20 October 2008

back on track

finally, back in the saddle and in the swing of things ... and what could that mean, you may ask?

air france flight 7, of course. a boeing 777 cruising through the atlantic skies, traversing the well-worn route between gritty (delicious!) new york and the french capital. we've been way-laid a bit, here on the north american continent - mired in political quagmires, election push and pull, and an economic meltdown. which curiously has brought on a new, more affordable euro for us 'over here'.

alors, three nights basking in the november air, hopping from patisserie to foie gras house, relishing a glass of wine late in the afternoon, a café creme in bed in the morning. and of course, many a macaron shall be enjoyed also. a cliché - a late afternoon lunch in the jardin du luxembourg?

a much needed break, finally coming our way!

bon voyage!

27 February 2008

a snapshot

what a joy the lovely maison europeenne de la photographie is. welcoming the guest with a lovely jardin, on a quiet side street in the southern marais, the site is a real gem. a short stroll from hotel de ville or ile st. louis, this exposition space is cool, calm, and (well) collected. it's even open late - until 20h00 (a rare treat for those of us coming from nyc, where galleries and museums rarely hold evening court).

the contemporary collection of works is appealing and thought provoking, and the ancillary spaces supporting the overall theme are likewise well executed.

some go for the wow factor when on a crusade to expose themselves to high art. this institution defies it's larger siblings by keeping it simple ... quality materials, hushed tones, and a lovely, intimate feel. a great forum for reflection.

see what develops -

maison europeenne de la photographie
ville de paris
5/7 rue de fourcy 75004
+33 1 44 78 75 00

18 February 2008


we fondly recall a dalliance (lasting a few years) with our beloved café clara - alas, no more (sadly!). rue christine has never been the same since it's mysterious demise ...

this gem of a place, all hushed with exposed stone walls, dogs milling about, and the ever glamorous patrone herself, was a staple of our stops in paris, circa 2000 to 2003. the large, shiny green doors, the script writing bearing the name of the place in beige elegance, and the simple tartines and petit dejeuners were all a favorite in those times now gone. this was before era of the ever-expanding lina's, the muji's popping up here and there, and the commercialization of poilane.

ahh, the simple pleasures of a quiet breakfast with a lover before venturing out into the january crisp air ... warm, and dare is say, sensual ... café clara is forever missed for it's ease, charm, and understated sophistication.

11 February 2008

falling in love

once upon a time, the only impressions i had about paris were culled from scenes in an obscure movie i saw as a child, filmed at orly airport. les aventures de rabbi jacob (1973) was the source of the only vision i had, and that was from a singular, jewish focus ... so funny!

and even funnier still, as the way i truly found my love of paris came via my first (of many) screenings of the film private benjamin (another singular, jewish focus). when judy benjamin, the movie's subject, has the fortunate opportunity to move to the location of her choice, she selects western europe (bruxelles) - to be close to a new lover (paris). aside from the deliciousness of goldie hawn (sublime - as she searches for champagne piping on her ottoman, not mushroom piping please!), the editing of the movie as judy swoops into france is intoxicating. that first view of the eiffel tower, her effortless movements through the cobblestoned streets, her broad strides on the broad boulevards - fantastique!

and what, tell me what, could be better than seeing this young budding francophile pick up her proud parents at charles de gaulle, terminal one, and glide through one of the fenestrated, suspended, criss-crossing escalator tubes with them touching her (newly colored) red mane (as it cascades onto her fur coat)!!

yes, there's the ubiquitous french maid, the citroen-riding soccer buddies, and other trappings of french clichés, but for me, this movie was in fact the beginning of a beautiful thing! and to this day, everytime i land in paris, i think of judy benjamin - a young american caught in the throes of passion and love ... and what better place than paris for such affairs!

thank you judy. thank you goldie!

08 February 2008

i can see clairely now

ah, the joys of being in l'eclaireur.

on one of the regular runs to paris (that is, run away from new york), we are shopping for the little ones at du pareil au meme - in st. germain. and what should pop up in front of us? a lovely and wonderful magasin - l'eclaireur!

costume national. dries van noten. right out of the days of charivari, but on the other side of the atlantic. lovely lighting, gorgeous products, (appropriately) aloof and fantastic salespeople - what more could we ask for.

no concept store, or hipster haven like colette (which we also adore!). no, l'eclaireur began as a temple to style. and when they migrated away from this location, taking over the marais (and other corners of paris) they fit in beautifully with cappellini across the street ... rue des rosiers will never be the same. that shop also seemed well suited to the area - near jo goldenberg, the jewish deli - a while ago they were kitted out with all things hebraic in the window vitrine!

kudos to armand et martine hadida for their divine and entrepreneurial adventure!

we were to visit the tokyo branch next week but we must put that on hold for now ... we'll get there soon enough ...

l'eclaireur paris
3, rue des rosiers 75004
+33 1 48 87 10 22
(for other locations, including tokyo, click here)

07 February 2008

cartier's jewel

anyone who enjoys a day at the dia in new york should head directly to the fondation cartier - pour l'art contemporain.

a little bijou set off, set off boulevard raspail, is the architectural work of jean nouvel (institut du monde arabe fame). the steel and glass facade is the front for a series of changing and interesting exhibits which make for a perfect rainy morning. the works are always interesting and exciting, and it is a pleasure to see them in this light. the adjoining garden appears as a natural and welcome extension of the building, firmly entrenching it in the exterior.

a highly recommended stop, not necessarily for the first time visitor to paris, but certainly for the tried and true who like to soak in every corner of the city and all that makes it relevant and modern in this era ...

fondation cartier
261, boulevard raspail 75014
+33 1 42 18 56 50

06 February 2008

dog day afternoon

once upon a time, a long, long time ago, a young husband and wife realized that they needed a break from windex, mini-vans, and groceries ... they needed to inject some glamour into their otherwise hum-drum lives.

they decided the only proper thing to do was to go to paris ... air france, their only carrier, hotel d'aubusson their only bolthole, and jacques cagna their preferred choice for dining. they dusted off their most elegant finery, packed it gingerly in their carry-on bags, and arranged for the kids to be taken care of.

for 72 hours, this fine young couple indulged in all of the pleasures that life had to offer - time together, sleeping late, walking along the seine, afternoon coffees, some champagne upon returning to the room, and languishing in the freedom of it all.

one of the things that they rediscovered was that it became possible to remake their image according to their own fantasy. paris had given them that back, and what a gift it was. it also yielded another creature comfort - a handbag for madame from the designs of un apres midi de chien. the couple debated back and forth, the woman decrying the price, the man insisting that it was worth every penny for the sense of elegance it would bestow on her, and they laid down their well-worn credit card.

a shiny, burnished, black leather sac with structure, style, and little chromed 'feet' ... lovely.

the bag was bagged, in an striking felt satchel with the designer's name drifting across ... and the young lady, who would otherwise be at work or bathing the children, gleefully strode out of the shop, purchase in hand, already feeling like another, more interesting person.

and so continued the great love affair.

un apres midi de chien
32 rue etienne marcel 75002
+33 1 4039 0007