London / Paris diary april / may 2014/ part two
PARIS---the most beautiful city in the world! Here on a shopping trip for my antique showroom, but just in time for my birthday-- Heaven. There are Lilies of the Valley in every street corner flower shop—my favorite!
We are back at Hotel Lancaster this year---for sentimental reasons. We celebrated two anniversaries here, so thought it would be fun to have the same beautiful rooms again for my birthday. The staff is so efficient and attentive.
The Seine looking at all the bridges
For the past 18 years, Paris has meant both work and play---working all day and dining in the most wonderful restaurants anywhere both for lunch and dinner. It also means walking in the Tuileries, Luxembourg Gardens and the Palais Royal, going to museums and walking across the bridges over the Seine as often as possible.
There isn’t a more beautiful light than the light in Paris. I’m sure that is why so many great artists were inspired by the city.
This is what arrived the morning of my birthday!
Picasso and Matisse’s favorite place to dine was in the back room of Brasserie Lipp. The back room isn’t so chic now---all the French regulars and those the matre’ d knows are seated in the front. The food is particular---some people hate it and others love it---whichever, there is no denying “the scene”, which is very French. Their specialty is Choucroute Garni, a dish from the Alsatian area of France----I share with Jim as the portions are huge.
Then a walk around the Carre on the Left Bank in Paris which is full of wonderful antique shops---from Louis XVI and earlier to top quality modern pieces from the 20th century. The top dealer and a true visionary in this world is Yves Gastou---he has been light years ahead of his time since the early 1980’s, so I always want to visit his showroom on Rue Bonaparte. We had a lovely visit with Yves and his son, Victor, who is following in his father’s footsteps. If you want to see the finest quality and the cutting edge when it comes to 20th century, this is a must!
Because of the holiday, most of our favorite restaurants were closed---even the French say that in France there is either a holiday or a strike! One of our French friends recommended Laurent, which is a Paris institution. It was open and we had a lovely evening there---it is in the gardens you see when you come to the beginning of the Champs. Even in early May, the days are so long in Paris--- the sun finally goes down around 10, so we had a great view of the gardens. By the way- if you don't like having dinner when it's still daylight, make your reservations well after 9pm.
The building Laurent is in was formerly a hunting lodge that was restored in 1842 by a German architect, commissioned by King Louis Phillipe. He was commissioned to design the Champs-Elysees. In 1860, the lodge was converted to a restaurant and named after the owner.
A stunning vermeil French chandelier
Seguso vase from the 1960’s-- almost 20”
Christophe silver plate compote from the 1940’s
Shopping for antiques---These aren't the best images, because I move fast when shopping so not a lot of time is spent getting the perfect images-- Here are 4 of the 262 lots we bought.
Just so you know that things are not always perfect in my world, I had a major allergic reaction to the dust and mold in one or more of the antiques warehouses. I was laid low for two days in Paris! So sad because the weather was perfect. However, Jim was out walking, taking photos and shopping.
Yachts de Paris
Our last night---we took an evening cruise on one of the Yachts de Paris---in 45 years of coming to Paris, we have never done this--- it seemed too touristy---but the next time you go, you must try it! I was so inspired by the beauty of Paris from the Seine---the trees along the river were so green in all their spring glory---magnifique!!
Food was beautifully served on the best china and linens---only 18 tables on our boat, so it was a lovely evening.
Courtyard at Hotel Costes
OTHER PARISIAN RESTAURANTS WE LOVE---must at least mention that we always love having lunch in the courtyard at Hotel Costes on Rue St. Honore and dinner at Le Voltaire on Quai Voltaire. If you are going to the Drouot for an auction, there is a small bistro right across the street that we like called La Cave Drouot and a tiny Vietnamese restaurant near the Eiffel Tower called Kim Ahn http://www.kimanh-restaurant.com/fr/le-restaurant/
Back home and somedog is very happy---so are we!!