Postcard from Toulouse, France: Cheese, pastries and menus fluent in French flavor

Above, traditional cassoulet at Le Pyreneen

Parts of numerous animals star in the most famous regional dish of Toulouse – cassoulet. A traditional cassoulet often includes pork loin, pork belly, sausage, neck and breast of lamb and duck confit. All are simmered with white beans for hours and finished off under a flame to give the top a tasty, caramelized char.

We decided if we were going to dive into the dish to do it somewhere well-established, an institution, and chose Le Pyreneen. The brasserie opened in 1925 but appears older and set-ready to serve in a period film with little tinkering. The Mister’s dish was indeed meaty, savory and destination-worthy, but I must confess I opted for seafood and was not disappointed. One thing I did learn on this trip was that I do like duck confit, which is cooked ahead of time and preserved in duck fat until ready to use. We encountered it in numerous dishes and always found it tender and juicy.

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Postcard from Bordeaux, France: Boulevardier-style shopping

Competing with the reflections of the building across the street represents a challenge for the bucktoothed bunny trying to sell guitars. But he obviously caught the attention of the photographer reflected below.

A breeze, a forgotten summer, a smile, all can fit into a storefront window.

Dejan Stojanovic, a Serbian poet and journalist

We found Bordeaux about the most pedestrian-friendly city we have ever wandered around, which meant we had ample time for window-shopping as we ambled about. People who have downsized twice have little interest in acquiring anything beyond calories, so it’s an amusing, inexpensive past-time. Often reflections capture our attention as much as the displays.

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