French impressionist..

palais_roy_soft trees_164058

Shuffling through recently remembered moments of pleasure is as delightful and difficult as choosing but one piece of patisserie from a dazzling array in the window of Pierre Hermé. Each time the eye settles the mind is already drawing that same eye to yet another more delicious option. So it was for me when walking through the Jardins du Palais Royal in Paris a few days ago. History has bestowed a loucheness on the gardens that personifies the illusion of France and the French. We imagine it all to be a little more beautiful than it actually is, but when we think back on the moment the faults have been erased and the fable remains intact.

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Making a quick visit to reality, I should mention that we were treated by friends to the most wonderful lunch at Willi’s Wine Bar in the rue des Petits Champs, just a biscuit’s toss from an entrance to the Jardins du Palais Royal. For those who do not know, Willi’s is named after the owner, Mark Williamson, who is English and despite this setback is regarded by all to be one the most respected wine authorities in France. The food is wonderfully good, with no frills and the wine list is unusually good. I ate a delicious terrine of Vendeen guinea fowl, studded with pistachios and topped with a small slice of foie gras and no other daft decoration on the plate. This was followed by roasted rascasse with capers and confit poivrons…fucking wonderful. We washed this down with a couple of bottles of a 2011 Chinon that was light and perfect to “remonte le moral” on a rainy day. Somehow the management arranged for the sun to come through the window by our table. Do not miss going to Willi’s, 13 rue des Petits Champs, 75001 next time you’re in Paris. As a matter of interest, neither Mark Williamson nor any member of his staff, have any idea who I am or that I’m writing this…

About Food,Photography & France

Photographer and film maker living in France. After a long career in London, my wife and I have settled in the Vendee, where we run residential digital photography courses with a strong gastronomic flavour.
This entry was posted in 2014, Digital photography, France, Garden, Illusion, Landscapes, Landscapes, Memory, Photography, photography course, Uncategorized, Writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

40 Responses to French impressionist..

  1. I want that food and wine! Willi’s it is.

  2. Sally says:

    You’ve inspired me to take my next photographs in a totally different way. Beautiful

  3. catterel says:

    For some reason, WordPress stopped e-mailing g me your posts – so i now have a delectable prospect of catching up 😀

  4. That restaurant sounds heavenly!

  5. Goodness! Both visually and tastefully.

  6. Mad Dog says:

    You’ve almost got a Fleur-de-lis in that fountain 😉

  7. lulu says:

    How clearly you show with your photos how we remember….beautiful and dreamy.

  8. I’ve never had guinea fowl before. Is it comparable to any other meat?

  9. I thought that was a shot of my favourite gardens in Paris and now I know where to go and eat next time I’m there!

  10. Eha says:

    Since French Impressionism and I have had a lifelong love affair, just keep looking at the way you took that first photo . . . Jealous of the lunch of course – have not had scorpion fish for the longest time [or do I remember the name incorrectly?] . . . uhh, one of my favourite wines too: am once again pretending I am there 🙂 !

    • You’re absolutely right, Eha, rascasse is scorpion fish. It’s mostly found in the Golfe de Lyon near Marseille, which is why it is an essential ingredient to bouillabaisse according to the Marsellaises. It’s good to hear that you like Chinon…it’s very underrated outside of France.

      • Eha says:

        Roger, more than a few years ago, I was lucky enough to spend some time in France almost every year for decades: some business, mostly eating and drinking 🙂 ! Thought we would hate the S of France but loved Provence and the hill villages behind the Riviera – had a very foodie husband: actually I do seem to have remembered ‘rascasse’ from all the bouillabaisse we used to eat along the Coast . . .

  11. EllaDee says:

    Wonderful celebration of lunch. I concur with your menu selections, I’m partial to terrine and thanks to Google, I know I would have enjoyed the main as well. And after a few accompanying glasses of the 2011 Chinon my focus would have seduced by the french impressionist vantage pointillism.

  12. We’re going to Paris in November. This place will be a must eat. Thank you. And if you and Jenny happen to be around there then, we’ll treat you.

  13. Damn it’s been a while since I’ve had guinea fowl. I think I need some in the near future…

  14. Karen says:

    A recommendation from you is always welcome. It sounds like a wonderful afternoon sharing good food with good friends. It doesn’t get much better than that unless it is spent sitting at a lovely window table overlooking a garden in Paris.

  15. I also happen to enjoy Willi’s – not far from the neighborhood we usually stay in when in town. Off to Paris to tonight as it happens, so many PH magador macarons to come…

  16. scandrews29 says:

    I wanted so badly to visit Willi’s Wine Bar while I was in Paris. It sounds marvelous. Hopefully next time!

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