Hôtel de Crillon – Paris Luxury

July 30, 2014 @ 10:29 am
posted by Sandra Sheridan
Paris Luxury

Set on Place Concord, Hôtel de Crillon

With so much destruction and mayhem in the world, what better way to cast off gloom than reminiscing about Paris? You know the renowned Hôtel de Crillon, right next door to the American Embassy in Paris, is about to complete a two-year renovation. Slated to reopen next year, one of the most luxurious hotels in the world will present a bright new face in order “to meet its clients’ highest standards. Really?

Far be it from me to question the tastes and/or decisions of those who cater to those who likely spend as much on a stay at this magnificent hotel as many would spend on six months’ worth of mortgage payments! That disclaimer aside, you can be certain that the Crillon had not fallen into musty disrepair! Rather, like a bored homemaker shoving furniture about or painting a wall to freshen the home; the new management wanted to make a dual statement of refined continuity and techno-luxury progress.

I stand among many who appreciate the Hôtel de Crillon and, in fact, have some very fond memories of brushing up against her opulent presence. Many years ago during my first visit to Paris, my good friend once again demonstrated ‘the world is my oyster’ style. Dressed for a casual walk and a bit sodden with the Paris mist, she insisted we duck into the hotel for a visit to the restroom and gift shop. So discreetly imposing was the grand edifice, I balked at the thought quickly theorizing that such a visit would equal attending an upscale event in shorts and flip flops!

Crillon luxury

Distinguished uniformed hosts

No, no, my friend assured me, and we entered … with her darling dog in the lead. A uniformed gentleman nodded with an appropriate smile, and we traversed the marble foyer and descended elegant stairs to the toilette. Certainly quite serviceable and inviting, the rest room nonetheless did not equal that of The Ritz; though I don’t intend to cast aspersions.

Then, we enjoyed moments of hushed French-style conversation with the gracious attendant in the gift shop, as we looked among porcelain keepsakes, sumptuous leather goods and light-as-air silk scarves. Despite my initial misgivings, it was a delightful experience … and certainly memorable.

I had no idea that the genteel tenacity of my friend offered such benefits!  Well indoctrinated now to the Crillon’s egalitarian hospitality, on another occasion I waited to meet my friend in the hotel lobby….that famous, gleaming lobby with quietly efficient hosts and elegant guests.  I marveled at the thin, fine leather boots of a statuesque young woman attached to the arm of a quite dignified gentleman.

Imagine, then, my sorrow on reading about a tourist who had the same thought to take a peek inside, perhaps a good ten years after our adventure.  As this lady approached the door, a guard at the front explained that only hotel guests could enter in order to protect the privacy of their guests.

Now, I only wish we had stopped in for a glass of wine, as my daughter and I did one evening at The Ritz; but that is another story, and I am well satisfied with my Crillon memories at the moment.  In fact, even ambling along the sidewalk in front of the hotel is quite an experience.  Elegantly uniformed livery men oversee a stable of sleek, black vehicles, every ready to spring into action for in-or outbound guests.  A stately tall black man leaves the hotel in what appears to be the attire of African royalty.  There is an indescribable hum of service and wealth and privilege that is interesting to see, a window on a world most of us do not encounter … on a regular basis.

Enjoy the big and little moments of your life.  And, as they say, “act as if” and perhaps you will be welcomed into otherwise hallowed ground!

We’d love to hear from you!

Copyright © 2014, LuxeEuro, LLC. All rights reserved.

The “Black and White” of French Décor

June 19, 2014 @ 9:32 am
posted by Sandra Sheridan
Paris France - decor

Color accents ‘neutral’ Paris!

French décor.  It is a study in paradox, a blend of old and new, fluid and rigid, colorful and monochromatic.  French design at one moment gathers in the colors of the countryside, and at another allows life to make its statement against a backdrop of white and beige.

Walk along the paths of The Tuileries in Paris, and all of the neutral building colors gleam in the summer sun; but the gardens and awnings and sailboats in the fountains are all the more colorful against that background.  Enter a café or Salon de Thé in one of those seemingly ‘bland’ buildings, and you might enter a saffron-colored room or a restaurant deeply textured and toned in colors of jewels.

Travel south to Provence and the same light-colored palette washes the land and architecture, the stone walls and village lanes.   The landscape provides the perfect canvas for bold artistry, for paintings and fabrics and tiles that capture the spectacular colors of the sky, the vineyards and olive groves, the plentiful gardens and rivers and soft colors of the setting sun.

And all of this underscores color in décor.  Then, we have the accents that pull us in like bees to pollen.  An old wooden bust.   An antique piece of pottery.  A vase of tulips fresh from the market or a ceramic cicada filled with welcoming lavender.

French design

Color, shapes, unusual objects – the spirit of French décor!

Perhaps the real joy of introducing the French touch to your home is the lack of rules or the freedom to break any presupposed rules you carry with you.  Today, we enter a room filled with the scent of enormous lilies.  A bold yellow Quimper plate ‘announces’ its presence from a cherry bookcase.   Pure luxury exudes from the jacquard table linen in royal gold and burgundy colors.   A petite ceramic sign welcomes you to La Cuisine.

They are simple touches that quietly display our love of France and our appreciation for that delightful French touch in our home.   Surround yourself with those things you love, and your home will be as welcome to others, as it is to you.

We’d love to hear from you!

Copyright © 2014, LuxeEuro, LLC. All rights reserved.

Fête des Pères – Fathers Day

June 15, 2014 @ 2:54 pm
posted by Sandra Sheridan
French Father's Day

1908 Flaminaire lighter

Fête des Pères – Fathers Day – also is celebrated in France on the 3rd Sunday in June, when young French children create cards and gifts for their beloved Père! And perhaps the older ones search out a handsome lighter or enticing gourmet products to make the day special.

In profiling the history of this celebration in France, some say what began as a religious remembrance was resurrected for commercial reasons by the creator of Breton gasoline lighters called Flaminaire.   If one could find an original dating to 1908, the collectible would make quite a gift!

Sadly, as with every traditional holiday, marketing gurus continue to create loud flurries of commercial suggestions. We have quieter French gifts in mind – perhaps a tray of macarons, an Opinel knife or an assortment of savory mustards and oils.  French wine or champagne also makes a nice gift for Dad’s celebration.

gifts from France

French metal sign from My French Neighbor

Whether for Father’s Day or other celebrations, our friends at My French Neighbor are quite happy to satisfy the desire for authentic French gifts.

Happy Father’s Day to all of those men fortunate enough to be fathers!

Paris – Lively & Lazy Moments

June 13, 2014 @ 12:39 pm
posted by Sandra Sheridan
rue Mouffetard

Lively music at Place Contrescarpe

You will enjoy both, you know.  Moments when the city teems with people, either executing the perfect Tango by the Seine or gathering for a grand communal pique-nique in one of the many city parks.  Wander through any marché, flea market or antique show; and you will be surrounded by the hum of happy folks shopping for their Sunday dinners or housewares, keepsakes or flowers.

Your mood might lead you to a quiet, 20-seat restaurant for a pleasant, prolonged dinner; or you might choose the bustling brasserie around the corner, where deft waiters make their experienced way among crowds of diners.

We have happened upon choral groups on a bridge, where crowds gather to enjoy the spontaneous entertainment.   We have found ourselves in the midst of a ‘blockaded’ area by the Centre Pompidou, where a suspicious package held everyone in place.  And we have enjoyed a celebratory parade of costumed folks from Bretagne, proudly acting out their heritage along the Champs Elysées.  Certainly, we have never been at a loss for things to do in Paris!

Paris France

Perfect time of day by the Seine!

At the same time, all of the quiet snippets of time are just as memorable.  A glass of wine at sunset on the Seine.  A few moments on a park bench to watch children at play or a game of petanque underway.  A walk in the evening topped with a nightcap at Le Café Marly overlooking the Pyramide.  Early morning coffee along a sidewalk café with a friend.

It’s impossible to value one type of experience over the other.  We encourage you to balance your trip with a blend of ‘lively and lazy’ moments that will stay with you long after your trip has ended.

PARIS lazy

Catch the sun by the Seine!

We’d love to hear from you!

Copyright © 2014, LuxeEuro, LLC. All rights reserved.