I knew that Country Western music had made some serious inroads into French culture when we stopped off last spring at a scrumptious restaurant in a medieval town called Martel at the epicenter of foie gras heaven.
The restaurant “Au Hazard Balthazar” is everything you could hope for when it comes to “down-home cooking” French style. Located in the Quercy region of France (also called Le Lot) and bordering the Dordogne, these regions are known for their rich and generous helpings of outrageously caloric dishes. For once, you have to say, “To H with the diet.” You won’t regret it. This food is simply too good to wreck by fretting about carb counting – or anything. Just live! This is the kind meal you’re likely to remember for a lifetime.
And as we finished up this delightfully sinful meal accompanied by a gutsy Cahors wine, the strains of country music wafted throughout the wood-beamed medieval rafters. When I asked, “Where did you get this music?” the host beamed. “From a good American friend.”
“Your friend’s from the South or the Midwest?” I asked.
(There I went,profiling, profiling).
Uh, non. New York. You probably know him? The Sopranos. David Chase. He spends his summers here.”
Somehow it all makes sense. Leonardo De Vinci in the Loire Valley, The Sopranos writer/director in the Dordogne, and a Country Western Festival on the outskirts of Paris in St. Cloud, this May 26-28, ‘2007. It all makes sense, right?
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The festival called “Three Days in America” translates into French as Festival des Loisirs Americains. And talk about strange juxtaposition, try this on for your cowboy hat. The three honored stars of this event will be Elvis Presley, John Wayne, and the Marquis de Lafayette. In case you’re wondering we’ll be celebrating the 30th anniversary of Elvis’s demise, 100th anniversary of John Wayne’s birthday, and the 250th anniversary of Lafayette’s birth.
Here’s an ideal opportunity to put on your cowboy boots and join the Friday and Saturday night line dance which is hoping to break last year’s European record of 1,731.
According to Parisinfo’s post, Ile de France has been staunchly resisting Country Western infiltration, but the mid-nineties have seen the charm of twang take hold. (Parisinfo cites 80 country western and blues festivals that take place each year throughout France) Europe’s fascination with the land of bison, America’s First Nations cultures, and the mythic cowboy personified by John Wayne has not diminished since the days when the United States of America was barely a glimmer in Ben Franklin’s eye.
If you want to attend:
May 26,27, and 28th 2007
Three Days in America Festival will be held at the Domaine National de St. Cloud or “Le Parc St. Cloud”
Metro: Pont de Saint Cloud or Metro: Sevres
(Be careful not to confuse Pont with Porte! These are two different places.)