12 April 2009

Easter Picnic

En français ici.
Forget big meals and family gatherings, my absolute favorite way to spend Easter is looking at flowers. After all, what else is a holiday about life and resurrection for if not to see all the beautiful bits of life popping out of the ground and opening into beautiful colors at this time of year. Of course this has the added advantage that if you happen to be on the Orthodox schedule and still fasting, you can still partake ;-)

One of the best places to look at the flowers in the spring in Paris is Bagatelle. It's actually just outside of Paris in the suburb of Neuilly (where Sarkozy is from, yes, but there's at least one thing worth seeing there!). It was built when Marie-Antoinette bet her brother in law, the Comte d'Artois, 100 000 pounds he couldn't have the small castle and gardens built during his 2 month trip to Fountainbleau. It took over 900 workers 64 days to build Bagatelle (the french word for trinket), but the Comte d'Artois won his bet and it is now a beautiful part of the Bois de Boulogne. It's best known for the international rose competition that takes place there every year, though unfortunately, we still have a couple months to wait for the roses.

Roses aside, there are plenty of beautiful flowers to see there planted both in the organized French style.

And in the more wildflower style:

Plus there are peacocks!

D. and I brought a picnic of course. Well, what did you expect? Looking at beautiful things makes me hungry!! We ate our picnic to the sound of a nearby waterfall, with the heady scent of hyacinths wafting over and facing these gorgeous tulips. Lunch doesn't get much better than that.

Roast Chicken Sandwiches with Avocado and Boursin

(for two people)

1 baguette
2 tsp spicy mustard (optional)
1 roasted chicken breast cut into pieces
(I roasted a whole chicken rubbed with olive oil, salt, pepper and moutarde violette, yum! But you can use any cooked chicken you like.)
1 avocado
Boursin cheese
fresh chives (optional)

Would it be ridiculous to describe how to do it? I mean, you guys know how to put together a sandwich. (Cut the baguette and fill it with the ingredients to taste, right?) Ok then. Dig in ;-)



Cicero Sings said...

Lucky, lucky you ... an Easter picnic. Nothing like a picnic ... nothing like the outdoors, the fresh air ... to whet the appetitie. And look at the flowers ... the setting! While here, a cold wind blew all day, even if the temps hovered around 10 C.

The highlight of my day ... my friend and her husband from Quesnel stopped for a brief visit on their way home. Oh, and we had a really, good service this morning ... a packed house.

Anonymous said...

I still haven't made it out to the Bois de Boulogne... though I have spent some time in the Bois de Vincennes. Looks beautiful, and I love the peacocks!

Sam said...

I really wish I was in France right now, it looks beautiful!

I hope you had a good Easter.

Hopie said...

Cicero - Yes we were certainly spoiled this Easter ;-) Sounds like you had a nice day as well.

Camille - I haven't spent much time in the Bois de Vincennes, but I like the Bois de Boulogne a lot, especially Bagatelle. Hey, you know, picnic season is definitely on its way in... what do you say?

Sam - It certainly is. I hope your Easter went well!

giz said...

There's something about a baguette sandwich and looking at all things beautiful in nature that's just such a draw.

Hopie said...

Giz - It's a pretty wonderful combination indeed.