June 26, 2012
We have been fans of Nichole Robertson ever since we first discovered her blog, Little Brown Pen, many moons ago. She manages to capture details of our favorite city that render it accessible, touching, intimate — even to those who haven’t walked her streets, ogling marché produce and perfectly coordinated café chairs in many years. We’re delighted to be offering a copy of her latest book, Paris in Color, to one lucky reader today — simply leave a comment below and we’ll pick a random winner on June 29. Want an extra entry? Pin this post and leave a link to it below in a separate comment (to ensure you have two entries!) – Geneviève. UPDATE: We have now selected winner. Congratulations to Jessie K. from Nova Scotia!
In January 2009, I moved to Paris with my husband, and two young sons. Despite the damp cold and relentless gray, we enjoyed exploring our new neighborhood. One day, I noticed a few objects in a similar shade of red, and shot them. As I walked, I found other things I liked in that shade and photographed those as well. When I returned home and uploaded them to my blog, the response was, “more!”
I quickly became obsessed, and spent weeks singling out different shades. Searching for colors is a surprisingly democratic process, as it’s just as likely to appear on something spectacular (Notre Dame) as it is on something pedestrian (a trash can). I didn’t question whether the object was famous, old, or important, I just shot it. The serendipitous nature of the process meant that I never had a plan, and that was part of the fun.
May 24, 2012
I’ve never been a particularly big fan of Monet’s paintings. Yes, they’re pretty—that much is undeniable. He certainly cornered the market on water lilies and haystacks. But I suppose I’ve developed a sense of indifference toward his work because it’s so ubiquitous. He’s one of the first artists I learned about (in a cursory 5th grade unit on art history) and whose work I learned to recognize with ease. But then suddenly it was everywhere: mouse pads, t-shirts, calendars, and the walls of countless dorm rooms I would encounter during my high school and college years. Before I knew it, I was Monet-ed out.
But once I moved to Paris, I kept hearing about Giverny, the quaint village where Monet famously made his home from 1883 until his death in 1926. It’s here that he cultivated the celebrated garden that many of his most famous works depict. Suddenly, unexpectedly, my long dormant interest in Monet was revitalized.
April 3, 2012
Ongoing: Cédric Casanova, the Italian genius behind ‘La Tete dans les Olives’ strikes again with his just-opened épicerie, Au Conservatoire. Book the shop’s only table for yourself and seven of your closest friends for Cédric’s “Pique-niques Gastronomiques”, a tasty selection of Sicilian small plates with a little specialty shopping on the side. Au Conservatoire, 14 rue Sainte Marthe, 75 010, Paris. To make reservations, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Ongoing: An elusive new stranger has appeared on the Paris bar scene: L’Inconnu. Hip coffee shop by day, cocktail bar by night, and for those in it for the long haul, a DJ dance party that goes until 2am. Pop in for afternoon coffee and you might just find yourself dancing the night away. 17-19 rue de Mazagran, 75010, Paris.
April 7: In case you need another excuse to drink delicious French wines, here you have it: Caves Augé, one of the oldest stores in Paris, is hosting a free tasting of wines from the Rhone Valley. À votre santé! Caves Augé, 116 Blvd Haussmann, 75008, Paris.
April 12: Relive George Lucas’ cult classic “American Graffiti” with burgers, hotdogs and more: Street Food Party’s first event of the season revisits classics with a fresh, French twist. Expect girls on roller-skates, live music and gastro-rock interpretations of classic American drive-in fare. At La Rotonde, 6-8 Pl. de la Bataille Stalingrad, 75019, Paris. Starts at 8pm.
April 7-8: You know all about this super-cool fun-for-all weekend of brunch and more, but it’s too good to not mention again. Brunch Bazar is back. 66 rue de Turenne, 75003, Paris.
March 7, 2012
If you’re lucky enough to be visiting Paris in March, there are tons of things to do that don’t involve fashion week. Here is our list of not-to-miss events, foodie happenings, concerts, exhibits and general goings-on. -Geneviève
March 10-11: Colette Carnival in the Tuilleries: Bon anniv’ to one of our favorite concept stores! Colette will be celebrating its 15th bday with a fab – and free – carnival in the Tuileries.
March 17-18: A Brunch Bazar weekend has to be the best one of the month. Two nine-hour days filled with little bits of the things we love: food, music, workshops and even a funhouse for the little ones.
March 11-13: After a long stint in Deauville, the Omnivore Food Festival heads to Paris. In case plentiful tastings from some of France’s greatest chefs isn’t enticing enough, the alcohol and tunes that are sure to be in abundance make this a must-do.
March 8: Phenomenal Handclap Band at Nouveau Casino: PHB’s feel-good fusion tracks hit Paris and are not to be missed. If some old-school soul meets disco is what you crave, get to Nouveau Casino on Thursday night.
March 11: Super Sunday with Patrice is a mixed-medium event inspired by music, dance, graffiti and gastronomy. Enjoy some indie artwork and a delicious menu by Nelson Muller before jamming out to Afro-German Reggae artist, Patrice. Take a peek at the menu here.
March 7-August 5: The magical Tim Burton Exhibition at Cinémathèque Française opens today. Following a wildly successful showing at New York’s Museum of Modern Art, the fantastical works of Mr. Burton made it overseas. This show is a true pleasure and treat for the imagination of adults and children alike.
Through March 18: Experiencing the works of a creative mastermind is always a pleasure, isn’t it? The Jean-Paul Goude exhibit at Les Arts Décoratifs is the designer/illustrator/photographer ‘s first retrospective, so it’s only appropriate that happening in Paris.
March 9-16: Louis Vuitton – Marc Jacobs at Les Arts Décoratifs: Goude, Vuitton and Jacobs in the same location? That’s almost more genius than we can handle – but not quite. Once you’ve digested the former, be sure to check out the latter. The designers’ fabulous pieces are only on view for one week. In the mood for a teaser? Check out this video.
February 8, 2012
For those of you lucky enough to be heading to Paris this month and looking for some interesting things to do, here is a roundup of great events and general goings on. Amusez-vous bien! – Erin Dahl
Through February 19: Les Femmes savantes, a favorite amongst Molière’s work and a satirical criticism of the ridiculous préciosité that penetrated 18th century French salons, is showing at the Théâtre de la Tempête.
Through February 19: Chic! Une grande maison at Cité de l’Architecture et du Patrimoine – a look into the history of Paris architecture, specifically the lovely hôtels particuliers that dot the city. Child friendly.
Through March 15: You may know Maxim’s for its resto and boutique, but they also have an exhibition space and this month “Moi, Sarah Bernhardt” is on show. Bernhardt, often thought of as the world’s first and most famous actress, paved the way for female performers to come. Now you can take a peek into her life and passion.
December 17, 2011
Why was she impelled to remember him in print? Because, like so many others, she had stayed at Shakespeare and Company. George Whitman started a tradition of hosting writers, most famously members of the Beat generation, and the bookshop’s ‘Tumbleweed Hotel’ is still a place where literary dreamers can exchange a few hours’ work in the shop for a bed on a bench amongst the books of George’s personal open library on the first floor.
When I came to Shakespeare and Company a couple of years ago, it was a while before I actually met George. Already in his mid-90s, he spent his days in the apartment on the top floor.
He still owned the shop downstairs, now run expertly by his daughter Sylvia and her team, its ‘Tumbleweed Hotel’ principles intact.
When they arrive, Tumbleweeds are required to write a brief biography for the shop’s records. Employed by the shop to create stair murals, I decided I would do this later. Anyway I was here to draw, not write. I wasn’t a Tumbleweed.
The next time I stayed I didn’t write it either, but I did spend my time writing. I’d do it on the next visit.
Or the next…
The last time I visited the shop in October 2011 , Paris was cold. George had just suffered a stroke and was in hospital, ‘recovering well’. The writers’ room, with its tiny electric radiator, was warm. Under my window, tourists snapped continually; Tumbleweeds lunched at the little round table by the door; drunks gathered at the fountain; a busker turned up and performed Shakespeare’s most famous speeches in rotation. Later on, the drummers took over outside the cathedral.
I stopped writing to eat at the café across the road. The man at the next table was telling his teenage daughter – her first trip to Paris – about how he’d been to one of George’s famous Sunday teas and heard the bookseller relate how he had set off to walk from North to South America but had been forced to turn back in the impassible Central American jungle. He was like a child, the man said. It was like he didn’t understand why he just couldn’t go as far as he wanted to go.
But after opening Le Mistral in 1951, which became Shakespeare and Company in 1964, the traveler largely stayed put in Paris, dying peacefully last Wednesday in his apartment above the shop, two days after his 98th birthday.
I walked back from the café to the bookshop and got back to work.
I wrote. Notre Dame chimed ‘Three Blind Mice’ on the hour: the light went.
I thought about space: Kilometer Zero in front of Notre Dame; Place René Viviani next to the shop where the 2010 Shakespeare and Company Literary Festival was held – a free event into which the public could wander. That was the last time I had seen George downstairs; wearing an extravagant paisley jacket, he was carried in triumph through the shop on a sofa held shoulder-high by Tumbleweeds.
December 16, 2011
As soon as our timetable lets us go, my husband and I move from our base in Amsterdam to our tiny apartment in Paris.
We’ve lived here in Paris part time for more than 4 years now, but I still discover new places, neighborhoods, and restaurants every single time we go on a stroll. Paris is inexhaustible when it comes to surprising me in any unexpected ways.
My dear friend, stylist, photographer and author Pia Jane Bijkerk, used to live here too, and she wrote a wonderful guide that everyone should have when they go to Paris. It’s a little book that takes you on a tour of Paris’ best shops and ateliers for handmade goods. So that’s right up my alley, of course.
November 18, 2011
You’d think that as a travel photographer who’s endlessly enamored of Paris, finding infinite inspiration for things to shoot in the City of Light would be proverbial cake. Well, you’d be wrong. At least where this Francophile photog is concerned!
My problem with Paris (and what a wonderful challenge to have) is that after so many visits, what was once a mysterious new wonderland to discover and dissect through the lens is now a favorite, intimately familiar old haunt. So when I found myself “stuck” in Paris for two weeks last spring per that little volcanic kerfuffle in Iceland instead of down south in new-to-me Nice, I was actually un peu perturbed.
After settling into the reality that I’d be in Paris awhile — and potentially a really long while if that blasted Eyjafjallajökull didn’t pipe down already, I finally began to relax and reflect on how best to start a fresh relationship with this city I had captured through my lens so many times before. In the end, I don’t know what I was so worried about! With a few simple adjustments to my habitual Paris routines, seeing the city anew was easy.
Even though you’re not in Venice, go ahead and get lost.
Armed with my trusty copy of Michelin’s Paris par Arrondissement, I wandered sans worry. One of the most important things I learned was to take the time to explore and absorb at a leisurely clip – day or night. Rather than defaulting to the subway, the bus became my primary mode of public transportation. Better to survey large, unfamiliar chunks of the city that way, and scout new nooks and crannies to tackle à pied. Similarly, if I did ride the metro, I used it to reach pockets of Paris that I’d never seen or strolled before. It was fantastique.
Get up early, or stay out late.
As on any trip, I set my alarm to rise and shine before the sun and the city. I love doing this and particularly in a place like Paris, both for the dreamy photo opps and for the priceless experience of watching timeless cityscapes come to life. Plus it’s just about the only way you’re going to score some private time with landmarks like La Tour Eiffel. Unless you’re willing to stay out way after dark, which isn’t really my thing, but man — talk about interesting photo opportunities.
November 15, 2011
At the Rodin Museum, Paris (Stephen Boisvert)
The other week, as the famed Musée D’Orsay was about to celebrate a grand re-opening after two years of renovation, museum workers went on strike. The strike ended fairly quickly, but for a few agonizing days disappointed Impressionistas were left wondering how to get their art fix in Paris.
Which brings up a good point. The Musée d’Orsay and the Louvre are not exclusive guardians of the greatest art ever, despite what your guide book tells you. Yeah, yeah, you want to see the Mona Lisa. But why not get out of the big musées and discover places you never knew you wanted to? I mean, you’re in Paris, for God’s sake. You can’t throw a pavé without hitting beautiful pieces of art. They’re not all in museums. They’re in gardens, on bridges, down hidden streets. Art is everywhere. Walk around and stumble upon it.
Sculpture by Dali (Amelia Wells)
Or if you’re looking for a little more structure, here are a few ideas:
Find Monet elsewhere in Paris. If you want to see what inspired all the lily pad umbrellas and tote bags, head over to the Orangerie in the Jardin des Tuileries, renovated a few years ago. The enormity of Monet’s paintings alone is stunning. And just on the edge of Paris, near the Bois de Boulogne is the Musée Marmottan Monet, which houses over 100 works by Monsieur Monet.
Rodin’s “Eve” (Rachel So)
Ever heard of Rodin? There are more than 130 art museums in Paris. So don’t just pin your trip on the two BIG ones. I was never much of a fan of Picasso until I went to the Musée National Picasso. (Sorry, that one is closed for renovations until 2013). Instead, make it a priority to see museums like ones dedicated to Auguste Rodin or Salvador Dalí, depending on your tastes.
Experience Gertrude Stein’s Paris: Picasso, Matisse and Other Stein Favorites Reunited at the Grand Palais
November 4, 2011
It’s 1905 in Paris. Visitors to the Salon d’Automne are outraged. Who is that flamboyant woman with the audaciously colorful hat? Or rather who could have painted such a daring work? Matisse’s Woman with a Hat shocked most viewers. However, it was avidly appreciated, and swiftly purchased, by two new art connoisseurs; Gertrude and Leo Stein, sparking a fabulous legacy of 20th century art patronage and perhaps the greatest collection of Modern art of the era. This collection is currently brought together for the first time in decades in Paris, in a special exhibit at the Grand Palais.
The Stein family, based in San Francisco, first came to Paris in 1878 when the siblings Gertrude, Leo and Michael were still children. This initial visit must have struck a cord, as they each eventually gravitated back to Europe as adults by 1904. Having sold off their family’s holdings back in the U.S., the Steins could live a comfortable bohemian life in Paris and were quickly drawn to collecting art.
The Grand Palais exhibit opens with some fine examples of their earliest acquisitions, several works by late impressionist masters, in particular Renoir and Cezanne, purchased during their first visit to the Salon d’Automne in 1904. These works would not only adorn the walls of the Steins’ respective apartments on rue Madame and rue Fleurus, they would also serve as inspiration for the next generation of young artists who started frequenting the Steins’ Saturday night Salons, lively evenings of conversation and debate over the ensuing new ideas of the modernist movement.
The next year’s Salon d’Automne also featured the more “traditional” artists, however, just as the impressionists had shocked the art world with their innovative works forty years prior, new artists such as the bold Fauves were causing a stir. While it was Gertrude and Leo who purchased Matisse’s aforementioned masterpiece, it was Michael and Sarah who became avid collectors and friends of the artist. Over the next few decades, they almost exclusively focused their collection on his works, many of which are shown here, several displaying the unique bond Matisse had with Michael and Sarah such as the two portraits he made of them and some paintings featuring their son Allan.
Matisse might have been one of the most important leading artists of the turn of the 20th century, however, he was fervently rivaled by another visionary artist; Pablo Picasso – who in turn was greatly supported by Gertrude and Leo. Gertrude first met Picasso in 1906 and they quickly formed a strong, if not turbulent, friendship. The exhibition features a number of wonderful Picassos from their collection, including the imposing Cezanne inspired pre-cubist portrait of Gertrude, but perhaps the most intriguing are eight original sketches and studies for Picasso’s first cubist work Les Demoiselles d’Avignon (1907), tightly displayed together on one wall, just as they might have been hung on the walls rue Fleurus.