Friday, June 30, 2006

Gérard Mulot

If you arrive in Paris on a Monday you're almost out of luck.
Most chocolatiers and patisseries take off Sunday/Monday.
I was adrift after my long flight and even longer AF bus ride into town
(take the RER train next time !)
To find both J-P Hévin AND Pierre Hermé closed...

But Gérard Mulot is the wonderful exception :)
Wandering aimlessly after my initial disappointment I stumbled on Mulot on 76, rue de Seine: no shuttered gates, open and full of goodies.

To buy something, you pick out your items, get a numbered ticket, go wait on line at the cashier and then return to get your pink box.

Often at 8am after swimming at the pool just down the street, I'd pop in to buy something to paint and something to eat. They have delicious take-away meals also - complete plates and weighed out by the gram.

My pink Mulot box.

Gerard Mulot petit four, original watercolor, 9" x 12"

If you arrive in Paris on a Wednesday

DO NOT make a B-line to Gerard Mulot's.

Wednesday is Children's Day in France -> a no-school day and Mulot is closed, possibly staying home with les gosses (the kids).

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Orange Paris

Is the Metro pass Carte d'Orange's color influenced by Paris' famous orange brand, I had an orange encounter with Hermés, 2 years ago in Bordeaux. I went in to see the calligraphy exhibit upstairs and then bought a sparkly eye pencil. They gave me a GIP (gift with purchase!) - a wonderful pendent promoting their new cologne, Eau des Merveilles. I thought it was filled with water. Two months ago a french parfumeur came in the store and noticed it. I said it was water. She was shocked. Hermés would NEVER put water in their products! She miraculously opened the stopper I'd couldn't open for 2 years and I got my 1st sniff of this delicate fragrance. Notes of Bitter Orange.
Orange is a "secondary" color on the color wheel as is green and purple. The Primaries are Red/ Yellow/ Blue. Orange, which is made from Red + Yellow, is therefore in the 2nd ring on the wheel, yet Orange can be more assertive then red at times. Look at the oranges.Put Orange next to Blue and you've got a powerful pair of complimentary colors that enhance each other. Cacao et Chocolat has cleverly done this.Champagne Veuve Clicquot wants it known that their brand color is Yellow NOT Orange.They used to have a huge 1961 Bentley Continental Flying Spur in that color for VIPs. No more. Just YELLOW delivery vans now.I went almost daily to one of 2 cyber cafes on rue d'Odessa near Gare Montparnasse. Both had orange cards and orange decor in the American cafe - see above. For the record, as a kid my favorite foods were orange-colored, carrots and orange slices (the candies + the fruit). Bacon was included in that food group. I've outgrown that obsession but there's still a lot of orange in Paris.Here is my friend, Michèle dressed in Paris neutrals with a splash of ORANGE. Her favorite traiteur, Gérard Mulot makes orange cakes...

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Hediard tout en Rouge

The Metro lines 1, 12, 14 all stop at Madeleine. When you reach ground level you can go to Fauchon, Ladurée or Hediard. The design director of Elle Décoration and Elle à Table, Jérôme Dumoulin, said I must not miss Hediard in Paris. He mentioned Ladurée's exceptional green and planted a seed in my head.
I visited Fauchon at the Madeleine twice. I'd looked across at Hediard and procrastinated. Fauchon's pink had worn me down. This time I made a B-line for the RED at 21, Place de la Madeleine. Ferdinand Hediard first opened the "Comptoir des Epices et des Colonies" in 1880 selling exotic fruit and vegetables. Now they have a range of 6,000 products and shops on four continents.
Their brand colors engulf you the moment you enter this stylish épicerie. Rouge et noir.
Hediard's classic combination of red and black (Le Rouge et Le Noir) are the colors of Stendhal, of the clergy, of the chessboard, and of the Japanese.
Again Amandine Guisez-Gallienne's book, COLORFUL WORLD is useful when I'm looking for the range of a color - cool/warm, pale/intense, dark/ light. It reminds me of the vast variety within 1 color. And how the rest of the world uses color in meaningful ways.

The Hediard red is almost a true RED, but it leans towards it's warm neighbor orange on the color wheel.
Not everything at Hediard comes in red and black packages...
Greens anyone?

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Ecriture Française

I'm nuts about French curvy  handwriting/l'ecriture. Every trip I bring back kid's notebooks/cahier designed for handwriting with plans to practice. Granted these chalk blackboards/L'ardoise at the bistro can sometimes require a translator to read the daily special/la formule, usually the best thing to order in a French restaurant.

I love the way calligraphy /calligraphie is scrawled over buildings or any other available space in Paris. This one is on rue des Rosiers.

This cow is by artist BEN, who writes with white paint on black grounds. I found him by surfing through last year's FIAC -a big art fair in Paris.

BEN and chocolate are a perfect match.

I searched for a BEN T-shirt. I found copies at Latitude Sud 48, Blvd St-Germain. The one I bought says:
"je ne suis pas un ange"/I'm no angel
Later I bought a BEN portfolio that says:
"contient peut-etre un vrai chef-d'oeur"/this contains maybe a masterpiece.

My own handwriting is so illegible I can't read it. I took Copperplate lessons with Elinor Winters, hoping to effect a change. Oddly wine label designer, Chuck House, finds my scrawl enchanting and usedit and my boar watercolor on a bottle of Chateau Routas Chardonnay.
I spotted this shoe on the Metro - the writing is Spanish. 
Sonia Rykiel was the 1st to put Fr handwriting on her clothes.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

La Cuisine De Christiane

Back to Christiane's amazing cuisine (kitchen) in Anglet. It was designed by a Bordeaux cuisiniste at a Boutique Bulthaup named “Futur Intérieur”.
This is some sort of built-in pressure cooker !? No microwave I'm sorry to report. The “cuisiniste” does not approve. So I had to heat my morning chocolat chaud in an old fashioned pot on top of the stove :( In this blurry photo note the plastic-protected photos over the stove. What a hoot :)
Again the light (lumiere) in France can not be topped.
Everything looks like a Vermeer still life to me. Yet to be painted...

Friday, June 23, 2006

Rue Vavin - Paris 75006

Rue Vavin, in the 6th eme is where I just spent almost 3 whole weeks. It felt more like 3 wonderful months. I've been lucky to visit Paris many times, but I never spent a chunk of time there until May '06. "My" street is one lane and because there are so few cars, it often becomes a pedestrian street. The number #58 bus does comes up rue Vavin and there are 2 Metro stops close by - VAVIN & NOTRE-DAME DES CHAMPS. At the other end is an entrance to the Jardin du Luxembourg.
This kitchen belongs to my friend, Christiane, in Anglet near Biarritz.
This is my rue Vavin kitchen inside a sort of closet...
And inside the kitchen closet, 17" up, the shower. I went to the pool initially till I figured it out. It worked just fine - lots of hot water and good pressure.
This work table is where I painted. But I often moved to the floor because I like to spread out and the Murphy bed was up during the day.The chocolate candy box and chocolate macaron here come from Jean-Paul Hévin down the street at #3, rue Vavin. The chocolatiere is from La Vaissellerie on rue de Rennes.
This window gave the best light a still life painter could dream of - almost Vermeer
light - soft, bluish, top-lite and back-lite, low contrast light came in from the court yard. I miss this Paris lumiere most of all.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Paris ♥ Bleu

Blue is as omnipresent in Paris as les "jean bleu". Well everyone knows Denim's original home is de Nimes, France. In Paris you can be chic in jeans but not in New York, unless they're trés cher $$$. But back to Paris' bleus.The street signs are bleu with a touch of dark green and the signs in the Metro are big, blue and white. This is no Tiffany baby blue either, but a good strong marine blue. Granted it's one third of the French tri-color flag -- but I don't see Americans grabbing onto "Old Glorie's" blue and running away with it?Blue food is not supposed to work. But look at these candied almonds (dragées).I fell in love with their blue cocoa tin.I love these all-blue windows at Marie Papier on rue Vavin. When is STAPLES going to do something like this...?This is my second cousin, Kristine, who lives in Pigalle.
Obviously she loves blue too.
BTW her little
Teacup Yorkie
yapping under the table was wearing a blue collar. The café barman thought it was a hoot.
Hey they're French!