29 April 2020

Not yet



Empty terrace of a usually lively Montmartre café.

***

Specifics for the upcoming May 11th déconfinement in France have been announced and include wearing masks on all public transportation and continuing with the usual precautions (social distancing, masks, regular hand washing etc.). Markets will re-open (to be decided by regional mayors and préfets), travel within 100 kilometers will be permitted, and the famous attestation won't be required. The "most vulnerable" - ages 65 + as well as those with pre-existing conditions such as diabetes, upper respiratory and cardiovascular issues and what's become the most significant group at risk, the overweight / obese - are being urged to continue with present lockdown rules as much as possible. BPJ

No firm date has yet been decided for the re-opening of cafés and restaurants.

28 April 2020

Italian night


During lockdown we've made Monday night Italian night (see below) but instead of pepperoni pizza, last night it was a brown rice mushroom risotto with scotch whisky in the place of white wine.

Recipe in May newsletter

***

Raymond: We have pepperoni pizza for dinner Monday nights.
Susanna: Pizza? You get pizza in an institution?
Raymond: Monday night is Italian night.

From 1988 film "Rain Man" w/Dustin Hoffman, Tom Cruise

27 April 2020

25 April 2020

Quiet walkway


The serenity of a Montmartre cobbled walkway.

Above: a stairway leads to Allée des Brouillards and Place Dalida

24 April 2020

A surprise breakfast



Some days, it's nice to wake up to a surprise.

It wasn't the typical French petit déjeuner, and it wasn't the Café de Flore c'est vrai.
It was better.

Menu: just-right oeufs à la coque, baguette toast, butter (lots), bacon, mascarpone topped with the season's first strawberries, fresh pressed coffee (with real cream for my crème), artisanal jams (blueberry and passion fruit-mango) and honey. Everything that was supposed to be hot still was, and everything was perfection.

Merci Frédéric

***

Tentative date for re-opening of Paris cafés, bars and restaurants: June 15th

23 April 2020

Working in


Many are using this confinement / stay-at-home time to get (or stay) in shape. Whether it's Pilates, yoga, dancing in place or lifting weights, the lockdown is an opportunity to tone up, and if we need help, trainers and studios are offering free online workout classes... all at one's fingertips with but a quick search on the internet. Many Parisians, like former Chanel model now author Caroline de Maigret (find her books on Amazon), admit to pretty much hating anything that resembles a scheduled exercise program: in Paris, and in France in general, exercise is less important than in the U.S. However, things are changing. Gym clubs (salles de sport), once a rarity, have sprouted up in unexpected neighborhoods. While most workouts come from the U.S., Swedish Gym is popular, mostly among women, offering cheap and numerous classes around the city. Runners, another rarity until fairly recently, seem to be everywhere. And of course Montmartre, with its hilly streets and many stairways has become my own private daily workout territoire - just outside my door and the perfect excuse to enjoy this dazzling spring weather. BPJ

22 April 2020

21 April 2020

Won't you be mine?


This photo of a giant human skull decorating a men's boutique window was taken on Valentine's Day, which coincidentally turned out to be the date of France's first coronavirus death.


[The first death from the coronavirus appeared in Paris February 14, an 80-year-old Chinese patient.]

*** 

The plague that caused the Black Death originated in China in the early to mid-1300s and spread along trade routes westward to the Mediterranean and northern Africa. It reached southern England in 1348 and northern Britain and Scandinavia by 1350. - Encyclopedia Brittanica/Pandemics-Medieval Europe

***

Today marks the first anniversary of what we consider the true date of death of beloved and cherished friend Clement von Franckenstein -- Hollywood Reporter / Telegraph -- last Easter Sunday, the day he went into a coma. I will be commemorating him on the official date, May 9th.

20 April 2020

Who was that masked man



Home deliveries / Livraisons à domicile

Pizza isn't the only show in town when it comes to ready-to-indulge home food delivery in Paris. Who wants to rattle pots and pans day after day when you can answer the door to a pair of smiling eyes blinking above a mask, leaving you to return to that still-warm couch to catch up on the latest coronavirus developments? Here, (besides Boulangerie Poilâne), three more favorite places we'd frequent before the lockdown that I was delighted to find had stepped up to the plate, so to speak. BPJ

***

La Maison Plisson (above) is keeping two of its shops open during the crise as well as offering products for sale online: fruit, prime ribs and meats, vegetables, baguettes, cheeses, Bordier butter, tasty spreads, seafood, organic eggs, granolas, organic champagne (!), alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages.

93 Boulevard Beaumarchais 75003
35 Place du Marché Saint-Honoré 75001


 

Flyin' Circus a new delivery service run by the popular Circus Bakery is taking orders for their superb sourdough bread, banana bread, and apple pie. The infamous cinnamon knots are also available, and they will deliver to every Paris arrondissement except the 12th and 13th. They make their own deliveries on bicycles, and orders placed before 4 p.m. will be (safely) dropped at your threshold the same day.

 


Eataly, the mega mercato in this Italian food hall in the Marais district, offers pre-packed baskets as well as baskets to order - wines and cheeses, fruits and vegetables; spaghetti, pasta, and brunch boxes, even a "family kit." Individual products such as charcuterie, olive oil, panettone, Moscato and a selection of taralli can be delivered within Paris starting at 8.50€ with a 50€ minimum.

***

A new crop of web video platforms is being used as never before to meet up en groupe for tea, coffee, or an apéro, a fun way to stay connected with friends and family scattered all over the world.

May newsletter

18 April 2020

Oven to table



Besides its glorious artisanal sourdough breads this revered Parisian bakery is delivering granola, sablés, cookies, chocolates, confitures, flour, salt, bread baskets, more... to breakfast tables throughout the city.


Monday: more livraison à domicile for the housebound

17 April 2020

Fish Friday


Social distancing shopping for fresh seafood.

***

If more men than women seem to be doing the food shopping these days, some of us with French husbands in tow have been comparing notes and we've noticed that the virus seems to have triggered a sort of "protective instinct" in our partners - who've been insisting that we ladies don't move and let them brave masked shoppers, wait in lines, and leave the eggplant squeezing to them. BPJ

16 April 2020

Corona nation


"Here, the young Louis XIII was coronated, one hour after the death of his father Henry IV."

***

In today's Les Echos: "18 million people 'at risk' will remain confined after May 11th"

[To be cont'd....]

 

14 April 2020

Pâques



Easter Sunday's souris d'agneau au miel for two.

Below: my take on buñuelos de manzana with a shot of St-Germain elderflower liqueur instead of jerez (sherry), a traditional dessert in Spain during Semana Santa (Easter week) and specialty of a tiny restaurant in Barcelona's old Barrio Gótico


11 April 2020

Bulk bread


In France we're not bulk buyers but these long-lasting whole grain pains au levain outside a boulangerie were being sold in large hunks to be sliced into several days' worth.

10 April 2020

Ça va passer


Yesterday's headline: Liberty Confined.

***

The other day a very old lady, hunched over, mask-less and pulling a shopping caddy behind her, mumbled a French version of "Bah humbug!" as she passed the line at a local organic foodstore. Everyone was wearing masks and, in silence, keeping prescribed distances when she burst out, "Ça va passer!" - this will pass - waving her free hand in disdain. A welcome gesture, it broke the ice and all agreed that we need to put this into perspective - as well as treasure this precious disappearing generation, sadly, today's most susceptible, who've seen it all: wars, holocausts, depressions, recessions, pandemics, natural disasters. BPJ


9 April 2020

Forty days


Last night's announcement that the lockdown will be prolonged (presumably for two more weeks) came as no surprise. Perhaps from day one we should have looked to the Middle Ages where the practice of quarantine (from Italian quaranta giorni; forty days - quarantaine in French) was considered the minimum amount of time needed, they noticed, to remain in confinement to prevent an epidemic from spreading. The term dates from the days of the Plague in the 14th century when ships would sit at anchor in the Venice harbor for forty days before landing. April 25th will be our quarantaine. What will it bring? BPJ

8 April 2020

Le Bonaparte


Waiting for Paris' cafés to re-open....

Above: a favorite point de rendez-vous when I lived in Saint-Germain-des-Prés

Café Le Bonaparte 
42 rue Bonaparte 75006

7 April 2020

Fleurs du bien


If you feel, as I do, that flowers are an achat de première nécessité (as per the famous attestation as a legitimate reason to be outside), they can be found in local supermarkets.


Above: flower shop on Place de Fürstenberg before the lockdown

6 April 2020

Soups du jour


Home made soups and smooth veloutés ease le confinement.

Above: immune-boosting carrot ginger soup

***

Recipes for soothing soups and more in April newsletter

4 April 2020

Stay home


Stay home. Stay safe.

***

En avril, ne te découvre pas d'un fil, et en mai, reste enfermé!

Old French saying, with my personal twist

2 April 2020

Evening apéros


Well before the lockdown, and for years, we've made it a tradition to have a pre-dinner apéritif almost every evening, whether chez nous, chez friends, on a café terrace in nice weather or at a favorite wine bar, wherever we are. And the drink needn't be alcohol - it could be a fruit juice, ice tea or sparkling water, with accompaniments of anything from peanuts, chips, pretzels or olives to cheeses, sausages and elaborate canapés. BPJ

Above: dried mango, almonds, whole wheat grissini, two kinds of cheeses

Below: yesterday's gin and tonics, cheeses, spicy cashews, cured sausage with fennel, dark German bread

 

1 April 2020

Font art


Baptismal font inside Église Saint-Jean de Montmartre, an art nouveau church on Place des Abbesses.