Category Archives: shopping

Astier de Villatte

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Those of you who have been on this Paris gig with me for a while will recognize these gorgeous ceramics made by Astier de  Villatte. I got a serIMG_5943ious crush on them early on, and have never tired of going to the tiny but amazing shop on Rue Saint Honore. I have been there so many times that the woman who works there greets me with a big smile and asks how I am doing. She saw me taking photos of their window this week and actually popped her head out of the door to say hello. Really? Like she thought I wouldn’t come inside?IMG_5945

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As I have mentioned here before, these ceramics are made by hand in Paris. The pieces are left slightly imperfect- you can see bumps and dimples and some of the dark clay peeks out through the white veneer. That is part of their charm for me. Perfection is way overrated.

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These beautiful things can be found in a few stores in the U.S., but I am not sure I will ever be able to buy them anywhere but in this tiny shop, with its distinctive scent and magical old-world charm.

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While the dishes traditionally are white, some have images painted on them.

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They also make these stunning blank notebooks.

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I am pretty sure I took all my guests to the shop, and few could leave empty-handed, despite the challenges of carrying the precious packages home. We still laugh about the man at customs who tried (unsuccessfully) to shame my sister about her expensive cups. Nope. Ain’t no shame in these beauties.

I recently discovered this delightful video about the company and two of its designers. It’s about fifteen minutes long, so go pour yourself a glass of something French and enjoy. You deserve it.

 

 

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Filed under Astier Villatte, decorating, Paris, shopping, Uncategorized

Some Ugly At Last

Just in time, Paris provided the perfect antidote to my overriding blog theme of “ain’t life grand in Paris”, a theme which was bordering on insufferable. You know you have thought it at least a time or two.

Last week, on the first full day of my friend Martha’s visit, we set off for Montmartre, which always sparkles extra brightly when the sun is shining through azure sky. We took the bus a few stops and then began walking, enjoying the quiet streets and congratulating ourselves on avoiding the crush of tourists and tacky souvenir shops that fill the main street leading to Sacre Coeur. I was mapping our way on my phone, carrying it until I saw a sign for “Place du Tertre”, at which point I stuck the phone in my purse and soon began following Martha up some steps. Approximately two minutes later I reached back into my purse to retrieve my phone so I could photograph an artist with his easel who had begun climbing the steps in front of us. I fumbled for my phone in my small bag all the way up the stairs, only to discover at the top that my phone had disappeared. Apparently someone had seen me carrying it and began following me, closely and quietly, until I put it in my purse and he/she was able to snatch it. Martha was in front of me during our walk and climb, so she would not have noticed anyone tailing me. I suppose I had felt so safe that I did not zip my purse back up, knowing I would be pulling the phone back out momentarily. I cannot describe how confused and disbelieving I was when I realized my phone was missing. It was the oddest feeling, and not a good one. The lesson, my friends, is never to let down your guard when on the streets of Paris, even when you do not feel the least vulnerable.

I was able to shake it off and not allow my day to be spoiled, but I am still pretty bitter about it. But hey- I needed some Paris Ugly, and she provided it. At least now my content is more fair and balanced. But man I miss my phone.

On a more positive note, we thoroughly enjoyed a Bonnard exhibit at the Musee d’Orsay.

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doesn't the woman on the right look as though she is in the painting?

doesn’t the woman on the right look as though she is in the painting?

We also paid a visit to Merci, which finally had its newest installation complete. It appears to be a laundry theme, like the one frequently installed at my house.

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The sun is still shining here, and the trees and flowers are in full splendor. We are spending a lot of time outside and have enjoyed more than one glass of bubbly “au terrasse”. Life is good, but it’s even better with a phone.

Stay vigilant, mes amis, and keep all your zippers zipped.

And if you play Words With Friends or Scramble with me, now you know why I haven’t taken a turn in ten days.

The world can be ugly, but you, little nugget, are precious.

The world can be ugly, but you, little nugget, are precious.

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Filed under Montmartre, Paris, shopping, springtime in Paris, Uncategorized

Got kids?

This week I find myself wondering if I am in Paris or Houston- the weather feels the same! It’s mild, of course, compared with much of the rest of the U.S., and I feel for all of you getting slammed with ice and snow and kids at home.

Speaking of kids—

When I was walking to Merci the other day I almost blew right by a nondescript building until the colorful windows encouraged me to investigate. I found myself at the most stylish children’s store ever, the Paris flagship store of Bonton. Bonton is  owned by the same family that gave us Bonpoint, (whose precious windows I have frequently shared with you) and the aforementioned Merci. Like Merci, Bonton is a concept store that seems to have endless space, all of it magical with light, style and whimsy. In addition to the cutest clothes you have ever seen, Bonton also sells home linens, toys and books, party goods, and even some furniture- all geared toward the little people in our lives. Shall we take a spin through the store?

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Like Merci, great light fixtures

Got a newborn on your list? These little knit numbers would look darling, even with the spit-up and other bodily fluids they are bound to collect. Could you throw them in the wash with all the other baby laundry? I would be so so afraid.

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So this is why French women have that innate ability to wear a scarf- they have been doing it since they were toddlers. I don’t know about your kids, but my daughters would have ripped off that scarf in about five minutes. It would then have been repurposed as a dog leash or an arm sling or a blind fold. We were not really into accessories at our house (and sometimes “accessories” included underwear).

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but seriously- is that not the cutest?

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Does this come in Big Mama size?

I love the large numbers on the walls indicating size. But thank goodness that has never caught on for adult clothing stores.

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Gee- you would think they have never seen anyone take photos from atop the taxidermy or something.

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And what children’s boutique would be worth its salt without a nail polish vending machine? It made some claim of being intended for kids, but I am not sure what that means. It looks good on furniture and clothes and your favorite rug? It’s potable? Spill-proof bottle? It shall remain one of those French mysteries.

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SO if you have children and plenty of change, you may want to check out this delightful store before you move on down the street to Merci. If you do, would you pick me up a bottle of #18? Maybe I could do a better job on my nails if I used a “big brush” with “application facile”. Or maybe I”ll just ask a child to do it for me.

See y’all around!

 

 

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Filed under Paris, shopping

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

Dior’s Christmas Windows

I know- several weeks late, and in the case of Dior, several tens of thousand dollars short. But I was completely smitten with the understated elegance of the Dior windows on Montaigne, and I think you will like them, too. And don’t worry- I have pics of the current windows, and they are knock-out, as well.

Usually I try to avoid taking window photos during the day because the reflections are so bad. However, in this case, I thought the reflections added some interest. I”ll show you day and night photos so you can decide for yourself.

First, the gigantic chandelier hanging on the corner of the Dior store was a show stopper.

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The windows, with groups of oversized metallic ornaments, were gorgeous.

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Doesn’t it look like the ornaments are popping out of the windows?

At night the windows just exuded elegance.

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A few close-ups of the product:

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Better late than never, right?

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Filed under Ave. Montaigne, Dior, fashion, Paris, shopping, Uncategorized

Shopping And A Late Lunch

The sun smiled down on my daughter Martha and me on her last day in Paris. We decided to walk to a store I had read about called Sept-Cinq on the edges of Montmartre. This day, like many days here, was more about a journey than a destination, but it’s nice to have a spot on the map to shoot for, if only for a sense of purpose. Not that there is anything wrong with aimlessness, mind you.

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Eglise de la Sainte-Trinité

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All too soon we stumbled upon the cozy little Sept Cinq, a shop dedicated to items made by Paris craftsmen. And as the sign says, there is also a small section in the back for a little refreshment after one has shopped up a need for a snack.

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The Paris-made treats range from T-shirts to shoes, candles, cards, jewelry, and purses. I spent quite a while lingering over each charming collection. And take a look at the floor.

I'm a sucker for these old tile floors.

I’m a sucker for these old tile floors.

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even stuff for the dudes!

 

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but sometimes I pretend to be

but sometimes I pretend to be

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The petite tea area in the back was so inviting. Perfect for a private conversation with a best girl friend and a nice cup of something hot.

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totally dig that wallpaper

 

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Such a nice little find! But we were not ready to return home, so we kept walking uphill.

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It was almost 3:00 when we decided we were kind of hungry. I was inclined to pop in to a bar for a glass of red, but Martha wanted something more substantial. Like lunch. Granted, it’s a bit late for lunch, even in Paris, but when we entered a cute restaurant a man asked if we wanted to eat lunch and we said yes. He told us to sit down in the back, where we waited patiently for a menu. Eventually another man came over and when we asked for a menu he said it might be too late for lunch- he would check. He returned with menus and told us it was fine. SO Martha chose risotto and I chose an open-faced sandwich from another part of the menu labeled “quatre heure”. He told Martha they were out of both risottos on the menu. He told me I couldn’t order the sandwich because it was not for lunch- it was for after lunch time. Hmmmm. We seemed to be somewhere in- between lunch and happy hour and should we just get the hell out of here. We decided to give it one more try. Martha asked for the warm goat cheese salad and, miraculously, she could have it. I had given up and stuck with a glass of red. I tell you this whole story because it is so typical of what one finds in France, and can drive you crazy if you let it. We were happy we stayed, however,  because the salad was delicious, and he even encouraged us to share it, which is not typical of Paris. Lucky for me, Martha did share, and we licked the platter clean.

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When we finally got out of there (I think they were hoping we would stick around for “quatre heure” offerings), the sun was on the wane, casting a lovely pink hue on Sacre Coeur.

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Sept Cinq
54 Rue Notre-Dame de Lorette, 75009
Tel: +33 (0)9 83 55 05 95
Métro: Saint-Georges

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Filed under Montmartre, Paris, Paris dining, Sacre-Coeur, shopping, Uncategorized

Louis Vuitton and Liz Lemon in Paris

Bonjour encore from Paris. Today (Monday) in Paris felt almost normal. The only thing I noticed out of the ordinary was an increased presence of security. Police vans were rolling or parked in Saint Germain. Armed police stood outside of the doors of various buildings that appeared to be normal apartment buildings. Also, when we entered the Bon Marche and Hermes, our bags were inspected at the entrance. The bag inspection was most unusual and I have to say, I hope it doesn’t last long. I don’t mind it when I go to the Musee d’Orsay, but please, let me fawn over fine leather goods without having to show you the inside of my own messy, receipt-strewn purse. Fortunately, I had removed the 38 breath mints that had spilled out into the bottom of my bag. (Yay)

Last night I got antsy after watching the Solidarity March for several hours, so I went for a brisk walk up and down the Champs-Elysees. It felt so good being out in the cold night air, with the last of the holiday lights still shining on the buildings.

The Four Seasons "George V" looked pretty fine. As usual.

The Four Seasons “George V” looked pretty fine. As usual.

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But we all know that the best window porn is to be found at Louis Vuitton. You’re welcome.

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I love how the ribbon actually goes outside the window.

 

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I would hang upside down for one of those bags ,too.

 

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“come to mama….”

 

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I really love these windows. I think the ribbon is fantastic (unlike Mark, who thought it looked like bacon). The shiny balloons appear to be suspended in air. And the clear presents are perfect. No need to wrap such gorgeous bags. Which one would you like? I know the totes are more practical, but I quite fancy the bags with the diamond shapes on them. Not that anyone is asking, mind you.

I have yet to consult social media for a recap of last night’s awards. I hate those shows but LOVE Tina and Amy, and was sorry to miss them. What was the best line? Those two gals are just the best. I wonder if they carry Louis Vuitton? Or maybe I should ask whether Oprah carries LV, because we all know that Liz Lemon said, “I pretty much just do what Oprah tells me to do.”

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Sending you all high-fives and LV love from Paris.

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Filed under Champs Elysees, fashion, Hermes, Paris, shopping, Uncategorized