Napoleon’s last visit to La Malmaison

Joséphine's red bedroom facing the beautiful park

Josephine’s red bedroom facing the beautiful park

Joséphine's white angle bedroom

Joséphine’s white angle bedroom

La Malmaison is the fairly small country house that Josephine found for Napoléon and herself in 1799 ; it is located in Rueil, a chic suburb 30 mns west of Paris. The long tree lined avenue, which used to be the main road from St Germain to Paris, leads to the charming « Consular style » house that is especially pretty in early June when the collection of ancient roses are in bloom.9780307962928

On this topic you can read the fun book by Andrea de Robilant, « Chasing the Rose » (Knopf) which describes the passion some collectors have for old roses and Joséphine was one of them.





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Indulge in softness


Broceliande sheets

If you have never tried a pair of linen or Egyptian cotton sheets, this is the time and place start. It took me about forty years to understand that and then, I got addicted. “Vis à Vis” is a fairly new shop hidden in a courtyard of Faubourg St Honoré, between Lanvin and Gucci. The atmosphere is cold and intimidating at first, but once you have asked a hundred questions to the nice saleswoman, it feels a bit warmer.

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Giverny forever

The famous pond created by Monet in a field

The famous pond created by Monet in a field

The waterlilies were not in bloom and Hugues Gall, the brilliant President of the Monet Foundation was not in town, but our day in Giverny was nonetheless scintillating. My initial desire was to visit the Degas exhibition at the Musée des Impressionismes (former American Museum) and I picked a very sunny day to drive up to Giverny (one hour from Paris). The walk from the parking to the museum is already an introduction to the mosaic of flowers that we were going to discover all day.

Houses on the sea shore

Maisons au bord de mer, pastel sur papier chamois, by Degas,© RMN-Grand Palais

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An author, a translator and a great book!

Gerald Shea with his editor Gregory Martin and his good fairy, Aurélie Delfly

Gerald Shea with his editor Gregory Martin and his good fairy, Aurélie Delfly

The Albin Michel bookstore was ready for Gerald Shea’s book signing event on boulevard St Germain. Guests were arriving, the white wine was chilled, books were piled up on a tidy table. But the author was nowhere to be seen. He had been kept at Canal Plus television, for the taping of a top Saturday night broadcast with Thierry Ardisson! where he sang “Oh what a beautiful morning” fem the musical Oklahoma and imitated President Kennedy, live.

Priscilla de Moustier, André Citroën and Anna Jarota

Priscilla de Moustier, André Citroën and Anna Jarota

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Markus Lüpertz, a talented dandy

Markus Lüpertz, a true dandy (photo Laure Martin)

Markus Lüpertz, a true dandy (photo Laure Martin)

7 - copie

Kopf, 1981

He stands wearing a black hat and a stick and speaks in slow elegant German : Markus Lüpertz was at the Museum of Modern art of the City of Paris to present his new show of 140 paintings and sculptures. He is magnificent. « I am fascinated and very happy that my work is competing today with the beauty of Paris ». The day was a stunning spring sunny clear day and the Eiffel tower was glowing in front of the museum. Read More

A café, but not

On avenue Rapp, the Café de l'Alma is near the Eiffel Tower

On avenue Rapp, the Café de l’Alma is near the Eiffel Tower

It used to be just a café when Jacques Boudon (whose family already owned « La Fontaine de Mars ») decided to do it over at the opening of Musée du Quai Branly. And he did well since it has become a classics to have lunch or dinner there after an opening of African art such as the current magnificent show of « Masters of sculpture from the Ivory Coast ».

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A very special Infante at the opera

Le Cid / Massenet - Roubaud

Annick Massis as the Infante and Sonia Ganassi as Chimène in “Le Cid” by Massenet at the Paris Opera (photo Agathe Poupeney, Opera national de Paris)


It was a grand evening of Association pour le Rayonnement de l’Opera de Paris (AROP) and Palais Garnier was looking glitzy with hundreds of guests for dinner ! The arrival of former President Valéry Giscard d’Estaing seated on the first row of the balcony, created a little stir and he seemed very concentrated on « Le Cid » the opera composed by Jules Massenet on Pierre Corneille’s verses. The King of Spain, the brave Captain and Rodrigue’s victory must have reminded him of some of his political battles !Read More

Literary dinner in London


Polly Samson with husband David Gilmour whom she writes lyrics for

Polly Samson with husband David Gilmour whom she writes lyrics for.

I was surprised and flattered to be summoned to London for a dinner party at Quo Vadis,  in honor of Polly Samson, whose latest novel « The Kindness » (Bloomsbury) is on display in every book store.Books_TheKindness
New York book publicist Lynn Goldberg, had asked me with her usual charm, to join an incredibly distinguished group of writers and publishers on the eve of the London Book Fair. Our host was Clare Conville, Samson’s literary agent, who had a few of her authors around the table. Bloomsbury’s editor in chief Alexandra Pringle, was in deep conversation with Maria Campbell, the New York queen of scouts, and George Gibson, her New York colleague, spoke passionately with his new author, whose book will be out in September in the US.

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