Grilling in Parisian Traffic
Susan Hermman Loomis French Grill

Grilling in Parisian Traffic

I don’t care how many books I write, each one is a labor of love, and as the publication date approaches the excitement builds, and there is suddenly so much to do.

As part of all of that, my favorite photographer, Francis Hammond and I took to the streets of Paris to shoot some photos for FRENCH GRILL. We could have taken them in the garden at On Rue Tatin, but since the book is both an urban and a country treatise on French grilling, we set our sights on the city streets.

Laurent at Avogadri

Before I got going, I went to  Avogadri coiffeur and my favorite coiffeur Laurent, who manages to tame my Irish hair.  He’s so good – in minutes I was in, then out.


Our first stop was the Jardin de Boucicault behind the Bon Marché. I love to sit and sip an “exprès” there, where on one side you see the sky-high sign for the BON MARCHE; on the other, the brand new sparkling banner of the Hotel Lutetia, which will soon open after three years of renovation. It feels so Paris. But it didn’t work for the photo, so we headed for the Champs Elysées, walking to the van, Francis dragging the barbecue behind him.

Bon marche
In front of Bon Marche fhphoto
The Team
The Team

We stopped for the light at rue de Bac, right in front of an entrance to the Bon Marche. The sun came out. We looked around and said “Why not?” and within minutes we’d placed the barbecue in the the crosswalk, lit newspapers inside so smoke poured from it, and I grabbed my magret de canard, my apron, my tongs and got to work. Francis crouched in position across the street and as soon as there was a break in traffic, he started shooting. He’d shout directions, I’d raise and lower the lid of the barbecue, hold up the magret, look to the left, look to the right. Cars rolled up to the light and drivers peered at the barbecue, realized it was a shoot, and either rolled forward or back to clear Francis’ vision. They laughed, they pointed, they waved; pedestrians took snaps, motorcyclists asked for a taste, a handsome gentleman with a beret and a baguette walked by and we roped him into the photo.

Francis preparing

Next stop was Avenue de la Grande Armée. There we had to act fast – smoke billowing from a grill in the middle of traffic there was sure to attract the CRS (crowd control police), the police, the gendarmes, the head of the French army, de Gaulle himself. But no, no one came (they’re all too busy with angry students and train strike I guess). Instead, we had more friendly drivers – friendly drivers in Paris? Yes! – who gave us room, laughed and waved, tossed out “orders” for steak frites or saucisses. A few disgruntled drivers hoisted their arms in that oh-so-French manner, but we didn’t care because our little photo shoot was making a party!

Susan Hermman Loomis French Grill

We got the shot and hustled ourselves to Trocadero. The view is endless with the Eiffel Tower as backdrop, the crowds immense, the police absolutely not in favor of grilling anything at all. We did some silly shots, then made our way to an urban terrace for some real grilling. A few more shots and then it was time for the sun to set. It’s all in a working day….!

This Post Has 18 Comments

  1. Joan Morrow

    Love your shoes Susan! You rocked the shoot!!!

    1. Susan

      Joan – thanks, and they’re comfortable too!

  2. ShePaused4Thought

    OMG I love every photo. What a clever and fun photo shoot. You look fabulous!

    1. Susan

      I’m still laughing. It was so much fun. Imagine scooting around with a barbecue, smoke pouring out, people laughing and honking. Really great!

  3. Katherine Chatham

    Dig those shoes!

    1. Susan


  4. Kameela Hays

    Wow Susan what a BBQ feat. You really pulled it off. Sounds like you had a great time. Love your photo in front of la tour Eiffel . Hope the magret got eaten!😊

    1. Susan

      Yes, I can always count on Francis to make sure there are no leftovers! Thanks, Kameela.

  5. Sue

    Is he twins??

    1. Susan

      Haha! That’s great. He’s just working in front of the mirror!

  6. Carol Guess

    Bonjour, Susan ! What fun !
    Your joy and spontaneity shine through in all you do !!
    Thank you for sharing !
    You brought a smile to my face—again !

    1. Susan

      Carol – Thank you, and now for the book….can’t wait! First copy arriving this week, chez moi.

  7. Cathy

    Great photos!! I also loved the 👠

    1. Susan

      Thank you, Cathy! Was a perfect confluence of circumstances…

  8. Karen

    You look smoking, pun intended! Can’t wait for the book. I am sure it will be a hit! Xo

    1. Susan

      Very funny!!!

    1. Susan

      Yes, kind of like that….great song!

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