Category Archives: fashion

Springtime in Paris

Bonjour y’all! Who doesn’t love April? NO ONE. That’s who. Here in Austin the  jasmine is in full flush and wildly redolent (all except the jasmine on my fence at the lake, which was burnt by the freezes and looks really skimpy and sad). Iris are still standing proud and roses have loved the recent rain and are showing off bigly.

My Paris-heavy Instagram feed has reminded me how much I loved springtime in Paris when I lived there. Of course, spring in Paris was well-earned and frequently took its sweet time getting there, making it even more of a celebrity than it is here. Hooray for spring everywhere, whenever it chooses to arrive.

I think we all deserve a little Paris this morning, so I gathered some of my favorite pictures of Paris pink, a color that embellishes Paris in springtime like pink frosting on an elegant confection. Enjoy.

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Have a good week, my friends.

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Filed under fashion, flowers, France, Paris, springtime in Paris, Uncategorized

Louis Vuitton at the Grand Palais

Bonjour, y’all! I am still here in my favorite city, loving every French minute of it. When I went to dinner at the Mini-Palais the other night I noticed this Louis Vuitton exhibition advertised at the Grand Palais.

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I was intrigued, bien sûr! I went back early the next morning and was happy to walk right in- no line! (Did I mention that January in Paris is awesome?)  The title of the exhibit translates as ” Fly, Sail, Travel”, and the nine-room show did an artful job of tracing the evolution of Louis Vuitton luggage to match the evolution of travel modes, from steamers to trains to automobiles to commercial airlines. Ready to travel?

The first few rooms revealed a fascinating array of travel trunks dating from 1906. I was captivated, as evidenced by my numerous photos!

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For when  you refuse to use an e-reader

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This trunk held thirty pairs of shoes!

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Steamer vessels began linking Europe with the Americas as early as the 1830’s, and by the early 1900’s luxury sea travel was the rage among those who could afford it.

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In addition to trunks, they also packed the new “steamer bag”, which offered a wide square opening  and could be folded and stored in a trunk compartment when empty.

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Rail travel took off in the 1840’s, transforming remote, quiet European fishing ports into resorts that could be reached quite easily. Trunks were designed to be shallower, allowing them to slide under train sleeper seats.

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This room was beautifully done- the background even rushed by through the windows!.

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The arrival of the automobile in the late 1800’s drove further design changes in luggage. Car trunks were strapped to the backs of cars. Picnic carriers and coolers became popular for roadside dining.

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for the post-picnic nap, of course!

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to keep the bugs out of your eyes!IMG_5869I wonder if those bags were handled with more care than ours are today!

Travelers took to the skies in the early twentieth century, and luggage became lighter-weight and more functional. Clearly, the lovely woman in this photo didn’t have a “two checked bag” limitation. I bet she would have appreciated some wheels on those trunks, though.

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You don’t have to be an LV fan to appreciate this beautiful exhibit, which runs until February 21.

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Bon voyage!

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Filed under fashion, Grand Palais, Uncategorized

Paris: Fried Foods and Fine Leather Goods

Bonjour from Texas, my friends! We have been home five days and I have spent most of them in Austin, enjoying my family and tending to our sadly neglected lake house. We missed the bumper crop of Texas wild flowers, but the jasmine is still blooming large on our fence, perfuming the house through open windows (for a few more days, anyway). It’s good to be home.

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Yes, we still have no lake, but my sister’s house is on a part of Lake Travis that is still a little wet. We had a nice family dinner on the deck Saturday night.

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Notice how much nicer docks look when floating on water than when perched precariously on rocks as in the photo from our house.

Not so long ago Mark and I enjoyed a wonderful dinner at a new restaurant in Paris called Ellsworth. The newest offering by the darling couple who owns one of our favorite special restaurants, Verjus, Ellsworth is more casual, serving tapas seven days a week. Here were a few of our favorites.

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These were not your freezer’s corn dogs, my friends. The tender cornbread wrapper concealed duck sausage, and arrived with pickled mustard seeds and strong French mustard for dipping.

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These flaky, golden scoops of goodness were fried chicken atop a slightly spicy slaw. Fried chicken is not easy to find in Paris, and this is the best we have ever discovered.

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Dessert was apple fritters and cinnamon cream sauce. Oh my. I wish I could conjure some right now. They were so good.

of course there was some of this, too

of course there was some of this, too

Both Verjus and Ellsworth are centrally located near the Palais-Royale. Check them out the next time you are in the hood. Tell them Mark and Kate sent you.

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After all those fried calories, we opted to walk home that evening. Our route took us right by the Hermes store, which provided me the opportunity to photograph the windows without the glare of daylight. I didn’t love them, but preferred them to the previous windows, which were just weird.

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Thanks for stopping by Paris via Texas!

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Filed under Austin, fashion, Hermes, Lake Travis, Paris, Paris dining

Bon Anniversaire, Printemps!

Paris has three beautiful old department stores- Galeries Lafayette, Le Bon Marche, and Printemps. Printemps and Galeries Lafayette are located next to each other on Boulevard Haussman, very near the Garnier Opera House. Recently I walked around that neighborhood and was delighted to find Printemps all “floraled” up for her 150th birthday. “Printemps” means “spring” in French, and the store certainly exudes springtime, even as we are still donning coats and scarves in Paris.

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I gave up on ever finding the windows without a glare. Sorry.

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I loved the background of this one, though it’s hard to discern with the glare. The clouds are cut out of paper and the right side of background is stormy, windy sky while the left side is cherry and calm.

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This window had cool flowers that opened and closed. You do have to exercise a little patience, though. Kind of like waiting for springtime in Paris.

Finally, here is a picture of le printemps at the gardens of Palais Royale on Saturday.

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Photo by Mark F. Mai. Used with permission. Not really.

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Filed under fashion, flowers, Paris

Fresh Eyes On Paris

My mom has returned to visit and this time she brought my niece, who is fifteen years old and making her first trip out of the country. It has been such fun seeing Paris through her eyes. I hope she never forgets this trip with her grandmother and her aunt and uncle. I am already planning to visit her when she does her junior semester here in six or so years!

The day they arrived we walked down to the Grand Palais to see if there were any interesting “fashion types” entering the building for the Shiatzy Chen fashion show.

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Yep, there were a few.

The next day we spent the morning close to home, shopping at the Wilson market, and enjoying the fashion museum and the Museum of Modern Art. The fashion museum is featuring the French designer Lanvin in a new exhibit that is absolutely wonderful. Don’t miss it if you are in the neighborhood.

I can't resist taking pictures of these gorgeous color blasts.

I can’t resist taking pictures of these gorgeous Delaunay color blasts at the Modern Art Museum.

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Can you see the river sparkling out there?

 

In addition to a stellar collection of art, the Paris Museum of Modern Art also boasts a pretty fabulous view of the Eiffel Tower.

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That afternoon the sky was so blue that we had no choice but to walk around Montmartre.

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my mama and my niece

my mama and my niece

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We were pretty tired at the end of the day, but not too tired to take a bus five stops to Le Bon Georges, where we were greeted warmly and fed a tasty meal, indeed.

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melt in your mouth sole meuniere

melt in your mouth sole meuniere

And then we went home and fell into bed.

The End.

 

 

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Filed under art, Eiffel Tower, fashion, Montmartre, Musee d' Art Moderne, Palais Galliera, Paris, Paris dining, Paris Fashion Week, Sacre-Coeur, Uncategorized

Color Me Happy

It was a bee-u-tee-ful Wednesday in Paris! Colors popped out at me where none had been seen for days.

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excuse me but may I have your tote and the mustard coat that goes so well with it thanks

 

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even the bees were happy

even the bees were happy

Valentines Day is much more understated than it is at home. This window is about as over the top as it gets.

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The weather was fabulous, but I am also happy because tomorrow we go spend a long weekend with my older daughter, Claire, in Madrid. And for icing on the cake- we will celebrate my birthday together on Friday! Hip hip hooray! Who wouldn’t be happy about that?

I hope to be posting from Spain, but in the meantime….

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from “Ah-ha to Zig-Zag” by Maira Kalman

Thank you and good day.

 

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Filed under fashion, flowers, gardens, Luxembourg Gardens, Paris, Paris in winter, Saint Germain des Pres, Uncategorized

I’m Back On The Streets

Hellllooooo! I feel as though I have been away from this space for a very long time. Between a lingering illness and five days of travel, many parts of my life have suffered neglect. But I am finally feeling better and am ready to return to the streets and to the blogosphere. Is anyone still out there there there there????

Even though I knew I was well on the road to recovery, Mark insisted I go to the doctor this afternoon- my first time to visit a French doctor since we began this Paris chapter. After giving the receptionist a few bits of vital information (but nothing like the pages of questions on the clipboard at home) I was ushered into a small waiting room. The room was about the size of a typical American examining room and comfortably seated eight people. Instead of magazines there were coffee table art books, and instead of a TV there was classical music. Ahhhh- these Frenchies are so civilized. Is there anything worse than being trapped in a doctor’s waiting room with a television on? Like home, however, I did have to wait for over thirty minutes before being called into the doctor’s office. I hadn’t brought a book because I planned to catch up on emails, not realizing that there would be no cell service in the room. I was forced to close my eyes and enjoy the music until they called my name at last.The doctor met me at his desk and typed up my answers to  questions about my health and symptoms. There was an examining table in his office, and after the exam he opined that I probably had been sick with walking pneumonia, but was no longer sick enough to need antibiotics. He handed me an invoice and I paid the receptionist and left. It had been painless and quicker than the usual visit at home. Plus, I had this at the end of the street.

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And after my appointment I treated myself to a chocolat chaud.

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So the hour was not a total waste.

This morning I returned to the fun concept store, Merci . When I had taken Martha’s friends there, we were disappointed to find that it was in between installations, and I was hoping to see the newest incarnation today. However, it was still a work in progress.IMG_1916_2

Here is what it looks like so far.

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I am intrigued. Something with textiles, clearly, and lots of spools. I will put it on my list to return next month and show you the finished product, which I’m sure will be cool.

As always, lots of things caught my eye.

I wondered if either man in my life was fashion forward enough to rock these quilted shoes. Then I looked at the price and decided that the answer was no.

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These stone letters were cool.

IMG_1903_2This way- cool electric bicycle caught my eye. It will be available in March for 4500 euros.

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The linen at Merci always beckons to me.

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aprons. Yes please.

aprons. Yes please.

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These dishes are amazing.

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Loved this little fringey bag.

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And this linen dress just has me written all over it.

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and throw in the cute little pouch, too, please

So that was pretty much my Monday. Oh yeah- there’s this! Cauliflower Parmesan for dinner, thanks to Melissa Clark.  I can already tell you that it’s going to be tasty.

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Ah- it’s good to be back!

 

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Filed under cooking, fashion, shopping