Posts filed under ‘Europe 2011’

Make Like a Parisian; Visit a Park

Jardin Luxembourg

A trip to Paris would not be complete without a park visit. Even though it’s January, watch the sunset in Jardin Luxembourg  while sipping champagne and tasting the famous French bread and fromage.The premier people-watching park of Paris, dominated by the pond and its circles of chairs, perfect for seeing and being seen by the hordes of strollers who make their way to the tennis courts, chess tables, puppet shows, and boule games which make this such a lively spot. Métro: Luxembourg.

But if you have time in your schedule; visit one or more of the other parks Paris has to offer. One of my favs is Parc Monceau. Susan and I picnicked there last September after a visit to Nissin de Camondo ( a great museum) and of course you are in the Tuilleries if you visit the Louvre.

Here are some more suggestions from one of our Favorite Parisian bloggers:

Paris parks and gardens are the ideal way for overtaxed travelers to “make like Parisians” by observing “real Parisians” at play while seated in one of the iconic green chairs so thoughtfully scattered throughout Paris parks. Paris is almost as well-known for its parks and gardens as for its food and architecture. One of the great treats of walking around this city is to discover these leafy retreats, grand to miniature, that provide a moment of pastoral pleasure or rest for the weary.

Parc Monceau

Parc Monceau

Within walking distance of the Arc de Triomphe, this lovely gem of a park is filled with magnificent trees and plantings, arranged in the natural English style, with little grottoes, a quiet water garden, scattered sculptures of famous French figures and even free WI-FI. Plus, the most ornate restrooms I have ever seen. Nissim de Camando adjoins the Parc.  Métro: Monceau.

Parc Monceau

Bois de Boulogne

Bois de Boulogne

The Bois (Woods) makes New York’s Central Park seem like a small-town playground. The 2,000 acres on the western edge of the city bordering the Seine is vast, with restaurants, gardens, museums, race tracks, lakes, sports grounds, a zoo and children’s amusement park plus wide-open spaces and dense woods interspersed with bike, walking, and horse trails.

During weekdays, you can glimpse tableaux in the Bois that make you shiver with recognition at this real-life composition of lovers wrapped together on the grassy bank, a scene you thought existed only on Impressionist canvases. And then there are Sunday afternoons, when the roads turn into speedways and the traffic on the bike trails suggests the Champs-Elysées.

Parc de Bagatelle at Bois de Boulogne Bagatelle is an exquisite garden created on a dare when Marie-Antoinette bet its owner, Count of Artois, that it could not be turned into a park in 64 days. She lost the bet. Today the City of Paris has restored the botanical gardens that showcase roses, irises and other flowers.

If you simply want to get some exercise, the best way to sample the Bois may be to rent a bike and follow the trails. In an hour or two, you can make your way around the layout and get a sense of what most intrigues you, whether it’s harness racing, miniature sail boating, sporting in the woods or eating a two-star meal.

You may arrive at the Bois on a rented Vélib’ bike or you can get one at the nearby Métro: Port Muette. The Bois also has two bike rental stations open during the day: one station is located at the northern edge of Lac Inférieur, on the east side of the Bois, across from the boat rental shed. The other is across from the entrance to the Jardin d’Acclimatation, a small zoo and amusement park for kids.

You may also rent rowboats for a leisurely (and on the weekends crowded) row around the lake, with the lovely island gardens as your vista. Boats accomodate up to five people.

Like many large parks in big cities, the Bois gets seedy at night, so plan to head out before sunset.

The Bois has two top restaurants, the Pré Catalan and La Grande Cascade, both of which are architecturally beautiful and very pricey. A more reasonable choice is L’Auberge du Bonheur, which is in an old coach house tucked away behind the glamorous Grande Cascade. You can reserve Sunday lunch or dinner at a lovely outdoor pavilion that offers simple grilled dishes. Tel: 01 42 24 10 17

Another romantic evening possibility is the Chalet des Iles on the island in the Lac Inférieur, with a small ferry to take you across. Reservations suggested.

Bois de Veincennes

Bois de Vincennes

This woods on Paris’s eastern edge is, like the Bois de Boulogne, a huge expanse of woodland punctuated by a variety of attractions. Among them is the 15th-century Château de Vincennes. There’s a horse-racing track here, along with a wide range of sports facilities and Paris’s biggest zoo. Various fairs are held here periodically. Métro: Porte Dorée. The Château, dating from the 15th century, is best reached at the Métro: Château de Vincennes.

Tuileries

Jardin des Tuileries

Another creation by André Le Nôtre, the famed landscape architect who designed the Versailles gardens and many other historic gardens. Flanked by terraces on the north and south, there are geometrical arrangements of trees and paths leading from the Carrousel of the Louvre on the east, to the main gate at Place de la Concorde on the west. The gate is flanked by the Jeu de Paume museum on the north and l’Orangerie on the south. There’s the usual merry-go-round, puppet shows and pond for toy sailboat rentals, but this is a park for resting tired feet after the Louvre or trek down the Champs-Elysées.

Parc Andre Citroen

Parc Andre Citroen

Opened in 1992, Parc André Citroën is a truly post-modern park, integrating a series of lovely glass structures with indoor plants, outdoor gardens with single color schemes relating to the five senses, and a lush, secretive wild garden. It’s punctuated with fascinating moving waters—little rushing water troughs, a great fountain of alternating water jet fountains that kids can’t resist, a canal and vista to the Seine. If you have the time to explore this very conceptual and sensual place, you’ll come away refreshed and excited about the future of parks. It is located on the Left Bank near Beaugrenelle, an ugly clump of out-of-place skyscrapers that are as depressing as the Parc is refreshing. Métro: Javel.

 

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29 November 2013 at 10:49 am Leave a comment

Versailles Contemporary Art Exhibit

joana vaconcelos versailles   june 18th to september 30th, 2012

 

Paris-born lisbon-based artist joana vasconcelos is currently taking over the palace of Versailles in France with her large sculptural works as part of the château’s annual contemporary art exhibition. Installed within the state apartments and gardens of the expansive property, vasconcelos’ work creates a dialogue dealing with contemporary idiosyncrasies where the dichotomies of hand-crafted / industrial, private / public, tradition / modernity and popular  / erudite culture.

 

my work has developed around the idea that the world is an opera, and Versailles embodies the operatic and aesthetic ideal that inspires me. The works that I propose exist for this place. I see them as linked to Versailles in a timeless way. When I stroll through the rooms of the palace and its gardens, I feel the energy of a setting that gravitates between reality and dreams, the everyday and magic, the festive and the tragic. I can still hear the echo of the footsteps of marie-antoinette, and the music and festive ambiance of the stately rooms. How would the life of Versailles look if this exuberant and grandiose universe was transferred to our period?

Joana has interpreted the dense mythology of Versailles, transporting it into the contemporary world, and evoking the presence of the important female figures that have lived here, while drawing on her own  identity and experience as a Portuguese woman born in France.

 The south end of the palace’s ‘hall of mirrors’ where ceremonies and important events in the history of France were staged, hosts ‘marilyn’, a pair of high-heeled sandals constructed from the repeated arrangement of stainless steel pans and lids. the mammoth-scale high heels, standing within this vast hall, creates a Gulliver effect, and are an ode to women’s achievements both on public and private spheres.

 

‘blue champagne’, a monumental work comprising two vertical twin structures and incorporating thousands of champagne bottles lit from their interior, stands on either side of the rectangular water parterres that stretch in front of the palace’s terrace. While respecting the architectural symmetry of Versailles, the structures introduce a verticality that contrasts with the immense horizontal lines of the landscape. Visible from inside the hall of mirrors, the two elements subvert the domestic scale of the referenced objects – candlestick holders or bottle racks –, while their shape and architectural dimension resemble the flamboyant verticality of the late gothic.

 

‘lilicoptère’ is a helicopter that has been decorated in the same vein as Versailles’s aesthetic universe, covered in gold leaf with thousands of rhinestone embedded on its exterior. The cockpit and blades seem to have been invaded by an extravagant and colorful coat of ostrich feathers that have been dyed in hues of salmon, pink and orange.

2 August 2012 at 5:57 pm Leave a comment

Maison and Objet in September

This September, the producers of Maison&Objet, one of the world’s most highly regarded design shows, will launch the first-ever Paris Design Week. Maison&Objet will run from September 9-13, while Paris Design Week will run from September 12-18.
Maison&Objet features innovative and stylish products for the home displayed in elegant booths in 8 separate halls including tableware, furnishing textiles, decorative accessories, giftware, arts and crafts, lighting, furniture. Maison&Objet is an ideal forum to discover the latest product, material, design and color trends, which is why some 1,500 buyers and interior designers from the U.S. currently attend. The addition of Paris Design Week is now extra incentive to visit Paris in September.
Don’t want to travel by yourself? Join us . We’re taking a Decor Tour to Paris in September for M&O and Paris Design Week.
For discounted admission to Maison&Objet, good through August 3rd, 2011, CLICK BUTTON and use the following info:

Login: MOPARIS

Password: PEAN1A

24 July 2011 at 9:11 am Leave a comment

Paris Decor Tour

A sneak peek at some of  our favorite spots in Paris we’ll be visiting.

Design Destinations

Creation Baumann

Dedar

Creation Metaphores

Anne Gelbard Couture Home

Viaduc des Arts

Lesage

Much more to come including restaurants, galleries, shops and the show!

 Did we whet your appetite? Join us . Click HERE for more info.

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13 July 2010 at 7:11 pm Leave a comment

September in Paris + Maison et Objet=Priceless

Join an exclusive group of design aficionados in Paris August 31- September 8, 2010 for Maison et Objet.  The group to 12 PEOPLE ONLY, to keep the low-key, non-tour approach. Take advantage of a few extra days in Paris to get the most out of the shows as well as have enough time to really enjoy Paris. ! It’s a once in a lifetime chance to attend the ultimate design show!

Here’s What out January Group had to say about the Experience:

Susan and you have opened a window to the industry that I have only been peeking through. So Thanks again. Sue Sifakis

 It was a fantastic trip to Paris. The Hotel D’ Aubusson was beautiful.It was perfect to see Paris with other designers and such a nice group. The show was tremendous and a bit overwhelming. I came on this trip to find a new vision for my business and learned so much more.   Karyn Caldwell

I am still dreaming about it. It was the greatest…Thank you!     Octive Healey

This is very much a self guided tour. We’ll get you where you want to go; walk the aisles with you and share experiences over cocktails each night, but you make the decision when and where and what you want to do. No cattle calls on buses, mandatory dinners, just a fabulous time with a group of women that share the same passion- design. Hope you’ll join me. If you are interested, please download and fill out reg form and send back to us with your deposit asap. Seats fill on a first come; first serve basis.

Note: September Edition of Maison et Objet  has a furniture and outdoor living focus.

See what Maison et Objet is all about!

Tour highlights:

7 days/7 nights in Paris, August 31- September 8, 2010 includes:

*Airfare to/from JFK  Overnight flight arriving in Paris Wednesday, September1, 2010.

*Hotel d’ Aubusson, Four-star, double-occupancy in the heart of St. Germain (Super-convenient location and we’ve stayed in this hotel and love it!) Five minute walk to the subway, direct line to the show. Walking distance of the Louvre, Orsay, Notre Dame, Sorbonne; surrounded by art galleries, restaurants and shops.

*Daily Breakfast at the hotel.

*Airport transfers

*5 day all zone metro pass

*Admission to Maison&Objet and Le Club.

*Welcome reception at M&O from show management

*Exclusive M&O trend presentation with Q&A opportunity

*As-you-wish meet-ups for cocktails or dinner to review the day, compare notes, share stories, etc.

*Pre-travel web session(s) with Deb and Susan to preview locations, M&O planning, travel details, our Paris faves and more

*Cruise on the river Seine.

*Free entrance to the Louvre or Orsay.

 *Design destinations and insider access to showrooms and ateliers across Paris. Viaduc des Arts, Anne Gelbard Atelier to name a few.

 GO HERE for more details.    

QUESTIONS?   ASK ME

Tour does NOT include:

*Any meals except breakfast at the hotel as noted

*Any admissions or fees except for the M&O show and museums as noted

*Any additional transportation fees outside of those listed above (i.e., we’re not bussing you to/from the shows at a specific time, you get there when you want and leave when you want, courtesy of those all-zone transit passes)

*Optional activities, entries & transportation is on you.

*Travel and cancellation insurance

*Personal expenses

*Tips for guides, hotel staff, taxis, etc.

8 April 2010 at 11:35 am 1 comment

More on the Marais

Writing on the potential for dinner in the Marais reminded me of some of my favorite stops in that neighborhood.

First, I strongly urge you to visit the Musée Carnavalet, the former hôtel particulier of famed 17th c. letter writer extraordinare the Marquise de Sévigné. Not only do you get a feel for the aristocratic lifestyle of that era, it’s also one of the city’s best museums of the revolution.

The lovely Place des Vosges was built in the early 1600s by Henri IV as a model for further city planning, to provide established merchants, court officers and upper-middle class Parisians a comfortable, elegant home. Today the lower levels are filled with cafés, wine shops, gift stores, etc. One of Grace’s favorite restaurants in tucked into one corner of the Place (19 Places des Vosges)…ask her to tell you the story about Ma Bourgogne some time!

For a different kind of culture, stop into Merci, a three-story shop run by the former owners of ultra-luxe children’s brand Bonpoint. It’s the latest hot-spot “lifestyle” destination, all more or less inspired by Colette, but what makes Merci different is that all profits from its mix of home goods, fashion, giftware and more are earmarked from a Madagascar-based women’s charity.

And in my mind, no trip to the Marais would be complete without a stop at Entrée des Fournisseurs, one of the best shops in the city for buttons, ribbon, trims and more. The fact that’s it’s located in a charming little courtyard off the bustle of rue des Francs Bourgeois only adds to the allure. Although, unlike many Marais shops, EdF is not open on Sundays, on the plus side, they do web orders and overseas shipping, so if you absolutely can’t make up your mind, you can also order later…

Now I have ribbon shops on my mind, so I’ll list a few others, not in the Marais, but worth noting on your agendas…

La Droguerie at 9 rue du Jour near Les Halles is famed for its enormous selection of both new and vintage ribbons, buttons and trimmings. They also have a concession at Le Bon Marché, way up on the top floor, so stop in the wonderful LBM foodhall for a snack first!

I think there’s a Mokubo ribbon shop somewhere around here also, but I can’t find an address for it in my files…Also note, rue du Jour is a great street for jewelry findings, beads, chains, etc.

UltraMod is open only during the week and is actually two related shops. One is true haberdashery supply shop, which sells to Givenchy, Lanvin and Jean Paul Gaultier among others. The second shop is a more retail oriented, but still overwhelming in the number of buttons, ribbons, embroidery threads and more. And the name is incredibly deceiving, as the ambience of the shops is very vintage, with wood shelving and work tables, a big ol’ cast iron cash register and more. 3 and 4 rue de Choiseul, in the 2nd.

31 December 2009 at 1:44 pm 1 comment

Sunday Best

While Paris is known for great food, finding a good meal on a Sunday, when most shops and restaurants are closed, can sometimes be a bit tough. Here’s a short list of recommendations in and around our neighborhood.

Bistro Christophe, a small, simply decorated place where the owner/chef is truly passionate about what he puts on the table. 8, rue Descartes in the 5th.

Fógon specializes in Spanish food, perhaps a welcome break from all-French, all-the-time meals. 45 Quai des Grand Augustins, 6th.

Au Coin des Gourmets is a bit of IndoChina in Paris, but this is isn’t gloopy sweet&sour pork in a white cardboard box! 5, rue Dante, 5th.

Ambassade d’Auvergne features the hearty, homey fare of this western mountain region, including the aligot, a whipped potato specialty with the tasty addition of cheese curds and garlic. 22 rue du Grenier-St. Lazare, 3rd.

La Père Claude on the other side (from us) of the Champs de Mars is an ideal spot for the classic Sunday French dinner of roast chicken. 51 av, de la Motte-Picquet, 15th.

Le Rôtisserie du Beaujolais is another great roast chicken option, and a bit closer to the hotel at 19 quai de la Tournelle, 5th.

Fish la Boissonerie is a fun, lively spot so so close to the hotel at 69, rue de Seine, 6th.

As Deb mentioned in our webinar, one neighborhood that does mostly remain open on Sundays is the Marias, likely because of its long history as the “Jewish Quartier” now mostly occupied by trendy boutiques and hotels. Instead of listing the many options, I’ve linked to an article that came out right after my last visit to Paris listing eight different options in the area, but many more can be found.

And finally, when all else fails, there are plenty of basic bistros where a light dinner of omelet et salade with a glass of wine all tastes perfectly fine.

Bon Appétit!

31 December 2009 at 12:30 pm Leave a comment

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