30 April 2019

An April lunch

Lunch on an elegant terrace overlooking Le Petit Palais.

Below: two courses from our formule déjeuner
1) velouté starters (cold cauliflower soup w/fresh green peas purée; cucumber soup w/crab)
2) panna cotta w/raspberries


Mini-Palais Restaurant
3 Avenue Winston Churchill 75008

(click photos to enlarge)


27 April 2019

Music and gardens

2019 marks the 40th Anniversary of magnificent Les Arts Florissants, an extraordinary musical ensemble led by William Christie and Paul Agnew, and dedicated to baroque in all its forms, but not only...

Above: spring and summer festivals in The Gardens of William Christie

Featuring talented young musicians from the world over and in liaison with the Juilliard School of Music in New York, more than 20 programs of operas and concerts are held in France and throughout Europe - and there's much more.

- See website for this year's programs -
Les Arts Florissants
 Twitter: @lesartsflo

William Christie - Musical Director, Founder
Paul Agnew - Associate Musical Director

Below: from press reception held at L'Académie des Beaux-Arts inside the glorious Institut de France

(click photos to enlarge)

26 April 2019

A natural love affair...

American Craft Beers and Fine French Cuisine: A Natural Love Affair

by Barbara Pasquet James

 Once again, this year’s Planète Biére’s pairing event of fine French cuisine with American craft beers - and in the company of some of Paris’ pickiest palates - was off the charts.

On the eve of Planète Bière I found myself feasting the night away with assembled guests at a five-course sit-down extravaganza aptly dubbed, Un Dîner des Épicurieux - a dinner of the epicurious… - created by Victor LeClerc, chef at Paris’ La Fine Mousse restaurant, and Adam Dulye of the Brewers Association, chef and internationally recognized expert on beer and food pairings. Each dish had been meticulously paired with a beer that would enhance its unique qualities.

Our meal began with a delicate brew from Wormtown Brewery, Massachusetts, called Mass Hole Lager. Chosen for its notes of light corn, cracked grains and grassy floral hops, it was paired with a cauliflower velouté amuse-bouche laced with coriander oil. The beer’s crisp yet light character cleansed the palate with each taste, making it a perfect accompaniment.

Next up, a perfectly poached egg atop a carrot purée lightly flavored with ginger-like galanga, julienned mange-tout green beans and, for crunch, toasted pumpkin seeds, was paired with Sierra Nevada Brut IPA from Chico, California. The beer’s champagne quality and deftly balanced bitterness with a pop of citrus made it a sublime choice for this entrée.

Our main course, fresh steamed hake atop a heavenly avocado mousse infused with flavors of citrus and coriander with just the right flourish of coconut and green mango slivers, met its match in Lucy Session Sour from Indeed Brewing Co. of Minneapolis. Named after the brewer’s daughter (said to be “sour, sassy and unpredictable”), the beer’s exotic character boasted hints of passion fruit, orange peel and lemon grass, making this one my personal favorite of the evening.

Then the cheese course arrived - shaved aged mimolette from the north of France - and with it, Belgian style Roadhouse brew, Avarice & Greed, chosen for its malty sweetness and big, fruity, pear-like finish, another fitting harmony as we excitedly braced ourselves for the dessert to come.

Despite my not having what some call a “sweet tooth,” desserts in France, always inventive and with far less sugar than their Anglo-Saxon counterparts, have become a part of the meal I look forward to, and this one did not disappoint. An unctuous dark chocolate cream was beautifully paired with Denver Beer Co.’s rustic Graham Cracker Porter, its complementary notes of vanilla, smoked cedar, and mulling spices adding an extra layer of flavor to an already unbelievably flavorful dessert.

The verdict? “Ça marche!”


A word about La Fine Mousse:

This is a casual restaurant and bar dedicated to craft beer, worth discovering. On one side of the street is its bar with 20 craft taps, a large bottle list, and, importantly, couches. On the other is the restaurant. There are events, workshops and a convivial atmosphere guaranteed.

Special thanks.

La Fine Mousse

6 Avenue Jean Aicard

75011 Paris

23 April 2019

Tea at the château

More Vaux-Le-Vicomte: a private informal tea

Below: our small press group is joined by one of the castle's gracious owners, Count Alexandre de Vogüé


Merci à Alexandre de Vogüé, et toute l'équipe

22 April 2019

Enchanted evenings

An hour from Paris...

This year, from May 4 to October 5, two thousand candles will light up evenings every Saturday at the Château Vaux-le-Vicomte.

Waltz the night away in the gardens, complete with fireworks at 11 p.m.

Above: al fresco dining at Les Charmilles
(dinner Saturdays only - reservations essential)

Below: the castle at sunset

- Driving (from Paris): 54 minutes via A4 and N104
- By train (from Paris): 35 minutes from Gare de l’Est to Verneuil-l’Étang
+ taxi/uber 

21 April 2019

He is risen

He is not here.
Matthew 28:6

The magic of Easter

Joyeuses Pâques 2019


Photo image courtesy of AFP/Agence France Press

20 April 2019

19 April 2019

La Palette

A beautiful morning deserves a beautiful setting.

Above: coffee at my old neighborhood café in Saint-Germain-des-Prés

16 April 2019

She'll be back

Goodbye for now beautiful Lady, Our Lady, Nôtre Dame de Paris - original title of Victor Hugo's novel, "The Hunchback of Notre Dame."

Above: a rose window and partial view of the interior as I will always remember it

15 April 2019


A long-awaited temple of Italian deliciousness has finally made its way to Paris.

37 rue Sainte-Croix de la Bretonnerie 75004 


Gala opening was Friday April 12
Photos in May newsletter

12 April 2019

Marking history

Oar-shaped historical markers throughout the city harken to the Parisii, a Celtic tribe who settled on the banks of the Seine 3rd century BC.

11 April 2019

Friends in high places

A favorite Montmartre meetup spot with views of the city and Eiffel Tower.

Terrass Hotel
12-14 rue Joseph de Maistre 75018

10 April 2019

Street couture

Springtime in Paris means going through closets and putting together outfits.
You might be surprised at what you'll find....

9 April 2019

"Now this is what I call a hotel!"

In France, a local town hall is a mairie, where the mayor (maire) presides, and is more often than not called the hôtel de ville, three words that have confounded many a foreign traveler.
Years ago, with friends driving from London to the south of France on our way to one of those three-day château weddings (in this case a great-great-granddaughter of Victor Hugo who was marrying her piano teacher), we decided to stop for the night. Arriving in a small town in Burgundy, the driver, a Brazilian banker and friend who fancied himself Ayrton Senna, upon spotting the elegant hôtel de ville stopped the car, jumped out, and proclaimed, "Now this is what I call a hotel!" and began to unload the bags from the trunk. His usually cool calm English wife, fed up with being cramped in the car for hours and bickering with him at almost every kilometer (he'd taken many a wrong turn and refused to ask directions), leaned back, closed her eyes, and said, "For Godsakes that's the town hall! Pleeease put everything back in the car, and stop being so tiresome!" - BPJ

Above: Paris' main town hall - l'Hôtel de Ville - not a hotel to spend the night


[Many who've known me for years and follow this blog have been encouraging me to recount some of the tamer "adventures" we've shared without giving too much away, as a book might be lurking in there. Somewhere.]

8 April 2019

Comfort sandwich

No matter how much great eating there is in Paris - and having written up many of the city's best restaurants over the years - I find myself always returning to my old standby, the simple baguette jambon beurre.

Above: ready to share an early light lunch on a perfect day on the terrace of Carette, Place du Trocadéro

6 April 2019

Op eye

Below: more from the exhibition
(click to enlarge)

Victor Vasarely
 Budapest-born visionary who strove to "psychically feel and comprehend this world."

Ends May 6, 2019
Centre Georges Pompidou
Place Georges-Pompidou 75004

4 April 2019

Double door

A door in the Marais as seen from a double door across the street. Who lived there?

Wi-fi friendly Paris


In Paris, café culture is alive, well, and so far, has quietly embraced laptops. Don't let anyone* try and tell you differently. - BPJ

3 April 2019

Le Brébant

Once a mecca for intellectuals, artists and writers, this striking café-restaurant has been a fixture on the Grands Boulevards since 1865.

Below: Petrossian tarama with lemon wedge, poilâne toast and a glass of chardonnay

Le Brébant
32 Boulevard Poissonnière 75009

April newsletter

2 April 2019

1 April 2019

Au bout de la saison

From market to table:

It's the end of the winter season, and soon crates will be bulging with spring offerings.

Below: Italian Romanesco broccoli made its way to French tables in the 16th century 

Au Bout du Champ
118 rue Caulaincourt 75018