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Archive for July, 2012

Top 5 Amusing Moments – Paris

July 31, 2012 @ 1:01 am
posted by Sandra Sheridan
Table for Le Chat - Latin Quarter, Paris

Le Chat dines in the Latin Quarter

Travel memories always seem to include those little moments of amusement brought about by little cultural differences or out-of-the-norm sights along the street. They aren’t side-splitting events, rather the kind of experience that makes a little smile spread throughout your spirit. We’ll skip David Letterman’s proverbial Top Ten and share Top Five Amusing Moments that spring to mind.

Le Chat – Table for One – Simply another little “snapshot” moment, while we meandered around Place Contrescarpe in the Latin Quarter. We came upon a restaurant, not yet open for dinner; but apparently Le Chat had early reservations. I had to snap the photo, and a passerby stopped to share the amusing sight with us.

Hotel de Ville Entertainers – We stopped one day in front of the Hotel de Ville to watch colorful entertainers performing. Tourists and residents alike enjoy serendipity moments, when they can stop and take in the music and gaiety. Others are impervious and carry a “leave me my space” aura. We found it very amusing when one such carefully-turned-out Madame ignored the entertainers. They took that as an invitation and gathered right in front of her, as if to dare her to cast off the fun of the moment. They were unrelenting. So was she. She definitely won the engaging-aloof contest.

Du Beurre? NON! – On a Sunday walk through Le Marais, we stopped at a little café near the Centre Georges Pompidou, and my husband stepped up to order croissants and coffee. According to my typical over-indulgence, I asked him to request butter. I know, I know. Croissants ARE butter, but leave me to my own idiosyncrasies, will you? Madame looked at him with furrowed brow, wagged her finger and said, “du beurre? Non!” Elsewhere, we get away with no reaction or a little shrug. C’est la vie. When in Paris, do as….”

Moving in Paris - a real task! Orange truck simply wont' hold the mattress

Truck, mattress – logistics problem in Paris

Mattress and “Truck” – Throughout Paris, we see the difficult logistics of moving, of living in small spaces, of transporting household items.  A man walks down the street with a ladder.  Platforms lift furniture 5 stories through an apartment window.  Simply sights we don’t normally encounter in the States.  One evening we came across a “cameo” moment – a mattress on the sidewalk next to a French version of a truck.  Look to the right – the mattress.  Look to the left – the truck.  We think the driver stepped into a café for a bottle wine, before tackling this impossible task.

Measuring up to the customer – We enjoyed dining with friends at Les Trois Oliviers near the Palais Royal one evening. The intimate setting and engaging hosts made the evening very special. As we were leaving, we enjoyed a photo op moment with Olivier. Now, I am short. My husband is 6’2”, and Olivier was, let’s say, in between. He ‘hammed it up’ for the camera and stretched to his toes to measure up to his customer.

None were hysterical experiences – rather soft moments far from the ‘tourist path’ that connected us to our favorite city.

We’d love to hear from you!
Copyright © 2005-2012, LuxeEuro, LLC. All rights reserved.

Flowers from French Friends

July 29, 2012 @ 1:01 am
posted by Sandra Sheridan
Graceful arches in a Parisian hallway

Just a glance to the left, and Paris offers another moment of beauty

A year ago, I made the decision to begin France Daily Photo, my blog that covers a bit of everything about France – from travel tips and focus on cuisine, to wonderful people and places. It’s a bit of a bouquet of different flowers, all just so placed, as to make a pleasant arrangement.

Since that time, I have discovered so many wonderful blogs and websites, each with a unique perspective on their particular focus and interest. It is a rich world and one that would make the World Wide Web inventor quite pleased (he was a focus of last night’s opening Olympics ceremony in London).

Well, I am able now to share a very sweet and surprising piece of news. I have been honored with a “flower” – a colorful flower signifying the “Sunshine Award” – presented to me by a very special fellow blogger, Playing with Scarves.

This vivid daisy against the sky is The Sunshine Award, an award bequeathed to those “bloggers who positively and creatively inspire others in the blogosphere.” Yet, anything that spreads sunshine in the lives of others is a very good thing!

The Sunshine Award for France Daily Photo

The Sunshine Award

Entirely unexpected, this award was sent to me by Anne of Playing With Scarves, a blog (and person) that combines upscale style with down-to-earth warmth, whose genuine outreach has resulted in an entire group of “Scarf Addicted” face book followers.

Anne is Parisian born and lives with her family in the United States. Her writing is from-the-heart sincere, and she has that “je ne sais quois” quality that is the epitome of French feminity.

She definitely is one of those women who inspires you to ditch the tee-shirt, pick up the lipstick and smile in the mirror! And you must check out her new “Playing with Scarves” CD and book.   I offer a big sweeping bow to Ann and a genuine appreciation of her acknowledgement. Merci beaucoup!

Now, like Ann, I have the privilege of recognizing other deserving bloggers, whose contributions to the blogosphere enrich my days and inspire my life.  Nominees need only do three things, after receiving The Sunshine Award:

1) Thank the person who sent you the Sunshine Award.
2) Recognize 10 Bloggers who deserve the Award and link back to their sites.

It gives me pleasure to share ten of my favorites, blogs that add unique information, insight and enjoyment to my days. Even when I think I haven’t the time to read, my instinct overrides, and I enjoy another posting. I recommend:

French Essence 
Eye Prefer Paris 
Playing With Scarves 
The Provence Post 
French Food Market 
Invisible Paris
Tête over the heels 
Tongue in Cheek 
– France Today
This French Life 

3) Last and final step: answer the following questions about yourself.

Favorite color?  Any color of blue – Blue goes with my eyes, suggests water and sky, has so many lovely shades and is soothing.
Favorite animal?   Soft and fluffy and lazy cats. When Isaak Dinesen wrote “Out of Africa”, she referred to the effects of Berkeley’s death. “The yeast was out of the bread of the land….A cat had got up and left the room.” And that’s what the presence of a purring cat does in your life.
Favorite number?   The date I married my husband – 20.
Favorite drink?  A nice dry Rose wine.
Facebook or Twitter?  Fb – with mixed emotions, in that I tend not to ‘groupy-ize’, BUT have reconnected with long, lost friends and have met a number of wonderful new ones.
Your passion?  France – the culture, architecture, charm, warmth, music, food, love of life … and writing… about France and about life.
Giving or receiving presents?  I absolutely love giving gifts, searching for just the right very personal gift that either says “I know you” or “Now you know me”.
Favorite day?  Every day and every small point of light in it – shadows from the sun or the sound of rain or the sweet song of a grandchild or the hug from my husband and kids. Makes no difference what day of the week, they are all gifts.
Favorite flower?   Fragrant white lilies and alabaster gardenias – fill rooms with their beauty and sweet aroma.

For me, this entry is very long, so thanks for bearing with me. And please do accept my invitation to visit my recommended blogs. You will be well rewarded.

French Decor … and Framing

July 28, 2012 @ 9:38 am
posted by Sandra Sheridan
Vivienne Passage Paris framed photo

One of my favorite photographs from Vivienne Passage in Paris – a model sauntering along the tile…in fabulous shoes!

When friends or family visit our home for the first time, we “take the tour” to show them where everything is, to point out highlights they might enjoy.  Needless to say, the French influence flows through our home like a golden river, beginning with a brightly-colored, welcoming ceramic cicada filled with lavender.

Our master bedroom, for example, includes a bench across the end of the bed covered in lovely cream, yellow and blue toile from Paris. On the wall are two of my framed watercolors, studio scenes in vivid hues.

On another wall is an original oil on paper of a scene near Chatelet in Paris, painted by our brother-in-law; on another – a framed Maxim’s menu with the artwork of Toulouse-Lautrec, given to us in the Maxim’s shop in honor of our honeymoon.

My French Neighbor is a favorite on-line and local store that sells fine French accessories, furnishings and cabinetry. Owned and managed by natives of Saint Etienne near Lyons, My French Neighbor creates a warm and comfortable setting, a combination of delicate and bold, rustic and refined – that delightful mix of French décor that defies definition but delivers hospitality.

A model in fabulous shoes in Paris' Vivienne Passage

Vivienne Passage – different frame

And that brings me back to framing photos and art for your home. I would love to recommend American Frame as a delightful on-line company that is personable, thorough and knowledgeable about printing and framing.

So many elements come into play when framing – the color and size of matting, the style and width of the frame, the ideal choice of materials to display your artwork beautifully without overpowering the work.

From the three examples I show here, you can see that American Frame’s website tools allow you to actually see how the end result differs, based upon frame and matting choices. You can upload the item you want to frame, see how different colors and frames work and even change the color of the wall on which it will hang.

And their service is impeccable. I once called to correct an order I had placed, spoke to a real sweet lady; and she told me she would place a note on the assembler’s desk right this minute. Warmed my day, I can tell you! Happy Decorating!!

Vivienne Passage Paris 2

Vivienne Passage Paris

(Just a reminder to click on photos to enlarge.)

We’d love to hear from you!
Copyright © 2005-2012, LuxeEuro, LLC. All rights reserved.

Parisian Retreat in Normandy

July 27, 2012 @ 9:19 am
posted by Sandra Sheridan
Parisian Getaway - The Grand Hotel of Cabourg Normandy

The Grand Hotel of Cabourg – © ATOUT FRANCE/CDT Calvados

The French Riviera naturally springs to mind, when we think of fabulous seaside resorts for the privileged.  Yet, we need only travel a couple of hours north of Paris to discover quite a special Normandy resort by the sea.

The little village of Cabourg is home to only 4,000 in every season but summer, when another 60,000 visitors come to experience the town’s delightful water sports and walks by the sea, the vibrant Casino and horse racing.  Cabourg was not always so treasured, once a hamlet far more famous for wild rabbit colonies, farmers and fishermen than as a playground destination for Parisians

In the mid 19th century, a lawyer and a theater director from Paris imagined a third French seaside resort along the English Channel, one that architect Charles Duval brought to life with a theater-shaped layout of streets spreading out from a central point.  Cabourg with its Casino, Grand Hotel, bathhouses and beautiful beach found huge success, despite the then lengthy travel time from Paris.

And it is with such storied places, that we are able to travel back in time, to envision those who initially enjoyed the benefits of this Normande destination.  In the early 1900s, Marcel Proust was a frequent guest at the Grand Hotel, where he savored Madeleine’s and watched the ebb and flow of the tide through the hotel windows.  Proust wrote part of his most famous novel at the Grand Hotel – “A l’ombre des jeunes filles en fleurs”(“In the Shadow of Young Girls in Bloom”).

Trotters take to the sea in Cabourg, Normandy

Horse and trap and a horse on a leading rein on the beach – © ATOUT FRANCE/Pascal Gréboval

The transformation of Cabourg’s Casino is as interesting, initially a grand tearoom-style place for cards, games and shows and one that later introduced actual gambling games.  In the mid-1950’s a significant change took place, when the manager of Paris’ famous music hall – the Olympia – came to manage the Casino.

He imagined new talent developing here, and his vision came to fruition.  It is the place where Edith Piaf and Charles Aznavour enjoyed considerable success.

Cabourg’s history, architecture and surrounding terrain deserve notice, so perhaps another day we will re-visit to highlight the lovely villas built mainly by Parisians, who wanted to indulge in a Belle Epoque style, as a departure from the Haussmann-era styles prevalent in Paris.  And we will wander along the seaside promenade and visit the famous night time trotting races at the Cabourg Race Course.  Now that is a pleasant agenda to imagine!

We’d love to hear from you!

Copyright © 2005-2012, LuxeEuro, LLC.  All rights reserved.