A French dessert timeout for foodies: mouthwatering clafouti


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Llight and custardy, made with cherries (traditionally), figs, raspberries, apples, pears, or blueberries soaked in cognac, put this on your summer menu.  Here’s a Julia Child recipe or, if you’re too lazy to make it, fly to Paris and go directly to one of the addresses below for a genuine sample. Most good neighborhood patisseries have their own variation, the list is just a starting point. Can’t pronounce?  Just point but remember to smile, say “bonjour” and “merci”. Not exactly finger food.

Make it yourself (no low-fat substitutions or the custard won’t be creamy):

1 1⁄4cups milk or half-and-half
2⁄3cup sugar, divided
3 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla
1⁄8teaspoon salt
1⁄2cup flour
3 cups cherries, pitted or whatever fresh fruit you have on hand
powdered sugar, for garnish

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Combine the milk, 1/3 cup sugar, eggs, vanilla, salt and flour, and blend.
Lightly butter an 8-cup baking dish, and pour a 1/4-inch layer of the blended mixture over the bottom. Set remaining batter aside.
Place dish into the oven for about 7-10 minutes, until a film of batter sets in the pan but the mixture is not baked through. Remove from oven (but don’t turn the oven off, yet).
Distribute the pitted cherries over the set batter in the pan, then sprinkle with the remaining sugar. Pour the remaining batter over the cherries and sugar.
Bake in the preheated oven for 45 to 60 minutes, until the clafouti is puffed and brown and a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.
Sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve warm.


Gerard Mulot, 76 rue de Seine, Paris 75006

Roger la Grenouille
Saint-Michel/Odéon, 6ème
26-28 rue des Grands Augustins, 75006
75006 Paris

Legay Choc (patisserie)
Marais, Beaubourg, 4ème
45 rue Ste Croix la Bretonnerie, 75004

Le Bistrot d’Henri
Saint-Germain-Des-Prés, 6ème
16 rue Princesse, 75006

Spring, 6 rue Bailleul, 75001

Pigalle, 9ème
8 rue Hippolyte-Lebas, 75009

Liberté (patisserie)
Canal St Martin/Gare de l’Est, 10ème
39 rue des Vinaigriers

The magnificent Musée d’Orsay


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What I like most about this museum: they’re always upgrading it. They call their present project Nouvel Orsay. From their website: “We are going to try and establish a different rhythm in the presentation, whilst still respecting the various “schools” and great artistic personalities. We will try to bring out more meaning, and introduce more stimulating questions […] It has to be surprising, thought-provoking. Through this new interdisciplinary approach, presenting the works in relation to other disciplines, we are getting back to the essence of the original project.

I would like to create the best possible conditions for the visitor to view the works in a way that is well informed, unconstrained and imaginative. The works will have more space; the display cases will be less intrusive. They will invite dialogue with the artists all around them. The presentation will be more “polyphonic”; the categories will be less assertive”.



Events you should mark:

Pierre Bonnard. Painting Arcadia
17 March – 19 July 2015


Dolce Vita? From the Liberty to Italian Design (1900-1940)
14 April – 13 September 2015

Splendors and Miseries. Pictures of Prostitution in France (1850-1910)
22 September 2015 – 17 January 2016

Who’s Afraid of Women Photographers?
Second Part: 1914-1945
13 October 2015 – 24 January 2016

view from the roof of the museum

view from the roof of the museum

Musée d’Orsay
1 Rue de la Légion d’Honneur, 75007
Metro: line 12, to Solférino
RER: line C, to Musée d’Orsay
Bus: 24, 63, 68, 69, 73, 83, 84, 94

Tips for inexperienced Paris vacation renters


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1. Your apartment will pale in complexion to what you can get in the U.S. for the same price unless you want to spend an exorbitant rental rate (like $500 a night).

2. Kitchens are miniature, bathrooms are even more extreme (think knees touching walls) and apartment hallways and stairs date from the middle ages. To open your apartment with a key you have to rely on the time you’ve pressed the button for hall light. It can sometimes last less than a minute.

3. Landlords come in all sizes. Some speak English, some none at all, and there are a variety of payment methods (watch out for bank transfers). Don’t be forced into making a rush decision. Use your telephone, speak with the landlord and evaluate from there. Are you dealing with a management company or the owner? Some vacation rental management companies are super efficient and make transactions easier. Ask me for referrals.

4. Know the location you want to stay. The 6th is trendy/touristy, the 7th is conservative and the 8th can be pricey and unworthy of a high rental fee. Check out how far it is away from the metro stop or the grocery store.

5. Photos: examine the bedroom first (real bed? pullout? sofa bed? suspended from ceiling? Murphy? loft?). Does it look cozy, clean? Is it in a separate room? Kitchen: how many burners, microwave, refrigerator, dishwasher? in-house clothes washer? Worth the extra dollars.

6. Which floor: are you in the maid’s quarters on the roof, 7th floor? Can you stand up straight in the apartment? Does the elevator take you there? Has the photograph been taken with a “fisheye” lens making it look a lot bigger. Look at the square footage.

7. High speed internet, tv? How loud is the sound coming from your neighbor (sometimes hard to get the truth)? Ask if it’s quiet or put 2 and 2 together: are you on the street? How thin are the walls? How old is the building? Cement buildings are some of the best if you are seeking quiet.

8. The landlord and the reviews: can you communicate easily and what do other travelers say about the property.

9. Gut feeling. If you are communicating easily with the landlord or manager, this is a plus. PayPal is a good way to pay for the deposit; bank transfer sometimes signals “hacker”.  100% refund if you decide not to go 60 days ahead of time?

Filtering out what you like and don’t like takes time. Though landlords will try to rush you, don’t buy into it. You’re spending a lot of money and if you start your hunt way in advance of your travels (say 6 months) you will be ahead of the game. Landlords are more likely to reduce the fee, especially if you’re staying longer than 2 weeks or during low season (dead of winter).

Remember expectations. Think tiny, think romantic, think historic, think location, think PARIS. Where you stay is a major decision and will definitely impact your vacation. Don’t rush it. Feel good about your choice. And mind your manners. When communicating the landlords or vacation management personnel, be on your best behavior. “Please” and “thank you” should pepper your sentences.

Good luck!

Stopping at Jardin Palais Royale plus a few good surrounding places to eat


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One of my favorite places to recharge and renew. It’s almost always quiet and the historic scenery and botanical beauty can’t be beat. Here are a few good places to hunt down in the vicinity once your stomach starts to growl.


10 Rue de Richelieu
7Sat-Sun :10h00 – 21h30

For few euros per hour they provide you unlimitedly with :
• coffee and tea
• snacks and fruits
• fast Wi-Fi
• access to their projector, printer, scanner and board games
• in addition, you are welcome to bring in your own food/soft drinks

AntiCafé is a shared space designed both for work and fun. It feels like home. Two locations: Louvre and Beaubourg


Try these too:
Au Caveau Montpensier 

15 rue Montpensier
Great cocktail bar

Tea by thé
2 place du Palais Royal

Ten leaf teas kept freshly brewed in glass teapots behind the service counter. Fast service.

1 rue Villedo
Get your udon fix here.

For a handful of good walking ideas in the area, consult your No Worries Paris guide.


Souvenirs: cheapest places to buy in Paris

Wacky, sleazy, iconic or quasi-chic, here are some addresses. Load up and remember to negotiate. Most vendors speak trinket-English. Walk the stalls and compare prices. Have small change, don’t pull out 100 euro bills.



Where to get best prices and lots of variety: streets around Notre Dame, rue Rivoli, streets below Sacre Coeur (rue Steinkerque), the Monoprix supermarches. Make sure the foodstuffs are sealed in plastic: no raw cheeses or fresh fois gras. Tour Eiffel or outside Louvre not recommended.


Versailles: A short trip to the outskirts of Paris


So many beautiful walks at Versailles. This week-end, for Pentecost (23-24 May), expect a very high attendance.If possible, we advise you to postpone your visit of the Palace and plan to spend the whole day in the palacial gardens. The Musical Fountain Show will be playing or go to the Palaces of Trianon after noon.


Versailles pathway

Versailles pathway

Packed for #Paris? Some health tips to know before you go.


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Paris health emergencies

Translations when you’re calling for help (pronounce as best you can):

Accident: Un accident
I have had an accident: J’ai eu un accident
Injured: Blessé(e)
Unconscious: Perdre connaissance
Bleeding: Hémorragie
Heart attack: Crise cardiaque
Stroke AVC: Un accident vasculaire cérébral
Drowning: Noyade
Burn: Brûlure

Very sick: très malade

Need a doctor: Besoin un médécin (Il me faut un médécin)

Need an ambulance Besoin une ambulance (Il me faut une ambulance)
Fire: Feu. The house is on fire: La maison a pris feu
The car is on fire La voiture a pris feu
Burglar/intruder: Cambrioleur/Intrus
I am being burgled: Je suis en train de me faire cambrioler
Someone is in the house: Quelqu’un est chez moi
Emergency: Une urgence
Help me: Aidez moi

Understanding the French Emergency Services
In the event of an emergency dial the appropriate number: medical (SAMU) 15, police 17, fire and accident 18 or the Pan-European number 112

Explain the situation to the operator. English may be spoken but there is no guarantee. Calls to 112 are received by either SAMU or the fire brigade and then instantly rerouted to the appropriate service or handled on the spot.
The services reached by dialling 15 and 18 operate in conjunction with the emergency teams having skills, training and facilities suitable to many situations. “Firefighters” are qualified to provide first rescue and ambulance services.

Medical emergencies and accidents: SAMU. The Emergency Medical Assistance Service (Service d’Aide Médicale d’Urgence) reached by dialling 15 or 112.

There is always a qualified doctor on hand to determine the most suitable response to a call and implement it. This may involve giving the caller information or advice, or sending the appropriate emergency vehicle:

an ambulance for a street accident or home emergency
a private ambulance
a mobile resuscitation or intensive care vehicle or medical helicopter

P.S: 1. Never skimp on trip insurance.  2. Pharmacists in France can offer good advice and provide helpful over-the-counter meds (antibiotics, aspirin).

A two minute trip to Paris

No airline tickets required.

Don’t forget your walking guide:

No Worries Paris

Montmartre: bypass the tourist trap eateries. A short list of recommendations



Located in the 18th Arrondissement, this elevated rural neighborhood on the outskirts of the city has a collection of bistrots, brasseries and cafés that exude hints of old village charm. Walk up the highly photographed stairs or ride to the top on the tiny white train.

Eating here can be a challenge, there are hits and misses. A few tried and true:

La Balançoire
6 Rue Aristide Bruant, 75018
Bistrot/brasserie/cafe with reasonable prices, cozy atmosphere: Plat : 12 €, Entrée + Plat : 15 €, Plat + Dessert : 15 €, Entrée + Plat + Dessert : 18€

Un Zebre a Montmartre
38 rue Lepic, 75018
try the lasagna or duck

Chamarré Montmartre
52 Rue Lamarck, 75018

Menu: 39 €

Crème de potiron et mousse de lait
Samossa de canard confit, mesclun et crème de champignons
Dos de saumon, 
pilaf et jardinière au combava, 
mousseline de légumes verts
Bœuf braisé à l’ancienne, sauce marchand de vin et ses raviolis maison
Salade de fruits aux agrumes sorbet mangue
Trilogie chocolat
. Glace cacao, écume chocolat au lait, mousse chocolat blanc au lait d’amande


La Cremaillere 1900
15, place du Tertre, 75018 Paris
The dining room has a 1900’s décor with paintings from the Belle Époque, and the private garden is one of the most beautiful spots in Paris, with its Wallace fountain, cobblestones and horse chestnut trees.

Chez Plumeau
4 place du Calvaire, 75018
Order one of the specials or carpaccio of beef
Highly Recommend: under the wisterias, away from the crowds

A few more to check out: Le Bal Café, Chéri Bibi, La Table d’Eugène, Le Petit Trianon, Le Relais Gascon, Marcel, Le Coq Rico

The Paris experience: checking out the details



Though you don’t spot many tourists with them, binoculars can be a good thing. Don’t always rely on your telephoto. Ever thought of ditching your camera, not recording what you see mechanically and absorbing the entire scene with your heart, soul, mind? Some curiosities you might spot on the way. Wishing you many happy souvenirs, experiences and memories.






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