05 January 2009


We are waiting for the snow to start this morning. Sylvie la boulangère came by and delivered our daily bread — une baguette ordinaire, that's what we usually get — at about 9:00 a.m. I asked her if she could bring us a Galette des Rois tomorrow, January 6. That's the day called the Epiphany, the 12th day of Christmas. It's the day the Three Wise Men from the east arrived in Bethlehem, according to Christian legend, following a bright star, bearing gifts for little Jesus.

A baguette ordinaire from our village bakery, as delivered

And in France, on that day (and on into January) the tradition is to eat a cake — une galette — with a little token hidden in it. The person who gets the token in his or her piece of cake is king for the day and gets to wear a crown. Everybody enjoys the tradition, especially children, and we all enjoy the cakes. Around here, it's a puff-pastry confection filled with either almond cream (frangipane) or apple sauce. We like the almond cream version.

Anyway, Sylvie and I talked about the weather, as everybody here does. She said she would bring the cake tomorrow if she can get up the steep hill on the road that leads to La Renaudière, the hamlet where we live, through all the snow and ice. We laughed. Obviously, neither one of us really believes it will snow much at all.

The view out our kitchen window a few minutes ago.
No snow yet, but lots of frost.

This is our sixth winter in Saint-Aignan. We've had several snow flurries in past winters, and one year — 2006 — we actually had about 5 inches of snow that stayed on ground for a week. But then last winter we didn't have any snow at all. Because we live in a big river valley, not that far from the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf Stream,we have a fairly mild climate.

More tomorrow.


  1. In the UK, it used to be a coin in the Christmas pudding that brings good luck. My parents kept an old (very worn) silver threepenny bit for the purpose, which eventually gave way to a sixpenny bit. After decimalisation, I'm not sure what people do.

    Incidentally, I see someone on the Vie de Merde blog reporting a baker's customer who came back to the shop, clutching his jaw and complaining.....

  2. You know, I realized recently that I had read at least one of Walt's posts about the fêve and galette des rois before I realized it was someone I knew! I was just doing a google-image search one day last year, looking for images of galettes and fêves to show my students. I used one from his post. I only realized a few months ago, when I was reading through the archives on his blog, that it had been HIS blog I had read :) Same thing for you, and pictures on YOUR blog of windows in Chartres... I realized later that it was YOU :)

    Happy winter weather! Sounds mighty cold there!

  3. ... and after you finish laying out the baguette and the almond torte could you peel me a few grapes... now don't you guys extend yourselves too much so soon in the New Year. :))) Here's hoping for a happier, well at least a little less crises oriented New Year.

  4. A beautiful photo that brings back many memories of the area...it's just so Touraine!

    Thank you for your kind message. You and Walt are welcome here anytime; have you ever been to Aveyron?

  5. Betty, I'm pretty sure neither one of us has ever been in the Aveyron department. We've been to Figeac, Cordes, Albi, and other nearby places, however. Maybe this year...

    Papa, we will try to remain relaxed and imperturbable. You do the same. Enjoy the galettes.


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