Macarons (aka there-goes-that-whole-eating-healthy-idea)


Not macaroons, those are completely different.

But macarons have become my new craving, and unlike anything I’ve ever tasted in the states before. I can’t tell you what to expect; maybe some unicorn poop and fairy dust, or maybe some magical confection by Mrs. Weasley…

What exactly are macarons? According to Wikipedia, the place where I go when I don’t actually feel like doing any serious research, “the macaron [is cited] as being created in 791 in a convent near Cormery. Some have traced [it] back to the arrival of Catherine de’ Medici’s Italian pastry chefs whom she brought with her in 1533 upon marrying Henri II of France.” THANKS CATHERINE.

The macaron is comprised of two outer shells made from eggs, sugar, more sugar, almond powder, and food coloring (some of which stains your teeth hulk-green, be warned). The inside contains ganache, jam, buttercream, or some other tasty thing (that can also change the color of your mouth).

So far, I’ve tried (ranked best to not-quite-so-best)

  1. Chocolat Framboise (Raspberry Chocolate)
  2. Beurre Salé au Caramel(Buttery Salted Caramel)
  3. Bailey’s (yup.)
  4. Chocolat Caramel (you’ve all got that one)
  5. Crème Brûlée (too sweet)

There are at least 30 different flavors in this particular shop, many of which I don’t expect to try because I don’t like blueberries and bananas.

©Gourmandise Maison du Macaron - do you see how hard it is to choose just one?

©Gourmandise Maison du Macaron – do you see how hard it is to choose just one?

If you’re ever in Pau, make sure to visit the Gourmandise Maison du Macaron. It’s one euro per macaron, but they’re absolutely worth it.

Finally the pictures…

Chocolate and caramel

Chocolate and caramel



Chocolate raspberry (top), Crème brûlée (bottom

Chocolate raspberry (top), Crème brûlée (bottom

The slightly disconcerting packaging...

The slightly disconcerting packaging…

Apparently I ate the salted butter caramel one too fast to take a picture, but that means I can just go get another.

bon appétit tout le monde!

Please remember all pictures are ©Madeline Tautges, thanks🙂


Here’s a few photos I took in Bordeaux. I apologize for the lack in blog posts; I’ve had a crazy schedule and now the flu (just my luck). Being sick has given me the opportunity to catch up on the latest season of Downton Abbey and some sleep.

Bordeaux was absolutely beautiful and I plan on going back, since we didn’t get much time there.

Cathédrale Saint-André de Bordeaux

Cathédrale Saint-André de Bordeaux




And more Bordeaux!

And more Bordeaux!

Unfortunately, I didn’t get the chance to do a wine tasting this time, but it’s on my list of things to do for my return visit.

Longer, more coherent posts are in the near future, I promise! Just let me get some chocolate, tea and medicine and I’ll be functioning normally again.



Within five minutes of stepping out of the car in Biarritz, I tripped off the sidewalk and twisted my ankle. Even with a slight limp, the beach and town were beautiful. And then it started pouring. Just my luck. But before the deluge, I managed to take some decent pictures.


With its flowering bushes, ornate gates, and stone houses, Biarritz was absolutely charming. Luckily, I will be returning with USAC, the study abroad program, and hoping that it won’t rain again.


The Dog

So, I have a story for everyone.

The 24th of January 2014. I got off the bus around 10pm; it was raining heavily. The moment I stepped off the bus, I has a humungous black dog in front of me, and I immediately thought, “that looks just like Sirius Black” because I’m a total nerd. But in my defense the dog greatly resembled ‘the grim’.

Sirius Black gif

The dog ran in front of me up the road to the house, then disappeared. I thought that he was on his way to find his human, but when I opened the gate, he decided to join me in the garden.

(A brief tangent that I promise is relevant: I live in a mother-in-law suite behind the main house on the property, with the grandmother.)

The daughter, Florence, who lives in the main house, saw me with the dog and came out to help me. After inspection, we discovered that he didn’t have any sort of identification tag on his collar, although sometimes in France an animal has an identification tattoo on the inside of the ear, or a microchip. Florence decided to take the dog to the vet the next day; for the night he could sleep on a cushion on the porch. We fed him cat food and turkey, and went inside to sleep.

le gros chien noir

Unfortunately, during the night, the dog escaped over the garden wall. I haven’t seen him around since.

until next time,


Le chien qui m’a suivi chez moi et a décidé d’être mon ami

Alors, j’ai un conte pour tout le monde…

(translate here)

Le 24 janvier 2014. Je suis descendue du bus, environ 22h; il pleuvait. J’ai vu un grand chien noir devant moi, et immédiatement  j’ai pensé, “c’est comme Sirius Black!” car je suis geek. Mais le chien a vraiment ressemblé “le grim”.

Sirius Black gifIl a couru devant moi jusqu’à la maison, et il a disparu. J’ai pensé qu’il allait trouver son maître, mais quand j’ai ouvert le portail, le chien a décidé de courir dans le jardin. La fille de ma grand-mère d’accueil (elle habit avec sa famille dans une autre maison près de la mienne) m’a vu avec le chien et a essayé lui aider. Il n’y avait pas une médaille sur son collier, mais parfois un animal a un tatouage d’identification ou une puce, et elle allait prendre le chien chez le vétérinaire pour voir s’il a eu quelque chose comme ça. Nous lui a donné la nourriture et un coussin pour dormir, mais la nuit il a échappé. Je ne sais pas s’il a trouvé son maître ou pas. Le pauvre!

le gros chien noir

je suis désolé que je n’ai pas un meilleur photo

Voilà ma petite histoire, dites-moi si vous trouvez les erreurs…

à bientôt!

Les Halles and Exploring

Bonjour! Je suis désolée que étais si silent pour les derniers semaines, mon ordinateur est mort. Mais j’ai reçu une nouvelle batterie (merci papa) et il marche.

The first Saturday in Pau, I went to Les Halles. Basically, Les Halles is an indoor farmers market, half permanent stands and booths, and half collapsable tables. You’ll find fresh dairy products, ripe fruits and vegetables, and meat that seems only mostly dead.

“Ici l’ambiance, les produits et 
les accents fleurent bon le terroir
du Béarn, des Pyrénées et du Sud-Ouest.”


The removable part of Les Halles.

It’s impossibly crowded and overwhelming, so I only ended up buying one lonely sweet potato (which I should really get around to eating…). But since that weekend, I have gone back and done some actual shopping. Some of the prices are much better than at Leclerc, but others seem extremely inflated. Since I’m studying abroad and and buying the majority of the things I eat, I’ve had to choose cheap over locally grown/organic.

On Sunday, I took a walk across the Gave de Pau (the river) to see le Stade D’Eaux Vives. It’s a stadium that diverts water from the river to an outdoor arena where athletes practice competitive kayaking, canoeing, rafting, and other terrifying water sports.

Le Stead D'Eaux Vives, Pau, France.

Le Stead D’Eaux Vives, Pau, France.

On the walk back  I came across this beautiful gate, sealed shut by entwined vines. People definitely live here, and I’m hoping that they’ve decided to let the vine do what it wants.  They can always use the other gate, right?


This is way too cool.

À bientôt mes amis!

Leclerc, the Pau equivalent of a Super Target, is selling this beautiful rug for 10€. Is it worth it?


J’habite à Pau!

Can you believe I made it to Pau? After a flight cancellation, three airplanes, and at least 10 hours waiting in various airports, I’m finally here. The only plus was that the flight across the Atlantic Ocean had all the episodes of Downton Abbey Season 3 *nerd out*.

Plane ride from Lyon to Pau.

Plane ride from Lyon to Pau.

My host, Manou (which she told me is similar to “grandmother”),  picked me up from the tiny Pau airport at 21h00,  fed me chicken with potatoes and carrots, and opened the gift I brought for her. Besides honey and maple syrup, I gave her a book about Wisconsin. This book is not the best representation of a typical Madisonian, and the many pictures of barns led her to ask: “Vous habitez dans les bâtiments rouges?” (Do you live in those red buildings?), and was surprised when I explained that they were for animals.

The house is small but beautifully furnished, with many antique and ornate pieces. There are two cats, Ficelle and Suzie, are Manou’s, one is her daughter’s, and another is apparently a random but frequent visitor.

After breakfast the next day, Manou drove me to the University for orientation. Half of the students had not arrived due to the nasty US weather, so approximately 25 of us took our placement tests and went on a walking tour of downtown Pau.

King Henri IV's birthplace.

King Henri IV’s birthplace.

Boulevard des Pyrénées.

Boulevard des Pyrénées.

After a nice dinner at a sandwich shop with some friends, I attempted to make my way back home. Five buses and one and a half hours later, I finally found the house. Something I learned: there is a Rue de Gelos and an Avenue de Gélos. They are not the same thing.

Alors, maintainant, je vais manger un peu du pain avec le fromage et après ça, je me coucherai car je suis vraiment fatigué.



Bonjour et bienvenue!

Hello everyone!

I’ll be keeping a blog during my stay in France. Hopefully I’ll be updating twice a week or so, depending on how much time I have. I’ll be gone from January 6th until mid-May, and be living in Pau, France. My posts will hopefully be in French, Franglais and English, again depending on how much time I have. But here is this just in case.

I look forward to any feedback and hope you enjoy!




Bonjour tout le monde!

Je vais blogeur pendant mon séjour en France. J’espère que je peux réactualiser deux fois par semaine ou plus, si j’ai assez de temps. Je partirai pour la France le 6 janvier, jusqu’au mi-mai. J’habiterai à Pau, en France. Mes postes seront en Français, Franglais et Anglais, si j’ai les temps pour ça. Mais voilà!

Je suis impatiente de vos commentaires, et j’espère que vous aimez le blog!




Continue reading