off on the wrong station and missed my flight! I keep on telling myself I need to re-learn French!

  9. Bonne Année, Véronique. A little belated but I’ve been away again (escaping the UK storms!). Wishing you happiness, good health and success in 2014. Happy Birthday to your blog too. The Paris vs New York book is one I intended buying a while ago as I came across it on Vahram’s blog some time ago and I think you have mentioned it before here too. I must order it!! I enjoyed all your lighthearted comparisons and the video too. An entertaining post and I especially liked the price list sign. When in France I enjoy the greetings as you soon as you enter a shop which doesn’t always happen in England!

    • Great to hear from you as always, miss b. Thank you for your visit.
      Escaping winter blues in sunnier climates is a wonderful idea. Wish I could do the same!
      Greetings are a big deal in France, and that is a good thing. Then again, Parisians can be moody, as demonstrated in the previous comment. Nobody’s perfect I guess.

    • Hi Véronique! Thank you very much for popping over today. I always appreciate your visits and like to hear your opinion. I must say I agree with you. All things French in the Dubai heat is just perfect for me too. As for your post, I remember reading parts 6 and 7 about ending a story on a happy note. Sometimes I think that these blogs have a mind of their own! Without warning strange things happen.

    • Thank you for the quick reply, miss b. Blogger… I tell you: One day, I will have a heart attack: When I looked at the blog this morning, half the text was missing… Yikes. This blog definitely has a mind of its own– and why should I be surprised? It is a FRENCH blog after all 🙂 Bonne fin de semaine.

  10. No doubt that travelling in France is not easy. There is a lots of Crowd in France trains. Some days ago my Friends visited France they told me all the condition about France so now i have decided to Book a car whenever i will visit to France.

  11. Bonjour de Montréal, Véronique. On trouve d’excellents bagels et des baguettes de première qualité ici. Malheureusement, cet hiver, nous avons également trop de maudite neige. Normalement, moi aussi je voyage à vélo, mais avec cette neige de merde, le métro, le bus et la marche. Je laisse le vélo hivernal aux plus jeunes.

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2014 begins in my Happy Place, Edmonds, WA

2014 begins in my Happy Place, Edmonds, WA

(Photo credit:   Bonjour 2014 ! Bonne année, les amis !   Another year of blogging starts this month…   Junior and I were alone during the second half of the Holidays. He had to work on a school project for National History Day.  But we took quality breaks to enjoy the cold, sunny…

26 Responses to 2014 begins in my Happy Place, Edmonds, WA

  1. Haaa.. voilà un grand , beau et bon bol d’air pour commencer l’année!
    J’avoue que j’adore quand tu nous montres là où tu vis, moi je trouve cette région juste magnifique!
    et ce ciel bleu! C’est moi qui vais finir par émigrer, ici tu serais déçue, pluie non stop quasiment depuis Noel, le monde à l’envers! Mais bon, moi j’aime..:o)
    M’autorises tu à utiliser la jolie photo que tu m’as envoyée,et pour laquelle je te remercie , sur mon blog, avec un lien vers le tien? J’adore ces bancs-souvenirs, et celui-là est particulièrement joli!
    J’espère que cette année a bien commencé pour toi! Et que le projet de Junior sera successful!
    Bises et à bientôt!

    • Merci de ta visite Marie. J’avoue avoir pensé à toi en publiant les photos de ce billet 🙂
      Si tu aimes la pluie, alors, c’est sûr, quitte Nice et émigre à Seattle. Tu seras servie ! Les belles journées sont rares en cette saison, d’où cette expédition avec Junior. Il ne fallait pas tâter ça !

      Et oui, bien sûr que tu peux utiliser la photo du banc. Elle t’a été dédiée après tout ! Même Junior connaît ton blog “Special Bancs…”

      Bisous. Et n’oublie pas le parapluie à Nice !

  2. Une petite ville américaine, telle qu’on l’imagine, quand on n’est jamais allé aux USA et qu’on lit les livres de Russel Banks ou Hillary Waugh.

    • C’est exactement ça Alain. 18 ans aux Etats-Unis. La réalité ne ressemble pas toujours à ce que l’on s’imagine en France, dans un sens ou dans l’autre, mais les petites villes comme Edmonds ne déçoivent jamais. Elles sont malheureusement assez rares. Le concept urbain aux USA, surtout dans la banlieue, est moins romantique, et la voiture indispensable. Bonne semaine et merci de votre visite.

  3. Lovely, Veronique. Looks like a perfect start to the new year. Isn’t it wonderful that we have all these beautiful spots to visit in the Pacific Northwest? I hope that 2014 proves to be a good year for you and Junior – full of fun, adventures and growth. Best to you both! XOXO

  4. Dearest Véronique,
    Junior is growing taller and taller..
    Surprising how green the grass still looks for this time of the year in some of your photos. Here it is all brown… dreary and drab looking.
    Edmonds looks really like a European town. Enjoy your winter and stay warm and cozy.

  5. I too love Edmonds Veronique. I did my coaches training there and it was such a treat! Let’s grab lunch at Chantrelle sometime in the next few weeks?

    • Bonne Année Jennifer. So happy you also love Edmonds. That little town is a gem, and there will be more fun times spent there, on the shore, in my future! I will make sure of it… Hugs to la Belle Normandie– that is where I used to spend my weekends when I lived in Paris! 🙂

  6. You just had to write a post with the things I really REALLY miss – beaches, salt water, ferries, little wood houses. Would you believe I even miss the sound of the sea gulls and the smell of the water in the morning.

    Not much of any of these things where I live now but there are other compensations: we had galette for dessert last night (that will put five kilos on you in about five minutes). 🙂

    Bonne année, Véronique.

    • Bonjour Victoria, et bonne année ! Ha. I can imagine that you miss the Edmonds vistas in Versailles. Not quite the same environment, is it? 🙂

      Galette des Rois is definitely a great compensation for anything… and you can always walk it off on the Château de Versailles grounds the following morning. Take care.

  7. I love this post-but let’s be honest, there isn’t a one I don’t love-this place could easily be my happy place too– the bungalows look like our house at the shore-the stores, the food and the outdoor life, plus rick steves info galore-yup love it! BUT MY MOST FAVORITE PART ….. is the picture of you and jr. at the bottom-you look like a young girl and jr well, growing up and quite handsome-a sailor- a photographer -world traveler—gosh quite the resume for a chap his age; ) You know it was a great way to ring in the beginning of a new year….HERE IS TO TURNING THAT PAGE and Beginning a new chapter-may all your heart’s dreams and wishes come true dear v !! I hope it with all my heart.

    • Bonsoir my dear g. *from Philadelphia*! Glad I stopped by and found your comment.

      Thank you for the vote of confidence, and the support, as always. Not so sure I look like a young girl, but I know I look younger than my [many] years 🙂

      I agree with you. Time to turn that page, and to write my own story on a blank one. There are many good pages left in my book, and many fun adventures to write about 🙂 Hugs to you. Stay warm on the East Coast! Brrrrr!

  8. Love this post, said the gal in Camel-by-the-Sea, naturally. And esp the last photo of you with your son. Miss my son soooo much, who lives in Amsterdam. Hugs to you Veronique…may 2014 be an especially wonderful year…

  9. Hello Veronique

    That looks like a fun filled day. Edmonds will be on my list when I visit Seattle again.

    Junior is very handsome and I would love to see his photos.

    As the saying goes, the apple probably does not fall far from the tree.

    Continued joy and exploring

  10. What a wonderful way to spend the day Veronique.. not only visiting one of your special places but with such a handsome young man 🙂 Your son is growing up oui.. it’s amazing how many young people do still prefer to use film, it definitely is more of a challenge, so much more thought has to go into each shot. Perhaps you could do a guest post and we could see some of his work 🙂

    • A guest post by Junior: Excellent idea, Grace! He loves landscape photography AND vintage cars. I will mention this to him and see what he says 🙂 Thank you for your visit. Happy New Year in warm and sunny Australia!

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35 Responses to Road trips, antique train rides, and cherry pies: Snoqualmie, WA.

  1. WOOOOO! ROCK ON FRENCH GIRL! Lovely locations to put a smile on my face as I prepare to leave in just a few minutes to my first ever HIGH SCHOOL French class. Later in the day, I will teach a group of 8th graders beginning French. HAVE A SUPER DAY MON AMIE! Anita

  2. Bonjour. I love trains too; had a large collection of model trains when I was a kid. There is no comparison between the comfort of the TGV and current state of travel on airlines. I wish there were more connections in Provence but we will have to live with our TGV rides between Paris and Avignon.

    • Bonjour Michel. J’adore le TGV. It is mostly punctual and so, so comfortable. What a relief, too, to be able to walk around instead of being stuck in a cramped airline seat. If I ever move back to Europe, I will only travel by car or by train. I will reserve flying for emergencies. A bientôt!

  3. J’adore les voyages en train, temps suspendu entre le départ et l’arrivée , paysages qui défilent,parenthèse enchantée..
    Il y a plusieurs trains à l’ancienne qui refonctionnent par ici, et pas seulement l’été. Faudra essayer la prochaine fois !
    Dans mes rêves , j’aimerais traverser les USA en Amtrack, ou la Russie en Train bleu…
    (Je ferme mes blogs vers le 8 pour vacances , ne t’inquiète pas )
    A bientôt!

    • Très joliment dit, Marie.

      Je serai ravie d’essayer un des petits trains niçois lors d’une prochaine visite. D’ailleurs, je suis ravie d’essayer à peu près n’importe quoi lorsque je suis à Nice, tu le sais 🙂

      Je rêvais moi aussi, à une époque, de visiter les USA en Amtrack. Prépare-toi à un choc culturel. L’Amtrack, ce n’est pas le TGV!!! Bon voyage à Londres et n’oublie pas HARRY!!! 🙂

    • Well merci beaucoup Jackie. I saw on your blog you are about to embark on a fabulous trip. I will be looking forward to traveling vicariously though your pics. Hopefully, by the time you return, things will have slowed down a bit here, and we will be able to connect at long last.

  4. Dearest Véronique,
    Oh, a luxury train ride would be the very best. You know, when we did our consulting work for Pond’s India Ltd. for a decade, we got to ride the first class night train to our final destination. That was pure luxury, like in the British period, complete with shower and all. Would swap any plane seat for that!!!
    But you did show us a very worthwhile train ride in the north west of the USA with spectacular views. Great ending too for brunch and coffee.
    Hugs to you,

    • Bonjour Mariette. You did live the good life for a while, as an international consultant. I would have loved seeing those trains!

      Our modest train ride on Sunday was nothing in comparison, but we still enjoyed it. It is good to slow down… and smell [damn, fine] coffee once in a while 🙂

  5. OH MY GOSH –loved this little excursion with you!! as usual the pictures are beautiful-and would love to have a cup of coffee in the TWIN PEAKS CAFE-the black dog looks mighty fine too! what a great way to end the summer vacation and usher in the new school year!-oh love the dream category on the side bar I hope and can see that each one WILL BE ACHIEVED ! as always thanks for sharing.

    • Bonjour dear g. Comment ça va?

      Thank you for stopping by and for leaving a kind comment, as always. Like you, I hope some of my dreams (old and new ones,) will come true. I will work on them. And I can work hard when I want to 🙂

  6. Oh I just love Snoqualmie. The air smells so nice, doesn’t it? And Twin Peaks! Loved that show. I understand that David Lynch was completely wired on coffee and chocolate milkshakes when he wrote that. Great clip.

    • Bienvenue Connie. A coffee and chocolate milkshake addiction. That would help understand a lot about Twin Peaks 🙂 That show was WILD! I almost met handsome Kyle McLachlan when I worked as a budding movie critic for the Seattle International Film Festival a few weeks ago. *Almost.* 🙂

      A bientôt.

  7. What a fun road trip. We visited Snoqualmie Falls many years ago on our way to Lake Louise after spending time in Seattle. We were told to have the infamous Country Breakfast at the Inn. What an item! Who really eats that much food?
    Thanks for sharing the beautiful photos. The falls were amazing when we visited in August many, many years ago. ~ Sarah

    • Bonsoir Sarah. The breakfast you are referring to can be found in that building next to Snoqualmie Falls (you see it on the photo above.) It is a big breakfast, and expensive too. I have not had one in years. Personally, I was quite happy with our simple brunch at a bistro table chez Black Dog. Unpretentious and unpacked (maybe because it was after 3:00pm! “:-) Bonne semaine in Texas.

  8. We visited for the falls and the Twin Peaks lore, I had no idea the museum was that close or we might have also stopped in there. I am curious when that picture of the falls was taken, are you sure that’s even Washongton? It looks like the sun is shining 😉 Bisous!

  9. I loved all of this! Seriously, who doesn’t love travelling by train (ok, I had one scary crowding incident in India) and as much as I love France (and you know that I do) what I wouldn’t give for a Black Dog café! That made me so homesick!

    • Bonjour Heather. Thank you for your visit. Sorry you don’t have a Black Dog café in your neck of the provençal woods. I tell you what: I will ship Black Dog over to you, if you ship me back your favorite small village café in Southern France (needless to say, it has to come with comfortable tables and chairs outside, and it should preferably be located on a sunny little square, with a fountain, some ancient plane trees…) How does that sound? Deal?

  10. What a great day out for you both and certainly a ride I would enjoy. The view of the valley is wonderful and it must have been so interesting having a tour of the restored station which is so quaint. All rounded off with cherry pie and good coffee – perfect! You may remember my blog post earlier this year when we had cream tea aboard a steam train which travelled through the Lancashire countryside – a real treat. There is something very special about train journeys especially in the old style carriages which are so nostalgic.
    PS I’m a Top Gear fan too. Junior has good taste!

    • I remember that post you wrote, miss b. I would not mind tasting some of that ice cream myself, as beautiful Lancashire goes by through the window… Top Gear… What can I say? I had no choice and I don’t even like cars. But those three guys grow on you, don’t they? 🙂 My favorite is Richard, but Jeremy is quite funny too.

  11. I love trains and have taken them all over Europe! Once I had to lead a group of tourists on the train from Issoire to Paris. I have never visited Snoqualmie but it looks like a lovely town to visit. Have you ever taken the Amtrak train to Vancouver?

    • Issoire to Paris, eh? I hope you did not lose any of them. That would be an easy thing to do on a train 🙂

      I have never taken the Amtrak to Vancouver but might give it a try in the coming year when I start missing the French TGV again 🙂 Bon weekend!

  12. Wow what a beautiful part of the country. I have never been on a real train before (those fake trains at the zoo do NOT count) and I have been longing to do so. A year ago I saw an advertisement for a train trip across Canada that seemed absolutely STUNNING. That is my dream now, to take that trip.

    I also have Twin Peaks on my Netflix. It has been on my queue for five years. My list is so long and ridiculous (I do the DVDs like a dinosaur). It’s a good show? You recommend? Should I bump it up?

    • Hope you end up taking that train trip, Jenny!

      As for Twin Peaks, you may love it or hate it. But it is a cult show and as such, a landmark in American culture. You owe it to yourself to watch at least the excellent pilot! At the very least, you will get to travel to the Pacific Northwest 🙂

  13. Labor Day is the UNofficial end of summer in the U.S. Summer concludes on Sept. 21, here as elsewhere. The feeling post-Labor Day certainly is different.

    J’aime bien votre blog.

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