Category: France

A long walk from Agincourt to Richmond

“And gentlemen in England now a-bed Shall think themselves accurs’d they were not here ….”   On a sunny Sunday in August 2014 I walked round the perimeter of the battlefield of Agincourt. It is now farmland, ploughed earth and pasture. And trees. Even allowing for the intervening 599 years, it was easy to imagine […]

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Postcards from Paris; May 2018

Rue du Nil. Gregory Marchand was given the nickname “Frenchie” when he was cooking in the kitchen of Jamie Oliver’s restaurant Fifteen. It stuck, and in 2009 he opened his first restaurant with the name in Paris. Since then he has opened a wine bar, a wine shop, and Frenchie to Go, all on Rue du […]

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To Paris, in pursuit of genius

Talent or ambition – which is more important in the making of a genius? Tintoretto, Birth of a Genius. Delacroix Retrospective. Napoleon the Strategist. These three exhibitions in Paris this spring demonstrated that both are needed.   Tintoretto – a precocious talent. My knowledge of Tintoretto was limited to his vast, decorative canvasses of figures […]

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A taste of the 7th Arrondissement

A typical day in the 7eme…. ….starts with the view of Les Invalides (Napoleon’s tomb) from the balcony of “our” apartment (allow me a fantasy life). If we’re heading for the Metro at St François Xavier, we’ll have breakfast at La Boulangerie des Invalides on the corner opposite, where the croissants are in the oven. Returning […]

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“Paris is always a good idea”

There are many reasons to travel: to explore new places, to search for novelty and new experiences; to tick a destination off a bucket list.   There is also pleasure to be had from returning to somewhere familiar; a voyage of rediscovery, turning an unexpected corner. Cities especially are constantly changing and evolving, so to […]

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“Something for the weekend?” – signs of the (Financial) Times

My preferred newspaper is the Weekend F.T. It doesn’t come in a plastic wrapper full of unwanted leaflets, advertising stair-lifts and elasticated trousers. More specifically, the Life & Arts section, and the magazine, which for nearly twenty years have prompted my travel plans, focus on restaurants reviewed by Nick Lander or exhibitions praised by Jackie Wullschlager; or, in an ideal world, […]

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A street market on Avenue de Saxe

Street market on Avenue de Saxe, Paris 7eme arondissement. Saturday 5 November 2016 Les Invalides from the Avenue de Breteuil   A bright clear morning, a ten minute stroll from our apartment on Avenue de Breteuil to pick up provisions, including an easy supper for the evening. We were catching a train to Vernon to […]

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An apple festival in Vernon

The nearest station to Giverny, Vernon is 45 minutes from Gare Saint-Lazare in central Paris (46 miles, very roughly equivalent to travelling from London to Newbury) A prosperous market town, it supports a double fronted fishmonger’s shop, and a large choice of butchers, traiteurs and greengrocers, as well as a couple of supermarkets. There was […]

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Terroir Parisien

I was looking for a restaurant for my first evening on arrival in Paris. Terroir Parisien was right around the corner from my hotel, and seemed to tick all my boxes. It’s a locavore’s dream. At chef Yannick Alleno’s bistrot, the produce of Isle de France is the star – lots of blackboards crediting its […]

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Au Passage – a lucky find

I had tried to leave a message to book a table at Le Clown Bar, but the answering machine was full, and when I arrived, so was the restaurant. I struck lucky on Googlemaps – there was a highly rated place 200 meters away, tucked down an unpromising alley. Au Passage. It was also fully […]

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