A Meditation on Poulet Rôti

"You can always judge the quality of a cook or a restaurant by roast chicken, While it does not require years of training to produce a juicy, brown, buttery, crisp-skinned, heavenly bird, it does entail such a greed for perfection that one is under compulsion to hover...

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Antiques: Hôtel Drouot

When the shops on the Rive Gauche appear quiet and ungodly expensive, you’ll know it’s time to head to the auction house, Drouot, situated on the right bank where so many trophies are bought and sold. Hôtel Drouot, founded in 1857, is the world's oldest auction house....

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Culinary: In Praise of Chestnuts

Did you know that the Emperor Charlemagne enjoyed roasted chestnuts with a glass of wine? Neither did I. Or that chestnuts were an indispensable ingredient of Talleyrand’s table? The citizen minister believed the most important quality of a diplomat was to be a...

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Culture: Ecole Lesage

Eat, Sleep, Embroider, Repeat. Isn’t that how the saying goes? Training at Ecole Lesage is a Herculean task and not one for the faint of heart, mind, or for those who lack dexterous fine motor skills. The students who attend class every day can expect three hours of...

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Travel: The Best Little Bookstore in Paris…

…assuming you’re not looking for Voltaire, or any other work of French fiction. Traveling east on the mellifluous sounding rue Saint-André-des-Arts, one reaches a lock (read: door) at No. 70 , which leads to a small, shallow tributary of red carpet wide enough for one...

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Flea Markets: Villeneuve-les-Avignon

There are few settings as dramatic and glorious for a flea market as the one on place Charles David in the sleepy town of Villeneuve-les-Avignon. Perched high above the square (more rectangle), you can see the ruins of a papal palace and to the immediate east, the...

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Favorite Frenchies: Sebastien

One of my favorite and more eccentric pickers is Sebastien Verger, 44, who lives in the Ardèche, high above the Rhône near the town of Privas. I met Sebastien about six years ago at the Sunday flea market in Carpentras. We’ve been friends ever since Sebastien is an...

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