Bois de Boulogne at Lac Inferieur
When the sun is out in Paris there is no doubt that Parisians will be outdoors having a picnic. Paris was made for picnics with its large number of beautiful parks, readily available and delicious picnic foods and wines. I would like to share with you our favorite picnic spots and our ideas for the perfect picnic. Some of our favorite parks are Buttes des Chaumont, Parc Monceau, Bois De Boulogne, Jardin du Luxembourg and along the banks of the Seine. Also we love stumbling across the many smaller parks while walking through the different neighborhoods. This is fun because we find ourselves having a impromptu picnic!
A great lakeside picnic spot (or sunbathing) at Parc des Buttes Chaumont.
Tall pines at a Bois de Boulogne picnic spot.
Picnicking on the Seine near Pont Neuf. No grass, but lots of sunshine.
Parisian picnics can be as simple as grabbing a baguette sandwich and eating it on a park bench or having a more planned menu with goodies from home and speciality food shops spread out on a picnic blanket. During the week you may find business people breaking away from the office, while on weekends you will see more families enjoying the entire day on a blanket together. Either one is fun and a way to enjoy the beautiful outdoor spaces of Paris. As long a you have a blanket (sitting on your jacket is also acceptable) you can pull together a picnic in a few minutes. Most specially shops have plastic utensils, plates and glasses for you to take away.
If you are traveling with young children, the Bois de Boulogne has many entertainments to keep them busy. The parents even get to take the pony around the park!
Our favorite place for all pork specialty picnic items – Caractere de Cochone
One of our picnic lunches being prepared in a local specialty shop.
Picnicking with our friend Catherine who lives and works in Paris.
One of our many picnic lunches.
Au Revoir for now!
Jean-Paul Gaultier is one of the most inspirational and unconventional fashion designers of our time. I just spent an exciting afternoon at a dazzling retrospective of his life and work at the Grand Palais in the 1st Arrondissement. After personally following his extraordinary career, I was able to see his work covering over 40 years. I really did not need another great reason to be in Paris this Spring, but this is very special. The exhibit includes so many of his famous signature pieces. There is so much to see including his infamous use of the simple sailor stripe and other Paris cliche’s, punk and street wear and the cone bra and corsets that Madonna wore during her 1990 Blonde Ambition World Tour.
Rather than being a static exhibit of clothing, it is filled with color, movement, sound and light thanks to some very clever design and lots of digital technology. This exhibit is at the Grand Palais until August 3rd.
Strolling the Left Bank on a sunny afternoon I came across two things I would like to share with you. This area of Paris has an abundance of interesting book shops. Each one seems to have its own personality based on its owner. In the heart of the Carre Rive Gauche antique district, I visited 7L, Karl Lagerfeld’s book shop. Here you will find a well edited selection of inspirational books on art, architecture, photography and fashion. It includes books that Lagerfeld’s has published himself.
Interestingly, the Left Bank’s fascination with books has found its way into the Sonia Rykiel Boutique in Saint-Germain. The shop has floor to ceiling bookshelves filled with books. An unusual display for a clothing boutique! The new Spring collection is sparingly integrated within the books. This Spring collection at Sonia Rykiel is the first collection created by Julie de Librain (previously at Louis Vuitton with Marc Jacobs) as the new artistic director. It is sophisticated yet fun, with 70 inspired fringed knits, denim overalls and jumpsuits for evening. She has updated the spirit of Sonia Rykiel perfectly!
The shop window also features a life size, single cut video of models wearing the Spring SR collection reading books at a cafe. Here is Robert enjoying some fun with the girls.
Au Revoir for now!
I know that most of you are contemplating chocolate Easter bunnies and marshmallow chicks. But Paris has a completely different concept of Easter candy! In the last week or so the shop windows of Paris have been filling up with Spring and Easter delights, especially at the chocolatiers. We can pick from chocolate eggs, chocolate bells, chocolate fish and, of course, chocolate bunnies and chicks. The photos I am sharing speak for themselves. All are a works of art and are edible, except for the roses at the rose boutique on rue St Honore.
Our favorite chocolarterie is Patrick Roger. We could not resist and bought a small version of his chocolate cow egg for our own.
One of the many things I love about Paris is as you walk along the narrow side streets in several of the arrondissements you will find small ateliers. These are small studio workspaces of artists and craftspeople. This is something you rarely see in the States since this would be considered prime retail space. So, for me, it is fascinating that at street level you can look into the windows and see artists at work, step into their space, watch them create and also purchase their work.
We were strolling along in our neighborhood on rue Durantin and came across the atelier of Thierry Lefevre-Graves, a jewelry maker and sculptor. I was attracted to the work that was displayed in his window. As I looked into the atelier I could see him at his bench working on a new piece. We entered and he immediately stopped working to welcome us.
We had a lovely visit with Thierry. He explained his work to us including the materials he used and his recent Paris exhibitions. Of course, I found a ring that I could not live without!
I thought my next blog should be a bit more personal. I would like to tell you about the Paris neighborhood we live in. This is our third extended stay in the eighteenth arrondissement. We have been renting the same lovely apartment near the top of Montmartre. We know our neighbors, shopkeepers as well as our waiters at our local cafés and bistros. We continue to discover new places and people each day.
Most visitors to Paris do not have the opportunity to experience the 18th arrondissement. Most people make a quick trip to Sacre Coeur to see the view of Paris from the hill.
Sacre-Coeur de Montmartre
There are also many curving narrow cobblestone streets on the hill of Montmartre filled with small shops and restaurants that most visitors never get to experience.
Place du Tertre
Why is this area so special to us? There is still a feeling of old Paris in our neighborhood. It is very lively with people rather than traffic. There has been a recent surge of young talent flocking to this area and you can see them in the restaurants, bars and shops. The architecture is very refined but small scale on beautiful streets such as avenue Junot and rue Caulincourt.
The Spree Concept Shop
If you have not done this yet, and you have a chance, you should see the popular 2001 film called Amelie by Jean-Pierre Jeunet. It stars as the adorable Audrey Tautou. In the movie, she only lives and works just a few steps away from us!
Amelie’s Local Grocery Store
Au revoir for now,
Bonjour mes Enclave amies!
I would like to start of this year’s Spring Paris blog by showing you the inspired Chanel windows at Coco’s original boutique on rue Cambon. Chanel is just a few doors down from the hotel I stayed at on my first trips to Paris when I was in the fashion industry.
Many years have past since then, but I always seem to kick off my visit to Paris gazing into these windows. It puts me in a mood that makes we want to take Paris by storm, absorbing every inch of Parisian style.
Enjoy these photo. Look at the magnificent mix of colors and textures while being totally cohesive with the infamous Chanel look. Well, of course that’s true…we all know the creative genius behind the label. And check out those boots!
Au revoir for now!
Au revoir for now!
A Pop Up Interior Design Studio in the 18th Arrondissement of Paris
Back from Paris. Missing it, but I am so inspired from our 5 week stay. Please save this date:
Thursday May 29th 1pm to 10pm.
Open House Enclave’s new Interior Design Studio.
152 Commonwealth Avenue
The new space is only a short walk from my previous location in West Concord. Please join me for refreshments, a chat and a look at what is new at Enclave. I am also bringing back some of the old “must have” favorites from the shop. Stay turned for more details. Miss you all! It will be great to see you to catch up.
Robert and I spent a lovely day at the St Ouen flea market this weekend. The weather helped, 70 degrees and sunny! We walked through many of the marche’s. The most exciting for me was to see the brand new Habitat 1964 complex. Habitat, which was founded by Terence Conran in 1964 was the furniture store that put Britain on the map for stylish minimal design furniture for a reasonable price. During it’s heyday you could find outposts all over the world. Robert and I furnished our first New York City apartment with several Habitat pieces!
In recent years Habitat was sold to a French company. Habitat 1964 is set up as a ‘vintage village’ in the heart of the St Ouen flea market. With an industial setting, you walk into a concrete courtyard with tables and chairs (designed by Habitat). The interior space is filled with original Habitat vintage pieces from the 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s. There are also a few other showrooms dedicated to vintage furniture.
The outdoor courtyard welcomes you to pick up a quick lunch (interesting quiches, bagel sandwiches and gourmet hot dogs) from la Buvette.
Walking through The Marche Serpette, I was most inspired by the vast and unique selection of antique and vintage lighting.
We ended up having a yummy lunch inside the flea market at Ma Cocotte. Besides delicious food, this rotisserie-bistro industrial space was designed by Phillipe Starck – including his signature unisex bathroom!
This was quite an inspirational day for me and Enclave!
More than I ever remembered, Parisians love to integrate American influence into their own great style. For one thing, they are completely in love with Brooklyn! Brooklyn Lager beer is now available at the hippest cafés and bars.
The well know restaurant Frenchie, now has a new spot called Frenchie To Go. His take away menu includes a gourmet Reuben Sandwich and Hot Dog ( 20 euros ). Weekend brunch with pancakes, eggs Benedict, club sandwiches and waffles is most popular with the Parisians at trendy places like Hotel Amour and Marcel.
Of course Levi jeans are still worn here, but the latest fashion trend for the Parisian hipster male is the US work clothes label Carhartt. I knew it was popular in Brooklyn, but not here in Paris too!