Saturday, 22 November 2014

Taking In Autumn's Magic On The Left Bank

 That day was a perfect Autumn day in Paris despite the  typical grey, cloudy skies overhead with a threat of rain which never came. As I hang around the Jardin Du Luxembourg on the Left Bank of Paris, I was amazed by the colourful fall colours in the trees and even the blooming flowers in the garden. There were many people hanging out enjoying the view and the amenities of the Park. I discovered that there are tennis courts where local Parisians can come and play. There were old and retired men and women coming to meet their dear friends to walk, chat and even play a game of chess beside the Jardin de la Roserai. Besides the birds and the ducks, there were local students also hanging out with their friends where they tried to feed the birds who fought for these bird feed being offered to them. Of course there were lovers young and old hanging out there to enjoy their Parisian romance especially here at the Jardin. Then there was me, just taking these all in, admiring the people, the gardens, the grand and elegant statues around and most off all taking in Autumn's magic  at the Jardin Du Luxembourg the most lovely park in the Paris' Left Bank. 
I admire these rows of fall mums in these elegant urns.
I say, Bonjour madame. 
This looks like a symphony of flowers, statues and fall trees.
Only in Paris where they have these rows of perfectly cut topiary trees.
Fall blooming roses. 
A little duck rest house in the middle of the pond at Jardin du Luxembourg.
Local students trying to feed the birds. 
I can see you - a local who wore shorts reading peacefully at the Jardin.
Tennis anyone?
Two local Parisians playing their chess game. 

A cold and snowy winter front has arrived here in Toronto and much of the Northeast United States. I can't help but miss this warm, grey and Fall weather in Paris. Now I know when they say Grey Paris.

Bon Weekend mes amis!

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Les Jardins D' Automne

A trip to Paris will not be complete without trying their macarons, especially a Pierre Herme macaron. This is my first time to try the Pierre Herme macaron. After my stroll at the Jardin De Luxembourg, I walked along Rue Bonaparte to visit the Pierre Herme store near Place St Sulpice. Luckily, there was only a small line up inside. I guess not many tourist know this store on the Left Bank. Pierre Herme is fashionable as ever by offering their Fall flavours called the Les Jardins D'Automne. For October, the flavour was Pumpkin & Corn which I bravely tried. After my purchase, I found a bench to sit at Place St Sulpice to savour my macarons.
I chose pistache, Potiron & Mais (pumpkin & corn), their famous Istaphan and Rose.
Which macaron do you prefer: Laduree or Pierre Herme? The original macaron was from Laduree. Pierre Herme used to be one of their bakers. Until he set out on his own and created his own flavours like the famous Istaphan (rose, lychee with a raspberry inside). As I munched my macarons, I can't help but compare the two. For me, Laduree is more crunchy whereas Pierre Herme's shell is softer but their flavours inside are magical.

Laduree is my favourite but will still buy Pierre Herme. That means, when I am in Paris I have to walk more to burn all of these sweet calories.

Saturday, 15 November 2014

Autumn Stroll In Paris

 During my trip to Paris last month, I took the time to stroll along the Jardin Des Tuileries, which covers 63 acres of public garden, located centrally on the Right Bank of Paris starting from the Place de la Concorde all the way to the Musee du Louvre. It was a lovely, clear sunny skies and warm Fall day when I was there so I truly enjoyed my stroll along the Park during that time. The garden was created by Queen Catherine de Medicis in 1564 as a garden for the Tuileries Palace. Then in 1664, Louis XIV asked landscape architect, Andre Le Notre to expand the garden to what it is now. Unfortunately, the Paris Commune burnt down the Tuileries Palace in 1871 then demolished it which made the whole Tuileries garden open and accessible to the public. There are two Museums worth visiting along the Tuileries: the Musee de l'Orangerie which showcases Claude Monet's Les Nympheas, Water lilies and the Musee Jeu de Paume which showcases contemporary art. During this trip to Paris, I really took the time to visit the public gardens to see the Fall colours and to truly appreciate Paris' history, beauty and elegance. 
Here I am at the entrance of the Jardin Des Tuileries overlooking the Tour de Eiffel and the Place de la Concorde.
This is my "Paris-like" photo except that this is the real me in Paris.  
Fall colours in Paris.
  Old man and his bird friends. 
J'adore these status all around the garden.
Even the garden urns and status are as grand as the Musee du Louvre (in the background).
Musee D'Orsay looked so close here but is on the left side of the Seine River.
  Grey Paris.
Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel.
 The Musee du Louvre is the end point of our walk on the Jardin des Tuileries. Take the time to sit at one of the benches here and just take in the view of these magnificent and grand garden and buildings in Paris.

Bon Weekend mes amis!

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Lost & Found In Paris

  I have to admit that I got lost in Paris while walking to find the Alliance Francaise School along the Rue de Rennes and Boulevard Raspail area in the Left Bank. I enjoyed my walk during that sunny Sunday Fall day that I ended up walking farther away towards the Notre-Dame des Champs Metro station. But one of the joys and worries of getting lost is discovering the unexpected. I discovered this Rose & Rouge Floral boutique along the Boulevard Raspail at that moment when I realized that I was lost. Instead of getting worried, seeing this beautiful Parisian Flower Boutique placed a big smile on my face.  I just love all of the roses in different colours and other flowers on display here. I had to stop and smell the roses here which were so fragrant. Discovering the Rose & Rouge for me was a big welcome for me to Paris. It was quite ironic that I unexpectedly found it when I was lost. 
Here is a young couple buying their weekend bouquet of flowers. 
 Look at all of these melange of colours. 
 You can choose yellow and white if it is your fancy.
Elegant bouquet of roses from Paris. 

Saturday, 8 November 2014

Fashion Blows: Celebrating Isabella Blow

 Last week, I attended the Fashion Blows Exhibition that featured the style and fashion of the late Isabella Blow at The Room at Hudson Bay's flagship Store, here in Toronto. Isabella Blow was an eccentric British stylist and Fashion Editor that was famous for her androgynous fashion style. Isabella was the original Lady Gaga of fashion, so eccentric that she could beat any of the famous fashion ladies photographed for the Street Style section during Fashion Week. Isabella wore mostly clothes designed by her close fashion friends, the late Alexander McQueen and British milliner, Philip Treacy. Isabella apparently discovered both Alexander McQueen and Philip Treacy while they were still students at the Central Saint Martins and Royal College of Art respectively. 

Ever since her suicide in May 2007, we miss Isabella in the fashion world right now because she presented us with her original style, showing us truly who she was and never copied anyone just to be noticed.  Her close and dear friend Daphne Guinness, purchased most of Isabella's fashion collection when it was auctioned in 2010 at Christie's. Daphne then formed the Isabella Blow Foundation to preserve the memory of Isabella and to celebrate her life. Isabella is truly a style icon and an original.

 Isabella was a working girl. She was a magazine editor at the Tatler and Sunday Times. Isabella also  discovered models Sophie Dahl and Stella Tennant.
Discovering people is a big thing. It's like being a mother.
- Isabella Blow
Most of the hats in this show were designed by British Milliner Philip Treacy.
Philip Treacy likened their very close friendship to like having an affair with no sex.
 This dress was designed with Teddy Bears.
I truly enjoyed this exhibition because it was very original, funky, eccentric, and stylish at the same time. Up close, I saw these clothes and hats were truly well made. These clothes and hats were perfectly made for Isabella and she wore these clothes and hats to perfection. 
 And then she met Lee, as in the late British fashion designer, Alexander McQueen. When she first saw Alexander McQueen's graduation fashion collection at Central Saint Martins, she immediately purchased the whole collection for her to wear.  
 Clothes designed by the late Alexander McQueen and hats designed by Philip Treacy.
I wear the hats, to keep everyone away from me. They say, 'Oh, can I kiss you?' I say, 'No, thank you very much...' I don't want to be kissed by all the sundry. I want to be kissed by the people I love.
- Isabella Blow.
 Isabella also wore clothes designed by British designer, Gareth Pugh.
Daphne Guinness, also a fashion style icon, purchased Isabella Blow's whole fashion collection and formed the Isabella Blow Foundation in support of emerging fashion talent. This Exhibit in Toronto had a fundraising Dinner last October 22nd to raise funds in support of  talented Canadians to study in the MA Fashion Program at Central Saint Martins in London. 

View the Access Daphne Guinness feature at The Coveteur.

Read the Toronto Star feature on Fashion Blows.

I couldn't take my eyes of her. After the service, I waited for an opportunity to speak to her - and we immediately connected...I knew I had fallen in love with her.
- Detmar Blow, Isabella's husband