30 June 2021

Chez Vincent

Passersby at #54 rue Lepic where Dutch artist Vincent Van Gogh lived for two years with his brother Théo, an art dealer, usually have to be satisfied with the small plaque on the wall outside.

Above: a peek inside


29 June 2021

Musique en fête

This year's fête de la musique was especially high-spirited after over a year of on/off lockdowns.

 Above: almost every square, street corner and café terrace in Montmartre had its music

28 June 2021

Moon Monday

Return to Paris and a June moon on the first day of summer.
- Tomorrow -
 La Fête de la Musique

26 June 2021

A Paris escape #7

Our trip ended here, in the village of Salers. Then it was back to Paris.

 Above: from a café table 

Below: side street; lakeside lunch; inside tiny commune Le Falgoux; one last cup w/soaring views 



25 June 2021

A Paris escape #6

Meandering through the refreshing Cantal, our last stop, was a welcome few days... moreso knowing Paris was in the middle of a heatwave. The region, renown for its tranquil beauty, gets its moment of fame almost every year during the Tour de France and is on the Auvergne Cheese Route.
 Above: Puy Mary (yes that's snow) an ancient volcano


Mad Cow Dept:
How to prevent an attack by a cow (short version)
- Due to the location of their eyes cows do not have a straight line of sight, so make sure they respond to your voice
- If you detect an aggressive cow keep moving calmly and do not make direct eye contact
- Keep your body facing the cow at all times. Do not turn your back or run
And finally -
- If you are attacked, hit the cow directly on the nose to deter it - BPJ

23 June 2021

A Paris escape #4


From the Aubrac, it was a 2-hour scenic drive to Quercy with a stop in medieval Belcastel.

Above: view from our breakfast table; Saint-Cirq-Lapopie, jewel of the region

Below: market day in Figeac; rainbow after a flash storm



22 June 2021

A Paris escape #3



Above: vistas

Below: a garden lunch; chez des amis, Estaing


(click photos to enlarge)


- Tomorrow: Quercy -

21 June 2021

A Paris escape #2


 With lockdowns lifted as well as spirits, getting out and away is uppermost in many minds. 

June is one of our preferred months to travel as the weather can be summery with still cool evenings. And it's an ideal time to avoid the crowded seacoasts of July and August.

Last year's confinement and travel restrictions had slowed all travel to a grinding halt. But now that it's over, we decided to take a road trip that would embrace three beloved regions: Aubrac, to visit visit with friends and revisit favorite sites, the beautiful Quercy to the southwest, and finally, the last leg of our trip would finish in the Pays Basque - the French, not Spanish, side - where we'd planned to meet up with friends from Paris in Saint-Jean-de-Luz. Perfect.

But it was not meant to be. Somewhere between the high plateaus of the Aubrac and the medieval clifftop village of Rocamadour we realized that a searing heatwave loomed over much of the country, especially the Basque part of our trip, and quickly tweaked our itinerary.

Instead, we'd spend the last few days in the Cantal, a fairytale region of cool forests, waterfalls, lakes, grottos and volcanic mountains formed 13 million years ago (and dormant for 12,000) - an easy drive from Quercy. There would be hiking, biking, villages and village markets and, mais bien sûr, Auvergne's rich cuisine: foie gras, duck confit, walnuts, truffles, charcuteries and some of France's most beloved cheeses, notably Saint-Nectaire and Bleu d'Auvergne. - BPJ

 Above: sunsets along the Camino de Santiago in the Aubrac

Below: first night au coin du feu* - to start, a tureen of creamy celeriac soup w/shredded confit de canard; Aubrac beef w/cheesy aligot; dessert (not shown), pears poached in red wine w/vanilla bean ice cream maison and sauce caramel
* hotel restaurant

(click photos to enlarge)
To My Father


19 June 2021

A Paris escape

No need to head to Switzerland to escape a heatwave when La Belle France has more than enough mountains to go around.

Next week: where we (accidentally) dodged Paris' latest canicule

17 June 2021