Green Factory in Paris
Last night was the official opening of a wonderful new green place in Paris: Green Factory. Unfortunately I couldn't make it, but I was lucky to visit a few weeks ago and seriously: if you are an Urban Jungle Blogger, you want to add this place to your Paris list. And even if you're not that good with plants, owner Noam Levy has a solution for you.
In their very cute workshop & boutique close to the Canal Saint Martin, Green Factory proposes a large selection of self sustaining terrariums in all different kinds of shapes. Miniature landscapes with a real tree as its main character:
You've heard it before: I don't think a black thumb exists. Of course I've killed more than a few plants, but I believe that if you take time to care for your plant and do your homework (just Google to find out what your plant likes), you'll have a fair chance of enjoying a thriving urban jungle.
But if you like plants but don't have time for them, you should get yourself a Treeki. Taking care of plants couldn't be easier than with this completely self sustaining ecosystem in a glass jar. A Treeki is equipped with a LED light, powered by a solar sensor in the lid. Which means if it becomes dark, the light goes on and you still get to enjoy your beautiful greens. (you can see what that looks like right here)
The little LED light doesn't really change anything about the photosynthese, it's purely decorative. You only have to water your Treeki twice a year and nature takes care of the rest: the water is absorbed by the plants, they reject it as steam and this becomes liquid by condensation on the glass walls. Which means the water is constantly recycled inside the jar.
The shelves in the store are also recycled, from nice wooden pallets:
A little Kokedama:
I love that the workshop of Green Factory is in the middle of the action. You immediately get a peek behind the scenes, with misting tools, glass containers, little Ginseng ficus trees, planters and soil. My hands got all itchy, I wanted to make something too:
Another corner of the store with a large diversity of plants like les Filles de l'Air (air plants), mosses and beautiful Asparagus ferns:
So, what do you think? I know I'll be back soon for a real workshop ;)
Green Factory /// 17 rue Lucien Sampaix /// 75010 Paris /// 06 07 96 67 16
open every wednesday through sunday 11:30 - 19:00
sunset over Paris
Paris is always a good idea. It's so cheesy but when filming for Urban Jungle Bloggers in Paris last weekend, we just had to include a rooftop view. We were lucky to be there during Golden Hour. Just minutes after we finished shooting, the sun went behind the clouds and "the moment" was over.
I've seen the Eiffel tower so often ever since we moved here twelve years ago, but really, this view never gets old:
I think Igor agrees:
Have a wonderful weekend, in Paris and beyond!
Le Comptoir Général in Paris
Le Comptoir Général in Paris is one of these places that's been in a corner of my mind for a long time, but I never visited it. While filming for Urban Jungle Bloggers this weekend (see our Facebook page for a peek behind the scenes) we walked by the Canal Saint Martin on our way to Holybelly and had to go in. It's a real urban jungle out there with surprising details everywhere. They call themselves the "Temple of Ghetto Culture as well as an art museum: the result of creativity that springs up in poor or marginalised places all over the world. And especially in Africa."
Have a look:
Lots of potted plants, succulents and cacti... in a true cabinet of curiosities. Or like they call it: La Petite Boutique des Horreurs...
The trees and plants grow across the entire (huge!) space:
Unfortunately we didn't have time to sit down for a drink, but it looked very relaxed, a bit boho and a bit Berlin (it is so un-Paris-like spacious here!):
My favorite details were not the plants (wow!) but these African hairdresser signs. Straight from another era:
I also loved to see that this place is not another hipster-white-Parisians place. Sorry, but it's just very nice to see a large variety of people here, old, young, European, African, Asian, vibrant!
Le Comptoir Général is also quite a nice place to write a bit next to a thriving Monstera:
The entire space has different areas, the Endemic Garden, a ballroom, a hairdresser, a library, a classroom and a coffee shop:
What do you think? Don't you agree this place doesn't look like Paris?! Definitely a nice spot if you need a break and want to enjoy something a little different.
Le Comptoir Général /// 80, Quai de Jemmapes /// Paris 10e /// +33 1 44 88 24 48
open every day from 11:00 to 01:00
Jardin des Serres d'Auteuil in Paris
Yes, I'm done editing some of the 250 photos I took at the Jardin botanique des Serres d'Auteuil. Botanic gardens make me so extremely happy, especially if they include palm trees, cactus plants and succulents, that it always results in too many pictures ;)
This garden in Paris has been on my must-visit list for so long and when I heard a few months ago that it risks to be closed and destroyed on behalf of another Roland-Garros tennis court, I knew I had to go NOW. I sincerely hope the City of Paris, who owns the botanic gardens, realizes the value of these 19th century greenhouses and gardens in time, because it's so very gorgeous. Have a look:
I wondered around the garden before and after my visit of the Molitor Rooftop garden while it was empty and sunny. A few gardeners were around taking care of more than 10.000 different tropical and subtropical plants. Some of which are ultra rare and almost extinct.
One of the most amazing elements of the garden is the Palmarium: it seems like the Palm tree is captured in the greenhouse:
The majestic palm tree is really tall, nearly 16 meters and grows up to the top of the dôme of the greenhouse:
Molitor rooftop garden in Paris
Last week my day started with a visit of the new garden and roof bar of the iconic Piscine Molitor. Well it's not "just" a swimming pool, but you can sleep, dine and workout here too. This spring Molitor, built in 1929, finally reopened its doors after 25 years. When Molitor closed in 1989, it became very popular with graffiti artists and skateboarders. Parties and concerts were held in the empty pool. The renovation is beautifully done, the Art Deco aesthetic is still there, with a hint of streetart in the lobby. And of course: I loved the yellow.
Molitor was never free to the public, but with a price tag up to 180€ per day it's rather expensive to take the plunge. But if you are lucky to sleep and swim here, I can warmly recommend taking the elevator to the rooftop. Your view will be something like this:
And on top of the building,Thierry Dalcant, former fashion designer at YSL & Nina Ricci and now landscapist / stylist / designer, transformed the flat surface into a lush garden. Well, it's still young, most of the vegetation is rather small and it's definitely not a jungle yet, but the potential is there.
From the rooftop you can see the Jean Bouin stadium (on the left) and characteristic Haussmanien buildings:
And between all the greens, two distinct "terrace rooms" that can be used by hotel guests for private lunches or dinners. Imagine how lovely it would be to enjoy your breakfast right here:
While you sip your grapefruit juice, you're surrounded by lots of aromatic herbs (that smell amazing!) as well as grasses, sedum and perennial plants that cover a 30cm layer of soil and also grow in wooden crates.
But the best thing, according to me, were not the greens (wow!) but the beautiful Moroso chairs. They have exactly the right shades of colors: aquamint, green and red and they're actually comfy too!
These chairs blend in so well with the colors of the garden, the rooftop colors of Paris, the wooden crates and the flowers:
And there, right there, just in front of that (oh so random!) Eiffel Tower, is the rooftop bar with a huge herb garden:
The hotel chefs use these aromatic herbs when they cook à la plancha on the brushed inox cooking stove. Lots of fresh mint, sage, rosemary, basil, lemongrass...
But my favorites by far, are definitely these pretty polyester fiber chairs, called Tropicalia designed by Patricia Urquiola for Moroso:
Even though the Molitor rooftop garden is nice and has a lot of potential once it grows bigger, it couldn't compete with its neighbor: the Jardin des Serres d'Auteuil, one of the 4 botanical gardens maintained by the city of Paris. I literally took 250 pictures of these greenhouses alone (yes, I know I went totally Urban Jungle Bloggers crazy!), so I need some more time to edit them, but I'll show you very soon. I think you'll love it!
For now, you can check out my favorite jungles of 2013 if you like ;)
Tina Frey Designs in pink
Oh yeah I have more pictures from Maison & Objet! Last January I fell for the bright colors of the resin planters from Tina Frey Designs. This time I was really surprised: the entire stand was soft and fuzzy: black, grey, white... and pink!
Very different colorwise, but with the same sensual feel of resin and a handmade look. And a new fun touch: little pompoms! A reference to the bunny Tina Frey Designs uses in her identity as well.
For the new fall 2014 collection, Tina was inspired by winter: Falling snowflakes on cozy pom pom hats and Blushing cheeks in the cold. Personally I really love pom poms: I have a Pinterest board dedicated to pom pom beanies and even pin them in the middle of the summer ;)
What do you think? Do you like this new pale pink color? As an Urban Jungle Blogger I really like her hanging plant pots:
Want to see more of my favorites from Maison & Objet in Paris? They're right here.
I heart Hartô again
I have a few more beauties from Maison & Objet to share with you. Over the week I checked the M&O coverage and realized I didn't get to see at least 80%, but I'm happy to show you the booth of my January crush: Hartô. This time around, this fresh brand from Paris presented a more toned down collection, colorwise. With a hint of retro and a bit of toile de jouy in the new Moogli cushions and pouches:
New is also a jewelry box called Edmée in painted ash and a mirror on the lid. I'd love to use the Suzanne carpet with its swimmingpool feeling in our new bathroom (once it's finally finished, that is...):
Navy and cobalt blue carpet Noé... for a very cosy winter feeling:
Can you so what's in this little bowl on the table?
Yummm... Hartô candy by Papabubble! (they are coming to Paris this fall!)
And of course I couldn't help taking a #mirrorselfie ;)
I think my favorite new Hartô product is the Léon tray in laquered metal (like the pale and salmon pink ones above). Ultra sleek and a round twist of the famous Hay kaleido trays.
Have a great weekend! I'm getting so excited because I'm close to running for the 200th time! Reason enough to throw a little party, right?!
Mama mia, Mamama!
A pale pink stand and a brand called Mamama: for an instant I thought this had to do something to do with mamas and children. But mama mia! I was wrong! Mamama is a French design company specializing in innovative tableware. At Maison & Objet they presented their Sfumato collection with 2 cups and 3 plates. The names explain it all: volcano, mountain, lake. These shapes help to dress a plate and serve a beautiful dish.
Six times a year, mamama invites food celebrities, chefs, bloggers or enthusiasts to put their mark on the design of the collection. Hmmm this looks very graphic and tasty!
mamama ma mama mama mia ! mama miam mmmh, aaah... ma+ma = ma
"Brochettes gently lean against the mountain, sauce coats the lake, stock gives off steam as from a volcano".
The beautiful pure identity was designed by WA75. Somehow it looks very Dutch to me, this makes me so proud, because I'm slightly frustrated with French graphic design. Merci!!!
More of my favorites from Maison & Objet, right here.
I love Love Reykjavík
It's one of these things that can be a dealmaker... or breaker: product display. At big tradeshows like Maison & Objet you'll see anything between a table and a white table cloth as a background, to stand designs in marble & (real!) gold. And somewhere in the middle you'll find creative people that create magic with a limited budget.
One of my favorite stand designs at M&O this weekend was made for a union of designers from the most magical country I've ever visited: Iceland. Five designers united under the name Love, Reykjavík presented their products in a landscape of glaciers, vulcans and waterfalls. All built in chipboard, a less expensive version of plywood that made me pin like crazy.
Love Reykjavík represents Ihanna Home (the birds & cushions), Umemi (you may know them from the knotnot pillows), Marý (the plywood clouds are storage hangers), Anna Þórunn (Sunrise tray) and Hring eftir Hring (handcrafted jewelry).
And my favorite, the Experience sheets by Ihanna Home, that splash like a waterfall:
And you? Have you ever seen a stand design you really loved?
Aufschnitt Berlin Textile Butchery
Yesterday I was at Maison & Objet in Paris and my first crush was a rather unexpected one. It took me two seconds to realize this was fresh and different (and let's admit: a little bit crazy too). Aufschnitt Berlin is a Textile Butchery: they create products that mimic regular sausage and meat products in traditional sewing techniques.
Designer Silvia Wald is a vegetarian but loves creating cold cuts in wool, lycra, microfiber and fake leather. She also designed human organs, like lungs, a stomach, a tongue-backpack and a beautiful heart:
I never thought I'd say this: but I fell in love with a sausage! My favorite is the salami, but look at that Face-sausage:
The chicken leg below has a removable skin (eewww!):
These are not just some kind of cheap plush toys: they're actually really well made, some fabrics are tie-dyed to obtain a very meat-y aspect and the fillings are customized to ressemble the fat and veins in real sausages.
What about some bacon & eggs, a.k.a. a sleeping mask and pillow:
And not only do the meat and organs look great, their entire branding and styling is spot on. I'm such a sucker for nice branding...
Another fun fact: earlier this year Aufschnitt presented their sausages at Markthalle9, where Streetfood Thursday takes place every week. If you're ever in Berlin on a Thursday, you don't want to miss it. I wrote about it here.
Silvia showing me her lungs:
Although Aufschnitt is a Berlin-based brand (hence the pretzel!) they also included French baguettes in their collection:
So, what do you think? Yayy or nay? I totally wishlisted the Heart and a Salami.
I'll be back very soon with more design from Maison & Objet. In the mean time you can check out my favorites from last January, if you like. Enjoy your weekend!
My Paris tips
By popular demand ;) some of my favorite places in Paris (updated December 2014):
► La Trésorerie /// 11, rue du Château d'Eau /// 75010 Paris /// a mix between Dille & Kamille and Merci: goodies for home & kitchen.
► Kidimo /// 227, rue Saint Denis /// 75002 Paris /// Vintage letters for your home from France, Eastern Europe and South America.
► Merci /// 111, boulevard de Beaumarchais /// 75003 /// Merci doesn't need an introduction, right? Trend setting homewares, goodies, furniture, fashion and more. The Used Books Café is a nice place for lunch or drinks. Also visit Bon Ton (kids furniture, fashion & goodies) and get inside the photomaton.
► Adeline Klam /// 54, boulevard Richard Lenoir /// 75011 Paris /// Japanese paper goods, stationery, pillows, photo albums, Japanese fabrics, DIY books, wooden toys and more.
► Papier Plus /// 9, rue du Pont Louis-Philippe /// 75004 Paris /// Quality paper goods in a wide range of colors, since 1976.
► Rooftop view over Paris /// Take the escalators to the top floor of Printemps Haussmann for a 360° view over Paris, 100% free and without standing in line /// 64, boulevard Haussmann /// 75009 Paris.
► Institut Suédois /// 11, rue Payenne /// 75003 /// Delicious Swedish kanelbullar and nice art exhibitions & concerts at the Swedish Institute.
► Les Succulents Cactus /// 111, rue de Turenne /// 75003 Paris /// Cactus & succulents a.k.a. Urban Jungle Bloggers paradise.
► E. Dehillerin /// 18-20, rue Coquillière /// 75001 Paris /// Traditional kitchen utensil paradise, for chefs & foodies. It's a true cavern of Ali Baba with cookware from basement to ceiling.
► Papier Tigre /// 5, rue des Filles du Calvaire /// 75003 Paris /// Beautiful paper goods with a humorous twist.
► Green Factory /// A new Urban Jungle Bloggers paradise in Paris: a workshop & boutique close to the Canal Saint Martin, where owner Noam propose creative terrariums that need very little attention.
► Molitor rooftop garden /// Avenue de la Porte Molitor /// 75016 Paris /// Relax in one of the Moroso Tropicalia chairs, with a view on the Eiffel tower, after a dive into the famous piscine.
► Jack Gomme /// 16, rue St-Claude /// 75003 Paris /// leather goods made in France since 1985. I particularly like their clutches.
► The Broken Arm /// 12, rue Perrée /// 75003 Paris /// Good coffee & very well curated shopping (fashion, accessories, books...).
► La Grande Epicerie (at Le Bon Marché) /// 38, rue de Sèvres /// 75007 Paris /// Food from around the country & world (I go there for the nice packaging design), nearby you'll find The Conran Shop.
► Jardin des Serres d'Autueil /// 1 avenue Gordon-Bennett /// 75016 /// Nineteenth century greenhouses with a giant palm tree, tropical plants, cacti, Monstera... an Urban Jungle Bloggers paradise!
► Muskhane /// 3, rue Pastourelle /// 75003 Paris /// rugs, cushions, baskets and objets in felt and wool from South Asia.
► For the best coffee in town, check out Lindsey's fab coffee guide (I had coffee at Fondation Café the other day and it was really good).
► Le Comptoir Général /// 80, Quai de Jemmapes /// 75010 Paris /// An urban jungle where you can get a coffee, a haircut, buy plants, listen to music: a creative hotspot that doesn't feel like Paris. At. All.
► Paris isn't particularly colorful, apart from the beautiful grey rooftops, so if you crave some color, take a walk through the Passage de l'Ancre, a small private passage in the 3rd. /// 30, rue de Turbigo /// 75003 Paris.
► If you have more time:
►In stead of visiting the Castle of Versailles, I warmly recommend you to visit the Château de Chantilly. It houses the largest collection of paintings after the Louvre, a splendid library, wonderful gardens. And nearby you'll find the Horse Museum, several beautiful hotels including the Auberge du Jeu de Paume, race tracks & forests for a nice long walk. And of course, don't forget to get yourself a hot chocolate with crème Chantilly a.k.a. whipped cream in the tea room of the castle ;)
► Musée de l'Air et de l'Espace (Air & Space museum). Even if you're not an aircraft nerd, you can have a great time at the oldest Paris airport. The halls are a little vintage, or beautifully renovated like the former departure hall, and you can visit the inside of a Concorde, see some real "wings" and the first hot air balloons, there are flight simulators and more. I love this place. Very kids friendly too!
► And my best Paris tip ever: walk around! You don't need a cab, a bunch of metro tickets and a nice pair of shoes (and some good company!) is all you need. Take a metro to a random spot on the map and get out, walk around, explore. Don't be afraid to miss the touristic spots! Simply sit down for coffee, pick something from a bakery, have a little pique nique, visit a gallery or museum. When publishing this guide there was a fabulous exhibition of Dries van Noten at les Arts Décoratifs.
Have a great time in Paris! Profites-en bien!
Summer in the city
My absolute favorite season in Paris is early springtime, when it's still chilly and the sky is pale blue. But summer isn't so bad either, especially in August when all Parisians are on holiday, shops are closed and the streets are empty... until la rentrée in September.
Last week was warm and sunny: perfect for a refreshing lemon & mint & ginger lemonade at the Used Book Café at Merci. Or some fresh fruit juice from their temporary Vitamines Bar. Do you recognize the vintage letters by Kidimo?
Kidimo in Paris
If I'll ever make it to Las Vegas, I want to visit the Neon Museum. It's basically a huge collection of old and newer signs that contributed to the history of the gambling capital of the world. From the pictures I've seen online, it's pretty rad (if you like signs of course). But if you can't make it to Vegas, or you prefer decorating your home or office with nice letter signs, there is Kidimo in Paris. I've been a longtime follower of Nicolas Flachot's work online and had only seen Kidimo's popup shop at Merci a few years ago. But last week, sweet Lauren reminded me he also has an awesome store so I went for a little visit. A true letter nirvana.
I didn't buy any letters, because we still have a few Restaurant letters left and very few walls. But I think we will use some in our new bathroom!
Nicolas collects lots of French letters: some that you recognize immediately (like the Casino grocery store one below), some from Eastern Europe or Argentina. All ready to form new words, like r e s p i r e (breathe):
Last week Kidimo opened their Cave of Ali-bla-bla at night! Can you image what it must have looked like? Neons lighting up everywhere <3 (here's how!)
Oh and please, if you decide to buy some words at Kidimo, choose something else than "home" or "cuisine" or "bath". Make a word that truly means something to you or that has a beautiful look or sound. I've seen way too many ugly signs with bad typography. You're worth it!
Kidimo /// 227, rue Saint Denis /// 75002 Paris /// +33 685 42 93 42
The Broken Arm in Paris
My days in Paris are always packed. I try to get most out of my time in the city, before taking the train home to our just-outside-the-banlieue city. This means: meetings with clients, a visit to an exhibition or conference, random walks, a little shopping at Uniqlo or COS and the best part: meeting with old & new friends. Last week I met with Sivan and Merav at The Broken Arm, where the coffee was good (even if you have special foam requests!), the sunshine was great and the store very well curated.
The greens seemed to love the sunlight in the window sill. I wonder if that succulent in the middle came from nearby cactus store Les Succulents Cactus...
Ever since being an Urban Jungle Blogger I can't help but spotting greens everywhere. I love this indoor tree:
In the basement I discovered this beautiful leather bag collection from Germany by Phillip Bree, called PB 0110. Their branding is so elegant and pretty: ( ) and their leather goods very very soft.
Besides their nice selection of magazines and art books, I particularly loved the headwear they carry by Études (also in bright yellow and electric blue!):
The Broken Arm - boutique & café /// 12, rue Perrée /// 75003 Paris /// +33 (0)1 44 61 53 60
boutique open: tue-sat 11-19 /// café open: tue-sat 9-18
Les Succulents Cactus in Paris
One of my favorite things to do when I travel, is visiting the local garden center, plant nursery or pépinière. Especially around the Mediterranean you can find the prettiest olive trees, agaves and palm trees in these centres. I always love bringing home a little succulent souvenir. But when you live in Paris and want to add some spiky green friends to your urban jungle, this is the place to go: Les Succulents Cactus.
As you can see, the entire shop is filled with different cactus plants and succulents. I first visited a few years ago, but when sweet Lauren reminded me of its existence, I knew I had to go back. So that's what I did when I had coffee just around the corner:
The funny thing is, that all their cactus plants are so perfect! They have no flaws, because they're selected by hand, which makes this place a bit surreal. But still: their collection of over 300 different species is really beautiful. Can you believe I left empty handed? My urban jungle grows so fast, that I don't allow myself to buy more... for now. Which makes it even more hilarious that when I came home a big new cactus was waiting for me. A sweet gift from my husband <3
The owner of the shop, Anne Floux, is very passionate about everything cacti. And if you decide to adopt one of her plants, she makes sure you get all the information you need to take good care of your new green friend. Because contrary to popular belief: you really have to take care of your succulents and cactus plants!
Les Succulents Cactus /// 111 Rue de Turenne /// 75003 Paris /// + 33 1 48 87 07 18
Open every tuesday to saturday from 11:00 to 19:00
Greens at Maison et Objet
Plants have been part of our interior for years, but now that our Urban Jungle Bloggers community is growing and growing, I see greens everywhere. You may call it trendy, although I wonder if people will get rid of all their cacti plants when they feel the trend is over. Because plants are living things, you get attached to them. At least that's what I do. Most of my plants have a little story: about where I found it, if someone gave it to me, how it grew over the years. Well you get it, right?
Anyway, I spotted a lot of greens at Maison & Objet and thought I would share a small(!) selection here. Above you see the wooden wall fixtures by French brand Bellila. They also carry some clever coffee tables with incorporated planters: really cool!
Ferm Living also loves cactus plants, aloë veras and ferns. Their entire stand was filled with some nice species and some where shining in their brand new plant stands:
I'm desperate for some nice new planters, so for now this is what I'd do too: put some cactus plants in a ceramic jug. These are called Harpo and are designed by Eno Studio:
Belgian brand Serax carries a lot of different planters, pottery and glassware. Their textile planter collection by Marie Michielssen is one of our most popular repins on our Urban Jungle Bloggers board!
More greens by Ferm Living, Serax and French company Bacsac:
And some very subtle plants between books and stationary on shelves by Universo Positivo:
Wish you a nice & green weekend! Oh and did you know we just opened an Urban Jungle Bloggers Facebook page with plant inspiration from bloggers all over the world? We hope you like it!
Maison et Objet in wood
It's probably because I can't wait for lighter days, with more energy and blooming greens, that my eye caught lots of wood, brightness and a hint of color at Maison & Objet last weekend. Today I'll show you some bright wooden designs that I liked.
Delightful color combos by Scholten & Baijings on tables and platters for Karimoku New Standard:
Beautiful plywood shelves via Eno Studio:
Clean shapes in marble, matte white aluminium and wooden fungi shelves by Danish brand Menu:
More plywood and brass & neon light by Chinese brand Neri&Hu:
Loved this beautiful corner shelf in beech wood designed by Marie Dessuant for Cinna:
Manufactured by French specialist for steel furniture Tolix: the concept kitchen designed by Kilian Schindler for N by Naber:
Wooden mirrors Mirette designed by Guillaume Delvigne for French brand Oxyo:
Still not enough wood? I've been pinning like crazy on my Knock Knock Plywood board ;) And soon more color and greens from Maison & Objet!
Xmas after Christmas
Ohhh it feels so good to take down all the Christmas decoration, right? No more light strings and pine needles everywhere. And even though we don't have a bulky christmas tree inside, it seems like there is more space. Sometimes I wish we'd live in a minimalist space with clean lines without any stuff... but then again: I do love my clutter!
So... you can imagine I'm a bit hesitant to show these images today... images of over-the-top classic Christmas decoration! This week we spent a few days near Fontainebleau and visited the Castle of Vaux-le-Vicomte. Like "our" wonderful castle of Chantilly and the castles of Fontainebleau and Versailles, the Vaux-le-Vicomte castle is located just outside Paris, and often a little bit too far for weekend tourists. But if you have a few more days to spend, a visit to the "countryside" is very rewarding.
Especially if you go to the castle of Vaux le Vicomte: with a calendar full of special events, there's always a good reason to visit the masterpiece of 17th century architecture and its French formal gardens. In the summer you can enjoy candle lit evening visits (which looked absolutely amazing from the pictures they showed), but while we were there, it was Christmas all over again:
No real Christmas in France without a few La Durée macaron towers:
Even after more than 11 years in France and near Paris, the view over the Parisian rooftops, doesn't get old. The other day I escaped the Christmas shopping rush on the boulevards and saw this. Grey, blue and more grey ♥.
I wish you a wonderful weekend, in Paris and beyond!
Papier Tigre in Paris
There's a new gem in town! A few weeks ago, Papier Tigre, opened their first brick and mortar shop in the Haut Marais in Paris. You may already know Papier Tigre products: they create beautiful and contemporary paper products with a humorous twist.
Their new space is like their webshop: bright, smart and with funny puns everywhere. And a beautiful cardboard Christmas tree of course!
I had never seen these awesome marked & numbered "poly marbré", marbled paper shapes. They remind me of my adventures with the Paper globe ;)
One of my favorite Papier Tigre products is The Assistant, a complete agenda in recycled paper (of course) to plan your workload. It also includes a list of "how to be kind" in 21 languages, hihi! Another favorite is The Greengrocer: a vegetable moving disk calendar that shows you which fruit and veggies are "in season". So clever! And of course their snailmail products: beautiful foldable writing paper you can send right away. Oh and who ever has enough notebooks? I know I don't!
#bisou to Papier Tigre! Grrr ;)
Papier Tigre /// 5 rue des Filles du Calvaire /// 75003 Paris /// +33 1 48 04 00 21
Open every tuesday to sunday from 12:00 to 19:30 or shop online!
My favorite Aire de Jugy
I love traveling in my own country. The Oise region is really nice, but nothing makes me happier than driving on the Autoroute du Soleil. Ohhh... the promise of sun, la mer and pine trees in the South of France... ♥
A break at one of the many rest areas along the road makes it even more fun and relaxing. Especially if you happen to stop at Aire de Jugy. Before reaching the aire de repos, located near Chalon-sur-Saône (in the Burgundy region between Dijon & Mâcon) there's little bit of suspense:
As a kid it was always such a joy to spot these fellows along the road. On our way to the Provence last month I couldn't help but stop to take a few playful pictures. Unfortunately most mushrooms are for kids only, but they look fantastic.
I can highly recommend to make a stopover at Aire de Jugy if you'll ever travel southbound, with or without kids!
Did you have a nice weekend? Here in the Oise we enjoyed a super sunny Saturday and decided to visit a random place. Along one of the roads leading to our place, is a sign that points to a castle where we had never been. We Google Streetviewed the sign, tried to see what it read (as you can see it's very pixelized), found out and drove to the Château de Raray.
We were in good company, so no matter where we'd end up, we would have a good time. Turned out: the surrounding village was cuter than expected and the very well maintained castle overlooked a huge golf course. Perfect for a nice little walk along the green, where I spotted this cool trash bin.
There were also 40 hunting dog statues, some with quirky tails:
The castle itself is used as a conference center and hotel, there's also a restaurant and sunny terrace, but above all: it's a really nice and quiet place to play golf (which we didn't).
I liked that they used the deer and dogs in the logo too:
It was a very random visit, at less than 25km from our home, that felt like a mini-vacation. Do you ever go on trips like these?
Not a fan fan
The title says it all: I'm not particularly fond of electric fans. But as we are in the middle of a heatwave here in France, we need them. Our home has no windows, only 2 doors and the outer walls are made of glass, so we almost live in some sort of greenhouse. We try to stay cool with fans but at the end of the day (or after 1 hour) I'm just so fed up with the noise of the electric fans. Ugh.
But on the other hand: I love eating popsicles and be fan-less outside. I wish you a very cool weekend!
Artwork "Beyond the Fans" by Zilvinas Kempinas: 2 perfectly positioned electric fans keep loops of magnetic tape in the air. Dynamo Exhibition, Grand Palais, Paris.
Dynamo @ Grand Palais Paris
Today I'm not sharing an exhibition you should visit too, because actually you can't. The Dynamo exhibition in the Grand Palais closed its doors last week. Before I visited, I read that you can devide the Parisians in 2 groups: the ones that had seen Dynamo and the ones that didn't. So I had to see it ;)
With an overdose of mirrors, (self) reflections, virtual illusions, it's obvious why the exhibition was such a huge success, in this era of instagram, tumblr and twitter. It was impressive to see that many visitors were overly enthusiastic about taking selfies (I'm a little guilty too...) and watched the exhibition through the lens of their phone. I agree with certain critics: the Dynamo exhibition was a bit Disneyland-ish, but there were many wonderful artworks to be admired and experienced as well. My favorites included work by Ann Veronica Janssens and Anish Kapoor.
This projection room, Slow Arc Inside a Cube (2009) by Conrad Shawcross, particularly turned my stomac upside down:
The RGB room was really awesome: Chromosaturation (1965) by Carloz Cruz Diez:
The lines and reflections of this artwork were static, but once you walked by they started swirling:
A detail of Transformation Instable Juxtaposition Superposition (1963-2011) by Francisco Sobrino:
I really enjoyed staring at this pattern, 4 Double Trames (1958) by François Morellet, it looks like dripping water in a puddle:
After well over 2 hours of color, light and movement in an amazing venue, the Grand Palais, it was time for ice cream. And some rest for the eyes!
A playful week
When Tina and I were playing around with Google doodles for her Vive la Différence series, she mentioned that both our homes are full of toys even though we don't have kids. I guess we both have a playful spirit!
This week I stretched the limits of my playfulness by going on a little tour through the park on a miniature steam train. The Friends of Steam, organized an afternoon of free rides for everyone, which turned out to be a great dose of unexpected fun! I loved it!
And later this week I was invited to the oldest theme park in France: La Mer de Sable. Fifty years ago it started as a playground near a natural dune in the forest, where retired circus camels enjoyed a calmer lifestyle. Many Isariens visited the park during their colonies de vacances, but recently it was completely updated.
For younger children (4-12) it's a great alternative to bigger parks like Asterix and Disney: hardly any lines, it's very clean, spacious, well decorated and I never heard so many laughing kids in other parks. The stunt show with Cowboys and Indiens was also a highlight. And a big plus: no It's A Small World tunes on repeat the entire day ;) La Mer de Sable is located at 45 mins from Paris. More info here.
The palm trees at La Mer de Sable made me dream of summer holidays in the sun, chilled drinks and the sound of cicadas...
Probably I won't hear any cicadas during this upcoming Bank Holiday weekend, but it will be a festive weekend, that's for sure! Hope your weekend will be sunny & festive too!
While most of the visitors of the Paris Air Show were enjoying the buzz outside, we went inside the Museum of Air and Space for a quick visit. As I've said before, this museum is really one of my favorites ever. The atmosphere is so unique, a little retro, but in a good way. And surprise surprise: the former arrival and departures hall was entirely renovated. Including this wonderful clock:
All of you that have been reading my blog for a while, know that I love traveling. I was seventeen when I boarded my first airplane and I still think it's a little magical to go somewhere else so fast, in stead of long hours by car, bus, train or bike.
People at airports make me so curious: where are they going, why are they going there? What's their story? Who are they leaving behind? That's why I'm a total sucker for television shows like Hello Goodbye (in France and NL). I'm always amazed by how much people share in front of the camera... but that's a whole other story ;)
The renovation of the Salle des 8 Colonnes took well over a year, but wow, it's really breathtaking (watch the 360° panorama view!). It transports you right back to the 1930s. I love time traveling. Do you?
At the Paris Air Show
This weekend I spent some time in this male dominated environment called the Paris Air Show. Lots of state of the art aircrafts, engine noise and numerous drones, which I guess is the latest aeronautic hype. I was mostly drawn to the blue white and red smoke from the Patrouille de France team that performed above our heads. It had the same effect on me as fireworks... Woahhh!!! And it looks rather romantic too, don't you think?
In the air
After a crazy week, I'm more than ready for the weekend. Yesterday I spoke in front of 200 people in the Horse Museum in Chantilly about blogging in the tourism industry and I think I had reached my maximum dose of craziness by then.
What are your plans for the weekend? I'll be unwinding at the Paris Air Show in Le Bourget where it's all about aircrafts, aeronautics and space. I'm not all that interested in airplanes and such, but the Museum of Air and Space is absolutely one of my favorite museums ever. It has this retro interior with lots of old aircrafts, vintage mannequins, glossy linoleum floors and dreamy air balloons. And it's very photogenic with all the bleu-blanc-rouge. I wrote about it last year, if you'd like to read more.
Wish you a wonderful weekend!
2 Popcorn Girls
Maybe I'm starting this tradition of bending the rules: last month for the first #2flowergirls tag I used daffodils in stead of ranunculus. And today I'm showing you the requested flowers, hydrangeas, but I didn't photograph them at home. Actually I didn't find fresh cut hortensias near my place and even in Paris they only came in shrubs.
However I really like this popcorn hortensia I spotted at the Flowermarket on l'Île de la Cité in Paris. The name and original shape almost make me want to eat them... with a nice friday night movie ;o) Happy Weekend!
Weekend tip: la Brocante
My favorite season started: brocante season! Visiting a flea market on Sunday is like a national sport here in France. After visiting numerous marchés aux puces, I must admit that I became quite addicted to the art of junk hunting. It's a nice opportunity to visit new places in the Oise, discuss (or negotiate!) with locals and maybe find that one thing that I've always wanted but didn't know I needed.
The best online resource to find out if there's a marché aux puces going on somewhere nearby is vide-greniers.org. The site really hurts my eyes, but has very up-to-date info on brocantes all accross France. You simply select the region or département of your choice and off you go. I always prefer the vide-greniers (empty your attic) over the brocantes, because it's more exciting when there are less professionals selling their overpriced antiques. Simply strolling around the streets, watching people and their old stuff... aahhh I love Sunday mornings!
My best find ever was a pair of near new Ann Demeulemeester riding boots for 10 euros. Unfortunately they were too small for me, so they were sent off to a lucky Australian eBayer...
Do you like visiting flea markets? And what's your favorite brocante treasure?
I'm lost in Cheeseland
Maybe you've seen it? Last friday I was featured on Lindsey's wonderful blog called Lost in Cheeseland. As part of the Franco File Friday series I answered a few questions about my life in France.
Although my day-to-day life certainly doesn't consist of (only) sipping wine & munching on cheese, and whilst I sometimes struggle with French bureaucracy, and miss my Dutch family, the decision to move to France (almost 11 years ago) has been one of the best we've ever made. We've built a home, made new friends, tasted lots of delicious things, discovered wonderful new places...
So I'm definitely not lost in Cheeseland: I'm at home here! And you? Where do you feel at home?
Photos taken at Palais Royal, Paris
Chirp chirp! I hope these fake birds will encourage the real birds to kickstart spring. Finally! I can't wait for warmer days without coats and scarfs.
I spotted these little birds at a small Floral Art Fair in Paris. I was not impressed by the quality of the flower arrangements exhibited but it was a nice occasion for some spring pictures.
City halls in France are so very pretty: high ceilings, squeaky parquet and stained glass windows:
Come on spring! I know you can do it!
A night in Sweden
Ever since returning from Stockholm, I've been kind of stuck in Sweden through the books of Stieg Larsson. I'm in the middle of the third book now and watched the American and Swedish movies too. I remember my guide in Stockholm pointed out Lisbeth's and Mikke's apartments in Söder. It didn't mean much to me then but totally makes sense now. Did you read these books? Did you like them?
Last week I spent an evening at the Swedish Institute in Paris. First for fika at Le Café Suédois. Hmmm! Next door, glass & ceramics artist Mårten Medbo was exhibiting his work. I like how his sculptures are not quite abstract or figurative, but mostly very organic and inspired by nature.
The displays and colors reminded me of what I saw at Blås & Knåda and Konsthantverkarna in Stockholm:
After visiting the exhibition it was time for some music. Or better said: some "sound" by Midaircondo. A Swedish duo exploring avant-garde sound art, electronica, jazz and melancholic pop. They were in town for a concert at Unesco the next day for International Women's Day.
The motion graphic backdrops portraited the women themselves walking up and down a stairway.
My favorite piece by Mårten Medbo was this comic blob sculpture:
► The Swedish Institute in Paris is a really nice place to relax after a stroll through the Marais neighborhood or a visit at concept store Merci. In the summer you can enjoy your kanelbulle in their quiet garden. Bliss!
Institut Suédois /// 11 rue Payenne /// 75003 Paris /// +33 (0) 1 44 78 80 20.
Open every tuesday through sunday: 12PM - 6PM.
A whipped weekend
In French Chantilly also means whipped cream. So, besides the Chateau and the horses, that's what Chantilly is known for as well.
Last weekend, Framboise invited* me & my husband for a romantic get-away in a brand new hotel in Chantilly, called l'Auberge du Jeu de Paume. I think it was the first time that we spent the night somewhere so close to our home (at only 10 minutes) and it felt a bit weird. But the venue made it all worth it.
In complete opposite to our all-white bedroom at home, our Suite looked like a classic French fairy tale: with a toile de Jouy headboard, mirrors in Murano glass and Musée Condé reproductions everywhere.
Highlight of the weekend was a treatment in the luxurious Spa. I didn't get a simple exfoliation... but a "Crème de Chantilly wrap". In other words: I got covered in whipped cream! Cleopatra bathed in donkey milk to hydrate her skin and that's exactly what whipped cream does as well. The application of the cream feels sensational: it's very cold and milky. It made my skin feel super soft & smooth.
My favorite decor in the hotel were the original (!) 18th century wooden panels with monkey scenes, lent by the Musée Condé. They are over-the-top kitschy (see first photo), but the monkeys' faces are hilarious!
The hotel is a located at 30 minutes from Paris and at a stone's throw from the Château, its park and the Grand Stables:
Auberge du Jeu de Paume /// 4 rue du Connétable /// 60500 Chantilly /// +33 (0)3 44 65 50 00.
* We stayed at the hotel and received a Spa treatment free of charge, but all words and images are my own. We had a fabulous stay :o)
Adeline Klam in Paris
Earlier this week I blogged on Jillian in Italy again while she is recovering from surgery on her hand. I'm introducing you to a super cute & welcoming boutique in Paris, called Adeline Klam. Check it out here!
Adeline Klam /// 54, Boulevard Richard Lenoir /// 75011 Paris /// +33 (0)1 48 07 20 88
Open every monday through saturday: 11AM – 7PM.
Xmas in Paris
Can you believe we're only a week away from Christmas?
This is what xmas looks like in Paris: above Andrea Crews for Uniqlo, below the Repetto store. The light swirls around the ballerina dress remind me of the beautiful Le Deun lights.
This made me laugh, I bet I'm not the only who took a picture of this Mini:
Check back tomorrow as I'll show you our xmas tree!
Merci prepares for Xmas
Two weeks ago I quickly hopped into Desiree's favorite shop in Paris again: Merci. The visual merchandisers were preparing the store for Christmas with trees & light bulb stars. I realized that I'm not quite in the mood for Christmas yet, although I did buy my first xmas gift there. ( can't tell you what, because it's for someone who reads my blog... )
Anyway, have a look at how Merci is preparing for Xmas:
If you don't know Merci yet, you can read more about it here. Are you in the mood for Christmas yet?
Short days, more light!
Rise & shine it's monday morning! I hope you had a lovely weekend? Mine was filled with snow, Saint Nicholas treats and family fun. So let's start off this week with some nice lightning. I'm usually not a big fan of exposed lightbulbs because they blind my eyes. But the bulbs above ( several dozens (!) in the cafeteria of the Verbeke Foundation ) and the bulbs below ( at restaurant Grazie in Paris ) are pretty nice though!
Reminds me that I really like Plumen too. Do you know them?
Muskhane in Paris
Sometimes you see a lovely design that reminds you of someone else. That happened to me last week when I was in Paris on my way to the Maison d'Anna G pop up store. I passed by this amazing shop window of Muskhane and then it hit me: the buntings! the craft! the colors! Totally Giova's style.
So hop over to One Bunting Away to see more of this beautiful Parisian shop window!
update: Giova went to check the store out herself. Check it out here!
Le Deun Luminaires
Last week I walked by the showroom of Le Deun Luminaires in Paris. I was hiding under my umbrella when these illuminated circles caught my eye. Wow!
I'm always a little annoyed when I see lightning shops that have all the their lights turned on. Such a waste of power! But when I read that Jean-Luc Le Deun, the designer of these beauties, only works with LED lamps, I felt more comfortable. And at the end of november we can all use a little extra light, right?
A selection of lamps is avalaible for sale here.
Le Deun Luminaires /// 18 rue Saint Gilles /// 75003 Paris /// +33 (0)1 55 28 50 61
My favorites @ TRANOÏ Paris
Recently I visited Tranoï, the most creative fashion trade show in Paris, to find fresh inspiration. I'm currently on the lookout for a new winter scarf ( since I lost my favorite one in Berlin ), and am obsessed with soft fabrics.
While strolling along the booths I admired "old favorites", like the amazing hats & footwear by Reinhard Plank, and the spring/summer '13 collection of Humanoid, and also found some new favorites.
My first crush was on the Swedish prêt-à-porter brand SVEK. And especially on this crisp white shirt: the collar & front of the shirt is the same piece of fabric. Very innovative & easy to wear!
The Italian sales assistant of Horo completely enthralled me with her enthusiasm for her products. While wrapping a fabric bracelet on my wrist she explained that their prints are actually 24K gold & true palladium. The prints are graphic & timeless and knowing that you're wearing true gold adds a little touch to it. Horo designs are hand printed on super soft fabrics like silk mixtures, cashmere and modal with milk. Loved it!
One of the main materials of our home is concrete, my Pinterest board "When can I move in?" is filled with big chunks of concrete as well: I just ♥ it!
No surprise that I also loved Ivanka's Cement Couture. Ivanka is a Budapest-based design company specializing in concrete projects. They recently launched their first fashion collection in fabrics which look like cement & concrete but actually feel REALLY soft! Where can I get my concrete scarf now?
Dans un jardin
Earlier this summer, my husband & I spent some time in this Parisian jardin where he proposed to me over 14 years ago. We had not been back since. It felt completely different & yet I felt at least just as happy as back in 1998. Can you guess in which garden I took this picture?
This is what caught my eye at one of the least stylish places in the Oise. I liked the contrast between the grungy place with garbage trash all over & the YSL label...
Braids in Paris
Yesterday my Italian friend & I went for "fika" at the Swedish Institute in Paris. Fika means having a coffee break with pastries and as one of my Danish readers pointed out, fika is only used in Sweden ( and not in Denmark ).
I was looking forward to a delicious kanelbulle, but no luck: the Swedish Institute was closed for the entire summer. Paris is very slow & empty in August, which I think is bliss!, but some of these nice places like the SI with a beautiful courtyard are unfortunately closed.
Finally we ended up at Merci again for coffee and a refreshing citronade with ginger & mint. Not so bad either ;o)
Merci is one of those Parisian hotspots that doesn't need an introduction anymore, does it? The best thing about concept store Merci, besides their interesting selection of products, is the space itself: it's huge & spacious. Every time I visit it looks completely different and last week a giant palm tree welcomed us. What more could I wish for, as a true palm tree fanatic myself :o)
Some of these photos were featured on Vosges Paris yesterday! Desiree is one of the biggest Merci fans I know and I thought she'd like to see how Merci looks in the summer...
In case you didn't know: Merci is the first “Charity Store” in France, it means that 100% of their profit will go to a charity association helping women & kids in Madagascar.
Merci carries fashion ( Isabel Marant, Paul & Joe, etc. ), accessoires, chairs & sofas, great lighting, jewelry, perfumes ( Annick Goutal ) & skincare ( Aesop ), beautiful paperware ( including Hay and masking tape ), cool gadgets, Paola Navone suitcases & tableware, Jerôme Dreyfuss bags, Paul Smith shoes, kitchen utensils ( Royal VKB ), tableware and so so much more...
The red vintage Fiat 500 in the courtyard is pretty famous. This little Japanese girl with fake freckles (!) was being photographed in front of the car for a Japanese kids fashion magazine. Cool huh?
Merci /// 111 boulevard Beaumarchais /// 75003 Paris /// +33 (0) 1 42 77 00 33.
Open every monday through saturday: 10AM - 7PM.
La Galerie Végétale
One of my alltime favorite boutiques in Paris is definitely La Galerie Végétale. I'm a sucker for succulents and wandering around this former carpentry workplace makes me really happy.
In this lush green shop you find a unique selection of succulents & cacti, a large diversity of planters ( in reclaimed rubber, ceramics, plastics, zinc, concrete, porcelain... ), paper stationary, glassware, vases, natural home perfumes and cool new designy things.
La Galérie Végétale is one of the only shops in France where you'll find the Ashiato animal footprint flip flops by Kiko+. Also check out their website, because every now and then they host special evenings with music & theater performances...
You can even hire the place for an event or get a weekly fresh flower subscription and receive a new bouquet every week. J'adore!
La Galerie Végétale /// 29 rue des Vinaigriers /// 75010 Paris /// +33 (0) 9 54 32 19 68.
Open every tuesday through saturday: 10AM - 2PM and 3PM - 7:30PM.
Some urban colors
Some urban colors to pimp up this grey & cold friday. Above: a two-headed fish in the making near the Canal Saint Martin, Paris.
Some poetry in Beauvais (Oise, France) by Ray Charles: Je suis aveugle mais construire plus malheureux que soi... j'aurai pu être noir.
Aloha my name is... lots of stickers outside Album Comics store near Saint Germain des Prés, Paris.
I love this stork! Boulevard Magenta, Paris.
Rendre à l'art la simplicité de ne pas l'être. Stencil by William Benhamou.
Weekend tip: Le Bourget
You've climbed the Eiffel tower, visited le Palais de Tokyo, shopped at Merci, ate dozens of LaDurée (or Pierre Hermé) macarons and you just love Paris. But you like to do something else for a change?
One of my favorite museums is "La Musée de l'Air et de l'Espace" at Le Bourget, just outside Paris. It is one of the oldest aviation museums in the world (1919) and has prototypes of many French aircrafts including the super fast Concorde. I'm not extremely interested in all the aircrafts, but the beautiful old fashioned interior of the museum truly appeals to me. The floors are made of glossy linoleum and have beautiful & colorful graphic patterns.
It's a great place to go with kids of all ages because you can go from "just watching some airplanes" to learning in detail how mankind started trying & succeeding to fly. I like visiting the museum to enjoy its look & feel: industrial, colorful and very unique.
Oh and it's rarely very busy. And if it is, you won't notice, because this place is HUGE.
Have you ever been here?
LV & MJ at Les Arts Décoratifs
What starts on the first floor as a calm presentation of the innovative trunks and "fashion carriers" created by Louis Vuitton, ends on a more eclectic note on the second floor where a selection of designs by Marc Jacobs for the French fashion house are on display.
Why visit this exhibition? To enjoy the patchwork with Marc's favorite video extracts (Rosemary's Baby, Marc Jacobs on South Park, David Bowie, Annie, ...), to watch the beautiful and poetic synchronized dancing Fan Club video (also here) and gaze at the beautiful blue mannequin heads with balloon knots.
The only thing missing in my opinion was a good documentary about his life and work, as I crossed many lost visitors not knowing who Jean Paul Goude is and what they were looking at. However there was a video showing brief impressions of his projects and some shorter videos like the hilarious "How to improve your body proportions by adding shoulder pads, 30cm heels and a dental bridge" from the 70's and of course some Grace Jones music videos.
Some of my favorites were the series of Naomi Campbell and Björk. The images are so well executed, with such eye for detail and love for proportions, the human body&identity, colors and aesthetics, it's almost overwhelming. If you haven't seen it already, go visit the exhibition, you won't regret it.
So Far, So Goude
Anyway Jean Paul Goude made an impression, in every sense, on our (and my) imagination. My interest in his work and life grew slowly after watching several documentaries and reading interviews about him and his work. Mr Goude is a very intelligent man with a great sense of humor and an exquisite eye and an even greater esthetic vision that I really relate to. That is why I absolutely want to & will visit his current exhibition at Les Arts Décoratifs in Paris: Goudemalion. Jean-Paul Goude une rétrospective / 11 November 2011 – 18 March 2012
our guestroom <3