British bliss in Gloucestershire

The Temple at Stancombe overlooks the most romantic garden, photo Nic Barlow


Flying to Heathrow and being welcomed by an immigration officer as tough as if I was an undocumented Mexican trying to enter the US was not a good surprise but as soon as I was on the M4 driving west into the sunset, I felt blissfully happy. At Stancombe Park, Gloucestershire, a magical garden with an 19 th century Greek revival temple was awaiting me. And so started my private tour of British gardens.Read More

Summer (Duvelleroy) fans are in!

Portrait of Mrs Duvelleroy, 1905, by Louise Abbéma. The yellow of her dress has inspired the new owners for the shop decoration

The adventure started in 2010 when two clever Parisian school friends decided to buy the Duvelleroy fan brand which was asleep. They revived it so well and developed so methodically both couture accessories and ready to wear or paper fans, that they are now able to celebrate 190 years of Duvelleroy fan making.Read More

Charles Kaiser, in translation

Writer Charles Kaiser was in Paris for the publication of his book “The Cost of Courage” in French

Eighteen months after the US publication of his major biography of the Boulloche family, “The Cost of Courage“, Charles Kaiser was in Paris for the book signing of the French translation, “Le Prix du Courage” published by Le Seuil. And it was incredibly moving to see the descendants of heroic resistants celebrate an American writer who helped them remember.Read More

Texas architect Frank Welch has left us

Dallas architect Frank Welch in 2003

The Dean of Texas architecture, Frank Welch, has died at 90 last Friday, June 23. He was the author of two books, « On becoming an architect » that he published two years ago, and another on « Philip Johnson in Texas » in 2000, whom he admired. I will remember him as a true Gentleman who loved Paris and France, good life and his two daughters, Liz and Woo. He was surrounded by affectionate admirers till the end of his life. He will be missed.Read More

Olga Klokhlova, Mrs Picasso

Olga Pensive, hiver 1923, Pastel and pencil on paper, Musée National Picasso, Paris

Olga Khokhlova met Pablo Picasso in Rome in 1917 when she was dancing for Serge de Diaghilev in the “Ballets Russes” and he had been asked by Jean Cocteau to paint the decors for « Parade » on Erik Satie’s music and Leonie Massine’s choreography. They were married a year later with Max Jacob, Guillaume Apollinaire and Jean Cocteau as best men. At the same time her aristocratic family was the victim of Lenin’s revolution in St Petersburg. The exhibition at Musée Picasso in Paris is gripping and drama is around every corner.Read More

Le Lude, a modern days fairy tale castle and now a book!

At Le Lude, garden and castle form one splendid world since Barbara de Nicolaÿ took over Photo Eric Sander/l’Esprit d’un château:Le Lude/Flammarion

When I was a little girl, my mother used to drive me to the « Sons et lumière » of Château du Lude, a fairy tale castle in the Sarthe, between le Mans and Tours. We always stopped at Malicorne, a faïence manufacture where we watched artists paint tea cups and plates by hand. At the time, Pia d’Orléans Bragance, Comtesse de Nicolaÿ, had to deal alone with a huge castle after the premature death of her husband. The villagers offered to help her create a historical show and that was what Le Lude was known for.Read More

Troyes a city to (re)discover

Maurice Marinot, Intérieur, 1906, Donation Pierre et Denise Lévy

The medieval city of Troyes, in Champagne, is conveniently located on the A5 motorway that takes you from Calais to Provence or from Belgium to Burgundy. It has therefore found a new touristic role in recent years under the impulse of its handsome mayor François Baroin. I have to admit I went there recently for the first time and was mesmerized. With three major museums and four oustanding churches, it is an attractive stop over. AND on top of it, the food is fabulous with a specialty of Andouillette.Read More

52, a number to remember

Rhubarbe confite/compoté, financier, glace café

Thank God for my nieces who introduce me to their young world ! After tasting three different expensive, pretentious and bad restaurants recently, I had the most delicious lunch at « 52 », a new spot on Faubourg Saint Denis which replaced a butcher shop. The owner Charles Compagnon, is himself worth the visit: he lives upstairs above the restaurant with his German wife and children.

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