115E39F2-CE55-4947-B9AA-24025002F19CI just saw the film Colette, about the prolific French woman writer Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette. She was born in the French countryside in 1873, but moved to Paris after her marriage to the worldly-wise Henry Gauthier Villars, better known by his nom de plume of “Willy.” Colette became one of the ghost-writers who produced the works that bolstered Willy’s ego and paid for his extravagances.

I won’t go into details, but Colette is non-traditional in every way that you can imagine and eventually wrests her freedom from everything and everyone that tried to limit her. The main roles are played by Keira Knightley and Dominic West and they both should be looking at award nominations for this one. The director, Wash Westmoreland, included lots of true little details about Colette, such as her passion for collecting paper weights.  It’s in fairly limited release, but I’d recommend it if you get a chance to see it.

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Où manger à San Francisco

ED96F88F-5F4D-4140-96CF-FC1CB27BF571In my last post, I wrote about where to go in San Francisco. This time I’m going to recommend some lovely places to go for a nibble or a full meal. Où manger à San Francisco (ooh man-shay ah san fran-sis-ko) means “Where to eat in San Francisco.”  Some, but by no means all, were francophile finds, but all were delicious.

A1E0D51D-4F5F-4F86-8725-CD6AC274C1C2San Francisco Ferry Building: The merchants in the vast Gallery can provide you with a tasty snack, your groceries for the week or gifts for just about any occasion that may present itself. We bought some yummy pastries at the Acme Bread Company and complimented them with spicy hot chocolate from Dandelion Chocolate.

B8309B6B-C7FD-46EF-B416-D694D980E2EFTartine: This casual restaurant uses the exceptional bread that they bake before your eyes for delicious meals. I had a tartine with strawberries that was sublime! Remember to grab a bag of their excellent cookies on the way out the door.

15926ECB-D56F-450B-AE91-C5645EEC0E4BPresidio Social Club: This is a charming place that seems to be from another age. We had some nibbles for an afternoon pick-me-up and enjoyed both the food and the ambiance of the former army barracks.

4FFC07D8-913F-4FA7-A233-0343616FEBBASamovar Teahouse: This place served some of the best scones I have ever had. We also shared some savory small plates. It’s a sun-filled place with seating inside or out, next to the Yerba Buena Gardens.

86C4DB0D-AC71-4C2D-A7CE-CFE9D63C7888Beacon Coffee and Pantry: The Hobbits had the right idea: breakfast, second breakfast, elevenses, lunch, afternoon tea, dinner, and supper. We went here for a second breakfast of coffee and pastries. Both were hot and delicious.

86BA3462-1CFC-4E72-B6E3-190350AE4A94Ragazza: This gem of a casual Italian restaurant charmed us through three courses: deep fried zuccini blossoms, super-thin crust pizza, and a delightful pannacotta. We were seated in their gazebo in the backyard, the prefect setting to a delicious meal.

0C42D9E9-0CE1-4048-8D38-382B198E8770Frascati: For our final dinner in San Francisco, we went to Frascati, a beautiful Italian restaurant a couple of blocks from our daughter’s home. Everything was lovely, from furst course to last. It was a great place to talk over all the wonderful events – and meals – of our wonderful week together.

B81EB572-45B8-45B4-96F5-2406435153BDCity Walks Deck: San Francisco




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Que voir à San Francisco

B6B664B3-59F2-4315-8300-47DB69654D54After I returned from France in August, my husband and I went to San Francisco to visit our daughter who has just moved there. (Quelle chanceuse!) It’s a truly fabulous city. I was struck by how many French-speaking visitors were there – after English, I think it was the language we heard the most often. And there was lots of francophile inspiration to enjoy as well. Here are some of my recommendations (francophile or not):

E136F469-394E-44A5-82E8-803F7F38A674The Pier 39 Sea Lions: I could have watched their antics all day! They jostle for position and bark non-stop. It’s the best free entertainment ever!

Street Art: The whole Mission neighborhood is full of inventive murals, especially Cypress Street, right off of Mission. They give such dynamic energy.

Legion of Honor: The setting, overlooking the Golden Gate bridge, and the Euro-centric collection are two great reasons to visit this art museum. From Rodin’s Thinker in the Court of Honor to the Impressionists, there are about 4,000 works to admire. We were there for a great pre-Raphaelite exhibit. Don’t miss their café where we enjoyed a delicious chocolate-raspberry tart.

Palace of Fine Arts: This beautiful Greco-Roman rotunda with colonnades was originally built for the Panama-Pacific expo of 1915. It’s so beautiful to stroll around the grounds, admiring the swans and the radiant brides getting their wedding pictures taken.

Lyon Street steps and Broadway Street: First the steep steps will take your breath and then the mansions of Broadway will. This is where you can gape at some seriously marvelous real estate.


Painted Ladies: While the most famous painted Victorian and Edwardian houses are opposite Alamo park, there are photo-worthy colorful homes all over the cities established neighborhoods, such as Haight Ashbury, Pacific Heights and Mission. The architectural richness of San Francisco is utterly delightful.

Que voir à San Francisco (kuh vwar a San Fran-cis-koh) means “What to see in San Francisco.” I’ll definitely be back. One trip won’t be enough to suit me. What are your favorite spots in San Francisco so I can check them out next time?

B81EB572-45B8-45B4-96F5-2406435153BDCity Walks Deck: San Francisco




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837AA6C0-317A-40AD-A0F7-CF3628127965This spring, I discovered the vast properties held by The Trustees of Reservations, who protect over 100 properties in Massachusetts from development or falling into ruin. I bought a family membership and my husband and I have enjoyed visiting a different property several weekends since.

E41AD8DE-C268-4F0C-BCBF-8F0084959946Recently, we visited the delightful Eleanor Cabot Bradley Estate in nearby Canton, Massachusetts. Eleanor inherited the estate, built in 1902, from her uncle and eventually passed it to the Trustees. Until recently, the house served as administrative space, but now the remarkable formal gardens have been restored to their former glory. This year, in fact, there were three successive plantings, 5,000 tulips in the spring, rare lilies raised from seeds imported from England in the summer, and when we were there, a dozen humming birds were dive-bombing the late summer flowers.

3947740F-494A-4423-9B83-E24389EE293DThe interior of the house has elegant bones but contains very little that originally belonged to Eleanor, as all went to her heirs. The guide told us that there used to be two Monets, because Eleanor’s aunt, American Impressionist Lilla Cabot Perry, studied with him in France. She spent nine summers working with Claude Monet at Giverny. Cabot Perry also played a significant role in introducing the Impressionists to wealthy Bostonians. I’m always amazed by the way people are relié (ruh-lee-ay), or interconnected, across countries and centuries.

E1A1ED69-13F2-4F77-B765-8F6B6457DB21American Impressionism

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Donner un conseil

Every time I visit Paris, I find some great new places to shop, dine, or just soak up the joy of being in my favorite city. Here are a few:

DAECC3E4-2244-4679-ABA5-A3FF2C2727F3Thomas Antiquités (98 rue Oberkampf, 11th Arrondissement) This is a charming little shop has many affordable and packable pieces, although the knowledgeable owner, Thomas Annie, told me that someone took a chandelier to Canada in her luggage. I had more modest ideas and picked up a pair of adorable cavorting cherubs that now live on my desk.

E9887485-6064-4428-8F46-2633AC3EB7EEAu Bain Marie (59 blvd Raspail, 6th Arrondissement and 56 rue de l’Université, 7th Arrondissement) is chock full of pieces to set a beautiful table – some vintage, some made for them, and some carefully curated. The merchandising is so inventive, it’s worth a visit just to gawk at the thousands of covetable objets.

306C122B-F759-4ABD-AB9A-B987B6466384La Meringaie (41 rue du Cherche-midi, 6th Arrondissement and 21 rue de Levis, 17th Arrondissement) Just down the road from one of my favorite lunch spots (Mamie Gâteaux), I did a literal double-take when I caught sight of the beautiful desserts in the  window of La Meringaie. As the name states, each desserts starts with a base of meringue, topped with whipped cream and crowned with glorious fruit – both light and delicious.

1DB3725E-7B76-448A-B325-7C5D8D8CB6BFLa Vallée Village is an upscale outlet in a Paris suburb. I’d known about it for years, but thought I’d have to go to great lengths to get there. It was actually very simple: take the RER A to the Val d’Europe station (one prior to Euro Disney), walk through the mall beside the station, cross the parking lot, and there it is. The deals on the big names were quite impressive. And it’s a beautiful place to shop, even with Instagrammable backdrops, with hashtags already prepared.

Donner un conseil (dun-ay uhn kon-say) means “to give advice.” I hope you enjoyed this little round up of advice of some places to check out the next time you’re in Paris.

6AA16A62-E86D-4BB5-997B-232B02AAA8B7Paris in Stride


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La Coulée Verte

D667EA72-882D-4010-8378-12F86C74B8BFThis summer, I finally was able to see a spot in Paris that I’ve been wanting to visit for a few years. La coulée verte, formerly known as La Promenade plantée, is similar to New York’s Highline, a former elevated rail line, converted to a walkway. The former rail line, which extended from the train station at the Place de la Bastille to La Varenne-Saint-Maur, operated from 1853 to 1969. It was transformed in the early 90’s into a charming three mile long garden.


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To find it, go to the artisan boutiques, the Viaduct des Arts, on avenue Daumesnil, near the Bastille in the 12th Arrondissement, and climb the stairs that lead to La Coulée verte. It’s just elevated enough to give you a different perspective on the city. You’ll see rooftops and tree canopies instead of the street, and even in Paris, that’s pretty sweet. If you like, you can contine all the way to the parc de Vincennes, have a picnic, and then catch line 1 on the métro back to the heart of the city.

DBDC95A4-56D9-45F2-AF3F-620C123542C9La Coulée verte (lah koo-lay vehrte) can be translated as “the green flow” and that’s what this pathway is like, a river of green flowing through Paris.

6AA16A62-E86D-4BB5-997B-232B02AAA8B7Paris in Stride



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Où manger à Lille


As I mentioned in a previous post, I spent a week in Lille in August, seeing the sightes and EATING. Où manger à Lille (ew mahn-shay ah leel) means “where to meet in Lille. Here are the places that I can heartily recommend to you.

My lovely hotel, had breakfast at an equally “lovely” price tag, so I went out in the morning. Two places that I can recommend are Le Pain Quotidien (22 bis Rue Basse and 14-16 Rue Pierre Mauroy and Be Yourself (2 Square Morisson).

Now, yes, Le Pain Quotidien is a chain, but it has consistently good, (mostly) healthy options. The location on rue Mauroy is near the Flandres train station in the center of the old town, right off la Place de l’Opéra. They are open from morning until night, although they had shorter hours in August.

Be Yourself is a local, cafeteria-style restaurant that is open for breakfast and lunch. It’s got a hipster vibe, which means free wifi! The location is just steps away from the Tourism Office.

Touring builds up hunger and thirst, especially in the long hours between lunch and dinner! A tea room is the only place to go for a pick-me-up. Here are two that I can heartily recommend:


Méert (27 rue Esquermoise) is an elegant salon de thé that has stayed true to its 18th century roots. They are famous for a dessert known as a Merveilleuse (Marvelous) that lives up to its name – a creamy chocolate confection on a meringue base. You can dine perched on a red velvet chair or in the umbrella shaded courtyard. They also serve full meals.


L’Impertinente (9 blvd Papin) is at the foot of the Porte de Paris. When I went there, I was in the mood for lunch, so I was a little disappointed that they only sold cakes and other sweets. I decided to start with dessert and look for lunch later. After I tasted my apricot cake, I forgot about the rest of lunch.

For lunch and dinner, a number of restaurants that I had wanted to check out were closed for the August holidays. Fortunately, I still had lots of good choices to enjoy.

Basilic Café is on rue Esquermoise, one of the main arteries off the main square in the old city. They served me a terrific and inventive tuna salad and an even yummier raspberry and cream dessert. They serve lunch and dinner.

La Crêperie (64 rue de Gand) is on a street of nothing but restaurants. I had a scallop crêpe followed by a tour de force of a dessert crêpe, called a Citroneige. It had a filling of lemon cream and was served with lemon ice cream and whipped cream. It was one of the best dessert crêpes I have ever enjoyed. La Crêperie is open for lunch and dinner.


La Petite cour (17 rue du Curé St-Etienne) is a cozy place. The night I was there, they turned one group after another away from the door, so I felt very lucky to have gotten in without a reservation. I had a massive summer salad with small peppers filled with hummus. So good! The dessert (Pain Perdu) was less exciting, however.

If you’ve been to Lille, I’d love to hear about your dining experiences and recommendations.

7BE483F7-D7F3-4D77-A5C9-E0458B19851ELille, France in Three Days



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