French Friday: Café chic

« La mode se démode, le style jamais. » - Coco Chanel

Le Bon Saint Pourçain, 10 rue Servadoni, 6th Arrondissement, Paris, Tel. (33) 01-42-01-78-24. Metro: Saint Sulpice or Mabillon.

Le Bon Saint Pourçain, 10 rue Servadoni, 6th Arrondissement, Paris, Tel. (33) 01-42-01-78-24. Metro: Saint Sulpice or Mabillon.

Those wooden chairs, that perfect shade of navy, the worn cobblestones, the handwritten menu, the romantic graffiti, the balconies and shutters, the Paris street signs - comme c’est chic!

Givenchy

March 13, 2018 (072/365)

"His are the only clothes in which I am myself. He is far more than a couturier, [Givenchy] is a creator of personality." - Audrey Hepburn 

Iconic French couturier, Hubert de Givenchy, passed away yesterday at the age of 91. Givenchy's New York Times obituary states that "Mr. Givenchy was emblematic of a generation of gentlemanly designers who established their couture houses in postwar Paris, nurturing personal relationships with customers and creating entire collections with specific women in mind." The woman with whom he had the closest relationship was, of course, Audrey Hepburn. Givenchy's designs appeared in many of Audrey's most memorable films including Sabrina, Funny Face, Charade, and How to Steal a Million -- all of which are set in Paris and all of which we watched during our recent trip. In fact, we were so enamored with Audrey and Givenchy dresses that we visited the flagship atelier and I purchased this charming book.

Hygge

January 3, 2017 (003/365)

Hygge (pronounced 'hue-gah') is a Danish word meaning "a feeling or mood that comes from taking genuine pleasure in making ordinary, every day moments more meaningful, beautiful, or special... Hygge is about being present enough to recognize and acknowledge an act, moment or feeling when the ordinary feels extraordinary." ~ Alex Beauchamp, Hygge House blog. There is no one English equivalent to the word hygge although it comprises the idea of cosiness, contentedness, and comfort in simplicity. Today, the holiday decorations are put away for another year and we return to work. Our home is clean and quiet and its Scandinavian minimalism makes me calm and content. 

Girlie

February 25, 2016 (055/366)

"A painting requires a little mystery, some vagueness, and some fantasy. When you always make your meaning perfectly plain you end up boring people." - Edgar Degas 

The same could be said for books. This week, I read The Painted Girls by Cathy Marie Buchanan. Set in Paris during la Belle Epoque, the novel commingles the stories of the real-life model for Degas’s Little Dancer Aged Fourteen and a notorious criminal trial of the same era. I enjoy historical fiction -- novels such as Luncheon of the Boating Party by Susan Vreeland (the story behind Renoir's Le déjeuner des canotiersand The Paris Wife by Paula McLean (recounting the life of Hemingway and his first wife, Hadley, in Paris in the 1920s). Yet this novel seemed go too far -- taking too many liberties, focusing more on the seedy side of the Belle Epoque, and trying to tie too many artistic, literary, and historical events. Perhaps Ms. Buchanan is emulating the naturalism of Zola's L'Assommoir, also featured in the book; or perhaps I just hoped for the softer focus of a Degas painting -- "a little mystery, some vagueness, and some fantasy."

I would argue that the same could be said about a woman, but OK, I'll confess. Beneath my classic predominantly-black uniform, beats the heart of a "girlie girl." You may recognize the subtle signs -- feminine details, signature jewelry, and bows on my shoes (almost all of them!). Although I'd never wear a pink tutu, I secretly love this pretty, pale shade. Maybe I can channel my inner ballerina with a pair of pale pink ballet flats (with bows, of course!) or maybe I'll just keep projecting my girlie sensibilities on Miss Piper!