“If you truly love nature, you will find beauty everywhere” -Van Gogh, The Paris Years

Boulevard De Clichy, Paris 1887

Bonjour toute le monde, ca va? I’ve been with my family the past few days and we’re watching old movies and
reminiscing about trips we’ve taken over the years. My mom has always loved Van Gogh and with the passing of Kirk Douglas it was only natural that we watch Lust for Life the other night. It got me thinking about sweet, sensitive Vincent and his life so I started searching for paintings he created while living in Paris from 1886-1888.

The Parisian Novels, 1887

View from Theo’s Apartment, 1886

He was someone who purposefully looked for beauty. Somewhere between the years of sunflowers and starry nights, he lived with his brother Theo in Montmartre. His Paris works exceed 200 pieces, so it’s incredible that he only sold 2 canvases in his lifetime. What’s also amazing is how fascinated he was by the same things in Paris that we are today. The view from his window, the rooftops, the chimneys, the light…his works are a sort of gentle, visual map of a changing city at a pivotal time. His letters are a real insight into his mental state, personality and true lust for life.

Theo’s Apartment, 1886

View from the Apartment, rue Lepic

appartement-de-theo-van-gogh-rue-lepic

View of Paris from Montmartre, 1886

I love how lush this one is and how we can almost feel the coolness of the green leaves on a summer day. Montmartre is still one of the best places in Paris to find trees outside a window. It’s easy to see why he was so inspired to capture the essence of the day.

View of Paris, 1886

Like a puzzle, we can piece together his two years in the city and understand what his life was like while living there. Such a wild time. It was the Industrial Revolution after all. An incredible era with exhibitions and new inventions, photography, steam engines, a building boom and a world evolving at the speed of light. Painters, writers, sculptors, philosophers, architects and new plans for every corner. It was probably a lot to take in and he was a sensitive, delicate soul. Seems like he may have spent a lot of time looking out the window onto the busy city, just happy to be an observer sometimes.

Paris Rooftops 1886

As much as the rooftops fascinated him, he did go out and when he did was all over the city from top to bottom, sketching and painting every inch including the places we know and love like the Louvre and the Opera.

The Pont du Carrousel and the Louvre, 1886

It’s amazing to see how much was undeveloped. Paris is an ancient city and yet at that time it still had wide open spaces.

View Of Paris With The Opera, 1886

Allee Jardin du Luxembourg, 1887

Avenue in a Park, 1888

The parks were a refuge then as they are now. Some things just don’t change. As a sensitive person he sought out places that provided a quiet solitude.

In the Boulogne Forrest, 1886

He studied the passersby as well at their daily activities, fascinated by the lives and times of typical Parisians.

State Lottery, Paris 1887

The Brothel, 1887

To get away from the bustling commercial center of town, he spent a lot of time just outside the city limits, in Asnières, an area in the northwestern suburbs along the Seine. His paintings show how Paris was developing and progressing, but he was able to find places of silence and simple pleasures by the Seine, enjoying the boats, the restaurants and gardens and open spaces while documenting the development during those two busy years.

Fortifications of Paris with Houses, 1887

It’s truly fascinating to see how open and uncluttered Paris was at the time. He must have looked for places to set up his easel where he could find glimmers of nature. He really leads us through a changing world and must have kept one step ahead of to avoid the confusion and noise. If we look at his body of work as a whole, his main focus is usually on color, light and natural elements. Cities aren’t normally convenient places to find any of that but he sought it out and translated it onto the canvas.

Walk on the Banks of the Seine in Asnières, 1887

On the Outskirts of Paris, 1887 

The Laundry Boat on the Seine at Asnières

Restaurant de la Sirene at Asnières

Restaurant, La Sirene at Asnières, 1887

Exterior of La Sirene at Asnières, 1887

Banks of the Seine at Pont De Clichy, 1887

The Banks of the Seine, 1887

The Banks of the Seine with Boats, Spring, 1887

 The Seine at the Pont de la Grande Jatte

The Bridge of Courbevoie, Paris, 1887

The Seine at the Pont de Clichy

As much as he loved the outskirts he found his way back to Montmartre and that seemed to be his touchstone as it was also home base. Many of his paintings feature the windmills and gardens and vineyards and cafes which were part of everyday life.

Montmartre, Paris, 1886

Vegetable Gardens in Montmartre, 1887

The Hill of Montmartre with Stone Quarry and Windmills, 1886

Terrasse du Café la Guinguette À Montmartre, 1886

Le Blute-Fin Mill, 1887

Le Moulin de la Galette, 1887

Le Moulin de la Galette, 1887

Montmartre Behind the Moulin de la Galette, 1887

Montmartre Windmills and Allotments, 1887

Factories Near Montmartre, 1887

Sloping Path in Montmartre, 1886

Impasse des Deux Freres, 1887

Sunset At Montmartre, 1887

There are so many more pieces but I guess they will have to wait for another day. For now, dear Vincent continues to live on fascinating us with his life and times and beautiful perspective on the places we know and treasure. His paintings never get old and have an innocence that still touches us to this day. I’m feeling nostalgic about him today, wishing he had found peace and love and satisfaction. We know though that he never did, so Iet’s just end with the song that says it all…

Starry, starry night
Paint your palette blue and grey
Look out on a summer’s day
With eyes that know the darkness in my soulShadows on the hills
Sketch the trees and the daffodils
Catch the breeze and the winter chills
In colours on the snowy linen land

Now I understand
What you tried to say to me
How you suffered for your sanity
How you tried to set them free
They would not listen, they did not know how
Perhaps they’ll listen now

Starry, starry night
Flaming flowers that brightly blaze
Swirling clouds in violet haze
Reflect in Vincent’s eyes of China blue
Colours changing hue
Morning fields of amber grain
Weathered faces lined in pain
Are soothed beneath the artist’s loving hand

Oh, now I understand
What you tried to say to me
How you suffered for your sanity
How you tried to set them free
They would not listen, they did not know how
Perhaps they’ll listen nowFor they could not love you, love you
But still your love was true
And when no hope was left in sight on that starry, starry night
You took your life as lovers often do
But I could have told you, Vincent
This world was never meant for one as beautiful as you

Oh, starry, starry night
Portraits hung in empty halls
Frameless heads on nameless walls
With eyes that watch the world and can’t forget
Like the strangers that you’ve met
The ragged men in ragged clothes
The silver thorn of a bloody rose
Lie crushed and broken on the virgin snow

Now I think I know
Oh, what you tried to say to me
How you suffered for your sanity
How you tried to set them free
They would not listen, they’re not listening still
Perhaps they never will

February 19, 2020. Tags: , , , . art, France, Paris, Paris Apartments, Van Gogh. 5 comments.

The (Re)Generation! of Maison & Objet January 2020: Part I

Bonjour tout le monde, ça va? I hope your holiday was magnifique. I guess we’re all winding down after the chaos that inevitably comes that time of year. Personally I’m ready to move into 2020 with a clear vision and focus on the future while enjoying every present moment!

With The Paris Apartment, I’m slipping into a new phase too. Of course we’ll still be about all things luxe, French, boudoir et belle, but promoting what’s sustainable; natural products that are reusable, recycled, up-cycled, made by hand and creative. Equally exciting is we’ll be meeting the créateurs et créatrices behind the ideas; the innovators who dream up and bring to life new products as well as those who’ve been walking a holistic path for years, paving the way.

The best way to find them all in one place is at the Maison & Objet. It’s the world’s chicest home and accessories trade show. The events are held twice a year at Paris Nord Villepinte Exhibition Centre. It’s an enormous venue with multiple halls, thousands of exhibitors from all over the world, art, installations, conferences, workspaces and interactive events. This year’s dates are January 17-21, 2020 and September 4-8, 2020.

There’s a lot. The map below will definitely help.

As it turns out, Maison et Objet event planners and exhibitors are on the same trajectory as so many of us. Take a look at their theme this month:

2020 Theme: “(RE) GENERATION!” Playing the nostalgia card is out of the question! So, to celebrate its 25th anniversary, MAISON&OBJET is looking to the future and, in its upcoming January and September editions, will set out to analyse the attitudes, desires and expectations of Generation Y and Z’s digital natives. A whole year’s celebrations will be devoted to these committed millennials who, confronted with the many current crises, are looking for a better world, changing the rules and revolutionising consumer behaviour in both the home and lifestyle sectors.

I started digging around the Exhibitor List and got lost in the story of Plantes & Parfums. It’s hard not to charmed by this pure and natural business…

where they work

their instagram!

their philosophy

L’Art du Parfumage

their blog…see what I mean? And that is just the beginning.

Anyway there’s a huge push in the sustainability movement and everyone’s into it, including the designers who received talent awards this year. They’re inventors, designers and progressive thinkers who are rethinking outmoded objects and ideas.

RISING TALENT AWARDS

maison-objet.com/rising-talent-awards-january-2020

The Paris-based duo Natacha Poutoux and Sacha Hourcade is intent of revolutionizing the world of household electrical appliances and to bring design to fields where it is often ignored. The pair both graduated from ENSCI Les Ateliers and then trained with some of contemporary design’s most iillustrious names—the Bouroullec brothers and Stefan Diez for Natacha, India Mahdavi for Sacha. They founded their own firm in 2017.

“Nowadays, technical or electrical objects are generally conceived by engineers, whereas we’d like to approach designing them in the same way as you would a chair. We also want to introduce different savoir-faire and materials. At present, companies tend to make everything out of plastic.
Sacha: For example, we’ve created an air humidifier, in which the water container is made of glass. That brings up new questions about its life cycle. What do you do with it afterwards? And do you place it somewhere visible or do you continue to hide it like most other humidifiers today?”

After studying at ENSCI Les Ateliers in Paris and the University of Arts in Berlin, Adrien Garcia worked for five years for an interior design practice specialized in wellness and spa projects. He set up his own firm in 2019 and is currently in the process of developing his debut furniture collection.

“All the materials I use are more or less natural. If not, they’re either recycled or repurposed by an artisan. I have a really, really big aversion to plastic. I can’t stand it. Instead, I prefer to use oak and have my own trees in the forest on my property.”

Nominated by the director of the Ecole Camondo, René-Jacques Mayer.
Laureline Galliot trained as a dancer and as a textile colorist before taking a degree in design at ENSCI-Les Ateliers in Paris. Using an iPad and virtual reality software initially developed for the animated film industry, she creates objects by sculpting with color. Four of them have already found their way into the French National Design Collection at the Centre National des Arts Plastiques in Paris.

“I’m really passionate about the way industry has distorted things, even in the food sector. There’s a standardization of forms, with only shapes that can be easily molded. We’ve ended up producing vegetables in that way. They all have to be perfect geometrical forms. There’s no longer a place for anything misshapen. I want to reeducate people’s eye to things that are less industrial and more organic, where the ultimate goal is no longer a sort of perfect rigor.”

Whew!

Last but not least for today’s deep dive is a list of cool places once you’re outside the fairgrounds and back in the heart of Paris. It’s some of the great restaurants, work and hybrid spaces that are embracing the philosophy of zero waste and conscious living. From the M&O website: THIS IS PARIS!

Connected, veggie, vintage, ethical, collaborative, and activist: the next-gen Parisian lifestyle in fifteen inspired spots.

Though the “(RE) GENERATION!” theme of the fair gives you the keys to understand this new context, Paris is already living in tune with the latest consumer trends. Here’s our ideal tour of the city. (this is an abbreviated list…get the full monte here:

L’Abattoir Végétal

Does a funky take on healthy tempt you? Ava Farhang advocates for the concept of a healthy mind in a fun environment. Yes, you can like healthy seeds and grains and good home cooking, too, and this is just what this new spot on the Left Bank wants to show us. Chef Jenny Boniton cooks up delicious, cross-cultural vegetarian or vegan cuisine by taking inspiration from the many flavors of the world. And here’s some good news: you can dine all day, from noon to midnight, and small bites to share (kaho pad sapparot, baba ganoush, and more) can be savored alongside stunning cocktails such as the Goji-berry and litchi Spritz.

Open Tuesday-Saturday 12:00-00:00, 9 rue Guisarde, 6th arrondissement Paris. www.abattoirvegetal.fr

Deskopolitan

Resolutely in the category of all-purpose venues, here’s a place that’s a co-working space, boutique hotel, restaurant, gym, rooftop vegetable garden, speakeasy, and barber shop, all in one! It’s an urban campus that’s one-of-a-kind in Europe, dedicated to work and to personal development. The interior design was a creation of London-based architectural firm MoreySmith, which has, in particular, crafted the design of Primark’s offices.

226 boulevard Voltaire, 11th arrondissement Paris. deskopolitan.com/

Maif social club

A hybrid space for co-working, having a cup of coffee, and getting in some culture, with an innovative, multidisciplinary program of events (exhibitions, shows, debates, workshops, etc.) that raise questions about the new ways we consume, the housing of the future, sustainable development, activism in the era of the social web, or the ecological transition. A 1000-square-meter space at the heart of the Marais that’s free and open to the public…what a dream!

Monday-Friday 10:00-20:30 and Saturdays 10:00-19:00, Le Maif Social Club, 37, rue de Turenne, 3rd arrondissement Paris. Tel. +33 (0)1 44 92 50 90. Free access.

Jours à venir

This is THE new eco-friendly boutique in the Abbesses area! Alice and Léa tested their finds online before opening a shop IRL. They’ve selected around fifty brands focused on direct distribution, recycling, and organic products. With, as a bonus, workshops on-site to help you learn to make your own cosmetics and decorative or lifestyle accessories.

Monday through Saturday 10:30-19:30, and Sundays 13:00-18:00, 2, rue Androuet, 18th arrondissement Paris. www.joursavenir.com

La Recyclerie

A social space dedicated to eco-consciousness, La Recyclerie is constantly showing a new face. You might meet up here to have a bite to eat, fix something at René’s workshop, do some gardening at the urban farm set up in the former rail yard of the Gare d’Ornano, or attend a talk. It’s the essential spot to find out more about zero-waste living, recycling, permaculture, or collaborative consumption.

Open Monday-Friday 8:00-00:00, Saturdays 12:00-02:00, and Sundays 11:00-22:00, 83 boulevard Ornano, 18th arrondissement Paris. www.larecyclerie.com

The M&O website is one that takes time to explore. It goes deep…the articles and recommendations and activities are endless. I’ll be sharing what I find as I prep for the show and discover more and more talent. If you’re going or would like to come with me, let me know. A demain!

January 4, 2020. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bio, Eco Friendly, France, Going Green, Green, Maison et Objet, Organic, Organics, Paris, Sustainability, Sustainable. 1 comment.

Top 10 French Coffee Table Books for 2020

May I Come In?

Bonjour toute le monde! It’s that time between holidays when there are a few moments of quiet to get lost in the wonderland of the web…and you know what they say, the time we enjoy wasting is not wasted time! That said, it did take a minute to round up this wishlist of books, some of which are written by talented women I’ve admired for years. Each is filled with art, furniture, fabrics and trim, decorated doors and ceilings, chandeliers, outdoor spaces, architecture and style that has stood the test of time. I’d love to have any one of them on my cocktail table. If you’re looking for the perfect gift, check these beauties out for yourself and get lost in a world of imagination. And so, for those who’d rather curl up with a book than a phone…we say, happy reading!

Have more cocktail books to recommend? Please share in the comments below!

French Interiors

At Home in Paris

PEONIES

Paris in Bloom

French House Chic

My Stylish French Girlfriends

Haute Bohemians

Biblio-Style

In the Company of Women

PARIS

ok this last one isn’t really a book, it’s a decorative journal with blank pages but i do love the cover!

Just fyi, please note that some of the links are affiliate. I only recommend products I love because I think you’ll love them too!

December 2, 2019. Tags: , , , , , . Books, France, Interiors, Living, Paris, Paris Apartments, Reading. 1 comment.

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