To all of you who take the time to read my blog I wanted to thank you for doing so . I enjoy sharing our culture , our experiences , a bit of France with you . The hardest part for me is always to find the time to do it….and then overnight , here we are , confined at home with all the time in the world …Pascal and I are very fortunate to be able to take this pause and try to make the best of it . Is this a preview of what retirement could feel like ?? We love having this time for us , time to rest , to connect with friends in France via video chats , repaint the shop …but we realize that for many it will be a period of stress , pain , financial struggle so we will keep bringing you some happy images to brighten your day during this time of turmoil . Stay Safe Stay Healthy Stay Home please .
Philarmonie de Paris and Saint Germain :
I always look for special installations when going to a big city …I got to see some fabulous photo exhibitions : Richard Avedon in New York , Helmut Newton at the Grand Palais and these have made lasting memories . So going to Paris I was hoping for something special again . L’atelier des lumieres ( the Parisian version of the Carrieres de Lumieres we have in Les Baux de Provence ) was closed in January to prepare its new show . This is always fabulous and I would recommend you to see it https://www.atelier-lumieres.com/ or even better in the quarries of Les Baux . https://www.carrieres-lumieres.com/en/whats-on
The Cité de la Musique “City of Music” known as Philharmonie is a group of institutions dedicated to music and situated on the outskirts of Paris . It consists of an amphitheater, a concert hall that can accommodate an audience of 800–1,000, a music museum containing an important collection of classical music instruments dating mainly from the fifteenth- to twentieth-century and a music library . The architecture itself is worth going and the exhibition they have now is right up my alley !
Next to the concert Hall is the Music Museum
The exhibition from Pierre et Gilles is designed as a musical and visual installation through an assembly of more than a hundred of their photo-paintings . The 2 French artists have a vision that is unique to them . Since 1976 iconic musicians , singers or actors have come to their studio . Pierre takes the photo in a set they create , then Gilles paints over it ….all over it ! The final image float in between photo and painting in a bright color haze with crazy frames they also make. I’ve been a fan since the mid 80’s and always thought these were collages, mixed media when in fact it is all real props in a studio set up . What was so cool for me is that you would listen to the music from the artist photographed at that time . It gave a whole other dimension to this pop culture exhibition .
Fashion Designer Jean Paul Gauthier and his boyfriend below :
Some of the props from their studioThe exhibition is following us back to Paris It took time and some help from the locals to figure out how to get back “intramuros” The line we took to come had closed until 4pm due to the strikes , the other we could take just 10mns away was not stopping to all stations right now and not going all the way to the left bank …a couple of hours later we were finally in St Germain ! We had missed lunch but thought there would be plenty of temptations along the way…
Now is actually time to confess …that I delete ALL my photos from that day except for one I took with my phone .Why is the trash button next to the import button ? and why did it never asked if “I wanted to delete all 86 items” ? It only took 2 breaths to realize the check marks were not turning blue a usual when importing but just checked and all had vanished from the memory stick of my camera within 4 seconds . So now i will have to rely on my poor writing skills and a few photos that thankfully Alice took !
I always love St Germain . It has historical cafes , brasseries , bookstores as well as chic boutiques , designer shops big and small , Le Bon Marche department store , La Grande Epicerie de Paris , The Conran shop and many of my favorite patisseries from Pierre Herme to Angelina and Pierre Conticini’s Patisserie des Reves . But Pierre Herme fell short for me this time . His encyclopedia of pastries recipes is my bible but the shop felt corporate ,the half empty cases had pretty generic macarons …so we kept on going but we needed something to fuel up . Nothing better than a hot chocolate from Angelina . It is pretty small but I promise there is no way you can drink more . It is that rich , thick and creamy ! https://www.angelina-paris.fr/en/homeI discovered Angelina when I was modeling for a couture line showing during Fashion Week at the Intercontinental Hotel rue de Rivoli ( now the Westin Vendome ) I did not care for macarons much and sure had to stay away from them at the time… that was until I tried the XL version from Angelina . It was the smoothest texture with more ganache or creme au beurre, a real cake , decadent and addictive ! Now when I make macarons at home , I make them large as well …not to mention it is also easier to pipe Wondering through Le Bon Marche in search for products for our shop …I was happy to see that we sell some of the Brands they carry .
Their coffee shop had a real impressive table .
Wondering through the Conran Shop is always interesting .A lot of my favorite shops have changed style, some have closed like Blanc d’Ivoire (we sold their quilts and beautiful candles for years) , Christian Tortu the famous florist had closed and La Patisserie des Reves had closed just a few weeks ago …Things are changing and evolving … you can never rely on your success and let your guard down … people move with the flow and you have to be able to bring it or stay behind where you may die . Out the blue we stumbled onto this new store : Des Gateaux et du pain . A breath of fresh air in this world of traditional pastries . We are tempted by every single cake and after much deliberation , we finally settle for this beautiful and delicious one combining pistachio and rose . It was as delicate in flavor as it looked ! https://www.desgateauxetdupain.com/We walked 25 000 steps with a matcha latte , 2 croissants for breakfast , half a coke at noon to get some more caffeine , a hot chocolate at 4pm to warm us up as it is rainy and chilly … We are jet lagged , pretty drained and we need some dinner witch we found by accident along the way . Across an Alain Ducasse restaurant ( serving all things Alice will not dare to eat) Le Colvert is a tiny little bistro bustling with local patrons . We are happy to just seat down and enjoy some simple comfort food casseroles . The young couple who owns it also owns 2 other restaurants nearby .This one is the most basic , the others are bistronomie and gastro-bistro . We are intrigued and happy to think that we could have some real good food close by . Many of the places I wanted to go are way to far to walk to; taxis and Uber are slammed and it takes twice longer to drive than walk with all the traffic ! https://lecolvertbistrot.com/
We crash in our comfy pad with pretty fantastic views . Paris will always be Paris !The next day will bring a lot more fun and exciting discoveries as we spent the whole day in Le Marais and Haut Marais , the SoHo of Paris , the brewing area for new designers, small brands and shops , trend setters …we’ll have the best meal of the trip and I have ALL the photos !! Next post will have more visual and less talking so I hope you will stay tuned .