November 25, 2017

Curious about French vintage luxury

When you live in the world's fashion capital there are always occasions to dip into the feeling of luxury even if only from afar. I am not talking about window shopping on Ave Montaigne lined with designer boutiques and exquisite hotels but a simple viewing of vintage luxury.

At the very beginning of Avenue Montaigne at the Rond-Point des Champs-Elysées lies the auction house "Artcurial". Conceived as a cultural venue fifteen years ago, it now boast more than 25 areas of expertise, from fine art to decorative art to street art, collectors’ cars, jewellery, fine wines and, of course, fashion.

Since 2005, the Hermès vintage sales created by Artcurial have become an international reference.
Once in a while, on a rainy Sunday afternoon my husband and I will check out the public viewing of a fashion auction.

Last Monday the "Fall Fashion Arts" sale included a fantastic collection of Japanese fashion, as well as a great selection of Hermes accessories: beach towels, shoes, belts, bags, bedcover, bracelets, jewels, gloves, and more. Furthermore, beautiful Louis Vuitton scarfs, bags, accessories and wallets were also on display. As were a whole lot of black gowns and suits.

It makes me wonder where does all this merchandise come from? Who were their owners and why have they decided to sell? Every piece has a story to tell but sadly no one will ever hear it.

Who are the people that decide to buy a certain bag or pair of shoes? Is it for a special occasion or have they had their heart set on this particular object for a long time?

These vintage sales - offering a journey through time and personal stories - leave me begging to look beyond the luxurious, incomparable world of brands that stands for elegance and refinement à la française.

Feeling curious? Check out the catalogue here.

Where to start? 

Taking a deep breath and peeking out onto Avenue Montaigne

Would you pay 1500.- Euros for a second hand Hermes bag?

These vintage Kelly handbags dating from 1945 to 1980s sold between 1000 and 2000 Euros according to the Artcurial site.

This Hermes saddle sold for 650.- Euro the next day

Louis Vuitton Gallore

I wonder how much my Louis Vuitton boots from 2001 would bring in?

I like the funky sunglasses

Black fashion forever... très Parisienne

Oops, where do these fit in with French fashion?

This delicate Hermes tea set sadly remained unsold

Impress your dinner guests!

A rather sober looking catalogue 

Autumn snapshot onto the Rond-Point des Champs-Elysées

November 23, 2017

Celebrating Thanksgiving with Cranberry Mimosa

I just couldn't resist in sharing this Cranberry Mimosa recipe. Not only can your food be amazing on Thanksgiving, your drinks can be too. 

Here's a big cheers to all my readers. Thank you for being such great supporters of Expat with Kids in Paris.

Cranberry Mimosa:
White Cranberry Juice
Sparkling Elderflower Soda (optional)
Frozen Cranberries

Add equal parts Prosecco and white cranberry juice to each glass. Add in a swig of elderflower soda, and garnish with some frozen cranberries. Et voilà!

November 19, 2017

The International School of Paris: way to go!

It is no secret my kids attend the International School of Paris. When moving to France we had two priorities. The IB curriculum for the children and location for Expat husband and I. We had three days to scout the city and I was a woman on a mission.

In the meantime Expat boy has graduated from what turned out to be the best educational choice ever. He has enrolled in his university of choice and is spreading his wings.

Expat girl still has some years to go and she just hit the jackpot. The International School of Paris is inaugurating a new three-building campus in the center of town.

My first site visit must have been nearly a year ago. At the time one could imagine that the recently acquired campus buildings were pretty much "plug and play". Of course, the planning team knew it needed some restructuring to comply with French building requirements for schools but having visited the campus this morning again the structural changes are impressive.

It was a pleasure to be guided around the three buildings and seeing the light beaming in, even at the lower floors. The Villa, a magnificent Neo-Gothic building, will no doubt impress newcomers to Paris but also have les habitués smile with pride.

Personally, I was impressed with the tremendous improvements to the 1950's building. What was an ugly duckling could turn into a beauty, especially with the "avantgarde techno-twist" (for lack of a better definition) that the architect has planned. It was reassuring to finally meet the architect who seems very competent and (judging by his past achievements) efficient. He was happy to answer all our questions in a professional and respectful manner.

It was amazing to see the attention to detail such as preserving some of the original wood work and staircase during the restoration or the treatment of the slanted-ceiling classroom on the top floor of the Villa from where we spotted "une petite vue de la tour Eiffel".

The spaces are still very much open and basic but nevertheless mind-blowing and with a bit of imagination I can see this campus turning into a jewel. As one parent said, none of the students will want to move on to the next campus for Grade 10!

The icing on the cake, however, must be the quick detour onto the rooftop where I could not resist in taking a few shots.

It is exciting to follow the process and progress of this grande project. Come September 2018 this campus will be an outstanding home for an exceptional educational IB programme making great strides toward incorporating research, inquiry and innovation into its learning – a pillar of the current Strategic Plan.

One day the kids will realize how lucky they are...

"La Villa ISP"

The original glass cupola at the main entrance

A "petite vue" of the Eiffel Tower and a magnificent old fur tree next to the 1950 building

A majestic bow window 

Let your imagination flow...

A work of art or in need of work?

Streamlining the spaces

November 16, 2017

Just another regular week in Paris

The last seven days have been a roller coaster of emotions but I have finally come to realize that I probably need to adjust the subtitle of my blog from A transitionary home for my soul stuck somewhere between the Swiss Alps and Parisian chic to A perpetual home for my soul firmly placed between the Swiss Alps and Parisian chic.

Why you wonder? Well, for the first time in a very long period I have come to feel energized rather than frustrated by all the challenges faced when living in this city. Not that all matters relate directly to Paris but living in this metropolis takes a lot more out of you than one cares to admit.

For starters, if you are out and about you can easily clock up 8 to 10km a day. There's your exercise done for the week! Constant noise and pollution not to mention the damp cold that has hit us this month can make your life miserable.

My past week kicked off with a fundraiser for the Mexican earthquake victims. My lovely barre exercise teacher volunteered to hold a class in a trendy new hotel out in the Northern suburbs to raise awareness and help my Mexican friend's network.

The next day I ended up spending the night in hospital accompanying my 18-year old (who's birthday we just celebrated the night before) through a tonsil operation because that's what mammas of Italian boys are expected to do in my hubby's book. So, off I went to sleep on a camp bed making sure my baby was well taken care of.

Unfortunately we had some less good news within our extended family which put a damper on the general mood.

A challenge to embrace change at the kids' school had me reeling back to take action immediately and dive into the task at hand.

When a friend declares he wants to celebrate his birthday with you and travels all the way from Madrid to do so, it does lift your spirit sky-high.

When your satellite gets messed with and you are stuck without a TV when Italy is qualifying for the World cup against Sweden and subsequently looses, I am not sure that is a bad thing to have missed?!?

Then the heater conks out and I am learning all the ins and outs of a hot air heating system built in the late 1800's from a French engineer-savy technician.

Oh, did I mention we had a couple of interesting episodes with tenants of the chambre de bonne? But I'll keep those stories for another post...

Walking around the neighbourhood of St.Ouen

The essence of MOB Hotel is translated into visual, sound, olfactory, taste and tactile identities.
Happy to promote the opening of a new cooperative-orientated business thanks to the Dailey Method and Techo Inmediato.

Expat Boy's lunch after having his tonsils out

Grand opening of our new neighbourhood food hall

Heading back to school as a woman with a mission

A celebration dinner with friends

Just had to check out the Christian Dior show again

This is what is left of our original heating system

Some action going on top of the roof

November 11, 2017

La Grande Epicerie of Paris opens in Passy

Franck & Fils - a small Parisian department store emblematic of a privileged neighbourhood life -  founded in 1937 knew how to seduce a clientele in search of products quality and originality.

The story of a young Alsatian visionary woman called Emma Franck begins in 1897 in the middle of what was then the village of Passy with a small haberdashery named "The Galleries Parisiennes". Here she proposed original fabrics, ribbons and hats in a few square meters of shop and orders were carried out in the back courtyard within 24 hours.

The shop expanded and developed with success thanks to its unique concept: a store entirely devoted to women.

After the Great War, Georges, Emma's son joins her in the business and the brand opens at Rue de Passy. Sadly Franck & Fils was forced to close its doors in 2015 becoming victim of the plethoric supply of fashion boutiques around it.

After 15 months of noisy and dusty works, the Grande Epicerie de Paris now marks this place with its 3,000 m2 of commercial space. Its planted façade with scents of thyme, mint and rosemary offers a touch of modernity and originality to this shopping street in perpetual evolution.

Food lovers are delighted to hear that the inhabitants of the 16th arrondissement of Paris already accounted for 15% of the turnover of the Grande Epicerie de Paris located on the left bank. What more reason do you need to open a duplicate the other side of town? It seems they are aiming to serve the local clientele, and not be dependent on an international flow of tourism.

Well, I've been to have a peak the past two days and the trend looks promising. Locals Expats and French alike were scouting to check out the shelves, counters, fridges, bars, cupboards and market spaces.

It is eye candy galore as well as foodie heaven!

It's the new meeting point in the hood!

Thank Goodness they kept the stunning coupole as an hommage to Emma Franck

How many times can you market plain water?

One little square of an enormous wine cellar

My favourite corner

Pick your own bio egg

 No butter shortage in sight 

For the American Expats living in the 16th

For the Italian Expats living in the 16th

For the Spanish Expats living in the 16th

I hate to think what these might be?!?
At 39,95 the kilo, seriously?

The Bulgari of fruit stalls

How many time can you decline a butter biscuit?

Designer marrons are in season 

Eye candy for my sweet tooth

Parisian sugar cubes... just for fun

A French advent calendar

French version of Zimtsternli

For German and Swiss Expat living in the 16th

The classic Tre Marie Christmas Panettone imported straight from Milano

Wishing our new neighbour much success in his business endeavour!
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