31 October 2020

Halloween spirits

Two perfect beers for Halloween.

Jovian: "brewed w/buckwheat; cranberries and kumquat added" 
La Roja: "deep amber w/earthy caramel, spice and sour fruit notes"

 Jolly Pumpkin artisan ales

American craft beers

Merci Planète Bière 2020 Paris


- Happy Halloween 2020 - 

La Toussaint: Day of the Dead / All Saints' Day 
1st November


30 October 2020

Monet's Giverny - closed

(click to enlarge)

The magnificent house and gardens of The Claude Monet-Giverny Foundation, owned by The Academy of Fine Arts, has had to close its doors due to government regulations relating to Covid-19.
E-tickets dated October 30 to November 1, 2020 will be refunded 
Next public opening: April 1, 2021
The new lockdown starting today will see more businesses remaining open than last March, as well as schools, parks gardens, forests and beaches, making one wonder how effective it will be.
Restaurants, cafés, bars, museums, monuments, cinémas and theaters/public entertainment and sports venues seem to be considered the main culprits, so they will be closed. Businesses deemed "non-essential" such as coiffures and boutiques selling clothing will also be closed but food shops, banks, hardware stores, dry cleaning and computer, car and motorcycle repair shops and of course tabacs will stay open. 
More comprehensive list (in French) here.
- Shopping for food
- Going to or returning home from work
- Going to a health professional or pharmacy
- Compelling family reasons
- Assisting vulnerable or disabled persons
- Appearing for a judicial or administrative summons
 - Moving house (w/proof from the moving company)
- Jogging or exercise: one hour outside the home and within one kilometer from residence (filled-in government attestation w/I.D. required) - BPJ

29 October 2020

Now you see them

Now you don't.
No sooner had fresh oysters made a comeback Paris goes back into its shell.
Tonight at midnight.

28 October 2020

Smoke out

Chef steps outside for a quick clope before the lunch service.


Yes, the French still smoke. A lot. At least from an American point of view, but a lot less than before. Since 2007, smoking has been strictly prohibited inside restaurants, cafés and bars, any and all enclosed and covered public spaces such as supermarkets, boutiques, hospitals and clinics, schools, public transportation, airports and in work spaces and offices (sorry "Emily In Paris") unless a company sets aside an area exclusively for fumeurs.

 I was about to say that the stereotype sultry Frenchman of films noirs seated alone on a café terrasse--where smoking is allowed--quietly observing as he takes a drag is long passé, but astute habitués of this blog have pointed out the gentleman in the background behind Clotilde in my recent posting, “Messy French buns" (bottom photo). - BPJ

27 October 2020

Paris popovers

 With another confinement looming it's time to preheat the oven.
Above and Below: French popovers: smaller, detached, more self-assured

Above: homemade whole wheat popovers w/hints of nutmeg

Below: this morning's lemon zest merveilles (accompanied by butter, jams, honey, coffee, tea)


Recipes November newsletter

26 October 2020

Fall, leaves, fall

Emily Brontë

Fall, leaves, fall; die, flowers, away;
Lengthen night and shorten day;
Every leaf speaks bliss to me
Fluttering from the autumn tree.
I shall smile when wreaths of snow
Blossom where the rose should grow;
I shall sing when night’s decay
Ushers in a drearier day.


Autumn in Montmartre

24 October 2020

Messy French buns

This weekend's posting is an ode to the messy French bun a.k.a. "messy French girl bun" or just "messy bun," an enigmatic hairstyle that's been taking over the internet. According to instagram feeds, everyone is gravitating towards “easy," but to be authentique the key word here is "messy" (see My French hair) - natural, uncontrived, slightly unruly - though it is not perceived as messy in France.

This carefree look can be seen in the character of Sylvie in Emily In Paris, the new Netflix series where Emily's French boss (played by Philippine Leroy-Beaulieu), despite pushing 60, steals the show from her over-dressed, over-excited, much younger (yet endearing) American nemesis. But the verdict is in, and it is Sylvie whose wayward wisps and ubiquitous half-sneer make her the most riveting in a series rife with wince-inducing clichés.  

Along with a wardrobe of scarves, the messy bun can be found lurking somewhere inside almost every Parisienne's (designer) bag of tricks, ready to be pulled out at a moment's notice. But for it to be truly Frenchy, this bun - chignon in French - should appear to be an afterthought, swiftly secured with preferably no more than one pin, hair clip or hair tie. And that's it. Years ago I started to write a piece for a beauty magazine called, "The Bun Is Back" but then realized, that at least in France, it never went away.

For a wedding or special occasion most Paris coiffeurs and coiffeuses will expertly oblige with more sophisticated versions. There is a bar à chignons in the Latin Quarter that used to offer a bun+soin de visage (facial) package because zut, lovely skin and chignons go together, like café crèmes and pains au chocolat. - BPJ

Above: daughter Danielle's classic pileup is held in place w/one long hairpin; me w/my usual (messy) one-clip upsweep

Below: 3 messy French buns in a row; a 4-step beach bun (merci Clotilde* - click to enlarge) created in seconds using no pins or clips whatsoever

 * Winner "messiest French girl bun": Clotilde


Top photo image courtesy of Danielle
(dress by Vera Wang)

Barbara Pasquet James

22 October 2020

Say goodbye to Sam


Samuel Paty


 Yesterday France said goodbye at a ceremony held at L'Université Paris Sorbonne (Paris IV)

Aujourd’hui, avec vous, nous sommes tous profs” 
- Today, with you, we are all teachers -
Emmanuel Macron, Président de la République

21 October 2020

Flower power

In France, flowers are an integral part of life and in Paris, florists are as numerous as boulangeries. They lift spirits, add color and cheer wherever they appear, and symbolize romance, nature, optimism and the persistence of beauty. - BPJ

19 October 2020

Dinner at 7

With a couvre-feu (curfew) in place since Saturday, restaurants have had to close by 9 p.m. for the next weeks. But Paris has quickly adjusted with the return of the traditional three-course hot lunch formule, while apéro planches (above), small plates and lighter fare have become the new dinner, taken earlier than France's usual dinner time which typically is between 8 and 9 p.m. Bon appétit! - BPJ

17 October 2020

A Thursday bike

This turquoise bicycle is parked in front of this shuttered window only on Thursdays.


 As we head into the weekend you might have noticed that I've tweaked up the blog, slightly, making some of the photos larger and changing / enlarging text for easier reading - a work in progress as there are almost 2000 posts. The "About" page has been edited, and I’ve stopped posting synopses of monthly newsletters in “Nouveautés” - now a space for selected announcements. While the original concept of a photo blog will remain intact (photos with brief captions), I hope to include more Paris-related commentary, perhaps book reviews, restaurant recommendations, interviews etc. - as I've done for magazines and newspapers.

Wishing all a splendid weekend as we prepare for a four-week (maybe longer, depending how it goes) couvre-feu that begins tonight in Paris, and other cities, between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. (specifics in French here), something that France has not seen since World War II, in an attempt to get this virus under control.

Stay well. Stay safe. Get a dog (dog walking allowed). - BPJ

16 October 2020

15 October 2020

Pasta Parigi

Back to more home-cooking as new restaurant mandates go into effect Saturday.
Above: Monday's peppery whole wheat spaghetti w/mushrooms, leeks, aged comté, garlic, lardons....

14 October 2020

More empty tables

As the number of coronavirus cases climbs ever-changing rules for cafés and restaurants are keeping wary habitués at a distance.

13 October 2020

A Paris vineyard

Paris' last surviving vineyard overlooks the city from its Montmartre perch.


 Merci à La Commanderie du Clos Montmartre

12 October 2020

Basta pasta!

 In Paris, Italian cuisine is probably the most exalted after French.

 Above: the gratinéed foie gras-studded "mac cheese" fusion entrée that had everyone wishing they'd ordered the same


 This week: more Italian... "Monday night is Italian night!"... at home

10 October 2020

Maids all in a row

Into the weekend with anachronistic sculptures by Catalan artist Gerard Mas.

Halle Saint-Pierre
- bookstore / coffee shop / museum -
 2 rue Ronsard 75018

9 October 2020

Fake news

Napoléon Bonaparte was shrewdly aware of the impact of images, and would commission paintings depicting him in scenes that never quite happened that way, for prosperity.

Napoléon Visiting the Plague-Stricken in Jaffa (Antoine-Jean Gros) - During The Egyptian Campaign Napoléon's troops contracted the deadly, and highly contagious, Black Plague, decimating their numbers. But Napoléon wanted history to remember him as a loving leader willing to touch their open sores, risking his own life.

 Napoléon on the Battlefield at Eylau (Antoine-Jean Gros) - This painting of the French army's bloody victory in eastern Prussia detracts from the humiliating defeat to come during the harsh winter. In this painting Napoléon had the artist portray him as a much-adored compassionate hero whose (handsome) officers and soldiers attend to (grizzly) wounded Prussians.
The Coronation of Napoléon (Jacques-Louis David) - Napoleon's mother, seated on a throne under green curtains in the middle of the painting, was not there. Other on-purpose inaccuracies also occur in this painting which is supposed to reflect an actual historical event.


8 October 2020

7 October 2020

Red and white

When I was writing for USA Today a tidbit of advice I passed on to readers was, "Try to avoid those cute Paris bistrots with red and white checked tablecloths. As tempting as they are, they're usually tourist bait." But this Left Bank jewel that's been serving up French classics to a devoted clientèle since 1970 is an exception. - BPJ

 Above: chef Rémi Lebron's "legendary" (quoting his menu) bœuf bourguignon w/grilled marrow bones warm up a chilly autumn evening

13 rue Guisarde 75006


6 October 2020

Jacquemart et André

Inside the opulent mansion of art collector couple par excellence Nélie Jacquemart and Édouard André, now a museum.
Musée Jacquemart-André
158 Boulevard Haussmann 75008
Right now:
The Tate Collection
Ends January 11, 2021
- By reservation only -

5 October 2020

Blue morning

Paris woke up today wondering if a decision to close its restaurants and cafés yet again for a Phase II confinement had been made. And the virus continues....

Bleu Matin
74 rue Lamarck 75018
Update: restaurants and cafés will be allowed to stay open with strict health protocols in place; bars serving alcohol (without food) won't be allowed to serve


3 October 2020

Cuisine cuisine

In French, cuisine is a type of cooking, as in English, but it also translates literally to, "kitchen."

Above: cuisine de grandmère from a Paris cuisine


 Merci A&J for an unforgettable evening


2 October 2020

If winter comes

Leaves have started to fall in Père Lachaise Cemetery.
Yesterday was National Poetry Day in the U.K.
Below: excerpt, "Ode To The West Wind" by Percy Bysshe Shelley

O wild West Wind, thou breath of Autumn's being,
Thou, from whose unseen presence the leaves dead
Are driven, like ghosts from an enchanter fleeing,

Yellow, and black, and pale, and hectic red,
Pestilence-stricken multitudes: O thou,
Who chariotest to their dark wintry bed ...

The trumpet of a prophecy!
O Wind,
If Winter comes, can Spring be far behind?


1 October 2020

Turner: Tate Collection

"Each of his paintings is a living world which is enough in itself." R.J., "Turner à l'Orangerie", Le Monde 2/16/1948


The Tate Collection
Ends January 11, 2021
Musée Jacquemart-André
158 Boulevard Haussmann 75009
- By reservation only -