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Safe and Secure in Paris

February 2, 2016 @ 9:00 am
posted by Sandra Sheridan

Our apartment entry on Ile Saint-Louis

Revisiting today some information and advice that is as relevant now as it was in 2012.   Hope you are busy planning your next trip to Paris!

We are among those people who are not overly concerned with safety and security, at home or while traveling.  Certainly, we lock the doors of our home and vehicle and at least have a general awareness of the people around us, particularly at night in parking lots.

In Paris, though, we noticed some very solid safety and security measures, we usually don’t see in place in America.  Banks, for example, often have two locked entry doors separated by about 3 feet.  You are buzzed in to that space, and only when the exterior door closes does the interior door open.  That seems an effective way to assure oversight of people entering the bank.  The same buzzing takes place on exit, so it would be no simple matter to try to rob a bank and make a quick escape.  Not, mind you, that we were ‘casing’ the institutions with any such thought in mind.

Many apartment entries also employ exterior and interior doors, as an added measure of security.  Normally, you enter your electronic door code at the general entrance to your apartment building.  This allows you access to the mail and trash areas.  A second interior door also has a locking device; you hold your card up to the device to open the door.  Of course, the third and final entry is your individual front door.

When we rented a vacation apartment on Ile Saint-Louis, our entry door was very heavy and sophisticated.   If we turned the key once, a single steel bolt engaged to lock the door.  A second turn of the key engaged two more bolts at the top and bottom of the door.  Iron clad, we thought!  We also wondered how emergency personnel can access such a door, but rather imagine the apartment concierge or building manager must supply access codes or mechanisms for emergency cases.

In terms of general safety in Paris, we’ve never really felt insecure – perhaps, just watchful of our luggage, shopping bag and purses.  We did learn an uncomfortable lesson on our last visit.  My husband had just purchased a carnet of metro tickets, and we rode a rather steep, narrow escalator up to the street level.  En route, a few ‘hurried’ metro users hustled past us.  As we stepped from the escalator, almost immediately my husband realized his wallet was missing from his back pocket.  Naturally, we immediately checked back at the ticket place to no avail.

Fortunately, he kept one type of credit card in his wallet, another in a small, separate card carrier.  Still, it was very inconvenient making transatlantic calls to banks and credit card companies.  He no longer carries said wallet in his back pocket (lesson learned!), and we travel with a list of all credit card phone and account numbers.

Good to be cautious in crowds

We still don’t walk around with furrowed brows and suspicious glances at those around us.  It is wise to be careful in metros, RER’s and busy tourist areas; where thieves are more likely to work in groups to find an opportunity with a weary or distracted tourist.

For some specific safety tips for Paris travel, the Foreign Study website offers complete information.  Our parting advice – exercise a certain degree of caution, but embrace Paris the city with abandon!

We’d love to hear from you!

And some charming French gifts ….

Copyright © 2005-2016, LuxeEuro, LLC. Photo and text, all rights reserved

Please take a moment to browse through … and order … my book:

Autographed copies with notecard gift

And some charming French gifts ….

Yves Saint Laurent on Elegance

February 1, 2016 @ 5:18 am
posted by Sandra Sheridan

Exquisite French ceramic pulley lamps

“We must never confuse elegance with snobbery.”
                           Yves Saint Laurent

 

Merci, Monsieur Laurent.  You have redeemed my self image.  I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve looked at a beautiful artisan piece, only to discover a price tag to equal the creativity and craftsmanship the piece represents.  That’s when I say, “Oh, I’m such a snob!”

I always seem to gravitate toward the most expensive French items! Now I have learned my leanings have everything to do with elegance rather than snobbery.

Our friends at My French Neighbor store in Orlando used to carry these stunning French ceramic lighting fixtures … naturally I coveted them!!  Seeing hand-crafted works of art absolutely sears them into my mind and spirit.

Ceramic lamp ateliers

We’d love to hear from you!

 

Copyright © 2005-2016, LuxeEuro, LLC. Photo and text, all rights reserved

Please take a moment to browse through … and order … my book:

Autographed copies with notecard gift

And some charming French gifts ….

Chance Moment by the Panthéon

January 29, 2016 @ 8:19 am
posted by Sandra Sheridan
Pantheon Latin Quarter Paris

Isabeau d’Abzac spectacular paper sculpture

Just as I do with memories, now and then I sift back through posts to linger over words and moments that have held special meaning.  And so it is today.  This delightful ‘chance moment’ not only crowned an already wonderful day, it has stayed with me – the wonderful pieces of art simply there for our wonder and enjoyment.  I hope you find those kinds of gifts and moments today and every day….

Planned events. Chance moments. It was the latter that found me walking with my friend around the Panthéon in Paris, when a sign or sight caught our eye – what appeared to be a lamp on the sidewalk. Before we knew it, a friendly young lady invited us inside to an extraordinary exhibit in the “Marie du Vème – salle Capitant”. It was the occasion of an exhibit that focused on six artists working with paper – “intentionpapier” – women who “sow the molecules of lightness of being before metamorphosing into fireflies.”

I’m one of those who try everything and master nothing, so I embrace and appreciate those who specialize and reap the rewards of their hard work. This exhibit evoked sighs and exclamations around every corner!

Designed by Isabeau d’Abzac, delicate ballerinas were regal and playful at the same time, stepping this way and that in their paper skirts. Some served as lamps that would undoubtedly stimulate conversation in any room. If one were in my home, I’m sure I would feel as if a friend watched over me. Whether dressed in color or in red or yellow, they simply dazzle in the elegant Mayor’s domain. Isabeau’s paper sculptures are in private collections in Paris, Geneva, Bilbao and beyond.

Isabeau d'Abzac

Featured in Art & Decoration

On the walls, handsome decorative panels by Elisabeth Loesch echo the art nouveau era – so inviting in their intricate designs and subtle colors. Her unique pieces blend wood inlaid with paper and partially painted in god and silver leaf to create stunning works of art.

Our day has been entirely transformed with the beauty of our ‘chance moment’.

Pantheon Paris exhibit

Elisabeth Loesch panel

We’d love to hear from you!

Copyright © 2005-2016, LuxeEuro, LLC. Photo and text, all rights reserved

Please take a moment to browse through … and order … my book:

Autographed copies with notecard gift

Guimard’s Historic Art Nouveau – Paris

January 21, 2016 @ 7:50 am
posted by Sandra Sheridan
Guimard's Entrance to Le Castel Béranger

Stunning Guimard doorway

I love the museums of Paris … and the rest of France, but I don’t need them.  Down this path and around that corner, I find one visual feast after another – a charming door, a flower-covered trellis, a stunning window, the ever-enticing Seine.

And real works of art adorn so many buildings!  After an enjoyable Sunday brunch at a friend’s apartment in the 16th arrondisement, we wandered around the corner for an incredible visual treat – Le Castel Béranger, an apartment building designed by Hector Guimard. While the architect’s fanciful wrought iron designs accent many of the building’s features, this front entrance demonstrates his distinct, swirling designs.

Largely considered the father of the French Art Nouveau architectural movement, Guimard designed the pioneering ornate entrances to Paris Metro stations. Only 86 of the original 180 wrought iron signs remain and are being restored with care.

After rampant modernization in the 1960’s and early 70’s eliminated many of the nouveau signs, all of Guimard’s entrances were declared historic monuments in 1978. We can now look forward to seeing the renewed Metro signs throughout Paris and feel a sense of gratitude for the wisdom of those who recognized and redeemed these historic structures.

We’d love to hear from you!

Copyright © 2005-2016, LuxeEuro, LLC. Photo and text, all rights reserved


Please take a moment to browse through … and order … my book:

Autographed copies with notecard gift