Thursday, February 24, 2011

Love 2 Eat? Come to Paris!

We escorted Lové Anthony, star of the popular Love2Eat video production, on a tour of some of the best gourmet food shops in Paris. Click on the video below to enjoy the show!


Go Gourmet with Discover Paris! We can take you to the best of the city’s pastry and chocolate shops, arrange a private wine hop, organize a dinner prepared by a private chef in an authentic Parisian home, help you plan your Paris picnic…

To learn more, visit our gourmet itinerary page at or send a message to info[at]discoverparis[dot]net.

Click here to access our free Paris Insights restaurant reviews!


If you love good food, share this video with your online friends by clicking on one of the social media icons beneath our logo!


Entrée to Black Paris!™ is a Discover Paris! blog.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

U.S. Embassy Celebrates Black History Month with Discover Paris!™

For anyone looking for a tour with a warm and knowledgeable guide that goes beyond the usual monuments and landmarks, I highly recommend taking a Discover Paris! tour.

Arcadia Letkemann, TMM Public Outreach Coordinator/Special Projects
American Embassy Paris

On Saturday, February 12th, fifteen staff members of the U.S. Embassy in Paris celebrated Black History Month by taking a Discover Paris! Entrée to Black Paris™ (ETBP) walk that I created especially for them. It incorporated elements of ETBP’s “Black Pearl Walk” and “Black History in and around the Luxembourg Garden” walk. I was pleased to be able to include several new tidbits of information that I recently uncovered through interviews and research!

The first part of Saturday’s walk focused on the personas of Josephine Baker and Beauford Delaney. We began at Place Josephine Baker in the 14th arrondissement, where I briefly presented Josephine’s legacy of performing, military service and French Resistance activities during WWII, and philanthropy.

At Place Josephine Baker
© Discover Paris

We then visited the Bobino Theater – site of her last performance run in 1975 – and talked of the last days of her life and her funeral. We stopped near the wall of the Montparnasse cemetery, where I spoke of artist Beauford Delaney and his long-lasting friendship with James Baldwin. We then saw two hotels where Beauford lived during his first years in Paris, and got an unexpected glimpse of a courtyard that preserves the essence of “old Montparnasse.” The city of Paris razed the neighborhood in the 1960s and 70s, implementing an urban renewal project that favored profits over architectural aesthetics and the preservation of the area’s village atmosphere.

We went on to the Carrefour Vavin, where we continued to discuss Beauford and Josephine; for good measure I also offered an anecdote about African-American fighter pilot Eugene Bullard. All of the “Carrefour cafés”– Le Dôme, La Rotonde, Le Select, and La Coupole – have African-American history associated with them.

In front of Le Select
© Discover Paris!

Making our way to the Luxembourg Garden, we stopped briefly while I pointed out the former location of La Boule Blanche – one of the two most famous post-WWI Antillean clubs in Paris. People came here to dance the beguine, which was widely popularized when Josephine Baker included it in one of her dance performances in 1931.

We entered the garden at the southeast corner, where I talked briefly about the working apiary and the espaliered trees that exist there. We then wended our way along the gently curving paths to reach the Statue of Liberty. At the foot of the statue, I discussed the urban legend that claims that the sculptor used a black woman as the model and that the statue was conceived to honor the black soldiers who served during the Civil War.

Statue of Liberty
© Discover Paris!

During the remainder of our time in the garden, I talked about the “mutual admiration society” of Richard Wright and Gertrude Stein, the landscape paintings of Loïs Mailou Jones, and the Loi Taubira – the French law that declares slavery a crime against humanity. We ended our leisurely but eventful stroll at the Fabrice Hyber sculpture that commemorates the abolition of slavery in France.

Le Cri, L'Ecrit
Fabrice Hyber
© Discover Paris!

Arcadia Letkemann, Coordinator of TMM Public Outreach/Special Projects at the Embassy, had the following to say about the tour:

The Discover Paris! Black History Month walking tour, especially prepared for the American Embassy Paris, was a relaxing and informative experience. Don’t be daunted by the length of this tour; two hours went by quickly – especially because the tour was not strenuous and the pace was leisurely.

Monique Wells is a very personable and knowledgeable guide who was both well prepared and flexible; she even threw in information about landmarks, history and traditions that were not specifically geared to African-American history per se, but which enriched our understanding of the larger context that attracted black writers and artists to Paris during the 20th century.

For anyone looking for a tour with a warm and knowledgeable guide that goes beyond the usual monuments and landmarks, I highly recommend taking a Discover Paris! tour.


Entrée to Black Paris!™ is a Discover Paris! blog.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Art and Food Pairing™: Galerie Intemporel and O Corcovado Restaurant

Go Gourmet with Discover Paris! We can show you the best of the city’s pastry and chocolate shops, arrange a private wine hop, organize a dinner in an authentic Parisian home prepared by a private chef, help you plan your Paris picnic…

To learn more, visit our gourmet itinerary page at or send a message to info[at]discoverparis[dot]net. Click here to access our free Paris Insights restaurant reviews!


Several months ago, I was contemplating my never-ending quest to increase my food and wine pairing skills when the idea sprang to mind that I could pair art and food in a similar fashion. I had been exploring museums and galleries that display African or black Diaspora works, and wanted to couple the visual experience at these venues with a gustatory experience at a nearby café or restaurant. Thus, the concept of Art and Food Pairing™was born!

Today, I present the vibrant exhibition Acqua at the Galerie Intemporel ( coupled with a dining experience at O Corcovado in the Marais.

Galerie Intemporel was founded by Laurence Choko in 1998. It is located in the heart of the Marais, only a few blocks from the Pompidou Center. The gallery’s mission is to expose modern and contemporary works of select artists of the African Diaspora and other countries.

Choko is particularly supportive of artists from Cuba. The Galerie Intemporel Web site lists no fewer than eleven Cuban artists, most of whom are painters. But Choko shows works from artists from other nations as well, including her native Martinique, Haiti, Chile, the Dominican Republic, Iceland, and Australia. She also shows works by U.S. photographer Frank Stewart at the gallery.

During the 2010 Art Basel Miami Beach show, Choko opened a temporary gallery where she presented sculpture by Barbara Chase-Riboud and a portrait by Beauford Delaney alongside the works of many of the artists that she normally supports. She eventually plans to show selected works by these American artists in the Paris gallery.

The exposition Acqua features the paintings and sculpture of Cuban artist Arturo Montoto. Most of the works are paintings – aquarelle still lifes to be exact. Having grown up on a farm on the outskirts of Pinar del Río city, Montoto developed a passion for fruit, and most of the works shown at Intemporel depict them in exquisite color and form. Curator Choko has chosen a couple of powerful, bronze sculptures that feature fruits for the exposition as well.

Painting: Oro Caribe (2009) Oil on canvas
Screenshot from Galerie Intemporel Web site

Montoto was born in 1953. He graduated from the National School of Art in Havana, and went on to earn a Master of Fine Arts degree at the State Institute V. I. Súrikov in Moscow, with a specialty in mural painting.

Click here to see the entire Montoto collection shown at the exposition.

Once your appetite is whetted by Montoto’s uncannily realistic portrayals of food items, take a five minute walk to the restaurant O Corocovado Beaubourg, one of two sister restaurants serving authentic Brazilian cuisine in the City of Light. (The other restaurant is located in Montparnasse.) You cannot fail to find this eatery on the short and barren rue Simon le Franc, only steps away from the Centre Georges Pompidou, because the arched entry is marked by a neon sign in the yellow and green colors of Brazil.

O Corcovado Entrance
© Discover Paris!

Walking into the restaurant, diners are immediately immersed in atmosphere. Samba, bossa nova, and other forms of Brazilian music play on the sound system. The bar and the walls are brightly colored, and a chandelier with multicolored lights boasts an artificial macaw on a perch. Paintings of Brazilian street scenes grace the walls amid kitschy decor. The restaurant prepares the non-alcoholic portion of its signature cocktail – the caipirinha – in advance, so that the bar is often lined with glasses containing sugared lime juice and wedges of lime. This makes it easier for the bartender to fulfill orders quickly by adding ice and Cachaça, a potent Brazilian liquor made from fermented sugarcane juice, and shaking vigorously to mix the ingredients. My partner and I each ordered one, and found the drinks to be fruity and refreshing. Our server assured us that the Vitamin C from the lime juice and wedges would fortify us against colds and flu!

The servers speak Portuguese amongst themselves, and several Portuguese speakers were among the diners the night that we ate there. Though the names of all dishes are presented in Portuguese, explanations are presented in French. English is spoken as well. Servings are copious, so be forewarned.

My partner and I elected to order a full, three-course meal. As an entrée, I had the six “petit-fours” – two were stuffed with beef, two with chicken, and two with cheese. These were actually crispy, crunchy fritters with a thick, lightly seasoned, bread-like crust. They were served with a sweet and sour sauce and minced onions. While they were quite tasty, they were so large that I feared I would not be able to finish my main course! My partner selected the crabe farci, which was a misnomer because the dish was not served in a crab shell, but rather, in a porcelain serving dish. However, this did not change the fact that he found it to be completely satisfying.

© Discover Paris!

For the main course, I chose the national dish of Brazil – feijoada. O Corcovado’s rendition is made from black beans, pork sausage, and beef morsels and ladled around a mound of white rice in the center of an enormous plate. Slightly steamed “new cabbage” and diced oranges are served alongside. This is a terrific meal to order on a cold day, as it is stick-to-the-ribs delectable! My partner chose the Xinxim de Galinha, two large chicken thighs stewed in a sauce made of peanuts, cashews, shrimp, and garlic. This was served with a side of white rice. He thoroughly enjoyed it, and I vowed to try it next time because the portion is more appropriately sized for me.

Xinxim de Galinha
© Discover Paris!

My partner ordered a blond Brazilian beer called Brahma to accompany his meal, while I remained faithful to the caipirinha.

Dessert consisted of a Pudim for my partner and a Quindim for me. Pudim is Brazilian flan topped with caramel sauce, and Quindim is dense coconut custard atop a cookie-like crust. Both desserts hit their mark, being pleasingly sweet but not too filling.

Galerie Intemporel
37, rue Quincampoix
75004 Paris
Metro: Châtelet
Hours: Tuesday through Saturday 2 PM to 7 PM, or by appointment

O Corcovado
7, rue Simon le Franc
75004 Paris
Metro: Rambuteau (Line 11)
Hours: Monday through Sunday 7 PM to 1 AM (food service ends at 11 PM)


Entrée to Black Paris!™ is a Discover Paris! blog.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Black Paris Profiles™: Joseph Langley

Each month, our Paris Insights newsletter presents the hidden jewels that comprise the "real" Paris – the people and places that are the true heart and soul of the city.
Click here to sign up for the Paris Insights newsletter announcements and to receive our free Practical Paris guide!


Joe Singing
© Danielle Voirin

Joe Langley’s story is the most remarkable of all the expatriates that I know – African-American or otherwise! His love affair with the French language began when he found his brother’s copy of Saint Exupéry’s Le Petit Prince at home. He liked the “look” of the French words and loved the illustrations. These inspired him to pursue art and the French language as life-long passions. He went on to spend a year in the Dordogne region as an exchange student at the age of fifteen, and a year in Montpellier in the junior-year-abroad program at Davidson College.


Black Paris Profiles is now available on Kindle.  Only excerpts are available on this blog.
To get your copy of Black Paris Profiles, click HERE.


Entrée to Black Paris!™ is a Discover Paris! blog.