Category Archives: Grand Palais

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

Happy New Year, Paris!

Mark and I took the mid-afternoon train on Thursday from London to Paris, arriving just as the City of Light was getting dark. Mark has some business here (hooray!), so we thanked London for her hospitality, kissed her goodbye, and returned to this place that holds so many wonderful memories.

Can I just tell you how happy I am to be back in my favorite city??? I don’t think I have stopped smiling in the two days we have been here. Paris in January is divine-the big winter light is everywhere and the crowds have disappeared. Restaurants that usually require reservations days in advance are happy to offer us a table on short notice. PLUS it’s SALE TIME again! I have virtually no room in my suitcase but I am not opposed to jettisoning all of the clothes I have been wearing non-stop for four months to make space for bargains. Or even for “not quite bargains”. For the first time in several years I don’t know when my next trip to Paris will be, so I might need to take some Paris home with me. And compared with London, everything is a bargain. I think you can see where this is going.

I covered some serious ground yesterday.

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breakfast!

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It’s King Cake time again!

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I stopped by Merci, hoping for bargains.

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Of course I had to go say “bonjour” to the Place des Vosges. It looked a tad woebegone without its leafy green canopies, but still managed to be elegant.

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My favorite fancy hot chocolate spot was sparkly and beautiful.

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With some quick steps I managed to just catch the pink of the sun on the tops of Notre Dame.

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That evening I met Mark and some co-workers at the Mini Palais, one of our favorite places for drinks or dinner. I took the metro, and when I popped up I was pleasantly surprised to find the Champs Elysees still wearing her Christmas best.

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The Christmas vendors were still hawking their wares.

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The Mini Palais sits in a corner of the Grand Palais, and has one of the best terraces in town.

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The food looked almost too pretty to eat.

pumpkin soup with chestnuts

pumpkin soup with chestnuts

the BEST scallops

the BEST scallops

Not a bad day at all.

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Filed under Champs Elysees, Christmas, Grand Palais, Marais, Notre Dame, Paris, Paris dining, Paris in winter, Place de Vosges, Uncategorized

Too Busy To Blog!

The great thing about having family and friends visit is that we are always out seeing and doing and eating and sharing the joy of Paris. The bad thing about having guests is that I don’t have time to spend at the computer, downloading pics and describing our adventures. I had intended to write a post tonight, but it’s now 10:00 and I have packing left to do before our early morning departure for San Sebastian, Spain. I hope to find a few quiet hours while I am away to get caught up, but here are some photos of Paris from the last couple of weeks. It has been very hot, very pleasant, sunny, and rainy, sometimes from one hour to the next. We got our there and sweated with the best of them, although I do confess to drifting off into fantasies of mountains of crushed ice from Sonic. Not much ice and not much air conditioning- the perils of heat waves in Paris. Fortunately, they do not usually last long.

beautiful flowers in the Tuileries

beautiful flowers in the Tuileries

goats grazing in the Tuileries- first time I ever saw that

goats grazing in the Tuileries- first time I ever saw that

Louvre

Louvre

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Versailles

Versailles

boat ride sunset

boat ride sunset

cute girls on the back of the boat

cute girls on the back of the boat

Assemblie Nationale all lit up

Assemblie Nationale all lit up

and of course….

and of course….

I hope to be back on track with regular posts soon.

But for now—vamos a la playa!!!

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Filed under Eiffel Tower, family, flowers, gardens, Grand Palais, Paris, Paris sunsets, Seine, Spain, travel, Tuileries

Paris in Springtime

Sunday’s sun was nowhere to be seen yesterday, but that didn’t keep me from tromping all over Paris.  True, the last couple of walks were taken just to keep myself from falling asleep (darn you, jet lag), but they did the trick and were totally enjoyable.

My first outing was to the Grand Palais, where I enjoyed a video-art exhibition by BIll Viola.  If, like me, you are unfamiliar with Bill Viola, check out his website here. Mr. Viola uses video and sound to explore universal human experiences such as death, birth, and the unfolding of consciousness.  I can’t say I understood it all, but it was definitely interesting. Here are some still shots from the exhibit, although his were all moving.

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As you can probably tell, these images appeared to be floating silently in water.

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Later in the afternoon I put on my walking shoes and headed for Parc Monceau. It was beautiful, even in the shadows. I think the mild winter gave spring a bit of a nudge, as Paris is more “bloomed out” than I remember for this time of year.

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The school kids were out for recess and were so darned cute.

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Of all the wonderful sights at the park this afternoon, guess what made me the happiest?

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Yes, our old friends were on their bench today, reading the newspaper.  All is right with the world.

One final walk to the river, because I couldn’t risk falling asleep before 8:00 pm.

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Of course, now it’s 10:05 p.m. and guess who is WIDE awake?

Words With Friends, anyone?

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Filed under art, gardens, Grand Palais, Parc Monceau, Paris, Uncategorized

Diamonds Are Forever

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Monday morning Martha and I walked up the street to the Grand Palais and were delighted to find no line for the Cartier exhibit we were hoping to see.  In a flash we were inside and surrounded by glittering jewels created by Cartier over 160 years.  The highlight of the exhibit was a rotating display of tiaras, including the one worn by the Duchess of Cambridge on her wedding day.  I apologize that some of my photos are a tad distorted.  For some reason they had all these jewels in cases!

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for days when you need a little color in your tiara!

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I loved seeing jewels worn by glamorous women such as Gloria Swanson, Grace Kelly, Elizabeth Taylor, Marlene Deitrich, and Brigitte Bardot.  The most amazing piece, however, was the bib necklace worn by the Maharaga of Patiala.  Yeah- that guy.

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After a late lunch, we walked a long way down Rue St. Honore, admiring the shop windows and the decorations and the interesting crowd sharing the sidewalk with us.

The Bristol looked quite nice.

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As did Laduree.

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And that’s a wrap for Day 2.  No rain and not even very cold!  Thanks, Paris!

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Filed under Grand Palais, Paris, Uncategorized

Fashion Week Paris

As you probably know, twice a year the fashion world gathers in Paris for Fashion Week.  Usually, I am aware it’s Fashion Week, and then I yawn and say, “wow- Fashion Week is over and I didn’t see any signs of it”.  But yesterday I decided to see what it was all about. Of course I didn’t have a coveted invitation to any of the fashion shows, so I stood outside the venues and looked for people who were famous, might be famous, or just wanted to be famous (there were lots of those).

First, I arrived at Trocadero at 9:30 in the morning, which was way early for the Sacai show which began at 11:00.  No, I have no idea who Sacai is, but it was the first show of the day with a publicized venue.  The Stella McCartney show (9:30) would have been better, but one had to have an invitation in order to know where the show was being held.  So there I was at Trocadero, which is just across from the Eiffel Tower, early on a cold morning.

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Very gradually, people in funky outfits began showing up.  Most had the white envelope required for admission; others were there just to be seen and to see who else showed up.

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Next I took the metro to the Grand Palais, where a crowd was already gathering for the 12:00 Leonard show.

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This woman was very popular with the photographers.

This woman was very popular with the photographers.

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I thought this woman looked very nice- and that bag!

I thought this woman looked very nice- and that bag!

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loved the matching Asian couple with the dots

loved the matching Asian couple with the dots

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The only sort-of famous people whom I half-way recognized were these two.

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With the help of friends, I now know that he is French designer Jean-Claude Jitrois and she is American actress Sarah Marshall.  Would any of you have known that?

I couldn’t have been that close to the Tuileries and not visited them, so I walked on down the Champs-Elysees to the gardens and ate a sandwich in the sun.

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Then I went home and rested my dogs for a half-hour before heading for Parc Monceau and later to a cocktail party with more fashionistas and one very famous and beautiful French woman.  But more on that later.

A bientôt!

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Filed under Champs Elysees, Eiffel Tower, fashion, Grand Palais, Paris Fashion Week, Tuileries

Happy Birthday Notre Dame!

It’s hard to believe that last Sunday I was in Paris, but I was. A week later I am back in Houston, with a two night trip to St. Louis in the interim.  But this post is about last Sunday in Paris.

You may recall that we tried to see the Edward Hopper exhibit at the Grand Palais, but gave up after waiting in line for over an hour and making only the slightest progress toward the entrance.  The exhibit ended at the end of the day on Sunday, and during its final three days the exhibit was open around the clock.  Crazy, right?  So Sunday morning we got up at the outrageously dark  hour of 6:30 and walked up the street to the Grand Palais.  As we walked up deserted Franklin Roosevelt, we had grandiose visions of being alone with the Hoppers, a private tour of just us two crazies there at 6:45.  When the Grand Palais appeared out of the darkness, we were shocked to see moving figures in the vicinity, and when we got close to the lighted entrance, we were confronted with a line of crazy people as long as the one we had abandoned on the previous weekend.  We quickly decided that Hopper clearly wasn’t in our future, and continued walking toward Notre Dame.

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And on your left, the Petit Palais, which is completely deserted at this hour, as it should be.

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7:20 at the Musee D’Orsay, and all is well.

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All the sellers of books, magazines, and art are still sleeping.

All the sellers of books, magazines, and art are still sleeping.

Hark!  Is that Notre Dame I see by the dawn's early light?

Hark! Is that Notre Dame I see by the dawn’s early light?

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Clearly, we have arrived at Notre Dame, a mere 45 minutes after abandoning the Hopper idea.  Why are we at Notre Dame shortly before 8:00 in the morning?  Because, my dear friends, Notre Dame had just received some brand new bells, and they were on display in the nave of the church.  I really wanted to see them, and I was happy that we arrived just as the doors were opening.

The nine newly cast bells were commissioned as part of the celebration of the cathedral’s 850 year anniversary, and (it is hoped) will make a more melodious sound than the old bells, which were dreadfully off-pitch.  The new  bells will be on display in the church for three weeks, and will be heard for the first time on March 23, the day before Palm Sunday.

Lucky for us, fans of the new bells were not awake as early as the Hopper fans, and we had them virtually to ourselves.  They were stunningly beautiful, each with unique markings, and each named after a saint or a famous Catholic.

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When we finally tore ourselves away from the gorgeous bells, the sky was even more dramatic than when we had entered.

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A rosy hue on the buildings facing the other direction

A rosy hue on the buildings facing the other direction

I was so glad that our early morning had not been a total wash-out.  I may never see the Hopper exhibit, but I will carry the sight of those magnificent bells with me forever.

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Filed under Grand Palais, Notre Dame, Paris, Uncategorized