a french tradition: the gingerbread & ham antique fair


bonjour from paree~coming to you from a day of shopping on the outskirts of paris to visit a fair that happened to be happenning while we’re here. i’ve always wanted to check out the foire de chatou which is held on what’s affectionately known as ‘the island of the impressionists’ from a time when painters like monet and renoir created some of their most famous works here.


today chatou hosts a fair that’s been a tradtion since the middle ages, having moved around a lot and finally finding its home twice a year in this idyllic spot. it’s definitely worth a trip if you’re here at the right time of year.



how it became known as the fair of ham and gingerbread is another story and you can read all about it on the fair’s website linked above.


like all things in paris it’s taken on an air of a pleasant afternoon strolling through chic stands and trying to decide what to get when you want it all. well, almost all.


there was a mix of furniture, lighting and linens

chatou booth


with the displays full of smalls including glass, paintings and statuary



i guess i was a little obsessed with this vendor but there was so much creativity in his tiny space


i had an urge to leave with garden goodies, and maybe cause i just got a dog, fell in love with these.


but i had to be realistic about shipping this time, and sneaking these in with my carry-on was not gonna workIMG_5141

so instead we enjoyed the weather and ate like kings and queens


chatouchatou lunch

the food and desserts were gorgeous, but i was so busy eating that i didn’t get too many photos of the food


when we were fully nourished i vowed to stick with paper and ephemera starting with this old portable writing set, aka early laptop


these engravings were hand tinted, matted in gray and hung in coral frames


we found some of our own and decided to frame them at home


as both a book and handwriting lover i’m always looking for journals and ledgers. under a table was one from a boulangerie


and i couldn’t resist these artist sketchbooks from the 1800s


suffice it to say i wanted it all


puppet theater

French Books

i have a weakness for what the french call all things ‘gallant’, aka erotica to us, basically all things ‘boudoir’


even the silly postcardsIMG_5168

but as scarlet said, ‘tomorrow is another day’ and iit’s getting late. but before signing off, as promised, have hit the RaNdOm NuMbER Generator to give away the books from the last post. and the winners are Deborah McReynolds and Catherine. 

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if you can send me your addresses the books can go out next week when i get back. but if you didn’t win that one, we do have another, brought to you by richard nahem of i prefer paris. he’s a friend of mine living in paris and has started a monthly subscription of postcards featuring his beautiful shots around the city. the first month’s set is up for today’s giveaway so if you’re interested just say the word and we’ll do another drawing tomorrow. et alors, it’s time to shut it down, good night!



September 25, 2015. Tags: , , , , , . Antique Shopping, Chatou, Paris Flea Markets. 15 comments.

What to pack for Paris: Expectation vs. Reality



allo toute le monde, it’s been a real long time since posting last, the summer flew by and well, here i am heading back to paris tonight. it’s a quick trip with clients and I’ll be blogging from the markets so let me know if you’re looking for anything, i’ll be there till monday, staying at lorraine’s pied-à-terre in the marais. let me know if you’re interested in that too cause she rents it out and just did a makeover on it. i’ll take pics and blog about it if i get the chance.


in the meantime i’m doing my last minute packing. paris is a city of fashion and when it’s time to go makes you want to use your best stuff and be that girl (here’s where the expectation is way better than the reality). and since it’s been a summer of travel I’m on an austerity budget and want to use what i have.  it made me realize i’ve got what i need and didn’t spend much to get it.

google sesarch - what to wear in paris

i’m definitely not much of a clothes horse or label ho although i do love the workmanship and fabric of fine clothing. so after pulling up so many google images of pack lists that my head spun, i decided to make my own. the goal is traveling light and being ready for anything. my philosophy is ‘if you don’t have the dress, you won’t go to the ball” so here goes, what’s what and from where…

paris fall wardrobe

left to right and down, sorta:

Black velvet blazer by DKNY from Out of the Closet Thrift Shop

Black cashmere cardigan, J Crew

Navy sweater/shirt tail, J Crew

Black down vest, Calvin Klein, Marshalls

Navy silk dress, Tahari, TJ Maxx

Gray cashmere sweater, Tahari, TJ Maxx

Blue suede shoes by Gianvito Rossi, too small for Candy, a gift to me!

Black Nikes

Camel/gray/black jacket, Bloomie’s

Cashmere scarves, gray is calvin klein and the ivory is TPA

Black cashmere V sweater and Black tee, Helmut Lang,, Marshalls

RL travel set with blanet/eye mask/pillow, Xmas gift, thanks, Jean and Col!

3 jeans, Levis, Guess, Lucky

Black suede ankle boots, Adrienne Vittadini, TJ Maxx

Shoe bags/lingerie bag/nighty/socks

paris bags indian

bags from ethnic stores in paris


i fully expected to bring the muffin man but since i have clients, the reality is i’m afraid he’ll be too much of a distraction to bring this time. (i think he’s mad)…and of course since this is an expectation vs reality post, i have to include an ‘inspiration post’ of what i wish this one had turned into but that will be have to be another day when i have time to play on polyvore since i’m running out of time.  i’ll just use theirs as a cheat sheet and finish up:


finally in the spirit of the day, thought it would be a good time to offer two of my favorite books for a giveaway. both are by Jennifer Scott. the first is the original Madame Chic and her latest, At Home with Madame Chic.


If you’d like to be entered to win either of them, leave your name in the comments and we’ll draw on friday. Ok, i better get back at it, see you from the other side!

thanks for all the amazing comments, i do love and miss you all so much. here’s the all packed up pic a couple of you wanted to see. the bag is lucas and it’s lightweight, from tj maxx. packed up

September 23, 2015. Tags: , , . Fashion, Fleamarkets, Paris. 47 comments.

a swinging love triangle


The Swing by Jean-Honoré Fragonard (1767)

good morning from bright and unusually cheery, sunny london. it’s been the kind of weather that forces one outside for hours and hours, strolling until you look at your watch and say, wow, it’s been 7 hours, where did the day go? it was that kind of day yesterday. with my travel companion under the weather i set out to get to know the city street by street and explore as much as possible. it was a magical day as always happens when you’re traveling, open to adventure and just and letting the universe guide you. it was filled with meeting shopkeepers, designers in their stores, gourmet noshes and stumbling on the most exquisite museum. it’s time to head out again so this will once again be short and sweet with just a quick share of the highlight of my day.


i stumbled on ‘The Wallace Collection’ in Hertford House at Manchester Square in the center of London by accident when wandering aimlessly. the stately home had a welcoming sign on the east side of the building that beckoned me forward with an inviting finger pointing ahead with the words, “Free Admission” on a flag with Fragonard’s famous painting, ‘The Swing’ on it. how could i resist?

London, Manchester Square, Hertford House - vintage photo - now the Wallace Collection Museum

it’s a beautiful old mansion that now houses the wallace family’s collection of art that moved from paris to london many years ago. the museum is magnificent, each room a vibrant color from emerald to colbat, ruby and eggplant. the collection of art is extensive from armor to rembrant to one of my obessions, artist Jean-Honoré Fragonard a wonderful french artist from the 1700s.

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i’ve been obsessed with ‘the swing’ for years and even used it in my book, The Paris Apartment, and on my website. we cut just a piece of it for the site though…the part that embodies what i hoped my company could aspire to…the classical french fantasy of a beautiful, delicate and playful life. i found all of this captured in the moment the woman frolicking on the swing kicks off her shoe in mid-air while between two suitors, laughing while wearing the most beautiful pink dress on a perfect day.



as i approached the image in real life i was surprised by its somewhat petite size, seen here in the center of the two larger images.


but to be in her presence was incroyable! i took detail shots and observed all the movement, color and joie de vivre that had captivated  me for so long.


the strangest thing though, was that what was framed was not the entire image. (look at the first image in this post and compare it to the one i shot on the wall). it’s a mystery i want to delve into but it will have to wait till i have a little more time to do some research.


apparently it’s inspired a lot of artists, designers and film makers as well over the years. google image search even revealed one of miss piggy!

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there are hundreds of interpretations like this one made from chain, located in paris, found here


Artist Philip Bradshaw


and this one in sculpture: monster.net/2009/07/08/shonibare

the two ladies in the video below have a wonderful conversation and lots of insight about the painting and french life, but since i’m in such a rush (everyone’s feeling better to day and raring to go)! didn’t get to watch all of it. hope you enjoy it and if you’re in london be sure to visit this beautfiul collection!

June 30, 2015. art, Fragonard, Wallace Collection. 11 comments.

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