Hello! Welcome to Pichets in Paris Publishing. Here you will find travel stories and photos, the occasional Book Review and fictional piece based in Paris or France. ALL IMAGES ARE BY L'AUSSIE IMAGES (owned by Denise Covey). Contact me for permission to copy my images.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Preparing to return to France - getting nostalgic. I'll share some pics with you.

My last trip to France was in 2007/2008. I'm in the process of planning the next trip, about June/July this year. So naturally my thoughts are turning to France (er, not that they ever leave for long.) The itinerary will begin in Paris as usual, where we'll grab the TGV (the fast train) and head straight down to the Dordogne, a region we just missed last visit. We will get off in our allotted 3 minutes at Angouleme, have a little rest after the 20-odd hour flight then drive around the Dordogne. There we will see vinyards, old chateaux, historic caves etc. I will do a post of the region as I do my research.

So for now, here are some pics from the last trip.

Wandering around Fontvereau in the Loire Valley at Halloween.

In Cardinal Richeleau's forest. His chateau is no longer with us.

Chateaux Villandry, the one with the huge vege garden. I've previously posted about this lovely chateau. Go here if you want to see more.

Descending the staircase at Villandry.

The husb pumping for water at the old Langeis Fortress.

Better leave Langeis before they put up the drawbridge (which they do every night and morning.) Never know, there might be maurading crusaders hitting town.

Hope you enjoyed this little trip through memory lane.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Bernard Pivot Blogfest - February 16 - Giveaways!

Nicole Ducleroir from One Significant Moment in Time has surpassed the 500 followers milestone and she feels like celebrating! This blogfest is designed to bring many of us together to get to know each other better. And she thought it'd be fun to use Bernard Pivot's famous questionnaire to do it. Well, I know a gazillion people have signed up so I'm very honoured that you have tripped over here to France to check on my thoughts of the day.

 The questionnaire was originally created by Bernard Pivot, a French journalist, for the cultural series he hosted on French television from 1991-2001, called Bouillon de Culture.

What I love about the questionnaire is you can either answer the questions with all the truth in your heart, or you can approach them with creativity and cleverness -- finding answers or deliveries no one else has ever come up with. But which ever way you go, everyone's answers will be revealing, telling us interesting things about you.

To show her gratitude for all the wonderful people blogging brings into her life, Nicole is having a giveaway! Signing up for the blogfest automatically enters you in a drawing with cool prizes (TBA). Go to Nicole's blog for further details. You probably still have a bit of time to sign up as my post will be a bit earlier being on the other side of the world 'n all. Winners announced on February 18.

Okay, here's Bernard Pivot's famous questionnaire:

1.What is your favorite word?
My favourite word is 'word'. There'd be no words without 'word' would there?
2.What is your least favorite word?
'No.' Just simply hate that. It takes all the fun out of life.
3.What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally?
Am I boring - reading?
4.What turns you off?
Boring people.
5.What is your favourite curse word?
Ooooo! I don't curse except when a character calls for it. It would have to be 'bloody' as it isn't classed as a curse word in Oz, really.
6.What sound or noise do you love?
Champagne corks popping! Tres French innit?
7.What sound or noise do you hate?
That horrible ping in Windows when your link is dead. Ping! Eurk!
8.What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
Chocolate taster at Harrods.
9.What profession would you not like to do?
Painting roofs in summer in Oz (or any time of year, or any place, actually.)
10.If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?
Did you have to bring all that excess baggage. And all that chocolate! And Heaven does so exist. I'll come back and tell you all about it to convine you, but I hope Heaven Can Wait as I have two novels to finish first...better get back to them...

Get outta here and go and read someone else who actually has a brain on today!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Juliette Binoche - the transformer - and her new film Certified Copy

French actress Juliette Binoche is one of my favourites. I became a fan of hers after seeing her as the gutsy single mum chocolatier who took on a whole French village in the feel-good movie Chocolat. Sure, I was jealous of her role opposite Johnny Depp and all that chocolate, but even so, to shine in such circumstances was no mean feat. Since then, I've followed her career with interest.

I was not really surprised to read that she's no great fan of Hollywood. She was actually offered a part in Steven Speilberg's Jurassic Park and told it would be professional suicide to turn it down but she just shrugged and said 'I would rather play a dinosaur than one of the humans in that movie.' Far from committing professional suicide she was later offered a part in Speilberg's Schindler's List, but she declined as she said it conflicted with her Polish roots and she thought Speilberg focussed too heavily on male roles.

Binoche has always been true to herself. From a young age she decided to follow her instincts and to have the courage to make bold choices so she could have a fulfilling career. She's been described as prickly, headstrong, eccentric and difficult, but she has always been a risk taker.

She has forged her own way ever since she dropped out of drama school in the Paris Conservatory because she felt it was too traditional. She preferred Russian and American acting methodology, to act from the inside out.

She has done some interesting things to prepare for a role. To channel an Afrikaaner poet in John Boorman's In My Country (2004) set in post-apartheid South Africa, she took up African tribal dancing. To achieve melancholy stillness for her role in Blue (1993) she took a course of ahem, enemas.

Binoche's acting career has spanned many years and she has achieved a best supporting Academy Award for her role as a Canadian nurse caring for Ralph Fiennes's burn victim in The English Patient. Receiving this accolade from Hollywood did not stop her from continuing to seek other fields for her film choices.

In her 40-film career she has always expanded her repertoire. She has been a vamp, an innocent, sexually repressed Tereza in The Unbearable Lightness of Being and a voracious sex siren in Malle's Damage. Between acting in film she has performed on West End and Broadway stages.

Her latest film Certified Copy has spawned a variety of views. It's been described as 'a philospohical existential mediation', 'classic drama in the vein of Rossellini' and 'a screwball comedy'. One critic asserted that 'the real standout roles are Tuscany's piazzas, trattorias and museums' whilst another described it as 'the best romcom of the year, particularly for those who have failed in relationships.' Something for everyone then...

Binoche and her films can certainly polarise opinions, but she doesn't care what others think of her or her choices.

Binoche doesn't like films 'that try to give solutions, explanations, demonstrations of what you should be thinking or feeling.' That perhaps explains her dislike for American filmscripts. She rather likes films that have 'a sort of openness to the story that allows audiences to fill in the gaps with their own feelings, that don't give easy solutions.'

Very Juliette Binoche, French actress extraordinaire.

Perhaps she'll be walking the red carpet at Cannes once again. I hope so.