Chez Marthe, a very moderate bistrot near the Bastille

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Grilled gambas with ginger cream

A dear friend who lives near the Bastille in trendy Paris, always takes me to nice restaurants and we had  fun over lunch at Chez Marthe, near rue de la Roquette. The service was delightful, the food mostly great and the bill extremely moderate (25 € each with coffee but no dessert) for lunch. The only drawback was the noisy ambiance but we did have two large tables of guests next to us… The owners also run the restaurant across the street “Papa Poule” which is larger and even cheaper…Read More

Stephen Shore’s photographs, from vehicular to vernacular

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Bellevue, Alberta, August 21, 1974

Clément Chéroux, director of Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson was quite funny when he gave us the title of the new exhibit he curated: “From Vehicular to Vernacular”. What he meant is that Stephen Shore and he chose pictures from the huge sum of shots by the American photographer (b. 1947), which had all been taken from a vehicle or more recently by a drone. This is his first exhibition in Paris in 19 years. A hundred images shot between 1969 and 2021, which are in black and white at first and explode into multiple colors later. “American Surfaces” and “Uncommon Places” are two of his most famous series characteristic of his “Americanness” and his taste for useful and popular vernacular topics. Read More

At Chimay, music reigns in the heart of Prince Philippe and Princesse Françoise

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The theater at Château de Chimay is inspired by Louis XVth’ theater in Fontainebleau

I had not been so moved by a concert in a private theater since I heard Natalie Dessay sing “the Queen of the night” aria at Château de Groussay in 2004… Last week, the occasion was the Royal Chamber orchestra of Wallonie performing Salieri, Mozart and Haydn in the ravishing theater of château de Chimay, in the South of Belgium. And Prince and Princesse de Chimay were hosting a group of friends a well as 150 members of the public who attend the concerts every month. This has to be the best kept secret in the music world! And I really loved Vahan Mardirossian‘s conducting, as well as soloists Jean Fréderic Molard at the violin and the alto Anne Pingen, who is quietly retiring after 42 years in the orchestra! Read More

Jardins Jardin celebrates its 20 th anniversary at Villa Windsor

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Villa Windsor, built in 1924, is being restored by Fondation Mansart

Everyone at “Salon Jardins, Jardin” was curious to discover the villa in the Bois de Boulogne where the Duke and Duchess of Windsor lived when in exile after the King’s abdication. The house was built in 1924 and served briefly from 1945 to 1946 as residence to General de Gaulle and his family. It was also rented for a while by the city of Paris which owns it, to Mohamed Al Fayed in the 1990’s and his dream was for Princess Diana and his son Dodi to move in there permanently. It has been empty since their death and is now being restored by Fondation Mansart, which was founded in 1983 by the Raindre family to preserve the château de Maintenon with the conseil général d’Eure et Loire. Its President, Albéric de Montgolfier (who used to be Conseiller général) is very active with its board of which Isaure and Vanessa Raindre are members: they have recently restored the Trianon de Bagatelle, also in the Bois de Boulogne. Read More

The Deyrolle Prize uncovers Béatrice Meunier’s great talent

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“Passages”, from the series “Habiter la forêt” (living in the forest), 2023

Every year the taxidermist Deyrolle awards a prize for paintings of nature, exhibited at Salon des Beaux Arts and organises a show in their magical shop of rue du Bac. This year Béatrice Meunier-Déry won, with her amazing drawings made with a felt pen O,O3  and a magnifier. Born in the French Ardennes, Béatrice studied architecture before devoting all her time to drawings and sculpture. For these works, she is at her desk for six hours non stop, and lets her imagination travel. She works from Roubaix where she shares a studio with fourteen other artists and will exhibit “Nam Khas, The People of women clouds” at Musée International du costume et du Masque in Binche, Belgium, next July 5 to January 7. Read More

Coco Chanel, Rudolf Nureev, two great essays!

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Two orignal books on very well known characters

A small excellent publishing house Calype for Coco Chanel “A life behind the brand” by Jean Lebrun, and an established one Plon for “Le Crépuscule d’un Dieu” by Michel Canesi are proofs that even the most written about stars can be describe  in a new way. These two huge figures of the XX th century both died in early January twenty two years apart.  Jean Lebrun had won the Goncourt prize for biography in 2015 for “Notre Chanel“, a story of the houses where the couturière had lived intertwined with his personal life. This time he focuses on her Russian connections around the Ballets Russes and Diaghilev, her adventurous love life and her wartime activities. “Le Crépuscule d’un Dieu”, a pond on Wagner’s Götterdämmerung, is the story by Michel Canesi, Rudolf Nureev‘s doctor and friend for eleven years, of the dancer’s long fall after he was infected with Aids. Both books are intimate, speak of the importance of Russian ballet in Paris, are full of anecdotes and written in a witty way. Both have black and white covers.Read More

Rupert Shrive at Galerie Hoang Beli

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Rupert Shrive with “Infinity triptych”, oil on linen, 2023,  which can be moved around indefinitely

Nor far from Centre Pompidou where the Donation Ilya and Emilia  Kabakov was being shown, I discovered a new very pretty gallery Hoang Beli on rue Chapon, which was recently opened by John Hoang, a Vietnamese Singaporean young accountant who loves art. This month he exhibits English eccentric artist, Rupert Shrive, who pushed his statue of Balzac by foot all the way to Saché near Tours, last year in March, and has developed a technique of crushed paintings on metal. The theme of the exhibition “Speaking Volumes”  is of famous paintings in all sizes. And it is incredibly poetic.

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Sports at Petit Palais, roses in Chantilly, music by the Garde Républicaine what a life!

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Two months ahead, place de la Concorde is already closed to pedestrians

Yes the nightmare has started and every single Parisian I meet says: “I am moving to the country for the summer”… When the bus 84 from Saint Sulpice dropped me off at Assemblée Nationale and said it was turning back, I started to understand that life in the next six months would not be the same. The same happened when after a very nice lunch at Hotel e Crillon, I took the subway at concorde, just below and found out that line 12 to rue du Bac was closed until October? what a disaster… Last night, a friend of mine paid 50 € (normally 20€) in taxi fare to get to the Ranelagh from the Louvre, because all the bridges were closed and traffic jams were huge. So the exhibition “Le Corps en mouvement” at Petit Palais will be hard to access… but remains open all summer.  For the opening they invited a few charming Olympic athletes who picked their favorite sculptures and posed for a picture. Sports and the arts, what could be more flattering?  It is a nice way to get the public into the museum (which is free) and outline the numerous sports paintings and objects they have like the swimmer by Augustin Rouart (bequeathed by his son Jean Marie) or Emile Bracquemond‘s porcelaines offered as a prize in the 1924 Olympics.Read More