Category Archives: ABOUT PARIS: The Eiffel Tower, Poilane, Winemakers etc

This is probably what you’re looking for


Don’t know why the embed’s not working.

With many thanks to Phyllis Flick who’s been blogging about adult food for some time now at Paris Notebook, here, for those of you who remember purple-haired ladies and recently paroled cooks slinging beef-sort-a-goulash, here is the French approach to the school lunch.

Aired yesterday on Sunday Morning



A lot of people don’t realise that the French didn’t want the Eiffel tower to be built and once it was decided it was going up, the deal was it would be torn down in 20 years.

I only had about about ten days to get it done (for me that’s pressure) and there was just one other problem…


The first summer I was in Paris I met a famous food writer, Dorie Greenspan ( who asked if I would help her shoot a short film of a baker making some cookies. It sounded about as exciting as watching somebody laying tiles… until I met and saw him at work. His name was Lionel Poilane and I’ve never forgotton that evening. But that was only the beginning of the story.

Today the Poilane bakery is in the same location it has been for nearly eighty years: 8 Rue Cherche Midi in the 6th in Paris. Phone is 33 (0) 1 45 48 42 59 or I give you all the information because today, even though everything is still made by hand, the bakery ships overnight to eleven other countries every day.


Dubbed the “best health care system in the world” by WHO in 2000, The French pay a lot for their health care but at least you can get sick without going broke.

A Tale of Two Winemakers

I didn’t know what the story was when I started.  I had met one winemaker, Stephane Ogier (, in Paris. The other, Raymond DeVilleneuve I’d heard about – rather I’d heard the legends. Anyway I asked both if I could come down and shoot the harvest.

Okay so there it was: a lot of footage of grape picking and workers and lunches and dinners and no particular story.

It had to have been a little more than a year later I asked my friend  Juan Sanchez who owns La Derniere Goutte, if he knew someone who could talk about these two wines. I still didn’t know what the story would be but he gave me a name and … well I had no idea that  I was about to discover that a dedicated vigneron crafts a wine with his soul.


There is another football played in France

My Grandfather’s Island

Okay – it’s not about Paris but two islands off the coast of Sicily: Lipari and Salina, part of a chain called the Aeolian Islands. My grandfather came from the former, my grandmother the latter. After they left in the late 19th century they never went back and because they were practically infants at the time, they had no recollection of the islands or our family’s story.

In 2003 I took my family there to show my daughter something of her heritage and also to try and unravel a mystery that has haunted me all my life.