A witty lunch at the French Academy

 

Hugues Gall, President of Giverny was presenting the book over lunch

Hugues Gall, Director of Giverny was presenting the Monet book before lunch

It’s always impressive to have lunch at the French Academy, one of the most fabulous 17 th century building, designed  by Louis Le Vau along the Seine, and when you are invited by Academician Hugues Gall, the witty and charming Director of Giverny (who was born in Honfleur!) it is even more exciting. The excuse for gathering twenty guests in the salon Vuillard, was the presentation of a new book published jointly by Giverny and Alain de Gourcuff on Monet’s private art collection. And it was fun !Read More

Bistro Volnay is excellent again

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Saint Nectaire cheese with mushrooms and cacao powder

I was introduced to Bistro Volnay, on rue Volney, by a friend who used to live at Hotel Park Hyatt Vendôme, in the back of it. It had become his “cantine” and I profited from it. He has left the hotel and the bistro has changed hands, but we went back anyway, on pilgrimage. And it was a great success.
The beautiful and quiet decor has not changed. The host, Philippe Marques, a sommelier trained at Lucas Carton and Prince de Galles hotel, is delightful and knowledgeable as is his deputy who recommended a fabulous white wine from the Vallée du Rhone, Saint Péray, les Pins from Domaine Gripa.

The two sommelier who run the place are knowledgeable and understanding or customers tastes

Philippe Marques and Oliver Bury, two sommeliers who are knowledgeable and understanding of customers’ tastes

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Popelini, a very light sin

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Behind the counter at Popelini, fifteen different kinds of cream puffs

Having lunch with a very thin friend, who eat nothing, is always a little frustrating for me and after resisting taking a dessert after two big dishes, I ran to three different galleries including the very pretty « Laubiès » exhibition at galerie Alain Margaron, and the classic and excellent « Arman » show at Galerie Templon. This strenuous afternoon made me completely vulnerable to the cream puffs of Popelini, a shop I had never spotted before on rue de Turenne. `They are small enough that you don’t feel sinful, yet they are large enough to give you a shot of sugar on a busy aternoon.Read More

Barcelo, a big surprise

A detail of "verre de terre", 195m x 6 m at Grande Bibliothèque

A detail of “verre de terre”, 195m x 6 m at Grande Bibliothèque

Majorcan artist, Miquel Barcelo is one of my favorite artists. In 1987, I was given one of his first etchings of a boat and have been looking at it every day, since. It is briliant. There are two exhibitions of his in Paris at the moment. One, in the cellar of Musée Picasso, shows a large painting and wonderful pots made on his island of Majorca. The other one at Bibliothèque François Mitterrand is completely striking.Read More

Emmanuelle Pirotte wins Prix Edmée de la Rochefoucauld

The author Emmanuelle Pirotte and two membersof the jury, Marie Eugénie de Pourtalès and Viviane de T'serclaes.

The author Emmanuelle Pirotte (right) and two members of the jury, Marie Eugénie de Pourtalès and Viviane de T’serclaes.

It was one of those magical days, where the sun shines through the luxurious paneled rooms of Cercle Interallié, and the large garden was revealing its first daffodils and primroses. In Salon duc de Luynes, a small group of chic ladies (and a few gentlemen) were meeting for the Prize giving ceremony of Prix Edméee de la Rochefoucauld, dedicated to best first novel. The winner, Emmanuelle Pirotte, a Belgian screen writer, whose father Jean Claude Pirotte was a famous poet and novelist, is not only very « sympathique ». She is a briliant narrator and her book « Today we live » (an English title for a book in French) is lively, captivating and mostly a fantastic psychological frescoe.Read More

Two Rembrandts for the price of one

Maerten Soolmans and Oopjen Coppin, by Rembrandt will remain together forever

Maerten Soolmans and Oopjen Coppin, by Rembrandt, will remain together forever

Since March 10 th, you can see at the Louvre, two portraits « en pied » (full-length) of Maerten Soolmans and his wife Oopjen Coppit painted by Rembrandt in 1634. This little miracle is due to a very ingenious cooperation between the Rijksmuseum in The Hague, and the Louvre in Paris. The Dutch bought the man, the French bought the lady. Some French curator friends have already told me that the Dutch got the better deal because the lady is not painted as well…Read More

From Budapest to the Luxembourg

St Dorothy, sculpture on wood, 1410

St Dorothy, Hungarian sculpture on wood, 1410-1420. This medieval sculpture has a  Japanese gracefulness.

The first four rooms of Musée du Luxembourg probably reserve the most aesthetic shock you can get in Paris today. They are devoted to medieval and 16 th century collections of the Budapest Art Museum. And the small building in the Luxembourg gardens next to the Senate, is a perfect jewel box, for these exceptional paintings and sculptures selected from the 600 pieces of Prince Esterhazy’s collection.

Albrecht Dürer, Portrait of a young man, 1500-1510, Musée des Beaux Arts, Budapest

Albrecht Dürer, Portrait of a young man, 1500-1510, Musée des Beaux Arts, Budapest

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“Moura”, a true adventuress

Kay Francis played Moura 's part in Michael Curtiz's film "British agent" based on her love story with Lockhart

Kay Francis played Moura’s part in Michael Curtiz’s film “British agent” based on her love story with Lord Lockhart

For her eleventh book, French novelist Alexandra Lapierre has picked the most extravagant and moving Russian heroin and has traveled around Europe, Estonia and Russia for three years, digging into archives, secret service files from England, France, Germany and Russia, and aristocrat’s clubs. The life of Moura Benckendorff, who lived through the Russian Revolution, loved Gorki, H.G. Wells and a charming British diplomat, Robert Bruce Lockhart, is one of her most achieved novels.Read More