30 November 2020

Le culte

 The Basilica of Sacré Coeur on a November evening.


Yesterday an English friend asked about the use of “culte," a word that turned up in "déplacements pour se rendre dans un lieu de culte" on the latest ramped up attestation that everyone has to fill out to justify why they're outside.

In French, all religions, Catholicism in particular, are referred to as “cults” - a term which takes many a native English speaker aback as it carries with it undertones of sects, of secret rites and dodgy rituals.

All it means is that since Saturday, attending religious services is now allowed. - BPJ

28 November 2020

A French Thanksgiving

"Turkey?" they laughed. "What a charming idea!"

In America, there's nothing more enticing at Thanksgiving than a perfectly roasted juicy turkey, its skin crackling, its meat falling from the bone. The turkey is king for a day, and the odor alone that's been wafting throughout the house for hours as it bakes is saliva-inducing. When it's finally placed on the table with a flourish, ready for carving, it's not unusual for grateful diners to break into applause.
Until recently, no Thanksgiving would be deemed worth its weight in stuffing without it but vegetarians and vegans, whose ranks have swelled to a formidable force, have made the turkey-less Thanksgiving not so uncommon. 
As a concept, Thanksgiving is understood and even embraced by the French, though there might be an unspoken skepticism of a meat considered a trifle too "bon marché" to serve up to guests - unless it's the prized black-plumed dindon de Bresse, available at Christmas or from a farm specializing in quality free-range birds.  
So should a French friend insist on hosting a Thanksgiving feast, you may find yourself wondering, after the first two courses, Où est la dinde? (where's the turkey?). And that is when you discover that your eager-to-please hosts have taken it upon themselves to eliminate the traditional bird altogether and serve up a sensational replacement that, while well-meant, misses the mark.
As the meal winds down you may also notice, to your dismay, that there has been a second casualty: the pumpkin pie, "an acquired taste" you are informed matter-of-factly. But then, a dessert that looks like it jumped off the pages of a French food magazine materializes, and you forgive - and forget - what you're missing. - BPJ
The evening's menu (above):

- Apéritifs
- Morilles (a wild mushroom) quiche
- Breast of wild pheasant with cracked pepper and fruit
- Goat cheese toasts as the cheese course
- Apple soufflés

27 November 2020



The dome of the Basilica of Sacré Coeur dominates the Montmartre skyline.


Autumn in Montmartre

26 November 2020

Giving thanks

 If you're reading this you're alive, hopefully well, and have much to be thankful for.
- A Very Happy Thanksgiving 2020 -
Autumn in Montmartre

24 November 2020

Street in time

This cobbled street leading to the Basilica captured the brush of Maurice Utrillo.
Autumn in Montmartre

21 November 2020

20 November 2020

Vin de primeur

Yesterday was the day when the French region of Beaujolais released its young Gamay wines, traditionally drunk almost immediately after the harvest. But with confinement restrictions still in place, instead of revelers spilling outside wine bars and cafés, small at-home toastings and tastings were held to ring in this year's Beaujolais Nouveau.  - BPJ

19 November 2020

Seeing red


Red leaves brighten some of the most unexpected places.


Autumn in Montmartre

18 November 2020


In the haunted house of life, art is the only stair that doesn't creak. - Tom Robbins


Autumn in Montmartre

17 November 2020

Hat stand

Hats for sale at the foot of Montmartre's funiculaire.


Autumn in Montmartre

16 November 2020

Behind the dome

Some of the best views of the Basilica of Sacré Coeur are from a small park just behind it.
Autumn in Montmartre

14 November 2020

Golden song

Fallen leaves on the ground are the golden song of immortal creativity. - Amit Ray
Autumn in Montmartre

13 November 2020

Rule of 6


An apéro evening in early September when hopes were high that this would be over by now.


Many have been asking whether not adhering to the government "Rule of 6" carries with it a fine. Here's the rule in time for Friday night... keeping in mind that this is for the safety and health of everyone:

  Covid-19 : pas plus de six personnes “à table ou dans la rue... une recommandation plutôt qu'une obligation"

Covid-19: no more than six persons "at table or in the street... a recommendation more than an obligation" - BPJ

12 November 2020

11 November 2020

Burning bush

Bright crimson leaves make a splash in this small hillside cemetery.


Autumn in Montmartre

10 November 2020


Cheeses marbled with aromatic black truffe have taken over Paris fromageries and are gravitating to many more places besides the apéro planche: fondues, omelets, mac-cheese, pizza, risotto....

Below: grilled (truffle) cheese sandwiches


9 November 2020

7 November 2020

6 November 2020

5 November 2020

Quiet walks

As leaves fall it's poetry to walk the streets of Montmartre.

Autumn in Montmartre

4 November 2020

Breaking boules

Nothing compares to fresh artisan bread straight from local boulangerie ovens, still warm. The small round loaves or boules - look for them on upper or back shelves - can be tranchés (sliced) but for the asking. Paris has so many bakeries that unique specialty breads, some available only on certain days of the week, are created to stand out among the competition.

 Above: Pain Scandinave w/hazelnuts, walnuts, dried apricots and currants

 Below: a Pavé (cobblestone) Caulaincourt ready for the toaster

3 November 2020

Autumn theater

The real show here is the profusion of bright leaves over the door of this small theater in Montmartre.


Autumn in Montmartre

2 November 2020

Five steps

A warming new coffeehouse / salon de thé just steps from Place Dalida became my new coffee meetup spot but has temporarily closed due to the latest lockdown, except for takeaway.

 Les Cinq Marches
12 rue Girardon 75018