Montmartre is very gentrified now, but just as lovely in the memory of Emmanuel Josserand...
Guest: Prof Emmanuel Josserand
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Professor Emmanuel Josserand grew up in Montmartre but now resides in Sydney, Australia. He had worked as an academic around the world but it was “love” that kept him in Sydney! Very French he says!
I asked Emmanuel what he commonly gets asked when Aussies here discover he’s French. Apparently that’s when all the stereotypes come out about French food, attitudes of French men to women, or even French arrogance. I must admit I have never encountered the famed French arrogance. I wondered to Emmanuel if this is due to me attempting to use my French language whenever in France (as bad as it is!)
If Emmanuel was headed back to France he would go straight from the airport to Montmartre, especially if arriving on the early morning flight. The view from the top of Montmartre at Sacre Coeur across Paris is just divine. He’s never gone back home for Christmas as he loves the Aussie summer, but summer and late Spring when skiing is also possible in Chamonix are his faves. It’s this time of year when he has found the slopes are most deserted and he has the runs to himself!
Even though living in Australia, Emmanuel and his French-Australian daughter keep the connection to France going with French food, especially the stinkiest cheese! En France his fave day would also start with French food such as chouquettes or pain au chocolat and when in the countryside he and the family would all eat fresh bread and saucisson with fresh tomato from the garden. It’s always about the food! The regional area Emmanuel goes to where his family has a house is not far from Lyon, the foodie capital of France! He talks of discovering quirky festivals where regional food is served, such as Vonnas crêpes (pancakes with potato – see recipe below). There is a Michelin Star restaurant of renowned chef Georges Blanc in Vonnas too.
Montmartre et Dalida
Back in Paris and Montmartre where Emmanuel lived as a child, I was intrigued by his stories of growing up in his grandparent’s house which was right next door to famed singer Dalida. Even though she was living in Montmartre, Dalida was actually born in Egypt to Italian parents. After winning Miss Egypt in 1954 she moved to Paris and became an overnight success in 1956 with her first hit song “Bambino”.
She was more or less adopted by the French who adored her, became a household name, the biggest singer in Europe, founded her own record label and became a successful actress as well. Dalida had sustained success through to the 80s when she was overwhelmed with personal tragedy and took her own life. Her music continues to live on and she is still the best-selling and most award winning performer in France.
Dalida – Avec le Temps
Click the link here above for:
1. Vonnas crêpes which are made with potato.
2. A Bresse chicken recipe, Poulet de Bresse à la Crème which comes from the renowned 3 Michelin star restaurant of George Blanc in Vonnas. Emmanuel said that people have been known to drive all the way from Geneva for this chicken dish so I am definitely go to give it a try!