Wednesday, February 04, 2015

Becassine - Chandeleur

On must be grateful for small favors.
Is it serendipity? This Monday French Google decided to spell out it's logo with an image of much loved French cartoon character, dear Becassine. It just so happens on February 2, 1905 Becassine, a Breton nanny appeared in the pages of the first issue La Semaine de Suzette, a girls magazine. Naturally I immediately thought of crepes Suzette it being Chandeleur. But no relationship in fact.
Still I noticed on Google's front page a new commemorative exhibit opening at musee de la poupee on Becassine the next day.
Ta da! The drawings of Becassine are absolutely wonderful.

The exhibition is from the collection of the author's daughter
And very complete. Becassine became a much loved doll as well as a series of books read by generations of French girls. Some Feminists have a bone to pick because Becassine has no mouth in the drawings.

Fluid lovely lines. The French call this economical yet elegant style 'ligne claire'. The strong shapes and strong clean colors of Becassine influenced future comic book artists like Herge of Tintin, Tardi of Adelle Blanc-Sec and many, many others.
If you're interested in French culture you'll enjoy this exhibit.
The musee de la Poupee never disappoints. Update, sadly the museum is now closed.
This whimsical character was a part of most French girls lives growing up.
The museum's gift shop has a collection of Becassine china and whatnots. I even found two old damaged books from 1919 and 1930 at 5 euros each! I was thrilled. Now all I need is an apron and red umbrella.
On to real crepe Suzettes.
Solli was waiting for me on rue du Montparnasse. Shouldn't it be called rue du crepes Bretonne. Creperies are clustered one next to the other.
We'd both read Josselin was good, but instead it was rush, rush, rush. And look at the stack of ready-made crepes on the counter. My crepe jambon was disappointing. All minced up pieces.
Across the street for dessert at Creperie Bretonne No.56.
The happy crepe maker was right in the window, making each crepe to order.
Solli grew up drinking buttermilk every morning in Sweden and my dad was a big fan, so guess who has a bottle sitting in the fridge this minute. The French call it lait ribout. It's traditional with crepes.
The choices are endless.
As are the creperies to choose from on rue du Montparnasse.
Is it serendipity?
Coming home later, passing Notre Dame, I noticed 2 nuns looking a tad like Becassine, ordering crepes at a street stand.
By the way if you would like to make Charlotte Puckette's Tunisian fish soup the recipe is up on her blog.
Bonne Chandeleur!


  1. I love how you introduce a character and then reel in your own thoughts and excursions. Always edifying and beautiful at the same time. Merci!

    1. The fun is to connect up the dots no matter how disparete(sp) they may be.
      Tanks. ;))

  2. The picture of your dessert crepes had my mouth watering. My one and only granddaughter has outgrown Becassine. Otherwise, I would be trying to get a copy. Happy exploring.

  3. I grew up LOVING Bécassine..while in Québec city last June..a quaint shop had adorable Bécassine paraphernalia..and I didn't indulge.I should have.

    My husband knew my mom for a very short time..too short..
    June to December.
    He took my mom and I to a restaurant in Mtl..1973..La Crêpe Bretonne..
    It was the first and last time I saw my mom in a lovely ..charming little resto.

    Reading a book right now..St Malo is featured..All The Light We Cannot See~

    We also watched a very good movie ..twice..and I cannot remember the name..About a beautiful young French woman..her boyfriend dies..of an overdose and she survives..she is pregnant and moves to have the baby.For the life of me I cannot remember the name..:(
    It will come to me..I will tell you:)

  4. Dear Carol, this was a joy to read and to see. I am wondering about whether Becassine and Mary Poppins, with their umbrellas, were contemporaries?

    (There is something in the drawings of Becassine that does also remind me of Olive Oil. Please forgive me, Carol. My visual memory bank just will not rest.)

    Crepes! I think that I will have to reach up to that shelf in my kitchen where my dear own little crepe pan has been resting for a while. Since last century and more. Too long a rest. Perhaps I will enter into a crepe reunion as we draw closer to Lent.

    Venturing over to the Upper East Side today, I saw an interesting exh at the Met featuring Madame Cezanne. In none of the paintings or drawings did that lady look very happy. I prefer seeing what you get up to over there with Paris Breakfasts.


  5. Could Beccasine be Olive Oyl's French cousin?

    1. Does every culture have a Becassine?
      I think so.
      Now to try to read the French!

  6. I told you the wrong movie!
    Last Love Michael Caine..not at all the movie I spoke of before..
    For some reason I thought that one had St-Malo in it also..
    Oh we know!

  7. The soggy ready-made crepes you get in the street never come close to these crispy delights! Very yummy.

  8. Deborah D11:03 PM

    Thanks for keeping Paris alive for we provincials across the pond.... :-)

  9. I love the architectural details behind la Becassine in the book you bought on the right . . I"m sure inside is full of treasures! Sorry that the first creperie was a disappointment, and happy that you stuck it out to try another one. Soldier on, as they say!

    1. So true Kim, life in Paris is a constant adventure...
      For the tastebuds!

  10. I love the illustrations for Becassine. I've always loved illustrated books, especially childrens' ones.
    The crepe stores look great too - and the food stand in the last shot, the night shot is top notch!

  11. Carol, I missed this post yesterday but thrilled to see it this morning. Becassine has long been a favorite character for me. Amelia Bedelia, a favorite character in American children's literature, is much like Becassine. Do you know of her? Anyway, I've a few vintage Becassine books myself, from French markets. On a visit in 2011 I found the cutest tins of Galettes de Bretagne at a grocery store while traveling in Brittany. They are in the shape of the Becassine books. Oh, how I would love to see the exhibit. Thank you for sharing snippets of the displays and for alerting me to the exhibit. Doubtful that I'll be back in Paris before Sept. 25, but one can dream. You are the best to show us Paris through your lens and lovely drawings. As for crepes, we are fortunate to have authentic French crepes here in Austin. They do not disappoint. ;-)

  12. When I was growing up Becassine was my best friend. I have several books that my mother gave me in the late 1940s and I brought them to the US with me! I did not know that the doll museum had Becassines there – I’ll visit it next time. Also I had a subscription to La Semaine de Suzette – I wish I had kept some issues, but my grandma bought me the doll “Suzette” from the magazine and I still have her.

    1. Its a special exhibit on till Sept5
      Hope you make it. ;))

  13. Claire / Musee de la Poupee8:50 AM

    Merci pour le lien, très bonne idée d'associer l'exposition aux spécialités bretonnes .


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