Category Archives: Bucket List

A Ritzy Soireé with Ernest

As my moveable feast is slowly advancing to the expresso part of the meal…oops, i meant ‘year’, I am avidly marking things off of my Paris Bucket List left and right! (which is a large contributing factor to the lack of posts lately…that, and the glorious sunshine!) Top on my list and truly a must, is the \”Hemingway Bar\”. This nostalgic & whimsical gem can be found smugly tucked away in a petite corner of the Ritz Hotel, after having wondered down and through endless lush & lavishly decorated hallways and parlors. Ranked as the best bar in the world with the best bartender in the world, Colin Field, The Hemingway Bar certainly lived up to it’s standards (as did the check please!) But, c’est la vie “ritz” n’est c’est pas? Beyond that, the candle-lit ambiance was simply alluring and we all felt taken back to the 1920’s if just for a few hours. The jukebox was playing, the conversation was enlightening and there was an air of simplicity with no rush or need to go anywhere or do anything besides enjoy the evening. A little cherry on top was that the previous night we had gone to see Woody Allen’s new film, \”Minuit á Paris\” or “Midnight in Paris”, which excellently portrays Paris in the early 1900’s. The flick includes several intellectual figures of the time, the most prominent one being none other than Hemingway himself! So, the sequence of events was quite perfect if I do say so myself!

xx,

ss

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Chanel Haute Couture 2011: Outside the Show

my favorite.

celebrity stylists

Vanessa Paradis

Diane Kruger

Kirsten

Abbey Lee and other models smoking after the show...comme d'habitude

 

Lou Doillon

Diane's incredible hair

Giovanna Battaglia...looked sooo stunning, as always.

Gaspard Ulliel

Anna dello Russo

The one and only Anne Oblinger; my famous friend and fellow stalker

my 2nd favorite

Alexa Chung. Obsessed.

one of the models, she looks so young! so cute

oh, Pareeee

Anna Wintour; the Queen Bee leaving the building...

Sorry for the obscene amount of photos, I had a really hard time deciding which ones to post. Such an experience of a lifetime, one day I hope to be on the inside having people take my pic as I walk in 😉 If only…

 

*all pics taken by moi et ma copine Trisha

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Shakespeare & Co.

If you’ve been to Paris and not visited Shakespeare & Co. , then that, my friend, is a bonne dommage (real shame).  This sanctuary for writers, readers and artists is to the left of Notre Dame in the Latin Quarter-bien sur. One can come in here to buy English books, read, take photos, sleep or just sit and contemplate. Or, if you really wanted, you could experiment with an ancient type writer, stare at the little paintings or read the magazine clips on the walls, rest on one of the beds, play the piano, make conversation with one of the countless regular intellectuals who are there 7 days a week or simply just be happy that you are in the most beautiful and romantic city in the world. Alas, here one can find any book from Jane Eyre to The Sartorialist coffee table book. And, If you’re lucky you might just open an old copy of a classic and discover that it is signed to Shakespeare & Co. by the author.

It is places like Shakespeare & Co. that make me realize how happy I am with my decision to come to Paris for a whole year, not just to study abroad or on vacation for two weeks. I now feel as if I have all the time in the world to discover the less touristy and lesser known side of Paris and really begin to love it in a different way. When my friend Katie was in town she asked me if there were moments when I regret not having a loved one here with me since it such a romantic city (and you basically see people snogging on every street corner). Not to get mushy or anything, but I have thought about this before and it did peeve me in the beginning. I told her that I really think that after 5 months I’ve started to develop such a relationship with Paris as a city that I truly don’t feel like I am lacking in the romantic/lovey-dovey department. Sometimes I feel like Paris is my boyfriend. Is that pathetic?

Anywho, Paris may not always love me back, but I sure am smitten with her! 😉

xx,

ss

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A Sunny Sunday at the Luxembourg Gardens

Have you ever heard the saying, “The French work hard, but they play hard too” ? This beautiful sunny day in January at the Luxembourg Gardens really epitomized the French’s way of savoring their sunday down time. The entire garden was packed full of people spending family or alone time, both young and old, reading, snoozing, or basking in the sun. It was very obvious that everyone was just living in the moment, not a soul was thinking about work the next day.

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Sainte Chapelle: The Radiating Cathedral

stained glass from the outside, glazed triforium and pierced gables

some pretty high relief detail of the frieze on the facade of the lower chapel

interior of the lower chapel...repetitive fleur de lis EVERYWHERE...typical Rayonnant

beautiful ribbed vaulting

detail of sculpture and engaged columns

alter in lower chapel, statue of King Louis XI (commissioner)

ribbed vaulting merging onto the pillars-gives a pretty "fanned" look

detail of the floor

upper chapel

repeated ornate motifs

detail of pillars in the upper chapel

the beautiful rose window 🙂

Medieval stained glass and window tracery...this is what makes it Rayonnant/or Radiating

emphasis on light

How stunning is this most perfect example of a Rayonnant Gothic architecture? Sainte Chapelle is a not as well known and much less touristy Cathedral in the heart of Paris on Ile de la Cité. This is partly because it is hidden by the Palais de Justice and also because it is so close to Notre Dame, the much bigger and better known Gothic Cathedral of Paris.

I have been saving Sainte Chapelle for a rainy, cold day simply because I prefer cathedrals on dark, rainy days for some reason. I think it heightens the sacred and holy feel of the interior of a church. And, I just like to hear the pitter-patter of the rain on the roof echo through out the nave. Needless to say, yesterday was the perfect day to go. It had been rainy and snowy all day long.

When I studied Sainte Chapelle in my Cathedral Architecture classes at KU, I remember it always stuck out from the rest because of it’s purpose and it’s spectacular decor. It was commissioned by King Louis XI to house relics, particularly, the Crown of Thorns. It’s appearance most definitely reflects it’s function. When I walked in I truly felt like I was inside of a jewelry box or more appropriately, a reliquary (box to hold a relic.) The blue, gold, red and green colors were simply unforgettable and I thought it very befitting to visit during Christmas time! Staying true to a stereo-typical Rayonnant Cathedral, there were repeated, decorated motifs EVERYwhere. On the ceilings, the walls, even on the floors. The ornate pillars resembled tubes of Christmas wrapping paper.

Sainte Chapelle is such a unique, ethereal and beautiful Gothic Cathedral. If you ever go to Paris, remember to make a visit to this little hidden gem! I assure you, you will be dissappointed!

xx,

ss

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Murakami Exhibition at Versailles

This past weekend I was invited by one of my friends and fellow au-pairs, Trisha, to accompany her and her French host family to Versailles. I have been absolutely dying to get out there, but it’s in the outskirts of Paris so you really have to plan ahead and have a full day dedicated to the castle and all of it’s wonders! My friend lives in Garche, a town really close to Versailles, so it was much more convenient. Fortunately, for me I got the opportunity of going on the weekend the Murakami exhibit opened. It was like killing two birds with one stone!

Murakami is a contemporary Japanese artist, and he is becoming increasingly more and more prominent in today’s art scene. (He designed Kanye West’s “Graduation” album if that gives you any reference…) His pieces at Versailles were basically giant plastic anime sculptures…exactly what you would picture in the world’s oldest, most beautiful, ornate and well-preserved castle, right? I’m pretty sure a lot of people will probably think that this exhibit is degrading to the castle, and I myself am not a big fan of anime in general, but in my opinion, the exhibit itself was just sweet.

Obvious to the naked eye was the contrast between the old and the new. There is no denying the awesomeness/uniqueness of a bright pink, plastic anime “pokemon” creature on a ball of smiling flowers juxtaposed with the gilded doors, marble floors and frescoed ceilings of Versailles.

But beyond this obvious contrast, I also noticed that the sculptures and the castle definitely have something in common as well. Many of Murakami’s pieces are surely meant to be a commentary on today’s consumer culture. In particular one sculpture of a monster’s head (which is reminiscent of a tanning bed) has various consumer goods in it’s mouth; a ketchup bottle, pepsi can, cup cake etc. I found it ironic that Versailles was the chosen venue for these sculptures; everyone knows it is the best example out there of extreme and excessive consumerism during the 15th century (Marie Antoinette lived there…that says it all.) I couldn’t help but think that maybe this particular exhibition was not so random and unfitting for Versailles after all.

xx,

ss

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The Empire of the Dead

"stop! this is the Empire of the Dead"

going deeper and deeper underground

the ceiling..

a plethora of tibias

photos of the bodies when they transferred them...quite graphic

two words: heebie-jeebies.

really shows off the organization...pretty amazing

ummm...do we smile?

In the wonderful city of Paris the month of October is enchanting. The chesnuts are all falling off the trees, the sun is bright, the air is crisp and the leaves are the most spectacular colors I have ever seen. But, unfortunately when October 31st rolls around there is no Halloween! You can consider yourself very lucky if you get to see even one window display with pumpkins or fake cob-webs. Donc, what does one do around halloweeny time in Paris?

Our solution, naturally, was to visit the famous Catacombs of Paris. It’s on my bucket list and there was no better time to go. I really enjoyed the entire experience. It was incredibly cold and wet down there, an ideal place for catching a cold but there was also a quite lovely eerie/sacred feel to the entire “empire.”

What I expected was piles of bones and skulls. What I did not expect was for them to be arranged and organized so beautifully, making them art. It was grotesque to think it was someones’ job to transfer these bodies from their gravesite to the catacombs and it was also phenomenal to think it had been someones’ duty to arrange these millions of bones into a pattern and an art.

After we left, we were all in a bizarre mood and incredibly cold so like the local parisians that we are becoming…we went to a near by cafe and ordered some expressos and cafe au lait!

xx,

ss

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