Saturday, September 26, 2009

First weekend of fall

I hope you enjoy our first fall weekend. Looks like we'll have pretty nice weather here in DC: damp and cool (just how I like it!). Thats how the weather was on our first 3 days in Paris. Above; a square in St. Germain by one of the Flamants we visited. I just wish DC was as beautiful!

Friday, September 25, 2009


My favorite housewares store I have ever visited is Flamant - numerous locations throughout Paris.

I could move right in - literally! The entire store is set up as vignettes in a home.
I bought some amazing candlesticks here that I will share soon with a tablesetting :-)
The great thing about Europe - lit candles in stores! Everywhere! Shopping by candlelight -what could be more charming?
I loved this desk.
And a La Cornue stove -my dream!
Red and Grey, black and white tended to be the color schemes -with a lot of natural light woods and linen.
People just made themselves at home.
Which is better, the chair or the bookcase? I'll take both, please.
Loved these dark walls with the natural oak flooring.
Doesn't this look like someone's apartment?
I just loved this little desk back in the nook.
Heather will hate the comparison (I had one for every store we went into), but I think this store is like a much larger William Sonoma Home. I love that store too (and we need one in DC!)
They have the lighting down. It's all about the lighting.
See why I love it yet?
Visit Flamant if you ever get a chance. You won't walk away empty handed!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

The French Pavilion

As anyone who has read my blog for awhile knows, I've had an obsession with the Petit Trianon since childhood. It is a perfect example of the beginning of my favorite architectural style, Neoclassicism. The palace and grounds have a fascinating history and are just an all around beautiful place. Well, nothing I had read or seen prepared me for what I saw here: unimaginable beauty.These pictures are not of the Petit Trianon, as you no doubt know: this is the French Pavilion in the gardens.Completed briefly before the Petit Trianon, this pleasure pavilion was designed by the same architect, A.J. Gabriel, as an escape from the formality of Versailles for Louis XV and his mistress Madame de Pompadour. However, Pompadour passed away before it was completed in 1769 and it was subsequently enjoyed by Madame du Barry (the family connection) and later by its' most famous inhabitant, Marie Antoinette.Even today, visiting the gardens of the Petit Trianon are a breath of fresh air compared to the pomp and crowds of Versailles. Each of the out buildings had a specific purpose (so organized!). The French Pavilion was a place to have lunch in the formal garden (there was a seperate pavilion for dinner). The English styled gardens, a favorite of Marie Antoinette, came later and currently inhabit the rest of the grounds. This area alone remains as a jewel of formal French gardening (well, and a majority of the grounds of Versailles!).This is no simple little cottage though;rather a miniature palace. Notice the gilded shutters inside the french doors, the beautiful carving and the little cherubs on the roof keeping watch over visitors (wouldn't that be a clever place for surveillance cameras?In the center of the interior is a large round room with an enormous ornate lantern. No table or furniture is in place so you can admire the beautifully inlaid marble floor. The painted walls are the perfect shade of romantic green.Look at that beautiful old wavy glass in the lantern! The porcelain roses connect you to the gardens outside. There are 4 small chambers off the center room -unfortunately visitors can't go inside and I wasn't able to get a good look. These photos were taken through the windows.The Pavilion lies at the end of a vista from the salon of the Petit Trianon . This axis is an example of the formal style of gardens favored under Louis XV. This style really focuses on the view - both in a garden axis such as this and an enfilade inside, such as seen in Versailles.I hope you enjoyed this small tour. I decided to break the seperate areas of Versailles into smaller posts as there is so much to see and process!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Fall Beauties

A coworker received these flowers yesterday to celebrate the first day of fall. I really loved the mix of leaves, winter cabbage, cockscomb, violet roses and all sorts of unusual things. Enjoy the season, I know I will!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Hotel des Academies et des Arts

While in Paris, Heather & I were honored to be asked by Mr & Mrs. Smith (the fascinating hotel reviewers) for our opinion of a new property in their collection: the Hotel des Academies et des Arts .Just behind the Luxembourg Gardens and a few blocks from the famous Montparnasse cemetary, this hotel is just slightly off the touristy beaten track but still close to everything. Most convienent, I thought, was that it was just off the blue line RER straight to the airport!On a small street full of quaint shops and artist studios just off the Place Pablo Picasso, you get your full share of what a street should be in Montparnasse.We loved this cute shoe repair shop across the street -how convienent (and opens EARLY). You know...just in case you scuff your heels!Views of the street from our hotel room. Above you see the Place Pablo Picasso which houses some really great cafes.The small lobby has a manager 24/7, so there was always someone there to bother with our touristy questions. They always had an answer and not all of our questions were so easy! Also -they all spoke English which proved really useful.The library lays just off the lobby - we had breakfast on this comfy couch each morning! Notice the first of many paintings of artist models climbing ladders -a theme throughout the hotel.Off the library was the small dining room which was open to guests for breakfast but also to the public for afternoon tea. Doesn't this look like a chic apartment?Upon checking into our room we were surprised with Pierre Herme macaroons! We were excited to try these as we had been living on macaroons and I'm sad to say we were a bit disappointed; We preferred the Laduree!
The room was very comfortable, stylish as you can see by these examples and each room was different. They featured the artists' model though in different and creative guises!
As Heather mentioned already, the rooms are cozy (as all Parisian rooms are it turns out!) so keep that in mind when traveling with others. Definitely room for 2 people with very effiicient closet space.
The rooms on the rear of the hotel, like this one above, seemed to have a bit more room. Our room faced the street but was very quiet (very important for light sleepers like me!)
The artist model appeared everywhere - even on the rear courtyard!
Even the elevator had a window in it so you could watch the artist models climb the elevator shaft - really clever I thought! Saves you the ackward moments of eye contact with strangers on the elevator for sure: watch the art instead!

I would heartily recommend this hotel to people who have been to Paris before. I think we were lucky to stay in a hotel in the heart of the tourist areas for our first few days and get the lay of the land, then move to a more authentic area for the rest of our stay. The hotel was beautiful, elegant with amazing service and still only steps away from everything. Definitely worth a stay on your visit to Paris!