23 August 2021

À la rentrée

 FocusOnParis.com will be returning in September.

Enjoy the rest of the summer! - BPJ


20 August 2021

Flashback Friday


I've always had a thing for châteaux. Exploring the French countryside by car over the years, whenever I saw that there would be one on our route (in France roadside signs signal approaching castles, villages, and cheese), I'd make sure we'd make time in our trip to stop. 

Then, years later, I found myself assigned to write up some of the most beautiful castles in France, which meant staying as a wined-dined guest - all part of the job, mind you - and one of the most memorable was the magnificent Château de Courcelles. On the edge of a medieval commune within the sights of the Champagne region, the château is renowned for its history, elegance, beauty and for years, gastronomy. While there have been some changes since, even so, these photos hopefully give but a glimpse into its timeless luxury. - BPJ


From, "A Château for All Seasons" © Barbara Pasquet James

 "...The first clue that this was to be no ordinary séjour was our room – a spacious, beautifully decorated suite off the main building, its tall windows and thick wooden beams giving it a charm reminiscent of an artist’s atelier or hunter's lodge. No detail – from the jacuzzi-like oversized bathtub, heated towel racks, sumptuous bathrobes and cozy slippers to period style wallpaper (which matched the upholstery) and writing desk – had been overlooked. The view over the garden tempted us to settle in with the cozy fire that had already been lit and partake of the welcome basket bursting with fresh fruit and champagne from one of the region’s vineyards, but we were eager to explore the château and its sumptuous grounds, and learn more of its rich history as we let ourselves be transported into a time of kings, courtiers and courtesans.

 The Château de Courcelles dates to the late period in the long reign of Louis XIV, le Roi-Soleil. Built in 1690, it has seen a parade of illustrious visitors - philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau, French film star Daniel Auteuil (Jean de Florette, La Reine Margot) to name but two. Indeed, Courcelles-sur-Vesle is where Napoléon Bonaparte was to first set eyes on the young Marie-Louise, Josephine’s successor and great niece of executed Marie-Antoinette, when she arrived by carriage from Austria, already his wife by proxy...."

 Château de Courcelles
8 rue du Château
02220 Courcelles-sur-Vesles - France

 Member: Relais & Chateaux Group

(click photos to enlarge)


16 August 2021


 Amélie prend goût à des plaisirs simples, comme faire craquer la crème brûlée avec une cuillère.- "Amélie takes a liking to simple pleasures, like cracking crème brûlée with a spoon."

Le Fabuleux Destin d'Amélie Poulain a film by Jean-Pierre Jeunet (France 2001)

14 August 2021

Art and architecture

 Surrealism and art nouveau combine to create an incomparable exhibition.

 Catalán artists
Salvador Dalí - Antoni Gaudí
Above: Ascension (Dalí)

(click to enlarge)
Below: La Sagrada Familia, Barcelona (Gaudí)

Until January 2, 2022


13 August 2021

Going green

Summer zucchini and fennel in a local supermarché await a clever cook.

(click to enlarge)

9 August 2021


Every fiddler he had a fiddle, and a very fine fiddle had he. - Old King Cole, British nursery rhyme

6 August 2021

Sunset and windmill

Every sunset brings the promise of a new tomorrow.
Then, at last, Madeleine’s luck turned. She came across Montmartre. With its windmills, its clear air and the old-fashioned, village feel of its higgledy-piggledy houses perched on a slope.... - Catherine Hewitt, Renoir's Dancer: The Secret Life of Suzanne Valadon

5 August 2021

View from a window

 Chimneys and rooftops over Paris.


The chief danger about Paris is that it is such a strong stimulant. - T. S. Eliot

4 August 2021

Peachy keen

 Peaches are back in season.
Above: farm-picked peaches ready to be turned into confitures


Cueillir your own fruits / vegetables / flowers 

Bests farms and orchards near / around Paris

To Terry


2 August 2021