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A Gourmet Tour of France: Legendary Restaurants from Paris to the Cote d’Azur

AGourmetTourofFrance

One of the most exquisite ways to explore a country is through its cuisine. Certainly whenever WIJW plans to travel, we put quite a bit of effort into discovering those restaurants with a rich history, beautiful decoration, and of course, the finest cuisine—which leads us to the most beautiful new book, A Gourmet Tour of France: Legendary Restaurants from Paris to the Cote d’Azur.

To say the least, Gilles Pudlowski’s book (along with delicious photographs by Maurice Rougemont) has been hugely helpful in the planning stage for our upcoming October trip to Paris—would it be too vulgar to say we are nearly salivating in anticipation?

James Andrew at Arpege.

James Andrew at Arpege.

We were particularly pleased to read a chapter entitled, “The Artist” featuring Chef Alain Passard. Last year, as you may recall, we dined at his iconic restaurant L’Arpege and went on quite a bit about the sublime experience here on WIJW. If you missed our review, see it here. In any case each chapter of this glorious tour of culinary France focuses on a single legendary restaurant, and we’re planning to visit a handful of them, including Le Pre Catelan, Le Grand Vefour, Traillevent, Lasserre, and Ledoyen.

Of course, even if you’re not planning to visit France soon, A Gourmet Tour of France: Legendary Restaurants from Paris to the Cote d’Azur is the perfect vicarious adventure for any gourmand—there are even a couple of recipes from the masters included to complete the fantasy!

Friends and Fans – Paris

Dueling Lanvin

Dueling Lanvin Sneakers with my young Parisian friend Pierre-Olivier Gerdolle!

We’re always thrilled to get emails and comments from the US and abroad, and we’re even happier when we have the opportunity to actually meet with some of our gorgeous friends and fans!

Once again we want to thank all of our cyber-regulars on WIJW for their support – we’re continually grateful for those appreciative notes and comments! Keep them coming, and we’ll be sure to let you know when we’re jetting to your corner of the globe. We look forward to meeting many more of you in the coming months!

James Andrew and Pierre-Olivier Gerdolle in Paris.

James Andrew and Pierre-Olivier Gerdolle in Paris.


James Andrew and Bruno Artigue.

Another from Paris - I collected my gorgeous young friend, the very fashionable Bruno Artigue, for a bit of a shopping spree.

WIJW at Versailles

James Andrew at Versailles

James Andrew at Versailles

Properly fortified by our Les Ambassadeurs brunch at the Crillon we made a pilgrimage to my personal mecca, Versailles! – and as you might imagine the whole experience had my spirit sailing – an unsurpassed, grand, and exuberant fugue – so utterly over the top – and all inexorably fused to the thought of the kings, the queens, and the mistresses who once lived here, and the wide reaching cultural and artistic influence they continue to exert even to this day.


James Andrew and portrait of Marie-Antoinette.

James Andrew and portrait of Marie-Antoinette.

Marie-Antoinette – a perpetually fascinating force of nature – an irresistible amalgam of unbounded freedom and energy fueled by unlimited wealth. And yes, we do realize that this is a bit of an oversimplification, (a fate that befalls so many major historical figures), but I’m sure you will forgive us a touch of fantasy here. Of course one can only imagine the pressures the French court must have had on a queen of only twenty years of age, and perhaps we can relate to the escapist impulses that ensued! As we’ve mentioned, WIJW makes no excuse for its own escapist tendencies!


The grounds of the Petit Trianon.

The grounds of the Petit Trianon.

The château of the Petit Trianon.

The château of the Petit Trianon.

And Marie-Antoinette’s Petit Trianon – a gift from Louis the XVI (she was just nineteen at the time) – Originally built by Louis XV’s mistress, Madame de Pompadour, Marie-Antoinette redecorated to suit and redesigned much of the garden grounds – This was to become her private sanctuary – an escape from the rigors of court etiquette as well as a place to indulge her famously extravagant appetites.

A beautifully restrained architecture preempting the Neoclassical movement – it’s no wonder that the Petit Trianon has been replicated so often – take for instance Nissim de Comando in Paris or the Villa EIlen Roc in Cap D’ Antibes both of which I’ve had the pleasure of visiting.

James Andrew at the Grand Trianon.

James Andrew at the Grand Trianon.

And we end at the Grand Trianon – On the outskirts of Versailles, the structure dates to the mid-seventeenth century and was commissioned by Louis XIV – a retreat for the King and his mistress, the Marquise de Montespan. A sweeping expression of the King’s office, it continues to exude the tremendous power and grace that pervades all at Versailles.