macaronsThis is likely to be a recurring theme, because I constantly spy odd little details that make me smile. Like the “51” pastis-flavored macarons from Pâtisserie Greg, who’s at the corner of the market near the Halles on Saturdays.

getting-milk-2I can walk past something hundreds of times, and then one day it jumps out at me: this wouldn’t be found in America. Sometimes it wouldn’t be found in Paris, even. Quirks, quoi.

getting-milkLike the raw milk fountain on Saturdays. I love that it’s BYOB. Raw milk is unpasteurized, FYI. Night and day as far as taste. Of course, pasteurization (invented in France!) cut deaths from germs that had contaminated milk. But that was in the 1800s, before refrigeration and vaccines were a thing. Healthy people can drink raw milk without fear.

At le (B): “Here everything is fresh and homemade and when there’s no more…we close.”

Le (B) sandwich shop boasts bagels; it’s new–and there’s another new bagel place on the same street a couple of blocks away. Carcassonne has discovered bagels! While it might be a little oasis of NYC in the south of France, some details are resolutely French. Like closing early when you’ve run out of fresh, homemade goods.

“Closed Mondays. Nothing left for today. Reopening tomorrow (Sunday the 9th) from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thank you.”

Sometimes walking down the street, I nearly trip over these, because the sidewalk is barely two feet wide, and some places just a foot across, and I think, this would never happen in the U.S.:

To keep vehicles (first horse-drawn carts, then cars) from scraping the wall. The corner is pretty tight.

And actually, when I start to look down, I realize how incredible the foundations are. Huge stones, little fillers. Yikes.

Clearly christened by more than a few dogs

And then, there’s Place de Lattre de Tassigny, named after a World War I commander, just around the corner from our apartments. It used to be a parking lot, and now it’s an outdoor living room. I love it.


Which quirks do you find endearing in your home? In France?

25 thoughts on “Carcassonne Curiosities

    1. My husband does the grocery shopping so I haven’t really looked to see whether there’s lait cru on tap at the supermarket. There is lait cru by the bottle for sale, though.


  1. We have a local farm that is selling milk direct from the farm, this is something I grew up with as we had a dairy farm in the family and believe me it tastes so much better plus you get cream on top, … I love all the quirky little things you see about especially the old public toilets 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s great. We are in wine country–the cows tend to up in the mountains, not far but not next door either–but some years ago we did live next to a farm and got fresh milk.


  2. Wonderful article. I am just weeks away from returning home for the Holidays, and your photos made me even more impatient to get there. Sharing your story today with the French Girl in Seattle Facebook community. Merci! — Veronique

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Want to start a fight on US social media? Just say what you did about raw milk, and they come out yelling and hollering. 🙂 It’s quite remarkable. And agreed, the taste is worlds apart.
    But I’d never hard of dispensing it from a fountain.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. What a genius idea to BYOB and get milk from the tap. The notices French shop owners put up just make me love the country even more. A few years ago I went to Mr. Bricolage, the entrance to the shop, a glass sliding door, was completely shattered. In the UK, the shop wouldn’t have opened until that had been fixed, they’d be frightened of an accident and litigation. In France however, they just taped it and voila, business as usual! In France it seems people make their own decisions about risks, just how it should be in my opinion.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. my grandfather nearly died from milk related contamination- I don’t know what- from a farm he worked on here in the states in the 1920’s so many people were thrilled when pasteurization killed those bacteria/germs back then and also penicillin became available and even now many people with weakened immune systems, children and elderly should think twice about using raw products.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. A raw milk fountain! Will have to look for one the next time I am in France.
    I know you live in the land of great cheese but you could have fun making your own too. (Yes, we do this some. Not with raw milk, but there’s a microdairy nearby whose milk works for cheesemaking. I’m guessing it’s so local that they don’t heat the milk up quite as high to pasteurize it.)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I so missed cheese when I lived in Africa that I wanted to make my own, but you need rennet, which I couldn’t get there. Here we have such an embarrassment of riches in the cheese category, that it’s a challenge to even taste them all. What kind of cheese do you make?


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