Tuesday, July 13, 2010

14th of July - Vive la France! Part Two

Continuing our journey into French culture...
Les Macarons!
Although predominantly a French confection, there has been much debate about its origins.
A macaron is a sweet confectionery. Its name is derived from an Italian word "maccarone" or "maccherone". This word is itself derived from ammaccare, meaning crush or beat, used here in reference to the almond paste which is the principle ingredient. It is meringue - based: made from a mixture of egg whites, almond flour, and both granulated and confectionery sugar. (from WIKI). To read more about these delicious pastries, click HERE.
And Laudurée masterpieces from fragrances...
Les Velos!
You will never have a complete French experience if you won't hide a bicycle in Paris!
Although invented by the Germans, in the early 1860s, Frenchmen Pierre Michaux and Pierre Lallement took bicycle design in a new direction by adding a mechanical crank drive with pedals on an enlarged front wheel (the velocipede). The French creation, made of iron and wood, developed into the "penny-farthing" (historically known as an "ordinary bicycle"), a retronym, since there were then no other kind. It featured a tubular steel frame on which were mounted wire-spoked wheels with solid rubber tires. These bicycles were difficult to ride due to their very high seat and poor weight distribuition. (from WIKI). If you wish to know more about this French maladie, click HERE.
I also have to mention the famous Tour de France - the annual bicycle race throughout France, bringing riders from all over the world. France is the leading country in Stage wins.
Les cafés!
Parisian cafés are the center of social gatherings and a place to explore the French culinary culture. They are places for rendezvous, for relaxing, for social networking, for political discussions and indeed a place for tourists wanting to feel a little bit "French".
The café de la Paix is one of the most famous and most antique, opened in 1862.
La Tour Eiffel!
The Eiffel Tower (Tour Eiffel in French; nickname La dame de fer, or the iron woman) is an 1889 iron lattice tower located on the Champ de Mars in Paris, that has become both a global icon of France, and one of the most recognizable structures in the world. The Eiffel Tower, which is the tallest building in Paris, is the single most visited paid monument in the world; millions of people ascend it every year. Named after its designer, engineer Gustave Eiffel, the tower was built as the entrance arch for the world fair in 1889. (from WIKI). To read about one of the most amazing iron structures of the world, click HERE.
to be continued...

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