Petit Paris: Exhibitions

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

There are some brilliant exhibitions on in Paris at the moment, so here are my top three, which are good if you're here for Paris Fashion Week and want to look at something other than fashion, yet doesn't steer too far from the path.

I went to a private view at the Jeu de Paume on Monday night to celebrate the launch of their new photography shows: Adrian Paci and Laure Albin Guillot. Laure Albin Guillot's work was particularly interesting as she was ahead of her time. She was a successful female photographer working in the early 20th century, who made a name for herself in the 20s with her classical nudes. But it was her studies of micrography or 'Micrographie decorative' that brought her international recognition. Inspired by Japonism she photographed microscopic preparations and framed many of them in lacquered wood to create decorative art. A series of these are lit up in the gallery and look more like beautiful paintings or even small stained-glass windows than photographs.

As her career developed she moved into a more commercial realm, began working with fashion photography, was appointed director of both the photographic archives of the national Beaux-Arts authority and the Cinematique Nationale, and she published a book on photography in advertising, one of the only books of its kind produced by a French photographer at the time - no mean feat considering she was a woman working in a male-dominated profession.

British artist, Linder Sterling, who began making art in the 70s inspired by punk music, was wearing meat dresses long before Lady Gaga as a feminist protest against men. The Musee d'Art Moderne is hosting her first retrospective, 'Femme/Object' - a collection of 200 of her collages that she made by tearing images from pornographic and women's housekeeping and beauty magazines. Her work got her noticed by the fashion industry and couple of years ago she collaborated with Richard Nicoll on a performance art that was captured on film by Linder's friend, acclaimed fashion photographer, Tim Walker.

The last one I wanted to mention is Mannequin: Le Corp de la Mode at Les Docks - an exhibition suitably (for PFW) all about models, the history of their profession and their role in fashion. It brings together nearly 120 images dating back to the beginning of the 19th century up until modern day. Amongst the photos are famous images shot by Helmut Newton, Juergen Teller and Guy Bourdin.

Kate Moss by Corinne Day, 1990

Morning Monday

Monday, 25 February 2013

This weekend was all about food and drink, again...

+ I had drinks with friends on Friday night at La Perle in the Marais
+ Rearranged our living room to accommodate my new desk that we picked up for a bargain price from a woman in Vernon. I will post photos soon, when I've perfected my work space
+ Cooked garlic butter prawns Saturday night
+ Made a massive traditional English chicken roast with all the trimmings for 12 people on Sunday. Here's the polaroid I took, which is admittedly a bit dark, but you get the idea.

+ Then watched Ted Sunday night, which I thought was pretty stupid, but light entertainment - good for post-roast watching.

So like most Mondays, today was a struggle to get up. I wish I was one of those people that leapt out of bed on a Monday morning, but it's never going to happen. I'm just not a morning person. So here's a few words of encouragement:

C'est le weekend!

Friday, 22 February 2013

Have lovely weekends!

French Fashion Icons

Friday, 22 February 2013

I don't want to join in on the fashion blogger debate that's been rife this past week, since Suzy Menkes wrote her article entitled, The Circus of Fashion for the New York Times, but what I did find interesting about her piece was that she credited French fashion editors for mastering understated chic. I agree and disagree with what she says in her piece, but one thing I do agree with is that the French know how to dress well.

So I thought I'd give you a little run down of my favourite French style icons:

The inimitable coolness of the quirky looking, Lou Doillon.

Image credits [here] and [here]

               I love the simplicity of Clemence Poesy's thrown together, nonchalant style.

Image credits [here]

Then there's blogger, illustrator and photographer, Garance Dore whose relaxed style is always accessorised with camera and a beaming smile.

Image credits [here] and [here]
Ok so she's Italian, but Elina Nalin is based in Paris, so surely that must count? Described by the Telegraph as the 'perkiest girl in fashion' the Paris-based stylist knows how to wear colour. In fact I don't think I ever seen a photo of her when she's not wearing bright pops of yellows, tangerines, reds and blues. 
Images [here] and [here]
If I was to look like anyone French, it would have to be the red head, Josephine de La Baume aka Mrs Ronson. She always sports a mish-mash of patterns and colours, but has managed to master to slightly dishevelled chic. But then again this woman would look good in a bin bag.
Images [here] and [here]

Centre Commercial

Thursday, 21 February 2013

I spotted Centre Commercial on Miss Moss and couldn't not give it a mention here, as I haven't heard of it before, and it seems to sell all sorts of amazingness. Just look at the interiors below - the made-to-look unfinished walls, white wooden floors and designer lighting, and the vintage pieces dotted about the place and for sale. And then there's the simple styling. They sell lots of navajo-inspired clothes, denim, leather bags, quirky shoes, and stock brands like French/Italian knitwear brand, Maison Olga, Guatemala-born hand-made shoe brand Osborn and French label Christine Phung. Make sure you add Centre Commercial to your list of shops to visit when you're in Paris.

Petit Paris: Best Burgers

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

In a recent post I mentioned that a French friend had told me there was a new craze for all things American in Paris, a craze that has obviously spilled over into the food, and like London, burger joints are springing up all over the place. So I thought I'd give you a little run down of my favourite places to get some meat and two buns from that I've found so far. Let me know what I've missed!

La Maison Mere

La Maison Mere is a tad snooty, which could have something to do with their reputation for being a Paris Fashion Week haunt and having been featured in everything from French Vogue to Grazia (the staff are even sponsored by Levis), so don't go there on a Sunday lunchtime (let alone for dinner) without a reservation and expect to be seated. (I know, I've been turned away before). Attitude aside this diner is a good dinner spot and provides an even better brunch/hangover cure, dishing up tasty burgers - there's a whole section of the menu dedicated to the many varieties. I'd stick to the good old-fashioned cheeseburger, unless you're feeling a little adventurous, then go for the Fish Burger. If you're not sure what to have, you also have the choice of a plate of three different mini burgers.

Image credit: [here]


I had my very first Parisian burger at Loulou's, so this spot has a special place in my heart. Loulou the 'friendly diner' is as you can guess from the photo below, an American-style diner, kitted out with all American memorabilia that comes complete with an American food menu. My burger was a little on the pink side for my liking - I hadn't yet learnt the term 'bien-cuit' (French for well done) - but it delicious nonetheless and so were the chips. I think I had the Hamburger, but this place has over ten burger choices on the menu, with the option of adding extras such as chorizo and pastrami.

Image credit [here]

Hotel Amour 

Hotel Amour is a fashionable hotel and hipster haunt (what the French like to call 'Bobo') that was opened three years ago by Le Baron owners, Andre and Emmanuel Delavenne. It's, as the name suggests, situated just south of Pigalle - Paris' light district, and each room is decked out in an alluring, risqué design. But it's not the rooms I'm interested in, it's the cute bistro-style restaurant that serves up tasty burgers. And half the restaurant is sat under a giant conservatory, making it a great date destination. This is also a good place to come if La Maison Mere is booked up, as it's conveniently next door.

Image credit: [here]

Cantine California

I still haven't eaten here, but I have it on good authority that Cantine California dishes up the best burgers in Paris (I will let you know once I've tried them). Set up by an American/Canadian from San Francisco, who's married to a French woman, Cantine California is a French food truck that has brought America's street food trend to the boulevards of Paris. All the burgers are organic and are named after something American (of course) - there's 'The Dude's Burger' and the 'Cali'Classic Burger', personally I can't wait to get my chops around 'Obama's Burger AKA PanchoVilla'.

Image credit: [here]

Petit Paris

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

I'm still catching up from being away in London, so I thought I'd show you a few of the things I love about living in Paris:

No where does wrought iron balconies quite like Paris, and the windows wouldn't be French without shutters. We have them on all the windows of our flat, but they're not quite as beautiful as the ones below.

I live 10 minutes south of Sacre-Coeur and every time I walk up our street I see it perched on the hill surveying its city. At the top you have the most amazing view of Paris' rooftops.

Cafe culture is big in Paris. They don't have pubs like in London, so everyone sits out front on round tables and wicker chairs watching the world go by. The only unfortunate thing is that the French are not experts in coffee-making (despite being experts in every other culinary aspect) so if you do go to one of the traditional cafes I'd advise you against ordering a coffee (go for chocolat chaud), especially a cappuccino - you'll get a tiny cup of weak coffee with a mountain of froth on top. My advice is go to one of these that I wrote about earlier - the Aussies are slowly sneaking in and changing how Paris serves coffee, just like they did in London. Here's a great article in the FT about the burgeoning coffee trend.

What do you like about Paris?

Image credits [here]

Morning Monday

Monday, 18 February 2013

I'm finally back in Paris after a crazy week in London where I:

+ Celebrated my Dad's birthday at Lahore
+ Met my friend's (who runs The Cut London) two month old baby and her actor boyfriend
+ Had coffee at Fabrica on Kingsland Road and lunch at Look Mum no Hands
+ Celebrated the launch of issue #3 of DASH magazine with my friend Harry at the Oxo Tower then stuffed a massive slice of pizza in my mouth at Voodoo Ray's in Dalston
+ Spent Thursday in the Art Wednesday office then had dinner at The Colonel Fawcett 
+ Went to Somerset House on Friday to coordinate #LFW coverage and watch Zoe Jordan's AW13 show in the BFC show space
+ Ate dinner at Mien Tay, followed by drinks at Prague, Gary's Bar and then Manero's Friday night.
+ Had coffee at Le Pain Quotidien in St Pancras and then dragged myself onto the Eurostar.

It's great to be back in Paris, but I do need some words of encouragement this morning.

Image credit: [here]

Hello London

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

I'm off to London for a few days, be back soon. In the meantime, find me on Instagram.

Image credit [here]

Morning Monday

Monday, 11 February 2013

+ This weekend I had a hot chocolate at the Rose Bakery.
+ Bought these and these from COS, and these from Muji.
+ Had another hot chocolate at L'Etoile Manquante.
+ Listened to Twin Shadow's remix of Sky Ferreira's Everything is Embarrassing (more than once).
+ Had a girls night out and danced til 4am at Madame
+ Got green-fingered and planted these.
+ Nursed a hangover, drank more hot chocolate and then watched Liberal Arts on Sunday.

So after a pretty packed weekend, here's a little Monday morning pick-me-up:

C'est le weekend!

Friday, 8 February 2013

I'm going to be sitting in cafes, with plates of food, Carrie-style (obviously)...Bon weekends!

MEP: Joel Meyerowitz

Friday, 8 February 2013

I visited the Maison Europeeane de la Photographie in the Marais for the first time on Wednesday evening (it's free on Wednesday nights from 5-7:30pm). I went with a French friend, Philippine, who runs the So Cute So Culture blog (a good girl to know), to see a new exhibition by award-winning American photographer, Joel Meyerowitz that's on until 7th April. His photos are mesmerising - from his early black and white work on the streets of New York to his vivid portraits from the 60s onwards - he managed to beautifully document the quirks of city life. And then there are the harrowing shots of the 9/11 carnage. I was surprised to learn that he was the only photographer to be granted unrestricted access - because the firemen, workers and police insisted - to photograph 'Ground Zero' post 9/11. He spent days immersed in the aftermath and building personal relationships with the men and women involved in cleanup - the results are a sensitively captured archive of the event.

As we walked around Philippine explained that Parisians are going a little crazy for all things American - like London there are burger joints springing up all over the place (I'll do an edit of the best burgers soon), and now Paris even has its first food truck - the Cantine California, which apparently serves the best burgers in Paris, but I've yet to sample them. So the trend is obviously leaking into Paris' culture - a big Edward Hopper exhibition just finished at the Grand Palais and now there's Meyerowitz. Either way, this is one to check out - and make sure you go on a Wednesday evening if you can, to avoid paying.

Cereal Magazine

Thursday, 7 February 2013

A very special package popped into my post last week. Cereal magazine - the gorgeous Bath-produced lifestyle tome - explores food and travel (two of my favourite things) and not unlike Oregan-based Kinfolk magazine, it promotes the good life. Filled with interesting articles on well, food and travel, it's packed with simple, but beautiful styling and almost edible photography.

The first issue looks at the history of cereal (of course), different types of carrots (they aren't all orange you know), visits the Nordic Food Lab in Copenhagen - a boat-based research project that investigates Nordic cuisine, and travels to the Amalfi Coast to see the exotic Mediterranean,Villa Rufulo, home to the yearly Ravello Music Festival.

It's a gorgeous magazine, made to be kept - with articles you'll keep wanting to go back to for future reference, or when you're planning your next travels. I can't wait to sample the coffee at Copenhagen's Central Hotel & Cafe (Copenhagen has been on my city break-list for ages) or bake the Matcha Cake.

Cereal is available from Colette, OFR, System Paris and Yvon Lambert in Paris, and online from Milk & Paper.

Desk Space

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

I've been looking for the perfect desk for weeks now - I'm working from home in Paris, and the dining table just isn't doing it for me anymore. I found a gorgeous vintage one from here but sadly it was sold - although the owner does find some treasures, so I'm keeping my eyes are peeled to her blog. In the meantime here's some of my inspiration:

Image credits: 1. Artist Marina Abramovic's desk in her Soho apartment, NYC [here] 2. [here] 3. [here] 4. [here]

Image credits 5. [here] 6. [here] 7. [here] 8. [here]

Petit Paris: Concept Stores

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

You can't come to Paris without visiting a few of the city's concept stores. So here are my top five:

I think I visited Merci every time I came to Paris last year (which was a lot). Merci is a mecca for the style-conscious wanting to live in well-designed surroundings. I could spend hours in there browsing the clothes, flicking through the stationary and perusing the kitchenware, and then heading into one of the cafes for tea and cake. In fact I might ask if I can move in.

Image credit [here]
Wait is a vintage-style concept store from the founders of sunglasses brand, Waiting for the Sun, with a space that feels like you're walking into someone's living room. Complete with large sofa, rugs and wooden beams, it's actually their headquarters and office that they've fashioned into a shop, selling surfboards, bags, fragrances and vintage ware. The main thing that caught my eye was the vitage side-board and globe, which are very similar to the ones I have at home.

Image credit [here]
The Space was set up by two Brits - one of the girls inherited the shop from her grandmother, who was gifted the property by Elizabeth Taylor no less. It's a cosy store, with an old-world feel to it (see piano) and is perfect for magpies seeking out new treasures.

Image credit [here]

BABEL is Paris' newest concept store - it opened just after Christmas next to Canal Saint Martin in the 10th arrondissement - Paris' Bobo area (a bit like the capital's Dalston). With two large floor-to-ceiling windows, it's not unlike Merci Merci in style, but sports a slightly cosier feel with candles burning and armchairs dotted about. The owner, Vanessa Doger also teamed up with Taiwan-born Chen Costya, of 37m2 fame who is serving up Bubble Tea, a local Taiwanese drink made of tea mixed with fruit and milk, and pastries from Zen Zoo.

Image credit: Babel
I can't make a list of Parisian concept stores without mentioning the uber cool Colette that's a Paris Fashion Week favourite. The three-storey shop is Paris' most famous concept store and houses a cafe, small gallery space with a monthly rotation of exhibitions, books and music, and a cherry-picked selection of designs by brands such as Band of Outsiders, Carven, Maison Martin Margiela and Simone Rocha.

Image credit: Colette

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