Thursday, January 25, 2018

Arles, where Van Gogh found his inspiration.

In the 1860s a few young painters were routinely rejected by the Académie des Beaux Arts of Paris for not portraying historical and religious themes in their paintings. This forced the then Emperor Napolean III who was already out on war against the Academy to organize the Salon of the Refused and this gave birth to a new art movement, that of painting landscapes and still life, just in the way they appear in reality, the Impressionism. Quoting Manet, these painters actually did what they saw. This blog post is about a town in Southern France, so how does this movement fit there. When the artists of Paris were revolutionizing art, the brother of a Dutch art merchant arrived in the city in 1886. A self-taught painter, initially disapproved art as being merchandise, came to be inspired by the impressionists of Paris. Here amidst Monet, Renoir, Manet, Cezanne, Toulouse-Lautrec, Degas and others, he found his own art form and thus from the young rebel painter, Vincent Van Gogh, another complementary art form, the post-impressionism was born. But he did not stay for long in the capital; his quest for tranquil and unique experiences led him south, to the town close to Marseilles, Arles.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Basque Chicken : A lesser known gem of French gastronomy.

This time let me take you on a culinary voyage to a lesser known, but vivid culture of France (and Spain), down south on the Atlantic coast, surrounded by the Pyrenees; the Basque. The Basque people have historically lived in the region around the borders of France and Spain and present day Basque population is distributed in the Autonomous Communities of the Basque Country and Navarre in Spain and the Northern Basque Country in France. The Basque culture is quite unique and though has evolved to dissimilate into the surrounding cultures of France and Spain, it still guards some of its typical features, mainly the language and the culinary specialties. One such gastronomical delight is the Poulet Basquaise (Basque Chicken) which originated from the French part of the Basque Country. 

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Rouen : Capital of Normandy, a day trip from Paris.

It was in 1066 A.D. the Duke of Normandy, William, a descendant of the Vikings, successfully conquered and became the King of England, which paved the future of the two kingdoms of France and Britain throughout the Middle Ages and beyond. In 1604 Samuel de Champlain left the port of Honfleur of Normany and founded Acadia and thereafter the Québec City which defined the French presence in North America. And it was in 1944 when the Allied forces landed on D-Day on the beaches of Normandy that the course of the World War II and thus world we see today was defined. One city has been at the center of all these events, the capital and the most important city, Rouen. The city is just around an hour and half by train from Paris and you should not miss visiting it for a day trip from Paris.