At Centre Pompidou Metz, the world of Michel Leiris.

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“Clinamen” by Céleste Boursier-Mougenot, the artist representing France at the Venice biennale and who can also be seen at Palais de Tokyo

« It is through modern art that I discovered « art nègre » at 20, and eventually became an ethnologist » says, Michel Leiris (1901-1990).

Michel Leiris photographed by Man Ray, 1930

Michel Leiris photographed by Man Ray, 1930

who is the focus of an exhibition of 350 works at Centre Pompidou Metz. He is one of those extraodinary characters who wrote poetry, went on long expeditions from Dakar to Djibouti (1931-33) while he worked at Musée de l’Homme (for almost 50 years), and surrounded himself with the most interesting painters (Picasso, André Masson, Miro, Wilfredo Lam, Giacometti, Francis Bacon…) and writers (Max Jacob and Georges Bataille).

A writer himself, he published many books on Africa whose vaudou rites he studied, (l’Afrique fantôme) and Dogons and Ethiopians, but also an autobiographical work « l’Age d‘homme ». His wife Louise Leiris was the daughter of the Kahnweiller and ran an art gallery.

Fantastic architecture by Shigeru Ban

Centre Pompidou Metz has a fantastic architecture by Shigeru Ban

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Socks, socks, socks

Vincent Metzger and Jacques Tiberghien created Meschaussettesrouges.com

Vincent Metzger and Jacques Tiberghien created Meschaussettesrouges.com

I recently mentioned to you Fromages.com which is one of the most incredible websites I have ever visited, well there is another one which you might want to use this summer if you are going walking in the Alps or shooting grouse in Scotland. « Meschaussettesrouges.com » was started with Gammarelli socks from Rome. You know the famous purple and red socks that cardinals and bishops wear to match their robes. They are sometimes nicknamed the Pope’s socks even though they do not come in white, but in black cotton and silk. It used to be that you could only buy them in the Vatican and now, thanks to Vincent Metzger and Jacques Tiberghien, two brilliant young Parisians with guts, you can buy them on line for 20€.

Hunting socks from Mazarin sports

Hunting socks from Mazarin sport

D.D. socks, Mazarin (who used to cater only to French academicians) kids and sports (beautiful hunting socks for 70€), riding socks and even comfortable Bresciani padded golfing socks for ladies. I will never have to roam Paris shops again ! and for Christmas I am thinking of indulging in vicuna or cashmere socks.

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A Northern Siren’s designs

Naja Utzon Popov with some of her sculptures

Naja Utzon Popov with some of her sculptures

At 40, Naja Utzon Popov has reached complete maturity in her art. The daughter of artist and designer Lin Utzon, and Russian Architect Alex Popov, she started in London a career of rug designer. Using her International upbringing, in Australia (where her grandfather designed the Sidney Opera), in Denmark and in Majorca, she is constantly inspired by water and nature. And not unlike her mother, she has talent in many medias.

Sculptures by Naja Utzon Popov

Sculptures by Naja Utzon Popov

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Maison Plisson, more hip than gastronomy

The Caesar salad, a safe classic

At Maison Plisson, the Caesar salad, a safe classic

There is something about Boulevard de Beaumarchais (between République and Bastille) that attracts trendy spots. The design shop « Merci » is one of them, with a nice café set in a library where one of my German friend spends her afternoons, browsing through German and English books. Maison Plisson is another recently opened « épicerie » and restaurant. The décor is nicely honey colored and the tables (very close together) remind me of a chic school cantina. There is inside and outside dining and all nationalities mingle.

Lentil salad with all the right ingredients

Lentil salad with all the right ingredients

The staff is young and disorganised but nice, and the food …well the food is ok if you stick to lentil or Caesar salad, fine if you choose the gravlax and really bad if you go for the Pizette which looks more like a heavy mix of ratatouille and cheese than the lovely thin pizza I had in mind.

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Congo art settles at Fondation Cartier

Chéri Samba, "Amour et pastèque", 1984

Chéri Samba, “Amour et pastèque”, 1984

When Fondation Cartier was created by Alain Dominique Perrin and Marie Claude Beaud in 1984, it was located in Jouy en Josas, 40 mns west of Paris and all the fashionistas of Contemporary art met there to discover the park full of statues by César or Arman and the riveting new artists. Today, it is conveniently located on boulevard Raspail in Montparnasse, on the old American Center’s property in a beautiful Jean Nouvel glass building. And in the summer, there is a special bonus, the park covered in wild grass has a little cafeteria !

the building by Jean Nouvel was inaugurated in 1994 on the former site of the american cent

The building by Jean Nouvel was inaugurated in 1994 on the former site of the American center

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Marc Voinchet, from anchor to director

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He will be 50 in December and has just been promoted Director of France Musique, the famous classical music French public radio. After 20 years at France Culture, culminating with his own morning show, Les Matins de Culture, where he had to wake up at 3.20 every day for the last 6 years, Marc Voinchet was honored with the prestigious Philippe Caloni Prize in 2013, and received the Legion of Honor. He is now in charge of revamping the radio channel which has been loosing audiences in the recent years. He has previously worked there for four years, in charge of programs and will probably use his vast cinematographic and musical culture to make this France Musique channel, the grooviest of public radio’s. He has come a long way from Toulouse, where he was born and obsessed with radio all of his childhood!

Bonne Chance, Marc!

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From technique to design

Bicycles with all sorts of uses

A Truckbicycle (right) and different foldable cycles

Musée des Arts et Métiers is one of those strange little museums that encompass the universe. When it was founded in 1794 by Abbé Grégoire, the conservatory decided to create a place « for new and useful machines ». Thus the museum was started. And you can discover there all year round, the camera of the Lumière brothers, the plane Blériot X1, on which Louis Blériot crossed the channel in 1909 and Pascal’s arithmetic machine. Another aeroplane, that of Clément Ader.Read More

“Monk with a camera”

With his grandmother Diana Vreeland at 25

Nicky with his grandmother Diana Vreeland in New York at 25

Nicholas Vreeland was born in Geneva, where his father was a diplomat and the first time he heard of Tibet was while reading « Tintin au Tibet », a comic book widely read in French speaking countries. His first holidays as a baby, were in Portofino, a very jet set Italian resort. His grandmother was Diana Vreeland, the editor of American Vogue who created the Costume Insitute at the Metropolitan Museum.  His first work experience at 15, was as an assistant to photographer Irving Penn. From Paris and Morocco, he was sent, at 13, to Groton boarding school at a time when Cecil Beaton was photographing his family. He felt very much an outsider in the United States and he developed a  passion for photography which brought him the happiness that he lacked. “Monk with a camera” is the story of his life at 60, a beautiful film with no special effects and his unique simplicity. The story of a very special destiny. Read More