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Art in Practically Every Medium Imaginable

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This week my host mom helped a couple friends and I make quiche!  We went to the grocery store together to buy ingredients for two quiches:  the crust, eggs, spinach, mushrooms, cheese, crème fraîche, and then turkey and chicken for one quiche and ham for another.  My host mom explained that it’s the eggs, cheese and crème fraîche that makes a quiche; after that you can add whatever you want.  It was super simple, so I definitely want to make more sometime soon.  Once they were finished we all sat down to lunch together.  In addition to the quiche, we had salad and a cake my host mom had made for dessert.  We had enough quiche to eat it for lunch and dinner for the next few days (but not breakfast, of course, because quiche isn’t sweet enough).  Now my friends and I will have to decide on some good recipes from home so we can make my host mom an American breakfast, lunch and dinner.


The turkey, chicken, spinach and mushroom quiche.

On Valentine’s Day there was a Pain, Amour et Chocolat festival in Antibes.  The venders were handing out samples like crazy, I had so much free chocolate!  There were chocolate shoes, chocolate pizzas, chocolate cleats and soccer balls, chocolate toothbrushes, chocolate roses, chocolate scissors, chocolate Disney characters…I also tried this mojito jam sort of thing because a vendor called me over to try it.  It was the vendor’s own invention (at least that’s what he told me), and apparently could be eaten with different fishes or dark chocolate cake, and a lot of other foods.  He was really trying to sell this stuff to me.  It was good, but I was more interested in spending my money on chocolate.  There was one other vendor who was particularly nice: I asked him if it would be ok if I bought just one classic truffle (because they usually sell them in 100 gram bags), and he gave me two free of charge!  It made my day 🙂


At the chocolate stand where I got two free truffles

I was about to head home when I read in the festival program that the Musée Peynet et du Dessin Humoristique wasn’t charging for admission during the festival, so of course I had to go in there.  I hadn’t heard of Peynet before coming to Antibes.  He’s most known for Les Amoureux, or two lovers.  There are dolls and drawings of them in a variety of different situations.  He also created ceramics, drew cartoons for newspapers, designed brochures for Air France, and made posters for plays and musicals.  Walking through the museum made me want to draw more myself.

ImageDoll versions of Les Amoureux with the sketches for the dolls to the right


This drawing made me laugh: the text says, “Our difference in age is no obstacle to our love.  I’ve taken sexual education courses at school, so I know just as much as any adult…..”

I also learned about a variety of political cartoonists who were very talented.  The drawings that I found the most powerful were by an artist called TIM.  When I first looked at them I wasn’t looking very closely, but after I read the description of them and the artist I looked back and realized Hitler was swallowing a very emaciated looking person, and Stalin’s mustache was made of people who were clearly suffering from malnourishment.


Hitler and Stalin by TIM

Not all the drawings were this disturbing, though.  I found this one pretty amusing:


The text says, “November.”  “Obama wins!”  “Who does he take on now?”  “Debt.”

On my way home I bought some tulips for my host mom to go along with the chocolate I’d bought at the festival for us.  When I showed them to her she was so surprised!  But in a good way, of course: she kissed me on either cheek as the French do (we “avons fait les bises”).

My study abroad group took us to Nice this weekend for their 130th Carnival and Flower Parade.  We had a little free time before the parade to shop, which I used to continue my hunt for travel-sized bottles I could take with me during our school vacation at the end of February.  They are ridiculously difficult to find in France.  I went to that giant Carrefour thinking I wouldn’t have a problem finding them, but all I could find were mini shampoo, conditioner and lotion bottles (and I only had one brand to choose from).  Luckily one of my friends told me she’d bought travel-sized bottles at Sephora before, so I found some there that were perfect.

The Flower Parade was really neat.  The people do much more than just smile and wave here: they dance and sing and act (there were people with a table and cake costume, where their bodies were covered by the tablecloth and their heads stuck out of the cakes, and they’d pretend to eat the cake or to be scared of being eaten); and the floats and costumes are so intricate.  The floats were all covered in different types of flowers, and there was one costume made out of junk food wrappers, one costume made with forks, and also some costumes that were made out of barely anything at all!


After popping out of the cake, this guy started running around waving a Brazilian flag

There was also this incredible dragon float that blew steam, giant floating raspberries (one of which had the face of a man smoking a cigar),  mimes that balanced along the railings in the crowd and took over one of the food floats, and lots and lots of mimosa.  All the flower floats had people on them who threw mimosa branches into the crowd.


The dragon float


The smoking raspberry head

Sunday four friends and I went to Menton for the Fête du Citron (Lemon Festival), which has been going on since 1934.  Each year they use about 145 tons of citrus fruits (“agrumes” in French)!  The theme this year was 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, so the sculptures and parade floats were all related to sea creatures and sea explorations.  First we walked through the “Exposition,” a garden filled with giant sculptures made out of oranges, lemons, and grapefruits.  Each had a plaque with the particular passage from the Jules Verne novel that inspired the sculpture.  In the afternoon we watched the parade.  Just like the sculptures, the floats are so impressive!  They’re enormous and bright, and they fill the air with a faint scent of citrus.


These sculptures were inspired by Chapter 7: The Mediterranean in Forty-Eight Hours.  The quote read, “… For his part, Conseil thought he spotted a turtle 6 feet wide and adorned with 3 protruding ridges that ran lengthwise.  I was sorry to miss this reptile, because from Conseil’s description, I believe I recognized the leatherback turtle, a pretty rare species…”

I also visited the Jean Cocteau museum, which had an exhibition about Picasso, Matisse and Cocteau.  It was really neat because Cocteau was influenced by Picasso around the same time Picasso was working in Antibes, so I could see connections between Cocteau’s work and the artworks I’d seen at the Picasso Museum in Antibes.  Cocteau was initially a poet, but the museum was filled with drawings, paintings, ceramics, videos, and tapestries that he created as well.  There were a couple pictures of the chapel Matisse designed in Saint-Paul-de-Vence, and there were pictures of a chapel Cocteau decorated in Villefranche-sur-Mer.  Before visiting the museum I’d only known about the Matisse chapel, so I added this other one to my list of places to visit!  Neither are far from Antibes on the train.

On the drive home we stopped at La Grande Corniche, which offers stunning views of Monaco from its height of 1,476 feet.  It was built by Napoleon, and is one of three “corniches de la Riviera.”  It was nice to get out of the car and get some fresh air,
and we were able to get lots of great photos.


At La Grande Corniche

Along with all of this I’ve also been trying to do a little studying because I have a midterm in my Ethics class (the one taught in French) this week, but I haven’t really done much so far.  Especially by CMU standards.  So that’ll be my day today.  But Friday our vacation starts, and I’ll be off to the U.K.!


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