Sunday, November 21, 2021

Creating the November Noël letter


I usually do an Advent letter for November..but after several futile attempts, 

I gave up and went over to Le Bon Marché Rive Gauche for some inspiration and immersion. Yay! 🤸‍♂️Who doesn’t love❤️ Gingerbread men, women and kids? Granted you will not find them in Paris or all France for that matter. Here honey is the top note😬

I knew I would need a shoppers scene and took people shots outside the store.

Let the sketching ✏️ begin! I LOVE drawing people - the fun part.

Buying some so-called gingermen cookies (really just plain old iced cookies) was essential for complete immersion to take place. Eating them immediately also essential to get into the right spirit of things. Chomp, chomp

So kind of Bon Marché to sprinkle gingerbread all over their Noël catalog, which helped muchly, once I’d eaten my subject matter. Yum yum 

The upper portion of the picture was going to be an inside view of BM’s glorious multi-stairway.  FYI it is covered with icing, not snow. I had to go back for a 2nd look. Research…research.

Thanks to Bon Marché’s catalog edges I had a very nice red and white border readymade 👏👏👏

But how to connect the top half with the bottom half? Hmm…

Fortunately, on the Metro, I remembered the hanging gold glittery, stuff which included GINGERBREAD shapes! 🤸‍♂️

Voila 😊
Paris letter subscriber’s 💌are going into the mail 📮tomorrow. Or you can order a letter on Etsy. They are personalized.  
Bonne Dimanche PBers ❤️ 💋🐻 
And dear WA st. & Western Canadians stay safe 🙏
Below is Bon Marché’s top shopper.

Tuesday, November 16, 2021

La Fontaine de Mars 75007


For years I’ve wanted to eat lunch at La Fontaine de Mars on rue Saint Dominique in the 7th.

Its a terrific example of your classic red checked tablecloth Paris bistro and the ‘Top’ to boot quality-wise. A president had a date night there… I stayed in an apartment around the corner, passed it often and dreamed a little… But going on your own sometimes is daunting. 

I looked over the menu online. Always a good idea. They have a reasonable daily plat du jour/daily special(23€). Bonnie said, when they stayed in the 7th, they would go at noon Sundays and get the chicken. 

Visiter Ann was staying in the 7th.  It didn’t take much arm-twisting to convince Anne we should go for Sunday lunch. La la la la la 🤸‍♂️

I made the reservation. So easy. They were so nice. They asked did we want to sit upstairs or downstairs. Downstairs (street level) I said. They really do prefer you make reservations ahead. Its not a museum. They need to know how many baguettes 🥖  to buy. 

French restaurants open for lunch 
at noon and close at 3pm. They will not let you in, even 1 minute before.  Its so much better to cooperate and play by their rules. Once you cross the threshold, you are in their domaine. 

Being there early means you have the place to yourself and can take a good look around. Take pictures. Nice old-fashioned soap 🧼 dispensers.

When I do go into places alone, usually I know exactly what I want to eat and tell the waiter before they even bring the menu. I want them to know I won’t be causing problems or taking up too much time. Ann noticed t
he couple (spoke English too) next to us made a bit of a fuss ordering. In the end, they got exactly what they saw we were eating - the plat de jour 😊 

On Sundays, Parisians usually arrive for lunch around 
one o’clock 🕐 They like to sleep in on the weekends.

There is a very pleasant convivial feeling to Fontaine de Mars
How was the chicken you ask? We both thought it was the best chicken 🍗  we’d ever eaten.

Thank you for all your wonderful Duvet advice. My iPad (so helpful aren’t they) popped up an ad and I bought it. Yay Hooray 🍾
 If you like this post please support it by buying my Paris letters and watercolors. And do pass on to someone who might enjoy it. Happy Mardi/Tuesday dear PBers! 🍷 🍷🍷🍷🐻

Saturday, November 13, 2021

Made In France expo, MIF, Samartaine


Can you possibly get more bleu, blanc et rouge🇫🇷?

Thursday was Armistice day, the start of a 4-day bridge/pont holiday 
And 1st day of the annual MIF/Made in France salon at Porte de Versailles. Its on through Sunday. I can tell you from past experience those Nicettes caramels are to die for. I immediately ran the other direction.

I corralled S.F. visitor Ann to come along. Its always fun, interesting and full of new French products from all regions. Jane & Co. has adorable reversible 2-sided silk scarves 🧣’Jane’ is Olivia’s grandmere of course.

I’m still looking for a warm duvet/couette.  I saw only one duvet. It had organic cotton filling. Better than microfil or polyester? Qui sait? Hello, SOS 🆘 When winter comes my little chambre de bonne is like sleeping outside. Very drafty, old windows…which I know is healthy for some but not pour moi😬

I tried to hammer a seal into a bar of M.Fabre Marsailles savon/soap = too weak! The girl did it so fast and then gave me the slab 🤸‍♂️👏👏

Mauviel 1830 
copper pots probably had deals. There usually are at the salon.

This year the gastronomique section was hidden away in the back and I didnt make it :( Fortunately Mulot & Petitjean of Dijon had tons of samples of pain d’epice/honey spice bread. I bought my first nonnettes filled with onion jam from them. Yum!

We were both completely wrecked and dog-tired, but I convinced Ann she must see the new Christmas decorations at Samartaine

The carrot 🥕 on the stick’was tea ☕️ at Paticcerie Cova. But once we got inside Ann was thrilled.

Me too😊 Samartaine’s Advent calendar mirrors the escalators. What’s inside all the little drawers all tightly sealed shut? The bench is a witty design for social distancing. 

There is a new l’Exclusive tea salon with specially designed cakes from Dalloyau on floor -1. Their Büche de Noël is already available (see patterned cake). Most pastry shops don’t have them till late November, early December Grande Epicerie told me today.

Do you love to browse French perfumes (also on floor -1). Pretty new packaging for Noël from Dior. 

Every year its a conundrum. Paris’ Christmas windows and decorations begin as soon as November 5. Its hard to hold back all the goodies till post-Thanksgiving. This year, for a change, I want to kick up my heels 👠 and share the holiday🎄 excitement as soon as I experience it. What do you think 🤔 ?
If you like this post please support it by buying my Paris letters and watercolors. And do pass on to someone who might enjoy it. Happy Weekend dear PBers!🤸‍♂️💋❤️🐻

Thursday, November 11, 2021

La poudre de beauté et ses écrins, Bibliothèque Forney


In September we saw a version of this exhibit at the Musée International de la Parfumerie (MIP) in Grasse , so I was eager to see the Paris version that just opened Tuesday(free). 

I was not disappointed. Its far more extensive and detailed. 

Bibliotech Forney is noted for its extensive collection of historic French graphics.

Who hasn’t played with their mum’s dressing table collection of secret treasures? I broke a little china swan from my mother’s dressing table. I buried it in the yard but was still found out and punished. Later I realized it was from the 5 and 10😬

Period dressing tables are included in the exhibit with accompanying dresses of the period. 

I wish there had been more period photos and videos. like this one from Roger Viollet. 

And don’t forget the Eiffel Tower was very much part of the Belle Epoch.

One thing for sure. The descriptive labels at Forney Library in English are superb, legible and informative. This is a rarity in Paris museum exhibits sadly 😬

20’s posters for cosmetic face powders are simply stunning.

A wonderful Youtube video to bring them to life with images.

Lovers of history and beauty will be enthralled with
 Anne de Thoisy Dallem's personal collection of 2,500 powder boxes, compacts and cases. 

These adorable ceramic covers for powder boxes are like English tea cosys…

Its easy to see why Josephine Baker was such a hottie back in the day in this 20’s video

Interesting how cosmetic accessories like powder puffs and compacts and lipstick cases were a part of the act of flirtation in everyday life. Hey Holly Golightly got $50 to go to the powder room…but that’s another story. 

Altogether a fascinating exhibition, like all of Forney’s exhibits. It is on till 29 January, 2022 👏👏👏

Paris, as always in November, is beginning to think about Noël/ Christmas. Thanks to A.’s suggestion, I have a personalized gift certificate letter for a letter subscription, (or maps or..) you can order early and put under the tree 🌲  or bush or whatever. Yay !
🤸‍♂️🤸‍♂️🤸‍♂️🐻 Bonne Jeudi❤️