27 September 2018

26 September 2018

Vaux-le-Vicomte at the movies #3

The château, an easy day trip from Paris, is quite different in the daytime than at night.

Above: room after sumptuous room decorated w/art and furnishings of the period; for the exhibit signs are set out indicating where a specific film scene was shot

Below: a glimpse into the basement kitchen w/table set for the household help as it would have been when the castle was a royal residence

Vaux-le-Vicomte at the movies 2018

September 22 - November 4


Full article in The Good Life Magazine

25 September 2018

Vaux-le-Vicomte at the movies #2

Bond. James Bond.

 A new exhibition has been added in homage to Sir Roger Moore who died last year in Switzerland.

Thanks to "The James Bond Club" the helicopter from the scene in the 1979 film Moonraker when Bond does his unforgettable double-take upon seeing the château for the first time will be on display.

Above: photos from the passenger seat as we swooped over the castle

Below: aerial shot of nearby village and its medieval fortress; our helicopter before takeoff

Vaux-le-Vicomte at the movies 2018

September 22 - November 4


Tomorrow: inside the castle

Now in The Good Life France Magazine


24 September 2018

Vaux-le-Vicomte at the movies #1

 A fairytale castle and gardens...

Last week I was invited to an exclusive press preview at Vaux-le-Vicomte that included afternoon tea with the owner and, in a tribute to Sir Roger Moore - who passed away in 2017 and played James Bond in Moonraker, filmed at the château - a surprise helicopter ride along with a lucky few to behold the castle from the air, as in the famous scene when 007 catches sight of this magical palace for the first time.

The occasion: this year, once again, and to celebrate the 50th anniversary of its opening to the public, Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte has opened its doors for a behind-the-scenes experience into the magic of movie making, with something for everyone.

Besides Moonraker the 17th century castle that inspired Versailles has been the setting for some eighty films including Marie-Antoinette, Valmont, The Three Musketeers, Molière, Man In The Iron Mask, Gene Wilder's Start The Revolution Without Me, Versailles the series and most recently, L'Empereur de Paris starring Vincent Cassel.

The exhibition features spectacular sets, dazzling period costumes, interactive activities, guided tours, astonishing virtual visuals, special effects make-up workshops, plus more surprises in store.

For all ages.

Less than an hour from Paris.

Vaux-le-Vicomte At The Movies 2018
(click on video)
- Visit website for schedule of candlelit evenings -

September 22 - November 4


Tomorrow: a bird's eye view

 Now in The Good Life France Magazine

23 September 2018

Season of the fig

Fresh figs are in season and I could have sworn I heard this figgy tartelette whisper my name....

Boulangerie Terroirs d'Avenir
3 rue du Nil 75002

21 September 2018

Mucha style

Often imitated, his posters and paintings are instantly recognizable the world over, yet few know his name: he's Alphonse Mucha, Czech Art Nouveau icon (1860-1939) who lived and worked on the Butte Montmartre and whose prolific body of work became known as, "The Mucha Style."

Alphonse Mucha
Musée du Luxembourg
19 rue de Vaugirard 75006

Until January 27, 2019

20 September 2018

French toasts

Unless it's an Anglo eatery, in France, French Toast will appear in the dessert section of the menu as pain perdu and is not served as breakfast.

Above: bistrot versions of pain perdu as lunch and dinner desserts:

1) creatively rounded into a "cake" form with a layer of tart rhubarb inside
2) lusciously caramelized and served with vanilla ice cream
(click to enlarge)

Below: breakfast / brunch French toasts at Franco-Australian Hardware Société, Montmartre

- Where to find these and more in upcoming October newsletter -

18 September 2018

Café des fleurs #2

Just like its name, a great place for a tête-à-tête. 

7 rue Notre Dame de Bonne Nouvelle 75002

workspaces, private events, meetings, parties

17 September 2018

16 September 2018

Weighing in

Yesterday I happened to walk into my local butcher shop just as everyone was still reeling from the size of an American woman who had bought a chicken.

Knowing I am originally from the U.S. they asked me if it’s true that obesity in America has become epidemic, repeating something I’d already heard from a group of French doctors I'd been training at The American Hospital of Paris: In Paris, as most hospitals don’t have scales to accommodate people of such proportions, they get sent to a veterinary clinic outside the city, in Asnières, where livestock gets weighed.
Obesity (not to be confused with being surpoids or overweight) in Paris, while it exists, remains a visual rarity, as noted with surprise over and over by visitors from the U.S. When severe obesity is spotted in Paris, especially in areas that are magnets for tourists such as the Marais or Montmartre, it is assumed that they are not French. Mais c'est pas possible!

Illustrations often depict French girls and women as stick thin, which of course is not the norm nor is it the desired norm. But fashion and beauty, synonymous with Paris, is a big part of French culture. Most café terrace chairs face outwards so passersby can be seen, and appreciated. One has but to look up at the sky just about anywhere in Paris and no electrical or telephone lines will be visible because, as a French architect friend explained, "It ruins the eye!”
I used to wonder if Mireille Guiliano's best-selling “French Women Don’t Get Fat” shouldn’t have been titled, “French Women Won’t Get Fat.” When I was growing up in the U.S. my father, who never lost his French accent or sense of style, used to admonish us to "take a little pride" in our appearance. Getting fat was not an option; obesity was associated with lower socioeconomic factors and, as recent studies show, it still is today.

Later, in college, to my usual "uniform" of jeans and jackets (little has changed since) I'd add small "French touches" - a scarf here, a choker there (I designed my own), sometimes a bright lipstick - and became an unwitting sort of "fashion trendsetter" on campus, particularly in grad school. But that was how I was raised.

In France, so far, beauty remains in the eye of each beholder, and we won't be bullied into accepting something just because it's a PC trend. When it comes to obesity, health is one consideration yes, but for now, at least, the French still like to quote Russian novelist and philosopher Fyodor Dostoevsky at dinner parties: "Beauty will save the world."

For centuries la beauté has been an integral part of French culture. We see it not only in fashion but in art, architecture, gastronomy and design. French savoir-faire defines, and drives, the world's luxury market, where beauty, unquestionably its own reward, is highly valued. BPJ


Adapted from my talk:

Eating French: Why French Women Won't Get Fat 
(a.k.a. A French Paradox: The French Non Diet and The Art of Eating for Pleasure)

Special thanks to:

Treize au Jardin
5 rue de Médicis 75006

15 September 2018

Blue cheese

...(made with lavender), orange cheese (hot peppers), red cheese (sun-dried tomatoes), speckled cheese (red peppers, hot peppers, pesto), more, at small charming food and crafts fair all weekend.

Below: stall of multi-flavored sausages and wines; outdoor cantine; fountain of Saint Sulpice

 Place Saint Sulpice 75006

14 September 2018

Salade de chèvre chaud

In France, it's the Prince of Salads. It's on almost every café-bistrot lunchtime menu and when done right, as it is here - still crisp green beans, cherry tomatoes, chives, smoked duck breast, walnuts, batavia lettuce, a light vinaigrette, all topped by a quality goat cheese grilled atop slices of country bread - it's one of life's greatest pleasures. BPJ

12 September 2018

One night in Marseille

A recent trip to the south for a very special dinner to celebrate a very special occasion.

Above: gastronomic dinner for two at three Michelin-starred chef Gérald Passedat's incomparable Le Petit Nice, where nothing less than the "Menu Découverte de la Mer" (chef's 12-course "Discover the Sea" extravaganza) - complete with wine pairings and chilled champagne - would do

Full menu here

Restaurant Le Petit Nice Passedat
17 rue des Braves 13007 Marseille