Le Temps des Cerises – Bistro – Paris (4th arr)

Le Temps des Cerises resto in the Marais, Paris

Look for the smallest ancient building tucked between quai des Célestins and rue Saint- Antoine in the Marais and discover our neighborhood café, Le Temps des Cerises on the rue de la Cerisaie. In June 2011, we arrived in Paris with suitcases and camera bags and headed for the metro stop Bastille, a direct route from the Gare du Nord. Settled in for the ride, we immediately discovered that the Bastille stop was closed for construction. Two transfers later after lots of stair climbing (France is very stingy with its escalators) and a walk in the rain from the metro stop St Paul, we stumbled into Le Temps des Cerises, mid-afternoon, too late for dejeuner and too early for dîner. Not a problem for Sylvie Antoine: a plate of charcuterie and one of fromage, some bread and two beers magically appeared just before we passed out from exhaustion. Now all was right with Paris, the rain, and even our over-stuffed luggage.

We were surprised and relieved to find Le Temps des Cerises open because on previous visits to this Paris neighborhood, it was always closed. The young, new proprietor, Gregory Detouy, has expanded hours and the café is open every day (which is especially good for Monday, when many restos in Paris are closed). Facing a boulangerie-pâtisserie and around the corner from the local elementary school, Le Temps des Cerises is at a crossroads of one-way streets where there is busy foot traffic but relatively few cars.

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Chef Pascal Brèbant, Maîtresse & Server Sylvie Antoine & Proprietor Gregory Detouy of Le Temps des Cerises

Eglefin (haddock) rolled, sauced with dill, and served with mixed vegetables.

Three days later we returned for Sunday lunch. We shared an entrée of terrine de lapin, served with sweet/savory onions braised to a warm nest of flavor. For our main course, chosen from two plats du jour, we both had églefin (haddock) rolled, sauced with dill, and served with mixed vegetables. Following this delightful meal, we sauntered home, one of the joys of neighborhood dining.

Our recommendation to travelers: choose a restaurant or café in your neighborhood and put down roots, even if only for a day or two. While it’s fun to savor new experiences and tastes, a café on your block where you return a few times during your stay for a coffee, a kir, or a meal, can weave you into the local fabric of life. You’ll recognize the locals, be greeted a bit more warmly, and relax: for a moment, this street in Paris—or wherever—is home.

Le Petit Célestin Resto in Paris

January 2013: Oh, no! Zoot alors! Sylvie and Jean-Marie have sold the restaurant! Quelle dommage! We will have to wait until out next trip to France to see if someone good has taken over the new Petit. Otherwise, if Sylvie and Jean-Marie open another place in Paris, or elsewhere in France, we will let you know. Here is the review we wrote in the Fall-Winter of 2012:

Le Petit Celestin is a warm, friendly, red-checked tablecloth place that does not list the menu in English or serve as a tourist outpost in Paris.

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Yet this small restaurant on the edge of the Marais welcomes everyone with a relaxed atmosphere and a selection of delicious, traditional offerings on its blackboard menu.

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Host Sylvie is vivacious, funny and friendly and speaks English so she can explain the menu to English speakers without French language skills. She is sensitive to varying perceptions of “medium rare” and “à point” for meat dishes, and is helpful with recommendations. Her cheerful warmth sets the tone for a fun and relaxed evening.

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We have visited Le Petit Célestin with groups as small as four and as large as 10. The prices are truly reasonable with most plats (main dish) in the mid-teens and most entrées (starters) less. There is always a cut of steak (pave or entrecote) duck (magret) and slightly more exotic veals—foie, rognons, or riz—which are mild but savory. Plus you will find shrimp or fish. The main course is served with a supporting starch and vegetable.

Our favorite starter is moules farci (mussels broiled in the half shell with garlicky breading.) A small hors d’ouevre appears while you discuss the menu choices and share an aperitif. Desserts are traditional and worth the calories. The wine selection is affordable and appropriate for the cuisine.

A summer treat…salade de gésiers from Perigord.

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The new “team” as of 2012: Sylvie, Cédric and Jean-Marie. Sylvie and Jean-Marie are your hosts… Sylvie speaks English, as well as French, and is jovial and helpful…and Cédric provides attentive and quick service.

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As you’ve guessed, this is one of our favorite local restos – traditional cuisine, great atmosphere, and reasonable prices, especially for the Marais. Just a few short blocks from the Sully-Morland Metro stop (Line 7) on Quai des Célestins.

12, Quai des Célestins, 75004 Paris     Tel: +33 (0)1 42 72 20 81

Auberge de St Julia – Lauragais near Toulouse

Less than 35 minutes from Toulouse by car is a beautiful region of France known as the Lauragais. As you drive its country roads, you pass through waving fields of wheat and colza.

Sunset near Maureville in the Lauragais

Sunset near Maureville in the Lauragais


In the small hilltop village of St Julia de Gras Capou is an Auberge with an excellent lunch.

Motion picture executive producer Serge Lebeau chats with one of the owners of Auberge St Julia after enjoying a fine lunch.

Motion picture executive producer Serge Lebeau chats with one of the owners of Auberge St Julia after enjoying a fine lunch.

A new venture, this good resto provides a single menu choice for lunch – trés simple! And Chef Pierre Batigne’s food is delicious. We enjoyed three courses including dessert – all for about 13 euros per person – and passed a pleasant afternoon talking with friends and the new owners, and sipping an excellent local rosé.

Auberge de St Julia
Rue du Vinaigre
31540 St Julia de Gras Capou

Tel: 05 61 83 04 79


Patricia makes you feel welcome instantly at Auberge de St Julia

Patricia makes you feel welcome instantly at Auberge de St Julia

La Remise et Son Jardin Resto in Cucuron, France

We’ve been coming to the Vaucluse for a few years, and have decided to rent a house in the small village of Cucuron. For those of you who have seen “A Good Year” with Russell Crowe, you may remember the scene where a movie is being shown at night in the center of town, above a rectangular pond (étang) as the lead characters are falling in love. This is Cucuron.

An apéritif while overlooking the "etang" in the center of Cucuron

Having an apéritif while overlooking the “etang” in the center of Cucuron, around the corner from La Remise…

We have eaten at La Remise a number of times and have always enjoyed their warm and friendly service and excellent salades composés during the long, hot Provence summers. They have indoor dining and a friendly garden, each table shaded with it’s own umbrella.

Menu for La Remise et Son Jardin in Cucuron

Menu for La Remise et Son Jardin in Cucuron


Owned and operated by Franck and Claire de Best, La Remise et Son Jardin is a pizzeria as well as a restaurant. The pizza is excellent, with a thin, crispy crust and a wide selection of delicious fresh toppings.

Salade Lardon from La Remise et Son Jardin in cucuron, France

Salade Lardons from La Remise et Son Jardin in Cucuron, France



Always one of the best lunches in Provence, visit them when you’re traveling in the Vaucluse…




La Remise et Son Jardin
Boulevard de Nord
84160 Cucuron, France
Tel: +33 4 90 07 53 44

Des Galets Bleus la Nuit Restaurant – Lyon (4th arr)

One of our favorite restaurants in Lyon, France, is owned and operated by a Paul Bocuse-trained chef, Brigitte Appaix. Here she explains how her resto came to be, and her commitment to fine, but not fancy, dining. Hosted by Courtney Spring, shot & edited by Don Connors; subtitles in French and English (when needed). I shot this video while staying in Lyon for two months in 2010 – one of many restos in this often tourist-overlooked city.

Les Ventres Jaunes (5th arr)

Vieux Lyon is the city’s tourist center and a don’t-miss destination if your time is limited in Lyon. It is a lovely and fun place to visit, with a wide selection of bars, cafés, and restaurants that feature eclectic, ethnic fare as well as classic French cuisine in a range of prices. Of the handful we have sampled, Les Ventres Jaunes, at 2, Place Neuve, is a favorite.

Influenced by nearby Bresse (known for its poulet-chicken) in both its charming décor and menu, this is where we have gone with out-of-town visitors. Unlike Lyon’s quaint bouchons that celebrate foods I usually avoid, such as tripe and other organ meats, Les Ventres Jaunes is less intense. Here you can find Lyon’s traditional meats and quenelles as well as other area classics including salad Lyonnaise with its poached egg and lardons, escargots and some favorites from nearby Burgundy, and a Bresse classic, poulet à la crème.
2, Place Neuve, Lyon
Tel: 04 78 42 16 49

Bangkok Royale and Les Chats Siamois (1st arr)

Close to home for us in the 1st arrondissement are two tasty Thai restaurants that we have sampled. Bangkok Royale: , at 40 rue de Sgt Blandon, offers a two-course lunch that is features exotic tastes and a good value. We enjoyed the vibrant Thai salad first course and flavorful curry plat. Rue du Sergent Blandan, 69001 LyonTel: 04 78 28 19 83 The other tasty Thai is Les Chats Siamois, located near the Rhône and the Opera House. Here they encourage you to “partager” (share) dishes to enjoy the maximum “goûts” (tastes) of their fresh and flavorful cuisine. 4 Petite rue des Feuillants, 69001 Lyon Tel: 04 78 39 34 72

Café de la Place (1st arr)

Place Sathonay

We keep returning to our local café for lunch and why not? It is close to home, just across the Place Sathonay. Its two- or three-course dejeuner is consistently good and Annie Perrier, at front of house, is infinitely kind and helpful. I am always happy with whatever fish is on the menu. While rich dessert is a special treat at home, it is the new normal for lunch in France. My favorites are anything chocolate and anything chestnut (marron/châtain).

Café de la Place
Place Sathonay, 69001 Lyon
Tel: 04 78 28 26 88