Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Escape with me to fabulous Paris! Part I

Let me preface this long post by saying I have lots of gorgeous pictures following (on the bottom)..but I hope you might take the time to read about my trip, French life and Paris in general as I think it sets the tone.....

Bon Jour! Oh my....we got back late this morning and I am still floating on a cloud from my wonderful short jaunt to Paris. This is the 4th or 5th time I have certain "rites of passages"  that one normally puts at the top of their must see list have long been checked off mine but there is something so magical even after several visits,  about seeing the buildings of The Louvre, the iconic Eiffel tower and the  Arc de Triomphe time and time again. We spent most of our time at the Maison & Objet show which was overwhelming, beautiful, inspirational,  exciting and totally exhausting (my poor feet even from wearing my most comfortable shoes had to pay the highest price of the miles and miles of walking that we did) So what did we see at the show besides millions of people from all over the world...... The reclaimed wood theme is HUGE and was seen everywhere, saw lots of color everywhere, plenty of modern ( a big reflection of the European market) we got to see the newest Phillipe Starck collection of Baccarat chandeliers, met with the President of the Fendi furniture company. (very much not my style however it is big for the moneyed Russian, Middle Eastern and European set) My husband knew many people there so we got an "insiders take" on many things from trends, to whats new and exciting, to the climate of the home furnishings market which fingers crossed, is improving as hopefully the economy is!  I am writing a lot today, I realize but hope you will take the time to read....I have so much to talk about and in reading this post, will help you get the real feel of our trip!

 I am enclosing lots of pictures from the show since so much time was spent there. We found things to be expensive, particularly with the dollar's weak exchange but we did order a few fabulous chests from a company we have ordered from before, they make the finest french furniture, replicated from Louis XVI and Louis XV period.We also found (one of the reasons we went) a fabulous Louis XVI antique mantle.  I have also enclosed lots of pictures of those pieces as well. One of my favorites things about being in my favorite city is just getting lost in looking at the most spectacular architecture, the limestone buildings with  details that are mind boggling, the long exaggerated copper roofs, the fabulous light/lanterns and wrought iron detail that seems to decorate every building. So you will see I took liberty to take many pictures of beautiful buildings, perhaps my appreciation has increased since we are going through the building of our own home. My mind cannot wrap itself around the fact that these buildings were done completely by hand hundreds of years ago. It is truly breathtaking.

 Last of course we found plenty of time to enjoy many wonderful meals. People here in the U.S. eat to survive and sustain themselves, people there eat to enjoy and relax and socialize.There really is a difference and its so wonderful and inspiring to watch. I made a few observations that perhaps as I have gotten older, have become more astute to notice and these are my observations:

7 of my many observations while in Paris

1. I observed over and over,  french people greet each other (lets say in a restaurant someone is waiting for their friend to join them) they really give the most genuine hugs and kisses, you can see they really mean how happy they are to see the other air kisses, no fake greetings.
2. I love that they really do posses the "joie de vivre" or key to life. I loved watching them dine, they sit there for hours, enjoying good wine, fine foods, linger over their Dixie cup sized cup of coffee, revel in their decadent desserts, no scraping off the cream, no ordering a salad with dressing on the side, you would be looked at like an alien if you did! Then when you think they are getting ready to get up and go after completing their meal.....they order another glass of wine! Gotta love it!
3. They really are just that much more sophisticated, I hate to admit it. So while en route to the show one day, I took notice of  our taxi driver. Here is what he was wearing, chic orange corduroy pants, a plaid dress shirt underneath,  a Barbour type jacket, a scarf, a beret ( of course) and he was playing opera music......only in Paris!
4. I have never encountered the "rude Parisian" who doesn't like  Americans. I am sure they exist but believe me every one we encountered couldn't have been friendlier or more helpful
5. Your money will not go as far as it does in other countries, but its such a memorable trip always and a true visual feast for the senses in all the beauty that envelopes you when you are there
6. You almost rarely see French women in jeans (at least not in our hotel and where we went about town) I asked someone about this who we talked to over dinner one night and she explained that they don't feel its refined to be out on the street in jeans (exception younger people in their 20's and under) Having grown up with a mom who never ever wore jeans, and I rarely do too....I appreciated this nod to ladylike dressing.
7. Over lunch one day, we were seated next to a young  twenty something year old girl and her mother, I am nearly certain. They had been there long before we got there and I wish I could have understood what they were saying. It was such an animated conversation punctuated with lots of laughter, holding each others hands and every few minutes, the young one would whip out her iPhone camera and put her head close to her moms and snap away taking pictures of them smiling, hugging, holding each others hand, marveling at a dessert,etc...... It was so sweet and endearing....I enjoyed watching them so much, they were oblivious to anyone around there, just so happy to be together. It was so sweet  to watch that it brought tears to my eyes (happy tears) and reminded me to cherish those you love and enjoy the days we have together. 

I could go on and on and I am sure I will bring up Paris in some way or another in the next few days to come but here are some highlights.  So today I will share some hotel photos (yes I did over obsess over the small details but since we are building a french home, we wanted to "take note" of every little detail plus the hotel was so fabulous...Le Meurice. I also include photos from the Maison & Objet show, tomorrow will share my architectural wonder pictures and our about town photos. Enough talking, now its time for many pictures. Too many for one day!~  Now time to go "sample" (aka devour)  my macaroons that revoir!

Stunning view of the inlaid marble floor in the lobby of the Le Meurice hotel

A room with a view, from my perch at breakfast.....throw in a cup of espresso and a chocolate croissant and its perfection!

The columns and murals were spectacular as was the low wattage lighting

The oh so fabulous bar, even prettier in person...tres magnifique!

Gorgeous main restaurant of the hotel, restaurant Le Meurice

Lobby of the opulent and decadent.

The breakfast and salon off the main foyer

Not a bad fireplace to have dinner in front of........

On to the room and the details.....
I am choosing my doors now so focused a lot on the doors in the hotel! The three panel looks like its winning...

Close up view...they trimmed this in gold, pretty but a little too formal for our house

Want an egg shaped knob with a backplate, similar to the hotel's door

Entering the room, they did a lot of faux painting in pretty small corners, no space was untouched

Love the stair rail in one of the hotels' hallways- we too are putting in iron

The iron detailing on one of the doors, in the interior

How gorgeous are these doors? I was obsessing over them!

We are putting in very similar sconces, loved the mirrored paneling

Looking downstairs from mezzanine to breakfast salon

Fabulous chandeliers were everywhere, they were all antique..of course!

Love this marble tub....

All walls were encased in limestone

Beautiful limestone detailing going up the stair

Another balcony shot

I fell in love with this mirrored "window" above the door going to the bathroom

Part of our beautiful room with its 16 foot ceilings

Entrance to the spa, the walls were the palest celadon green in high beautiful

Love orchids, always adds such an elegant touch to an already ridiculously elegant hotel

Moving onto the show.....
A beautiful setting over at Christopher Guy

Christoper Guy's showroom, though I am not a huge fan of his line, the booth was quite magnificent!

Beautiful blue and white

Love the color of these stunning velvet green couches

Lots of reclaimed wood mixed in with the antiques

Found this fabulous line of French made marble mantels to replicate the antiques

Ordered these lanterns, they are about 4 feet tall and amazing!

A line of antiques and antique reproductions

Even the booths had french paneling on the walls!

 More of the reclaimed wood is being used in much of the French furniture as well

This was one of our favorite vendors, makers of fine french furniture

Another masterpiece,  it takes about 45 days to make this start to finish, all by hand

The stunning mantles made of antique marble is just fabulous!

Lots of super over sized coffee tables in the reclaimed woods

Trying to figure out where I can use this piece, fell in love with Butlers pantry? Any ideas?

I want an outdoor porch with this very chic!

Lots of creative displays, so inspirational and so many talented people!

This line from Scotland was so fabulous, I want a ski house just so I can furnish it with their things!

Another view of their pretty showroom

Antique fabulous collection of french chests

Beautiful little reproduction black and walnut table

That blue and white always gets my attention!

Another view from Scotland"s finest!

This was a 20 foot wall of all blue and white pretty

Love the neutral palette with the blue and white

This was a such a visual treat!

Colorful kilims were everywhere

These furniture pieces were made of kilims and were a popular line at the show....a lot of fun!

A vibrant collection of kilim covered pieces

This was a pretty kilim chair in various shades of pinks and blues

Another great collection of pillows...this booth was bustling!

A nice line of pillows artfully displayed

Love this chest..made by one of Paris's finest producers of fine reproduction French furniture, they do this in 14 different colors!

Gorgeous desk from the same company

Lots of huge colorful planters were everywhere

Another gorgeous chest

Love this  massive black library cabinet, it was about 14 feet high and so stunning!

This gorgeous booth was done in the darkest green, almost black and loaded with fabulous lighting and furniture

Even the fake flowers were unreal!

More reclaimed wood

Beautiful faux book wall of cabinets

Another view

There was a lot of all white too...reminds me of the beach

The colors, orange and turquoise were seen quite a bit

A beautiful wall of walnut cabinets

Fabulous faux orchids

More floral splendor

This was a 30 foot high wall of creative and dramatic!

This was just too unreal to not take picture of! At almost $12,000 it can be yours!

I loved the orange interior of this antique reproduction Secretary

Another view of this exquisite little desk

Fabulous black chest, from the rolls Royce of small french furniture makers

The Phillipe Starck signature chandelier for Baccarat (the pink/red you see are red crystals randomly inserted amongst the clear person it was quite stunning)

Hope you enjoyed this visual was such a treat. I will share more pictures revoir!