Morvan, Aveyron, Berry, a precious trip through la France profonde

parisdiaArt, flowers and gardens7 Comments

Espalion is a pretty town in Northern Aveyron near Laguiole with a huge market on Fridays

There is nothing I love most than getting into my small car and driving away from Paris. This time, I got really lucky and managed to see areas totally unknown to me like the Morvan (South of Vézelay) in Burgundy, and the north of Aveyron, along the Lot valley. I had a chance to compare Charolaises and Aubrac cows, the Autun cathedral, the Chartreuse in Villefranche de Rouergue  and Conques’ abbey with its stern Soulages stained glass. And to taste such specialties as aligot and farçou. I even spent a night in a hotel for 20 €, which was full of interesting travellers. Here is the itinerary to heaven.

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Philippe Apeloig, a graphist with many facets

parisdiaArt, Books, History3 Comments

Philippe Apeloig in his studio of the 9 th arrondissement © Alfredo Salazar

As we learn that French American singer and dancer, Joséphine Baker, will enter the Panthéon on November 30 th for her actions in the Resistance, another event will put this former church, turned pantheon by the revolutionaries on April 4, 1791, on the map.  On the nights of September 16-18, it will be illuminated with photographs of the dark commemorative plates of all the people who disappeared in Paris between 1939 and 1945 but also of all the resistants who helped save them. And Joséphine’s plate on 40 rue Pierre-Fontaine in the 9 th is part of it. This installation was conceived by typographer and artist Philippe Apeloig, born in 1962, who has always been obsessed with letters and signs. “Ces murs qui nous font signe” (these walls which call to us) will be a “typographical voyage”. This exhibition follows his book “Enfants de Paris, 1939-1945” where 1200 commemorative plates are photographed in situ,  published by Gallimard in 2018. Read More

Giacometti loved Egyptian art

parisdiaArt2 Comments

Bust of an ancestor “Larary”, 19th-20th dynasties (1295-1069 BC), limestone, Musée du Louvre

I could not go to Fondation Maeght (until November 14) nor to Monaco (until August 29) to visit the two major Alberto Giacometti exhibitions but went to Paris’ Institut Giacometti near Fondation Cartier in the 14 th, where his love for Egypt is illustrated. The house, where his studio and library are recreated, is an intimate and precious place. Until October 10, you can see his drawings and the Egyptian inspiration for some of his sculptures and lamps. A new interesting perspective on his prodigious work.Read More

The reopening of La Samaritaine is a non event

parisdiaarchitecture, Fashion14 Comments

Since the view is reserved to hotel guests, a video of the Seine is shown on the top floor of the shop: how depressing does this get?

I was not disappointed because I did not expect much. The new La Samaritaine is in a similar way as Le Bon Marché, a luxury store for famous brands with no spirit and no imagination, it is managed by the DFS group, duty free shopping. “Tout ça pour ça” as we say I French after more than 800 millions € spent over a period of sixteen years! There are (ten) eateries on most floors and in every corner and none of them is appealing. The worst, Voyage, populated with ugly customers on the top floor under the original decor, is just depressing. Where is the charm of Le Toupary, the beautiful terraced restaurant with a view over the whole of Paris, which was decorated by the whimsical Hilton McConico and affordable for everyone to try?Read More

At Château d’Oiron “Le grand Bazar” reigns.

parisdiaArt2 Comments

Château d’Oiron was built in the 16 th century with a fabulous gallery painted to the glory of King François I

Jean Hubert Martin has accustomed us to strange titles for his exhibitions. He is famous for having curated “Les Magiciens de la Terre” on African contemporary art, at Centre Pompidou in 1989. The latest show, in 2016 at Grand Palais, assembled 185 artworks from all times and styles and was called “Carambolage“, car crash or collision. Before opening a large exhibition at the Pushkin museum in Moscow next November and another one at Musée d’art et d’histoire, MAH, in Geneva next year, he has prepared a summer show at Château d’Oiron. This Renaissance castle between Angers and Poitiers, for which he already constituted a strong collection of contemporary art almost thirty years ago, is showing “Grand Bazar“, a choice of works from Antoine de Galbert‘s private collection and a title inspired by Istanbul’s Bazaar. It is in line with Oiron’s permanent installation, is sometimes frightening and disgusting, often surprising, always clever and very  pleasing to the eye.Read More

Ile de Ré is in top cultural form

parisdiaArt, Fashion, Restaurants & Hotels11 Comments

The famous black and white spear of Saint Etienne de Ré is visible from 20 kms at sea

The magical Ile de Ré acquired a bridge in 1988 and since then, it is easily linked to La Rochelle and even more popular than before. There is great social rivalry between Les Portes, at the extreme end of the island, and Ars five miles away, a bit like East Hampton and Southampton in the summer. But in the end, lunch or dinner parties reunite everyone even if you live in Saint Clément. And the general tendency is simple life on the huge beaches, biking everywhere and of course, gossiping. I was lucky to be hosted by Jérôme Dumoulin, a writer and former journalist, who is deputy mayor in charge of culture at Ars-en-Ré and grew up there. His profound knowledge of the territory and his devotion to promoting the patrimony of the island made all the difference…Read More

In Saint Quentin, there are many surprises!

parisdiaarchitecture, Art8 Comments

The door to Buffet de la Gare is closed unless you try hard to force it

The town of Saint Quentin, an hour and a half North East of Paris (70 minutes by train), is one of the places that I had wanted to visit for many years and I never managed the time to do so. It is famous for two things: the Musée Antoine Lécuyer with pastels by Maurice Quentin de La Tour, 1704-1788, and the 1929 Buffet de la gare, the train station restaurant, which is now sadly closed to the public but can be visited with a guide through the Office du Tourisme. The town, founded by the Romans, used to be a main center for the trade of linen and fabric and took the name of Saint Quentin after a Christian martyr who died in 287 AD. It was bombarded by the allies during WWI and had to be entirely rebuilt in the 1920’s. One counts 3 000 Art decos façades today. It is now quite gloomy and owes its relative fame to former mayor Xavier Bertrand, who is presently President of the Hauts de France region and is running for 2022’s Presidency of France.Read More

At Villa Savoye, furniture is exhibited by Mobilier National

parisdiaarchitecture, furniture5 Comments

Villa Savoye is celebrating its 90 th anniversary with an exhibition of furniture lent by Mobilier National

If, like me, you have long wanted to visit Le Corbusier’s Villa Savoye in Poissy near Paris, but never took yourself to doing it! you now have a good excuse: to see the pieces of modern future lent by Mobilier national. The famous house feels a little bit more lived in thanks to these “young visitors” and its worn out walls and terraces suddenly make sense. I spotted a lovely rocking chair by Richard Peduzzi, folding armchairs by Peter Toby Schummer and a very pleasing lounge chair made in 1968 by Pierre Paulin. And of course the series of chairs produced by Cassina which are replicas of Le Corbusier, Jeanneret and Charlotte Perriand’s swivel chair, sling chair and sofas from 1928.Read More