22 October 2020

Say goodbye to Sam


Samuel Paty


 Yesterday France said goodbye at a ceremony held at L'Université Paris Sorbonne (Paris IV)

Aujourd’hui, avec vous, nous sommes tous profs” 
- Today, with you, we are all teachers -
Emmanuel Macron, Président de la République

21 October 2020

Flower power

In France, flowers are an integral part of life and in Paris, florists are as numerous as boulangeries. They lift spirits, add color and cheer wherever they appear, and symbolize romance, nature, optimism and the persistence of beauty. BPJ

19 October 2020

Dinner at 7

With the couvre-feu - curfew in English - in place since Saturday, restaurants have to close by 9 p.m. for the next weeks. But Paris has quickly adjusted with the return of the traditional three-course hot lunch formule, while apéro planches (above), small plates and lighter fare are becoming the new dinner, taken earlier than France's usual dinner time, typically between 8 and 9 p.m. BPJ

17 October 2020

A Thursday bike

This turquoise bicycle is parked in front of this shuttered window only on Thursdays.


 As we head into the weekend you might have noticed that I've tweaked up the blog slightly, making some of the photos larger and changing / enlarging text for easier reading - a work in progress as there are almost 2000 posts. The "About" page has been edited, and I’ve stopped posting synopses of monthly newsletters in “Nouveautés” - now a space for selected announcements. While the original concept of a photo blog will remain intact (photos plus brief captions), I hope to include more written content - Paris-related commentary, book reviews, restaurant recommendations, interviews of local personnages - as I've done writing for magazines and newspapers.

Wishing all a splendid weekend as we prepare for a four-week (maybe longer, depending how it goes) couvre-feu that begins tonight in Paris, and other cities, between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. (specifics in French here), something that France has not seen since World War II, in an attempt to get this virus under control.

Stay well. Stay safe. Get a dog (dog walking allowed). BPJ

15 October 2020

Pasta Parigi

Back to more home-cooking as new restaurant rules go into effect Saturday.
Above: Monday's peppery whole wheat spaghetti w/mushrooms, leeks, aged comté, garlic, lardons....

14 October 2020

More empty tables

As the number of coronavirus cases climbs new rules for cafés and restaurants are keeping wary habitués at a distance.

13 October 2020

A Paris vineyard

Paris' last surviving vineyard overlooks the city from its Montmartre perch.


 Merci à La Commanderie du Clos Montmartre

12 October 2020

Basta pasta!

 In Paris, Italian cuisine is probably the most exalted after French.

 Above: the gratinéed foie gras-studded "mac cheese" fusion entrée that had everyone wishing they'd ordered the same


 This week: more Italian... "Monday night is Italian night!"... at home

10 October 2020

Maids all in a row

Into the weekend with anachronistic sculptures by Catalan artist Gerard Mas.

Halle Saint Pierre
- bookstore / coffee shop / museum -
2 rue Ronsard 75018

9 October 2020

Fake news

Napoléon Bonaparte was shrewdly aware of the power of images, and would commission paintings depicting him in scenes that never quite happened that way, for prosperity.

Napoléon Visiting the Plague-Stricken in Jaffa (Antoine-Jean Gros) - During The Egyptian Campaign Napoléon's troops contracted the deadly, and highly contagious, Plague, decimating their numbers. But Napoléon has history remembering him as a loving leader willing to touch their open sores, risking his own life.

 Napoléon on the Battlefield at Eylau (Antoine-Jean Gros) - This painting of the French army's bloody victory in eastern Prussia detracts from the humiliating defeat to come during the harsh Russian winter. In this painting Napoléon had the artist portray him as a much-adored compassionate hero whose (handsome) officers and soldiers attend to (grizzly) wounded Prussians.

8 October 2020

7 October 2020

Red and white

When I was writing for USA Today a tidbit of advice I passed on to readers was, "Try to avoid those cute Paris bistrots with red and white checked tablecloths. As tempting as they are, they're usually tourist bait." But this Left Bank jewel that's been serving up French classics to a devoted clientèle since 1970 is an exception.

 Above: chef Rémi Lebron's "legendary" (quoting his menu) bœuf bourguignon w/grilled marrow bones warm up a chilly autumn evening

13 rue Guisarde 75006


6 October 2020

Jacquemart et André

Inside the opulent mansion of art collector couple par excellence Nélie Jacquemart and Édouard André, now a museum.
Musée Jacquemart-André
158 Boulevard Haussmann 75008
Right now:
The Tate Collection
Ends January 11, 2021
- By reservation only -

5 October 2020

Blue morning

Paris woke up today wondering if a decision to close its restaurants and cafés yet again for a Phase II confinement had been made. And the virus continues....

Bleu Matin
74 rue Lamarck 75018
Update: restaurants and cafés will be allowed to stay open with strict health protocols in place; bars serving alcohol (without food) won't be allowed to serve


3 October 2020

Cuisine cuisine

In French, cuisine is a type of cooking, as in English, but it also translates to, "kitchen."

Above: cuisine de grandmère from a Paris cuisine


 Merci Ariana and Jean-Michel for an unforgettable evening


2 October 2020

If winter comes

Leaves have started to fall in Père Lachaise Cemetery.
Yesterday was National Poetry Day in the U.K. and this poem, by Percy Bysshe Shelley, is one of my favorites:
Ode To The West Wind

O wild West Wind, thou breath of Autumn's being,
Thou, from whose unseen presence the leaves dead
Are driven, like ghosts from an enchanter fleeing,

Yellow, and black, and pale, and hectic red,
Pestilence-stricken multitudes: O thou,
Who chariotest to their dark wintry bed

The winged seeds, where they lie cold and low,
Each like a corpse within its grave, until
Thine azure sister of the Spring shall blow

Her clarion o'er the dreaming earth, and fill
(Driving sweet buds like flocks to feed in air)
With living hues and odours plain and hill:

Wild Spirit, which art moving everywhere;
Destroyer and preserver; hear, oh hear!

Thou on whose stream, mid the steep sky's commotion,
Loose clouds like earth's decaying leaves are shed,
Shook from the tangled boughs of Heaven and Ocean,

Angels of rain and lightning: there are spread
On the blue surface of thine aëry surge,
Like the bright hair uplifted from the head

Of some fierce Maenad, even from the dim verge
Of the horizon to the zenith's height,
The locks of the approaching storm. Thou dirge

Of the dying year, to which this closing night
Will be the dome of a vast sepulchre,
Vaulted with all thy congregated might

Of vapours, from whose solid atmosphere
Black rain, and fire, and hail will burst: oh hear!

Thou who didst waken from his summer dreams
The blue Mediterranean, where he lay,
Lull'd by the coil of his crystalline streams,

Beside a pumice isle in Baiae's bay,
And saw in sleep old palaces and towers
Quivering within the wave's intenser day,

All overgrown with azure moss and flowers
So sweet, the sense faints picturing them! Thou
For whose path the Atlantic's level powers

Cleave themselves into chasms, while far below
The sea-blooms and the oozy woods which wear
The sapless foliage of the ocean, know

Thy voice, and suddenly grow gray with fear,
And tremble and despoil themselves: oh hear!

If I were a dead leaf thou mightest bear;
If I were a swift cloud to fly with thee;
A wave to pant beneath thy power, and share

The impulse of thy strength, only less free
Than thou, O uncontrollable! If even
I were as in my boyhood, and could be

The comrade of thy wanderings over Heaven,
As then, when to outstrip thy skiey speed
Scarce seem'd a vision; I would ne'er have striven

As thus with thee in prayer in my sore need.
Oh, lift me as a wave, a leaf, a cloud!
I fall upon the thorns of life! I bleed!

A heavy weight of hours has chain'd and bow'd
One too like thee: tameless, and swift, and proud.

Make me thy lyre, even as the forest is:
What if my leaves are falling like its own!
The tumult of thy mighty harmonies

Will take from both a deep, autumnal tone,
Sweet though in sadness. Be thou, Spirit fierce,
My spirit! Be thou me, impetuous one! 

[Courage! You're almost there....]
 Drive my dead thoughts over the universe
Like wither'd leaves to quicken a new birth!
And, by the incantation of this verse,
Scatter, as from an unextinguish'd hearth
Ashes and sparks, my words among mankind!
Be through my lips to unawaken'd earth

The trumpet of a prophecy!
O Wind,
If Winter comes, can Spring be far behind?


1 October 2020

Turner: Tate Collection

"Each of his paintings is a living world which is enough in itself." R.J., "Turner à l'Orangerie", Le Monde 2/16/1948


The Tate Collection
Ends January 11, 2021
Musée Jacquemart-André
158 Boulevard Haussmann 75009
- By reservation only -