Happy Thanksgiving!

Notre Dame under sunshine, for all of you who cannot spend Thanksgiving in Paris

 

It is not so easy to prepare Thanksgiving in Paris because French turkeys are only ready for Christmas! But thanks to a few American shops, we will manage… I wish you all a lovely holiday and hope your turkey will be as good as ours.Read More

Three religions at the heart of diplomacy

Benito Badolato and Pasquale Godano, Boat with the holy family saving a migrant, Tropea, 2013, Parish of San Gerlando, Lampedusa

As often, it is a highly political exhibition that takes place at Musée de l’histoire de  l’Immigration, in Porte Dorée, where « Il était trois fois, Lieux Saints partagés » treats of Judaism, Christianism and Islam in their shared geography of the Mediterranean. This original exhibition has matured over five years (it was first shown in a shorter version in Marseille two years ago) and is curated by Dionigi Albera and Manoël Penicaud, both anthroplogists at CNRS (centre national de recherche scientifique). As a conclusion, it shows a model of the « House of One », a monument being built in Berlin,  on the site of a XII th century church, which will unite a synagogue a church and a mosque under the same roof.

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Shoes, scarves and socks at “Germaine Pratinette”

My favorite shoe has light soles which are designed to support the foot inside

There is something delectable about finding confortable shoes which are also pretty. I love to walk and need to have solid supporting soles, yet light shoes. This is what I found at “Germaine Pratinette”, a discreet shoe shop on rue du Pré aux Clercs, near Saint Germain des Prés. The name is a pond on germanopratin, meaning from St Germain des Prés.

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Western Africa in masks and Mali in photographs

Mask, Kwele, Region of Sembe, Republic of Congo, early XX th century

It is always intimidating to visit an exhibition of African art because one knows little about this culture which so fascinated Apollinaire and Picasso and their contemporaries and yet the genuine beauty of most objects is immediately palpable. So I encourage you to go and see the amazing masks at Musée du Quai Branly- Jacques Chirac where the exhibition « Les Forêts natales » (native forests) is beautifully set up.Read More

An exotic fashion show at Versailles

Six year old Prince Nguyen Phuc Can painted by Maupérin, 1787, Paris, Missions Etrangères

It is still a nightmare to go to Versailles even when you have preordered tickets but maybe with the winter months, lines will get shorter. We managed to get to the head of the queue with our Friends of Versailles card and once we were inside the exhibition, « Visiteurs de Versailles, 1682-1789 », we were alone with a few guards who seemed to be there to escape the crowds. The exhibition is fabulous fun and it is the best introduction to the castle with glorious paintings of the gardens and inside at the time of Louis XIVth.Read More

The Netherlands are full of surprises

Henry Wijnaendts, former Dutch ambassador to Paris for eight years is still having fun on his bike!

When I have two close friends who live in the same city, I consider it a sign from heaven and I have to go and visit. So my trip to the Hague was decided and it took a fabulous turn that I did not expect. Marc de Brichambaut, a judge at the International Criminal court, suggested we discover Rotterdam, the largest harbor in Europe with its 40 kms of business along the Meuse and Rhine rivers. Ambassador Wijnaendts, a close friend who had been posted for 8 years in Paris, organised a private visit of the Mauritshuis, where we were told that the girl with a pearl earring did not wear a pearl !Read More

Simone Pheulpin sculpts with folded cotton

Croissance, a cotton sculpture with the statue of Louis XVI in the background

It was a magical surprise to discover in a fairly unknown monument of the 8 th arrondissement, la Chapelle Expiatoire, a genius sculptor who uses folded cotton strips to create the most extraordinary works. When I entered the round chapel, I first thought I was seeing ceramic or light stone sculptures. The work and patience involved in folding kms of cotton are magical and these pieces are only visible until December 16 th, in square Louis XVI. Do not miss it, it is a soothing and enlightening experience.

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Leïla Menchari gives mystery and poetry to Hermès

Only Leïla Menchari would dare put a cobweb in an Hermès window

Walking into Grand Palais for the opening of the exhibition of forty years of Hermès windows by Leïla Menchari was magical. There was competing chickism at Paris Photo next door where J.P. Morgan had a private evening. I ran into Hugues Gall an old friend of Leïla Menchari, the creator of magic and Andrée Jaigu who is always on top of things. The Tunisian artist who started in 1961, was there and when I congratulated her she replied: “It was very hard work…”Read More