Walking to Bilbao – third stop : Nancy, France

February 19, 2008

Back in November I decided to start counting my exercise time towards a goal. I am currently walking for exercise I chose to measure in miles. Since I’m very interested in the Basque country, and we had a weekend planned there in February, I chose Bilbao Spain as my destination. So I’m walking to Bilbao.

Bilbao is 462 miles from Paris (my home). Some of you suggested I makes some stops along the way, which I found to be a big improvement to my original plan. This is my third stop in my virtual tour, and this time I’m marking the miles walked to where I could have gone – because Nancy is the opposite direction of Bilbao. But since it’s a virtual walk it’s really easy to change direction whenever you want! 😉

We also canceled the real-life weekend in Bilbao. It was supposed to be this weekend, leaving on Friday, but we had an IUI and my DH has been sick so there was just no way for us to get away right now. We’ll book it for another time, no doubt after I’ve EARNED it! Once I started walking towards this goal I realized it would be pretty hard to make it halfway there before the trip, so I’ll really feel it’s worth it once I’ve walked my 462 miles before getting there.

During this week while walking to appointments and adding up little 15 minute walks I made it to 176 miles, so I decided to give myself a “stop” here and find out a little something about Nancy France, a town I’ve never been too but that I’ve heard about several times.

Where is Nancy France?

Where is Nancy France?

Nancy is in the Lorraine region of France, towards the German border. During WWII the Germans claimed this region (plus Alsace) as part of the German state and thus spared it much destruction in the war.

Craffe gate

The city is listed as Unesco world heritage site, largely due to the Art Nouveau architecture. It looks over-the-top but pretty as is typical of this style.

Place Stanislas

Art nouveau building

I love art and architecture, so this city looks like a really great place for me to visit and looks small enough to do easily in a weekend. I would love to visit this museum.

And food? Each time I “stop” in a new town we look at the local foods – and with Nancy we will not be disapointed. This is the home of Quiche Lorraine, created in 1586, and adding to the waistlines of the French and the rest of the world ever since.

Quiche Lorraine

It’s a rich egg quiche in a rich crust, traditionally made with egg, bacon and cream and in modern times sometimes with cheese. When you add onions it is no longer Quiche Lorraine, it becomes Quiche Alsacienne (the region next door).

Nancy also claims to have invented a type of Macaron but this is not a debate I think is worth getting into.

macaron de Nancy

Macaroon cookies (which are not the shredded-coconut sugar bombs of the US) are in my mind an over-rated cookie. The ones in Paris that make everyone ga-ga are in fact it’s two macaron cookies (like the ones in Nancy) filled with a cream-butter-sugar filling flavored with something and thus made into a little sandwich. The flavors have gotten very creative in recent years but to me they are still not fabulous… Although they are pretty, look:

pretty macarons

Finally, my heart lept with joy when I read that Nancy (well, the region around Nancy) is the home of my favorite little Mirabelle plums. These little plums are incredible – sweet, tasty, flavorful and fragile. They are only around for a few weeks and rather expensive. I suspect they are too fragile and too scarce to really make it into the global food chain of exportation and unity and I am so grateful to live in a country where they are available to me for a few weeks every year. I buy big sacks of them whenever I see them in the summer and we eat them very fast.

Mirabelles

Some people make tarts and jam from them but we always just eat them plain. They’re about the size of cherries and pure fresh fruit heaven! Each one usually packs the flavor of the best plum you’ve ever had – they’re fabulous. Unlike Quiche Lorraine or Macarons, you don’t need to hold yourself back with these treats around – delicious!

I read a bunch of different sites but think this New York Times article is among the best for those looking for more info.

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