Monday, January 23, 2017

Paris Bookstore Map, La Fete de la Coquille

Bear insisted we get oysters & scallops on Sunday at the annual Brittany Fete de la Coquille Saint-Jacques in Montmartre.

First stop, a half dozen freshly-opened Breton oysters (8€).

Note they are served with a little knife. Use this to loosen the oyster from the shell with a scrape or two at the muscle on the left side...the white roundish bit. Then free the rest of the oyster going round the edge lightly. Tilt and swallow. That's it. No squeeze of lemon or sauce required. Not if you want to get the full briny flavor of Brittany. Never use a fork to cut up the oyster. SVP! Please.

There was lobster bisque. Brittany is a great source of France's seafood and I've yet to go.

Bretons were whooping it up. The band was playing. People were singing.

Plenty of Champagne and Sancerre flowing. Its not just for birthdays and anniversaries PBers.

This year I bought a pound box of scallops. 25 for 25€ and so worth it.

I'm mad for scallops and I've always wanted to paint them. Testing 1-2-3. First do a really good pencil drawing.

Then get loose and go to town. Draw loosely with a brush the shadow shape, in this case I used a plastic Aqua-waterbrush.

Build outwards, adding the different layers and textures.

I added in the orange coral surrounding the scallop for color.
This is the first time I finally cooked them right. Having 25 on hand makes you fearless. 
1. Get a frying pan really, really hot on high heat with a chunk of butter and a bit of olive oil, so it zizzles when you throw in a drop of water. 
2. Be sure to get your scallops out of the fridge for at least 20 minutes to room tempurature. Salt and pepper. 
3. Toss them into the hot pan. They should brown quickly in a matter of minutes. 
4. Throw in some capers and a good squeeze of lemon into your now browned butter. 
5. Serve with a green veg like spinach or brocalli. 
Do not let the scallops wait for the veg. Just the opposite. Voila. Easy peasy.

This month's PARIS BOOK SHOP MAP, went out 📬 on Saturday. The French are bookaholics. No question. 

There are endless specialty bookstores and book events. Salon du livre is a huge don't miss at Porte de Versailles in March. Its for the public, not a trade show only.

Have you been to the bookstore in Hotel de Sully? A well-kept secret.

Tucked away in an archway at 62 rue Saint-Antoine, 75004 just across from Metro staion St. Paul.

Also known as the Centre des Monuments Nationaux, they publish beautiful books on France and Paris of course.

A goldmine of stunning books. They have monthly tours (in French) to various monuments (10-19€). I'm going Sunday to see the appartments of the Duchesse de Hotel de Sully. Full report to come.

Shakespeare and Company generously donated loads of bookmarks to put in the map envelopes and i made some too.

Do you love coquille saint Jacques? You can get one of these watercolors + a 33-page scallop recipe book when you subscribe to Paris letters and maps


  1. This is truly lovely! What a perfect day, I cannot image life getting better then this, but somehow and someway, you will bring us another wonderful day through your art, and travels. I was wondering if you have put a "art" book together of these delightful experiences? foods, festivals, fashionista's, & bear?

  2. Sounds wonderful--the coquilles fair, the bookstore, everything.

  3. I WAS SLAYED that I lost out on the galette watercolors I am rendered speechless - can I renew even if expiration is not near to obtain the delicious add-ons-Carol these are WONDERFUL!!

    1. Send me an email 'G'.

    2. PS G.(???)...I do still have a galette watercolor..

    3. Oh carol I knew there was one in the store then not I don't know where to email you can I do it through the etsy store under helen-those scallops that galette those Paris scenes from you window and then Notre Dame from the Pont I am dying-so much art slipping through my hands.....May I email you through etsy oh and did the dec sketch letter go out with the map-any who THANK YOU!!

    4. Please do Mysterious G!!
      Are you Helen?

  4. I love the stamp too Carol..the round Paris B customly adorable.
    So..we eat scallops quite a bit..the large ones..but I have never had I have to make sure I dry them before the hot pan..I have never tried w/ capers..I we love capers..a different one is with those mini champagne grapes..
    and you are right seize and don't overcook.
    I wish I would have seen Shakepeare and Co..French Word A day..Kristi had a book signing there..
    I will never ever forget Montmartre..un coup de coeur pour moi.
    Tes coquilles sont lettre aussi...tous les gens qui lisent en marchant!

    1. Capers, brown butter (beurre noisette), chopped parsley, and lemon juice is the combo that works well with any fish dish. I found it in My Little Paris Kitchen by Rachel Khoo.

  5. LOVE. The blog. LOVE the scallop artwork. My mom made stews; lobster, oyster, and scallop. They were delicious winter meals. She used a double boiler. I think she melted butter with a bit of flour mixed in, then added milk. Like most New England cooks , she used few spices, but her food tasted great.

  6. Foodwalker10:40 PM

    All those yummy oysters and 25!!! scallops. Just leave them in their shell and pour a bit of butter over them and bake. The roe is the best!

  7. Laurent6:02 AM

    I was wondering if you published any book on your watercolors ? I could not find any on amazon.

  8. The bookstore map is gorgeous!

  9. Beautiful day in Brittany. I love the celebratory nature of the Bretons!
    The scallops look delicious, both at the market and in your art. Thank you for the information on the Centre des Nationaux, one could spend quite an afternoon there!

    1. It was a beautiful day in Montmartre. The fete comes twice a year to Paris.
      The Centre is excellent. Plus they offer 20+ tours a month even if in French...

  10. Yummy and delicious! And bookstores! I tend to miss all the yummy festivals! I may need to rethink when I visit!

  11. Dear Carol, what a pleasure it's been to see this post! The Breton fete looks like so much fun...great spirit in the air along with delicious seafood. A fine mix.
    You've reminded me how much I like scallops. Coincidentally, I've been on a New Year's caper appreciation kick, experimenting with how much they can add to all sorts of dishes.
    Lovely watercolor painting...thank you for the close up views of creativity in action. xo

  12. I can't wait for my map to arrive - I love books & Parisian bookstores. I just read about the Hotel de Sully bookstore & added it to my list for Sept. All of that seafood looks spectacular - what other month is the Breton fete celebrated at the Centre? (Please say Sept.) Your blog & watercolors so make my day!

    1. Hi suki,
      I think it is May. Coquille season is Oct - May
      Change your dates!!!

    2. To do that I would have to change my birthday as I'm coming to celebrate my 75th.

  13. As a vegetarian I'm more into the champagne than the seafood. Looking forward to getting my Paris Map of bookstores in the mail! Merci encore :)

    1. Many grapes were crushed to fill that bottle!!!

  14. Lots of visual treats, Carol.
    The oysters, the scallops (so many watercolors to look at!) & the books - great post, Carol.

  15. I love your scallop painting.. it's so beautiful ...My husband loves eating scallop..

    Please visit:


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