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

A marronnier is a 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:

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

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

ForĂȘt de Bois-d'Arcy

ForĂȘt de Meudon

FĂŽret de la Grange

ForĂȘt de Montmorency

Bois de Vincennes

FĂŽret de la Grange

FĂŽret 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; in 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 RĂȘve
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 is reduced to English. Instantly, a dish can lose any allure it might have had and even come off as, 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: CrĂȘme brĂ»lee

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

Even so, in France one can rely on quality of ingredients and preparation to 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 pĂątissier. 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 appĂ©tit! - 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


20 October 2023

Foliage Friday

A door on a Montmartre side street peeks out from under a cascade of foliage just starting to change colors.


19 October 2023

Throwback Thursday

View from inside a left bank gallery where crayon scribbles covered the windows.

(click to enlarge)

18 October 2023

Wodka Wednesday

Vodka. Tout simplement.
Over 100 different vodkas
- Creative cocktails - Organized tastings - Vodka and chocolate... -
Vodka Lab
57 rue Saint-Maur 75011

17 October 2023

Tasting Tuesday


The end of the trail.

The festival's parcours du goût or "tasting trail" of food and wine booths lined the small streets leading up to the Basilica was packed with eager tasters.

 Below: snails loaded w/garlic butter; sausages and more sausages; sampling champagne; cheesy potato tartiflette

- From: La FĂȘte des Vendanges 2023 - 


16 October 2023

Marching Monday


From this year's colorful Montmartre grape harvest parade in celebration of France's many diverse wines.
Starting point: Cabaret Lapin Agile, just across from Paris' symbolic last vineyard
Below: marching bands, dancers, regional costumes
Tomorrow: The Tasting Trail



15 October 2023

V for Vendanges

 Last day to experience Montmartre's annual autumn grape harvest/wine festival.
More photos Monday



FĂȘte des Vendanges

Ends October 15



14 October 2023

Sad sack Saturday


"Donnez-moi l'amour et des sacs"

(Give me love and bags)




Montmartre's annual FĂȘte des Vendanges

October 11 - 15




13 October 2023

Flashback Friday

The Basilica of Sacré Coeur on the back of a truck parked on a Montmartre street.

6 October 2023

Floral Friday


 Wildflowers in an English-style garden in the heart of the Marais district.

5 October 2023

Art hopping


Autumn vernissages and gallery openings in lively Saint-Germain-des-Prés.

First Thursday of the month


3 October 2023

Tasty Tuesday

Tarragon lends a unique "French touch" to these home-made whole wheat bagel sandwiches made with dijon mustard-spiked cream cheese, capers, thinly-sliced red onion and Norwegian smoked salmon.
Seed topping: fennel, cumin, black sesame
(click to enlarge)
 - From my Paris kitchen -
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