Travel Plans

I am returning to Paris on May 8.

While gathering a few necessities, I realized that my passport is about to expire. I headed down to the Federal building for a new passport tout de suite. The process was easier than I thought it would be.

What a relief!


La Belle France Inspires Charlotte Moss

New York Interior Designer Charlotte Moss spends considerable time looking for and finding inspiration in France. She lectured on her travels and her new book, A Flair for Living, at the Lake Forest Showhouse. I attended the event and wrote about it for Chicago Home & Garden magazine.

Check out the post:



Notre Petite Chérie Simone

Today, we welcomed the latest addition to our family, my niece, Simone Louise B. She is adorable and, with her French name, I can already see her trotting around Paris.

Bienvenue au monde!


Art Nouveau

One of the best examples of Art Nouveau architecture rests at 29, avenue Rapp, just steps from the Eiffel Tower.

The Art Nouveau style prevailed from 1890 to 1905. It was born from an intellectual desire to break from the classical forms of the academy as well as industrial and economic progress that allowed for the manufacture and use of new materials. Recall that the Eiffel Tower itself was constructed for the World Exposition of 1889.

Art Nouveau is eclectic, a-symmetrical and fantastic in design. It is characterized by curvilinear forms inspired by vegetal and animal shapes. Butterflies, swans, iris and orchids are common influences. Often, Art Nouveau architecture features female figures, multicolored façades and the use of a numerous decorative materials, such as stone, stucco, ceramic and bronze.

Designed by Jules Lavirotte, 29, avenue Rapp has astonishing exuberance and harmony. It was awarded the Prix des Façades in 1903 by the city of Paris


Sauvignon Blanc

Spring is in the air and as the warm weather approaches, I tend to drink white wine rather than red. I like Sauvignon Blanc and one of my favorite selections is a Pouilly-Fumé from the Loire Valley by Ladoucette.

I first discovered this wine at the Café de Flore on Boulevard St. Germain. Later, I learned the producer has a boutique at 42, avenue Victor Hugo, not far from my apartment and, more important, along my bus route. Ladoucette is widely available in the United States as well.

Sauvignon Blanc is crisp, refreshing and elegant. It's great on its own, with appetizers or with light meals, such a salads, poultry and fish.



Joyeux Paques - Happy Easter

Many Easter traditions in France are different from those in the United States. In France, for example, there is no Easter bunny.

Ninety percent of the population in France is Roman-Catholic and it's safe to say that a church sits at center of every community. According to French Easter tradition, church bells are silenced on the evening of Holy Thursday in remembrance of Jesus' death. Children are told the church bells are not ringing because they've flown to the Vatican to see the Pope. On Easter morning, the flying bells, or cloche-volants, return from Rome and ring in celebration of the Resurrection, declaring that Jesus is alive again.

As part of the celebration, chocolate bells are distributed to children.


Valentino: The Last Emperor


Last night, I saw the newly released film Valentino: The Last Emperor by American Director Matt Tyrnauer.
The Last Emperor is a retrospective of Valentino's career, featuring the evolution of his fashion house and his relationship with long time partner Giancarlo Giametti.

This is a "must-see" for anyone who loves all things beautiful. Valentino's haute couture is the centerpiece of the film. But, as the story unfolds, moviegoers are treated to the inner workings of his atelier in Rome and his office at Place Vendôme in Paris, as well as preparations for his runway show at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, the Légion d'Honneur presentation ceremony at the Palais Royale and the 45th Anniversary Celebration at the Colloseum. Other sites include Valentino's villa in Italy, his chateau in France, his yacht in Venice and numerous landmarks throughout Rome and Paris.

Valentino: The Last Emperor is a touching portrayal of Valentino's quest for beauty.


Paris Pratique - Palais Garnier Box Office

The Palais Garnier has relocated the box office since my last stay in Paris. Now, visitors wishing to tour the historic opera house or purchase tickets at the box office are provided a separate entrance at the intersection of rue Scribe and rue Auber.

The new space is efficient, spacious and very well-organized.