Iris and on how “getting older ain’t for sissies”!

FacebookTwitterGoogle+Share

IMG_9466_Fotor

A darling cousin of mine told me that past her fifties, when waking up in the morning, all her body ached… which was a fantastic sign: It meant she was alive!

There are no secrets to aging gracefully.

Good genes and the right mindset: just look at aging as ascending a staircase, you gain well-being, spirit, soul, wisdom, the ability to be truly intimate and a life with intention. 

My perspective on aging has changed in the past few years. I actually feel grateful to be aging, because I feel so much happier with who I am today than I did 10 years ago. Growing older is an opportunity to reinvent ourselves in a way that is more chic and powerful.

“The most beautiful curve on a woman’s body is her face. ” Bob Marley

Timeless Audrey.

audrey-hepburn-1_3290402k

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Iris Apfel became a fashion icon and cover star at the age of 83, when the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute presented and exhibition about the New Yorker’s vast collection of clothes and accessories.

The iconic Bon Marché Département Store held Iris’ exhibition where 10 of her looks were displayed.

Iris is in Paris

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Alongside several shoppable pieces selected by Apfel—a red Mongolian wool bag she designed herself, a scarf with an Eric Giriat drawing of the Eiffel Tower, and Selima Optique sunglasses, among them.The show, which displays 10 Iris looks, each tied to different activities one might partake in around the French capital.

"A diner party"

     “A diner party”

"At a cocktail party"

      “At a cocktail party”

At the Opera

     “At the Opera”

"At the Gala"

       “At the Gala”

"At an art exhibit"

      “At an art exhibit”

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Bottom line, aging is all about Attitude, Gratitude, and finding/living your Joy! – Enjoy !

From Fashion to the Zoo, just one step!

Going to the zoo is the closest thing to getting into a time capsule and being a kid again. Loved both the San Fransisco and Toronto Zoos where animals looked well taken care of.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The Zoo de Vincennes is 15 minutes away from the heart of the city. When rebuilding the zoo, their aim was to have the animals live in natural enclosures that look like their wild habitats. I think they achieved that. The place reopened its doors in 2014.

closeencountersdevilstowerdaylight_zps4f97e047

The Rock at the zoo reminded me of a movie … I’m sure you remember which. Loved my visit.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The guanacos, distant cousin from the lama.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASnack time 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Penguins playing hide-and-seek

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The puma watching attentively over the situation

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The lion Queen and cubs chilling.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

A bit of a challenge capturing anything but the rear end of the zebra

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Mr and Mrs Rhinos

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Aren’t I the prettiest ? From my lashes to my toes.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I fell in love with the singing giraffe

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

No touch ups whatsoever on Mr Baboon’s private part; as is.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Adorable.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

One loving family.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Reflection, reflection in the pound, who’s the fairest of them all?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Majestic Jaguar

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Smile, please.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

A very friendly Wooly Monkey and last but not least,

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

a delighted Ariane-joune.

Spice up your Parisian life!

At the boutique Epicerie du Monde-Izreal  (“Spice Shop of the World”), in the Marais, every savoury, spicy, salty, or indescribable flavour that has ever hit your tastebuds hangs out here.

IMG_7777_FotorJust step inside and close your eyes. It’s a culinary pilgrimage. In a few minutes, you’ll be traveling through Tehran, Marrakech, Bombay, Istanbul, Dakar, Cairo, Hebron, Beirut, Rome, Athens or many other fantastic places !

IMG_7779_FotorMy senses are overwhelmed by the smells of spices, teas, dried fruits, delicious olives and raw nuts and dates. I strongly recommend this souk to all.

IMG_7776_FotorIt’s a great place to grab gifts for friends instead of the tacky souvenir stands next to the Eiffel Tower.

DSC06060

Strolling alongside Monsieur Hermès

 

The site of the venue is on the Left Bank of the Seine, almost across from The Orsay Museum.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I was welcomed by two lovely Parisian smiles.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 The ephemeral exhibit is about the art of strolling. Indeed, strolling is the Parisian’s second nature. Everything in Paris invites to stroll. Streets, buildings, shops, store fronts and cafés are conceived to encourage this oh-so-French-custom, not to waste time but on the contrary, to rediscover time.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Led by his instincts and while all his senses are alert, the stroller finds the out of the ordinary in the banal, the unseen in the déjà-vu, the remote in the accessible and obvious in the invisible.

P9230117_Fotor (1)_Fotor_Collage

I found many references to Saint-Exupery’s Little Prince in the exhibit: the street lamps for one.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

“On ne voit bien qu’avec le coeur, l’essentiel est invisible aux yeux” The fox in the Little Prince.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

A hand crafted stick wooden horse for children or

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

wood, leather, silver and ivory canes to complete the strollers’ outfit.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

This little bird cage for a fish made me think of Dr. Seuss

P9230135_Fotor_Collage

.And who could leave home without their mink helmet or leather covered tools?

A precisely hand made velvet wringled saddle. Just what we all need.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

An elephant in a china shop 

P9230119_Fotor

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 Hermès is world renowned for its fine craftsmanship in leather goods.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

For women,

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

as well as for men.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The aim for this exhibition is have visitors walk thru while hanging on two thoughts which are closely tied to the rhythm of the stroll : dreaming and indiscretion.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I need to point out that because of the temporary nature of the exhibit, there isn’t a gift shop on the premises (darn!).

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

My all time favorite modern-day Parisian stroller.

A Dream of Humanity on the banks of the Seine

A gigantic photo exhibition now covers the walls along the banks of the Seine in Paris.

IMG_7570The 370-metre long panorama includes photos representing humanity and diversity as well as seven key words translated into languages from all around the world: respect, peace, solidarity, friendship, dignity, hospitality and hope.

IMG_7562

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The exhibit includes photos taken by my All-Time-Favorite-Photojournatist Reza over the past 30 years.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

In the current context of the worsening situation of asylum in Europe and worsening conditions for asylum seekers and refugees, the exhibition is reminding us that 60 million people are uprooted around the world and that many of their basic needs are not covered.      

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe panorama features photographs taken by Syrian refugee children living in Kawergosk refugee camp in Iraq and trained by Reza himself.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

IMG_7565The exhibition is located opposite the Orsay Museum, between the Louvre Palace and the Pont Royal, until October 15.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERALe Pont Royal

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERALes péniches de Paris 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAny hope for a future world of peace and social progress requires an emphasis upon solidarity.

Honey, have you seen my glasses?

Screen Shot 2015-09-03 at 4.31.08 PMWho hasn’t heard a sarcastic answer to this universal question?

According to an article in the Wall Street Journal, the average person misplaces his glasses up to nine items a day! 

My sunglasses have ants in pants and can’t keep still. Let’s follow their journey…

Le Rostand, Place Edmond Rostand, Paris 75006

Le Rostand, Place Edmond Rostand, Paris 75006

Le Petit Poucet, Ile de la Jatte , Neuilly

 Le Petit Poucet, Îles de la Jatte , Neuilly

MoRoCo,99 Yorkville Ave, Toronto, ON M5R 3K3, Canada

MoRoCo,99 Yorkville Ave, Toronto, ON M5R 3K3, Canada

Barcelona, Spain

Barcelona, Spain

Aux Ministères, Avenue de Ségur Paris 75007

Aux Ministères, Avenue de Ségur, Paris 75007

La Maison Plisson 93 boulevard Beaumarchais Paris 75003

La Maison Plisson 93 boulevard Beaumarchais, Paris 75003

La Palette,43 Rue De Seine, 75006 Paris, France

La Palette,43 Rue De Seine, 75006 Par

 

Caffe Da Claudia, Piazza della Rotonda 14A 00186 Rome Italy

Caffe Da Claudia, Piazza della Rotonda 14A ,00186 RomeItaly

IMG_4991

Le Relais de l’Entrecôte, 15 Rue Marbeuf 75008 Paris

Cafe du Musée Rodin, 77 Rue de Varenne, 75007 Paris

Cafe du Musée Rodin, 77 Rue de Varenne, 75007 Paris

Calvi, Corse

Calvi, Corse

Ibiza, Îles Baléares

Antibes, Côte d’Azur, France

Marbella, Spain

Marbella, Spain

La Tour de Nesle, 75007 paris

La Tour de Nesle, 75007 paris

Erbalunga, Corse

Erbalunga, Corse

 

 

From Boulevard Raspail to Congo

 

Initiated in 1984 by Alain Dominique Perrin, President of Cartier International at the time, on a suggestion by the artist César, and directed by Hervé Chandès, the Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain is a unique example of corporate philanthropy in France.

IMG_7142

Since moving to Paris in 1994, the Fondation Cartier has been housed in an airy building filled with light that was designed by the architect Jean Nouvel. In this unique setting, exhibitions, conferences and artistic productions come to life.

IMG_7144At once a creative space for artists and a place where art and the general public can meet, the Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain is dedicated to promoting and raising public awareness of contemporary art.

IMG_7112

Current exhibition: BEAUTÉ CONGO -1926-2015 

CONGO KITOKO
July 11 – November 15, 2015. Curator André Magnin
IMG_7107Taking as its point of departure the birth of modern painting in the Congo in the 1920s, this ambitious exhibition will trace almost a century of the country’s artistic production. While specifically focusing on painting, it will also include music, sculpture, photography, and comics, providing the public with the unique opportunity to discover the diverse and vibrant art scene of the region. Here’s a little sample of that vibrant exhibitIMG_7108

IMG_7109

IMG_7117Samba wa Mbimba N’zingo Nuni Masi Ndo Mbasi or Chéri Samba to make it short and sweet, is a painter from the Democratic Republic of Congo.IMG_7115

IMG_7120Work in progressIMG_7122Amazing multi media photographiesIMG_7132Paintings going back to 1920

IMG_7127And last, a gigantic model as vibrant and colourful as the whole exhibit. I’ll guaranty you’ll sway out of this bright and lively exhibit with a huge smile on your face.

“François and I”

I had mentioned that I studied architecture at the Beaux Arts , during President Francois Mitterrand’s first term from 1981 to 1988. He was then re-elected for a second presidential term and held office until 1995. Ok, now is the time when you wonder and ask what does it have to do with me ?IMG_7096Regardless of his political aspirations, Mitterrand had an architectural vision. The Grands Projets was an architectural program to provide modern monuments in Paris, the city of monuments, symbolizing France’s role in art, politics, and economy at the end of the 20th century. Mitterrand viewed the civic building projects, estimated at the time to cost the Government of France 15.7 billion francs, both as a revitalisation of the city, as well as contemporary architecture compatible with Socialist Party politics. The scale of the project and its ambitious nature was compared to the major building schemes of Louis XIV.

This grandiose plan, commencing in 1982, when I was a first year student in architecture,  was termed as a “testament to political symbolism and process” launched in the post-World War II France, as an exercise in urban planning. The Grands Projets, described as “eight monumental building projects that in two decades transformed the city skyline”, included Louvre Pyramid, Musee d’Orsay, Parc de la Villette, Arab World Institute, Opéra Bastille, Grande Arche de La Défense, Ministry of Finance and the Bibliothèque nationale de France, the last and most expensive of the lot. 

I left France in 1988 so I never got the opportunity to visit the site of the Bibliothèque nationale de France and because I was brought up in a house filled with books and going to the public library had always been a treat ( I know, I am very easily pleased) I always had the desire to visit the Bibliothèque Nationale or, as some call it, the Bibliothèque Mitterrand.

And by the way, his hand written note is the answer to my support for his involvement in architecture and urban design.967258-1203028With a free and open space, built to the scale of the capital, the BNF unfurls its breadth and its volume by way of its four beacon-like markers akin to tension rods or braces. The flat area between them, offering a verticality that defines a virtual volume, in turn, crystallizes all the magic, the presence and the poetry of the complex, designed by French architect, Dominique Perrault.IMG_7076Towers, case like structures of glass with a double skin and sun filters which multiply the reflections and highlights and magnify the shadows.IMG_7079 IMG_7073The project is a piece of urban art, a minimalist installation, the “less is more” of emotion where objects and the materials of which they are made count for nothing without the lights which transcend them.IMG_7075 IMG_7061 IMG_7068 IMG_7081 IMG_7082Yes, indeed a grand and beautiful project.

The Mothership of Vintage in Paris

Paris has been ruling the high seas of fashion for more than three centuries.  Having said that, there are three things which are always certain: Death, Taxes and people complaining about the price, coverage and sometimes the very existence of Fashion.IMG_4810Paris, a city known for its sizable population of bobo (bourgeois-bohème) fashionistas, abounds with vintage boutiques however the festival of vintage-finds takes place once a year at the Carreau du Temple.IMG_5793This year’s theme: The 70′IMG_4798Yves…IMG_4799Leonard …IMG_4802Azzedine…IMG_4803Madame Rochas…IMG_4809Dolce and GabbanaIMG_4805Lanvin…IMG_4804… and Dior just to name a few. All those gorgeous designers’ “bonbons” waiting for another chance to shine in an ephemeral spotlight. IMG_4807Tons of accessories on display.IMG_4820while the DJ tries to save their lives IMG_4815

IMG_4812 LP’s andIMG_4830iconic faces.IMG_4817Those cute stools bring back memories IMG_7049Me, circa 1963 in Köln, Germany. Does it mean I , too, am vintage? 
IMG_4806There were a few good men browsing
IMG_4824

IMG_4827John Lennon and Serge Gainsbourg suits made by French designer Renoma.

IMG_4791After this lovely stroll, time to stop and smell the lilies …IMG_5791… while sipping one of those Jamaican goodies in a dainty neighbourhood café.

Le parfum at the Palais Royal

Art is at every street corner in Paris and often, these street corners happen to be prestigious sites. It is the case of this outdoor exhibit:” Le Parfum dans tous les sens”.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Created by the Cardinal Richelieu in 1633, the Palais Royal and its gardens, just a short walk from the Louvre, housed royal families up until the Palace of Versailles was built. Prestigious and peaceful, the gardens are surrounded by a superb futuristic architecture with contemporary sculptures by Buren and Bury.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Colonnes de Buren

The Colonnes de Buren were designed by artist Daniel Duren and are situated in the courtyard, near the garden and Ministry of Culture. The 260 black and white striped octagonal columns are definitely worth a visit and are one of the symbols of Paris.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Sculpture de Pol Bury

Jardin du Palais Royal

Jardin du Palais Royal

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The gardens of the Palais-Royal are like French people’s minds: at first glance they’re symmetrical, rational, organized… Cartesian. The palace itself is very homogeneous, like in Places des Vosges. Everything looks in order. But after a while, you’ll notice a hint of anarchy, disorder, a laid back atmosphere, and sometimes even a big confusion.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

10409410_10155709965325427_2810125366259269231_n

I prefer the central pond, mostly for its great chairs (check the reclining chairs article).

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

But the flowered areas with benches are also nice and quieter. Sometimes, exhibitions of contemporary sculptures are displayed in the gardens, adding a touch of anachronism in this once royal residency. 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Le Parfum dans tous les sens

Fifty large photographic panels by a group of international photographers have been mounted, illustrating the full spectrum of perfume making. Although many of the photos were striking, I wasn’t sure how they were connected to perfume. Along the sides of some of the photo frames were blocks of solid perfume dispensing different aromas like jasmine and lavender.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

By nature, perfume cannot be represented.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Images can only evoke it and they do so by crossing over into landscapes,

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

objects,

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 bodies,

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

or faces by telling stories our imagination associates with perfume.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The exhibit ends June 14 so pack your lunch bag and enjoy the scent of the day.

Rome Sweet Rome

I fell in love with Rome the moment I set foot on its grounds some 40 years ago. The sunlight, the soft salty breeze, the ochre colour of the soil, the cacophony of sounds and the smell of flour floating in the air were enough elements to convince all my senses subito pronto! Rome talks directly to your senses before engaging your brain. So without further  delay, let me take you along on a little spring stroll in the street of Rome Sweet Rome.

IMG_6282

Romulus and Remus, founders of the city of Rome.

IMG_6382 IMG_6369 IMG_6295Stunning view of the Spanish Steps from via Condotti. Too bad a Longchamps add covers the facade of the Trinita dei Monti Church.

IMG_6301Surrounded by gorgeous pink and while azaleas.

IMG_6385Piazza del Popolo where the observer’s attention is drawn on to the splendid façades and apparent striking symmetry of Santa Maria dei Miracoli and Santa Maria di Montesanto.
The two churches, which appear so similar from a distance, are in fact charmingly individual.

IMG_6394This is the gate to a special landmark for me. Le Lycée Chateaubriand where I attended classes from 1975 to 1977.

16118_10155536645030427_8888506506428725380_n

After all this walk, a well deserved lunch was awaiting for us at Alfredo’s.

11162520_10155536645185427_6384606261623376460_nAlfredo is the historical roman restaurant where you can eat the famous Alfredo’s fettuccine known all over the world since the twenties, when Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks, after eating the majestic dish, gave as present to Alfredo a golden fork and spoon.

IMG_629211151013_10155536645650427_3122318203727803320_n

Not proud to say that the amount of butter and cheese used in this dish could very well resolve world famine.11174927_10155542787285427_5908851443757933935_n

“The Pope commissions Bernini to build a base for the obelisk. When Bernini completes his work and is ready to deliver it, Vatican gets into an argument with Bernini and they have a dispute over payment. Bernini is pissed off and refuses to deliver the statue. He then puts the statue in Piazza Della Minerva with the elephant’s bum facing the Vatican”. 

IMG_6288

IMG_6433 IMG_6431The Pantheon

IMG_6438And all the folklore that attacks tourists.

IMG_6359 IMG_6358Don’t ask me where or who! It often happens, when strolling in Rome, to come face to face with little such gems in discreet courtyards.

IMG_6307One of my favorite spots in Rome, Piazza Navona.

IMG_6518

 The Fontana del Moro at the southern end of the piazza had the hand of Bernini involved in its development adding a statue of a Moor fighting a dolphin.

IMG_6519Sant’ Agnese in Agone11170324_10155539416855427_6255894237698265197_nThe moon peeking thru over the Piazza Navona, a delight.

IMG_6505Day two, the Saint Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican.

IMG_6507

11150651_10155542739510427_1926572508558515513_n

 From every corner of the globe, pilgrims of all nationalities, ages, and colors come together for the largest religious gathering in the world. This is the definition of Hajj, a five-day-period. However, for Christians, it’s more of a 24/7  all year round period.

IMG_6512Moving on …

IMG_6479Ivo was, and in my humble opinion still is, one of the best pizzeria’s in Trastevere.

IMG_6481

One thing I cannot stand is having musicians serenade me while I eat. This street artist was one of a kind; while playing languorously some popular tunes on his violin, his cellulare rings. He casually reaches for it then spends the next 15 minutes arguing passionately and loudly, the violin accompanying hand gestures validating, I guess, his argument.

11205996_10155542986460427_6353540506895735807_nSanta Maria in Trastevere

11210487_10155542786895427_3080561378852684674_n

Trastevere is on the west bank of the Tiber. The neighbourhood maintains its character thanks to its narrow cobbled streets lined by medieval houses. At night, natives and tourists alike flock to its many pubs and restaurants.

11193236_10155542986375427_5679968813105180898_nThe magnificent Castel Sant’Angelo. Moving on …

11202560_10155542986590427_6465694304868166362_n

IMG_6472

Me and …

IMG_6464Jules.

IMG_6461 IMG_6362 11174906_10155541234960427_6830015692739579243_nVictor Emmanuel II Monument

11174826_10155542783435427_3192076447537877236_nA little pause; iced- caffè

IMG_6406… and fragole gelato.

Music is a huge component in the city and it would be difficult to chose one tune over the other however my favourite Italian singer is no doubt Lucio Dalla and this specific song.

IMG_6411 IMG_6425

A nice way to end a wonderful stroll is sitting at the Cul de Sac, a dainty wine bar in the city centre,  and sipping a nice glass of wine with amazing friends. Thank you Andrea, Gemma, Roberto, Marianne, Michel, Marina N., Agnieszka, Marina C., Monnie, Elisabetta, Bita, Fares and Jef. Salute e a presto! 

L’Enfant terrible of fashion and the striped jersey

Between myth and reality, the Parisian Chic continues to seduce. Parisian style radiates an air of self-assuredness, that indefinable je ne sais quoi that initially seems so elusive, and yet at the same time almost appears simple, uncontrived, perhaps effortless.

8f8c00c1aa7933aeca9780c3a3eb46e5

The DNA of the Parisian chic can be summarized in these few items:

7f28b1de0a67d15266f311641590e538

A vintage Chanel chain, a striped jersey, a perfect Rouge, Repetto’s flats, a trench and a little black handbag.

8187917d6ae8ac47a0b24e21a0a3426c

Amélie-Audrey is perhaps a good example and so is

092512_ib_jean_seberg_02Jean Seberg who adopted France as her second country.

Ines-de-la-fressange-et-Nine---mariniere---Elle---octobre Ines de la Fressange and her daughter Nine are also two iconic figures of Parisian style . 

They all seem to have something in common, don’t they?

835e11d863921e06fce7bda5eb862bbb

The béret ? Nah … too cliché. The striped jersey?

Yesssss. The “marinière” or striped jersey can be found in most Parisian closets alongside the LBD. Not to be confused with the BLT ( bacon, lettuce and tomato) but the Little Black Dress.

IMG_6066One cannot dissociate the marinière from Jean Paul Gaultier.

In his latest exhibit, in the Grand Palais, Jean Paul Gaultier blew us away with the extent of his creativity.

IMG_6057

One day, some years back, Jean Paul Gaultier was at home, feeding his cat. As he emptied a can of cat food, he was struck by how attractive the can was, and surmised that if he cut off both the bottom and the top of it what remained would bear an intriguing resemblance to a traditional African cuff bracelet.

jean-paul-gaultier-classique-byglam

Not many people would have this sort of thought while feeding their pets. Even fewer would actually cut up the can, dip it in a silver bath, and use it as an accessory in a fashion collection.

The exhibition is alive, it’s a story, it’s a movie. It is like a dream! At the exhibit I was greeted by Jean Paul Gaultier’s mannequin who explained  how the show was declined around his favorite themes:

– The stripped jersey/marinière.

IMG_6068 IMG_6069 IMG_6074

dae751f450dfb54abbf6b5a5acbeb734– Mermaids …

IMG_6075 IMG_6076 IMG_6080– Madonnas

b9942475aa0174d5ac6f2f9938a1d78a IMG_6082 IMG_6087 IMG_6083 IMG_6085Note the exquisite details.

IMG_6113 IMG_6114 His inspiration from the Punk universe is stunning.

IMG_6126 IMG_6127 IMG_6128 IMG_6129

IMG_6115 IMG_6102 The corset being one of his “popular” items, thanks to Madonna. How he revisited the theme with such high expertise and love of details is mind-blowing.

IMG_6147 IMG_6146 IMG_6148 IMG_6136 His brides are provocative yet done with such passionate love of details that one can only admire them.

IMG_6132 IMG_6133 IMG_6141 IMG_6135 IMG_6134 IMG_6131 IMG_6130 The next section consisted of variations on bondage costumes.

My personal favorite is definitely the ethnic chic. The Best for the last.IMG_6145 IMG_6144 IMG_6142

IMG_6143Close up on the fantastic craftsmanship on the gowns.

IMG_6139Of course, every household has its own mink covered shopping cart.

Let’s play my favorite game: “Guess Who” is watching the catwalk?

IMG_6108IMG_6106IMG_6105

IMG_6137Jean Paul Gaultier is positively l’enfant terrible of Fashion. He allows himself to have fun as he masters his skill.

IMG_6150Not being afraid of ridiculing himself, he is the first one to use derision. “I take what I like from here, and what I like from there, and put them together. I suppose that’s my fantasy world.” J.P Gaultier

IMG_6153 IMG_6154 IMG_6155 IMG_6152Before leaving, an imperative visit to the souvenir shop however the best souvenir I brought home was …

66b048ccc0792f204c6d557267f7c27e

Until next time , be well.

A Sunny Sunday at the Campus

What a lovely day. Lady Spring is definitely showing her graceful face and aura.IMG_4859

I decided to head towards the Cité Internationale Universitaire de Paris . Ever since the Middle Ages the University of Paris has always welcomed students from all over the world in what they used to call the “College of Nations”. When the international university campus in Paris was created in 1925 it continued this tradition of the Paris universities: a tradition of welcome.

IMG_4854The Campus has a lush park open, obviously, to students but also to the general public. 

IMG_4851Perfect day for a picnic

11156300_10155463396630427_1282328738753222420_nThis is me, dressed up as a scholar, trying to melt in the students’ crowd. Oh how much I miss those days.

IMG_4850There is another undercover agent chilling.

IMG_4847Yes, this is the real deal. Totally disconnected with his surroundings and focused.

IMG_4849You see all kind of sights. Student-knights practicing jousting…

IMG_4846and student-lovers practicing the art of napping.

IMG_4852Inside the main building floats a quiet atmosphere.

IMG_4853Outside, the British character of the garden and architecture prevails.

IMG_4856The Cité internationale universitaire is a private foundation relying on the patronage and support of individuals.

 Several structures have been designed by architects of note, such as Le Corbusier, Willem Marinus Dudok, Heydar Ghiai and Claude Parent. The residences are organized mostly by nationality, although residents in each maison are not necessarily from the country implied by the naming of the building. 

IMG_4860Will certainly visit again andI highly recommend you visit the site on a sunny Sunday!

Nice, la Belle.

Nice, Promenade des Anglais. Vincent Lindenau

What comes to mind when visiting Nice? Let’s see…. La Promenade des Anglais, 

b794b29c1e9f9275763246e633af35c6La Salade Niçoise,

Negresco.jpg

Le Negresco

But also that “coolitude” ( cool+ attitude) depicted by the nonchalance life style of rich and beautiful people.

George Hoyningen-Huene for Vogue magazine Juillet 1930

George Hoyningen-Huene for Vogue magazine Juillet 1930

e1566e2eb2296a29dfc935de4fbbe3d7The French Riviera of the 1920s and early ’30s was a haven for artists and writers from the far reaches of the world. Legendary  personalities such as Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, Picasso, Picabia, Cocteau, Josephine Baker and Piaf – just to name a few- chose Nice, between a desire for creation, the quest for happiness, and the looming darkness of World War II.

travellers.jpgTo this day, Nice is a major destination, partly because of its international airport. On this particular occasion, I only stayed for a couple of days. I walked around the three main attractions of the city,

IMG_4733La Promenade des Anglais at sunset,

IMG_4754Le Cours Saleya and its wonderful flower market

fleurs.jpgFlower and Fruit market

Fraises.jpg

IMG_4760

IMG_4761My only regret, not having tasted the Jasmin flavour gelato.

IMG_4732_2and then to the Place Masséna, a “jewel” in the urban design of the city.

PlaceMassena.jpgThe seven statues of the Place Masséna. Some call them Buddahs, other Scribes; some love them and others find them hideous.


statue3.jpg

sculptures.jpg

sculpture2.jpgNobody is indifferent to them. The seven resin statues on Massena square were created by Jaume Plensa, Spanish artist specialized in monumental art. These seven characters represent seven continents and the communication between the different communities of today’s society. The name of this creation is “Conversation à Nice”. The statues are illuminated every night, colours are changing smoothly to emulated a dialog between them. There are quiet impressive.

placemassena2.jpgYou will see a large fountain called the “Fontaine du Soleil”, the Sun Fountain. There are 5 bronze sculptures in the basin and in the centre stands an impressive marble Apollo. He is 7 meters (23 feet) tall and weighs in at 7 tons. He is definitely the king of the square and you would think this giant would be admired and respected… but not by the Niçois.

fontainemassena.jpgThe spectators claimed that he looked like an advertisement for the most popular automobile at the time, the Renault 4CV, known as the “4 horsepower”. So the magnificent Greek deity was saddled with the nickname – “the 4 horsepower statue”.But there was a bigger problem – and it was located further down the nude sculpture. Some conservative inhabitants of the city thought that his “manhood” was too large, while some older ladies thought it was too small …

chienchien.jpgThis baby was not impressed by the size of it.

IMG_4745There is something about the light in Nice that makes blues seem bluer. Monsieur Matisse would agree.

846e184c79a15a04c79400ff7edbb35a

La Baie de Nice , Henri Matisse

 

cac74a2ed7853beecd49bcc9f703595e

Henri Matisse

Henri Matisse first came to Nice in 1916, when his doctor sent him to recover from bronchitis.  In his first decade in Nice, Matisse lived at the Hôtel Beau Rivage on the Promenade des Anglais, which also hosted the likes of F. Scott Fitzgerald, Nietzche and Chekov. In 1918, Matisse took a room at the Hôtel de la Mediterranée, which he kept for four years.

51b8464731082_n-a

Ma chambre au Beau-Rivage by Henri Matisse

I mentioned twice F. Scott Fitzgerald, because somehow I associate him to the ambiance of the Riviera and Henri Matisse to the colours of it. Please visit the Fitzgerald link above and you’ll be mesmerized.

On my way back to Paris, I stopped over night in Valbonne to visit dear friends and we had a fantastic time.

IMG_4770

Until next time, bye and be good 🙂

valbonne.jpg

Magnum

When speaking of Magnum, for some, this is what comes to mind:

75702e996c2579a2de61d8574bed2907

For a younger crowd, a Magnum is …

34358e12b83838b41cfa614fd09a4109

Un pêcher mignon.

2ed08cfb2b6229fabf4434c2d8e1c69a

Or, Tom Selleck, Magnum, P. I – cute detective series my mom loved to watch in the eighties.

 I somehow relate to all three images above. But today, let’s focus on photography Photography, as a passion and hobby, was revealed to me recently. I always had a very acute sensibility for images without ever considering looking thru the lens. One of the major reasons being the lack of time. As a single mother, I had my hands full with my beautiful and gorgeous children (that’s how an unbiased mother sounds like). I am a passionate mother, which often drives my children crazy but this is another chapter …). Today, things are different. I think I achieved a percept I always stood by: “Give your children roots of responsibility and wings of independence”. In other words, I am left with TIME. That precious element which often lacks in our lives.

07155a18133358ab004775653cf7090bSo for the late bloomer that I am, Magnum speaks for the Magnum Photography, the international photographic cooperative owned by its photographer-members.

IMG_4699

Today, our destination will be L’Hotel de Ville for the Magnum exhibit.

depart.jpgTook the bus 39 from home.

allaboard.jpgGot off at Hotel de Ville

facade2.jpgThere is an outdoor skating rink right in front of the city hall.

patinage3.jpgI love skating. Skating has always been part of my life. Be it as a child in Germany or at The Ice Palace in Tehran and of course later, in Toronto.

patinage.jpg

This gentlman was really into his pirouettes and crossed chasse.

He made me think of that very amusing sequence where Plushenko, Russian Olympic medalist danced on Tom Jones’ Sex Bomb.  Moving on to the surroundings, there is a merry-go-around and…

IMG_4692

lovers …lovers everywhere.carrousel.jpg

charliehebdo.jpgCharlie is still very present. 

welcomenote.jpgWelcoming words from Anne Hidalgo, Mayor of Paris.

gallerie.jpgI started taking pics. The venue is majestic and very well chosen.

expo.jpgSkillfully displayed pictures and diaporamas.

IMG_4686

Oeuvre.jpgThe theme is, of course, Paris; its beauty, its flaws, its strengths and its aches thru the eyes of the great photographers such as Robert Capa, David “Chim” Seymour, Henri Cartier-Bresson, George Rodger and many more belonging to the Magnum group.

twinview.jpgI was having a blast enjoying the pics and taking my own shots.

posterJPGWhen a charming watchman walked up to me and said: “Mademoiselle” ( sight!!!) please do not take any pictures, bien sûre, there are no signs so I tell the patrons myself”. I was embarrassed, however his “Mademoiselle” touched a fine spot!

femme au chienBeing inspired by the shots , I pulled out my camera as soon as I walked out.

enattendantlebus.jpgFaces…

10yearslater.jpgand lovers. On the right bench there is the “before” and on the left bench the “after”…

BHV.jpg

Across from the Hôtel de Ville there is the BHV/Marais department store. A sibling of the Galeries Lafayette with only one other store in Beirut, Lebenon. 

rebus.jpg

Time to head back home. Bus 39, a joyride across the narrow streets of St Germain.

The golden triangle

If there is one spot in Paris that translates Exquisite Elegance, it would be the area shaped as a triangle; the Pont Alexandre III at a corner, the Petit Palais on one side and the Grand Palais on the other side of this upside down isosceles triangle.

plan2.jpg

Le Petit Palais is a masterpiece of beautiful classic and balanced proportions.

IMG_4646“Les Bas Fonds du Baroque, La Rome du Vice et de la Misère” exhibit is attracting many visitors.

facadedetail.jpgLe Grand Palais , a chef d’oeuvre. The structure was built in the style of Beaux-Arts architecture as taught by the École des Beaux-Arts of Paris.

IMG_4652Flamboyant and majestic.

entree.jpgL’immortalité devançant le Temps by George Récipon.

victoire.jpgL’Art decoratif (1900) by Emile Lafont

statuedentree.jpgLe réverbère, an item omnipresent in Parisian streets …

lampions.jpg… and littérature : “Le Petit Prince” and his allumeur de réverbère.

14-01

IMG_4656Frescos I had never noticed before.

fresque.jpg

detailsfresque.jpgL’Art romain (1899)  by Louis Clausade.

IMG_4650Across from the Grand Palais, you’ll see this little private mansion which is one of the most renown gastronomic institutions in Paris today, Lasserre.

IMG_4662Moving on to my all time favorite bridge, Le Pont Alexandre III.

thebridge.jpgAdele, too,  found the bridge so inspiring that her music video for the song “Someone Like You” was shot on the bridge in 2011.

 

Detailpontalexandre3.jpgFour gilt-bronze statues of Fames watch over the bridge. On the right bank, Fame of the Sciences and Fame of the Arts. Then Fame of Commerce and Fame of Industry on the left bank.

IMG_4666Lastly, upon my son’s visit, I found out that one of the “it” clubs in Paris was located under the bridge,  Showcase  . This vast venue, in converted boat hangars below Pont Alexandre III, is where music-crazed insomniacs come on weekends to discover up-and-coming bands and dance until daybreak.

90252217_o

 However, my preference goes towards the MiniPalais Bar Lounge, an exquisite place to sip a drink with an outstanding view on this golden triangle.

IMG_4624

It is commonly said here:” Les goûts et les couleurs, ne se discutent pas.”

Madrid is Loco!

If Paris and Madrid were to be compared to two women, I’d choose respectively Catherine Deneuve and Rossy de Palma.

While Catherine Deneuve represents elegance, sophistication and class,

ef88f4ddd03801752263ad645f4f7687Rossy de Palma is boisterous, oozes conviviality and is genuinely emotional and vibrant, just like Madrid.

1e2a8a7a6bbdb3345002ef92c44caa18Having said that, let me take you on a stroll thru Madrid then you’ll be the judge of it.

Bear and the Madroño Tree, heraldic symbol of Madrid

Bear and the Madroño Tree, heraldic symbol of Madrid

granvia.jpg

Gran Via panorama

The Metropolis Building

The Metropolis Building

The landmark was built between 1907 and 1911 after a design by the architects Jules and Raymond Février. The original statue was replaced in 1975 by a statue of a winged Goddess Victory.

building.jpgBank of Bilbao (nowadays BBVA) building in Calle Alcalá was built in 1919 by architect Ricardo Bastida y Bilbao ( 1879-1953).

char.jpg

Telefónica Headquarters

Detail of the Bank façade

Postoffice.jpgThe Central Post office with an amazing lounge at the rooftop ( just trust me)

archade.jpgAround Plaza Mayor

statuemadrid.jpgClueless about my whereabouts. By keeping my nose towards the magnificent buildings, I got exquisitely lost …

Atmosphere.jpgGetting lost makes me thirsty and only in Spain a gin tonic is served in such majestic manner.

Gintonic.jpgMoving on to more street sights; a little impromptu concert

musicians.jpgUnder the watchful eyes of Francisco de Quevedo

fransico de quevedo while walking on Cervantes’ first lines of Don Quijote

IMG_4543

flamenco

Ahhhh Flamenco.

After all the stomping, this is how I see the street artist in Plaza Mayor

businessisslow.jpg

 Everything sells

joojeh.jpgGuess Who?

GuessWho.jpgBravo!

Balcony.jpgSo many beautiful things to see

middlefinger.jpgHowever , keep an eye above your head

lezard.jpgYes, above your head, there is a whole universe hanging

Jamon.jpg

And while the Chef is flirting…

2cooks.jpgthe bait is already out there … Jamón cones

jambonor jamón bites…

snack.jpgVous avez dit Jamón?

springcow.jpgThen time to head towards the San Miguel Market. This is me, before entering the market, dignified and composed.

meandsanmiguel.jpgThe famous jamón cones

jambonbon.jpgCheese debauchery

cheesebar.jpgOlive skewers

50shadesofolives.jpgAnd to wash it out, freshly squeezed mojitos

Mojitos.jpgA glimpse at the ceiling before leaving for lunch.

sanmiguelcharpente.jpgThe most exquisite Sushi restaurant on the corner of Plaza Santa Ana, a few steps away. Being a citizen of the world, experiencing food is a whole chunk of my identity.

bierresushi.jpgThat sushi restaurant was simply superb. It complemented the tapas, was cosy, the armchairs cushy and the music was superb.

sushicerf.jpg

sushimirror.jpg“Le monde de Madrid est plus futé qu’ici.” Corneille

madridloco.jpg

Fabulousness – and frustration.

In light of the world’s events that jolt us on a daily basis, this post might seem redundant. Just in the past few weeks, we had to deal with an insane number of  tragedies: Charlie, the Baga massacre by Boko Haram, ongoing debates on islamophobia and antisemitism then Shaima al-Sabbagh, a 32-year-old mother-of-one, who is shot in the head by police in Cairo on Saturday and Raif Badawi, the Saudi Arabian blogger who’s punishment of 1,000 lashes is an outrage. Senator John McCain who eulogized King Abdullah as “a vocal advocate for peace, speaking out against violence in the Middle East”. John Kerry describing the late monarch as “a brave partner in fighting violent extremism” and “a proponent of peace”. Not to be outdone, Vice President Joe Biden released a statement mourning Abdullah and announced that he would be personally leading a presidential delegation to offer condolences on his passing…. just to name a few of the appalling episodes that fill our everyday life , so yes, my posting might come as superfluous to some, none the less,  I need to immerse myself in positivity in order to move on, to believe in good rather than evil and to trust.

our-job

To quote Camila Batmanghelidjh, founder and director of the renowned UK charity Kids Company, “Continuous exposure of violence actually changes the structure of a child’s brain”. Perhaps, not only a child’s but also adults’.

A first clue as where we’ll go strolling in this post.

10151387927190427

Musée Picasso!

Façade de l’Hotel Salé

facade.jpg

On the rooftop, “vigipirate”  in action

picasssofacade.jpg

Majestic staircase

escalier.jpg

Staircase2.jpg

hallway2.jpg

staircase.jpg

Ceiling details

hall.jpg

ceilingdetails.jpg

IMG_4482

View from the first floor

view2.jpg

 There is a loss of intimacy amid all the grandeur.

sculpture2.jpg

Master getting pampered before hosting us.

Aubain.jpg

Curvy staircase

curveycurves.jpg

Details of the charpente in the attic.

charpente.jpg

The interior is choppy, with smallish spaces, dead ends, and illogical connections. The Hotel Salé isn’t the ideal place for showing art.

Master is watching you.

Lookingatyou.jpg

His actual work station with his brushes- I don’t know why but it touched me deeply, more than some of his art.

Picassoschair.jpg

Klimt’s Kiss, revisited by Picasso

thekiss.jpg

Clin d’oeil to Impressionism

Nue2.jpg

Nue.jpg

Lala..la!

lalala.jpg

KHellow.jpg

My favorite sculpture: La chèvre.

lachevre.jpg

“Hands”, another emotional moment. Love it.

hands.jpg

guesswho.jpg

Beauty…

freak.jpg

… and the Beast.

femmeenceinte.jpg

Pregnant woman. Yeah , right.

destructuree.jpg

This lady has one too many holes.

duo.jpg

His muse, Dora.

LEband.jpg

The Band.

givemeacloset.jpg

“Donnez moi un walk-in closet, je le remplirai” dixit me.

petitmonstre.jpg

boutique.jpg

Girls will always be girls!

owl.jpg

Love love love it.

I have visited the Musée Picasso in Juan les Pins-Antibes and seen the brilliant Picasso retrospective at the Art Gallery of Ontario and the Museo Picasso in Barcelona and I must say I had higher expectations from the Musée Picasso in Paris. Perhaps the goal here is less to monumentalize an artist or a style than to tell a complex story of how art is made by one person of protean energy over a specific stretch of time.  Bottom line, Picasso is and will always be a devastating “force de la nature”.

An accidental tourist

Having lived in North America for the past 20 years, I had forgotten how much one walks in Paris! Perhaps this is also the secret of Parisians being so slim and fit.

kiraz-les-parisiennes-8  Kiraz and Gruau are my all time favorite illustrators. They both depict the Parisienne just as one would “envision” them.

Rene Gruau

Rene Gruau

Paris is, of course, a walker’s city. But which direction to take? And to what destinations? Does it really matter? Hold on to le file d’Ariane and let me show you a few fun things and sights …

Marilyn.jpg

Le Bon Marchéaubonmarche.jpg

carnavalet.jpg

Musée CarnavaletLe Museé Carnavalet is dedicated to the history of the city.

 

coursdulouvres.jpg

Statue of seated Victory by Antoine-François Gérard- Garden of the Carrousel du Louvre.

 Pigeons everywhere.

lebatoivre.jpgPoetry on walls. Le Bateau Ivre by Arthur Rimbaud. His poetry, as well as his life, influenced many 20th-century writers, musicians and artists, including Pablo Picasso, Dylan Thomas, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, Vladimir Nabokov, Bob Dylan, Luis Alberto Spinetta, Patti Smith, La Liga del Sueño, Giannina Braschi, Léo Ferré, Henry Miller, Van Morrison, Penny Rimbaud, Jim Morrison … just to name a few. ( Name dropping is also a very Parisian thing).

R.I.P Lovers. Simone de Beauvoir and Jean Paul Sartre

JPSimone.jpgPause éclair , Rue Cler

eclair.jpg

me.jpg

While enjoying my giant pastry, I cannot help thinking of this fetching song by Thomas Dutronc (Françoise Hardy and Jacques Dutronc’s son) : “J’aime plus Paris”

Window display Rue des Francs-Bourgeois

lunettes.jpgGuess Who? (Level 1)

personalities.jpg Le fils de l’Homme René Magritte

Magritte.jpgRue de Bourgogne, a flying frog

IMG_5664And another timid Parisienne

IMG_5659

Vitrine.jpgSlim , slim, slim …

escalier.jpg

http://blog.moonberry.com/haagen-dazs-is-flying-you-to-paris-first-class/

http://blog.moonberry.com/haagen-dazs-is-flying-you-to-paris-first-class/

How can you not love to jaunt in such motivating surroundings?