l’art, l’amour et l’heure du cocktail


bonjour, allo, santé et tchin tchin. hi all, how’s your fall unfolding? i love when the weather gets that crisp fresh feeling and the air has just the slightest chill. not to rush the season and look too far ahead but it’s that time of year when we naturally start to hibernate and nest a little. for many of us that means entertaining and although i’m not a big drinker, i’ve been thinking about putting a bar together for the impending festivities. i got inspired when i heard from my friend and colleague, doni belau. she’s the editor and brilliant mind behind a girl’s guide to paris and has just released a fantastic book titled ‘Paris Cocktails’. she’s offered to host a giveaway here today on the blog so if you’re interested, you can either purchase a copy at the link above or enter your name in the comments and we’ll announce the winner next week.


all images on pinterest.com/parisapartment/bars


there’s something about the history of alcohol that has a hint of glamour and mystery to it and looking into it for this post led to a laundry list of its origns in early france. from the aperitif to wines, champagnes and liqueurs, the ways to inebriate ourselves seem infinite. the french alone were responsible for absynthe, anisette, bénédictine, cognac, chambord, cointreau, coffee liqueur, pastis, triple sec, crème de menthe, chardonnay, cabernet and dubonnet.


lots of great old books have been written on the subject of mixing, blending and inventing new concoctions over the years and some were even banned during prohibition. hard to believe that times could have been so very different and to think that it was actually illegal at one point to possess alcohol, punishable by imprisonment!


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as a lightweight, i don’t really indulge but do love the whole culture from the bottles to the barware. below are some of the ways creative people have used traditional bar carts as well as some innovative alternatives.


using a brass shelving unit allows for overhead lighting, and glass doors showcase pretty glass and unique decanters


using an old steamer trunk lets you pack it up when not in use


just a simple woven tray on a glass top table wth a few accents adds instant sophistication


who woulda thought?


any cabinet can be mirrored on the inside for a glam look that closes up tight.


a makeshift bar on a dresser for impromptu parties


and even a petite half table can make a luxe statement


the options are as endless and varied as the designers who are inspired to raise the bar




i think i could live with this one very happily. a lot of thought has been given to the subject and just digging around a little bit was an absolutely beautiful dive into this tiny table that packs such a punch. below are a couple dissections of what it takes to put one of these bad boys together:




so…to celebrate Doni’s new book hailing the cocktail culture, leave your name and email in the comments to be entered to win.

From the publisher: Bring the romance and elegance of Paris into your home with cocktail recipes from leading French mixologists and the signature drink recipes of Parisian hot spots. More than just a cocktail book, Paris Cocktails celebrates the art of drinking like the French, with entertaining tips for throwing a perfectly Parisian cocktail party, revelations on the latest trends in French mixology, reviews of the best bars in both America and Paris where you can find the true French cocktail experience, and musings from French and non-French alike who have mastered the art of French drinking.



et alors, let’s wrap it up with a big French toast, a vôtre santé!

October 18, 2015. Books, Cocktails, Decorating, Doni Belau, Girls Guide to Paris, Paris. 32 comments.

a good book has no ending –RD Cumming


bonne journée tout le monde~ i want to start the day by sharing a delicious book that was sent to me for review by Harper Collins. it’s a gorgeous tome and the perfect excuse to host a giveaway!


i was sent two copies of ‘The Paris Style Guide‘ by Elodie Rambaud, an interior decorator and stylist who has put together a book of parisian destinations of all kinds including, green and flower markets. antiques shops and repair, craft and art supplies and couture ateliers.


she goes on to tell us the address, phone numbers and website as well as the metro. i like that she’s included festivals and fairs, and matches each of the recommendations with a map at the back to cross reference in a couple of different ways.


the book is nice and thick, not something you’d neccessarily toss in your bag for the day but it’s a great resource and like me, you can always take pics of the pages…which i had to stop doing too many before reposting every pretty page if it!


some of the resources are really unusual like where to get film for your polaroid, Chanel embroideries and random curiousities that sometimes only locals really see.


elodie lives in paris and works as a prop stylist. she says she works with objects to tell stories and focuses on lifestyle, food and decorating.


suffice it to say she has a deep inside scoop.


in the 10 chapters she does surprise us here and there with unusual shopping stuff but also includes what to do in a weekend, dealing with wifi and communication, getting around and some hotel recommendations.


note that this book was published this year so it may change pretty quickly.  but then again so much in paris has stood the test of time. hopefully it will be very slow in changing and these merchants will see a boost due to the book and be there for years to come as so many of them have. she features some shopkeepers with 100+ years in business.


anyway if you’d like a copy submit your name in the comments and we’ll draw a winner over the weekend. till then, have a great day!

May 28, 2015. Books, Decorating, Design, flea markets, France, Giveaway, Paris. 81 comments.

behind the facade


bonjour encore et bonne année! i hope your new year is off to a smashing start. i don’t have any particular resolutions other than to make every day one to remember in some small way. blogging’s always been a good indicator of what’s going on cause it’s kind of a journal. i’ll be trying to use it this year as a tool for working on new projects and books. that said, today i’m continuing to uncover the private lives of style icons who are influencing my new tome, boudoir moderne and of course it wouldn’t be complete (let alone get started), without a nod to coco chanel.


i went on overload researching her life apartment at 31 Rue Cambon in Paris and once i started finding images it was hard to quit so i enjoyed the indulgence. when you google ‘chanel bedroom’ all sorts of logos and fluff come up but nothing could be further from the way she lived.

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384982_10150453683527130_562512904_nCHANELTRIP 089A tour of Gabrielle Coco Chanel’s Apartment  at 31 Rue Cambone Parisparis31

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not that her home wasn’t opulent. she lived in a modest apartment but every inch of it was carefully curated that tended to and nurtured her in every way. her home was her backdrop, her stage. and she loved posing as the star of the show.

“Luxury must be comfortable, otherwise it is not luxury”


this chair is one that greets you upon entry. it’s become famous for this series of shots of her lounging as a lady of leisure and grace. chanel was such a complex woman that to discuss who she was and her life and times is way out of my realm, but my observations from the shots collected did tell a story about what she was probably like behind closed doors. first of all she was not afraid to be photographed at any age. she accepted herself and saw beauty as an essence much more than face. and she was very philosophical!

‘Nature gives you the face you have at twenty; it is up to you to merit the face you have at fifty’


she was always dressed to the nines. maybe she did kick back in once in a while but even when she took her hat off she was still cool and sophisticated.

‘I don’t understand how a woman can leave the house without fixing herself up a little – if only out of politeness. And then, you never know, maybe that’s the day she has a date with destiny. And it’s best to be as pretty as possible for destiny’


chanel seems to have had a very generous spirit for sharing her home, her life and her work. thankfully from an early age she welcomed photographers in so we could get a glimpse of how she lived.

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although some of it’s staged, i have a feeling it wasn’t far from reality. let’s go inside.


“Simplicity is the keynote of all true elegance”

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‘My life didn’t please me, so I created my life’

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once we strip off some of the facade, a very soft woman appears at home.


this was actually her bed at la pausa but i didn’t come across any other boudoir of hers besides the one at the ritz. still it shows a playful side with a star tucked in the headboard as well as a feather (she entertained)! and of couse, dressed to the hilt in silk pajamas.

“As long as you know men are like children, you know everything!”


as any self respecting woman did, she kept a beautiful vanity filled with silver trinkets, powders and perfumes. and i think that’s a negilgee hanging to the right!

“Where should one use perfume?” a young woman asked. “Wherever one wants to be kissed!”


once back in the seriousness of daylight, she was all business. this is her pretty ladies’ desk for writing letters


and her home office where she refined her very definite ideas about life and style


“Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening.”


 ‘I wanted to give a woman comfortable clothes that would flow with her body. A woman is closest to being naked when she is well-dressed.’


later in life she lets us in again to see an apartment that has grown in some ways, matured in its decor with the addition of travel mementos, books and statues


she must have treasured her roaring fireplace

NPG x40051; Coco Chanel by Cecil BeatonNPG x40050; Coco Chanel by Cecil Beaton


and surrounded herself with beautiful books


lounging was apparently a pastime she enjoyed to the fullest without apology and understood that downtime in life was as important as success.

‘How many cares one loses when one decides not to be something but to be someone.’


‘There are people who have money and people who are rich’


this series of shots was one of her most revealing

“Elegance is not the prerogative of those who have just escaped from adolescence, but of those who have already taken possession of their future.”


doing the things we all do


eating, reading, working

Gabrielle Coco Chanel - Coco Chanel at work with pearlschaneljewelry_front




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on the phone



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and although most of the shots are of her alone, the now iconic suede sofa she designed often hosted friends


who came for intimate chats


Coco Chanel & Jeanne Moreaucocomeme

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or host an audience while working with girls who came for fittings

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‘Adornment, what a science! Beauty, what a weapon! Modesty, what elegance!’

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i think she was happy because she had a happy home


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it seems she created a perfect little world just upstairs above her shop and it was her wonderland. a place she could go for refuge, that was a comfortable and reassuring as the arms of a lover.


it was probably most comforting as she put on her face for life outside as the kingpin of CHANEL, that she knew just up that staircase was a little piece of heaven waiting for her. thank god the french have kept it intact.


this may be my favorite shot, seeing her totally relaxed, unpressured, her true nature at peace. everything home should be for all of us.

‘I am not young but I feel young. The day I feel old, I will go to bed and stay there. J’aime la vie! I feel that to live is a wonderful thing.’

p.s. a new book is coming out i thought you may enjoy. i’ll try to get a copy or two for a giveaway. till then have a wonderful weekend!

January 2, 2015. Tags: , . Books, CHANEL, Paris, Paris Apartments. 10 comments.

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