Monday, March 29, 2021

The Paris Egg Report


This week I’ve been browsing dozens of Paris’ Easter eggs. To quote LauraStorg, top Paris journalist you should all be reading, Sales of chocolate are so important for Easter in France that chocolate shops have been called “essential shops” like hairdressers and bookstores in the new lockdown law. 
Again Pierre Hermé wins Top egg in Paris with an artistic collab with decorator Thomas Boog. (59€ )What a fantastical plethora of fruits de mer/seashells with even more tiny chocolate fish nesting inside. 

Sadly the fab frame does not come with the egg. Nor can you buy just the frame (if you’re doing Keto) 😢 

A sneak peek at the  Easter ‘Cash Register Collection’. *You won’t find these on PH’s website. 

Further down the street the dreamy La Mere de Famille

Step into a time machine when you were 7. 

I bought the mini egg crate (the French love these), not the big ‘Oeuf Benedicte’ (ha ha) to the right. 

And I bought a mid-size bunny to paint nonstop this week. Find my chocolate bunny watercolors on Etsy

Three Parisians about to break through the window/vitrine at Chez Bogata in the Marais. If you like your Easter eggs lounging in striped deck chairs you’re in the right place. 

A few steps away, Eataly on rue St. Merie, has those ginormous eggs you only find in Italy wrapped in showy foil and big bows.

The BBC has a soothing tell-all egg story. Who knew an egg became a symbol of life because it encloses nascent life to emerge from it. It embodies the idea of rebirth and rejuvenation in the cycle of life, reflected also in its shape, with neither beginning nor end. ... Christianity adopted eggs as a symbol of fertility, resurrection, and eternal life. Etc.

Are you planning an egg-centric dessert for Easter? Let charming Ava show you how they do it in Southern Italy. Fun watching, even if like me, you bake nothing/niente. 

Is there a fibber in the family like Pinocchio? The perfect egg cup is at Créateur de Reves

                                 Dog eggs for dog-lovers

    Like this gent looking for a bottle for his baguettes at NICOLAS. Do you want to see more Paris Easter pics? Bunnies, chickens etc.? Do tell please   🐰🐥🌷

Saturday, March 27, 2021

Paris Fleurs

 Sunday I went to marché Bastille at noon looking for tulips. A good and bad idea. Prices are almost wholesale. They have longer stems and appear fresher then the corner stands, but I must remember to go before crowded midi/noon. 

The tension in the line was palpable and I caught it instantly. One is a thinking, “Do not even think of jumping in line ahead of me you horrid stranger!” 😖 Where are the tulips? 

OK I’ll get ranunculus (about which I know zip). Course after I told the vender I would take them (15€ ouch) I spied a boit/bunch of 9 deep red tulips (9€). 

“I’ll take those too” feeling triumphant. Did I even want red tulips? Not really but irrelevant when you’re caught up in the mad buying process.

Nearby Lenotre has the most charming Springy, flowery windows. Why isn’t there something inside like this design...not. 

Robins here are called rouge gorge/red throat, another French charmer. The week before I had searched like mad for a toy robin but no go. 

Inside Lenotre I fell hard for the bottle of framboise/raspberry couli - perfect still life object non? Also tasty in Greek yogurt it appears... Multi-usage. 

Another obsession -this ‘Greek bust’ vase in Benoit Chocolatier’s window (from Anthropologie). Emily-in-Paris said she’d found hers on rue de Seine at La Joie de Vivre.

“Non plus”/no more, gone, finished and not coming back into stock 😭

Off to the Marais Anthro. Eureka! They have it, but only the giant size, which turns out to weigh more than my suitcase to Paris for a 3-week stay 😳

La la la la la I will probably never use this monstre as a flower vase. Nor have the deep red tulips or pink ranunculus made it to watercolor paper. Bear is quite happy none the less 🐻👍 C’est la vie. 

Maybe I should have bought the everlasting daffs in the toy store last week but that’s an upcoming post. 

At Odeon the annual daff seller with his 2€ bunches...a missed opp. The Spring letter (good for next year👍) is in la Poste 📮 enfin 👏👏👏

💋❤️ Bonne Printemps dear PBers🌷

Saturday, March 20, 2021

Van Gogh at Sotheby’s


I was lucky to go on Tuesday to a Sotheby’s preview of the the recently discovered Van Gogh landscape painted while he was briefly living in Paris for 2 years with his brother Theo in 1887.

From this distance you can see bumps in the canvas surface of a previous painting (in my opinion) though nothing was mentioned. Still artist materials have always been expensive and old canvases were reused for painting new pictures. *I stand corrected. There is no painting under this one.

A much closer detailed shot (we were happily not restrained by a velvet rope). See how deftly the figures are sketched in and left without too much detail adds a  vibrance to a rather somber scene. And notice the emerald green gateway and hints of pink in the wooden fencing. 

The first signs of bright color in Van Gogh’s paintings up till this point. He was deeply influenced by the brilliant color palettes of his new friends, Impressionists Lautrec, Emile Bernard, Paul Signac, Gauguin, Seurat, Monet, Pissarro.

Its easy to imagine how Van Gogh, like other Dutch artists in the 1880’s, was thrilled to visit Paris (like you will be when you return) here gazing at the wide boulevards from top l’Arc de Triomphe.

Back to Van Gogh’s Pepper mill/Moulin à Poivre, which he painted several times. Sadly, it no long exists.
How rough and stark Montmartre was back in the day. This hilly stretch of land called Le Maquis - a checkerboard of sheds, wooden fences and tiny garden plots. Not exactly a stunning  landscape to paint maybe in our eyes. 

Another view of the same pepper mill, again enlivened with his little figures. Put your fingers over them and you’ll miss the spot of complimentary red essential to all that blue-green and yellow ochre.

A whimsical doodle of an artist painting in a rooftop garret with Sacre Coeur on one side and the windmill on the other. Of course Van Gogh was paintings in the street. There was no room amongst brother Theo’s young family to paint inside on rue Lepic.

More background on ‘ Scène de rue à  Montmartre’. Sotheby’s painting has never been exhibited since it was in Vincent van Gogh’s Paris studio. The landscape has been in the same French family since at least 1920. Although a black-and-white photograph was published in 1972, it has only once been reproduced in colour as a very small image. I did hear something to the effect that it had lain the bureau of grand Pere for 100 years, therefore its pristine condition. Originally sold for 1,000€ its expected to bring 10,000,000+ euros.

When Van Gogh moved 2 years later to Arles his colors transformed radically. From the Art Institute of Chicago an excellent timeline of his life and ventures: Van Gogh’s life was short and nomadic. By the time he died, at the age of 37, he had lived in 37 separate residences across 24 cities, mostly as a boarder or a guest dependent on the hospitality of family or friends. In 1888, he finally moved into the only home he truly considered his own: his beloved “Yellow House” in Arles. Don’t miss this 4-minute short film background on the Sotheby's painting. 

Outside the line was forming in the rain. Scène de rue à Montmartre is due be exhibited briefly (subject to Covid-19 restrictions) in Amsterdam (1-3 March), Hong Kong (9-12 March) and Paris (16-23 March, Drouot with Sotheby’s). The final auction is March 25.

Later waiting for the bus in the rain, I watched the ballet perform at Opera Bastille...That’s Paris. Meanwhile on the home front I’m still obsessed with painting yellow/jaune jonquils/daffs, fewer citron tarte, moving on to yellow tulips. Get Parisbreakfast letters, mapand watercolors in your mailbox. Thanks for reading Parisbreakfast! Cheers 🐻❤️🌷

Monday, March 15, 2021

Investigating La tarte au citron


Some say an apple a day bla bla. If you’re not eating a daily mandarin,  why not sub a tarte au citron for a shot of vit C. 

                             Photo and tarte by Molly J Wilk

Bonnie said she was taking Molly J. Wilk’s online citron tarte class in Versailles. A lemon 🍋 seed was planted in my head. 

Bonnie’s beautiful tart is like a clean slate. Are you a meringue person?

I am and I picked this one 

to paint from Maison d’Isabelle at Mutualité-Maubert. 

The divine Molly says its the classic dessert the French prefer to all others. 

Did you know its origins are Quaker? Yep, thank Anglican Puritans in the early 1700s. 

What’s more thank Swiss-Italian chef Gasparini in the town of Meiringen for inventing the meringue topping on tartes. More surprising news - pâtissière, Elizabeth Goodwell in 1806 of Philadelphia (my hometown) came up of with the lemon pie recipe we use today! I’ve been noticing the lemon curd fillings by upper crust of haut pâtissier are creamier and buttery as a top note. The less pricy tarts usually at boulangeries are maybe more citrusy with more zesty bits (my fav). 

This grand, messy, unreal concoction in Galerie Maison Gourmand - I’ve been observing it for months. I went yesterday to get it for research purposes but they are closed on Sundays 😭 

The soft ‘Italian’ meringue topping is a lot like yummy marshmallow whip. Versus ‘French’ meringue, similar to hard shell macarons. 

Still thinking lemon 🍋 yellow, pre-Covid days, there is usually a lovely daffodil fete at the Pantheon to raise money for Cancer and l’Institut Curie

Instead if you’re in Paris, pickup daffs for the cure at many florists like I did. Its a win/win. 

This week has been a deep immersion in painting daffs, lemons and lemon tartes. I’m seeing yellow 🍋everywhere. Including the pharmacies, which have at last removed their winter polar bears for yellow bunnies. A good sign Spring is coming non PBers?🍋🐻❤️💋