Monthly Archives: November 2009

Best Blog Award

Enchanted Traveler has won a Best Blog Award!  I’m so grateful for the recognition, and want to thank Rhett at ProMapTraveler  for this award.

Best Blog Award

The Best Blog Award rules are:

To accept the award, post it on your blog together with the name of the person who has granted the award and his/her blog link. Pass the award to 15 other blogs that you have recently discovered and think are great! Remember to contact the bloggers you’ve awarded to let them know they have been chosen for this award.

Here are my choices and congratulations to all the winners.

Bonjour Paris

Girls Getaway

My Melange

Chez Lou Lou

Paris Perfect

Rail Europe

Beth Arnold

Dorie Greenspan

David Lebovitz

Mom Most Traveled

Shannon Lane



France Profonde

Parisian Spring

Parisien Salon

Sheila Campbell


Beaujolais Nouveau – Est Arrivé

Beaujolais grape

Photo by Karaian, via Flickr, with Creative Commons license

It’s that time again!  The 3rd Thursday of every November marks the release of the Beaujolais Nouveau — light red, casual drinking wine from the gentle rolling hills and golden stone countryside of the Beaujolais region of France.  French law has decreed that the Beaujolais Nouveau cannot be released until the stroke of midnight, on the 3rd Thursday of November, so while the French countryside is sleeping, wine producers and distributors rush to stock their shelves with the new release. 

Beaujolais is made from the Gamay grape , and by law, the grapes must be harvested by hand. Sixty-five million bottles are produced annually, and exported worldwide, with the top 3 markets being Germany, Japan and the U.S.   Beaujolais is never aged, but meant to be consumed just weeks after harvest. 

Some wine critics do not believe  the Beaujolais Nouveau to be a serious wine, as it lacks complexity brought on by the aging process. But that is considered by some to be part of its charm.    If you are wine shopping, look for the banners that proclaim “Le Beaujolais Nouveau est arrive!” 

Celebrating the release of the new harvest was originally a local festival, but thanks to successful marketing campaigns, you will see Beaujolais Nouveau celebrations popping up around the world.  Ask your local wine merchant when they will receive their stock.  Is it a coincidence that the wines hit store shelves just in time for U.S. Thanksgiving? 

In Lyon today, November 15, an expert panel of 70 wine critics, sommeliers, and Michelin-starred chefs gathered at Lyon’s beautiful Hotel du Ville for a tasting and judging competition, to award the coveted Trophy Lyon-Beaujolais Nouveau.  The winners will be announced tomorrow on the Lyon Le Progres website.  

Beaujolais Strolling Minstrels

Strolling Minstrels in Period Costume at Lyon's Hotel du Ville

I toured the Beaujolais region last year on a tour organized by the Lyon Office of Tourism.  We visited wine cellars, and met with the former Mayor of one of the Beaujolais villages.  Madame (adorable lady, center, in the photo below) educated us with the history of Beaujolais and the growing and harvesting process.  And of course, we sampled!
Beaujolais 2 - Former Mayor of Beaujolais Wine Tasting

So no matter where you are on the 3rd Thursday of November each year, you have cause to celebrate!  Santé!

“May I Have the Language of Origin Please?” – Another Reason We Love France

Cat at microphone croppedOur English language is filled with words from French origins.  In part, we can thank the Duke of Normandy for this, as the French spoken in the Middle Ages (a direct offshoot of Latin) was incorporated into English after the Norman Conquest in 1066.  Modern French uses the same 26 letter alphabet as English (both based on Latin), but the vowel combinations and pronunciations are quite different than English. 

quimper[1]Take for example the word “quimper”.  In English, it looks like you would pronounce this “KWIM per”, rhymes with “whimper”.  NOT SO!  In the Merriam-Webster’s 3rd New International Unabridged Dictionary (official source for U.S. Spelling Bees), the pronunciation is “kahn PAIR” with accent on 2nd syllable (sounds like “compare”).  Of course, if you’re familiar with France, you know Quimper is a town in the Brittany region of France, and “quimper” is the adjective used to describe the pottery from this region. 

 Because of the tricky pronunciations, French words that have made their way into English are favorite list words in U.S. Spelling Bee Competition.  Upwards of 30% of the words used in Scripps’ National Spelling Bee competition have French origins. But with study and practice, many French spelling patterns are consistent, and not too difficult to master.

My daughter is a spelling whiz, and participated in the Scripps’ National Spelling Bee in 2007 and 2008.  We credit much of her success to her knowledge of French, both from spelling study, and from being immersed in the language, through numerous trips through France. 
Press Conf

Even though she never studied French formally until high school in 2009, her familiarity of common words in French came in very handy when competing.  When riding in an elevator in France, you notice the word “etage” for “floor” or “level”.  Well, the word “étagère” a spelling list word for the open shelf display cabinet, is directly from “etage” root word. 

 Many of the words she was asked to spell in the final rounds of national competition came directly from French:  redoppe, Huguenot, boulangere (method of cooking with sliced onions in a casserole).  Coincidentally, I have this photo of her taken the year before the Bee, standing next door to the “boulanger” which is from the same root word.

L'isle Sur la Sorgue Street Scene

Eclat perfumeThe word “Eclat” was also featured in the 2008 Spelling Bee, which means “brilliant”, “dazzling”.  Coincidentally (again), Eclat is the name of the French perfume she wears from famous French perfumery Fragonard.  She found this fragrance on a family trip where we visited the Fragonard perfume factory in Eze, France.  So she was well familiar with this word! 

Cat with Dr. Sietsema at BanquetSo you see, in addition to art treasures, history, cinema,  gourmet cuisine, wine, champagne, cheese, pastries, tourism, literature, architectural wonders, french perfume, fashion, and pomme frites — we have yet another reason to love France and the French!  Spelling Bees!  Vive la France!