Friday, February 27, 2009

Europa Editions: Good Reads From Afar

I have shared this information before but feel I can never stress it enough--I love to read.  Devouring books in the course of a weekend or even a day isn't unheard of in my world.  Actually, we are a family of readers--all bringing slightly different voices into our home library, discussing them at dinner and passing them on to the next reader.  The nice thing about our circulation system, there are no fines.  I'm sure I have built entire wings of libraries in the various towns I have lived in with all my late fees.  Just trying to be a good citizen is all!

Lately, as I wander through the stacks at both Borders and Barnes and Noble, I am completely uninspired by the offerings.  If feels as though even in the world of literature, we are being fed mass marketed stuff that either is the 10th installment  of some mystery series, another murder, rape and pillage novel as I call them, or ANOTHER self help tome aimed at having us read the directives, buy the supplementary journal or workbook and get crackin' on the new and improved us.  I know we are a screwed up nation but there has to be something better to fill our brains with.  

Enter Europa Editions, a small publishing company devoted to a limited number of fiction, non-fiction and children's books with at least two-thirds of them being works of literature in translation.  Yes, the beauty of this company is that they will take best sellers from other parts of the world and bring them to us in English. Not limited to French authors, but choosing to feature them for my purposes, the company based out of New York has an international staff that curates a wonderful collection from the far corners of the world and introduces us to new authors and topics that would remain strangers to us if not for their efforts.  

The titles that I have featured here and will link you to are either written by French authors or take place in Paris.  They are refreshing in the fact that eyes other than our own are revealing their truths through these stories.  It gives those of us living in the states and wanting to understand more of the world we live in a door to venture through in order to  'hear those truths' and be exposed to a new way of looking at things.  For me personally, to have finished a book that has taught me a thing or two about a world other than my own is priceless.  
Perhaps, that is the new self-help!

Additional information:  

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Ravenchase Adventure

Raise your hand if you are one of those who remember going on crazy scavenger/treasure hunts as a kid--being sent on a wild goose chase throughout your neighborhood looking for pots of Sterno, unopened packages of flower seeds, test tubes.  You know, all those things that were just lying around people's homes in Chicago suburbs back in the 70's.  As kids, we would purposely plan birthday parties around the hunt so we had an excuse to stay out after dark.  No self respecting treasure hunter could venture out before dusk as far as we were concerned.     

Well,  take that concept of the hunt and apply it to groups of people getting together at family reunions or team building functions for corporations and you will find Ravenchase Adventures behind all the madness.  

Initially started by an older brother to help his younger siblings deal with a life altering situation, the company is devoted to set up elaborate chases through cities throughout the United States but have opened an office in Paris.  With their expertise and use of riddles, puzzles and maps, you will be taken through tiny back alleys, medieval cathedrals over the river and through the woods to seek out your ultimate treasure.  The photo above is just an example of the leads you would be given and what you would be expected to figure out.  You can customize the hunt, having a final destination for all members to meet at leading to a surprise for all involved.  What a great way to get people together--either families or co-workers.  

Check out the website and see where it might lead....

Additional information:  

Photo credit:  Andrew Burrows, ravenchase

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Yale Joel

Paris in the fog

Yale Joel, an American photo journalist, began his career at the age of 19 while serving as a combat photographer during World War II.  Several years later he became a staff photographer for Life Magazine working in their Washington, Paris, Boston and New York bureaus.  It is during this time that he became famous for his reputation of photographing the "impossible", capturing perspectives that the normal eye could not see.  These oldies but goodies collected here are just a few of those taken during his time in Paris.  

American tourists outside Mont Saint Michel

Actress Viveca Lindforn trying on fabulous hats in a fabulous setting. 

Republican Guards lined up outside the Trocodaro and......

the cleaning crew having lunch inside.

Additonal information:

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


You are probably thinking, more plates?   Didn't she just write about tableware and a cute little shop to find them in yesterday.  The answer would be yes but here is an explanation and a look into how my brain is wired.  Doing research online-found these great porcelain plates by designer Laurent Meurgey--did some more research as to where I could find them and ended up on and thought I would be utterly remiss if I didn't send you off in the direction of one of their shops.

A little family story of two brothers, Gilles and Yves Bensimon and their grandfather who started importing American second hand clothes into France at the end of World War II.  Fast forward about 40 years and these two gentleman started bringing surplus uniforms and work clothes to Paris, customizing them as they did.  Fast forward 10 years later and they entered into the world of designing their own line of clothing that is functional, fun and comfortable. Their 'La Tennis Bensimon' (think simpler Chuck Taylor's) come in oodles of colors and are a staple in young French women's wardrobes.  You'll see them everywhere.  

In addition to great clothes, they have taken their design expertise into home decor which is the section of their shop that I head straight to.  Pillows in bright colors and patterns, scented candles that they have created, plates by Laurent Merugey and others, wall coverings and bed linens that really inspire one to start fresh and jam their lives with lots of color.  Just walking in the place, you can't help but feel happier.  The shops are in stark contrast to some of the dreary, rainy Parisian days that make one yearn for the sun.  

Find a shop near you and grab some sunshine!

Additional information:    
8 rue des Francs Bourgeois, 75003 
111 rue de Turenne 75003
54 rue de Seine 75006
57 rue du Cherche Midi  75006

Photo credit:  laurentmeurgey, bensimon

Monday, February 23, 2009

L'Astier de Villatte

Think of a tiny jewel box of a place that is filled with delicate, wafer thin glazed terra cotta goodies--plates, platters, pitchers, mugs--all displayed against a backdrop of exposed stone walls reminiscent of the 18th century.  Imagine also, weathered wood shelving and carefully selected vintage items adding just the right amount of contrast to showcase these creations. Throw in some artisanal chocolate bars and smelly candles of the best variety.  If you can conjure up that image in your head then you would find yourself at l'Astier de Villatte

Located on rue Saint Honoré, it is a far cry from all the hedonistic fashion boutiques that line the street which have made this length of pavement one of the most famous shopping areas in the world.   If one walks east from that fray, one can discover a gentler, calmer, more user friendly (although not necessarily cheaper) section and it is here that you will find this delightful shop.  

The staff could not be more helpful and tend to each customer with incredible care and attention.  As their pieces are so delicate, they will wrap them with precision for those of us packing them in suitcases that are certainly destined to not being handled with so much care.  A very treacherous spirally staircase leads to a lower level where they display beautiful antique furnishings as well.  Cant' imagine how they get some of their pieces down there but it is certainly worth the trip down the scary stairs.  (That last line is for my girls.  They get me).

Additional information:  
173 rue Saint-Honoré, 75001
Métro: Palais-Royal, Pyramides, Tuilieries
Shop in the states at:

Photo credit: 

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Le Weekend

Creative lighting shines on Le Musée d'Orsay. 
 If it's the right wine, the right words and the right lips, the combination can be staggering!

Friday, February 20, 2009

PS: Going, Going, Gone at YSL Auction

I just came across these photos taken at le Grand Palais as workers and the good folks at Christie's set up the Yves Saint Laurent auction taking place this weekend.  Nothing short of amazing.  

Clooney, Coffee and the Champs Elysées

I just read an article on how in a seemingly bad economy, the Swiss food giant, Nestlé finds itself in a most enviable of situations--making money faster than anticipated on their coffee brand, Nespresso.  

You haven't heard of it you say?  Well here in the states, I would venture to guess most neighborhoods are too saturated with Starbucks to have put their big toe into international coffee. Nespresso is not only a brand in Europe but I would and Nestlés does say it is a 'lifestyle' as well.

Paris is strewn with Nespresso shops that sell both machines--you need a specific type of coffee maker--and the pods used to make the coffee.  These stores are referred to by Nestlé as 'gateways' where one goes to get all their Nespresso needs taken care of.  It sounds a bit crazy, but lines form out the door in some locations as people patiently (unusual for Parisians) wait for their turn in line (again, not a big French concept).  Much care has been taken in their design and layout and they are truly worth a visit while in Paris if for no other reason as an exercise into understanding what moves the residents of Paris.

A little over a year ago, a Nespresso bar opened up on the Champs Elysées acting not only as a boutique but a place to experience and actually sit with the ultimate coffee lifestyle.  It is a beautiful space--a great spot to rest one's weary bones after a day of sight-seeing and shopping. Who knows, perhaps George will show up.  Now THAT alone is worth a visit.  

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Jardin des Tuileries and The Art World

For me (and apparently hundreds of others on a sunny day) nothing beats spending the afternoon strolling through or relaxing in the Tuileries.  Well manicured gardens that precede the Louvre are well worth spending some time at.  Grab an emporter (to go) sandwich and enjoy an impromptu picnic with friends and family.  Or, rest your rear on one of the iconic green garden chairs surrounding the fountains and catch some elusive sun while listening to an ipod filled with whatever music moves you in the moment.  Forever after, when you hear those songs, you will be transported.   Trust me.  Jamie Cullum and I are there all the time.   

I found a quirky website that has gathered together famous artist's impressions of this urban oasis and selected my favorites to share with you.  

André LeNôtre's grand plan for the gardens

Léon Auguste Asselineau

Édouard Manet


Camille Pissarro
What most days look like in the Tuileries--rainy.  You don't go to Paris for the weather.

Pierre Bonnard--I LOVE this one. 

Did you guess who did the green wind-whipped one?  If you guessed Monet you win.  Win what you ask? My complete admiration for your art knowledge. 

Additional information:  

Photo credit:

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Apprendre le Français

Always pushing myself to learn and discover new things, I have signed on as a student at Alliance Francais here in Chicago for the past two sessions, fine tuning my listening and speaking skills with regards to French.  Listening I've got down pretty darn well--I can listen to someone speaking and not transfer everything that they are saying into English.  Initially, in the days when I did have translate, I hated that people wouldn't use that little 3 second delay apparatus so I  could stay on track with the rapid fire French coming out of their mouths.  Have you ever listened to a news story or conversation, comprehending maybe 60 to 70% with the resulting translation minus the other 30 to 40%  occasionally being fairly disastrous (or very funny)?  

For those of you wanting to work on your French, I would suggest checking out, an interactive classroom offered by one of the public television stations in France;  TV5.  As it is all in French, you do need a little understanding of the language to get you started.  There is a weekly "journal" or newscast to listen to and then you are directed to their on-line exercises of fill-in the blanks, true/false questions and matching.  They don't make things easy by talking slowly--it is that difficult rapid fire, I have about 5 marbles in my mouth to make it more difficult to understand French.  But it is a great tool to enhance one's comprehension.  There's even an on-line dictionary that all of us in my house use for reference.  I keep it in my bookmark bar so I can get to it easily.  

Another place I visit each morning is le 8 heures newscast on  This is their morning program--much like the Today show, with a 10 minute news segment.  It's short and sweet, the gentlemen giving the news are easy on the eyes and they make an effort, I do believe, to be understood in terms of their speaking.  I use to start all my Paris mornings here while my daughter was getting ready to head off to school.  I wish they had the whole show on Internet--it was fun to watch.  

Finally, there is, a 24/7 news channel that you can access all day and listen to in English, French or Arabic.  It is my least favorite of the three but is always available and for those of you who find yourselves awake when you should be sleeping, this might be a worthwhile place for you to pass the time until slumber gratefully takes a hold of you once again.

Photo credit:,,

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Absinthe or La Fee Verte

After the first glass, you see things as you wish they were.  After the second, you see things as they are not.  Finally, you see things as they really are and that is the most horrible thing of all.
-Oscar Wilde-
Being the cutting edge gal that I like to think I am yet usually falling woefully short, I am going to take us on an adventure into the world of absinthe today.  Why? you ask.  Well, it is back in fashion and producers around the world are making, bottling and selling this demon once again.  With that in mind, it might be helpful in knowing and understanding a bit about its bad rap, earned or otherwise, and take appropriate precautions.  Or not.

Just recently brought back to life (it became legal again) as of December, 2007, absinthe is enjoying a revival and reversal of its somewhat seamy past.  "It leads straight to the madhouse", proclaimed Henri Schmidt, a French druggist in the early 1900's as he battled to get his fellow countrymen to ban the green liquid which is indeed what happened.  

Absinthe is a distilled, highly alcoholic beverage.  It is anise flavored and is derived from several herbs:  tarragon, basil, mint and the controversial wormwood, thought to cause madness and consumed at high levels, convulsions.  Perhaps due to its high alcoholic content (55 to 72%--yikes!) the 'buzz' from both that much alcohol and the misconception of its drug like qualities led to its public demise.

Nicknamed the 'Green Fairy' (la fee verte) in reference to its chartreuse color, this drink has been associated with some of the greatest artists and writers who in their time were thought of as bohemians certainly.  People living on the fringe of what would be considered mainstream only added fuel to its already tarnished reputation.  Manet, Baudelaire, Picasso, Wilde, Van Gogh and Hemingway popularized the consumption of this drink.  Misunderstood at the time, these individuals did nothing to enhance absinthe's reputation.  Ah, but to be so misunderstood and so brilliant!  I might drink a few glasses of the stuff just to test my ultimate potential!

There is a whole process involved in drinking absinthe; the use of an elegant slotted spoon balanced over the glass as it cradles a sugar cube.  Water is slowly (painfully so) dripped over the cube allowing it to melt and fall into the absinthe, along with the water, creating a pale milky green substance.  A ritual I suppose that only adds to the spirit's intrigue.  

At this point I am going to send you on a journey around the web, introducing you to the product, sites that are devoted to everything absinthe from history to posters and beautiful vintage spoons.  Also, I found an interesting video that helps to dispel any lingering misconceptions you might have this little green fairy.  Certainly, Tinker Bell she is not! 

A little shop in the Marais. This video is in French but well worth a peek!

 Additional information:  La Fee Verte, Wikipedia, lollyphile

Photo credit:  wikipedia, La Fee Verte

Monday, February 16, 2009

The Prez, his Valentine and Table 52

I have to come clean--I have the tiniest, itty bittiest crush on the President.  Yes, it's true.  This is a whole new feeling for me.  I read about politics--liberal, conservative and otherwise to get a rounded view, have formulated opinions, entered into debate with people far more informed than me and can speak somewhat eloquently about the latest goings on in Washington.  All of those things are made possible for me because I really admire the man in charge.  I get him.  He could be my friend.  I have friends like him. The fact that I understand and can relate to how he lives his life makes him real for me.  Allowing himself to appear loving and vulnerable when it comes to the women in his world creates a sense of a humanness.  Our values are in sync which isn't what I have felt these last few years as far as our country's leadership was concerned.  It is oddly liberating for me.  

Anyway, I live in Chicago, right in the heart of the city and the other night as I was heading out to meet friends for dinner, a very obvious, somewhat menacing looking motorcade slowly wound its way through our neighborhood.  Being Saturday and Valentine's Day, the streets were jammed with us  hearty Chicagoans bracing the cold to enjoy a night out.  Those of us near State and Rush found ourselves watching the President and the First Lady make their way to a romantic dinner at the tiniest, most unobtrusive, fabulous restaurant in the city.  Kind of weird, I'm not going to lie.

Their restaurant choice:  Table 52.  Chef Art Smith who comes to his craft honestly and with much talent, can probably thank Oprah for a certain amount of his stature  in the culinary world as he became her personal chef/caterer in 1997.  A  few years ago, he ventured off on his own to open Table 52.  Gratefully, I have dined at this little gem and can attest to its fabulous-ness factor.  The goat cheese biscuits and deviled eggs they put on the table to get things going were gone in an instant--melt in your mouth amazing!  My entree was the fish special which escapes me at the moment but was great.  If you should find yourself dining there, you CANNOT leave without having  Art's Hummingbird Cake and the Pecan Pie with Shortbread Crust for dessert.  I am not suggesting one over the other.  I am without a doubt stating you need to have both.  

Make adjustments accordingly.  Hey, there's always tomorrow to work it off.  

Additional information:  
52 West Elm, Chicago 60611

Photo credit:,


Friday, February 13, 2009

House Cleaning

If you are a regular visitor to my blog (thank you, I love you) you will have noticed that I changed things up a bit.  I got bored yesterday and thought I needed a cleaner, neater, more up-dated look.  What I had previously I liked, but it was a bit dusty and didn't want to put any dusty vibes out there.  Quite by accident actually, the blog has ended up looking like this--I changed templates and didn't save the original so there was no going back.  As we wind down the week of getting to know ourselves better, that's just one more thing to add to my list!  I can be a bit impulsive.

Anyway, the little pictures that you see on the right hand side are links to places that I think have incredible value should you be taking a trip to Paris.  Paris Office de Tourisme is a well done, comprehensive site that suggests hotels and restaurants, lists all museums and monuments and exhibitions that are taking place and offers an opportunity to buy tickets for many of them.  They have just redone the site and having spent time on it yesterday, I found it very user friendly--even for someone who has never been to Paris.  

Paris Metro will take you, a fabulous site that is all things related to getting around the city on the Metro.  The site is in French but is totally interactive (think Mapquest) and will get you from point A to point B, offering several different options.  It was a lifesaver when I lived Paris. 

That beautiful canopy bed will lead you to a page on Paris Notes that is all about finding the perfect little Parisian pied-a-terre to rent during your visit.  I can't tell you the last time I stayed in a hotel.  And unless someone else was footing the bill, I don't think I ever will again. Having a small apartment to come home to at the end of the day was not only more comfortable but you find yourself staying in beautiful old buildings that Parisians call home. Quite the immersion into local culture.  Having one's own kitchen to prepare small meals in is an added bonus as well. AND, you can have coffee in your pajamas!  As much as you want. (see yesterday's post).

The happy couple traipsing through grape clusters buvez-ing du vin et vivez-ing joyeux -- drink wine and live happily, will take you to snooth, a fabulous website/networking thing dedicated to all things wine-y.  An international get together for those who love everything about grapey goodness.  It is a very friendly place.  You can sit back and observe or jump right in and participate at the fullest.  The choice is yours....there is much fun, knowledge and friendship to gain either way.  By the way, nothing to do with Paris. 

I will be adding things as I go along.  This was enough for one day for someone whose computer skills are as limited as mine.  Off to have a glass of wine with a few friends from the far corners of the world.  À votre santé everyone.

Photo credit:  APWaters@flickr

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Café Noisette

Ordering a coffee in Paris should be easy but it isn't.  At least for those of us Americans addicted to this drink it isn't.  My body, as I have mentioned before, craves the endless cup or at the very least a pot in the mornings and unless you have your own coffee maker with you in Paris (no little 4 cup machines in hotel rooms my friends) you are out of luck.  So you make the grand effort of getting all ready to greet the day and run downstairs to the buffet breakfast that the hotel serves up to throw back a thimble full of coffee.  Seriously, WHAT IS THAT? Where is the vente size cup that is like carrying a full pot with you?  I love, love, love everything about Paris except their stingy sized coffee portions. 

Why a post about one type of coffee, Café Noisette in particular?  To save those of you from making the same mistake that I kept making while living in Paris.  Prior to my year abroad, I drank weak American coffee with cream.  This baffles me in the current moment, I have to say.  I must have felt that coffee was undrinkable without being a pale almond color.  When I got to Paris, my option was to order café au lait, coffee served with steamed milk...or steamed something.  Their dairy products are so very different from the ones we consume here in the states and the taste was, well, awful.  Someone told me they used unsweetened condensed milk which makes my gag reflex kick in a little just thinking about that in my coffee.  Clearly the die hard java drinker that I am found herself in a pickle.  

The girl who was teaching me French at the time saved me.  We met at Les Deux Magots for one of our weekly classes and started talking about coffee and the drinking and ordering of it (all in my pathetic new found French of course) and she was the one who enlightened me to Café Noisette--a shot of espresso with a tiny bit of steamed milk in it.  "Noisette" refers to the color of the drink which is a toasty hazelnut.  Voila.  Two good things happen--the insane, intense espresso is tempered for those of us in need of tempering AND the volume of liquid is increased giving me something a bit bigger and more satisfying to drink.  

For about half the year, this was my drink of choice.  Then one day I really wanted to feel French.  Which is impossible if you are not French as it is a secret society unto itself and outsiders are clearly held at arm's length.  Yet I felt if I had enough shades of black and grey on, tucked my jeans into my boots (which American women cannot do without coming off looking like a pirate), wrapped  a big ratty scarf around my neck, not wash or comb my hair upon awakening and had a Marc Levy novel with me, for a moment, I might pass as being French. Sitting at my local café I surprised myself when asked what I wanted,  as the words " je prends un espresso" came out of my mouth.  That was my undoing.  I felt French-- I was drinking bitter coffee grounds, reading and comprehending a French novel (think Nicolas Sparks but more--I'll let the reader decide if that is a good thing ;-)), had messy hair, and would never look back.  

Steamed milk, unsweetened condensed stuff--hah!  None of that in my coffee.  I'll take it straight up, s'il vous plait.  

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Who Are You?

As promised, another personality quiz to not only help you identify who you are and what makes you tick.  With this one,  you can share that information with others--or not.   

Youniverse is designed I believe as a unique social networking site that allows people to take personality quizzes that define what kind of movie goer you are, how you would choose to spend New Years, what type of travel appeals to you, etc.  Then you can reveal these aspects of yourself through the network they have set up in order to possibly meet your soulmate or not. I'm thinking not as I quickly glance at the home page but that's just me.  

Anyway, this one is a bit more complex in that you are asked questions and have to click on the photo that best illustrates your answer--whether it be a person, place, emotion.  Sounds easy but it was hard.  Certainly, some absolutely jumped off the page for me while others were complicated choices indeed.  And again, I would have to say that in all the tests I took it was eerily accurate.  How I feel about travel, what my sense of well being is and my definition of art really rang true.  As I write this post and go back for reference, I see that they have added a few tests that I haven't taken yet.  So I am off to find out a few more things about myself.  

Now it's your turn to discover...

Photo credit:

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Tell Me Who I Am

In my ongoing quest to figure out what I want to be when I grow up--yes, I know it probably feels as though I have been going through this phase for a painfully long time--just a mere 50 years-one would think I'd have it all together by now.  Think how I feel!  All this soul searching has taken me into serious territory that really has opened some doors for me that I plan to or have already walked through.  And that's a big yeah!  But I also am one to not pass up on a good time so it has certainly not been all moody work and no play.  

My daughter Taylor recently sent me two websites that I would consider a total waste of time except for the fact that I went ahead and wasted my time on them and kept tapping my computer screen to see who was sitting behind it, spitting out personality descriptions that could not be more accurate if I had written them myself.  Seeing the words printed out really brings home all the nuts and bolts of who you are--good, bad and otherwise.  Certainly I am cut from a specific cloth and might as well embrace that as soon as I can in order to move forward.  

Typealyzer is a fun spot that allows one to type in their blog website and some creative mind behind the scene spits out a description of what that blog owner is like.  Three of us in my house have a blog and we all were sucked right in.  And guess what?  As diverse as our personalities and blogs are, it was spot on all three times.  Being the big, comfortable in my own skin kind of girl that I am (hah! plus you can look it up for yourself anyway), I will share how it describes the owner of  

Scary but true.  And, God love them, they gave me a glass of bubbly to illustrate all the fun-ness I am capable of!!  Apparently, I will never be the boss of you which is fine by me and as far as not making plans--maybe that's why I am just coming into my own now.  

This may come as a shock, but I'm not making any major life decisions based on this little cartoon drawing.  But it is accurate and even picking a blog title is part and parcel of who I am. Who knew.  Clearly the person living inside my computer did.

Go forth and have fun with this site.  You can figure out who all the people are that write the blogs you visit day in and day out.  Could be scary!  Should you stop by tomorrow, you will be sent in quite a different direction....equally revealing. 

Photo credit:  gadl@flickr, typealyzer 

Monday, February 9, 2009

Creative Champagne

Design Within Reach, is a retail site dedicated to functional and well designed contemporary home furnishings.  While I lean towards an eclectic mix of traditional, antique and new, many of their pieces could easily be worked into my surroundings and the result would be spectacular--I especially like their workspace offerings. Creativity couldn't help but be harnessed in a setting that looks like this. 

As with many retailers these days, the company has created a blog that gives curious sorts like myself a place to be further inspired; whether it's ideas for redecorating my home or links to other like minded sites/books/blogs.  This past week, they have been sponsoring a contest of sorts--they have challenged readers to recycle their champagne corks left over from their New Years celebrations.  What exactly can one do with these left overs?  Well, specifically, individuals were asked to create miniature "chairs" using only the foil, label, cage and cork from no more than two champagne bottles.  At my house we went through way more than two bottles; probably enough to outfit an entire house--appliances, bath fixtures, dining rooms.... 

Here are a few samples from last year's winners.  While they are great, they pale in comparison to some of this year's offerings.  I can't upload the pictures onto my blog so you need to go and check them out yourself.  You can even get involved and vote for your favorite.  Be warned--it's going to be a tough choice.  They're all awesome. 

Thursday, February 5, 2009

YSL for Auction

Following the death of Yves Saint Laurent last year, Christie's, the world renown auction house announced the sale of a wide variety of paintings, furnishings and what can only be referred to as "haute" knick-knacks that he and his partner, Pierre Bergé collected and displayed in their residence in Paris.  Fifty years of acquiring great works allowed these gentlemen to surround themselves with paintings by Picasso, Matisse and Ingres; early 20th century furniture.  Not to mention an abundance of tchotkies--and we are not talking souvenir spoons from Niagara Falls. Several pieces did some time in Versailles and other fabulous places before ending up in this beautifully curated apartment.  

This collection is up for auction in Paris at the Grand Palais on February 23rd, 24th and 25th. Over 700 hundred pieces with an estimated value of 200 to 300 million Euros will be made available.  My daughter, the art history girl, is certainly waiting to see how this world class auction fares in the current financial situation that we find ourselves in.  I too am curious to see what the final gavel will bring in.  

Playing around on the Christie's website, I found some of my personal favorites and thought I should share.  You too can play this game if you you head over to the site.  Those of us not able to make it to the actual auction (it is open to the public) can purchase catalogs and place our bids online.  Oh, if I just didn't have to buy those darn groceries..... 

So hard to pick, but these things jumped out at me as I was trolling the site.

A Leger for the library. A little Ingres for the powder room perhaps.  A David for over the mantle. Early 20th century table for the entry way.  Various doodads to put on top of table in the entry way.  For now I think I am done.  

Go forward people and play your own little game of 'what I would buy at the auction'.  If you are looking to waste time online, this should help.  And, if you should find yourself in Paris at the end of February,  please venture over to the Grand Palais and tell me all about it.

Additional information:  

Photo credit:  Christie's