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Best Dining, Nude or Not? And After Louie, Bonjour or Be Damned


How about just “Best Chef in the World” instead? That’s what could be next for Chantel Dartnall, a member of a family who is working with our favorite Interior Designer Martine di Mattéo to renovate and decorate her family’s new “pied-à-terre” in Paris that has a beautiful view of its next-door neighbor, La Grande Dame, La Tour Eiffel. (Isn’t that what everyone dreams of?)

Best chef in world, Chantel DartnallBest chef in world, Chantel Dartnall

Naturism in France

Restaurant O'NaturelRestaurant O’Naturel

After Louie - The movie

Jean-Benoît NadeauJean-Benoît Nadeau

The Bonjour Effect

60 Million Frenchmen Can't be Wrong

According to The South African, 37 year-old Chantel is the best female chef on the planet, chef and director of “Restaurant Mosaic” — her pride and joy in the luxurious hotel, The Orient, near Pretoria, South Africa. She’s a two-time winner of the South Africa Chef of the Year award and beat out a three Michelin-starred chef, Elena Arzak in the process.

In January, I will be experiencing Chantel’s cuisine first hand when my daughter and I visit her in person at the Mosaic and The Orient, and, of course, I’m hoping to be invited to “Chez Chantel” in Paris once the new grand “cuisine” is ready for her able cooking skills.

Congratulations to Chantel!


It’s not what I personally had in mind, but there are others who will think this is the best news of the year: Paris has just opened it’s first all nudie-cazoodie restaurant.

First, Paris saw (pun intended) the “Dans le Noir” restaurant, all about dining in absolute darkness, for “a sensory experience that awakens your senses and enables you to completely re-evaluate your perception of taste and smell”…but that wasn’t exotic enough. Now we have a new sensory experience (or should we say sensual experience?) dining totally in the buff.

Naturism is big business in France with hundreds of beaches, campsites, and spa centers where clothing is optional, but they are tucked away in out-of-the-way places for a bit of discretion. Now, naturists can come out in the open right here in the middle of Paris to place their warm buns on cool upholstered chairs at “O’Naturel,” the latest offering in creative dining. Located on rue de Gravelle in the 12th, it’s fortunate you don’t have to arrive nude — you can hop on the Métro fully clothed, then visit their cloakroom to disrobe and join the others in their and your natural state.

France is becoming quite the center of naturism worldwide. There’s even a public pool in Paris with optional clothing during certain hours and as of this past August, a “nudist zone” opened up inside the Bois de Vincennes. I don’t know about you, but I’m happy on a beach in the sun without a “maillot de bain,” and a spa…no problem…but in a Paris restaurant…think not!


American in Paris writer/director Vincent Gagliostro’s new film is out, “After Louie.” Here’s a brief synopsis of the film:

After Louie follows Sam (Tony Award®-winner Alan Cumming), an artist and activist from ACT UP who lived through the early years of HIV/AIDS — a man scarred and still struggling with survivor’s guilt. Cemented into an oppressive past, he is bewildered by a younger generation of carefree gay men with their uninhibited use of social media, sexting, and seeming political indifference. But when he meets the seductive young Braeden (Zachary Booth), an intergenerational relationship blossoms between them – one capable of reawakening Sam’s artistic soul and reviving his wilted heart.

And you can be one of the first to see it at a special screening on Monday, November 20th at 9:35 p.m. at the MK2 Beaubourg. To get your tickets, visit:


Jean-Benoît Nadeau, Quebecois co-author of “The Bonjour Effect,” without his Anglo-Canadian wife and co-author Julie Barlow being present, spoke at the American Library last night to a packed house about the book they wanted to call “Bonjour or Be Damned.” Their publisher didn’t think the title was a very good idea and opted on something a little less negative!

Nadeau had us chuckling as he related a story about a Paris bus driver being disgusted by his family’s lack of “politesse” when all four of them got on the bus and failed to say “Bonjour” to the driver as they were distracted busily arranging their tickets and getting them stamped in the machine. The driver “oh la la-ed” under his breath a few times, giving Nadeau the immediate clue that something was very wrong. That’s when they realized how important the “phatic” word, “bonjour,” is in French culture and communication. I learned about this over the past summer while reading the book on the beach and wrote about it in Parler Nice —  “I’m only a few chapters in and have already learned more in a few pages than I have in 23 years of living in France about the secret codes that obviously have remained a secret to me until now.”

I reiterated that to M. Nadeau last night, and I wasn’t the only one in the room to sing the praises of the book. It’s the best book on French culture and communications to have landed on the bookshelves in a decade…at least since their last book, “Sixty Million Frenchmen Can’t Be Wrong.”

M. Nadeau has promised to speak at Après Midi in 2018, so stay tuned for another opportunity and meanwhile, be sure to get your copy and read it in advance!


 Vee Speers Dystopia

Vee Speers’ opening is November 16th! We published the 19th, and therefore the wrong date, in Monday’s Parler Paris. Here is the corrected information:

Vee Speers, an Australian photographer living in Paris who caught my attention years ago at Paris Photo with a body of work titled “The Birthday Party,” will be represented at the fair by The School Gallery here in Paris which will be showing her most recent collection, “Dystopia.” Thanks to the fair, and a mutual friend who is a collector, I came to know Vee and now I have one from an early body of works, “Les Parisiens.” It was one that I “just couldn’t live without” when she showed me photographic works in her box of archived prints. Her images are arresting — you’ll find that you won’t be able to take your eyes off any one of them. They steal the show from anything else you might have on your wall. If you miss the fair, you can attend a special opening of her works at the gallery on November 16th (see for more information.)

A la prochaine…

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House Hunters International - Life and Love Parisian-Style

P.S. Don’t miss our brand new House Hunters International episode “Life and Love Parisian-Style” tomorrow night! See our HHI page for details!


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