18 August 2018

3 hours (or less) from Paris: Tasting Aubrac #5

End of the camino: long slices of homemade berry pie and fragrant coffee made us stop and linger in a small village flanked by fields and on the way to Santiago de Compostela in Spain.

Above: tartines of salmon and fresh goat cheese, beef carpaccio and avocado, comte and pickled cabbage, all atop sliced punti, a local savory cake made with sorrel and prunes; dandelion root and gentiane artisanal ice cream

Below: early breakfast for two on our last morning

"3 hours (or less) from Paris" fly/drive option:

Direct flights daily (1 hour 15 minutes) + car rental at airport

17 August 2018

3 hours (or less) from Paris: Tasting Aubrac #4

Once everyone's plates of aligot were polished off it was time to bring on the meats - and almost everything else, farm style, at the same time: charcuteries, planches (for 6) of fork tender Aubrac beef smothered in shallots, crunchy retortillats - a truffade of fried potatoes, garlic, bacon and cheese, re-fried til crisp - grilled sausages, local cheeses, wine

Below: an enormous hot apple puff pastry tarte was cut into squares then each portion topped with home-made hazelnut studded caramel ice cream (not shown: espressos all round; local specialty gentiane liqueur digestifs); the setting

Tomorrow: pie in your eye

16 August 2018

3 hours (or less) from Paris: Tasting Aubrac #3

Made with fresh potatoes, butter, garlic, crème fraîche, sea salt, pepper and tons of cheese, aligot, the signature dish of Aubrac, is one of life's not-to-be-missed culinary experiences.

Above:  piping hot and stringy with cheese the aligot is finished off at our table from an isolated hilltop stone hut used by shepherds to make cheeses in winter, turned into a casual restaurant in summer

Below: table set for our group; scenic rolling pastures beyond

Tomorrow: a carnivore's dilemma

15 August 2018

3 hours (or less) from Paris: Tasting Aubrac #2

The first thing I do to get a feel for a region's foods (and its priorities: loads of olive and saucisson stalls? A culture of apéritifs) is to get up and out early and head to a local town or village market.

Note: Some are in the evening; others seasonal

Tomorrow: aligot, pride of l'Aubrac

14 August 2018

3 hours (or less) from Paris: Tasting Aubrac #1

July was the perfect time to visit this fairytale region just north of Provence. Few tourists, incredible weather, and easy-to-nab rooms made our stay here perfection and, as every region in France, Aubrac came through with its own signature specialties: aligot, red label boeuf d'Aubrac, Cantal cheeses, punti, farçous, tripous, estofinado and fouace, to name a few.

Above: village of Estaing; in the countryside; along the river

Below: breakfast awaits

Tomorrow: to market to market

13 August 2018

As summer wanes

It's barely mid August and Paris is slowly returning to its old bustling self.

And while August is when most take their annual vacances, our summer saw 3 exquisite short trips to 3 exquisite regions in June and July:

1) June, a few days chez friends as guests at their fantastic vacation home in Brittany right on the beach overlooking Île de Ré with its white villages: there were market visits, terrace bbq's, biking, boating, windsurfing, seaside restaurants and sunset apéritifs - making it difficult to return to Paris

2) Late June, a week jaunt through Burgundy, a stunning region we love and where Frédéric would spend summers at his grandparents' when he was growing up

3) In July, on the heels of France's World Cup win, it was off to meet family in the Aveyron-Aubrac, another region steeped in its own culture, cuisine, and an easy drive into Provence and Spain

And August? For me, the best time to savor Paris.

All this week:
3 hours (or less) from Paris: Tasting Aubrac

10 August 2018

Eat street

I used to live on narrow rue des Trois Frères on "the Abbesses side" of Montmartre, a street reputed for its diverse and lively restaurants such as:

Le Potager du Père Thierry #16
Le Refuge des Fondus (wine served in baby bottles) #17
Le Dan Bau (Vietnamese) #18
Le Jardin d'en Face #29
La Famille #41

9 August 2018

Summer cafés

Less people in Paris mean squares can be turned into terraces with tables and chairs.

Below: with room to spread this café takes up an entire square


8 August 2018

Good starts

All over Paris the traditional French breakfast of coffee (or tea) and a tartine is being pushed aside for more substantial fare.

Above: 1) fruity chia bowl of grains, strawberries, blueberries and raspberry coulis 2) organic eggs, spinach French toast, crisp bacon 3) poached egg atop sweet potato purée, toasted hazelnuts, fresh herbs and button mushrooms 4) feta and shredded zucchini "quiches" with peaches and tomato

Thanks to:
Le Pain Quotidien
Hardware Societé
Frenchie To Go
Ten Belles

7 August 2018

The dance

The original of this sculpture on the façade of Opéra Garnier is in the Orsay Museum.

Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux
La Danse (1868)

6 August 2018

Three top chefs

Three great men.

Paul Bocuse, Anthony Bourdain, and today, Joël Robuchon.


"Cooking is an act of love..."

Day trip: La Piscine #2

Along with a small group of French journalists I recently had the unique experience of a behind-the-scenes exclusive look at the ongoing expansion work of La Piscine Museum, site of a former municipal swimming pool in an Art Deco building on the outskirts of Lille.

Above: artisans at work reminiscent of Gustave Caillebotte's Les Raboteurs in the Orsay Museum

Below: boxes of artworks yet to be unpacked; bases that will be used to display sculptures; 19th and 20th-century art fills back-room ateliers during construction works
(click to enlarge)

La Piscine Museum
23 rue de l'Espérance 59100 Roubaix
 Scheduled re-opening date: October 20, 2018

More soon in The Good Life France Magazine

Next month's newsletter
3 hours (or less) from Paris: Lille

[The museum restaurant / café is managed by Meert from Lille, famous chocolate and pastry makers] 

4 August 2018

Day trip: La Piscine #1

A ten-minute train ride from the town of Lille or 2 hours from Paris, La Piscine - an early 20th century public swimming pool transformed into an astonishing art exhibition space - expands and readies for re-opening this October.

La Piscine Museum
23 rue de l'Espérance 59100 Roubaix

Monday: behind-the-scenes

3 August 2018

Où est la clim?

Paris has noticeably cooled down but should la canicule return there are plenty of places where AC is in full force.

We almost needed coats at L'Avant Comptoir, an indulgent wine+tapas bar dear to my heart that I wrote up in The Good Life France Magazine.

Above: macaron of boudin noir

Below: caramelized pork belly; more small-plate choices on ceiling

L'Avant Comptoir / Chef Yves Camdeborde
3 Carrefour de l'Odéon 75006

(no reservations; casual; eat standing at counter)

- This + 14 more ideas to beat the heat, in August newsletter -

2 August 2018

A Sunday market

For years, especially when we lived in the Marais, many a Sunday morning saw me basket in hand, poking around for fresh herbs, seasonal vegetables, salts, charcuteries and fresh fish -- then topping it off with a salidou-smothered crêpe -- at the vast marché Bastille, a cook's dream.

1 August 2018

Quiet Paris

Shuttered shops, less traffic, easy-to-get tables: many consider August the best time to be in Paris.

August newsletter