A new glass roof for Chantilly

The new glass roof of the Galerie de peintures at Chantilly Castle

The new glass roof of the Galerie de peintures at Château de Chantilly, with Le Nôtre gardens in the back, photo M.Savart.

Nicole Garnier in front of a Corot with Chantal Millet

Nicole Garnier in front of a Corot with Chantal Millet

The occasion was festive and « the Friends of Musée Condé » in Chantilly, could be proud of themselves for having contributed to the restoration of the paintings from the famous Duc d’Aumale collection. Pierre Antoine Gatier, architect in chief of Monuments Historiques, was discussing the color of the original 1895 mural fabrics by Binant, which he managed to save. A dark red which is not cherry and not brown. Very typical of the period. « Very shabby chic » as someone said, not glitzy at all and very Chantilly.Read More

Alexander McQueen takes a revenge

In the Romantic gallery a fabulous coat with goose wethers painted in gold

In the Romantic Gothic gallery, a fabulous coat (center)  made of goose feathers painted in gold

« London is where I was brought up, it’s where my heart is and where I get my inspiration » writes Alexander Mc Queen at the entrance of the exhibition of the V&A in London. I had seen the show previously at the Metropolitan Museum in 2011 but felt it would be more meaningful in London, and it was… The crowds are similar, some of the dresses too (there are 66 more in London) but there is something crazy and elegant about this new show that made me run back and forth for a couple of hours to try and understand this genius of couture who died tragically at 40 after having worked on Savile Row, succeeded John Galliano at Givenchy in 1996 and created his own house.

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Back to youth at la Géode

Géode jour

Inside this dome is a 400 seat theatre with a 180° screen and many dreams.

A fabulous sound system and a 1 000 square meter screen for very special films in 70 mm ! This is what the Géode, an Imax movie theatre, is all about since it was inaugurated 30 years ago in La Villette, in the Northern part of Paris.Read More

And let them have a fête!

The fabulous lounge of Cinema du Panthéon

The fabulous lounge of Cinéma Le Panthéon

Frédérique Bredin with Jack and Monique Lang

Frédérique Bredin with Jack and Monique Lang. photo Farida Brechemier


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Bertrand Tavernier, the director, with Jean Pierre Marielle. photo Farida Brechemier


The evening at Cinéma Le Panthéon was fun and seeing Jean Rochefort, Jean Pierre Marielle and Bertrand Tavernier celebrate their producer, Michelle de Broca, was a moving moment of cinema. At the invitation of Frédérique Bredin, President of CNC, Centre national du Cinéma, they were all celebrating forty years of movie making with the screening of a historical film « Que la Fête commence » set in France and Britany just after Louis XIV th’s death. But also remembering a time when actors were having a ball on each film they shot. Especially those actors ! And former culture minister Jack Lang, was as gracious as ever, talking about Frédérique Bredin who started her career at his ministry and his current project, IMA, the Institut du Monde Arabe, and Woody Allen’s recent visit there with his daughters.Read More

Treasures of sand and fire


Lino Tagliapietra vase, 1993, photo Jean Tholance


Hu vase, China, 1736-1796, Photo Jean Tholance

It is hard to make a choice among the 600 pieces of glass that are exceptionnally exhibited at the Galerie Rivoli of Musée des Arts Décoratifs. This attempt to illustrate the history of glass making in Venice and in France but also in China and Vienna since the Renaissance is a great success and a quiet moment to enjoy.

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A new dashing tailor

Charles Balsan shows the factory his ancestor started in 1864, in Chateauroux

Charles Balsan shows the factory his ancestor started in 1864, in Chateauroux


The Dormeuil tweeds are wonderful.

It is an amazing come back for Charles Balsan who has just opened a men’s tailoring shop, at 122 bd Haussmann, next door to the shop his father used to run thirty years ago. Balsan was born and raised in a textile factory, his family owned since 1864, when his great grandfather Pierre Balsan bought the Manufacture royale de Chateauroux. Originally from the Cévennes, a mountainous region of Central France, the family has always developed the manufacturing of woolen drapes since 1675. And he still remembers his grandparents boarding the ship to Argentina to find the best sheep or the smell of wet wool around the factory when he came home from school.

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When a classicist becomes a bestselling writer


The dagger, a six to eight inches long iron blade is leaf shaped.

Barry Strauss is the only Classicist I know (with the late Jacqueline de Romilly) who is also a best selling writer. His 15th book, « the Death of Caesar » (Simon and Schuster) hit the top of the Amazon’s bestselling list for European history. I knew Barry at Yale, when he was already a very brilliant (and very modest) PHD student and I was always surprised to hear him actually « talk » in latin. In France, greek and latin are « dead » languages and we never speak them.

A great specialist of battles, Strauss brings his students from Cornell’s History department which he chairs, to battlefields in France, Greece and Italy and Belgium. And so, when his Spartacus came out in French, we had a chance to discuss this new book on Caesar’s death.

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Fitzwilliam and Bourdelle strike a new friendship


Thomas Gainsborough, Heneage Lloyd and his sister Lucy from the Fitzwilliam Museum.

Jane Munro, curator of paintings and drawings at the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge, speaks perfect French and travels to Paris often. She found it totally natural, after spending six years of her life researching artists mannequins in paintings, to offer Musée Bourdelle the exhibition she had curated in Cambridge. Amélie Simier, took it on for the reopening of her museum devoted to sculptor Antoine Bourdelle and his studio. The result is a fun, quirky, unusual show where Courbet paintings flirt with Gainsborough and de Chirico with Kokoschka.Read More