The day and the week after… “deconfinement”

parisdiaFashion, Happy moments1 Comment

The new glamorous Mettez shop has opened on 9 bd Malesherbes

The minute I stepped outside my house without an “Attestation de déplacement provisoire ” (authorization to walk on the street…) on May 12 th, I found new wonderful events taking place in the area. On place de la Madeleine, Mettez, the Austrian hunting shop, opened new luxurious premises which reminded me of the first Ralph Lauren shops on Madison Avenue, in the last century. The owners, father Elie Jacques Francès and son, were on the sidewalk watching a few curious customers walk in. It sells the same linen and wool jackets as before, shooting equipment and hats, but everything looks more glamorous and the space is beautiful. Read More

A recipe a week, Oeufs cocotte or scrambled eggs, always a delight

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John McPhee’s recipe of scrambled eggs with endive and avocado

In these times of deconfinement, one wants to eat very healthy and very fresh. I recommend this mix of vegetable and eggs, which have a double advantage. It takes little work and time to prepare and it is very soothing. With Oeufs cocotte tomato style, you have a full meal with no effort and here is a recipe from New South Wales of scrambled eggs with avocado and endive …Read More

“Deconfinement” and new habits

parisdiaHappy moments3 Comments

Social barrier for lunch in grand style at St Loup de Naud, photo Denys Laroche

After Germany and Italy, and 55 days later, France is “deconfining” this week and this means that we better stay home, not use the public transports, not send our children to school, and shop shop shop so as to restore the economy. A friend of mine, a great art historian, who’s never stepped foot in her kitchen, bought a Magimix steam cooker. A new life of gastronomy is opening up for her! Books are coming out again and tennis courts and golf courses are opening, provided you play only in twosomes.  Everyone wants to move to the country for good and work from their computers. Galleries and small museums are also reopening, cars are invading the streets… and traffic jams are back. Paris is buzzing, the Hermès flagship store on Faubourg Saint Honoré is also opened… Are we going to regret the quiet times? Read More

A recipe a week, skate with raspberries!

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Ray with raspberries by Joseph de Vilmorin

Joseph de Vilmorin is one of the best (home) cooks I know. Whether in Corsica or in Brussels, where he lives with his family, he always invents the most beautiful dishes. His soupe de poisson is a major event which takes all day to make after he goes fishing early in the morning. His cheese soufflés are huge and delicious, his omelette with ceps and whatever meat stew he decides to cook are so good that you know you will devour it. So when he volunteered his recipe of skate with raspberries, I was a bit surprised. It is much more “modern” than usual.Read More

“The Chiffon Trenches”, a fashion testimony with wit

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Arthur Elgort photographs André Leon Talley

“My mother loved clothes, though I am not sure she ever fully loved me” says André Leon Talley halfway through his amazing book “The Chiffon Trenches”, the history of the fashion world between Andy Warhol’s “Interview” magazine and today’s “Vogue”. This well known figure of the first rows of fashion shows, is African American and was raised in Durham, North California, by his grand mother and great grand mother. He was a “church going” kid  and was taught proper manners. He also learned French and graduated from Brown University with an MA in French litterature and an essay on Baudelaire. Jackie Kennedy and Julia Child were his inspiration. So when he eventually was hired at Vogue in New York by Grace Mirabella, he had all the right training. The book is very original because ALT always keeps his black boy’s vision on the fashion world. And he expresses personal feelings with a great voice.Read More

Louis Benech, the garden magician

parisdiaflowers and gardens12 Comments

Louis Benech and his Japanese soulmate, Kiichi Tanaka, planting Japanese camellias in l’Oise

I have been meeting gardener Louis Benech at the butcher recently, since we live at equidistance of the shop and he was so busy with new projects and a new book, that I thought it would be fun to catch up on his career. There is not a country in the western world where he has not had an interesting design. After completing a Masters in law in Paris, he started his gardening life in Great Britain at Hillier nursery and in Normandy near Lisieux, with Loel Guinness, his first job as a private gardener. The first major project was the remodeling, in 1990, of the Tuileries gardens with the late Pascal Cribier, when he slept in a hut on the premises so he could wander around at night and visualise his perspectives without any tourists.

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News from Confinement around the world

parisdiaflowers and gardens, Performing arts1 Comment

The view from Angra dos Reis, a private island which belongs to the Pitanguy family, in Brazil

A lawyer friend who lives in Brazil has sent me this picture of a paradise island, Angra dos Reis, near Paraty, south of Rio de Janeiro, which has been recorded since 1502. Turtles and peacocks seem to be sharing his daily routine… My comment on dogwoods not growing in France, has prompted many of you to send more pictures, so here they are in Belgium and in Normandy… The number of pregnancy tests bought in French supermarkets has grown significantly from + 6% on March 22, to + 37% on April 19. A great baby boom to look forward to in January 2021! Sadly friends keep leaving us but happily, more friends already extend invitations for the summer, which looks like it will be all spent in France.

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The “balustrade challenge” at the British Embassy

parisdiaarchitecture, Happy moments3 Comments

Ben Newick, head butler at the British Embassy

I have known Ben Newick, the head butler at the British Embassy in Paris, for thirty years (when Michael Jay was ambassador) and he sent me a message this week. Since the beginning of the confinement, he has attempted to clean the balustrade of the main 1850 staircase, over two landings and five flights, in what used to be the bankers Pereire‘s  house and is now the Chancery. This represents thirty five meters of gilt bronze. It takes two hours to clean one meter. This is a challenge that he dedicates to the staff at Hôpital Foch in Suresnes, where he was operated on six years ago. He has already raised 2 000€ and you can help him on this link.Read More