Saturday, November 21, 2015

Anybody in France Want Free Help?

Hi Guys...I received the following email this week but can't take advantage of this nice offer myself. So I'm passing it along to all of you. Thomas seems like a stellar young man and I'd love to help him land the perfect internship, stage or volunteer experience in France. If you have something to offer him, please feel free to get in touch with David directly.

Dear Provence Post, 

I have a highly talented student that would like to volunteer/intern with you from January 17-April 14, 2016. Thomas Leaycraft (above) graduated high school with the highest GPA possible and is enrolled at the University of North Carolina this fall. Thomas is passionate about working with those in need and hopes to make social service work a career. He has worked with migrants before as well as Habitat for Humanity. He has completed multiple volunteer programs which make him well suited to your organization. He has long term aspirations to work in France and this will be an important step in that direction.

Thomas would like to intern/volunteer 25-40 hours per week. No payment is needed and we will set up Thomas’ housing for him. Your main duty is to provide a minimum of 25 hours per week for him. Thomas is open to various job duties and is eager to lend his skills to your organization. We would be happy to set up a Skype or phone interview with him if needed. As his resume attests Thomas has shown exceptional initiative. We believe he is truly a special young man and would be a delight to have in your workplace. If you think you may have a position for him please provide a brief and informal list of job duties. Thomas speaks some French but is not fluent and his resume can be seen here.

David Adams, Ph.D.
Director, Institute for Global Studies

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Provence Prestige is Nov 26 to 30 in Arles

The 21st annual Provence Prestige show opens Thursday November 26 at the Palais des Congrès in Arles and runs through Monday November 30. This festive holiday-theme "salon" fills a number of vast indoor expo halls with 3,500 square meters of holiday goodies, gifts, home decor, food and wine, clothes, accessories, books and much more. And it's all made in Provence by exhibitors who agree to the terms of a special ''locally made'' charter. Some 30,000 visitors and roughly 150 exhibitors are expected.

As in years past there will be Christmas workshops for kids on Saturday and Sunday, from 2 pm to 7 pm. You can see a full schedule of events, background on the exhibitors and more in the press kit.

Tickets are 6 € (adults), 3 € (ages 12 to 18 and groups of 20 or more), and free for kids under 12. 

Your ticket for Provence Prestige also entitle you to free and discounted admissions at three of Arles' most-prominent museums: the Musée Départemental de l’Arles Antique (MDAA), the beautiful art-filled Musée Réattu and the Van Gogh Fondation...but only November 26 to 30.

Provence Prestige hours are from 10 am to 7 pm, with special late hours (until 11 pm) on Friday November 27, when it’s open until 11 pm. All the info is on the main website here.  

Photos from 2014 courtesy of

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Elegant Provencale Townhome for Sale

Looking for the perfect Provencal vacation home, my friends Bill and Lorna Ramsay bought their first property in Tarascon in 2001. Five years later, they purchased the adjacent building--a "total ruin" according to Lorna--did a full renovation and seamlessly connected the two.

Then, after retiring from their longtime foreign-service careers with the US State Department (in the Congo, the Côte d'Ivoire, Saudi Arabia, Brussels and Paris) they decided to make this their permanent home in 2011. 

And now the Ramsays are they've put this very-special, historic home on the market. I think it's magnificent and thought I'd help them spread the word.

Located in a quiet square in the city center, the house is part of an ancient convent dating from the 11th century...and many 13th- to 17th-century architectural details remain. With 480 square meters (5,165 square feet) of living space on three levels, it includes five bedrooms, large and small living room/salons, a large dining room, a sophisticated and fully equipped kitchen with professional stove, a large laundry room with storage, and front and interior courtyards suitable for outdoor dining.  Numerous fireplaces, high ceilings with exposed pine beams and thick stone walls contribute to the authenticity and warmth. Bill and Lorna tell me the house is in perfect condition and knowing them, I'm sure it's true! Asking price is 845,000€. 

Tarascon is a medieval town on the Rhône River, in the Alpilles region of the Bouches du Rhône department of Provence. It's 15 minutes from St. Remy, 30 minutes from Arles and Avignon and roughly 1.5 hours from Marseille. Paris is less than three hours away on the high-speed TGV train from Avignon.

To learn more about the village of Tarascon, see my blog story from a few years ago here.

To learn more about the history of the Ramsay's home and the buildings surrounding it, click here.

For all the house details, the real estate agent's website is here...but please send all inquiries direct to Bill:

Photos: Click on any image to enlarge. (1) One pretty guestroom has beamed ceilings, original 13th-century stone walls and a slipper tub with bathroom beyond it.  (2) Bill and Lorna are moving on but have very heavy hearts about leaving this beauty of a home behind.  (3) The entry hall has a a spiral staircase with a wine cave below it.  (4) A fountain on the front terrace. (5, 6) The kitchen has a professional Viking eight-burner stove with warming oven, a De Dietrich microwave/convection oven, another convection oven, a built-in Neff refrigerator-freezer and a working 18th-century fireplace.  (7) Pretty wall sconces and chandeliers are everywhere. (8) One of two living room/salons. This one has a tile floor made from the original stone "dalles," a working fireplace and built-in floor-to-ceiling storage. (9) The interior courtyard, off the kitchen, has a fountain and more original stone tiles. (10) Back in the day, the 44-square-meter main living room was a stable underneath the hospital of the Templar St Nicholas chapel complex. (11) Front courtyard. (12) The formal dining room has 11-foot ceilings and large graceful doors letting in lots of light. (13) The pretty tile roofs of medieval Tarascon--and its castle--sitting right on the Rhône River.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

You're Invited: Thanksgiving in France

Where to go for Thanksgiving? I wasn't planning to do a round up this year--as I've done in the past--but some of you have been asking for info and far be it from me to deny my peeps. So here are a few some sources for turkey (cooked and uncooked) and trimmings if you're doing it on your own. 

On the Cote d'Azur and in Provence...

Once again the American Club of the Riviera will hold its gala Thanksgiving lunch at the five-star Hotel Hermitage in Monte Carlo. The event is Thursday November 26, starting with a Champagne reception at 12:30. As in year's past, members of the US military (this year it's the Air Force) will be the invited guests of honor. Full details and contact info are on the ACR website here

MonacoUSA is hosting Thanksgiving at Stars N Bars in Monaco on Thursday the 26th at 7 pm. If you come alone, you'll sit with other people so everyone is included in the celebration. On the all-you-care-to-eat buffet will be turkey with stuffing, cranberry sauce, creamed onions, sweet potato, peas, corn-on-the-cob and corn bread. For dessert there will be apple, pumpkin and pecan pie...and brownies. You must reserve and pay ahead: MonacoUSA members pay €40, non-members €45 and kids under 12, €18. All the info is on their Facebook page here.  

The Nice chapter of France-Etats-Unis will host their Thanksgiving "dinner" at noon on Thursday November 26th, at the restaurant Koudou in Nice. On the menu (in French because it's fun): velouté de courge de pays, belle grosse dinde fermière farcie avec cranberry sauce et servie avec son maïs doré et ses “sweet potatoes” followed by Café Gourmand.  The price (31€ per person) includes wine and mineral water...and everyone is asked to leave a 2€ tip. Organizer Jacquie Berben says "We try to stay in the true American tradition: family and guests, locals and visitors. We usually have more Frenchies than Americans, and the former keep asking how to meet the latter!" To book: or  +33 (0)6 08 36 67 58.  

The Anglo-American Group of Provence (AAGP) will hold their Thanksgiving in Aix on Sunday November 29th, with the apero at 4 pm and dinner served around 5 pm. All are welcome. The cost is 35€ for adults and 18€ for kids under 12. The venue is the same as last year: Le Verguetier, at #7 Chemin d`Eguilles in Celony, opposite the Maison de Ste. Victoire. Last year, 72 people attended and the turnout this year should be similar. For more info or to book:

The Marseille Chapter of Democrats Abroad is hosting a Thanksgiving buffet dinner on Thursday evening November 26 at 7:30 pm at La Coumpagnie Restaurant in Aix...and it's all organic, made from all local products. €20 for adults includes hot wine;  kids under 12 pay €12. The restaurant is located at 840 ave. Camp de Menthe, 13090 Aix, between La Pioline and Club Hippique. Seating is limited and they expect a large response, so please reserve by email as soon as possible to:

Once again, the charming restaurant L'Epicerie de Cécile in the village of Beaucaire will be roasting up big juicy birds with all the trimmings on November 26. For 25€ per person you get a welcome Kir and an "all on the table" dinner with turkey, vegetables, sweet potatoes, pecan pie and live music (blues).  Located on the Place de la République. Reservations required: +33 (0)6 80 04 09 04.

Le Bistrot de Pierrerue (in Pierrerue, five minutes from Forcalquier in the eastern Luberon) has hosted Thanksgiving every year for the last ten years, usually on Thursday and Friday. This year it will be Friday November 27 only. The menu is turkey, stuffing, potato gratin, Brussels sprouts, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie and apple crumble; the price is 25€ per person and reservations are required. To book:  +33 (0)4 92 75 33 00. 

In Marseille, the restaurant Burger's Banquet (9 rue Moliere) may be hosting Thanksgiving...check in with them for details., +33 (0)4 91 93 32 40,

In Paris...

The Texas-style BBQ restaurant The Beast (27 rue Meslay, 75003 Paris) will be offering "low and slow" smoked turkey, with cranberries and sweet potatoes, as a dinner special on November 26. Pecan pie (a year-round menu mainstay) and Brooklyn Brewery's Pumpkin Ale will be in abundant supply. Owner Thomas Abramowicz--a Frenchman who spent more than a month eating his way through the most serious BBQ joints in Texas before he opened The Beast last year--tells me the full menu will also be available that evening and there will be lots of specials. Reservations are accepted for groups of six or more, for both the first seating (7 to 7.30 pm) and the second (9 to 9: 15 pm). For info, call +33 (0)7 81 02 99 77 but to reserve, please text instead. Whole turkeys--brined, seasoned, stuffed and smoked--are available in various sizes for pre-order, until Saturday, November 21st. To order whole birds in advance:

The American University Clubs of France (AUC) will celebrate the holiday this year on November 24th, at Joe Allen's, at 7:30 pm. The menu looks terrific...see it and all other details here.

The Hard Rock Cafe Paris will celebrate Thursday the 26th, serving up NFL football on the large screen along with your traditional turkey dinner. The price is 35€ per person and a portion of proceeds go to WhyHunger. To reserve:

The restaurant called Breakfast in America will be serving Thanskgiving on Thursday Nov 26 at one of their locations, at 17 rue des Ecoles in the 5th arr. All the info is here.

You can buy uncooked Thanksgiving turkeys, pumpkin pie, pecan pie and all the ingredients to make your favorite sides at the Paris shop called Thanksgiving. They also sell online.

To find other Thanksgiving events in Paris, click here and here.

Shipping Anywhere in Europe... sells pretty much everything you need to prepare your Thanksgiving feast except the turkey...and lots of other ingredients and treats for other holiday meals too. They are 100% online and will deliver to anywhere in Europe. You can order right up until noon on November 25th and get your goodies on Thanksgiving Day. "But then you'll need to be a very fast and efficient chef!" Fanny at the company tells me.  Specific Thanksgiving foods are on a special page here.


If you know of other Thanksgiving celebrations in France, feel free to leave the info in the comments section (click "comments" below). Or, send it to me at and I'll add it here.

Above: The much-loved, often-parodied painting is Norman Rockwell's "Freedom from Want" from 1942. Everyone in it was a Rockwell family member or friend; they were photographed individually and painted into the scene. Learn more about the painting and artist here.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Food Styling + Photo Workshop in Provence

Denise Vivaldo and Cindie Flannigan, authors of the The Food Stylist’s Handbook, have joined forces with food photographer Christina Petersfood stylist Tasha Powell and chef Saša Asanović to present a workshop on the art of food styling and photography in the glorious Luberon region of Provence, April 12 to 16, 2016.

Based in Los Angeles, Denise has 30 years of experience in the food world as a caterer, recipe developer, food stylist and more; you can read her bio here

The workshop will include three mornings of professional food styling instruction, one day of location photo instruction and one cooking class with participants photographing the food they make. Also included are a visit to a local produce market; shopping in Aix-en-Provence; touring and dining in the Luberon villages of Cadenet and Lourmarin; visiting local churches and abbeys; a tasting of La Tuilière Olive Oil including a tour of the olive orchard; and tastings at local vineyards, including Château La Coste in Le Puy-Sainte-Réparade. There will also be shopping at local markets to stock up on props for your own collection. All breakfasts, lunches, and two dinners are included.

Participants will be asked to bring their own SLR cameras and have at least basic camera knowledge. All instruction will be in English. Click here to see the course curriculum.

The workshop price depends on the hotel you choose: the "colorful and rustic" B&B La Tuiliere in Cadenet or the luxurious Le Moulin de Lourmarin

For locals who'd like to join in, there's a special weekly rate of $1300, without lodging or meals.

For all the info, click here

Photos: (1, 5, 6, 7): Dishes styled by Denise Vivaldo and her team for various clients. Over the years these have included Sunkist, Disney, Trader Joe's, Whole Foods, California Strawberries, Le Creuset and many more.  (2) The Food Stylist's Handbook is one of eight books Denise has written; see them all here.  (3, 4) Take the food styling workshop in Provence and stay at the B&B La Tuiliere or at the Moulin de Lourmarin. (8) Denise on the Iron Chef set with Cat Kora. (9) Chef Saša Asanović gets a dish ready for its close up. (10, 11) Outings during the workshop will include shopping in Aix en Provence and a visit to the very unique winery Chateau la Coste, known for its contemporary art and architecture.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

A One-Stop Online Photo Shop

Have you guys discovered YellowKorner? It's an irresistible site for browsing eclectic photography from all over the world, from all eras. The images are all available for sale in a number of sizes. You can search by theme, shape, dimensions, artist and more. To give you a taste, I did a quick search for "France" and found the photos above...and many more. (The bottom one, with the bubble gum, has nothing to do with France--the photographer Romina Ressia is Argentinian--but I like it!) The site also has featured artists (right now it's French photographer and film-maker Jan Arthus-Bertrand), limited-edition books and Masterclasses (Photoshop, Lightroom 5, fashion, portraiture, etc.) that you can stream or download. YellowKorner also has 75-plus real galleries worldwide...and you can see the list here.

Photos: A selection of images found by searching "France" on You can click them to enlarge...and find all the info about them here. If you're in the mood for more, see my story about the Saatchi Gallery's online art shop.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Another Fine French Book Giveaway

Hillary Davis traces her fascination with the cocotte--the enameled, cast-iron French version of a Dutch oven—to early memories of her grandmother: 

“She was pulling a hot pot out of the oven and was swinging it around heavily to land with a thud on the wooden kitchen table. Her pot was bursting at the top with a golden crust that oozed bubbling brown gravy down the sides. Ever since that pot had been brought to her as a gift from Europe, she had not gone a day without using it. If she was the queen of the kitchen, this pot was the queen of her cuisine...”

Today the New Hampshire-based author has grandma’s pot proudly displayed in her own kitchen...along with a vast collection of French-made cocottes she has collected over the years.

And, as of a few weeks ago, she has a gorgeous new cookbook devoted to cooking in them. Using techniques such as braising, stewing, roasting, baking, stovetop and frying, the 224-page hardcover Le French Oven will help you create tantalizing appetizers, soups, main courses and desserts, no matter the size, shape or make of your own pot. 

Hillary’s publisher, Gibbs Smith, has given me two copies of this beautiful new book to give away.

Hillary works as a food journalist, cooking instructor and publisher of the popular food blog Marche Dimanche. She's a long-time food columnist and restaurant critic for New Hampshire Magazine and her work has been featured in many national and international magazines.  She has an economics degree from Columbia, a Masters from Cambridge (yikes!) and two previous books to her credit: French Comfort Food and Cuisine Niçoise.  

When she’s not at home in New Hampshire, Hillary’s almost always in France. Having lived along the Cote d’Azur for more than eleven years and in Paris for three years, she now spends two to three months every year exploring different regions of the country she considers her second home.

In the book’s intro, Hillary gives us some brief background about the object of her passion: “The best [cocottes] are made in France and those are the ones I collect,” she explains. “It’s a subjective and personal opinion based upon years of trying different ones. Mine are French ovens and are 100 percent made in France.”

She also tells the stories behind the top brands-- Chasseur, Emile Henry, Fontignac, Le Creuset, Mauviel, Revol, Staub—and provides info on how to choose and care for their wares.

“I never realized they are like snowflakes," she says. "Each one is unique and hand made. Emile Henry even has its people sign the bottom of the cocottes they make. It makes me appreciate them even more.”

And then it’s on to 80 tantalizing recipes for full-size cocottes and mini-cocottes, including Warm Mushroom Custards with Garlic Toast, French Carrot Rice Soup, Basque-Style Paella, Two-Hands Praying Rack of Lamb Roast, Lemony Braised Chicken with Green Olives, and Beef Pot-au-Feu. Dessert recipes include Raspberry Clafoutis and Hot Brandied Peaches Over Ice Cream.

To illustrate Le French Oven, Hillary turned to her long-time collaborator, the photographer Steven Rothfeld, whose other titles include The Tuscan Sun Cookbook, Bringing Tuscany Home, Hungry for France, Simply French and French Comfort Food.  In addition to photos of the finished dishes you’ll find wonderful images of French villages, people, landscapes and more.

To enter to win a copy of the book, simply leave a comment under “comments” below. Tell us why you simply must have this book...or why you want to give it as a gift...or what you remember most about your own grandmother’s cooking...or how you came to have your own cocotte. Make sure to leave us a way to reach you; signing in with your Google account is not enough. Winners will be chosen in the next month and the publisher will send the books out tout suite.

If you’d like to go ahead and buy the book, it’s on Amazon here.

To learn more about Hillary:

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Sunday: Anthony Bourdain in Marseille

Season Six of Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown--the CNN original series --premiered Sunday Sept 27, with Bourdain visiting Cuba. The Emmy Award-winning series follows the popular chef/author as he travels the globe to uncover "little-known, off-the-road and seemingly-familiar" regions, to celebrate their diverse foods and culture.

The eight-episode series will also feature Bourdain traveling in Okinawa, Ethiopia, California’s Bay Area, Borneo, Istanbul, Charleston, S.C...and Marseille, France.

The Marseille episode will air in the US on October 4 and there are clips herehere and here.

"If you've been to France, chances are you haven't been here," Bourdain says in the opener. "France's second largest city, the oldest city in France. It sits right by the Mediterranean, the food is famously good. Yet it's a victim of bad reputation, bad history. Marseille. As it turns out, exactly the kind of place I like..."

Bourdain's sidekick for this trip is his great pal Eric Ripert, chef/co-owner of the Michelin three-star Le Bernardin in New York. Born and raised in Antibes (roughly 100 miles away), Ripert tells an incredulous Bourdain that he's never been to Marseille. So off they go to discover it together:  zipping around on scooters, bobbing around in a fishing boat, drinking Pastis, sniffing melons in the market, playing petanque, exploring the beautiful cliffs and coves of the Calanques and chatting up colorful locals such as crime novelist Cedric Fabre, cliff diver Lionel Franc, chef/restaurateur Georgiana Viou and Le Monde journalist Gilles Rof.

And of course, they eat: pied paquets, Algerian couscous at Le Femina, Corsican meats and cheeses, grilled sardines, octopus stew, pizza, bouillabaisse and much, much more. 

"Marseille is the pizza truck capital of France," Bourdain proclaims as the two chefs head off to man the popular JD Pizza Truck alongside owner Jean-Denis Martinez. En route, Bourdain asks Ripert if he knows how to make pizza. "Never did a pizza in my life," Ripert says.

"This is going to be like I Love Lucy," Bourdain says. 

"More like Laurel and Hardy," Ripert shoots back.

Busy making pies, Bourdain remarks on how pizza toppings here--crème fraîche, reblochon, figatelli, lardon, figs, chevre--seem somewhat more high-end than at home. A customer asks for anchois and Bourdain thinks he's being sworn at. When the line of customers starts to back up, Bourdain chides Ripert for "dicking around with your insane perfectionism...Michaelangelo worked on the Sistine Chapel for less time!"

Finally Bourdain takes a time out and Ripert asks him what happened. "Hey this is France!" Bourdain tells him. "You get a nice break! Have I worked my 22-hour-week yet?"

Of course Marseille's most-famous dish, bouillabaisse, is featured prominently in the 0ne-hour episode. In what Bourdain calls "the requisite fishing trip scene," the two head out with a local fisherman who works exclusively for chef Gérald Passedat, the "extremely demanding" chef/owner of Le Petit Nice, the only Michelin three-star in Marseille. He pulls his boat up right to the restaurant with his daily catch.

Ripert claims he never goes fishing, doesn't know how and never catches anything, while Bourdain gripes good natured-ly about too much fishing: "I must have done 20 fishing scenes in my life and I think I've had one good day out of all of them. Other than that it's been one humiliating goat rodeo after another..."

Afterwards, seated on the restaurant's terrace for lunch, Passedat asks the chefs "Would you mind to have the bouillabaisse?" 

Passedat's take on the famous dish is spread out over four courses, starting with a shellfish carpaccio of raw mussels and clams. Later come slipper lobster, weaver, angler and red gurnard, lightly seared and given "just a touch" in the oven.

"Incredibly beautiful, insanely good," Bourdain proclaims. 

Then it's on to the main event:  "A broth so intense it requires over ten kilos of rock crabs and various bony tasty little fishes to make just one kilo of brown, gloriously brown, magical liquid. Dorade and dentelle, steamed over seaweed water...saffron potatoes...and then finally that magical brown broth."

"This is unbelievable," says Ripert....high praise from the man widely regarded as the top seafood chef in New York.

"I had the inspiration to make this bouillabaisse when I was a child," Passedat tells his two fellow culinarians. "On those rocks, when I was with my knife opening the mussels, eating the mussels. In my cuisine there is no cream, no butter, it's not traditional at all. Just based on the fish. It's my way of thinking, my cuisine here...Provencal."

Another day, over lunch with crime writer Cedric Fabre, Bourdain asks: "Why is this such a fertile ground to set a crime novel?" Fabre talks about the city's rich multi-cultural make up and its deep North African roots.

"In Marseille there's a very poor area and a very rich area," he says. "The difference between those two areas is the worst in that makes an interesting city. When we write a crime novel, we write about those that's interesting. 

The adventure continues outside the city too, as the chefs hit the road in a 1972 Citroën Maserati. They head for the gorgeous old village of Lourmarin in the Luberon, about 90 minutes from Marseille, where they pack a picnic from the Friday market stalls and spread out to eat on the grounds of an ancient chapel.

Over lunch, Bourdain asks Ripert a classic Bourdain question: "You know Martha Stewart pretty well...give me an honest answer. In a street fight, could she choke me out?"

"I think if she goes to the dark side, I think so," Eric says. "I think so too," Bourdain comes back. 

Then he gets philosophical, asking Ripert, a Buddhist, if he ever worries that his next life won't be anywhere near as good as this one. 

"No, I have good karma from my previous life!" Ripert tells him, while slicing and salting tomatoes.

But Bourdain presses him. "What if the worst case scenario happens? Your next life is going to probably suck! The best case scenario, in your next life, maybe if you would be if you get to sit in a sub shop in Asbury Park, New Jersey. More likely, you'll end up a mime! A diseased, itinerant mime wandering the streets scrounging for money. I'm just saying how much better can it be than this? Enjoy every minute of this now, Eric, and pray, pray, pray that this is it and the end of the day they roll you into a hole in a ground and you're diet for worms! Because if you're right and there is a next life, you're fucked my friend."

"You're a desperate case," Ripert tells him.

Back in Marseille, the guys are invited to dinner at Chez Georgiana, where chef/owner Georgiana Viou hosts a monthly meal for her women chef friends. There are so few women running professional kitchens in Marseille that they fit around a small dinner table (although three were absent that evening). 

"Marseille is not an easy city," one of women says. "It's not a museum, a Disneyland, you know. Everything is kind of dirty and complicated. But when you are in Marseille, you have the fantastic light and the can have the best fishes...yes you are home...I mean, it's just like being home."

For the group, Georgiana--who was born in Benin and came to France via Nigeria and London--whips up a beautiful beef tartare with apple and celeriac, topped with botargo (also known as bottarga or poutargue, it's salted fish roe). "Counter intuitive, but truly amazing and delicious," Bourdain deems it.

"I'm coming from Paris and I used to cook with butter and cream," Georgiana explains. "Today I can't imagine my cuisine without olive oil, without vegetables, without seafood, without spices..."

The botargo is a good idea, Ripert says, better than anchovies.

"If you want you can do it at Le Bernardin and you can call it Georgiana's Tartare," she tells him with a laugh.  The meal moves on to a main course of pieds paquets, which Bourdain calls his single favorite Marseillaise classic, "a dish which encapsulates everything I love and believe in about food." 

Towards the end of the show, the chefs are invited to an al fresco lunch at a sea-front cabanon that's been in the same family since the 1940s. First comes panisse (chickpea fritters) with aïoli, then Mediterranean sea snails with anise and wild fennel, followed by fresh grilled sardines marinated in lemon and olive oil. "Perfect happiness," Bourdain says.

"So when are you retiring?" he asks Ripert over lunch.  

"As soon as possible, seriously!" Eric says, looking out to sea...and clearly enjoying the sunshine, the company,  the meal, the whole scene.

And when are you going to come back?  

"I don't want to leave!" Ripert says. "People come from all over Europe, spend hours in their car to be here. My grandparents and my uncles used to have that lifestyle, but I forgot about it. Now I'm remembering."

"[You could] open a chain of cynical surf-and-turf restaurants and cash out in two years," Bourdain tells him.

Ripert replies: "If it is to be here, yes...I will do it."

I saw a screener of the whole episode...and loved it. Whether you know Marseille well or have never been, it's a terrific hour of TV filled with interesting characters, rich history, beautiful scenery, fantastic-looking food and of course lots of off-kilter, off-color Bourdain humor.  But when he proclaims his love for the city and its people, you get the feeling that it's genuine. And Ripert appears to be every bit as besotted.

"I could retire here," Bourdain says.  "That's sort of the measure of a place for me, if you start thinking thoughts like that. Like that must be nice, I could live there, just me and my watercolors, puttering..."

"I could retire here too," his friend tells him.

"Life is good," the chefs agree with a laugh. "Life is very good in Marseille."

The Marseille episode of Parts Unknown airs October 4 at 9 pm ET/PT in the US.  The show is also syndicated to Europe, Asia, the Middle East, Africa and Asia. You can't see it online but clips are here, here and here.

To see the trailer, click here.

You can follow Parts Unknown on Twitter and Facebook...

Follow Bourdain on TwitterFacebook and Instagram...

Follow Eric Ripert on Twitter and Facebook...

See Bourdain's last trip to Provence on my blog here...

And read about the huge food market that Bourdain is building on New York's Pier 57, see the recent New York Times article here.


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