I’ve always been fascinated by the often colorful French blasons, the heraldic coats of arms that are a part of European history. Originally used by medieval knights (so they could tell just who was hiding inside that coat of armor), their use later broadened. Individuals, families, monarchs, cities and regions used them as personal symbols. I suppose it was the origin of what we now call ‘branding’. Certain rights sometimes accompanied blasons, and most were registered in some fashion along the way. A coat of arms is typically in the shape of a sheild and may have an accompanying motto.
Even today, all French cities and regions have their own blasons which reflects their particular history. To the right is the official blason de Paris. Fleur-de-lys, crowns, and laurel leaves are common in coat of arms designs. The motto translates as: Il est agité par les vagues, et ne sombre pas. "She is tossed by the waves but does not sink".
For me, les blasons are camera-magnets, so above and below are are a few I’ve snapped over the years.
PS If anyone knows the signifcance of the two-headed bird above, I'd love to hear it. I've got a very similar carved blason that I bought at a flea market in Spain, and I'd love to know the story.
In the COMMENTS: RE our recipe-- as Natalia says, there’s no better combination than potatoes and bacon. But Vagabonde, not to worry, the potatoes are made with milk instead of cream, so they’re healthy, right? (love the August Thanksgiving!) Or do as Gretel will do in Oz, and pair it just with a salad. And speaking of recipes, and healthy ones, Suzanne makes biscuits and pancakes with yogurt---have to try that!
Reminder: When you're doing your Christmas shopping don't forget How to Learn a New Language with a Used Brain for all your language loving and student friends, it's just $7.15 on Amazon.
Hope everyone had a happy holiday! And thanks for sticking with us, despite our winter schedule of twice-a-month postings.