1.19.2009

The Estate of the Comte de Paris


One of my favorite things to do is attend auctions and auction previews. It’s a great opportunity to see an assortment of rare objects, to learn price points and, on occasion, to make a purchase.

So, when I read that Christie’s was auctioning remnants from the estate of the late Count and Countess of Paris, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to check it out.

The Comte de Paris (1908-1999) was Henri de France, former head of the House of France and pretender to the throne. He received the title Comte de Paris in 1929. He married his cousin Isabelle d’Orléans-Bragance in 1931. When the French exile law was repealed in 1950, le Comte and la Comtesse returned to France, settling first at Coeur-Volant in Louveciennes and later on the rue Miromesnil in Paris. His family’s royal dynasty ruled France for more than 1,000 years.

The auction included important silver, paintings, furniture, miniatures, object d’art and jewels. All in all, it was an amazing array of objects that belonged to the Royal Family, notably of Louis-Philippe, Marie-Antoinette, Louis XVII, and other members of d’Orléans family.

Due to my impending departure, I was only able to attend the “pre-preview” which featured a very limited selection of items to be sold. Nonetheless, I was thrilled with this opportunity to see this slice of history.

In the photo, a ring containing a lock of Louis XVI’s hair, estimated to sell for 2,000 to 3,000 euro, and a small purse embroidered by Marie-Antoinette in the Temple Prison prior to her execution, estimated to sell for 4,000 to 5,000 euro. I gazed at the cases imagining what it would be like to wear the ring or carry the purse. Seeing such personal family heirlooms was a bit strange. It humbled and personalized members of the Royal family in a way that seeing Versailles or Petit Trianon, with throngs of tourists, does not.

I knew this sale was going to be incredible…and I knew I was going to miss it!


1.13.2009

Paris Pratique - Le Metro

Just about every tourist I know loves the Metro. It's practical and quick. But, how quick? I never knew how much time I would need to get from point A to point B. One day, a Parisian friend gave me this helpful hint...

"Allow yourself 2 minute for each station and 5 minutes for each transfer."

I tested her method for nearly a year and found it to be tremendously accurate.

Bonne route!

1.06.2009

Galette des Rois

A Galette des Rois is the traditional dessert for the Feast of the Epiphany. According to tradition, a porcelain figurine is hidden in the cake. The person who finds the figurine in their serving of dessert is declared king for the day. In the U.S., this tradition is more closely associated with Mardi Gras celebrations in New Orleans.

This beautiful Galette des Rois was made by Vanille, an authentic French patisserie in Chicago.