While it feels perverse to be writing a somewhat superficial post about France, I can do little more than to relive the happy days that I was fortunate enough to spend there so recently.
I realise that truly terrible, unfathomable things happen everyday all over the world - quite honestly, it's hard to keep up with, let alone even imagine living in such places and circumstances. But being that we are a half-French household, it's impossible not to feel that these incidents hit closer to home, and of course there are the political and sociological issues that arise which affect me emotionally.
There are two things I want to say - one is that generalising an entire religion or race based on the behaviour of radical fundamentalists is utterly ludicrous, and people who actively retaliate based on this opinion are intolerable.
The other is that it seems the slogan "Je Suis Charlie" seems to be mistaken by some to be a symbol of solidarity with the actual content of Charlie Hebdo, but I don't think that it is. Regardless of whether what they are printing is something you support or don't support, Je Suis Charlie is in defence of the right to free speech. Everyday we converse and exchange opinions, write Facebook statuses, blog, tweet, comment on articles and present our points of view by using this right - and no one should have to fear for their lives as a consequence.
In any case, anything more that I could say about the matter would be echoing the thoughts of most others, so I will stick to what I know and document the positives.
Marché des Capucins is Bordeaux's answer to London's Borough Market. One of the best markets in the country, you can find pretty much anything there - not one for the faint-hearted as there are dead rabbits and other sad looking animals on display, but what do you expect from a hardcore French market?
We went there to buy some key ingredients for the Christmas Eve dinner that E was cooking, including a live lobster. The seafood looked unbelievably fresh, the meat on offer was impressive and the sheer variety of everything was overwhelming. There are little bars and snacking areas where people had gathered for a casual lunch, as well as a whole bakery area outside where I wanted to taste everything in sight.
It was buzzing with people, not surprising being a couple of days before Christmas, but the atmosphere was lively without being suffocating and we took our time strolling around. And I don't know if I'm alone here, but I love seeing the French labels on all the food nearly as much as I love the food themselves - there is just something beautiful about the French language, isn't there? I really need to improve in that area...
If you are ever in Bordeaux, this is definitely a place not to be missed. It's open Tuesday-Sunday, and it is a mostly covered market so there's no weather risk involved. Just don't go with an empty stomach, because you might go a little overboard.
But most importantly -