It’s that Paris time of year. It’s always a little crazy, just when you’ve got home from your holidays, to find yourself jumping on a train again, and this year more than most, I would have been so ready to stay in England and do nothing at all.
It would be equally true to say that most of all Bridie and I love working with the small, hidden makers, the ones that the big retailers are too big to either find or to work with. But while all of this is true, I have to admit that in our world, you can’t quite avoid the big trade shows. Or at least if you do… you are left with a nagging feeling that you’re going to be missing a trick here or there.
A couple of years ago I blogged about the delights (or not, depending on your point of view) of ‘Maison & Objet’, the giant twice-yearly trade show in Paris to which the entire retail world of Europe flocks. It can be absolutely grim. I really am not sure I’d recommend it. This year was no different. The aisles of fake Christmas Trees, the dancing life-size Polar bears, or the many “I’M ABOUT TO DECORATE A SUPERYACHT FOR RUSSIANS” aisles… One day, I’ll take photos of all this. It is a spectacle.
But in amongst it, old friends and new discoveries. We placed our orders for kelim furniture and found beautiful new embroidered cushions. We saw some of our suppliers of mercury glass and decorative china. And we found some beautiful new traditional danish cane furniture that will be in store soon. We touched base with our friends John Derian and Astier de Villatte, at their brilliant pop up shop on Rue de Richelieu. A good show.
On Sunday morning, Bridie and I both woke up early having not slept very well. Was our delicious, but, how can I say, heavy? dinner the evening before, with Maggie, at Le Cinq Mars, responsible? Possibly. We are all on a diet of cucumber, lettuce leaves and mineral water for a month.
We had an early breakfast and watched the waking world go by. We debated returning to the Parc des Expositions. But while we were having a lovely walk in the Luxembourg gardens the sun broke through the morning haze. Maison could wait another year. A morning doing nothing in Paris won.
I had just been taking a photo of this beautiful house when from the ground floor shuttered window, a window was opened and the sound of perfect 80s disco music (complete with clapping) came blaring out. Nice party going. 8.45am on Sunday morning.
(The things photographs can’t tell you).
Regular readers will know that I am obsessed with the Didot foundry sign on Rue Jacob (or is it Rue de l’Université?):
Who wouldn’t want to be this little girl:
Or frankly, this happy pavement washing team?:
Dear Zoe if the shops had been open this would have been your present from Paris:
It’s a while since I’ve crossed the Pont des Arts. Bridie and I were fascinated and repulsed by the millions of padlocks that have been attached to the railings (which are now in danger of collapse, as you can read here):
We wondered what love tryst decided it would be best symbolised by being padlocked to the bin frame?
We were reminded of the 1000s of bunches of rotting flowers in cellophane bags outside Kensington Palace in 1997.
It was a relief to cross in to the courtyard of the Louvre.
We love people propping up the pyramid.
At 10am the crowds were insane. I think they should have a queue for the Mona Lisa viewers and another for the rest of us.
For a second I missed the garden in Dorset… dahlia time:
We called in to the Orangerie, one of my favourite galleries in Paris (and as it turns out, free on the first Sunday of the month):
Where we loved this André Derain Harlequin. I feel a Harlequin moment coming on at Pentreath & Hall. (Luke, get ready for a Harlequin suit?).
Looking at the paintings of the post impressionists, I’m fascinated that however revolutionary the image – they loved an old gold frame.
Crossing into the Place de la Concorde we were fascinated by the diagrams on the base of the great Egyptian obelisk showing how it had been raised in 1832.
We loved the boxing class:
And we obsessed about this shop sign for a bookbinder:
Our favourite shop front in the whole of Paris:
behind which is this dream interior:
Rounding a corner we found the beautiful Café la Palette. We stopped for a coffee. And ended up staying for a long lazy lunch.
We made friends with the youngest waiter:
Meanwhile there was quite a nice line in yellow trousers and green sneakers going on.
And meanwhile, the perfect Parisian interior.
And suddenly it was time to leave and rush away. I won’t go into details but we had a bit of a train crisis. That’s what happens when you linger too long. But It’s Monday morning. A beautiful autumn sun is rising over Queen Square. Paris seems another world away. And it’s great to be home.