Life in Paris

Perfume of Paris

All those ads for perfume have taken their delicate inspiration in Paris. 

 

Trésor in Love, by Lancôme

 

Miss Dior Chérie

 

Coco Mademoiselle, by Chanel

 

Ricci Ricci

 

Chanel N°5

 

Rive Gauche, by Yves Saint Laurent

The last one is my favourite because it is not a perfect woman, or an ideal of who a woman is supposed to be. It is a daring woman who is charming because she feels free to do anything! She is dangerous when she drives, she is late at her own wedding, and she is sophisticated but alive!! She is self-confident and impertinent.

She rushs downstairs in a beautiful painted stairwell. It is in a private building of the Marais (one of the secret places I can show you). How lovely to see it in the ad for a perfume called Rive Gauche!! (As you know, the Marais is located on the Rive Droite).
In fact, there is several ways to divide Paris: Rive Gauche / Rive Droite, East / West, Epicenter / the rest of Paris...

 

Antiquity rediscovered

There was a fabulous exhibition in the Louvre. Antiquity rediscovered, Innovation and restistance in the 18th century.
Newly excavated archeological vestiges in Pompeï and Herculanum in the 1720–30s fueled debate in European academies and intellectual circles. All artistic fields were caught up in the dream of renewal through the classical.
While eighteenth-century art is often perceived as a progressive move from a taste for the lightness of rococo to the grandeur of classical style, this exhibition sheds light on the different experiments undertaken to regenerate artistic forms and themes.
Here are my favourite works among those featured in this exhibition. 

The Nightmare of Henry Fuseli

Henry FUSELI, the Nightmare, 1782

Although the young Woman is lying on a bed dressed in virginal white, the sleeping (or swooning) beauty is tormented in her sleep by a little demon who crouches heavily on her belly. That is the mara, spirit or hag, who gives its name to the painting, because "nightmare" originally meant not a bad dream, but an incubus. According to a marginal Christian belief in the late Middle Ages, an incubus was a spirit that came to trouble women's dreams with its sexual ardor.

 

 

Psyche abandoned of Jacques-Louis David

 



 

 

 

Jacques-Louis DAVID, Psyche abandoned, 1795

Psyche has just been abandoned by Cupid, the God of Love, who was furious at his wife's betrayal: she had broken her promise not to set eyes upon Cupid, who had to remain unseen. Psyche's graceful silhouette, painted against a pale ground, gains a more diaphanous transparency and an air of evanescence.

 

 

 

 

Psyche of Antonio Canova

 

 

 

 

Antonio CANOVA, Psyche

 

This marble is delicate and gracious from every point of view.
The young heroin is gazing at a butterfly as though meditating upon her own soul. 

 

 

 

 

 

the French "art de vivre" and the women

Did you know that the protocol, etiquette or behaviour are becoming trendy? The courtesy is having a revival. This charming behaviour of the elegant men, that make the women feel so special, is one of the reason that make the French men so lovely... In deed, the French art de vivre has granted to the women a superior place in the social hierarchy, which is very uncommon compared to most of the civilizations worldwide. To understand French culture, you have to keep in mind that it is a mix between northern and southern specificities.

The courtesy is a mix of politeness, charm and elegance. It is a refined relationship between men and women, made of kindness and seduction. It has been elaborated during a long process in the Royal Court and the Lord's domain.
In the Middle Age, the aristocraty has created a specific love: the courtly love ou amour courtois. The knight was fighting in the name of his Lady, or his beloved one.
Later, in the 17th century, Louis XIV wanted his power to be absolute. Through the Court of Versailles, he wanted to dominate the violent noble men and to make sure that they wouldn't rebel against his authority. Thus, he wanted to mellow them with fashion, music and love. It was the centre of interest in the Cour de Versailles. Louis XIV settle a code of protocol in which the women were above the men in order to reinforce his power.
In deed, during the 18th century, the travelers were amazed to discover how free and powerful were the French women of the aristocracy in Paris and Versailles. They could have lovers, and men were very busy with the art of faire la cour, which means to seduce a lady with delicate and tender attention, and to please her with kind words during a long period (sometimes several years) in order to conquer her heart. Men were fighting a duel for the beautiful eyes of an elegant lady, and it was a very envied privilege to have caused several deaths. Besides that, women were presiding over literary salons where people gathered to exchange ideas, but mostly to enjoy good conversation, wordplay, and a quest for beauty and refinement. They played a considerable role in spreading a new art of conversation and correspondence, and Madame de Sévigné was definitely the most famous and talented of those modern ladies. 
After the French Revolution, Napoleon settled the Empire.  He was a provincial, not aware of this art de vivre in Paris, and added to this, he came from Corsica, a mediterranean Island. His idea of the women rights was not very civilized. The Code Napoleon made the wife the property of her husband. He could cheat on her, but if she did, he could left her with nothing... 
Then, the 19th century was the period of the triumph of the bourgeoisie. Its code of protocol was pretty severe.
By the way, besides the two world wars and its barbary, the refined relationship between men and women still exists in France.

The Woman appears to be an ideal. She is not reduce to a role of sexual object. The Woman has never been as respected as when she was set on a pedestal. This is the sign of a sophisticated society. The heritage of courtesy still exists in the French society and distinguish the elegant men from the common crowd.  

I have often noticed that the American find the French very flirty. In fact, they are playing the game of seduction, but there is no stakes. There is no specific goal: the game in itself is pleasant! Men love to feel adorable and women love to feel extraordinary, dont' we? 

the Galette des Rois

In France, we have a tradition in january. We eat pastry called Galette des Rois. This delicious cake is done with flaky pastry and frangipane. We put a lucky charm or token made of porcelain and we hide it in the "galette des Rois". The youngest at the table, which is supposed to be the most innocent, goes under the table and choose which piece of galette is for who.
The one who find the token is the king or the queen. He is then supposed to choose someone at the table to share the power with him, who will become a king or a queen too. They recieve a little crown, and the game can begin... Is it an absolute monarchy or a parlementary monarchy? 

 

Galette des Rois

Recipe of the Galette des Rois

 

You need:
- 2 flaky pastry
- 125 gr of powder of almond
- 100 gr of sugar
- 100 gr of soft butter
- 1 egg + 1 egg yolk
- 1 tablespoon of flour
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla

Roll out a flaky pastry on a plate. Pierce it everywhere with a fork.

Melt all the ingredients together (unless the egg yolk). It is the frangipane.

Put the frangipane and the lucky charm on the pastry, and cover with the other flaky pastry. Close the edges together. Pierce the pastry on top otherwise it will blow up and become dry.

Spread the egg yolk on top of the galette. It will glaze the pastry.

Put it in the oven at 210°C (410° fahrenheit) for 30 minutes (between 25 and 40 min).

Enjoy your meal!!

 

 

 

Parisian fears...

The fears of the parisian women:
- to miss the last metro
- to see all the table outside of her favourite café taken (café Charlot, bar du Marché, la Palette...)
- to come across your ex-boyfriend when you just come out of the pool, pallid
- to have nothing to do on a saturday night
- to have to move in the suburbs 
- to be assaulted by a pigeon
- to find the velib station full
- that the upstairs neighbours are starting to have an active sexual life  
- to be taken for a provincial 

 

Woman with a veil

 

Hermès

The best kept secret of the week in Paris is the address of the private sale of Hermès...
Hermès is the very essence of french luxury. The Hermès items are of high quality, but unostentatiously. And they last lifelong!!

 

Hermès shop window

Hermès shop window

Hermès shop window

Hermès shop window

 

Why do we love Paris?

Why is Paris the epicenter of global tourism since centuries? 
In Paris, every cobbled lane, every streetside café, every patisserie window seems to have been art-directed by some impossibly savy set designer. Every passerby apparently costumed by a couturier. It successfully navigated the tricky business of historic preservation. And although Paris does grandeur and drama better than any place, its greatest pleasures are arguably its simplest ones: the rustic charm of a humble neighborhood bistro; the crunch of a perfect baguette... 
With your private guide, you will explore the places, ideas and trends that define modern culture in Paris. The discerning travelers who want to travel smarter will enjoy the authentic, innovative and irresistible tours of Esprit de Paris.

Local guide

Nothing beats an authentic Parisian who can tour you around the streets of Paris and let you appreciate all of the wonderful art history proudly displayed in the city. Paris sightseeing tours Esprit de Paris come with a local guide so you are guaranteed to know more than travel books and the internet can probably provide you with. And you must know that Parisians are one of the most interesting attraction in Paris, they are part of the international fame of the city of light.
Paris people have a strong passion for arts and minds. In fact, Paris people are greatly inclined in performing arts such as opera, theatre, film, and ballet. The Paris spirit is to have quick wits.
The environment of Paris itself including its people pictures the real sense of artistry—from the behaviors of the people to the constructions of the buildings.
The people of Paris are recognized for their distinctive outlook in life; reason why it is also not surprising why they have attractive Paris culture and entertainment as well. If you are from Asia, you should not be surprised on the lack of inhibitions of people here in sexuality as compared to people in Asia. One example often pointed out of this supposed openness to sexuality is the mode of the french greeting, which is a kiss on each other’s cheek. Parisians are not prudish, for sure. But they have a very delicate, sharp and subtle way to deal with sexuality. The Parisians have an amazing charm in the game of seduction!! But it is only a game, nothing serious...

 

Paris under the snow - Paris sous la neige La pyramide du Louvre - The glass pyramide in the courtyard of the Louvre

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A bewitched world of luxury

Welcome to a bewitched world of luxury and affluence, even during the crisis! Feed my eyes, and you will feed my soul...

Let me invite you to a window-shopping tour at the Grands Magasins.

Each winter, the Grands Magasins of Paris are making a contest of creativity. Here is an example of the most beautiful windows... 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ballet and snow

 

Le Lac des Cygnes, an amazing ballet on the musique of Tchaikowski, and a choregraphy of Noureev. It was at the Bastille Opéra.

It was of a sublime beauty, and so graceful!

 

 

The Place des Vosges 

Paris is so beautiful under the snow!!

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