Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Diane's Paris Journal

Paris, City of Epiphanies 

On my annual May/June pilgrimage to Paris, I offer myself up to be transported by new experiences: the fires of galaxies, shouts and murmurs and the nebula of the almost seen. 

I found these—and much more—by keeping files, making lists before I depart, asking friends for their latest finds, and setting out with hope and joy to see places and things in Paris I have never encountered. 

This summer I was stunned by a magnificent new exhibit of Lucien Freud studio portraits at the Pompidou (until July 19) that was sensationally powerful. 

And at the lovely Petit Palais, I spent an afternoon taking in the adoration and beauty of the exhibit and retrospective of Yves Saint Laurent, the saint of fashion in France. 

This iconic sixties image of Suzy Parker by Richard Avedon captures my own mood when I'm in Paris—off the ground, leaping with happiness, and yet calm and focused.

I Metro’d to the flea market to meet my friend John, and lunched with David and Florence. I enjoyed the glamour of afternoon tea at the Plaza Athenee and at the classic Crillon. 

Lanvin and Hermes were splendid, I lunched at Ralph Lauren’s new digs on the boulevard Satin-Germain, and walked to Guerlain’s Champs-Elysees headquarters (with its famous Jean-Michel Frank décor). One morning I explored the Sevres-Babylone fashion axis of Bon Marche and rue du Bac and rue de Grenelle. 

But it was also a Paris of lazy afternoons watching a jazz bands and Corsican choirs in the Jardin du Luxembourg, quiet research in private libraries, an eighteenth-century musical encounter, bites here and there, and savoring the exquisite and unaccustomed brilliant sunlight that lingers long into the golden evening.

Quel Beau Reve 
Dear Friends: If you are heading to Paris soon, be sure to search THE STYLE SALONISTE archive for my many previous highly-detailed Paris reports, including hotels, flea markets, secret Paris and insider tips and treats. Print them out and take them with you. Do sent a report. I’d love to hear about your trip. 

I headed first to the Hotel Recamier in the cool embrace of St.-Sulpice church. Arriving there is like returning to a chic friend’s city mansion. The greeting by the owner, Sylvie de Lattre, is cordial. The lobby is as big as a minute, and my room had a splendid view of the towers of St.-Sulpice and the square beyond. Tea and fresh orange juice is served in the sitting room and the terrace, a lovely interlude. I highly recommend this discreet and chic hotel, newly designed by Jean-Louis Deniot. Request top-floor rooms. You'll never want to leave. 

Hotel Recamier, photography by Xavier Bejot. 

I later stayed at a dear friend’s apartment. He was out of the country. I gave myself up to the sweet summer pleasures of Paris, buying strawberries at the market, walking over to Hermes to check out watches. I stalked antiques at Drouot auction house where I happily spent hours viewing Syrian silver, Swiss travel posters, loot from Belgian chateau attics, Art Déco jewelry, and a motley but charming grab-bag of gilded chairs and exuberant tapestries.
One evening, I watched as wonderful paintings by Picasso and Dufy (lovely Moroccan and Riviera scenes) and drawings by Matisse were auctioned to a glamorous group of art dealers at Artcurial, located in a mansion near avenue Montaigne. 

Decade-long renovation and restoration of the exterior of St.-Sulpice continues.

Joy Division 
I have made it a practice and a habit for the last however-many years to head for Paris around the last week or so of May each year. I have work to do there, researching and interviewing, up-dating and scrutinizing art and design and architecture.

I take with me neatly annotated lists (sometimes left over from previous visits) of new restaurants, hidden cafes, secret corners, people of talent, galleries, exhibits, connecting the dots and completing quests and nurturing my curiosity. 

I place priority on feeding my eye with the new. My list this year included the new Cy Twombly ceiling in the Greek bronzes room at the Louvre and staying at the Hotel Recamier, newly refurbished and reinvented by my designer friend, Jean-Louis Deniot. 

I revisited favorite places (place Furstemberg, the Greek and Roman galleries at the Louvre, rue Jacob, the newest supercool burst of graffiti on Serge Gainsbourg’s wall on rue de Verneuil, the beehives and espaliered fruit trees in the Luxembourg gardens, the gardens of the Palais-Royal). I set out with a purpose, making a point of looking and observing and watching. 

Place Furstemberg in the heart of the Left Bank.

I must admit that restaurants and shopping are not where I place my intense focus, eyes, or energy. A three-hour lunch may be wonderful (Bonjour, Alain Passard and Guy Martin), but I can’t help thinking that I could see and find a lot in those three hours. I love to wander in the hallucinatory twilight of summer evenings. I love dinner at the Bistro Paul Bert or Frenchie or the Fontaine-de-Mars, but I tend to gaze out the windows at the twilight, impatient to be out walking. I get restless for experiences. 

Shopping in Paris is hardly the exotic treasure hunt of past times. Still, I love to check out the new Chanel ballerinas and find new Chanel lipsticks at the rue Cambon boutique. Five minutes, and I'm on my way to meet a friend at Hotel Costes or take tea at Laduree nearby.

The Galerie Valois at the Palais-Royale. Along this arcades are favorite shops like Didier Ludot, Serge Lutens, Rick Owens, and Pierre Hardy shoes. This is an historic place for lingering in the garden, watching children playing in the sandbox, and listening to the birds, lingering, enjoying the scent of the linden blossom.
My San Francisco friend Susie Hoimes sells the most superb selection of fine vintage jewelry, and it is so much chicer than any I ever find in Paris. So I’m no longer rummaging through dusty vintage shops. 

If I’m in an acquisitive mood, I head to Gallignani for books or the Clignancourt flea market for paintings or prints or photography. 

I’m looking for experiences—not things. Odorantes flower shop on rue Madame near place St. Sulpice is one of my favorites. I step inside in early summer and a whoosh of rose fragrances mingled with mint and cassis leaves makes me swoon. Add a collection of exotic birds (taxidermy), scented candles, and the fey and utterly charming owners, and your life is changed. 

“So we came to the Ritz Hotel and the Ritz Hotel is devine. Because when a girl can sit in a delightful bar and have delicious Champagne cocktails and look at all the important French people in Paris, I think it is devine. I mean, when a girl can sit there and look at the Dolly Sisters and Pearl White and Maybelle Gilman Corey, and Mrs. Nash it is beyond words. Because when a girl looks at Mrs. Nash and realizes what Mrs. Nash has got out of gentlemen, it really makes a girl hold her breath. 

And when a girl walks around and reads all of the design with all of the famous historical names it really makes you hold your breath. Because when Dorothy and I went on a walk, we only walked a few blocks we read all of the famous historical names, like Coty and Cartier, we knew we were seeing something educational at last, and our whole trip has not been a failure.” —From 'Gentlemen Prefer Blondes', by Anita Loos (1925). 
The Jardin du Luxembourg at twilight. (Photo courtesy Parisien Salon.)

‘The Hotel Deux-Mondes in Paris was triangular shaped and faced the St. Germain-des-Pres church. On Sundays we sat at the Deux-Magots and watched the people, devout as an opera chorus, enter the old doors, or else watched the French read newspapers. There were long conversations about the ballet over sauerkraut at Lipp's, and blank recuperative hours over books and prints in the dank Allee Bonaparte.” —From ‘Zelda Fitzgerald: The Collected Writings, by Zelda Fitzgerald (194-1927). 

Delacroix mural at St.-Sulpice church. (Be sure to switch on the lights.) Image from Assemble Nationale archives.

The Organ at St.-Sulpice. I usually stay in the neighborhood near St-Sulpice, and often find myself walking up the church stairs and visiting the Delacroix murals there, then taking a short cut down the aisles, on tip-toe, very respectfully, through the side door, or out the old door near the chapel. There is always activity, with lovely church ladies arranging flowers, a wedding, choir practice, and preparations for a concert. One Sunday in June, I heard organ music, so I slipped in. A mass was ending and great thundering and crashing Franck and Bach reverberated down through the canyons of columns as I sat and listened. Celestial solstice sun shone in through stained-glass windows, illuminating even the ancient inky corners. Still, the organist plays his music of the spheres, with many a tremolo. Heavenly harmonies echo down and lift me up. Holy Ghost!

“We none of us lived in old parts of Paris then. We lived in the rue de Fleurus just a hundred year old quarter, a great many of us lives around there….It is nice in France the adapt themselves to everything slowly the change completely but all the time they know that they are as they are.” —From 'Paris France' by Gertrude Stein (1940). 

Diane’s Addresses



Cy Twombly: Dramatic new ceiling for the room of Greek bronzes at the Louvre. Inspired by Greek myths and legends, sky and shields. Note: there is a useful reference book on a table in this room. Read Twombly’s vision and inspirations for greater understanding.

Lucien Freud, “L’Atelier’ at the Pompidou. Dash there before July 19. Or gather up the books on Lucien Freud, the grand master of painting, psychological insight, color and human compassion.

Monet’s magnificent masterpieces at the Musee de l’Orangerie. Book online. Important.

Picasso Museum:
note that it is currently closed for renovation.

Avoid the hordes by slipping away to the Denon wing, to find the Salle des Caryatids, with its wondrous Percier and Fontaine décor and sublime sculptures. Enjoy the exquisite detail of the figures…a breeze rustles a toga, arrows jiggle in a quiver, a sandal caresses a foot, and the silence here is total. Aferwards: Richelieu wing and the Northern European collections for Vermeer. Look for a small room where a strange and touching self-portrait by Durer is hidden. Time? Don’t miss the French galleries, and especially Chardin and Ingres. Then skip to the Café Marly for lunch.

Visual Feasts: 

Muriel Grateau, 37, rue de Beaune. 

Easily the most elegant, chaste, and color-calibrated table décor.
But…walk to the back of the well-ordered store, up the stairs, and there is Grateau’s fabulously original and chic jewelry of black jet and crystal. To die.

Odorantes, 9, rue Madame. 

If you’re fortunate to be in Paris during the couture or ready-to-wear collections, stop here to see shockingly beautiful and magnificently vast bouquets ready to be sent to Anna Wintour (at the Ritz), Karl Lagerfeld, and fashion editors. Pink roses here are so exquisite they make my eyes water. Perhaps I am crying at the beauty—and the heady fragrance I am experiencing. Rare and lovely.


Allard, 41, rue Saint-Andre-des-arts. 

This authentic family-owned restaurant is a great favorite of Pierre Berge, who often turns up with his retinue of pretty ones on Sunday evenings. Go there for seasonal favorites: white asparagus in spring, game in the fall. I prefer the room on the corner of rue de l’Eperon, to the left of the open kitchen. 

Bread and Roses Café, 7 rue Fleurus on the corner of rue Madame, near the Jardin du Luxembourg. 
Imagine fresh fruit tarts, vegetable tarts, all organic, and shelves of airy brioche, chunky whole-wheat bread, and a sunny, friendly atmosphere. Organic. Perfect for lunch or lingering outside over an afternoon tisane.

Chez Janou, 2, rue Roger Verlomme (edge of Marais). 

This is the kind of friendly, happy, well-run bistro you’re always looking for. It is open all day, every day, for families and chicsters, lovers and Francophiles. Start with a pastis or a flute at the zinc bar, and dive into a menu of South of France favorites. If you’re lucky: linger at the terrace tables, long into the night.

Le Grand Vefour, 17, rue de Beaujolais, Palais-Royal. 

This is big splurge, true Parisian glamour and gastronomy. The beautifully lit dining room is lovely for a long lunch, and super-glam for dinner. Young Guy Martin presides over this extraordinarily beautiful setting. Endless mirrors, gilding, carving and 18th-century glory bestow a sense of levitation. Menus: modern classics, light, bright.

La Patisserie des Reves, 93 rue du Bac. 

I wrote about this exceptional patisserie last fall when it opened. I love his elegant chocolate cakes, new-age Tarte Tatin, and shelves of chocolate treats. Witty. 

Pierre Herme, 72, rue Bonaparte near place St. Sulpice. 
Hands down the most creative pastries and macaroons. Always exceeds my high expectations. The perfect souvenir: dark chocolate bars, jams, chocolate-coated almonds. I love his style and the scene here.

Pierre Herme's Ispahan meringue/macaroon has a litchi/cream filling, rose-flavored macaroon, and rose petals with sugar candy dew drops. (Photo from 'Paris Patisseries' published by Rizzoli).

The Tea Salon at the Plaza Athenee. Photo courtesy Hotel Plaza Athenee.

Hotel Plaza Athenee, 25 avenue Montaigne. 
This is such a wonderful setting for afternoon tea, classic and fulsome. Overlooking the leafy courtyard, the room is awash with silken curtains and lavishly upholstered armchairs. As I nibbled on a slice of fruitcake here earlier this year, Jessica Simpson, not at all elegant, tromped through with three super-size suited bodyguards. No-one gave this narcissistic exercise even a glance. A cake trolley rolls forth, displaying petits fours, iced cakes, fruit tarts, Baba au Rhum, lemon chiffon pie. I request the rose-scented Plaza Athenee tea blend and fruitcake. We chat and watch the scene. It was tempting to stay late, and to simply slip into the newly designed hotel bar where DJ Adrian Villanova spins electro-pop-rock, and bar director Thierry Hernandez presides over a chic and lively mise-en-scene. 

Breakfast on the terrace at the Plaza Athenee. Photo courtesy of the Hotel Plaza Athenee.

Max Poilane, 87, rue Brancion, near Porte de Vanves. 
Combine bites at this taste favorite with a swoop to the nearby Porte de Vanves weekend flea market and the antique book market on rue Brancion, Sunday and Saturday mornings only. Superb fresh croissants and the best hot-from-the-wood-oven Pithiviers and breads in town.

Also on my radar: Pain de Sucre on 14 rue Rambuteau for rose marshmallows. Also, Du Pain et des Idees, 34 rue Yves Toudic (10th, a little out of the way, over near the Canal Martin but worth the adventure) for apple and raisin bread flavored with orange blossom. 

“A final reminder. Whenever you are in Paris at twilight in the early summer, return to the Seine and watch the evening sky close slowly and the last strands of daylight fading quietly, like a sigh.” —From 'Paris' by Kate Simon (1967). 
Photographer Richard Avedon also loved the Palais-Royale for location shooting. Here, the famous Suzy Parker in tartan running through the gardens of the Palais-Royale in the sixties. Note the arcades and lanterns, iconic, in the background.

Photo credit: Richard Avedon photography is available through Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco.


Unknown said...

Hi Diane!
I feel I am reliving Paris a bit and filling in the gaps during my visit. I now feel I must return...and take it in a bit more slowly. I'm forwarding this on to a friend, who will be leaving tomorrow for London/Paris and will have time to enjoy Paris in the way you recommend. Love seeing a few things we both adore!!! xo, Elizabeth

Leslee said...

Ah, your Paris is my Paris! A wonderful vicarious trip! For years, I stayed
at Mme. de Lattre's Hotel Verneuil, sublimely intimate and a wonderful
location. Alas, I had to stop when I was travelling avec le bi- langue chien!

If you have not already read it, I might suggest reading Graham Robb's
The Parisians. Wonderful historical vignettes, that are true, but right
out of Balzac!

Ann said...

This is a post to star , save and print!

Thank you so much for the insider tips for our next trip to Paris. I also do not go for the shopping or restaurants.

You have a way with words...


shiree segerstrom said...

Oh my Lord! You are amazing dear lady! No seven word blog posts for you! Love the Hotel Recamier and Jean-Louis Deniot. Yours is a content rich endeavor. Shiree'

columnist said...

I'm with you on the notion of not wasting hours over lunch when you're visiting a city as beautiful as Paris. It sounds contrarian, as many would enjoy the people watching afforded by the cafe culture, but personally I feel it is time wasted not exploring the treasures all around, be they internal or external. My other half doesn't always share my priority in this one!

Diane Dorrans Saeks said...

I am so gratified by your comments. They are so appreciated and treasured.

Hi Elizabeth: Vicarious thrills are great thrills. Yes, lingering is key (sitting beside a fountain in a square, resting in a garden, watching children sail boats in a pond, chatting to people opening a new boutique, sitting and observing Monet's stirring works)...and I linger selectively. I want to fill my day with discoveries and encounters and experiences and new ideas and new directions. I walk fast. Those Chanel ballerinas are perfect companions. Happy trails!

Hi Leslee: yes, indeed, this is the same Mme de Lattre, and she has really stepped up with the Hotel Recamier and she is usually there every day. Most impressive woman. You will be happy to know, and it has not been formally announced yet, that a big renovation of the Hotel Verneuil is about to take place--under the direction of Jean-Louis Deniot. Mme de Lattre was so happy with this Recamier project that she has already hired him to do this hotel...just a few seconds from his headquarters, as it happens. I will read the book--and any others you recommend.

Hi Ann-Yes, shopping in Paris used to be such a discovery and a treasure hunt, but now fashion is universal and anything can be purchased from anywhere, anyway. I love to window shop! At night! During the day I might make a quick swoop through Lanvin and certainly Hermes, for pure delight, but then I am off in a new direction, perhaps to Drouot. I walk a lot. If I'm in a hurry I take the Metro. I love the challenge...it's like a puzzle to be analyzed.

Hi Shiree: 'Content rich' is a wonderful compliment. Thank you. Yes, that is my approach. Long features. I write for magazines so I like information and detail. To note: I have friends in Paris right now who have printed out this new Paris feature and are following along with me, going to the restaurants I recommend, and checking out every recommendation. I have friends who are about to leave..print-out in hand...and other friends who are departing in September (hello, Brian and Paul) and they'll take all of my Paris notes from the last year. Fine travel companions, that is the concept.

Hi CC in Bangkok--Yes, you are right that sitting at the Cafe Deux-Magots can be a dream...I always go there for breakfast when I first arrive in Paris...but then I am ready to roll forward, and head out on my next adventure, perhaps to visit a rare book shop I just heard about, or to check out some prints at one of the Left Bank rare print galleries, or ...to zoom into DRIES VAN NOTEN's wonderful boutique, spritz on some Frederic Malle Carnal Flower, and then walk over to the newly developing northern edge of the Marais, around rue Charlot and a few blocks there that have some directional new shops with style. Or I might take the Metro over to ave. Montaigne to check out Bottega, or to explore the length of rue de l'Universite or rue de Verneuil, right to the end. Then there is always Karl Lagerfeld's book store on rue de Lille. Gallignani, magazine kiosks...that is why I don't usually do long lunches. Free as a bird. I love to join friends for dinner...and then go walking long into the night. Stop for a drink, then walk and talk. I adore it.
cheers to all dear friends, DIANE

Greet Lefèvre said...

Oh Diane,
You make my mouth water! I would love to have some more time to visit all these gorgeous places! I have visited yet some of them but I really want to see so much more of Paris! And I ever stayed a weekend at the Ritz and by reading these beautiful thoughts about the Ritz here, I could pack and go !! Only,... I am so busy for the moment! Maybe in August!
Thank you so much for your wonderful Paris tour!

Parisbreakfasts said...

I'm out of breath trying to keep up!
It's been a long time since I stayed at the Recamier... All those little hotels, that used to be such fun and affordable are now chic enclaves with OTT prices. I miss the old days too...
Wonderful breath of fresh Paris air

Francine Gardner said...

Such a wonderful read....I think we must follow the same trail around Paris. I go at least every january and September (during the shows)and in between if i have time. My favorite pass time...getting lost...and so often I have...I usually walk at night as I am at the shows during the day, then dinner, finally I can put on my flats and go and explore.This September i will be staying at a small hotel where i have not been since my younger wilder days, l'Hotel near Saint Germain.I feel actually as i am betraying my usual hotel on Rue de l'Universite where chocolates, a bottle of wine with a note always welcomed me.

The Peak of Chic said...

What a lovely trip to Paris I had this morning! As always, I feel as though I were there, smelling the flowers, tasting the strawberries, and most importantly, experiencing Paris!

Leslee said...

Hello Diane, Glad to hear that the Verneuil will get a make - over and what a make- over it will be! I love your friend's work.. understated with bits of surprising pizazz! The original Hotel Verneuil was, if I am not mistaken, designed by Michelle Halard. It was quite a beauty in its day, but this will be a wonderful new lease on life for this little gem , with great bones in the most perfect location!
Sylvie de Lattre is the consummate hotelier, a prefect host. I always felt as if I were coming home to my own private town house. It never felt like a hotel experience. And I always looked forward to beginning and ending my trips to France with this quiet respite. On one of my last trips, I stopped by to say hello to her and introduced her to my dog. She said she would make an exception for us, but with the upcoming renovation, I am sure it will be sans chien!

Diane Dorrans Saeks said...

HI GREET- One of these future trips to Paris..I will take the Thalys and come and visit you! That would make a wonderful feature. I hope you get to Paris soon. It is particularly beautiful this year.

Hi Carol--well, you are the expert on Paris and Macaroons and Herme the kind of pastries...(I hope you saw PARIS PATISSERIES from Rizzoli, which was very authentic and extensive in coverage. Cheers--I love your art.

Hi Francine-- L'Hotel is gorgeous and so well located...and hidden. I like it at night, especially, and sometimes drop in there with friends. Happy days and happy wandering.

Jennifer-Hi! So glad you came along with me on my trip. I hope you'll come and visit us here on the coast soon. It is cool you today...can you imagine?

Hi Leslee--yes it was Michele Halard, and it was on a budget, but chic. Now it will be taken to a new level. Mme de Lattre...she has a fine group of hotels now, and many of my friends stay at the Therese. Happy trails.
Lovely travels...real and vicarious (often the best kind) to you all.
cheers, DIANE

P.Gaye Tapp at Little Augury said...

I’m looking for experiences—not things. that says it all doesn't it? I am going to write this out somewhere and put it in my shoe. You are an extraordinary guide. pgt

Diane Dorrans Saeks said...


How lovely to hear from you.
I love the idea of writing this aphorism on a piece of paper and putting it in your shoe!
I should do a blog post on MOTTOS ...Yes, I plan to.
I've also:
Written a motto on a piece of paper and eaten it.
Written a motto and stuck it front and center on the fridge door.
Scribbled a motto and placed it near the phone.
Hand written a motto and placed it in my waller.
It all works...
Happy days, DIANE

Wissal Khelifi said...

Dear Doriane, I am proud of you!
You have the sense of the distinction and all over it: the sense of Great Taste "à la française"...
You are The (I insist particularly on this capital letter) ambassadress in my opinion of the French culture and the taste of excellence in America.
You are not one of those people who think be enquired about French culture, above all, I like it.
My profond respect, madam!

for the love of a house said...

Well, now you have done it!! You've made me miss Paris so much that I just might have to make the trip! (We have, in fact, been contemplating a trip at the end of the month, as a rather 'large' birthday looms and I thought it would ease the pain to be in Paris!) What an absolutely wonderful journey you have taken us all on, and I so appreciate all of your generous resources.
While we have stayed at the lovely Hotel d'Aubusson, my favorite places to stay are the small, quiet individualy-owned hotels.
We adore St.-Sulpice, having accidentally stumbled upon it on our first trip. It is now a pilgrimage on each trip. I do not think I ever leave without shedding a tear at it's beauty.
Although we have only been to it once, another museum that I greatly enjoyed was the Musee de Cluny.

I thank you for your lovely comment. I was thrilled to find it.

au revoir,

Anonymous said...

Hi Diane! Thank you for these wonderful posts. You are making me "home-sick" for the beautiful light that peaks through the tiny market roads and the impromptu window shopping trips through St. Germain after school. Sigh...will anyone ever tire of Paris? I don't think it's possible.

Abby Stopper

Diane Dorrans Saeks said...

Dear Wissal-You are so kind to send such a generous comment. I appreciate your lovely insights--and hope I can live up to your high praise. You are most valued as a reader...and a friend on Facebook.

Dear Joan--yes, the Hotel d'Aubusson is a favorite of many of my friends. When you are in Paris next--I think you would like the discretion and privacy of the Recamier--which is also privately owned, by a chic woman. I like the hidden corner where it is located--and the proximity to so many things I like. These last few visits to Paris have been about private pleasures...(not the public act of shopping) and quiet byways. Please stay in touch and let me know if I may be of any assistance and encouragement with your future plans.

Hello, Abby--well, yes, I too am rather 'homesick' when I return from Paris. So I always make plans to return as soon as possible...and then I start to plan the visit. There are so many moments that stay in my mind. I hope you have read my earlier Paris features--on a Sunday afternoon in the Jardin du Luxembourg, or flea markets or an apartment I used to stay at in Paris. Do check the archive. I have more French features in the works. do stay in touch.


Beadboard UpCountry said...

I loved seeing YOUR Paris.....I always learn something new there and in your posts...This will go in my file for additional things to try next time I go. Sounds like you've been enjoying yourself!!!!!!!Maryanne :)

Diane Dorrans Saeks said...

Hi Maryanne-

'Enjoying yourself'...it's the only way. Thank you for your lovely comment.
Paris can be a series of quiet pleasures. In summer, days are long and so much can be experienced and savored. I usually set out on a mission around 10am, perhaps to revisit the Jacquemart-Andree museum, or to revisit (nearby) the Nissim de Camondo house. Or it may be the day to meet up with my friend to scoop up something (a vintage book on Fernand Leger) at the scrappy Marche de l'Aligre, which is sometimes just cheerful junk and perhaps, your lucky day, books or a lovely piece of white porcelain. Viewing and admiring the superbly displayed and dewy nearby vegetables, fresh from Normandy, at the produce market, is almost better...well, as good as, looking at contemporary art at the Pompidou. Yes, I do love Paris. cheers, DIANE

Penelope Bianchi said...

Oh swoon!!

Another fabulous report chock full of yummy descriptions and brilliance!

And a wonderful new motto!!!

I love mottos! Can't wait for your next post!

The article on our house comes in the next House Beautiful!
Written by Julia Reed!

With you; another favorite writer!!

Champagne Macarons said...

Hi Diane,
thank you for this lovely journey through my favourite city! My first trip to Paris was last October. We woke each morning and set off to explore the city, discover hidden treasures and make new friends. I originally planned to shop at many of the luxurious boutiques and malls but I felt that would take too much precious time. We visited many museums, Sunday mass at the Notre Dame, the breathtaking Jardin du Luxembourg and any street that looked interesting. We must have walked 10-15 miles per day.
While we dined at Le Jules Verne, Les Amabassadeurs for brunch, Le Train Bleu, Cristal Room and, of course, Laduree' on more than one occasion, it was shopping the Rue Cler market, patisseries, fromageries, wine shops and discovering brasseries and bistros that we loved most. We rented an apartment in the 7th that was most charming.
I fell more in love with this city than I already was. I didn't believe that was possible.
When we returned home, I enrolled in architecture courses and purchased many French sourcebooks. I am inspired to learn more. I look forward to returning as soon as possible as I feel there is so much more to discover. I will be sure to print your wonderful recommendations. Thank you for taking the time to write such a beautiful post!

Best regards, Brenda

Diane Dorrans Saeks said...


Your Paris--Jules Verne restaurant and museums and gardens--sounds like a dream.

Yes...I think at one time the first thing we would do would be to dash to Chanel and Dior and all the top boutiques and to Louboutin. But most of their best pieces are available here, there and everywhere.

So we have to go and look for the soul of Paris--and while we may dive in to Chanel to quickly buy some new ballerina shoes--so we find it in off-beat streets and walking miles, and lingering on a bridge, and setting out in the evening after dinner to find a Cassic sorbet at Berthillon. Walking...everywhere...is the best way to come face to face with true pleasure. Please stay in touch.
I love your blog and will be sure to visit. cheers, DIANE