30 November 2023

28 November 2023

Tarte Tuesday


An assortment of small artisanale tarts compete for attention on a bakery countertop.


21 November 2023

Turkey Tuesday


A turkey run on a farm that welcomed visitors.
(click to enlarge)
In France, bigger is not necessarily better and as turkeys are usually smaller than those in the US cooking time is shorter. And because they are free range the quality and taste of the meat will be superbe. My French mother-in-law would lay a rasher of lard (bacon - fumé or not fumé from the butcher) atop a whole bird before bunging in the oven and the fat basted the skin. Stuffed with chestnuts or a breadless herbed pork farce and served with grilled seasonal vegetables and an autumn fruit - figs, apples, airelles (easily found and mistaken for cranberries) - a feast was inevitable.
A very Happy Thanksgiving to one/all and until next week... - BPJ

20 November 2023

Mushroom Monday

 Still in season: varieties of mushrooms that inspire.

Above: large meaty cèpes have all but disappeared by 10 a.m.


19 November 2023

Church search


Three-quarters of the churches in Paris were burned down during the French Revolution leaving few survivors, most notably Cathédrale Nôtre-Dame de Paris, Église Sainte-Chapelle and the Basilique Cathédrale de Saint-Denis where the kings and queens of France repose, now all well-known touristic sites. (Despite its byzantine aspect the Basilique du Sacré Coeur de Montmartre did not appear until 1914). Today there are many lesser-known churches sprinkled throughout the city that deserve a detour, easily found by searching their whereabouts on a map of Paris. Most are active but some are former churches, cloisters, and ecclesiastical buildings, all worthwhile to discover for their history, architecture and beauty. - BPJ



 Église Saint Paul-Saint Louis

 Église Saint-Jean de Montmartre

 Chapelle Nôtre-Dame-de-la-Médaille-Miraculeuse 

 Église Saint-Germain l'Auxerrois

 Église Saint-Gervais-Saint-Protais

Èglise Saint-Médard de Paris

 Basilique Nôtre-Dame des Victoires

Basilique de Sainte-Clotilde

Église Saint-Étienne-du-Mont

Église Saint-Julien-le-Pauvre

Église Saint-Pierre de Montmartre

Église Saint-Sulpice

Église Saint-Séverin

 Église Saint-Eustache

 Église Saint-Seraphin-de-Sarov

 Église de la Madeleine

Église Saint-Germain-des-Prés

Le Panthéon (originally Église de Sainte-Geneviève)

Collège des Bernardins

 Église des Billettes and its medieval cloister w/exhibitions, concerts



17 November 2023

Fig Friday

It's the end of the fig season, but figs can still be found in most markets and on market streets.



Last night the 2023 Beaujolais Nouveau made its fruity debut.

Much anticipated on the third Thursday of every November dozens of vintages for every taste and budget begin to appear in wine bars, restaurants, shops, caves and on comptoirs.

Did you celebrate?

Beaujolais Villages AOC



15 November 2023

Artful dodging


Le Petit Palais is not only a magnificent art museum but its garden is an unexpected escape in the center of Paris.

Le Petit Palais
Avenue Winston Churchill 75008

11 November 2023


Dining at an old favorite in the Marais district.

 Above: duck in Moroccan brik pastry w/vegetables atop a sweet potato purée; foie gras de canard w/its confit d'oignons and glass of Sauternes
Se restaurer iterally means, "to restore yourself" - by eating. It is the origin of the concept "restaurant," a place where one goes to restore body and soul with food and drink. Today the synonym for "se restaurer" is manger, to eat.

This restaurant whose name translates to "spiral staircase" is an old favorite from back in the day when we lived in this lively quartier, and still comes through with no-fuss traditional French dishes that restore, and satisfy, with a contemporary twist. - BPJ


Le Colimaçon
44 rue Vieille-du-Temple 75004


10 November 2023

8 November 2023

7 November 2023

Travel Tuesday




Charming villages, log fires, cozy pubs, farm fresh foods / produce: a too short séjour in the enchanting English countryside.

Below: kitchen table view onto vegetable / herb garden


3 hours (or less) from Paris

Flights daily from Paris into London Heathrow or Gatwick

By train: Eurostar

+ car rental


5 November 2023

La Paloma

A glistening tourterelle or turtle dove, at first mistaken for a large pigeon, pays a surprise visit to a Paris windowsill. Tourterelles are a rare but welcome sight in Paris said to symbolize "enduring love."

3 November 2023

Floral Friday


Paris florists were busy all week with the Feast of La Toussaint - All Saints Day - as cemeteries filled with visitors placing flowers on the graves of loved ones.

 La Toussaint: All Saints Day
1st November


1 November 2023

Woolly Wednesday


Window of a knitting boutique in a 19th C covered passage in the 9th district.


31 October 2023

Halloween 2023


Carved pumpkins ready for Halloween, with a "French touch."


- Happy Halloween -


Dog daze


A man and his dogs make the rounds in the Marais district.


30 October 2023

Marronnier Monday

Marronnier means chestnut tree and now is the best time to get out and gather.

 Below: chestnuts ready to fall; chestnuts carpet the ground beneath trees





Forests to forage around Paris:

Forêt de Rambouillet
wild boar and hare; several species of deer large/small

Forêt de Marly-le-Roi
numerous species of chestnut trees

Forêt de Bois-d'Arcy

Forêt de Meudon

Fôret de la Grange

Forêt de Montmorency

Bois de Vincennes

Fôret de la Grange

Fôret de Malmaison

27 October 2023

Floral Friday


Today's flowers are hiding something special.

Can you spot them?

Halloween 2023 Tuesday October 31



24 October 2023

Travel Tuesday


Beautiful Austria: Strauss, Mozart and Linzer Torte
Above: castles and churches; on the Danube; Passau just over the German border

 3 hours (or less) from Paris 
À Lynnette


23 October 2023

Mocha Monday

Taking a moment to "take a coffee" (prendre un café) at the foot of the Basilica between the Funiculaire and the longest stairway in Montmartre.


22 October 2023

Lost in translation

A much-loved Montmartre café-bistrot has recently re-opened.
Au Rêve
89 rue Caulaincourt 75018



Tis true that daily specials when recited in French by a haughty Parisian waiter sound so much better than in English. In a sketch about dining at a French restaurant in New York comedy duo Key & Peele do a brilliant send-up of a French waiter describing each dish in intimidating thickly-accented gibberish which leads to dire consequences.

This is not about those bizarre menu translations from French to English that Paris restaurants are notorious for, leaving bewildered customers trying not to laugh. This is about how a menu, melodic in French, can become banal as soon as it’s reduced to English. Instantly, a dish can lose any allure it might have had and can even seem well, unappetizing. Compare:

- Suggestions du Jour -
Entrées: Salade des gésiers ou Velouté de pommes de terres-carottes et ses croûtons
Plat: Rumsteak de boeuf avec sa sauce poivre et gratin dauphinois individuels
Dessert: Crême brûlee

- Suggestions of the Day -
Starters: Gizzard salad or Potato-carrot soup and croutons
Main: Rump steak with pepper sauce and potatoes au gratin
Dessert: Burnt cream

Even so, in France quality of ingredients and preparation of meals trump translations and are sure to please. For an establishment to pass muster locals demand fresh, seasonal, traditional dishes made in the traditional way. Baguettes will be from a reliable boulangerie and cheeses from raw milk. Pasteurised cheese please? “Go to the supermarket!” And desserts, like everything else, will be faits maison (made in the kitchen) or outsourced to a quality pâtissier. GMOs don’t get a second thought (they're not allowed in the EU) and the only place lab-grown foods, and this includes fake meat, have at the table are as a topic of conversation.
Italy has just passed a law - the first in Europe and hopefully France is not far behind - prohibiting encroaching synthetic foods, upsetting NGOS that stand to make handsome profits from products untested for long-term health impacts, taste and quality. When it comes to food, these are the concerns that consume French consumers.

As long as our gizzard salads, rump steaks and burnt cream remain as untouched as possible, we really don’t care what they sound like in English. And neither should you. Bon appétit! - BPJ

21 October 2023

Saturday sitting

A portrait artist on Place du Tertre.


When a gift backfires...
Some years back I commissioned an artist on Place du Tertre to do a portrait from a beautiful photo of my mother when she was young. It was to be a surprise and from the samples of portraits-from-photos displayed at his stand I felt he would be up to the task to do the best job as there was quite a bit of competition around to choose from. 
I didn't care about the price (about 300 euros), only the quality, and happily agreed to pay in advance - only to cringe the second I laid eyes on it almost two weeks later. I'd asked him to take his time to do a good job but it looked nothing like her and barely resembled the photo. The first obvious faute was an enlarged chin, just enough to give the face an aspect of a Don Martin cartoon from MAD magazine, and no, he wasn't a caricaturist. 
 Of course she hated it too, and ever since I tell anyone considering getting their portrait painted in Paris by any of these roving artists to always try to observe them sketching someone live, in person, first. 
And should they want a portrait painted from a photo, not to risk it unless convinced of the artist's ability to capture an image precisely, which is difficult to know in advance. Most, like I did, simply take their chances. - BPJ