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
dahlia love for #2flowergirls