About PJ

Meandering Trail Media is a multimedia company focusing on world-wide travel photography and publishing. PJ Adams, Meandering Trail Media's primary author, is a psychotherapist and best selling author who splits her time between California and Europe. Follow her on Twitter @PJAdams10Facebook, and YouTube.

For more information on Meandering Trail Media OR to schedule an interview or book signing, contact: Info@pjadamsbooks.com OR John Birkhead, PR Director, john.birkhead@pjadamsbooks.com,  +1 (760) 707-2577, Fax +1 949-258-8693.

See our professional photographs on Shutterstock: 

See our France books trailer HERE.

See the Intoxicating Greater Paris: Loire book trailer HERE. 

 

See the Intoxicating Southern France book trailer HERE 

See the Intoxicating Paris book trailer HERE     

         

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    PJ Adams

    PJ Adams is a psychotherapist and author in California.

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    Monday
    Jul132015

    6 Best Paris Bistros

    Why go to Paris? For the romance, culture, shopping, people-watching, and of course the fantastic cuisine. But you don’t have to max out your credit cards to dine well. Parisian bistros are the answer. Here are my top six picks for classic French bistro dining (although I could name many more). Bistros, by the way, are small, intimate eateries that focus on moderately priced menus typically displayed on chalkboards or hand-written on slates. Most bistros offer traditional dishes like pâtés, country terrines, small steaks and roasted chicken partnered with pomme frites (French fries) or homey one-pot dishes like boeuf bourguignon and coq au vin. All come with tasty but reasonably priced wines or beer--and of course must-have desserts.

    1. Aux Lyonnaise (Right Bank, near the Opera). Alain Ducasse’s charming, traditional Lyonnais-style cuisine served in a Belle-Époque style dining room by aproned staff. Also has a fabulous zinc bar AND car-park service. http://www.auxlyonnais.com/en

    2. Chez L’Ami Jean (Left Bank, near Les Invalides and Eiffel Tower). Basque food and traditional French cuisine served at family-style tables in a room with cured hams hanging from the ceiling. Memorable dishes, friendly servers, and a fun atmosphere. http://lamijean.fr

    3. Bistro L’estrapade (Left Bank, Latin Quarter). Darling bistro famed for 20-euro plates like Magret de canard au melon boule de miel (duck with melon and honey), Suprême de poulet jaune aux écrevisses (supreme chicken with crayfish), and scrumptious desserts like Brioche perdue Chantilly au calvados (brioche with calvados-infused Chantilly cream) and Tarte Tatin (apple tart). http://bistrotlestrapade.fr/en 

    4. Le Violon d’Ingres (Left Bank on famed restaurant street Rue Saint-Dominique). Sophisticated 7th arrondissement elegance, chocolatier and chef-owner Christian Constant's polished bistro cuisine does not disappoint but it's a tad pricey. For even more moderate fare-in-a-pot, try his casual Les Cocotte eatery next door.  http://www.maisonconstant.com/violon-ingres/

    5. Le Fountaine de Mars (Left Bank also on famed restaurant street Rue Saint-Dominique). This red-checked tablecloth and polished brass Parisian bistro welcomed President Obama and his wife a few years ago. Famed for delicious southwestern France cuisine like cassoulet and foie gras. Great wines at an affordable price. http://www.fontainedemars.com

    6. Le Timbre (Left Bank near Luxembourg Gardens). This teeny bistro is rated one of the top 20 in Paris. More like eating at a dinner party than a restaurant, it has fantastic dishes by English chef-owner Chris Wright. So affordable; so delicious. http://www.restaurantletimbre.com/le_timbre/accueil_2.html

    Bonus: And don't miss Le Soufflé on the Right Bank near the Louvre. Serves THE most delicious soufflés for any course you choose, but especially a Grande Marnier dessert that is to die for (and they leave the entire bottle on your table for top ups)! http://www.lesouffle.fr 

    See our books on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and where ever books are sold. Follow PJ Adams on Twitter @PJAdams10 and watch for our new books on the Loire Valley, Champagne, Normandy, Brittany, and Greater Paris.

    Thursday
    May282015

    Avignon: Favorite of Popes & Mimes

    Each July, the fabled Provence city of Avignon turns into a gigantic theatrical event called the Festival d’Avignon. It features theatricals, concerts, cuisine events, light show extravaganzas, and mime performances by students and professionals alike. But even off-season, Avignon remains a hotbed of spontaneous performances by local students honing their craft. As a university town, these energetic performers keep the drumbeat of innovation pounding in this picturesque Provence locale.

    Most know that the Roman Popes decamped to Avignon for a time in the 14th century; while there they built a massive palace that still stands today. Interestingly, this magnificent popes’ palace serves as a backdrop for these modern Avignon theatricals and light show spectacles. Thus, the grandeur of the once papal pageantry lives on in these colorful interpretations by singers, musicians, mimes, pyrotechnicians, and DJs. They keep Avignon buzzing with life.

    Nothing prepared me for an encounter with a very real human bee, however, in Avignon one sunny May afternoon. Bertrand the Bumblebee, as I’ve dubbed him, stood marble stiff and silent on a chair in the middle of an Avignon square. I watched him for a moment. Then I crept forward and dropped a euro into his bucket. Suddenly he burst into life, buzzing loudly and madly sketching something on a tiny bit of paper. Within seconds, he presented me with my very own teeny work of bee art—which I’ve kept to this day. 

    Later, I encountered another dramatic Avignon “performance” that perhaps even the Popes of old would have enjoyed. I call it the “Salute to the Sunset.” I was crossing the grand square in front of the palace one twilight and looked up. I suddenly saw two students poised upside down, reaching their arms out to the setting sun. They held their position for several minutes, weaving their arms in some kind of incantation that looked a lot like a modern dance sequence. Since Avignon is a university town, I suspect this "Salute" is done often, morning and evening, by “communing” young people who want to connect with the sun’s vibes.

    I confess I climbed the stairs to watch them—and I had a hard time resisting the urge to lie down too and experience this upside down view of mesmerizing Avignon! 

    Such is the intoxicating effect of quirky Avignon. If you get a chance to visit, stick around and maybe you too will catch some of the intoxicating buzz. 

    (Excerpted from PJ Adams's Intoxicating Southern France available where ever books are sold.)   

    Monday
    Apr202015

    Châteauneuf-du-Pape--Provence's Hub for Out-of-This-World Wine

    About seven miles north of Avignon in beautiful Provence, sits the opulent vineyard and enclave known as Châteauneuf-du-Pape. It was French Pope John XXII who built a cooler summer residence among his vines when he couldn't stand the heat of his main papal castle in Avignon. By this time, the vast vineyards were producing fabulous red papal wines from vines inhabiting every hectare of land within eyeshot.  

    “Châteauneuf"means “new castle” in French. A lively town sprang up around this "new castle" and thrived until the popes returned to Rome. With the departure of the papacy and during various wars afterward, the village and castle were pillaged. The remaining castle structure (donjon) served as an observation post for German soldiers during WWII. Just before they departed in 1944, they blew up the structure, but only the northern half of the tower was destroyed. Today, the southern half of the donjon rises defiantly at the pinnacle of this resilient town. The modern town of Châteauneuf-du-Pape is now a kind of “mini Bordeaux” or “Napa Valley,” with wine consortiums running up and down the main street. Wines are for sale here at fairly reasonable prices—and I never miss an opportunity to pick up a few bottles. These are some of the finest—and best-known—wines in France.

    The Châteauneuf-du-Pape AoC designation permits 13 different varieties of grapes in the red wines, but the blend must be predominantly Grenache. Modern Châteauneuf-du-Pape can be either a full-bodied, dark wine which can be cellared for up to 25 years or a more youthful and fruity vintage, ready-to-drink within a couple of years. As usual in France, the wine is named after the village not the grape variety.

    Article 10 of the appellation rules allows the use of a slightly bulbous Burgundy bottle, with the papal coat of arms embossed into the glass and the inscription “Châteauneuf-du-Pape contrôlée.” As such, it’s pretty easy to distinguish the wine bottles in the shops.

    Every time I’ve visited Châteauneuf-du-Pape, I see huge tourist groups and cyclers enjoying the warm sunshine and stopping for a wine lunch as they wend their way through Provence. Quirky wine note: There’s also an official ban on UFOs in the vicinity. In 1954, fears of ET’s and UFO’s were all over the news. Numerous sightings of foreign objects had been reported in Châteauneuf.

    The mayor of Châteauneuf, concerned about protecting his commune and their precious wines, issued a decree banning flying saucers (cigare volants) from landing, taking off, or entering the airspace of his community. Anyone caught landing on his territory in a spaceship would immediately be thrown into custody! As far as I know, there’s no record of anyone out of this world being incarcerated—although a few inebriated tourists have probably come close to fitting the bill. In 1954, the locals would have thought the frequent cycling clubs with their alien bike helmets were space invaders--not to mention some of the modern vine-tending apparatus!

    While you're in Provence, be sure to visit this charming wine area for some of this extraordinary, out-of-this-world wine. (Excerpted from PJ Adams's Intoxicating Southern France available where ever books are sold.)   

    Thursday
    Apr092015

    France Off the Beaten Path Travel 

    I get lots of inquiries about tour companies that offer stellar tour venues in France. One I can highly recommend is France Off the Beaten Path Travel helmed by American Christy Destremau. Christy hails originally from Philadelphia but she met a charming French yachtsman, married him, and now raises her two teenagers in France.

    Christy began her tour company several decades ago and features a superb multi-day packaged tour experience that includes charming accommodations, dining and cooking adventures, and visits to some of the most beautiful sites in France. (I can recommend the tours as a recent guest myself. We enjoyed multiple cooking experiences, a variety of dining venues, eye-opening tours of various sites, and a real look inside intimate France with a guide who not only lives there, but is raising her family there.)

    Also a keen photographer, Christy offers the added bonus of a collection of stunning tour photos as keepsakes for each tour experience. France Off the Beaten Path tours include Provence, the Loire Valley, Champagne, and her new luxury tour of Bordeaux, world capital of wine.

    The Bordeaux tour features grand cru wine tastings, dining at some of the best venues in Southwestern France, and stays (and spa treatments if you like) at the fabulous Les Sources de Caudalie Resort and Spa (recommended in my book Intoxicating Southern France).

    Follow Christy on Twitter @FranceOTBP and on Instagram at https://instagram.com/franceotbp. For tour details, click on http://www.traveloffthebeatenpath.com. 

    Thursday
    Feb262015

    Intoxicating Southern France Features Provence This Week

    Picturesque Provence. A lovely part of Southern France filled with lovely vistas, lavendar aromas, garlic-infused dishes, and delightful Provençal people. This land, dubbed the "Provinces" by Julius Caesar, is shaped as much by its quirky people and colorful culture, as by its agricultural landscape, peasant cuisine, and dynamic history.

    Situated between the French Riviera and the vast Languedoc, Provence is famous for its rosé wines, charming hill towns like Gordes, Menerbes, and Bonnieux, street markets, and medieval and Roman ruins. Peter Mayle famously wrote about Provence in his many books starting with A Year in Provence. And when you visit these Alpilles-lined plains dotted with lavendar and sunflowers, you too will experience the splendid country lifestyle of rural Provence.

    Among its many pleasures are peasant cuisine flavored with the precious "black diamonds" (truffles), filled with fresh vegetables and Mediterranean olives, and accompanied by artisanal cheeses and local meats like wild boar, farm-raised poultry, and hearty country pâté. Meals are crowned by memorable Provençal sweets like white nougat and frosted callison cookies. And it's all washed down with sun-kissed rosés or world-famous red vintages from Châteauneuf du Pape. Stars Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie famously own a vineyard here called Miraval, by the way.   

    The people live a charming life in Provence. They see bullfights in Arles at the still-utilized Roman Amphitheater. They gaze at the legendary paintings of Van Gogh who painted here. They climb the limestone fortresses like Les-Baux-de-Provence, and sail along the Rhône or the Gardon River alongside the Pope's Palace in Avignon or under the grand Roman aqueduct at the Pont du Gard. And they visit their wonderful open-air markets, like the popular Wednesday market in Saint-Remy-de-Provence. Nostradamus, seer and favorite of the great Queen Catherine de' Medicia, as well as Vincent Van Gogh loved Saint-Remy.

    And there is much to see, do, and buy here, from the blue, purple, and yellow provençal linens and faience (pottery), to the keepsakes for your home or closet with lavendar motifs, Provençal images, or locales logos like Aix-en-Provence and Marseilles. Art abounds here as well, such as magnificent pieces by Paul Cezanne, as well as Van Gogh and others.

    Intoxicating Southern France takes readers on a grand tour of these Provence delights from its pages. And, if you decide to travel here, you may wish to engage the service of local guide companies like my American friend Christy Destremau who lives in France and offers a stellar group of private tours at Off the Beaten Path, LLC. Christy's tours are wonderfully managed venues where you will experience the pleasures of Provence in comfortable style.

    Ultimately a visit to Provence is a memory-making experience. The verdant lands, the magical white horses and feisty black bulls of the Camargue, the ruins at Glanum, and the ghosts of La Coste--all add to the wonderful mystique of beautiful Provence. And when you journey through Provence--whether in person or on the page--keep in mind the words of Frédéric Mistral: "When the Good Lord comes to doubt about the world, he remembers that he created Provence." Santé!

     

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