Conversation Starters

Paris, Palais Royale, Marais 1600s

Bonjour mes amis, ca va?

Wow, it’s been a long time since I’ve typed those simple little words, close to a year by the looks of it. I miss those carefree days of checking in, coming here just to rendezvous together for a bit with you. But life sped ahead, and somehow the blog got pushed to the bottom of the list, patiently waiting for the day a keystroke would bring it back to the forefront, remaining still as each day passed. And of course so much has happened with all of us, it’s hard to recap. So we won’t, let’s just take it from here.

So what’s going on? Well, I’m back to the blog and biz and thought it might be fun to tell you about a project that’s been brewing for years and is finally underway. Not to give too much of a spoiler but of course it’s Paris related (an obsession of infinite inspiration), but it starts an entire century before the Versailles era we’ve come to equate with the old Paris we’re so familiar with. That glorious time had a predecessor, and it was filled with the darkest of the dark and brightest of the bright in terms of everything from society to science.

The project is a book series on the Salon Hostesses of Paris; the women who, starting with Madame Rambouillet in the 1600s, used their homes for intimate gatherings with locals of all status from the famous to the infamous, to discuss how they would change a decadent, debaucherous and dangerous city into one that celebrated gallantry, manners, preservation of the language, art, litterature, dance, theater and philosophy. And change it they did. Madame Rambouillet was the first salon hostess, an innocently self-created position brought on by her revulsion to the happenings at the Louvre which included immoralilty, backstabbing and general chaos by which she was disgusted and retreated completely into her own world and was determined to have, do and be something different, something beautiful and civilized and precious. She decided to renovate a house close to the palace and named it Hôtel de Rambouillet. She designed it to be grand and open so the light would pour in and her guests could circulate. She used the doors and windows to merge indoor and outdoor living, and created what was to become a place of legend, the Chambre Bleu, where she hosted many evenings from her alcove bed. Through her gracious spirit and ability to inspire, she was a muse and encouraged and extruded conversation from her brilliant writers and thinking guests and who ushered in the Age of Reason and Age of Enlightenment. Conversations were key; they were the foundation of the salon. Discussion, wit, observation, encouragement, appreciation, speculation were all the rage and were often recorded by the guests once they got home.

Of course the story of her life and those surrounding her was outrageously monumental and her legacy is staggering but we’ll leave that to the book! What’s fascinating is how much there is to discover, the records that were kept, the private notes of the guests. Even more remarkable is how one woman was able to influence an entire culture so many centuries ago by simply facilitating conversation and celebrating it as an art.

Engraving of the Grounds, Hotel de Rambouillet: Perspective view of Paris in 1607 from a copperplate by Leonard Gaultier. The Hôtel de Rambouillet is a Parisian hotel known for the literary salon of Catherine de Vivonne (Madame de Rambouillet) held from 1608 until her death in 1665. It was located on rue St-Thomas du Louvre (street perpendicular to rue St-Honoré, approximately on the site of the current Turgot pavilion of the Louvre).

I love digging up old images and records of the property as it was developing. It’s absolutely fascinating that someone would make an engraving like this one above to commemorate the venue.

Blueprints for L’Hotel de Rambouillet

Or this drawing of the beginning ideas for the Hotel de Rambouillet – By today’s terms, a model sketch or blueprints, even graph paper!

Rendering, Hotel de Rambouillet, Paris

This little drawing of the plot may be my favorite and I’d love to find the entire map. The record keeping and documents are just incredible. This was at a time that Paris was exploding. In 1600, Paris was the largest city in europe and growing by the day. We rarely think of those whose hands built the city brick by brick, they’re long forgotten. But they do live on in so many ways, don’t they? The 1600s on one hand was a modern era with many minds being open to building techniques, style nature, mathematics, astronomy and countless inventions including the microscope, the telescope and thermometer. Just to put things into perspective though, Notre Dame was started in the 1100s! C’est fou, non?

But that’s another story.

Anyway I better get back to work but am glad to reconnect. If you’re interested in learing more or want to get on the list for pre-order, let me know. Till then, have a wonderful weekend, hopefully filled with meaningful convos!

August 12, 2022. Tags: , , , . RAMBOUILLET. 6 comments.

“a book is a gift you can open again and again” -Garrison Keillor

bonjour friends, i hope you’re having a lovely sunday. i have to admit it’s been a lazy day but that seems to be the only way to take time to leaf through the pages of my favorite books. there are so many books and so little time as some wise soul once said. are you obsessed with beautiful books? for some of us they’re treasured friends, constant and reassuring, they transport us and show us something different each time we open them.

i started looking for a pretty book to add to my mom’s collection since she always has them displayed on her coffee table. i got lost in a world of volumes i’d love to have myself and still haven’t decided which will be best for her birthday. she’s a traditionalist but has a modern streak. her bold style still influences me to this day. anyway i couldn’t resist putting them all together even if it’s just in a virtual library via this blog post. if you have a fave or one i should look into let me know. till then i hope you enjoy this little collection and maybe get some inspiration for yourself. the one below is tempting me to try a saffron shade to contrast my one pink wall. click on the cover to see more images and what’s inside with a link to amazon. happy browsing!

“Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers.”

Charles W. Eliot

“That’s the thing about books. They let you travel without moving your feet.”

Jhumpa Lahiri

“The most technologically efficient machine that man has ever invented is the book.”

Northrop Frye

“A book is a garden, an orchard, a storehouse, a party, a company by the way, a counselor, a multitude of counselors.”

Charles Baudelaire

“It is remarkable, the character of the pleasure we derive from the best books.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

Ralph Waldo Emerson

“I shall be miserable if I have not an excellent library.”  

Jane Austen

“A book is a dream you hold in your hands.”

Neil Gaiman

“No two persons ever read the same book.”

Edmund Wilson 

“I never feel lonely if I’ve got a book – they’re like old friends. Even if you’re not reading them over and over again, you know they are there. And they’re part of your history. They sort of tell a story about your journey through life.”

Emilia Fox

May 23, 2021. Books, Decorating, Friends, Life. 3 comments.

there’s no place like bed

bonjour friends, ca va? after a year of not posting, here’s the second in one week…how come? well i wanted to do a post before mother’s day and it’s coming up quick so, here we are!

have you ever wanted a set of pink sheets? rose, blush, nude, what ever shade we gravitate toward, pink is a healing and soothing color. it’s tricky to decorate with since it’s so feminine but that’s why the bed is the perfect place to indulge in its comforting and alluring appeal. (photos via pinterest.theparisapartment.com)

many of us love pink in all its glorious shades but we’re also super picky…we don’t want bubble gum, others are too peach, others too pale or bright. each person’s pink is very specific.

it’s tricky nailing our perfect pink but when we hit on it there’s nothing else that compares when slipping between the sheets. it’s like a cocoon or as my friend described these sheets i’m about to share, it’s like sleeping on a rose petal.

i’ve always been a cotton purist, loving egyptian and indian cotton and just basically enjoyed how cotton wears and get softer with age. linen too, in fact all natural fibers on the bed has always been the first order of business when building the perfect bed.

vintage french cotton sheets and pillowcases will always be welcome accents but friends, i’m excited to tell you about my new discovery because it also inspired something else i’ve been wanting to share.

after staying at a friend’s place and having one of the best sleeps of my life on her sheets, i had to order a set for myself and was bursting at the seams when they arrived. i got a pink set and, as you can see from the top shot, neo loves them too!

so this is twofold…first of all the sheet set i ordered is called sheex first of all they are the most delicious shade of pink. secondly, they’re made from 100% Tencel Lyocell eucalyptus tree fibers, are eco-friendly. and…they’re naturally cooling. the company offers a few different products and i did order the wrong ones at first, so be sure they’re the ‘arctic aire’ if you’re going to test these out. as you may know, when photographing, pinks and reds can be really hard to capture. below are the sheets on my bed and next is a shot ofthem on amazon with what may be a truer color. but even then i find that they’re more of a neutral pink than the bright that they seem below. they really nailed the shade in my opinion but they have to be seen to be appreciated.

anyway the good news is that they come in a few colors and if you’re not into pink you get them in cream or white. either way, i highly recommend them for being beautifully made, super soft and guaranteed to be the perfect gift. beware tho, they’re also guaranteed to keep you in bed a little longer each morning!

click the pic below to see the details or purchase on amazon, or you can use this link: https://amzn.to/3uh9Gt1

last but not least i wanted to share that these sheets inspired me to get my amazon affiliate account back up and running. if you don’t know, you can sign up on amazon to recommend products you’re passionate about. when someone purchases, the affiliates receive a commission. it can be something like these sheets or books, movies, products, beauty items, candles, etc. i wanted to discuss it briefly since it’s something many of us can do that’s both fun and satisfying. if you’re interested in learning more about it, I finally cracked the code and although i’m no expert, believe we can all help each other to learn and grow in business and pleasure. let me know if you’re interested in the topic and if so, we can go further in depth.

et alors, c’est tout for today, sweet dreams mes amis!

May 5, 2021. Tags: , , , . Uncategorized. 7 comments.

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