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

François 1er attracts Dutch artists to the Louvre

After Gauthier de Campes, Fourth piece of tenture de Saint Rémi, 1531, wool, silk, silver and gold threads, (detail) reims, Musee Saint Rémi

French Renaissance King, François Premier, is well known for having brought Leonardo da Vinci to to his court in Amboise and the most magnificent Italian painters such as Francesco Primaticcio or Rosso Fiorentino to Fontainebleau. It is less well known that he also attracted painters from the north, Jean Clouet from Valenciennes, Noël Bellemare from Antwerp and Corneille from the Hague.Read More

Les Diables au thym, my new cantine

Leeks “crayon” braised with shells and truffle vinaigrette

The first time I tasted Eric Lassauce’s cooking was at a friend’s house across the street from his restaurant, Les Diables au thym, on 35 rue Bergère, in the 9 th arrondissement. The whole dinner was delivered as we were progressing and I still remember the côte de veau with carrots that we ate. Never had I tasted such a beautiful veal. So when the same friend, also called Eric, invited me to lunch, I went with real eagerness. I had Foie gras de canard which was excellent with its nut bred, and he had the Poireaux crayon, a very original way of cooking leaks.Read More

Magical Genoa in 36 hours

On the top floor of Palazzo Rosso, frescoes and trompe l’oeil. The palazzo was given by its owner Duchess de Galliera to the town and it is now a museum

The occasion was the wedding reception for Serena Cattaneo Adorno with Thomas Repelski and I would not have missed this long coveted visit to Genoa for anything! On the 75 mn flight from Paris, guests to the wedding conversed with Cecilia (formerly) Sarkozy, who was visiting the shipyards with her husband Richard Attias and young art collectors who wanted to see the beauty of this Mediterranean harbor, one of the most powerful in the world in the 16 th century thanks to Christopher Columbus.Read More