Oh Paris, you have even managed in your own way to make the metro beautiful. Perhaps the recipe to creating this beauty is the distinctive, ornate, Art Nouveau metro entrances, mixed with varied colours and shapes on platform chairs, balanced with the distinctive sound of piano accordion playing the Amélie soundtrack. This city makes catching public transport far from dreary!
Finally I had the chance to visit the Musée des Arts Décoratifs (Museum of Decorative Arts), a museum (as it name suggests) dedicated to decorative arts and design, located in the Palais du Louvre. An exhibition showcasing 15 years of design by Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec is currently on show covering their entire career, featuring furniture, lighting, spatial designs, drawings, videos and photographs. The exhibition works to highlight every facet of their production: their objects, limited editions and industrially produced pieces, their furniture for public spaces and the home, and their drawings, videos and photographs – Plus a 12 metre high textile designs. Prior to visiting Milan Design Fair earlier this year I did not know much of the work of this duo and after seeing this exhibition I’m left with a brain crush, questioning what it takes to think and create interior solutions that are both functional and aesthetically pleasing? I hard pressed getting past colour combo!
If Paris was a colour it would be gold and I say this as when there it’s gold I notice the most. The gold of the dome of Invalides, the gold shimmers on Moulin Rouge costumes, the golden angels overseeing Parisian life from the top of the Opera building, the golden snail on restaurant L’escargot Montorgueil and the tiny gold flecks on macarons. Paris and I met for the first time in 2010 and it was then that I realised I was walking the streets of what is possibly the most beautiful city in the world. So being re-acquainted in 2013 was pretty special as this time it was all about being in the most beautiful city with the most beautiful friend. And with that comes endless moments of giggles, chats and girly moments. What more can one ask for? See
Sparkles of Moulin Rouge costumes :: Blue skies, carousels and the worlds most iconic structure :: Dogs traveling the metro in handbags :: The glamour and grace of 50 of the worlds most beautiful black dresses at the American Centre for Art and Culture :: Pops of flowering colour, sculptures, a palace and relaxed Parisian life within the perfectly manicured Luxembourg Gardens :: Sneak peaks through the Louve’s glass pyramid :: The pink and green exterior of La Maison Rose :: The comedic moves of mime artists :: The interior of Palais de Tokyo the largest contemporary gallery in Europe :: Design retrospectives at the Les Arts Decoratifs
Hear Saxophone tunes on the metro :: Girly chitter chatter :: The familiarity of Kimbra’s Album :: Champagne corks popping at the Moulin Rouge (Is there any better sound than the sound of celebration? I think not!) :: Lorna Simpsons video installations :: Children’s surprise as they push handmade boats into the lake :: Our giggles as we played amongst the black and white pillars of Palais Royal :: The music to the movement of painted horses going up and down on carousels Touch 1930’s silk dresses at Chez Chiffons :: The streets where Amelie walked :: Lioness doorknobs :: Locks with messages of love over the Pont Des Arts bridge :: Oversized bright blue doors :: Wicker chairs designed for specifically for people watching
Smell Pots of lavender :: Wafts of Chanel perfume in the glass dome of department store Galeries La’fayette :: Vanilla bean paste added to crepes :: Freshly cut roses :: Vintage books Taste Salted Caramel macaroons :: Walnut bread :: Glasses of rosé :: Layers of Mille feuille :: Steak and frittes :: Cups of Earl Grey :: Camembert wheels :: White Asparagus :: Peaches with butterfly stickers :: Punnets of raspberries :: Mascarpone mousse
Invader is the pseudonym of a French urban artist who pastes up mosaics inspired by the Space Invader video game from the 1980’s. In Paris his work creates an juxtaposition of old and retro as the pixel looking invaders adorn Paris’s historic buildings. For us spotting the invaders becomes a game as there are over 1000 to find and even though we spotted nowhere near the the 1000, I have a little mini selection to share.
The uncompromising picture of Tuscany that exists in all of our minds – rolling hills, stone villas, cypress trees, olive groves and sunflower fields :: Medieval splendor in the laneways which now form a UNESCO World Heritage site :: Preparations for Il Palio the annual chaotic bareback horse race that’s run crazily through Piazza Il Campo :: Intricate chalk drawings taking over footpaths :: Steve McCurry portraits representing diversity in the most beautiful of ways, hanging alongside archaeological ruins :: The Duomo’s facade graced in white, green and red polychrome marble with shimmering mosaics on the gables
Conversations centered around vacations, it’s August the month that the whole of Italy shuts down, so everyone was talking of holiday locations! :: Children bouncing as they play hide and seek in narrow laneways :: MM’s take on the the story behind the symbol of the wolf feeding twins Romulus and Remus :: Tributes to Saint Celilia the patron saint of musicians :: In jokes amongst the three of us
Wood fired gorgonzola, pear and black pepper pizza :: Samples of panoforte – a flat, hard cake with candied fruits and nuts (Yum!)
Spit roasted porchetta :: Horse hair (It’s not always the lovely things I notice you know) :: Oil paint waiting to be applied to canvas
Elaborate doors and door handles :: Differing shapes and designs of tethering rings used to tie up horses :: Handmade, marbled paper :: Silk banners displayed for Il Palio ::
Viareggio seemed as Italian as Italian towns can be. The greater the glitz, the greater the tan, the whiter the swimwear the more Viareggio you are. It’s as if the 1970’s have called and asked this Tuscan seaside town to remain just as it was and this is why we we loved it. This time warp allowed our days to be spent doing little more than lazing by the pool, eating seafood for lunch & dinner and gelati in between and dodging bikini clad Italians on low rider bicycles with floral baskets. As the sun goes down it seems that the entire female population gets out the highest heels and sparkly tops and struts along the Belle Epoque promenade. As the sun rises it seems the whole male population join in a contest of who can wear the smallest bathers or budgie smugglers as Australians refer to them and cringe.
Viareggio comes alive in mid- August for ferragosto (summer holiday time) and this celebration the sees most of Italy shut down for summer bar beach and lakeside holiday towns. The Italian Riveria turns on the charm with the Viareggio street party of all street parties. Everyone is dressed up and ready to dance including a clown that become my twin for a night. There is no need for me to talk about hangovers the next day!