Today, France celebrates it’s national independence day, the anniversary of the 1789 storming of the Bastille prison in Paris that marked the start of the French Revolution. If you’re in Paris today (lucky you!) show up early to snag a spot on the Champs de Mars park adjacent to the Eiffel Tower for an unparalleled view of the fireworks show. Many of the city’s bridges also are ideal viewing locations. Aimer! Continue Reading →
Parisians–and the French in general–are smokers.
It’s a love affair that’s lasted for decades, and shows no sign of abating any time soon. Studies show that about 30% of French adults smoke, and more alarmingly a similarly high percentage of Gallic teenagers regularly light up. But a recent move by Paris’s new mayor to curb smoking in public places has led some to decry the loss of the iconic image of the Parisian smoker. Is that necessarily such a bad thing? Continue Reading →
A dish you’re likely to find on the menu of nearly every eatery in Paris is confit de canard, a leg of duck cured and preserved in salt and other spices, often garlic and thyme, and then cooked in its own fat. Although confit de canard is served throughout Paris, it is often badly prepared. So, when you find a Parisian cafe, bistro, brasserie or restaurant that does serve a perfect confit de canard, you not only make a mental note of it, but you also tell your family, friends and just about everyone else who will listen of your discovery. Here are two of my favorites: Tropic Cafe and Chez Dumonet. Continue Reading →
One of my favorite Paris Museums is the Musee Rodin, adjacent to the Invalides complex on the Right Bank. Opened in 1919, the museum is dedicated to French sculptor Auguste Rodin. The museum is housed in the 17th century Hotel Biron—a glorious mansion in which Rodin rented four rooms for his workshop from 1908 until his death in 1917—and the manor’s enormous gardens. Among the many pieces displayed at the museum are three of Rodin’s most famous works, including Le Penseur (The Thinker), Le Baiser (The Kiss) and La Porte de l’Enfer (The Gates of Hell). Continue Reading →