Paris…C’est sans doute un mélange d’histoire, d’art, d’architecture et de culture.- Pierre Torset
And Oui, Oui, there’s no doubt that anyone who has ever visited Paris can witness first hand the history and fall in love with the art, architecture and culture.
For the Valentine’s Day edition of Franglais Stories, we have 37 year old Parisian photographer, Pierre Torset, aka Paris Photographer Pierre.  We will read about what he thinks love is. Most importantly, he will answer the question that might be on everyone’s mind… Are French men romantic? So before you begin scribbling Jean-Pierre on your notebook or moving to Paris to find Jean-Claude, enjoy the latest installment of Franglais Stories.
OOJSF: Tell us about your yourself and how you became a photographer.
PT:
When I was 22, my dad gave me a camera and told me to bring back nice memories from all the nice locations worldwide while I was  studying.
But then, I started spending more time focusing on taking pictures rather than studying, and it became obvious very quickly that this was going to be a passion.

OOJSF: How long have you been doing this?

PT:  I’ve been a professional photographer for more than 10 years.
First, by being a photojournalist in Asia for magazines and newspapers, and then I retired in Paris (!) with weddings and engagement pictures.  Traveling  also made me realize how much I am lucky to live in a beautiful city!
OOJSF:  What makes you love your job?
PT:  Meeting happy people everyday in Paris from all over the world.
Happy to be in Paris and happy to celebrate love through their wedding, honeymoon, anniversary, engagement, or a proposal !!!
OOJSF: What makes Paris the city of love?
PT:  C’est sans doute un mélange d’histoire, d’art, d’architecture et de culture.
De nombreux artistes sont venus à Paris pour s’installer à Montmartre dans les années 20, ou dans le quartier du Marais dans l’après-guerre.
Ils ont véhiculé l’image de la romance de Paris, avec ses petites rues, ses immeubles haussmaniens, ses cafés et ses petites boutiques, ses bords de Seine.
C’est vrai que c’est le décor parfait pour la rêverie, la promenade, et le romantisme !
Cela a été repris dans l’art en général, à travers la littérature, la chanson, la photographie et le cinéma, ce qui a permis de véhiculer cette image dans le monde entier.
Et puis il y a des images fortes associées à Paris comme étant la ville de l’amour, avec les cafés romantiques où on s’assoit à 2 pour regarder la rue, les bords de Seine où on se promène main dans la main, et bien sûr la Tour Eiffel comme symbole ultime !
OOJSF:  Why do you think lovers flock to Paris?
PT:  Because it’s an extremely beautiful city where you can experience lots of inspiring culture, great cuisine and positive vibes – and that’s just the perfect atmosphere for lovers!
 
OOJSF:  What has been your favorite love story of your clients?
PT:  It has been the love story of a couple celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary in Paris. They met each other on a birthday party when she was 13 and he 15 years old. It was love at first sight. They got married once she turned 18 and have loved each other ever since through thick and thin.
They had a vow renewal ceremony in Paris with their two grown up daughters. There was just so much love within the couple and the whole family. A story that makes you believe in love (again)!
OOJSF: What is love?
PT:  Ohlala, c’est une question terrible !
Se réveiller chaque matin avec la personne que l’on aime ? Ne jamais prendre les choses pour acquises ? Aider l’autre à se réaliser, malgré ce que cela peut coûter ?
Des moments de partage, d’écoute et de respect ? Des sacrifices et des compromis pour apprécier le fait d’être juste ensemble ?
C’est tellement subjectif et dur à décrire. Peut-être parce que l’amour ne se décrit pas, il se vit !
 
OOJSF: What makes for the perfect picture?
PT:  3 ingredients : great light, a perfect frame, and a candid/casual moment.
OOJSF:  Where is the best place to go on dates?
PT:  A stroll at the Seine riverside, ending with a kiss on one of the beautiful Parisian bridges – that’s the perfect date in Paris!
OOJSF:  Everyone is dying to know… are French men really romantic?
PT:  Yes, of course they are! But maybe not so much in the common way! 😉  French guys don’t care much about Valentine’s Day or typical gifts like roses! They may even forget an anniversary (shame on them ;-)! But then at once they will surprise their sweetheart with a dinner in a special restaurant or a romantic little getaway over the weekend! And unexpected things can be even more romantic than flowers for Valentine’s that you can somehow expect – don’t you think?
Peut-être parce que l’amour ne se décrit pas, il se vit !- Pierre Torset
Want to snap a photo the next time you are in Paris…  you can get in touch with the Paris Photographer Pierre .
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Oui, Oui, c’est la chandeleur! For most in the US and Canada, the furry little rodent aka Monsieur Groundhog has decided there will be 6 more weeks of winter. Well, the way global change is going there’s only one thing that’s for sure… people can be very certain about  enjoying delicious crêpes on this day!

 

photo via lets lasso the moon

Every year on February 2, France and other French speaking countries observe La Chandeleur, a.k.a. Candlemas, a day solely dedicated to eating crêpes. The Catholic religious holiday is exactly 40 days after Christmas, but it also has origins in an older pre-Christian holiday celebrating the harvest and marking the midway point of winter. This day is usually spent eating and celebrating with family and friends.

As The Local explains, “In Brittany, many still celebrate the superstition of the six-crepe flip. Those lucky enough to successfully turn six crêpes in a row will be married off within the year. Also, young brides who want to remain happily married are advised to throw a crêpe on top of a wardrobe.” ( 100% sure we won’t be doing this)

Making crêpe is quite easy but can be quite time consuming depending on how many you would have to make. You can choose to move to Bretagne and learn how to make savory or sugary crêpes or you can join us from …

           

 February 2-9, as Oui, Oui, Je Speak Franglais celebrates Crêpe Week to celebrate with recipes and events to enjoy the next 6 weeks of l’hiver.

Check out this recipe via 750 grammes and visit our Facebook and Instagram  throughout the week for recipes you can try out!

 

 

 

 

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Coco Chanel once said, “La mode n’est pas quelque chose qui existe uniquement dans les vêtements. La mode est dans l’air, portée par le vent. On la devine. La mode est dans le ciel, dans la rue.

From now until  20 février, soldes d’hiver 2018 is going on in France and outre-mer. So we thought of giving tips to navigate through the madness when shopping.

1.

Pre-game with yourself: You need liquid courage to rampage through the store just to find your right size. 

2.

Be fit: You are going to need strong arms to carry 4-5 jars of Nutella jars and strong legs when you are being chased by others.

 

3.

Don’t ask questions: Don’t ask the cashier any questions because even if they know the answer to your question, they will tell you they don’t know.  And never try that customer is always right— you will be disappointed.

4.

 

Always take cash: The lines for the cash lines are usually shorter.  But it’s France so maybe not necessarily. And make sure you have exact change because the cashier never has it!

5.

Fitting rooms: Good-luck standing in line just to try on your clothes. Know your size and know it well. But if you have all day to stand in line at Galeries Lafayette, then go ahead.

 

6.

When in doubt don’t buy: It’s insanely difficult to do returns in France. And all sales are usually final during this period.

 

7.

Stick to your budget: When you see an item that is marked -70%, of course

you would want to buy everything in the store. Just remember there’s… Les soldes d’été 2018.

 

8.

Go during the last weeks of les soldes: Although some of the styles and sizes may be limited, prices will be slashed even more, so you can shop ’til you drop.

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Oui, Oui, it’s the New Year! For some, the holidays are over but if you’re French, you know , it’s long from over!

There are L’Épiphanie, 6 janvier, celebrated in France by eating a Galette or a Gâteau des Rois. The Galette is puff pastry encasing crème d’amande.

photo via eatlivtravwrite

 

La Chandeleur , 2 février — I guess I will reserve explanation for a future post!

and so much more that I can’t  even list just because I might gain ten more pounds!

 

I will stop wining— I mean whining and introduce you to Wanda Mann who I had the  pleasure of interviewing for the latest edition of Franglais Stories.Wanda is a certified wine specialist and founder of The Black Dress Traveler.. You might need a glass or two— to enjoy this piece 😉

[pictured above: Wanda Mann]

OOJSF: What’s your educational background?

For high school, I attended boarding school at Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts. I’m a graduate of Pomona College in Claremont, California where I majored in Anthropology. I spent my junior year of high school abroad studying in Barcelona, Spain and I also studied for a year in Toledo, Spain when I was a junior in college. My wine education is ongoing, but in 2015 I earned the Certified Specialist of Wine (CSW) credential from the Society of Wine Educators.

OOJSF: What’s your cultural background?

African-American. Both of my parents are from the southern United States and our family has been here(US) for many generations.

OOJSF: Where did you grow up?

Born and raised in New York City.

OOJSF: Where do you call home?

I live in Manhattan, in the vibrant and diverse neighborhood of East Harlem.

OOJSF: How did the idea of The Black Dress Traveler come about ?

I’ve always loved writing and travel. A blog seemed like the ideal medium to chronicle  my passions and share what I discover with others. I am also an unrepentant “dress-aholic” and I chose to name my blog The Black Dress Traveler because no matter where I travel, I always pack a little black dress (or two!) so that I’m always ready for an elegant adventure!

OOJSF: How did you become interested in the food/beverage industry?

My father was a classically trained chef. Because of him I was exposed to fine food & wine throughout my life. My father showed me that food is art and a way of communicating. Growing up with my family’s traditional amazing Southern cuisine AND my father’s classic French cooking gave me the best of both worlds – I call it the foie gras and grits childhood!

 

OOJSF: What is a typical day like for you?

In the morning, I usually edit wine articles that I am working on. Several afternoons a week, I attend wine seminars and meet with winemakers for tastings and to interview them. On the evenings that I don’t attend wine events, I write and taste samples.

OOJSF: What did you do before launching The Black Dress Traveler?

My background is in event planning. I’ve produced red-carpet events featuring celebrity guests and large conferences for many well known organizations.

OOJSF: What’s the beginner’s guide to wines?

The best way to begin is to start tasting wine. Step out of  your comfort zone and try new wines from different parts of the world – don’t be intimidated. Seek out information from magazines and books. Google Jancis Robinson (Master of Wine and widely considered the world’s most influential wine critic ) and Kevin Zraly (renowned wine educator)  – their books are great references and can help newbies start to build a strong foundation.

OOJSF: Could you give tips on dining/wining for the holidays?

When entertaining at home, you want the wines to match the mood and the menu. Greet your guests with sparkling wines – bubbles always make people smile. As the menu moves towards more complex dishes, select wines that can match that intensity.

OOJSF: Favorite French wines/champagnes?

Of course, I love Champagne – it is more than just sparkling wine but a true cultural icon that communicates elegance and joy. (And always remember, Champagne can only come from Champagne, France!)I also love sparkling wines from other regions of France such as Crémant d’Alsace and Cremant du Bourgogne – they offer tremendous quality at a fraction of the price of Champagne. Chablis, from the northern part of the Burgundy region, is one of my favorite still white wines – it is a very pristine, elegant, and expression of Chardonnay. I’m also a big fan of Vouvray – a white wine from the Loire Valley made from the Chenin Blanc grape. My favorite French red wines include Bordeaux blends and wines from regions in the south such as the Rhône and Roussillon. When offered a glass of fine Burgundy (Pinot Noir), I won’t turn it away! I also can’t resist a crisp rosé from Provence! France also produces some of the world’s finest sweet wines – Sauternes is magical, like drinking sunshine and gold.

 

OOJSF: What are the basic wine/champagne etiquettes?

Always hold the glass by the stem, point the cork away from people when opening a bottle of sparkling wine, and don’t be a wine snob – no one likes to drink with wine snobs!

OOJSF: Silly question but do you ever get tired of drinking wine?

Does one tire of a fine painting or a beautiful piece of music ? No, I never ever get tired of drinking wine. Each wine takes me on a journey and has a story to tell.

OOJSF: Favorite French word/phrase?

Except for food & wine vocabulary, I don’t speak much French, but I absolutely love to say ,“oh là là !” I’m also a fan of “trés chic!”

OOJSF: Favorite French region/Francophone country?

Paris is timeless and breathtaking. I also love the rugged yet elegant beauty of Provence – the landscapes and flavors are so vibrant.

OOJSF: What should we expect from The Black Dress Traveler in the future?

More wine, more travels, and more adventures!

OOJSF: What’s your advise on traveling?

Do it. Don’t make excuses. Make travel a priority in your life. And don’t be afraid to travel alone. Don’t over plan each day. Leave room for spontaneity. Linger over a glass of wine and people watch.

OOJSF: What is life like as an entrepreneur?

Superb and stressful! The freedom and autonomy are fabulous but the work never ends. Thank goodness, I love my work!

OOJSF: As an entrepreneur, how do you stay motivated?

I can get bored very easily so I am always seeking out new challenges and ways to further my knowledge. It is good for my soul and my business.

OOJSF: What would you recommend for someone to do or see based on where you call home?

New York City is a great city for walking around – the city itself is an endless feast, fashion runway, concert, museum, drama, and comedy show! Eat, drink, discover, and remember that NYC is more than just Manhattan – each of the 5 boroughs has something special!

For more information on how to pair your wine with that fromage, visit The Black Dress Traveler

Vivre* Etre* Parler FRANGLAIS

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