30 July 2020

Social distance




Parisians' reputation for being distant, even rude (the latter usually the conclusion of outsiders who've not mastered basic niceties) has been noticeably put on hold thanks to the virus. As soon as the confinement was lifted there was a distinct shift in our quartier: familiar eyes and voices behind masks stopping to engage in long conversations, neighbors suggesting a coffee or drink together and, as everyone knows someone, terrace tables filling up and suddenly, it's lunch time. BPJ

Above: get-togethers at different spots almost every day in Montmartre; coffees and teas for 8; tables pushed together for a spontaneous lunch

Below: an elderly couple who rarely venture out enjoy a long lunch  





29 July 2020

Picture perfect


The façade of this café-restaurant behind Notre Dame Cathedral has become the subject of many a photograph evoking romantic old Paris.

***

In September newsletter: reprint of my article, "Paris is Picture Perfect"
© 2004

28 July 2020

Farewell to Joséphine


While Napoléon might have been crazy about his impératrice Joséphine de Beauharnais (a.k.a. "Yeyette"), descendants of French colonialism are not. On Sunday her already beheaded statue, a reminder of that era, was toppled in Martinique, her birthplace.

Above: close-up from "The Empress Joséphine" by Pierre-Paul Prud'Hon

Musée du Louvre

Due to Covid-19 all visitors are now required to book a time slot and wear a mask


27 July 2020

25 July 2020

Farewell to le métro


...And bonjour to bicycling, walking and, when necessary, taxis, Ubers and buses, until the virus is under control - or better, disappears altogether when I can post at last, "Farewell to Covid."

A safe and beauty-filled weekend to one/all. BPJ

24 July 2020

Goodbye Mr. Chips


...And a fond farewell to peanuts, pretzels, olives and other complimentary nibbles that traditionally accompany the evening apéro, due to health concerns about the virus.

Above: customers were invited to BYOC (bring your own chips)

23 July 2020

Farewell to menus


Menus sans contact: Au revoir to hiding behind menus to flirt with the guy at the next table or check if anything's stuck in your teeth with your knife. With coronavirus still lurking, for health and safety reasons there are now QR code stickers on many restaurant and café tables in France to enable patrons to scan and read digitalized menus on their cellphones without having to touch a printed menu. App required. Good idea. BPJ

Le Pain Quotidien
31 rue Lépic 75018

22 July 2020

Farewell to Chinatown



This year it was farewell to Paris' annual Chinese New Year parade, another casualty of le Covid.

Above: from previous festivals with parades, fireworks, live music, street food

2019: The Year of the Pig
2020: The Year of the Ra
t

21 July 2020

Farewell to Fashion Week


Paris (Reuters): In light of the spread of the COVID-19 epidemic worldwide, strong decisions are required to ensure the safety and health of (fashion) houses, their employees and everyone working in our industry, the Fédération de la Haute Couture et de la Mode said in a statement.

Above: plastic garbage bags turned into couture

[My mother used to say, "A beautiful girl can make even a potato sack look good!" Or something like that]

***

Many had been looking forward to this month's menswear collection shows, but alas it was not to be. To my dear friends in the industry who'd planned to be here, but could not, I salute you, and look forward to our next go around. BPJ 

20 July 2020

Farewell to Venus


Inspired by the Venus de Milo, this multi-sectional bronze sculpture had occupied a spot on rue Jacques Callot since 1993, but no more.

Vénus des Arts - 1992
(Venus of the Arts)
Arman

18 July 2020

Bread and flowers


There are mornings where you wake up feeling absolutely amazing. It's a gorgeous day, you're up and out early (you leave him sleeping), and when you step inside your corner boulangerie, flowers are on the counter. Today is such a morning.

Have a super weekend. BPJ

17 July 2020

Terrace turf


On rue des Abbesses, Montmartre

Cafés, restaurants and bars, with new permits to expand onto sidewalk and even street spaces as never before, have become laid-back second homes, with no pressure to pay and leave - one of France's most cherished cultural perks.



16 July 2020

Paris it's nice to see you


Paris' sidewalk terraces seem to be hopping like never before. With many safety rules relaxed but still in place, locals venture out to enjoy the fruits of being extra careful - while it lasts. 

Tomorrow:
Montmartre cafés become home away from home

14 July 2020

Panoramic


Magnificent view from the panoramic terrace atop the Musée Guimet.

- Happy Bastille Day -

***

 Don't miss:

Fuji Land of Snow
July 15 - October 12, 2020

Guimet Museum of Asian Art
Musée national des arts asiatiques Guimet
6, place d’Iéna 75116

13 July 2020

A midsummer meal


Arriving early to a favorite place in my former "hood" for a fantastic and varied spread.

Maison Sauvage
5 Rue de Buci 75006

Photos in September newsletter

11 July 2020

Fuji in all its forms


Celebrating its 130th anniversary, Paris’ museum of Asian arts, the Musée Guimet, re-opened its doors on July 8, 2020, after being closed for months due to the coronavirus. Its newest exhibition, “Fuji pays de neige” - “Fuji Land of Snow” - is a unique retrospective focusing on this much-revered volcano that dominates the Nippon archipelago and has served to inspire centuries of Japanese art. Artist Katsushika Hokusai (1760 - 1849) is but one of many to have immortalized Fuji over and over. His iconic triangle of pure white as seen in “Fuji Blue” (above) served to influence the perspectives and technique of some of the Impressionists such as Claude Monet, as seen in his home at Giverny. Besides a selection of woodblock prints and watercolors there are extraordinary sculptures as well as other objets.

Note: all summer long in addition to this exhibit visitors will be able to take advantage of the "Carte Blanche to Ru Xiao Fan," extended until September 2020. Masks required. BPJ

Fuji Land of Snow
July 15 - October 12, 2020

Guimet Museum of Asian Art
Musée national des arts asiatiques Guimet
6, place d’Iéna 75116

Below: Sazai Hall at the Temple of Five Hundred Arhats from series "36 Views of Mount Fuji" (Katsushika Hokusai); courtesans display a snow-capped Mount Fuji (Isoda Koryūsai); our (masked) press group at preview





Merci encore Mélanie

10 July 2020

A Franco-American breakfast


Yesterday's usual French petit-déjeuner of coffee, tea, baguette toasts, butter and confitures was joined by a decidedly Anglo-Saxon visitor.


Above: organic fresh eggs baked atop a base of crunchy pan-fried hash browns garnished w/smoky caramelized bacon curls, coriandre; avocado and sliced red onion accompany

8 July 2020

A book by its cover


That which is striking and beautiful is not always right, but that which is right is always beautiful. - Ninon de l'Enclos, French courtesan, author, patron of the arts


Amaze
Author: Cristina Mittermeier
Publisher: teNeues Publishing Company 
Available at La Hune Gallery 16 rue de l'Abbaye 75006

Fantastic photographer, fantastic book

7 July 2020

Bread sticks


Mouth-watering Benoîton nordique breadsticks made with rye flour and mixed seeds.

 PAUL
corner of rue de Seine / rue de Buci 75006

6 July 2020

Worth waiting for


The interior of Paris' oldest church, under scaffolding for almost two years, restored to its original splendor.

L'Église de Saint-Germain-des-Prés

4 July 2020

Hitting the spot


And the spot is Angelina, an old favorite on rue de Rivoli.

Above: hot béchamel cheese croissant; smoked salmon on brioche toast and poached eggs; coffee

3 July 2020

A café terrace


Two tables, four chairs, two ashtrays.

***

In spite of a preoccupation with la santé publique (public health) and the many precautions surrounding Le Covid in France, ironically, smoking continues as before, as evidenced by ashtrays set out on terrace tables at many cafés and restaurants. Before smoking inside restaurants was prohibited I'd been working on a book, "The Non-Smokers Guide To Paris," but while my co-authors and I were still researching and compiling information the ban came into effect and in truth, it was a welcome development. When the law first appeared it clearly stated that besides interiors, enclosed terraces would be subject to the new smoke-free rules. But in no time at all smokers and their smoke invaded all terraces. Owners turned a blind eye; many of their regulars were smokers, as were they. I’d grown up around cigarettes; my father had been a chain smoker for awhile and, it seemed, so were all of his French friends who’d spend hours together all talking at the same time, puffing away. Smoking was not stigmatized, it was a choice, an after-dinner plaisir enhanced by an espresso and I chose not to take it up, nor was I tempted (deaths in France due to smoking-related illnesses are high but accurate stats are hard to come by). So I shouldn't have been surprised when the prolific tabac quietly showed up on the list of “essential purchases only” establishments allowed to stay open, along with supermarkets, gas stations and pharmacies during our confinement. While Paris, as any large city, has its share of noxious fumes and air pollution, for me, one thing that's come out of all this is that masks make sense. Even when this is all over, I don’t think I will leave home without one. BPJ

2 July 2020

Rue du Trésor


Fellow journalists-bon vivants have an apartment on this cobbled "Street of the Treasure," so named after a cache of coins dating from the 14th and 15th centuries was discovered during its construction.

Merci Monique et Stéphane


1 July 2020

Most missed


Just one of the things in Paris I missed the most during le lockdown.

Above: chaotic sharing meal around a table with friends

***

10 things I missed most
July newsletter