Monthly Archives: April 2014

My French Icebreaker & Other Bits

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I’ve learned to use the same line when I give my name in France, whether for an interview or a restaurant, hotel or car reservation. “Le nom est Lanson,” I say. “Comme le champagne (like the champagne).” This, it seems, never fails to draw an appreciative chuckle if not always access to an interview subject. …

Two Memorable Provence Meals

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First,  a few qualifiers are in order.  I love to eat, but I’m no foodie.  Nor do I have anything approaching the budget of a legitimate gourmet, who can easily drop a few hundred dollars a person on a Michelin-starred, five-course dinner at the finest of restaurants in the Provence countryside. Still, with my cousins…

A Taste of Marseille

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There it was, the church atop the hill, the church that overlooks the port of Marseille and dominates the landscape from 500 feet above the harbor.  Only this time we stood directly beneath its tower, looking straight up through the mist at the gilded Mary and Baby Jesus, all nine tons of them. Outside Notre-Dame…

Driving the Gorges du Verdon

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Maybe it was the gathering gray clouds. Or perhaps it was the road, climbing up to 3,300 feet,  rock and scree along the side,  with no railing in places between the pavement and a sheer drop hundreds of feet downward toward the Gorges du Verdon below. Yes, it’s an adrenalin rush. And yes, it’s dramatic. …