By Charles Communications Staff
Favorite French: I have been a Francophile since the age of 12 when I stumbled through my first French class, slaughtering words right and left to only emerge one year later incorporating my gift of memory and mimicry with an accent that to this day has people thinking I'm a native. From my first trip in the early 80s, to some 30 visits later, it's truly difficile for me to choose just ONE thing. Wine would be obvious, but in order to broaden this a bit more, I'll say the locals' Riviera, namely towns like Frejus & St. Raphael.
Why? With the advent of airbnb internationally, it's clear more and more that most travelers want to travel and live like locals. I have personally traveled this way ALL my life. Don't get me wrong, I love a good 4 or 5 star hotel but when I'm happiest is when I'm mixing in, not sticking out as a tourist. That's where the magic of travel occurs for me. Sure Nice and St. Tropez are stunning and awe-inspiring, but let's face it, most of us don't own mega yachts and drink Krug Champagne for breakfast everyday. The little towns of Frejus and St. Raphael hug the "corniche" as it's called, the highway that separates stunning ocean vistas from the rocky outcropping of the mountainside. They are low key beach towns where you can start the morning with a quick dip in the Mediterranean, rinse off, head to the farmer's market for some superb fresh fish and produce for lunch, not to mention your liter of Provence rose to accompany a great meal. A light lunch is followed by a snooze on the pebbly sand beach and then another quick swim before the soft periwinkle light of sunset arrives, enveloping you like cashmere on a cool summer evening. The twinkling lights of the coast punctuate the falling darkness and all around you, lilting French accents let you know you are truly "in situ"...no white sneakers, no sunburned tourists, no overpriced cafes...you are a local.
Favorite French: Even beyond wine, the French do most epicurean-related things better than most (save for breakfast - the mastery of which belongs to the Brits). It's hard to pick just one product or ingredient, but if pushed - I would have to go with Dijon mustard.
Why? Good Dijon is like a French lover. Zesty and powerful, it can make you blush and weep at the most inopportune of moments. It adds spice and a touch of romance to any social encounter. Yet it's so irresistible, you always go back for more - even though you know you might get hurt. My personal preference is Edmond Fallot (the plain Dijon version or Poivre Vert). Though I've flirted with the brand for years, I fell hard for it on my harvest trip to Beaune last fall. Different flavors of it featured on almost every table as a mandatory condiment akin to salt & pepper. I soon found myself addicted to its creamy tang (to the point where I started to see each meal as simply an opportune vehicle for painfully delicious dollops of Edmond Fallot), and it would be dishonest to omit the fact that I've even been known to spoon it straight out of the jar on it's own...
Favorite French: There are many aspects of French culture that I do love. Fashion, food, and culture… the list is endless. But forced to choose, I could never go without two items that the French do best. A chilled bottle of Champagne and a basket of pommes frites!
Why? Spend 15 minutes with me and you will know I like to celebrate! If you can’t celebrate your life or those in it you should probably take inventory on what you are choosing to focus your energy on. Growing up my mother always stressed the importance of having a chilled bottle of champagne on hand. Whether something amazing happened or you are feeling down and need a little pick me up. A chilled glass of bubbles and a basket of pommes frites always fits the bill!
Favorite French: The cheese, the wine, and the patisseries are obviously among the most irresistible things to lust after. I haven't spent nearly enough time in France yet in my life, but when visiting Paris I fell in love with simply wandering the streets and popping in and out of cafes to watch the city pass by. Sure, you can do this in a lot of cities (and I always do!), but there's something special about the way the French go about it.
Why? Rushing is discouraged. Taking your time and enjoying the moment is the name of the game. It's a lingering ritual and a delightfully common pleasure, whether you're with great company or just enjoying a quiet moment alone.
Favorite French: "Les Misérables" - 2012 - based on the 1862 French novel by Victor Hugo.
Why? My two favorite movie musicals of all times are "Moulin Rouge" and "Les Misérables". I absolutely love musicals and the plot of "Les Mis" is just beautiful. What is even more impressive about it is the fact that all songs were recorded live on set, and not lip-synched.
All the Swirl is a collections of thoughts and opinions assembled by the staff and industry friends of Charles Communications Associates, a marketing communications firm with its headquarters in San Francisco, California. We invite you to explore more about our company and clients by visiting www.charlescomm.com.