March 18, 2015
Empress Eugenie’s Diadem
From the glittering Eiffel Tower to the lights dancing on the Seine, Paris is a city that shimmers, and not only on the outside. Considered by many to be the capital of fine jewelry, the city is a treasure trove for collectors and enthusiasts with its famed jewelry houses at Place Vendôme and historical pieces in museums across the city. However, it can also be an exclusive and secretive world. Graduate Gemologist and antique jewelry expert Alexis Vourvoulis is trying to lift the veil through her company Bijoux Society. On her website she blogs about up-and-coming jewelers and jewelry auctions and offers excursions to places like Place Vendôme, the Marché aux Puces, and the Musée des Arts Decoratifs.
Start of Opera tour; Marché aux Puces
March 6, 2015
Art and culture are such an integral part of French society that even in English we use the term chef d’oeuvre, and these are the words that swarmed through my thoughts as I visited the Fondation Louis Vuitton last month. Fashion not your thing? It is not the museum’s either. The Fondation was built by LVMH CEO Bernard Arnault to celebrate contemporary art and French crafts, but for now, the most thrilling thing about the building is the building itself.
October 28, 2014
What happens when two fine arts graduates of the prestigious École du Louvre team up with a French wine expert? A cadre made in French heaven: a wine shop art gallery hybrid for enthusiasts who like their Sancerre with a side of up-and-coming art. Ici-même + Gallerie Graphem, located steps away from the manicured gardens of the Promenade Plantée, finds itself a home in this bohème corner of the 12th arrondissement.
Art directors Fabienne Lafaye and Claire Aimonier-Davat, who started their careers in fine art galleries throughout Paris, conceptualized the adjoining Gallerie Graphem. Through their experience in the art world, they have been able to cultivate relationships with artists from all over Europe who have been invited to display their work at exhibitions booked through 2015. During their residency, artists are invited to bond the two spaces with a light sketch trailing from the gallery into the wine shop.
September 21, 2014
Although the bright colors of Provence normally come to mind when thinking of the paintings of Vincent van Gogh, it was actually in Paris and nearby Auvers-sur-Oise that the passionate artist produced most of his work. As this year commemorates the 125th anniversary of his death, I’ve put together a stroll through the village using his own correspondence as a guide in his work, to pay homage to the artist and highlight the places that so fervently inspired him.
“Auvers is decidedly very beautiful. So much so that I think it’ll be more advantageous to work than not to work, despite all the bad luck that’s to be foreseen with paintings.” A poetic foreshadowing by Vincent near the beginning of his stay in Auvers; in the 70 days he spent in the hamlet, he produced over 70 paintings. It was his fellow artist and dear friend Cezanne who encouraged the Dutchman to spend some time in Auvers under the care of Doctor Paul Gachet. The doctor himself dabbled in art and, over the years, had become a patron and friend to many other Impressionists including Monet, Pissarro, Renoir, and Sisley. For him, art was therapy.
August 20, 2014
In France, cinema is the 7th art, as important as painting or literature, and like museums or libraries, movie houses play a key role in local culture. Netflix has not yet come up the Seine, and according to the Office de Tourisme there are 84 theaters in Paris with well over 350 screens. Going to the movies is an important activity for Parisians who often spend their Monday mornings discussing the films they took in over the weekend. There are remarkable theaters across the city, but the movie houses below offer audiences more than just a film.
Le Louxor is an opulent 1920s architectural gem studded with Neo-Egyptian motifs and gilded mosaics. Recently renovated, the cinema screens modern blockbusters, but also houses an art gallery space and a stylish Art Deco bar with a view of Sacre Coeur. Once a month they feature the Université Populaire, a screening of a movie that has been chosen by a local celebrity who leads a discussion following the screening.
June 10, 2014
Paris is beautiful no matter how you view it, but through a monochrome lens, its true elegance and character become strikingly apparent.
Removing color from a place so rich in fashion, art and culture impresses a fresh perspective upon both the tourist and seasoned resident.
You see things differently, and find magnificence between shades of gray that you may have missed walking the colorized streets in person.
March 31, 2014
Another new Parisian resto is borrowing a stateside favorite; The Grilled Cheese Factory has opened at 9 rue Jacques Coeur and is serving up their versions of the classic. They’ve got the standard grilled cheese on offer, of course, as well as some more experimental incarnations (pastrami, mac & cheese, smoked salmon…) Sure, a croque monsieur is delicious, but who doesn’t love a good old grilled cheese with a bowl of steaming tomato soup once in a while?
9 rue Jacques Cœur, 75004 Paris. Tel: +33 (0)1 77 10 67 83. Métro: Bastille.
Just a quick walk from The Grilled Cheese Factory, the Marais has another neighborhood newcomer: Boot Café. This latest addition to Paris’s burgeoning coffee scene is serving up Belleville Brûlerie coffee and Emperor Norton sweets, to stay (if you can get one of the few tables in the tiny shop) or to go.
19 Rue du Pont aux Choux, 75003 Paris. Tel: +33 (0)6 26 41 10 66. Métro: Saint-Sébastien Froissart.
September 12, 2013
Cantine Vagabonde (Didier Gauducheau)
It’s no secret that some of the most interesting things in a city happen off the tourist grid. New restaurants, music and, of course, lots of art gets made in places where the rents are cheaper, the residents funkier and the tourists far fewer. Paris is no exception. Such is true of the area in north eastern Paris in and around the 19eme. Thanks to some major cultural attractions and a smattering of fun eateries, it just may be on the brink of its moment.
Cantine Vagabonde (Didier Gauducheau)
Setting off from Metro Stalingrad one recent afternoon, I discovered a quartier in exciting transition. Where its once dilapidated streets were lined with international call centers and cut rate shops, a new energy is palpable in a smattering of neighborhood boutiques, vegetarian eateries and performing arts centers.
Le Louxor (Erin Dahl)
Here are the highlights.
Le Centquatre. In 2008 the Marie de Paris unveiled Le104 (Le Centquatre), a performing and visual arts center that serves as the creative hub of the area. It’s a vast and luminous space that features rotating exhibitions and installations from this summer’s epic Keith Haring retrospective to “interactive” work that quite literally invites audiences to experience art first-hand.
February 26, 2013
Left: Artwork by Le Module de Zeer
Even though I love strolling through St Germain and the Marais, it’s always exciting to discover new, edgier sides of my favorite city. A couple of weeks ago, I decided to tag along on a Street Art tour arranged by Underground Paris. While I’m far from an expert on the subject, even I have had the feeling that street art is getting bigger by the second here in Paris.
Street art at Rue Denoyez
Right: Artwork by Le Module de Zeer
December 6, 2012
Hyde Park Winter Wonderland in London (flatworldsedge)
In the run up to Christmas there are sample sales, holiday markets and pop-up shopping events all around town. London is literally glowing at the moment. It seems as if there are twice as many Christmas lights as usual; so a walk around Mayfair to Hyde Park or the Southbank and Somerset House can’t fail to put you in the Christmas spirit. It helps that, at most events, people will want to ply you with mulled wine and roasted chestnuts. To round out your winter itinerary, make a trip to a restored landmark grand café, admire a curated selection of haute couture by Valentino, and don’t forget to pack your dancing shoes.
Hyde Park Winter Wonderland: Through January 6, 2013
At this time of year, Hyde Park is transformed into a winter wonderland and festooned with Christmas lights. The giant observation wheel could be mistaken for the London Eye, and the ice skating rink is the largest in the UK. There are two circuses, as well as a Magical Ice Kingdom where you can be pulled through an ice forest by a unicorn. Specific events are ticketed (unicorns don’t come cheap), but if you just want to wander the grounds and browse the Christmas market, entry is free.