02 February 2012

A snowy, frigid Crêpe Day

The temperature on our thermometer this morning is –6.3ºC, which translates to just under +21ºF. For this part of France, that's very cold. It's not a record, but after the mild weather we had in December and January, it's kind of a shock to the system.

Driving through the forest south of Saint-Aignan

When I got up at 6:45 a.m., the temperature in the house was 11ºC, or 52ºF. It will take a while for the boiler to heat the radiators up enough to get the temperature up to a comfortable temperature. On TV, they are asking people to moderate their use of electricity by keeping lights and unnecessary appliances turned off, and but trying not to turn the heat up too high. There might be brownouts in some regions.

Farmland between Mareuil-sur-Cher and Orbigny

So today is “Crêpe Day” in France, February 2. For good luck, you're supposed to make a batch of the thin, almost lacy pancakes that France is famous for. For even better luck, you're supposed to flip the crêpes in the pan using one hand to shake the pan, while holding a gold coin in your other hand.

The market square in Saint-Aignan

Well, you'd be hard-pressed to find a gold coin in our house. Maybe what they call a pièce jaune — a "yellow coin" and that means one worth less than a euro — will do the job. We will definitely be making crêpes. Two kinds: crêpes de sarrasin — buckwheat pancakes — which are filled with and folded around savory ingredients like ham, cheese, eggs, and mushrooms; and crêpes de la Chandeleur — dessert crêpes — that are served with additions like melted butter, jam, sugar, melted chocolate, lemon juice, or liqueurs.

A hamlet called La Pounière on the outskirts of Saint-Aignan

La Chandeleur is the name of the holiday that falls on February 2. It's called Candlemas in English. I post about it nearly every year. (Wow, the years are flying by.) if you want to look back and read more about it, here are some links: 2006, 2009, 2010.

The road from Mareuil to Orbigny is just barely wide enough
to allow two small cars to get by each other.

It snowed on Monday, and we still have snow on the ground. On Tuesday morning, I drove out to Orbigny, a village south of Saint-Aignan, to see a friend who lives there. It's about a 10-mile drive. Along the way I took the pictures you see here.

The road up to our house at La Renaudière

The roads were a little icy but I didn't really feel the car slide around at all. On the way to Orbigny at 9:30 in the morning, I drove 30 m.p.h. the whole way, just to be safe. Almost nobody else was out — I saw one other car. On a slightly wider road on the way home, I felt safe going along at 40 m.p.h. There was so little traffic that I was free to stop wherever I wanted and snap a picture or two.


  1. Very lovely photographs. We got a lot less snow - only lasted the evening, but it's bitterly cold today!

  2. Not as "crêpe" as it might have been a day ago... as Lady Justine comments... it is bitterly cold... but brilliantly sunny.

    And thanks for the 'caption'... I'll go and make some batter now... I'd have forgotten!!

    WV is "eurivia" as in "Eurivia! It's alive, I tell you... it's alive!!!"... cackling madly he presses the publish your comment button....

  3. We'll be having savory/sweet crepes following a typically Dutch combination: streaky bacon and (maple)syrup. Sounds odd but tastes wonderful.

  4. Hi Antoinette and N., streaky bacon and maple syrup is also a favorite in the U.S. We used to have waffles with maple syrup and streaky bacon for breakfast often when I was growing up in the 1950s. So it sounds good to me.

  5. Great shots Ken, very uncommon down here unless we get to the alps.
    Crepes - had some very good ones on our travels - prefer savory though.

  6. Chances are the combination was an early Dutch import ;-)
    Oddly enough I don't remember it as a kid in the US but as something I first encountered when being taken out for my first 'proper Dutch pancake' [they are huge].

  7. Crepes and snow are a nice combination. Your photos are lovely.

    It's fun to travel on snowy roads when no one else is out and about. We've had no snow here in Alabama so far this year, but it's still early. We once had a blizzard in March back in '93.

  8. Love the photos, Ken, especially the one of your little hill.

  9. Terrific for us readers that you took a trip today so we could have a few of your neighborhood and surrounding countryside covered in the white stuff!

    I will be making crêpes today in celebration as well. I'm thinking savory and if I am up to it, perhaps crêpes suzette for le dessert!

    Mary in Oregon

  10. typo - view not "few"!


  11. I don't miss that kind of weather at all.


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