Le Village de Noel Paris

I am not one for crowded street festivals and food stands. In fact, anyone who knows me well, knows that I hate that sort of thing. 

But, I couldn't pass up the opportunity to visit the Paris Christmas market. So I ventured out to the Champs Elysées to see one of the largest in the city. I have to say, it's a bit like going to a county fair - an array of food, rides, attractions, and artisan items and Christmas ornaments for sale to set the tone.

I love the French, but this is so typical: notice the male vendors, smiling, offering a complimentary sample, and giving me the thumbs up. The female vendor refuses to acknowledge me at all. She can hardly wait for me to leave. This happens all the time. ;)

All in all, a great way to spend the afternoon, seeing the sites while sipping hot wine. 


Le Marché aux Puces

Isabelle is putting the final touches on her Paris apartment. To that end, we headed to the flea market in search of chandeliers, a set of andirons, and a fireplace screen. We didn't find the right pieces, but we had fun poking around the market and stumbling upon some interesting artifacts. After all, that seems to be what the flea market is all about.  


A warm welcome to Paris

For my first night in Paris, I was invited to my girlfriend Isabelle's apartment before dinner. What a warm welcome - champagne and caviar near the fire. It was heavenly and the perfect pre-dinner reception. 

Isabelle's husband Marc and her daughter Diane below. Her sister Charlie will welcome a new baby in February. The men are delighted with the news of a boy!


Home Sweet Home

My home sweet home for the next few days. I have been renting this same apartment for fifteen years. I know a few neighbors, the concierge, and housekeeper. It's become my home away from home, and I couldn't be happier about it.  

Delta Upgrade - the perks of being faithful

I love the Delta/Air France flight from Chicago O'Hare to Paris Charles de Gaulle. I am a faithful Delta passenger and take this flight all the time. The planes are clean, the staff is wonderful, check-in is easy, and food is acceptable. 

I must be the luckiest traveler ever. For the third time in a row, I was upgraded to business class. It is so much fun it is to be surprised with a new seat assignment: 8A, a single seat, along the outer aisle with a window. My trip is off to a good start! 


An American in Paris: Ralph's on the Boulevard Saint Germain

After cruising through the Ralph Lauren store, I couldn't help but think Ralph does French better than the French. The courtyard features my favorite blue and white color scheme and is beyond beautiful.   


A Moderne Bakery

Beautiful storefronts always catch my eye, but I found this one particularly beautiful. I love gilded signage; the glass is painted on the reverse side. The technique is called églomisé and was very popular during the art nouveau period. 


Peninsula Hotel Opens in Paris

For a closer look at this labor-intensive restoration, check out the video link below. 



In my quest to familiarize myself with as many French apéritifs as possible, I felt compelled to order pastis on this hot summer day. The verdict: delicious!

Pastis is normally diluted with water before drinking. Thus, a pitcher of cool spring water was provided, so I could blend it according to my preference - five parts water to one part pastis recommended. Although consumed throughout France, pastis is generally associated with southeastern regions of the country, particularly the city of Marseille, where it is nicknamed pastaga.

Pastis is probably one of the most popular beverages in France where 130 million liters are sold each year, which is more than 2 liters per person.


Fruit Tart - Fête de la Framboise

On July 11th of each year, the tiny village of Concèze, France holds a Fête de la Framboise (Raspberry Festival). More than 6,000 people go along to meet producers, sample dishes such as peach melba or duck cooked in raspberry vinegar, and witness the creation of a giant raspberry tart.

Why not celebrate in spirit with your own raspberry tart? The recipe is much easier than you might think. 


2 1/2 cups of flour
1 cup of softened butter
6 T. sugar

Pulse ingredients in a food processor to mix. Use your hands to spread ingredients into a tart pan and bake at 350 degree Fahrenheit for 15 minutes. Let crust cool. 


2  8 oz. packages of cream cheese softened
2/3 cup of sugar
1/2 t. of vanilla  

Mix ingredients with a hand mixer and spread onto the cooled crust. Top with a mix of berries and refrigerate until ready to serve.


If glazing strawberries, raspberries or any other red fruit you can make a red currant glaze. For other fruits, apricot glaze is a good option. 

Gently whisk 1/2 cup of red currant jelly (or apricot jelly), thinned with a small amount of water, over medium heat until melted.  Let cool slightly and then lightly glaze the fruit using a pastry brush. Note: only lightly coat the fruit with the glaze so that it does not look jelly-like when dry.

Bon appétit!


Rooftop Terrace

From the second floor of the Eiffel Tower, I think I spotted the perfect Parisian terrace. It overlooks the Champ-de-Mars. 


Le Domaine de Primard Could Be Yours!

Catherine Deneuve's 18th century country estate is on the market for 3.9 million euros. Located just 75 kilometers outside Paris this gorgeous property sits on the banks of the Eure river. The surrounding garden and park were designed by world-renowned landscape architect Jacques Wirtz, who also renovated the Tuileries garden in Paris.