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Paris Ben Op Diary

Chez Régis, in ecstasy

Hello from Paris. I have not had time to blog much, mostly because I haven’t yet been able to get on the wifi system at the residence where I’m staying. But I’m having a bit of down time at my publisher’s office, so here I am.

As you may recall, I’m here in Paris to promote the French version of The Benedict Option. Here’s the website for the French version, including a schedule of all the events for the next week. [1]

It will surprise you not at all that at day’s end, I went straight to Huîtrerie Régis, the Happiest Place On Earth™, to eat a dozen Marennes-Olerons. This photo of me in ecstasy (observe the exhausted, jet-lagged eyes) was taken by a Japanese designer sitting at the table next to me. (He and his wife run M. & Kyoko [2], and he is in town for Paris Fashion Week.) He and his assistant had just arrived that same day from Tokyo, and had, like me, rushed to Régis to eat oysters. What you cannot see in this photo is that I’m levitating several inches above my chair.

Here, on the right, is Régis le maître at work last night:


I also made a visit to the tomb of St. Genevieve, to say thanks. And I met with Thierry and Emmanuelle François, a farming couple from Picardy, who are active in Journées Paysannes [3], a national association of French Catholic family farmers who are trying to establish Christian agrarianism here. Here’s a photo of us; the bearded chap is Nicolas, my translator.

Even though I’ve only been here for a day and a half, I’ve done three interviews, and am preparing for a very busy week ahead. If you are in or around Paris, check out the link above to see where I’m going to be speaking.

I will write more when I have time — later tonight, I hope. I just wanted to let you know that I’m here in Paris and I’m full of oysters, which is to say, I am a happy man.

16 Comments (Open | Close)

16 Comments To "Paris Ben Op Diary"

#1 Comment By Liam On September 29, 2017 @ 12:09 pm


I don’t recall if you’ve answered this vital question before:

Nekkid, lemon juice and/or mignonette?

[NFR: Nekkid as the day is long! — RD]

#2 Comment By Jared R On September 29, 2017 @ 12:35 pm

Does Nicolas, and his trench coat, double as your security detail?

#3 Comment By James C. On September 29, 2017 @ 12:47 pm

Love the cosy bar with the exposed wood and carpet! What’s it called?


Ah. Those are the best. I haven’t been to Régis in Paris, but I have been to a huitrerie in the Marennes-Oléron basin on the west coast of France, and folks, the Marennes-Oléron oysters are the best anywhere.

If you’re an oyster person (and if you’re not, Lord have mercy), one taste of these babies will suffice to explain Rod’s ecstatic exaltations. It’s a natural reaction.

[NFR: Le Bombardier, right across from the church of St-Etienne du Mont. We finished our drinks and walked over to venerate the tomb of St. Genevieve. — RD]

#4 Comment By mle detroit On September 29, 2017 @ 12:48 pm

While You Were Out:

#5 Comment By Bay Area Resident On September 29, 2017 @ 1:09 pm

Enough about Paris! When is the BenOp book tour coming to the Bay Area in beautiful California??

#6 Comment By Bob Loblaw On September 29, 2017 @ 2:20 pm

The Ben Op in action?

#7 Comment By Rob G On September 29, 2017 @ 2:46 pm

“I’m full of oysters, which is to say, I am a happy man.”

Full of oysters and happy as a clam! Nyuk, nyuk, nyuk.

#8 Comment By charles cosimano On September 29, 2017 @ 4:06 pm

Ok, no wifi. So we don’t have to worry that the terrorists saw your beard and mistook you for a sheep.

#9 Comment By Jason On September 29, 2017 @ 6:42 pm

Obviously you have much more important fish to fry while you’re in France, but I’d be curious if you sense there is a contra-Benedict Option movement anywhere that involves “throne and altar” and Action Francaise type arguments. Or perhaps such ideas are so 20th century and only advocated now by bloggers, not actual Frenchmen.

Good heavens Mr. Dreher, you’re a lucky bastard, being able to enjoy Paris like that! Life truly is not fair.

#10 Comment By Hypnos On September 29, 2017 @ 8:29 pm

Damn Rod, your food photos make me want to be Catholic!

#11 Comment By Rob G On September 30, 2017 @ 10:20 am

“Nekkid, lemon juice and/or mignonette?”

Perhaps I’m a Philistine, but I like a drop or two of Tabasco.

#12 Comment By James Bradshaw On September 30, 2017 @ 4:58 pm

You found a Starbucks!

I absolutely loved Italy and its cuisine, particularly Catania in Sicily, but the coffee portions were just too small. Choices were either a thimbleful of espresso or an eyedropper of cappuccino. It just wasn’t going to cut it.

Speaking of which, I was curious as to your take on the role of the physical church in Italy. They remain central at least visually to the cultural life of Italy: many well-populated piazze are built around centuries-old churches and cathedrals that still see many tourists and visitors.

At the same time, it seems as if they’ve become more museums than anything else. At least, I saw only a few congregants during my visit to the church of St Agatha there.

#13 Comment By David J. White On October 1, 2017 @ 2:34 pm

My father loved raw oysters. My mother thinks that eating raw oysters is like swallowing snot. I’m afraid I agree with her. Ah, well, chacun a’ son gout! I’m glad you’re having an enjoyable visit as well as a productive one!

#14 Comment By Liam On October 2, 2017 @ 12:55 pm

I never had raw oysters until I was 50. That said, when I first had them, I learned a strong preference about accompaniment:

1. Way no to cocktail sauce. The mind reels. This was gobsmackingly obvious.

2. No to lemon juice (or lime juice). I loves me my citrus juice, but the floral tones just don’t work right for me with oysters.

3. Mignonette: this depended on the oysters. On some, used with great discretion, it seemed to be a good companion. If I had had a dropper, I would like to have explored how many drops would merely enhance (via the acid) what was already present. If I had the inclination, that would be the excuse for a long tasting project.

#15 Comment By JonF On October 2, 2017 @ 1:02 pm

Re: My mother thinks that eating raw oysters is like swallowing snot.

My church held its first annual. Bull & Oyster Roast yesterday (that’s a Maryland thing), replacing our erstwhile annual Crab Feast since crabs have gotten to pricey. I stuck to the bull (roast put beef) and various side dishes and eschewed the oysters, though the friend I brought loved them.

#16 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On October 2, 2017 @ 10:27 pm

So how do they compare to Louisiana oysters?

I agree with David J. White and his mother. My sister does not. My mother was with my sister in New Orleans once, and remonstrated that raw oysters could cause severe infection. My sister, a family practice physician and a foodie, popped another in her mouth, cheerfully observing “You gotta go sometime.”

[NFR: French oysters are like driving a Rolls-Royce. By comparison, Louisiana oysters are like motoring around in a Chevelle. Hey, a Chevelle will get you where you want to go … but it’s nicer to go in a Rolls-Royce. Warm-water oysters are much less delicious than cold-water oysters. — RD]