To Tu Or Not To Tu

Politeness, friendliness, and formality at its most French —The French revel in their complications despite the frequent inconvenience of getting tangled in them. For one thing, it confirms their cherished impression that they are unique on earth, a blest condition known locally as the French Exception. For another, it makes everybody else jump through Gallic hoops to do things their way. Even Charles de Gaulle, who occasionally admitted to despising his compatriots as unworthy of his idea of France, asked in a moment of exasperation, “How can you govern a country with over 300 kinds of cheese?” Continue reading “To Tu Or Not To Tu”

E-Dehillerin, Paris’ Aladdin’s Cave for Chefs

The discreet, green façade of the store makes no effort to pull in a crowd and some of the cooking implements in the window look tired.  Yet if the light catches in just the right way, you might spot a gleam of copper through the open door.  If you have a food-loving bone in your body, you’ll feel a flutter of excitement and decide that this unassuming place merits a look. Continue reading “E-Dehillerin, Paris’ Aladdin’s Cave for Chefs”

La Dolce Vita…Parisian Style

French sweet wines for the holidays

Taverne Henri IV © WA Dudley

Mystified by the sweet wines of the cellar?  A stranger to the liquoureux section?  French holiday meals provide the fare with which to pair sweet wines. Some sweet wines are sweet because their juices became sweet on the vine. These are called vins doux naturels(VDN), with examples like Sauternes, Vouvray Moelleux, and Coteaux du Layon.  Others are sweet because alcohol was added to the wine after the winemaking; these are vins fortifiés.  Examples of the fortified kind are Maury, Banyuls, and Rivesaltes.  Fortified wines generally have an alcohol content higher than wine but less spirits. Continue reading “La Dolce Vita…Parisian Style”

French Digestifs

Uncorking the mysteries

Image You know the scene: after finishing a great French meal, you’re feeling a little tipsy and definitely very full. You find yourself being offered more to drink. This time, the bottles your host opens bear mysterious labels: Cognac, Armagnac, Calvados, Eau de Vie, Crême, Genepy, Cointreau,. What is in those bottles?  Why are they only served after dinner?  Known as digestifs, these French after-dinner drinks are served after a meal because that is when your stomach is full enough to handle their high alcohol content (at least 35%)! Continue reading “French Digestifs”

Paris’Back Street Disquaires

OCD © Neil Atherton

Crackly vinyl is making a comeback… 
There’s more to music shopping than just paying for an album – it’s a lifestyle. High street record stores will never be able to buy identity or attitude. That’s why right now, second-hand CD shops and specialist boutiques are the places to hang out at. And even good old crackly vinyl is making a comeback. So where better to hunt for these authentic sounds than Paris’ back street disquaires, where knowledge, personality and individual music-lovers rule supreme. In these smaller haunts, you can rummage for records, chat with the clerk and feel the atmosphere of the music – be it opera or punk. Now’s the time to discover a new neighborhood, some new people and definitely some new music… Continue reading “Paris’Back Street Disquaires”