My youngest daughter is halfway through a 2-1/2 month sojourn in France. This Easter, she was fortunate to spend the weekend with a French family in the village of Soissons.
The village is northeast of Paris, about halfway to the Belgian border. The Cathedral Saint-Gervais & Saint-Protais dates from the 12th century, and a municipal museum is housed in the former Saint Léger Abbey, also started during the 12th century. They approached the village down avenues lined with Prunius trees in full blossom.
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My daughter’s weekend family included
- two grandmeres
- two single grown children
- one son with his
- infant son
At one point, there were 10 people around the table. Most of the conversation was in French, German and English but Dutch, Russian, Spanish, Japanese and the old language of Brittany were also represented.
Chocolate and Candy
The French hide chocolate and candy for the kids, but the perpetrater isn’t the Easter Bunny. It’s the cloche (bell). This apparently came about because all the church bells are silent from Good Friday until Easter morning, so when the bells return, the candy appears. It’s hidden outside, not indoors.
The Easter Bell did hide chocolate outside on the terrace for the little girl to find. But my daughter and each of the other young adults received a gift of candy and chocolate as well — they just didn’t have to hunt for it!
Good food played an important role in the weekend’s festivities (naturellement — it’s France!). Meals included a duck confit, lamb, and a wonderful orange dessert.
My daughter also tried escargot for the first time. She’s not a big fan, but the garlic sauce it was served with was delicious!
Other notable foods included a homemade vegetable soup, quiche, apple tart, brioche, French cheeses, and bread.
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