Paris…Taking It All In

One of the things I notice most when I am in Paris are the details...










I love the cobblestones, the lanterns, the ironwork, the designs on the buildings. Maybe its because I am actually slowing down enough to see them or because this city just has a magical amount of details and character… or a combination of both.

Either way, it always seems like my life slows down a bit when I am here. Whether or not there is the lovely craziness of family around me and I am negotiating a million things at once or I am completely alone and doing nothing but absorbing what is in front of me.







Aside from the buildings, there is of course the food. And the color. And did I mention the food? And whether or not we were eating it, we were certainly taking it in with all of our senses.






Parisbakery I-2small














In the rare case that we weren't gazing around us, eating or window shopping, we were sitting and relaxing.












See you tomorrow.

A Day in Montmarte

Happy Summer friends!

I hope that everyone is enjoying the less hurried pace that summer brings to many of us! We are home from our epic family vacation and are slowly…. very slowly… getting back into the swing of a schedule around here!

In the process I am really trying to organize my Europe photos somehow before sharing them with you but since there are literally hundreds and hundreds of them… well, you know how it is… it's all taking a while longer than I was hoping.

Plus there is that pesky jet lag thing that is putting me in bed by 8:00 pm most nights… its kind of a comedy show around here at the moment!

So in effort to at least get started, I am going to start working through a day at a time… or maybe even half a day LOL!  For today, our visit to Montmarte, the artist district of Paris, was filled with a plethora of time sitting and watching artists paint, as well as some really good food and not only people watching but building watching too.

For me there is nowhere else that I can think of where awnings and simple cane chairs end up feeling so charming and nostalgic and so…. well so, Paris.







Ben, my oldest, was fascinated in the process of painting and could have watched the local painters for hours.





The rest of us were just a bit more interested in the French Onion Soup and Chicken with herbs that was coming any minute...





But the corners and nooks and crannies of that district were just as yummy as the lunch!









And of course as soon as lunch was done, the sillies came out.



… in everyone!


More… oh so much more… this weekend!

Talk to you soon!


Paris, my friend

Now I have to tell you that Paris, although still completely intoxicating, spellbinding, breathtaking, mysterious, and a whole group of other adjectives, has become somewhat of a friend over these last couple of trips. Mon ami as they say.

I now have a "regular" place I like to stay. On "my little island". A regular place I have my morning tea and croissant. Sometimes they even recognize me there. A regular afternoon crepe with nutella to snack on, couldn't think of anything other I would rather eat when strolling around Paris. A regular corner florist where I buy the flowers for my hotel room. My own metro stop. A favorite place to walk along the Seine. My favorite market and even a cheese shop that i can't resist.

And yet the city is full of idiosyncracies that I love to observe and a million things that I don't understand... like how to use a foreign credit card on one of those cool city rent bikes that you can pick up anywhere and drop off anywhere else for pennies! Anyone?

To me, Paris is still full of contradictions and things that you dont' expect. Its one of the things I love most about it. 

Like this,

 ...the Notre Dame.


right across the street from this...

 ... a popular cafe that stays open all night with French and tourist alike.


Or this,

 A cafe mixed right into our view of Sacre Couer.


Or like color at every turn,


...right next to a neutral that is just as beautiful.


Like this older French gentleman shopping at the outdoor vegetable market who couldn't feel more "french" to me, with his classic profile, his expression and of course, his cane,


... just a few streets down from this little boy we met at the park that, to me, epitomizes what I think a little French boy ought to look like. Right down to his shoes. And his little red truck.




And the little courtyards. The old entryways and covered walkways. The quiet spots away from the bustle and the cars. The softer side of Paris. So unexpected when you are walking on a major boulevard. But suddenly there it is.




And the menus. Don't let me forget about the menus. The little menus in every shape color and style. The little menus that have come to communicate something to me about Paris, its simplicity, its people, its love of food. These little boards have become somewhat of an obsession for me. I think I have probably photographed at least a hundred of them by now. I just can't seem to get them out of my system. I love them. How silly is that?








Or what about the fact that here, this is what the salt aisle at the store looks like.... yes, that's right, the salt aisle. Nothing but salts.



Or the fact that almost every Brasserie you pass has its doors open and feels this inviting. Like you've been there before... but you haven't.


... this has absolutely nothing to do with Paris, but you gotta love a husband who is willing to carry a "merse" [man purse] with embroidery on it all around the city!  



... A place that feels like my friend.


Talk to you soon.  


Paris: are we done yet?

When I daydream of France, I think of little window scenes like this one here below. I really can't put my finger on what it is about this that is so "French" feeling for me, but it just is. I don't know why. 

Whereas some of my favorite pictures of Paris are grey and neutral and soft and old and vintage looking, Paris is also all about color. Its everywhere you look really, in every nook and cranny as they say.


... like in the windows


... or in the scarves in a store



... or in the jam jars at the Bon Marche department and grocery store



... or in the flower market



... even at night, the streets and cafes of Paris seem to be aglow in color



... the store shelves are lined with wonderful colors. This one happens to be one of my favorite French reproduction stores, Comptoir de Famille




... boutiques filled with colorful prints.




... and of course, it wouldn't be complete without the amazing color of the Patisseries [for those of you who are recent followers of my blog, after one of my first trips to Paris, I was inspired to design an entire fabric collection based on the colors that I saw in the Parisian Patisseries, bakeries. It was called Patisserie. The blog posts about that trip are here.




... more scarves twisted up into rolls. Parisian women are really, really into scarves of every kind and variety!


And so my head is spinning with colors and with neutrals and I couldn't possibly ever get them all onto fabric. That's a shame I think. Wouldn't Paris be wonderful as a fabric collection? I mean the real colors and feel of Paris. Maybe one day I will capture it.


Talk to you soon.


Paris: A little more

When most people go to Paris, they go see landmarks and take pictures that might look something like this.


Well, when we go to Paris, we get looked at a bit funny because we are seen mostly taking pictures of things like this...


in fact we seem to have a real thing for fencing...


And we seem to spend a lot of our time looking up...



 When our necks hurt from looking up, we would stop in for one or both of these...


So we could spend some more time looking at these...


When we got our fill of the beautiful blooms that seemed to be on every street corner, we reveled some more in, well, in food... just looking though...






Usually that would make us hungry enough to sit down and have a snack, or two. Its good that we were walking about 10 miles a day because otherwise I would have to be at the gym and not here!


 More yummies tomorrow. Making me nostalgic just looking at it all.


Talk to you soon.