words

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When I was not writing about Monaco these past few weeks, I was putting together the 7th edition of LUXE Paris. My world has become limited to words. By the time my family comes home at the end of the day, I have a hard time putting two of them together to start a sentence. It has become something of an obsession lately. And not just for me, but the whole country was talking about some choice words last week. The words : Madame le président.

Those were the words used by an Assemblyman when addressing the president of a meeting in the French congress last week and the masculinization of her title was so shocking it resulted in a formal reprimand. A rather serious one that included the loss of 1/4 month’s pay. There were regular blurbs reminding us about the slur on every channel. When I asked Em what the fuss was about, she asked what fuss I was referring to. Mr French had heard the reports, but even he had no idea why it had caused such a scandal. In fact, a lot of native French speakers were at a loss to understand what was so insulting about the term.

It is no exaggeration that French is a tough language to master. Beyond the titles, some nouns mean different things depending on the gender. Un oeuvre is a porfolio of somebody’s work, while une oeuvre is a piece of work, like a painting or sculpture (or do I have that backwards? You see how hard it is?) A memory becomes a memoire.

I was actually quite relieved to learn that I am not the only one who struggles with these little details that seem to make big difference. Not only do I feel like incompetent, but it forced Le Figaro newspaper to print an article in French explaining to the French why Madame le présidente is such a slur. Assemblywomen, it would seem, would like their jobs feminized. Just to make things less clear, female government Ministers do not request the same priveledge, so Ségolene Royal is indeed, Madame le Ministre. This is the formula preferred by the Academie Françaises, the official body whose soul existence is to monitor the French language. Quebec, Belgium and Switzerland beg to differ, asserting that by feminizing career titles we are contributing to equality.

And now Sweden has gotten involved introducing the word hen to replace him or her, in the hopes gender differences disappear for good. An idea that would cause a revolution in France!

On the road

IMG_4290I’ve been rather quiet on the blog lately. Please accept my sincere apologies. I have discovered that it is very difficult to just sit down and write all day. The mind grows numb after 5 hours. At least, my mind does. And I have been writing a lot lately because I was recently selected by AFAR magazine to create a guide to Monaco for their website. I was so flattered! They hire real writers, like Susan Orleans, and they were selecting me. I didn’t hesitate in replying with a loud YES! Typing as loudly as one can through the liquid crystal filter of a computer screen.

IMG_4269 P1080192 P1080179Before the writing, I needed to do some researching. I started immediately, reaching out to the tourist office and the Societe des Bains de Mer, the country’s largest employer that seems to be involved in every aspect of Monaco tourism. Days later, I found myself invited to the inauguration of the Pavillons Monte Carlo, a temporary luxury shopping center that was built as a centerpiece of sustainability. Even more incredible than an invitation to write for AFAR, and the opportunity to visit Monaco, I would be attending an event with SAS Prince Albert II. Totally ridiculous, but I was feeling pretty chuffed about the whole thing.

Then I started to panic about hat to wear. Thanks to the discerning eye of Mr French, I have a great wardrobe, but I was going to be hanging with the rich and famous of the world. I called a friend and she invited me to her new company the ELSS Collection, a company that rents the season’s latest designer fashion to women in my situation. Or women who have packed too lightly for the extravagant meal they have reserved in Paris, or women who are just curious what it feels like to wear high fashion on a low budget. This is starting to sound like a plug for her business, but Susan really is a friend and I genuinely had a great time trying on all the fun fashion at ELSS. I even pick up a dress for the big event and another for dinner later. Fun pieces by Kenzo that I would never buy, because they may be out of fashion in a year, but was thrilled to wear for an evening.

Dress ready, I was on my way. I had a busy day In Monaco, visiting insider haunts, exploring local favorites and doing the tourist thing. Suddenly, it was time to dress. In a moment of extreme anti-climax, it took me two minutes and I was ready to go.

IMG_4271The weather was gorgeous.  It had rained the weekend before, it would rain again in 48 hours, but tonight, the weather gods were in total cooperation with Princely desires for this outdoor event. The fountain was bubbling along joyfully with the British brass band, women were handed a whimsical posey as we arrived. I was thrilled to see that I fit right in with the ritzy crowd. I was a lone, but not at all lonely, there was just too much to see, gorging myself on this internationally flavoured eye candy.

The Prince arrived and it was a fun feeling being on the other side of the red rope, tourists clamouring for a photo op. On our side of the rope, blasé regulars were also shooting away, the man next to me raising his sleeve, the secret spy camera on his watch making that “pshut, pshut” sound, just like in the movies. A surreal moment with James Bond’s Casino de Monte Carlo as a back drop.

There were speeches. Mercifully short and to the point, boasting about the 90 species of trees that had been carefully cultivated to fill this commercial space with oxygen, the LED lights that would be beautiful, but also reduce light pollution and energy consumption. This was my kind of crowd after all! The prince cut the floral (compostable!) ribbon and a cloud of butterflies was released into the air. Breath taking.

Champagne corks popped and I was interested to note that the Monegasque were serving Perrier Jouet. Shockingly, I was not drinking, as I had a full schedule of decadent meals for the weekend and was saving myself. I was not the only teetotaler. Many of us were competing the few glasses of water available on each tray and the house had anticipated we’d be there, serving a delicious cocktail of kiwi, green apple and ginger.

As the evening progressed, we were invited to explore the shops that would fill the space over the next four years. Everything we find in Paris; Saint Laurent, Miu Miu, Balenciaga. Some stunning diamonds caught my eye. Not that I am in the market for diamonds, but I had remembered these diamonds from a Cartier show I had seen at the Grand Palais earlier this year. WOW! It is not every day I see a tiara for sale.

Slowly, my feet came back to earth, landing on the soft ground and carrying me happily back to my hotel for a dinner with a view.

 

 

 

 

Chanel Fashion Week

Screen shot 2014-10-02 at 6.03.32 PMThere is a charming French film called Fauteuils d’Orchestre, which translates to Orchestra Seats, but came out in English as Avenue Montaigne, which is where all the drama unfolds. Impish Cecile de France, perhaps the best named actress in all of filmdom star in this poetic romcom. The movie begins with Cecile’s grandmother explaining she had to live surrounded by luxury, but as she had no money, she chose to work as the dame de piScreen shot 2014-10-02 at 6.03.05 PMpi, or bathroom monitor at the sumptuous Ritz hotel. I think of Mme Pipi often in my life as a journalist, honored to work in extraordinary circumstances, with a privileged peek into another world.

Screen shot 2014-10-02 at 6.02.45 PM Screen shot 2014-10-02 at 6.02.30 PM Screen shot 2014-10-02 at 6.02.18 PM Screen shot 2014-10-02 at 6.02.05 PM Screen shot 2014-10-02 at 6.01.49 PM Screen shot 2014-10-02 at 6.01.35 PM Screen shot 2014-10-02 at 6.01.25 PM Screen shot 2014-10-02 at 6.01.15 PM Screen shot 2014-10-02 at 6.01.04 PM Screen shot 2014-10-02 at 6.00.52 PMTuesday was a particularly spectacular day. Even the weather conspired to ensure absolute perfection as I headed out the door to shoot the crowds sauntering into the Grand Palais for the Chanel show. So much eye candy! As I shot, I thought of the grandmother and started to look around at my colleagues, the other photographers. A bunch of dandies if I ever saw a bunch of dandies. And I thought of my friend Joseph the Butler, a true Beau Brummel. It seems to me that many of the people who work for the rich and famous end up being the true trend setters, guiding them is what’s hot and what really shouldn’t be. The fashion paparazzi are dedicated to following la mode across the globe, developing an educated eye and indubitable style. After all it’s easy to look like a million when you have a million, but these men and women make fabulous happen with little more than their own inspirational creativity. So this season, I turned around from the stars and socialites to shoot them, the guys and gals who really have it going on.

Because the day had made its promises, I left the crowd to visit the opening of the Hokusai exhibition next door. Which was so fun, it deserves a post of its own. And next week I’ll tell you about meeting the Prince….

Becoming French… 6

Screen shot 2014-09-29 at 11.11.47 AMMy accent not withstanding, Monsieur Mustache’s assistant brought out a heavy, canvas bound ledger, dated 1934, the year before the grand in law’s had their first child as French citizens. A loopy scrawl had entered each wedding by date, one after the other for the entire year. Using a clear plastic ruler M Mustache scrolled down page after page aft… arrêt! He had found something. Bringing the awkward witness to the counter, he showed me their names. M et Mme In-Law, French citizens married in the 12th arrondissement before the birth of their daughter who would one day become my mother in-law. The family joke just got funniey! The grand in laws had remarried after being naturalized. The grandmother may have been uneducated and illiterate, but she had been wicked smart, understanding the French and the importance of the paper chase.

A birth certificate does not cite the nationality of the parents, but the marriage certificate made it clear that the two parties were French citizens. I was able to take my files and get official Nationality Certificates for my husband and my girls. Armed with these documents and the paperwork for Nantes, I was ready to submit my dossier.

In a great moment of anti-climax, Madame was not there that Wednesday. I left my file with her colleague, a polish professional, who looked over all the documents and accepted them with a nod. Several months later my husband and I ware called in for an interview.

Like many Parisiennes, Madame is much friendly with men than with women and she was perfectly charming throughout the interview, as I sat there, wanting to do a gloating happy dance to the woman who had informed me I’d never be French. But I didn’t dare, knowing the dossier was still in her hands. The interview was a no brainer old marrieds like ourselves, and we were assured we’d receive confirmation by mail in the weeks to come, but before that Madame asked me a questioned I’d never anticipated and would love to have known was coming so I could have prepared my answer in advance.

– Would to like to françasisé your name?

– França-what?

– Take a French name. It is the law, I must offer you a more French sounding name. It may make your life easier.

She leaned across her desk and whispered the most ironically hypocritical understatement I have ever heard – Sometimes, this country can be difficult for immigrants.

Going from Sylvia to Sylvie hardly sounded like a life changer, so I stayed with what my parents had given me, but had I known, I think I’d be signing off right now as Madame Chanel, that’s Coco to you. Or perhaps I’d have gone with Colette. Marie Antoinette has a certain ring to it…

Bitingly good times

Screen shot 2014-09-26 at 10.25.23 AMEarlier thisScreen shot 2014-09-26 at 10.22.44 AM week I posted photo of Roman Polanski in da house on my FB page. The question is, which house? Certainly not mine, I am not any where near cool enough to have a guest list like that. Non, earlier this week I had the honor of being invited back stage for the reScreen shot 2014-09-26 at 10.21.39 AMhearsals of Le Bal des Vampires at the Mogador theater.

Screen shot 2014-09-26 at 10.22.21 AM   Le Bal was originally The Fearless Vampire Killers, a 1967 movie starring, written and directed by Roman. It was while on set for the film he met his future wife, Sharon Tate, who was later slaughtered by Charles Manson. And while tragedy enshrouds the reality, the movie is actually a comic satire of the vampire genre.

The film took the Vienna stage in 1997 and has just completed a 10 year tour in Germany. When it was announced that the sets were being packed up and 18 semi trucks would be taking the autobahn for France, M Polanski announced that he would be doing the directing for the Paris stage.

His dubious history not with standing, M Polanski is an impressive man, energy whirling through his body and the space around him. The French journalists were mesmerised by his presence, hounding him for photos like tweens in a room with One Direction.

After the introductions, we were taken to a series of studios. First we meet the makeup artist and her crew, busy trimming, curling, coiffing and baking real hair wigs for the show. I was amazed they were able to get such long hair that wasn’t synthetic to work with. She pointed out that humans aren’t the only beings who grow hair. Horse manes will do! And the teeth, oh, the teeth. Some actors have up to three sets of fangs, depending on their roles.And while the main actors will have assistance applying their make-up, the chorus will have become experts at drawing blood.

Screen shot 2014-09-26 at 10.24.00 AMWe met the stage director who explained that this was the most intricate production ever performed in France, with 22 tons of equipment filling every available nook and cranny, the writer who adapted the lyrics into French (I so want his job for French shows!), and the costume handlers.

Then, we were taken to the bar. Yipee, drinks! But no, there was something more going on, for lack of space, the theater bar area has been converted into a rehearsal space for the dancers. As we entered, the original NY choreographer, John Carrafa, was ruling a mob of vampires rising from their chair-slash-Screen shot 2014-09-26 at 10.23.32 AMtombstones, their voices vibrating through our being, their sharp teeth surprising us in the modern context. The actors rehearse with their teeth, so they can learn to sing without slurring, or drooling anything other than blood. They also work 6 days a week, with rehearsals running to 11pm, acclimating their bodies to show time! It was an extraordinary ten minutes, listening to the song written by Michael Kunze of Phantom fame. His signature gothic sound familiar, yet new.

Screen shot 2014-09-26 at 10.21.12 AMWe were soon dragged out, our guide threatening us with garlic if we didn’t hurry. It was into an elevator, past a voice room, beyond a gym, and into a large, neon lit room. Before us, an awkward pile of pipes and planks, a bathtub, a piano and actors going through their lines as Roman Polanski looked intently on. What a privilege to watch the man at work. Every detail being vamped and re-vamped, with minute precision.

If you’d like to see this spooktacular production, it will be going un-live at the Theater Mogador Oct 16. Just in time for Halloween!

For more images from the visit, check out my FB page.

MWEAHHHH!!!!

 

Still trying to become French… 5

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No more tears for me, I left Madame’s office more determined than ever to prove her wrong. But how? I did some research. Naturalization is registered with the Journal Officiel. I made inquiries, to no avail. I couldn’t find anyone who could help me find what I needed.

My mother-in-law was confused and absolutely certain she’d never been naturalized. She’d been born a French citizen. Over Easter holidays, 6 months into the process, we visited her in Montreal, where he organized a lunch with her brother, hoping he could help us out. A small get together for paperwork turned into a family reunion, the French cousins meeting their Quebecois cousins, the sound of young kids laughing hysterically at one another’s accent rang through out the small airplane hangar where we had gathered. The uncle had flown in that morning with fresh lobster from Maine, we feasted over red and white checked table clothes, a wing of his Cessna 150 above our heads. The wine flowed freely. It was like being on a Soprano’s set.

After lunch, things turned serious as he showed me the little paper work he had found on his parents. There was nothing on the dates they had been naturalized. But, perhaps thanks to the wine, he shared a family joke. As kids, they had always teased the older siblings for being bastards because the parents had married in Paris after having immigrated from Turkey with the older siblings. The thought was hysterical to this troupe of modern Parisians living with their old world parents. Illicit love? Maman et papa? LOL!

But what if it wasn’t a joke? We had the marriage certificate from Turkey, so we knew they had married before immigrating to France, but a few years ago my husband and I had remarried with Elvis in the Little White Chapel in Vegas. Could it be a family tradition? Is it possible the parents had remarried in France?

Back to Paris, back to the Mairie of each of the three arrondissements where the had lived, 5 year old Em by my side because it was a Wednesday and there was no school in France on Wednesday. That is because after The Church struck a deal with the Government after the Revolution. They were ok with the idea of public school, as long as kids had time to go to religious school one day a week. Wednesdays worked for the church and the country developed a habit. By the time my girls were old enough to go to school, no one was sending their kids to religious school, but teachers had grown accustomed to having their day off, and parents were stuck providing entertainment. Em spent a year of Wednesdays hunting paperwork with me.

There was nothing in the 19th, or 11th. I had no choice, but to head to the 12th. I hoped that the grump took his Wednesdays off, as many parents do, but I had no such luck and was soon facing Monsieur and his mustache. He was as horrible as always but he remembered me and was afraid I’d slip into another tantrum, so after a 10 minute lecture, he went off to search from the documents he assured me did not exist. I sat back down on the bench, next to Em, waiting to see if luck would strike twice.

M Mustache assigned the search to an intern and turned to help the next woman in line, a very proper Parisienne.

– Listen, Mommy! He’s being mean to her, too! He’s mean to everyone. He’s mean to everyone! It’s because of your embarrassing accent…

Yes, but does the document exist?

Heritage days

Screen shot 2014-09-23 at 10.23.26 AM  France uses the last days of summer to open her doors and invite the world inside for quick peek behind the scenes. It is a national campaign, with chateaux and public buildings across the nation open to the general public for the weekend. Lines start in the early hours for places like the Elysée, presidential palace and the Prime Minister’s home at Matiginon. In years past we have seen the mineral collection at the prestigious Ecole des Mines engineering school, the carnival museum, the green houses of the Luxembourg Gardens with their orchid collection for the senate, and the Screen shot 2014-09-23 at 10.23.53 AMObservatory nearby. Last year, we stopped by the Manufacture de Sèvres.

Screen shot 2014-09-23 at 10.23.40 AMThis year, I was not in the mood to stand in lines and deal with crowds, so we just went for a stroll. It would seem the universe had other plans for us, and along our walk we passed the fine arts college, Ecole des Beaux Arts. The school was open to visitors and I was very curious to see inside, because the school has been getting a lot of press lately.

It is a beautiful space, evoking an abandoned Italian palazzo of fading ochres and falling plaster with patina all around. The chapel has been stuffed full of statuary. Renaissance horsemen face off medieval tombstones, Micheal Angelo’s Virgin is not far from a Roman god. The works are all plaster replicas of masterpieces, set out for the students to study, draw, photography.

Screen shot 2014-09-23 at 10.15.47 AMIn the auditorium there is a large mural of the masters. da Vinci chats away with Reubens, Van Dyke shares a laugh besides Fra Angelico, all of them looking down at the students below, sitting on stiff wooden benches, listening to a lecture as the butts go numb.

Screen shot 2014-09-23 at 10.15.28 AMThere is a covered courtyard, flooded with light, where students can work in the sun, protected from the elements, and a smaller, arcaded courtyard that leads to the chapel. A memorial to students who died fighting for France in the First World War dominates the space, a large chestnut tree reigning from above, nature faces tragedy in absolute beauty and our day has been enriched.

All this glorious history comes with a price. The price of upkeep and renovation. The school desperately needs to be brought into the age of modernity, a little wifi here, perhaps a sound system there. Which is why it has been in the news. Ralph Lauren visited the space and was smitten. He has agreed to wire the school, renovate the chapel and ensure a classical, yet sustainable art education of generations to come.

More on that French thing… 4

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Victory? I had at last found all the papers required on the infamous list written by a certain Madame’s blue fountain pen. I had waited to have all the French papers before getting my US paper work in order, because I knew the American system and its efficiency. I requested marriage licenses and birth certificates for my parents, myself and my children. Everything arrived promptly, then was immediately returned to the State of California to be apostilléd. The process took 7 weeks. In five weeks, I’d have to start all over again.

There is a list of certified translators posted on a larger poster at the Tribunal d’Instance. I dreaded running into Madame, but there was no time to waste. I took down the list of those approved for English to French and started calling before heading home. One translator had quit. Most would need 1 – 3 months just to get to my dossier, a few were exorbitantly expensive. I finally found M SALIN on the rue de Las Cases, in the 7th arrondissement who would translate my documents for a fair price in a timely manner. I went to his office to deliver the papers. It was a wood encased study. A place Sherlock Holmes would have felt at easy, motes of dust dancing in the mid-winter sunlight, a globe, stacks of books spilling over. I was worried my papers would be lost in the mess,but he assured me that all would be well. And it was.

I arranged everything in French plastic sleeves. A sleeve for me, for my husband, one each for our parents, two more for,our girls and I headed triumphantly to the Tribunal d’Instance to file my request for citizenship.

Madame was there with her scowl and fountain pen. I started handing her the documents one by one, as she checked them from the list. When French citizens marry, they are given a Livret de Famille. A family notebook, where everything is recorded. The spouses’ two birth certificates, their marriage license, all the birth certificates of their children. I handed her our Livret de Famille, then the birth certificates and marriage licenses I had spent so much money ordering, apostillé-ing and translating. She took my documents, crumpled them in to a ball shrugging,

— Beh, these, we don’t need. They are already in the Livret.

— But, but, bu…. you told me I had to have these documents from California, and they needed to be apostilléd.

— Oui, but I did not believe you had a Livret. I did not think you had taken care of your papers.

— You knew I had taken care of my papers! You told me to go to Nantes for the copies!

She shrugged, 1000€ in paper work and hours on my time dismissed. A huge grin broke out on her surly face,

— Madame, you can not prove your husband is French.

— Yes, yes, her birth certificate is here. She was born in Paris. She’s French.

— It is not enough to be born in Paris. Look, her parents were born in Turkey. She is not French.

— They were naturalized citizens. They were not born in France, but they were French.

— If they were naturalized citizens, she too had to be naturalized. I need her naturalization papers. I have told you. You will never be French. (Je vous avais dit, vous ne seriez jamais française.)

We’ll see about that…

Still trying to become French… 3

Screen shot 2014-09-19 at 8.55.19 AMFrom dealing with the woman at the Tribunal d’Instance, I finally understood what Freud was getting at with his definition of hysteria; the panic was rooted at the core of my being, twisting through my gut, setting my legs into tremble mode and propelling my voice as I called my husband.

I had just ruined his life. He was no longer French, we were in the country on false pretenses and we were all going to be deported. The choe of his foot stomp could be heard surfing the airwaves all the way from the conference room he was visiting in Dresden.

— Are you out of your mind?

Well, yes, actually, I was slightly out of my mind at that exact moment.

— If that broad thinks she is going to take our citizenship!  I am a citizen under article…

I tuned out as he started spewing legalize, his cold certainty reviving my spirit. I stalked home determined to prove “that broad” wrong.

To make a long, very long story short, I set to work hunting down papers. I found out online that Madame had, surprise, surprise, given me a load of false information. There was an official document with a list of all the papers I would require to apply for citizenship.

Another surprise, the list made it clear I would not need the grand in-laws birth certificates and their marriage license. Either both certificates or one license would do. I had photocopies of the birth certificates, so that seemed like the easiest option. But a visit to the Turkish Embassy made it clear that a birth certificate issued less than three months ago for man who had been born when Istanbul was Constantinople was going to be difficult. There had been earthquakes, there had been infernos, and, quite frankly, Constantinople had not been a city for a very long time now.

In France, all of your major life changes are recorded at your local Mairie. I set out to find documents at what may have been their Mairie, armed with the pertinent names, month and year, but no actual date, or place. The family had lived in the 11th, 12th and 19th. I started with the 11th. Prompt and professional, they quickly informed me they did not have the document I was looking for. Going tot he 19th was like traveling abroad. We sat there in a rainbow of colors, waiting for assistance, one with a thicker foreign accent than the next. The staff were crammed into a tiny, too bright office and could not have been more patient with our lost crew of bureaucratic neophytes.

Then it was off to the 12th. Gorgeous wood ensconced offices, light filtering through the 19th century glass windows. I sat on the comfortable bench waiting for my number to be called by a grumpy man with a peppered grey mustache. By now a professional, I explained my plight and was summarily dismissed.

Did I realize how much work it would be for him to look at all the records for any given month of any given year? No, I confessed, I didn’t know exactly what it entailed, but in the other Mairie I had visited, they had taken out large ledgers, and had scanned columns of entries listed by hand in an elegant scroll. Oui, mais non, he was not willing to do this. But they had done it every where else. Impossible. He’s have none of it. He wouldn’t even know where to start looking.

Of course, he knew where to start looking! I had just told him where his colleagues had looked! I was no longer afraid of the people behind the desks. I was angry.

— Bon, if you don’t know where to find the ledgers, I am confident you know where to find your boss?

Incredibility. Was an uppity foreigner really trying to have her way with the system? He hemmed and hawed and acted deeply insulted. I insisted on seeing his boss. He wouldn’t budged. I told him that if he didn’t get me his boss I was going to start yelling. Smugness. If I yelled, the security would swoop down. That, I calmly explained, was why I was going to start to yell. If he did not go get his boss now, I was sure to find the person myself if security had to be called in.

A perfunctory turn on his heels, and my man was off. I could espy him whispering aggressively to a woman. White blouse, red skirt. I could see her arm shoot out, her finger pointing. And then, nothing.

2 minutes later he was back with the cumbersome ledger in his hands. He spread the enormous volume out on a large filing cabinet, using a clear plastic ruler to guide his eyes. Two minutes later.

— And this, is this the name ?

Victory! I was once step closer to completing my dossier!

Or was I?

Fashion with a passion

P1080070

Woot! Woot! Inès was in the house. Roger Vivier’s house for Vogue Fashion Night Out, that is. Absolutely stunning in white pants and a flowing white top, her equally gorgeous daughter in tow. No photos, although the lovely Melissa of Prête-Moi Paris was there and gamely offered to play photographer.

P1080047 P1080046This year, I went out with daughter E and the quite elegant actress/dance Thais, a Brazilian with her own Mr French. We started the evening chez RV, savouring the Ruinart champagne, great music by Yasmine Hamdan, Faty Sy Savanet et Alice Lewis, and mouth watering fashion eye candy. Good thing that stuff is calorie free!!!

It’s such a wonderful party, we could have stayed all night, but the place was packed and Paris is enjoying a very late summer, so we left to get some air.  Next stop Sartore. Like a bucket of ice water in the face, the doorman gave me a hard time about trying to bring along my own invitee (the invites are for two guest), but let us in, anyway. Their space is ab fab, in a cobble courtyard of a 19th century mansion, with plenty of air and the right accoustics to get the party rolling. But the crowd. So sad. There about 12 people trying to look like they were having fun to  sounds being orchestrated by an excellent dj at the plate. Where were the crowds of adoring Sartore boot lovers? Me thinks they’d gone elsewhere once they realized that the champagne was reserved for the owners and their personal friends. Why send an invite if the guest isn’t welcome? Not très chic, mes amis !

P1080049 P1080053Back out on the street, it looked like a Saturday night. It was such a fun crowd, in the greatest garb. Nothing could make us leave. Except maybe the promise of chocolate. Some really exceptional chocolate from the newest Pierre Marcolini boutique. The man may not be French, but he sure knows how to seduce a woman. There was a handsome greeter at the door, shaking guests hands and welcoming them in to the bright little boutique where we were plied with champagne, offered a taste of cocoa infusion and offered endless trays of chocolate, including his famous red hearts with a raspberry truffle filling. We were smitten.

Unable to resist the man’s sweet nothings, the situation became desperate, either we left, or we were going to explode. We left and head across the street to Moynat for some absolutely scrumptuous cocktails starring Henessey cognac. I was a big sceptic, but couldn’t resist the crystal tumblers sprouting funny thyme do’s. I have to say, I’m a fan! The cognac gave my drink a smokey hint that was almost creamy. Dreamy! And our favorite moment of the night was watching Moynat’s charming Japanese artist paint original icons onto their fun totes.

P1080061Ready for home, we headed on our way, passing an impromptu catwalk on the way. Fickle as 7 year old girls at recess, we decided that THIS was our favorite moment, watching hopeful fashionistas take center stage on the treadmill to strut their stuff for the world. And oh, what a big, glorious world it was last night!!!

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