Be sure to check what's new at for unique photo tours and itineraries






Paris 1874: The invention of Impressionism

(Monet, Renoir, Degas, Morisot, Pissarro, Sisley)

Tickets for the Exhibition

Ends July 14, 2024





IRIS VAN HERPEN   - Sculpting the Senses

Musée des Arts Décoratifs

Ends April 28, 2024









My First Easter Egg

Create chocolate Easter eggs w/your child /

grandchild in Paris

 Saturday March 30, 2024 - 2 1/2 hrs

Le Cordon Bleu






Last days: MARK ROTHKO


Fondation Louis Vuitton

Ends April 2, 2024





Aux Beaux Carrés: Travaux In Situ
Daniel Buren
Ends February 18, 2024









Théophile Steinlen (1859 - 1923)

The Centenary Exhibition
 Renoir Gardens / Café Renoir / Atelier Suzanne Valadon / permanent exhibition 
12 rue Cortot 75018 
Ends February 11, 2024





Halle Saint Pierre, Montmartre
2 rue Ronsard 75018
Ends August 14, 2024









Christmas In Paris: What's On

 Best things to do - Paris Discovery Guide













 Christmas Concerts Paris / Île-de-France







2023 Christmas markets in Paris

- Something for everyone -

Best Christmas Markets 2023








Carte Noire Nommée Désir 

Sensational afro-feminist multi-performance

1 rue André Suares 75017

November 28 - December 17








Montmartre's annual grape harvest festival

Fête des Vendanges

October 11 - 15









Engravings by the great masters of printmaking:

Rembrandt, Dürer, Callot, Toulouse-Lautrec, Goya, more

Treasures in black & white

Le Petit Palais 

Avenue Winston Churchill 75008

Ends January 14, 2024







 An open-air contemporary art exhibition

Esplanade de La Defense

LES EXTATIQUES 2023 - L'art au grand air

                                            Ends October 1









 Philippe Starck: Paris est pataphysique

 Musée Carnavalet
Ends August 27, 2023




Ends September 3, 2023





Saturday / Sunday

June 24 - 25, 2023







Marc Chagall - Paris / New York

Paul Klee - Convergence

Ends January 2024

L'Atelier des Lumières




March 19 - 20, 2023

(see blog for details)








Tati re-opens its doors 

to street art

Ends February 16, 2023


entrée libre




Chinese New Year celebrations in Paris until February 5, 2023

The traditional Paris parade is organized on Sunday 29 January, departure between 1 and 2 pm in the streets of the 13th arrondissement between Avenue de Choisy, Porte de Choisy and Avenue d'Ivry. Music, costumes, cymbals, drums, scary tigers and colorful dragons. And for lunch, Asian restaurants abound. 

Where to celebrate....







Christmas markets in Paris

Photo: enchanting small Marché de Noël across the river from Notre Dame Cathedral, still under construction

Square René-Viviani



A fashion extravaganza. A feast for the eyes.

Elsa Schiaparelli

Musée des Arts Décoratifs

Ends January 22, 2023 






Worth the trip:

Halloween in medieval Belcastel -

one of the most beautiful villages in France

October 28 - 31, 2022




The exquisite Dior Exhibition:

A mustn't-miss during upcoming Fashion Week


SOLDES d'été 2022

Paris' long-awaited summer sales end July 19



Current:  HEY! Le Dessin
Group exhibition - Ends December 31, 2022 
Halle Saint Pierre, Montmartre
2 rue Ronsard 75018


Photo: trapped in an iron neck brace unable to speak or eat (2019 exhibition)




Another sublime exhibition (click photo to enlarge)    
Ends January 1, 2023


 An enormous event featuring wines and spirits from   every region of France. Tastings, discounted wines, animations, special exhibitions, industry newbies and news....

 2800 exhibitors


February 14 - 16

Porte de Versailles






Holiday outing:

Patricia Cunha's umbrella sky at Bercy Village.

Til January 16, 2022







"Changer l"Eau des Fleurs" - A beautiful adaptation of Valérie Perrin's "Fresh Water for Flowers" sure to warm hearts over the holidays. In French at Théâtre Lepic, 1 Avenue Junot 75018

A mind-boggling collection of Thierry Mugler's designs at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs

Ends April 24, 2022



Wrap artists

Once-in-a-lifetime: Arc de Triomphe enveloped in fabric, vision of late artist couple Christo and Jeanne-Claude

Ends October 3, 2021


Exhibition: Surrealism, meet Art Nouveau....

Salvador Dalí

Antoni Gaudí

L'Atelier des Lumières - Ends January 2, 2022


Cartier-Bresson at Musée Carnavalet

Ends October 31, 2021






Wednesday June 16, 2021 will go down in French history as the day face masks worn outdoors became no longer compulsory.


On May 19, 2021, some of the restrictions that have been put in place will be lifted. See May 18, 2021 post, "Getting ready."


 In France, the holiday season isn't officially over until the last day of January. Until then feel free to indulge in galettes des rois and send out cartes de voeux to your heart's desire.

(click photo to enlarge)



Once again the City of Paris has set up a Christmas village with a mini-Christmas market, festivities and entertainment in front of the Hôtel de Ville

Ends January 3, 2021






Novenber 23, 2020


Still time to grab a bottle (or 3) at this charming Montmartre épicerie:

Maison des Épicureans
46 rue Lamarck 75018
Monet's Giverny closed until April 1, 2021


Dans les Têtes de Stéphane Blanquet 
Halle Saint-Pierre
2 rue Ronsard 75018 Paris
Until July 30, 2021

Newsletters sent monthly to private subscribers only.

Below: sample synopses from previous issues


July 2020
This month’s newsletter: gourmet Provence - en plus where we stayed, what we did (and didn't do); not-to-miss restaurants and local village markets plus tips for traveling in the French countryside. Also… better with butter: French pastries are world-renowned for good reason - Paris' best (and what makes pastries from Brittany so exceptional). Finally: sometimes it takes a lockdown to realize that nothing must ever be taken for granted. My personal 10 Most-Missed List during le confinement. BPJ

June 2020
Easing back into the Paris lifestyle: this month’s newsletter features some of my favorite terrace dining spots, recently re-polished, re-opened and ready for business, three delightful bookstores (along with recommended summer reading) and two fantastic picnic spots. perfect for social distancing. Also…. selected recipes from my personal trove (as seen in May’s published posts): two cold soups plus two easy-to-whip-together Thai and Korean specialties. And for those cooler June evenings, one Japanese hot pot. To finish, and this is for les célibataires recently sprung from le confinement: in France, flirting is as much a part of life as a daily baguette: advice on how to read the cues (and get them right!) behind the masks. BPJ

May 2020
If you, like most everyone around the world with a computer and internet access, are depending on video calling platforms to connect with family / friends during these times of confinement, May’s newsletter zooms in on the most popular. Plus… unexpected ingredients and home cooking: easy exciting recipes to enhance the stay-at-home experience (this month: Italian). Also: fooding in the time of corona: from pizza to sushi and creative “baskets” - no need to wait in long supermarket lines when efficient safe delivery to your door is keeping some small businesses in business. Finally… as France's May 11th (partial) déconfinement approaches, 10 things about Paris I miss most during lockdown. BPJ

April 2020
March marched into Paris with the looming coronavirus confinement, and on the fooding front this meant plenty of opportunity for home cooking for the housebound. This month, recipes and meal suggestions of varying degrees of scrumptiousness... plus photographs, with an accent on comfort. From a variety of immune-boosting soupes - we've been making a different soup almost every day - to regional French dishes, cocottes, daubes and even a poke bowl (with a French slant), there's sure to be something to ease any lockdown. En plus… creative apéritifs at l'heure de l'apéro, with ideas for evening-enhancing planches. BPJ

March 2020
February heralded in Valentine’s Day - and a surprise Valentine’s night at a very particulier hotel. In this month’s newsletter, more photos, including the house recipe for an exceptional pre-dinner cocktail apéritif. Plus: why are Paris' wine restaurants and wine bars so special? A list of some of my favorites, with tips on how to choose wines for the undiscerning palate. Finally: Don't let the party die dept: with coronavirus apprehension in the air, this season's Fashion Week was noticeably low key, but some of us managed to get together. More runway photos and an elegant farewell dinner at Caffè Stern in the enchanting Passage des Panoramas. BPJ

February 2020
Comme prévu, February’s newsletter features addresses and recipes from the most beautiful villages in Alsace - where to eat, where to stay, travel tips... plus more photos to whisk you off to the magical Land of Pretzels. And: a well made chocolate soufflé is a personal addiction and (of course) I’ve been carefully noting where to find the best, with one lovely place right under everyone’s noses yet totally unexpected. Finally: now that Paris' public transportation is back on track (literally) a roster of some of the city’s not-to-miss special exhibitions. BPJ

January 2020
This month's newsletter features holiday recipes: inspiring dishes and quick/easy-to-whip up apèros from Christmas Eve and Hanukkah all the way to New Year’s Day, with much in-between: home-made relishes and chutneys, perfect foie gras canapés, delectable savory cookies, simple ideas for smoked salmon, perfect roast goose, Austrian hazelnut butter cookies (a family tradition), baba ganoush and other delicacies from Petra, creative salads, cheese boards and desserts for happy home entertaining and a happy New Year. BPJ

December 2019
The last month of the year's newsletter kicks off with my pick of 2019's Paris Christmas markets… Plus: whether you live in the City of Light or are visiting over these holidays and just looking? 4 don’t-miss art / photography exhibitions that will leave you speechless. Plus: bistrot-hopping during Fashion Week: my Complete List; where we went, what we ate/drank. En plusNoël Noël: more inspiring photos from Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte, enchanted castle (and filmset to over 80 films), decked out for Christmas for a magical family outing. Finally: holiday shopping - the unusual, the unique; fantastical baubles and bulbs for the tree. Wishing one/all the Happiest of Holidays, and see you in the New Year! BPJ

November 2019
Halloween, à la française... four parties and a "funeral" (complete with a skeleton piano player and vampire monk pallbearers). And... mark your calendars: from street art to galleries and museums, November is Paris Photography Month. Six stops you won't want to miss including Grand Palais' annual photography extravaganza (11/7/-10) featuring works by dozens of cutting edge photographers. Plus... great ideas for tempting holiday main courses, French style. Finally: where to find that whole Thanksgiving turkey plus how to order one from your French butcher - better hurry! - maybe get it roasted in the deal. BPJ

October 2019
This month’s newsletter is a teeny bit late as I’ve been working with a sensational crew on a super exciting project. However to keep things on track, and as promised, I’ve put together a list of where to find some of the best sharing planches in Paris. Plus... it's goodbye to Fashion Week: some of the incredible designs and small ephemeral boutiques that caught my eye. Finally... Halloween (BOO!) is in the air: where the parties are. BPJ

September 2019
This month highlights cozy lounges and bar à vins to curl up on a couch with someone who loves the good things in life (almost) as much as you do. And… A Farewell to Summer - more photos from a private rooftop terrace party in Montmartre. Plus: September means Fashion Week - join the BP ("Beautiful People" as they say in the biz): dates, see and be seen... Finally… street markets are back in full force post August, and better than ever. BPJ

August 2019
Still thinking of owning that vacation or even 2nd home in Paris? Some of the pros and (possible) cons, taxes, hidden charges, French inheritance law. Plus... markets open in August: you're not the only one staying in the city this month, and everyone has to eat...! And: a marriage made in heaven... pasta and foie gras... my favorites, and where to find them. Finally… fooding on the Côte d’Azur: Michelin guided - photos / addresses.... Très bonnes vacances à tous. BPJ 

July 2019
A boule or a miche? In France, bread is a way of life: where to learn to make French bread in Paris: pain au levain, baguettes... Plus: ditch the canicule for these cool places to beat the heat, from restos with AC, sunset rooftops and luxurious indoor swimming pools to hot spots to watch Bastille Day fireworks over a cool drink. Finally... photos from champagne press reception at Halle Saint-Pierre in Montmartre to kick off avant-garde art / pop culture exhibition "Hey!" - ends August 2nd. BPJ

June 2019
A romantic getaway not far from Paris, the old Norman port town of Honfleur is a great place to hole up for a weekend: where we stayed (try and book during a full moon) and, bien sûr, great places to eat / drink. And… steeped in antiquities: three beautiful places to dine in the capital where sculptures create a unique ambiance. Plus: “Don’t let the party die!” dept.: more photos from 2019 Dîner en Blanc, Thursday June 6th. BPJ

May 2019
Eataly Paris arrived with a bang: a peek inside the pre (press) opening gala, with tastings and demos galore. Plus…Claude Monet didn’t want to be anywhere else, and neither will you: lose yourself among thousands of tulips at Giverny... And speaking of tulips… 3 hours (or less) from Paris: Amsterdam revisited: its canals, its bridges and yes, its food (not just dutch pancakes and split pea soup!); restaurants, "brown bars," exhibits, where to rent a bicycle, using the trams. Photo: inside the Amsterdam Royal Palace. BPJ

 April 2019
First, a behind-the-scenes eye fest from musical Guys and Dolls directed by brilliant U.K.-born danseur, chorégraphe and metteur en scène Stephen Mear, now at the Marigny Théâtre til July 27. Next, soups are hot: where to find great ones - with chef’s recipe for each. Finally… Book Review: Tu Casa Mi Casa: Mexican Recipes for the Home Cook by Enrique Olvera (Publisher: Phaidon Press March 27, 2019). More photos from book launch at Le Cordon Bleu, Paris. BPJ

March 2019
This month's newsletter is devoted to Paris Fashion Week which ended March 5th, with more of my photos of fashion visionary Karl Lagerfeld (see 2/20/2019 post My tribute to Karl) who revived The House of Chanel ten years after Coco Chanel's passing on January 10, 1971. Plus... behind-the-scenes photos, quirky mode, and an until-the-next-time farewell dinner. With special thanks to Angie, Christian, Linda Lin, Danielle, Daria and Alexsei. BPJ

February 2019
The holiday season in France stretches to the end of January, and this month looks back with more recipes and festive menus - from special-occasion canapés and sweet treats to creative bagel brunches. And… an unforgettable day: exclusive photos inside the Palais du Louvre, world’s most crowded museum, with barely a soul in sight. Then, an afternoon of hot chocolat and café viennois at fabled Café de Flore on the Left Bank. Plus… le chocolat: a French obsession. BPJ

January 2019
Choux in: In France, the 2nd day of January is, believe it or not, National Cream Puff Day: This month, where to find the best choux pastries in Paris. Plus… Urban Art: more photos from JR’s citywide exhibition of gigantic eyes (Luxembourg, La Chapelle, Bir-Hakeim and Luxembourg metro stations). And: ice skating - where the rinks are [1/9 last day for magnificent Grand Palais des glaces]. Finally... how we kept cozy and warm over the holidays: cooking, baking, entertaining, and making sure there was plenty of firewood... (w/recipes) BPJ

December 2018

Besides more creative gift ideas for holiday shopping in Paris, this month's newsletter features our November visit to sunny southern California: old and new haunts, restaurants, coffee, music venues and selected recipes from a non-stop round of outings and invitations. The Malibu fires created much bonding and new friends. There were stories of miracles and a night of feasting when Danielle and I rolled up our sleeves to make a French-style multi-course menu for almost 30 evacuees, lifting spirits (and glasses). I was happy to discover Eataly L.A., Whole Foods' salted butter caramel vegan ice cream, and this year, Thanksgiving was extra special. BPJ

November 2018
3 Hours (or Less) From Paris: more photos from eclectic Berlin, city of The Brandenburg Gate and The Wall: oui, that wall. Plus: some very original (and very French) holiday gift ideas.... Plus: the best Paris hotels for the holidays - my recommendations and how to get a discount. And finally… photography: Doors of Paris - the unusual, the strange. BPJ

October 2018
In fond memory of London’s The Gasworks ("Duck or lamb, Love?”) my picks for lamb in Paris, whether souris, navarin, épaule, gigot, ragoût, daube, as côtelettes or chargrilled brochettes d'agneau slipped into Kurdish flatbreads rolled out in front of you. Plus… where else but in France does French toast appear under "desserts" and burgers as a "snack” on menus? Some of my favorite finds. En plusL’Atelier des Lumières extends its Klimt / Hundertwasser exhibition to January 6, 2019 BPJ 

September 2018
Oh Méert!: A recent day trip to the city of Lille would not have been complete without a stop at storybook confiserie-pâtisserie-salon-de-thé Méert, its flat waffle a favorite of Charles de Gaulle. Plus... Magret on the menu: Years ago in London our famished group of revelers would head out weekly to The Gasworks in Chelsea (Dabbler article / 2012) a resto with the feel of a hobbit den where the sole question at the door was, “Duck or lamb?” My picks for delectable duck in Paris (next month, lamb). Plus... Paris Fashion week: best see-&-be-seen fashionista hangs BPJ

August 2018
More photos from the streets of Paris celebrating France's exciting World Cup 2018 victory... [And...: "It was 20 years ago today"... photos of Frédéric and me celebrating France's World Cup win... in 1998!] Plus... Le Heat Wave: 15 ways to leave the canicule. Travel / Food: "All hams on deck" - a muy intensivo overnight in Cadaqués Spain complete with sunset aperitivo on a fishing boat, French style - then late dinner at Compartir. BPJ


July 2018
Get invited: July = Independence Day month for both the USA (4th) and France (14th a.k.a. Bastille Day) with BBQ’s, balls and parties held all over the city and countryside. And... Special access: Garnier’s mind-boggling Opera - more behind-the-scenes photos. Plus: It’s the summer soldes! Some of my most cherished small boutiques plus tips on how to get even more off. BPJ

June 2018
Thanks to a non-stop stream of visitors last month turned into a fooding extravaganza. In this month's newsletter: Vietnam in Paris - where to eat (2 favorites are in my "hood," Montmartre); what to order. Plus... Michelin on my mind (and plate!): 3 mouth-watering reviews of 3 shining stars. Plus: Vive les truffes! An older French woman once told me, “Truffles are a bit like the female orgasm. If you’ve never experienced it, you don't miss it.” Four don’t-miss addresses (click photos to enlarge). BPJ

May 2018
3 Hours (or Less) From Paris: 4 days in Tangiers: our riad in the kasbah; breakfasts with a view (and the best fresh orange juice on earth); Café Hafa (hanging gardens, views to Gibraltar); a labyrinth of souks and a mysterious blue village, a photographer's dream. And: Klimt / Hundertwasser: more photos from l'Atelier des Lumières' astounding exhibition. Plus... warm weather = bare feet, sandals and mani-pedis: my addresses.... BPJ 

Update 5/14/2017: more Tangiers photos / travel tips mailed out today

I believe in manicures.... Audrey Hepburn

April 2018
More photos from A Night To Remember: American craft beers are paired with fine French cuisine. Recently I was invited to a spectacular dinner held at the private residence of Jamie McCourt, US Ambassador to France and Principality of Monaco, and helmed by top chefs to showcase beer's natural affinity to gourmet foods. And... Behind the windows: inside a breathtaking Montmartre atelier d'artiste that belongs to the Picasso family. BPJ

March 2018
3 Hours (or Less) From Paris: Tasting Brittany, breeding ground to France's oysters and world class chefs. Plus: Paris in the snow - a look back in photos. More looking back: “Don’t let the party die!”: The London Experience was on the tail of The Barcelona / Cadaqués Experience an outgrowth of The East Coast / Far West USA Experience all eventually morphing into The Paris Experience. In loving memory of Ralph. BPJ

February 2018
Rainy drizzly Paris? No worries: it's the perfect excuse to go shopping. Some of my favorite specialty boutiques, with essential shopping tips. Sales end 2/20. Plus: 3 Hours (or Less) From Paris: Venice - Venetians don’t let high waters stop them from hitting the canals and neither should you. If you can't make it to the Carnevale di Venezia (ends 2/13), Paris' own annual Mardi Gras takes to the streets Sunday 2/11 at 2 p.m. BPJ

January 2018
My favorite Paris coffee shops; 3 Hours (or Less) From Paris: seductive Andalucia, los pueblos blancos, in photos; holidays past, French style; looking back: 20 most viewed photos 2017. Plus: more great "Mothers and Daughters" news!! [or, Unexpected Gift: looks like M&D is about to get yet another wind since its 5/2016 release and brought to the attention of many more :)] BPJ

There's no such thing as bad publicity.
Phineas T. Barnum

The only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about.

Oscar Wilde

All success begins in scandal.

Salvador Dali


December 2017 
Paris passages: Lose yourself in the charming precursors of today’s shopping malls from the 18th and 19th centuries and experience the Belle Époque. Plus: A Night at the Opera, Men In Tutus, Thanksgivings past... (Photo: inside hilltop village Châteauneuf-en-Auxois, Burgundy) BPJ


November 2017
Autumn in Paris; fall Fashion Week in retrospect; Halloween French style; toujours chic: the Café de Flore;'s top 10 most viewed photographs.

Special for Photography Month: A magical photo trip thru Monument Valley, Arches National Park, Bryce Canyon and Colorado National Monument (scenic Rim Rock Drive, more), with travel tips.

On photography: Years ago one of my brothers and his family came to stay with me in Cadaqués, Spain, where I was living, for the holidays. Driving from the Figueres train station where I'd picked them up he insisted we stop the car halfway over the mountain so he could take what must have been dozens of photos, incredulous at the turquoise blue of the Mediterranean, a color he'd seen only in post cards. That's how I felt in Monument Valley (iphone photo taken from our hotel room balcony - click to enlarge): true colors; no touch-ups necessary. Special thanks to sponsor WPA. BPJ

October 2017
Stupéfiant: More photos from my press trip to Puglia, the “heel” of Italy’s boot just a 2-1/2-hour flight from Paris, with tips on when to go, where to stay and eat, getting around, more. And... Star-studded Special Awards & Thanks “Mothers and DaughtersDinner (French chef; private home Beverly Hills). Plus: “I love Paris in the Fall” fashion update. BPJ

Update 10/11/2017: New York Times Travel - Matera

September 2017
Next stop Pigalle: Don’t let Pigalle’s naughty reputation stop you from visiting this up/coming quartier’s cocktail bar sensations like Lulu White. Plus… Retrospectives and introspection: if you missed Olga Picasso, there's still Hockney, Derain, Balthus, Giacometti, Christian Dior, Anselm Kiefer, more.... It's la rentrée and Paris is pulsing with art. Finally: Deadline Hollywood: British director Paul Duddridge and principal producer Danielle James (yes that Danielle James, my Spain/London/Paris-raised offspring...) release their first trailer of "Together" starring two of the U.K.'s best-loved actors, Peter Bowles and Sylvia Syms. Filmed in London. BPJ

August 2017
3 Hours (or Less) From Paris: London  
Doctor Faustus was a good man,
He whipped his scholars now and then;
When he whipped them he made them dance
Out of England into France
.... English nursery rhyme 

Gare du Nord central Paris into St. Pancras station central London is just 2 1/2 hours by Eurostar. Paris in London; an afternoon tea; style on the High Street; drinks at 7?.... Plus: Paris in August. BPJ

July 22, 2017
Tour de France - More than 2,000 miles and three weeks of pedaling end tomorrow Sunday July 23rd as the final leg of the world's most famous bicycle race takes place on the Champs-Élysées, with Le Big Finish at Place de la Concorde. Find a spot along the way!

July 20, 2017
Rob: All love, condolences and strength to you sweet friend, and to your family and fellow band-mates. R.I.P. Chester Bennington.
   Barbara and Frédéric

Photo: with Rob Bourdon, Linkin Park, in Paris

July 2017 
Look at me....
Pamper yourself at a trendy Montmarte gourmet teas and coffees shop. Uplift the senses at a luxury rooftop spa. Plus: Post-Mother's Day 2017... Exciting "Mothers and Daughters" film news! BPJ


June 2017 
Don't forget to download June newsletter (mailed out 6/15) loaded with even more photos of our latest jaunt to Greece. Plus: From Aunt Maria's Kitchen... Timeless recipes as taught to me by my Italian aunt when Frédéric and I stayed with her in Rome, now re-created (and filmed!) in a French chef friend's beautiful Paris atelier. BPJ

May 2017 
My month ahead: Press trips and book launchings.... BPJ

Publisher: Flammarion
Publisher: Michael O'Mara Books Ltd.



June 20, 2017 
Recipe: Aperol Spritz
The Italian apéritif that's making terrace tables sparkle all over Paris has taken over France. Low in alcohol content, it's a great hot weather pause and easy to make:
Fill a bowl-style wine glass with ice then add:
3 parts Prosecco
2 parts Aperol (in Venice they use Select)
a splash of soda (I use Perrier and top it off with a little extra)
a slice of orange
Stir and... Santé!

June 11, 2017 
3 Hours (or Less) From Paris: Les Îles Grecques
 by Barbara Pasquet James

With Athens only a 2-1/2 / 3-hour flight from Paris, the Greek Islands are just a hop via frequent ferries - and the perfect excuse to pack those off-the-shoulder white see-thrus and designer leather flip flops. 

To a background of Greek music and cries of seagulls as the warm Aegean laps your toes, sip rakomelos and bask in majestic sunsets watching sailboats drift by, and faster than you can say "Yassas!" (probably the only Greek word you'll need) it’s time for dinner....

Some recommended islands:
- Hydra (near Athens - Leonard Cohen; celebrity, artist hideaway) 
- Skopelos (think Mamma Mia!; baritone Ivan Rebroff)
If you're a #whitefishingvillagesaddict like I am, pick any of these from the Cycladic group:
- Amorgos 
- Astypalea
- Mykonos
- Naxos
- Paros
- Santorini (stay in Oia)
- Sifnos

When to go: May, June, September

Book with:,, Compare travel sites and start two months in advance, or check for last-minute deals. If you hit it right a round-trip plane fare can cost less than a one-way high-speed train ticket to the South of France. 

Getting there from Paris: Fly into Athens or Santorini but check boat schedules online before booking. High-speed boats and ferries leave from ports of Pireus (Athens), islands of Naxos. Mykonos and Paros daily, connecting the islands. 

Where to stay: First night Athens - Hotel Grande Bretagne in the heart of the city for its elegance, buffet breakfasts and unbeatable night views of the Acropolis from its rooftop restaurant (desserts by Montmartre's own Arnaud Larher!). On the islands - Balconied studio apartments, hotels dripping with bougainvillea. Try for a sea view or sliver of one. Slumming it? Locals holding up signs offering rooms in their homes will be waiting at ports for boat arrivals. Negotiate.

What to do: Swim, eat, drink, meander, hike, eat, reflect, rent a motor scooter (just 10 euros a day, insurance included). Get hold of a map of the island you’re on and explore villages, farms, archeological and historical sites. Bring along a good read or two and your laptop: wi-fi is almost everywhere including in cafés. Join in village festivals. Take lots of photos. Get a massage.

What to eat: Even small village tavernas are dishing out traditional Greek ingredients with modern twists. For breakfast try thick local yoghurt made from sheep’s milk with honey, walnuts and fresh fruit and feel like a god/goddess for the rest of the day. Look for spit-roasting lamb or goat, crispy green falafels (using fresh herbs), icy house lemonade with mint leaves. Ask to try local cheeses. Order a Greek coffee anytime; if you nibble a sticky Greek pastry with it you won't need to add sugar.

Photo: slightly spicy hot dipping starter of melted feta with garlic, onions, strong local olive oil and grilled red peppers  

California Dreamin’: A Paris Restaurant Marathon 
 by Barbara Pasquet James 

[Published summer issue The Good Life France Magazine 2018] 

Paris is indisputably one of the best food cities in the world.
Innumerable markets and shops tout eye-popping drool-inducing produce, pastries, chocolates and more, fodder for thousands of food blogs, and there are enough neo-bistros and restaurants to keep food reviewers busy for a lifetime just revisiting old chomping grounds.

So imagine being contacted by insatiable foodie friends from California, with whom you’ve shared many a stellar meal, announcing that they are returning to Paris not for the shopping, not museums or monuments, but for five days of “extreme fooding” - a marathon of restaurants they’d been dreaming about for the better part of a year - and they’d love it if you (and in my case, French hubby as well) would join them? That’s exactly what happened not long ago and my mission, which I cheerily chose to accept, was to snag reservations at some of the hardest-to-get tables in town on relatively short notice.

There would be nine fantastic restaurants in five days, seven of them with us, lunches and dinners. They would squeeze in Daniel Rose’s Spring and Hélène Darroze on their own but for all the others, we would eat and drink our way through the city together.

Juggling bookings at sought-after Paris watering holes can be a challenge: most are open on certain days only. Others just for dinner and incredibly, starred players are closed on weekends. But I was both pistonnée (food writer / guest eater at chefs’ tables) and persistent. Our only restriction: no fish or shellfish for one in our party. We were afraid this would prove to be an obstacle at places with fixed tasting menus but happily, it wasn’t.

Wednesday Lunch
Alain Passard alum David Toutain reboots a conceptual menu daily. Labor intensive and well-thought out, Toutain’s inventive menus induce veneration in his faithful, many of whom migrated with him from Agapé Substance in Saint-Germain. Give him a root vegetable and he’s a magician: sweet potato gnocchi, celeriac tagliatelle with white alba truffle. Toutain’s signature smoked eel with black sesame and green apple left us speechless. Throughout, the term “neo-Nordic” kept springing to mind as many of the courses would have been just as much at home in a forest as on our plates. Dessert of cauliflower coconut vanilla cream with a chef’s surprise of quince chips and white chocolate ice cream by Jacques Genin was followed by fire-roasted figs with mascarpone and root vegetables “churros” with chocolate and smoked salt. A stunning start.

David Toutain (multi-course tasting menu)
29 rue Surcouf 75007 Paris
Tel: 01 45 50 11 10


Wednesday Dinner
Scoring a table at Frenchie on short notice imparts an enormous sense of accomplishment. Yet its laid-back location on a narrow backstreet in the Sentier garment district makes one wonder what all the international fuss is about. It’s about the food, the wine, the terrific service. Nantes native Gregory Marchand hit it right by offering gorgeous seasonal farm-to-table fare paired with just as gorgeous wines. An unpretentious cave à vins and Frenchie’s To Go followed, along with gourmet food shops, and now, just a visit to Frenchie, especially if combined with nearby market street rue Montorgueil, is a gourmet experience. Our multi-faceted meal included perfect duck breast, pumpkin ravioli packages bursting with texture and crunchy Brussels sprouts topped with crumbled feta. Frenchie’s signature maple-glazed scones with bacon from the chalkboard next door put in an appearance and amused our geueles. Warning: Frenchie is the sort of place where diners at cramped tables to the left and right might want to know what it is you’re having, and try to cop tastes. Fabuleux.

Frenchie (multi-course tasting menu)
5 rue du Nil 75002 Paris
Tel: 01 40 39 96 19
Book well in advance

Thursday Lunch

Under the Les Halles canopy a modern Michelin-starred French bistro-brasserie signed Alain Ducasse is open every day of the week. A view of the ancient Church of Saint-Eustache and modern graffiti-covered walls are a backdrop to traditional French classics such as boudins, oysters, foie gras, beef tartare, duck and snails that share a simple carte alongside ricotta-spinach ravioli, smoked salmon, salads and oven-fresh soufflés, a specialty. Kicking off with a coupe de champagne we tried the two raw fish starters: sea bream in citrus fruit shavings, black pepper and basil, and sea bass with carrot, fresh lime and ginger. Spectacular. This was followed by the copious house salad (romaine, shaved radish, fennel, carrot, beets, cucumber dressed in a tart yogurt mint vinaigrette), all forerunners of two sky-high soufflés - one cheese, the other in-season asparagus - both exploding with flavor and obscenely generous. Wines were expertly paired with each course and by the time dessert arrived - pistachio-laced salted butter caramel soufflé - we almost stood up and applauded. But we were too full! (Note: Champeaux does a great "Happy Hour" with imaginative planches and much more, but only in winter).

Champeaux Brasserie Bar & Lounge
Forum des Halles La Canopée 75001 Paris
Tel: 01 53 45 84 50

Friday Lunch
Since the opening of this superstar starred neo-bistro on a street behind Bastille, chef Bertrand Grébaut has never looked back. A relaxed decor belies top talent in the kitchen. Grébaut’s menu of pure seasonal ingredients complements a wine list of carefully selected small producers who avoid additives. I’d been sure to let them know in advance about our friend’s fish-shellfish allergy, and they rose to the task. All of the dishes were beautifully presented. Synergies of flavors and textures prevailed: white asparagus with an oyster sauce gribiche; pork tenderloin with slivered radishes; steamed cod with pickled turnips and yuzu sauce. Dessert, every French schoolchild’s fave, riz au lait vanille, creamy rice pudding tanged up with a passion fruit coulis, arrived with another old favorite, a deconstructed Mont Blanc with its familiar chestnut cream “spaghetti,” making this meal a knockout, just as we’d hoped it would be. Next. 

Septime (multi-course tasting menu)
80 rue de Charonne 75011 Paris
Tel: 012 43 67 38 29
Book well in advance

Friday Dinner

Verjus is the happy outgrowth of The Hidden Kitchen, where exquisite dinner parties hosted by Laura Adrian and Braden Perkins were held in a private Paris apartment. The view is of a theater reminiscent of New Orleans’ old French Quarter and below, in a small intimate room, is their wine bar with its ever-changing chalkboard. I’d not dined at Verjus before because we’d fill up on the apéro plates downstairs - pork belly with sesame seeds, indescribable Parmesan “churros,” duck terrine maison with pistachios - and felt no need to go upstairs for their nine-course extravaganza. However on this night, oysters from Utah Beach with rhubarb, gougères dusted with seaweed and asiago, perfectly roasted pork, foie gras with walnuts and a jaw-dropping beet tarte tatin, more, kept us happy all the way to dessert: caramelized Jerusalem artichoke ice cream with apple and cinnamon. I vowed to return.

Verjus (multi-course tasting menu)
52 rue de Richelieu 75001 Paris
Tel: 01 42 97 54 4
Book well in advance 


Saturday Lunch

Being escorted through the opulent Hotel Peninsula then seated in LiLi’s spacious dining room felt like we’d arrived on a Hollywood film set. This gastro Chinese temple was our choice for Saturday lunch, not so much for a change from French cuisine, but to sample their reputed authentic gourmet Cantonese dim sum. Excited, we went for what else, the Menu Dim Sum: steamed lobster dumplings with asparagus, Shanghai-style steamed pork raviolis, chicken and eggplant dumplings with XO sauce, pan-fried minced pork dumplings with bok choy, each deliciously succulent and elegantly presented. But, as the saying goes, “Chinese food goes right through you,” we decided to loosen our belts and go for some mains. To wash it all down, martinis with lemon twists which, I discovered, beautifully cleanse the palate between courses. Dessert? Not this time. Dinner would be in a few hours. 

LiLi at the Hotel Peninsula
19 avenue Kléber 75016 Paris
Tel: 01 58 12 67 50


Saturday Dinner

Our last stop after such a raffinée experience at lunch, standing-only (and standing-room-only) French tapas-wine-bar L’Avant Comptoir seemed a natural choice for dinner. And, as we’d all be off to a concert later, we could Uber away within minutes’ notice. Loyal fans of chef Yves Camdeborde since his La Régélade days in the far-flung 14th way back when, we’d followed him to Saint-Germain-des-Prés. First-timers here are astounded when they look up: a forest of small banners with photos of dozens of small-plate choices hangs from the ceiling. An impressive selection of wines, sausages, and a gigantic hunk of salt-studded butter dominate the zinc counter with still-warm country loaves cut into chunks, mustard, cornichons, and fleur de sel for the taking. We joined the throng and ordered away: crunchy calamari and crunchier fried chicken with house frites and sauce gribiche; waffles topped with artichoke cream and Bayonne ham; foie gras with piquillo kebabs; caramelized pork belly; sautéed cèpe mushrooms with garlic. We did it. Bordeaux and dry rosé by the glass and endless toasts with total strangers, and it was over.

L’Avant Comptoir
3 Carrefour de l'Odéon 75006 Paris
Tel: 01 42 38 47 55


 Barbara Pasquet James (left) at fashionable Via Veneto in Santa Monica, California with fellow foodies, bon vivants, world adventurers and dear friends Tom and Lauren, who came to Paris. 
- A Very Special Thanks - 


My interview as World Photo Adventure's Photographer of the Month can be seen here

Many thanks again to Wilf, the WPA team, and everyone who wrote in. 

 We live in a wonderful world that is full of beauty, charm and adventure. There is no end to the adventures we can have if only we seek them with our eyes open. – Jawaharlal Nehru

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