Saturday, January 14, 2012

Worn treads of Paris

Going through my photos from Paris, I came across this image I hadn't posted of the worn treads on the stairs to my Paris pied-à-terre. Don't you feel that in America this worn marble would have been replaced decades ago while the Parisians (indeed, most Europeans) let things lay for a charming affect. New isn't always better!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Doorways of Paris

Or rather 2 doorways. Everyone has seen myriad photos of painted Parisian doorways but these 2 caught my eye. The relatively simple one above, squeezed behind the Opera comique, caught my eye. I love the older painted transom while the new door has been left natural; mostly though I was drawn to the oval window above the door.This is an arrangement to be seen all over the city, notice the beautiful storefront above showing a similar gently arched doorway with oval window above. Baroque architecture lives on even in small things.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Hôtel de Sens

Across the river from my apartment on the Ile St Louis is the oldest area of Paris, the Marais. One of the oldest and most charming of the structures there is the Hôtel de Sens, a late medieval palace from 1475 which could easily fill in for Cinderella's castle.

The garden side faces a main street and even in the blustery winter weather was a place you want to spend an afternoon. The palace now houses the Forney arts library since 1961. This organization dates from the late 19th century and was created to promote artistic craftsmanship among the city's workers and is naturally open to the public.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Paris pied-à-terre

As I mentioned, while in Paris I stayed in an apartment instead of a hotel. I can't recommend this move highly enough!
Located on the Ile St Louis in the center of the Seine, the apartment was located in an early 18th century building on the 3rd floor (or 2nd floor as it's known in Europe). The open shutters seen above were the windows in my living room.The courtyard had this great old hosebib for horses to drink from as the building was built after the island was known for its cows (I assume!).
The stairs were open and featured this great Victorian tiled floor on the ground level. While not climate controlled, you were shielded from the elements by great casement windows.The banister on the main level was ornate and featured beautiful marble floors. Notice how worn the stone treads are!The third floor was simpler as these were less grand apartments with terra cotta tile and a less ornate banister.Also, rather than marble treads, here they were wood.This was the doorway to my apartment. It may look normal, but was barely 6'-0" tall (a more typical door height would be 7'-0"). Thankfully I'm shorter than that and didn't have to worry about whacking my head!The apartment was recently renovated and featured some beautiful updated french furnishings in light grey tones with moss green accents which fit so well with the city.

Behind the sitting area was a small dining table where I would write my daily blog recaps!

The modern kitchen came from Ikea I believe and had everything I needed for small meals and snacks. This is where the ingenius trash can was housed which I canNOT find in the US for my own apartment! Does anyone have any ideas? Being the top floor, a skylight flooded the apartment with light even on the grayest of days.My bedroom was small and cozy but all that was needed for the stay. Sconces took up less room than table lamps on nightstands which were cantilevered from the wall.My bedroom faced the courtyard of one of the many hotel particuleurs for which the island is known and ring the island with river views.
The detail of the surrounding walls of the courtyard was really beautiful. On your visit to Paris, or any city for that matter, I would recommend an apartment rental from one of the many companies which offer them. You won't regret it, particularly in Paris!