Paula & Taras Danyluk - 04 / Aug / 2021

    Paris Market Travels: Paris Day 5

    Paris Market Travels: Paris Day 5
    PARIS MARKET TRAVELS

    All Good Things Must Come To An End

    The only real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.
    -Marcel Proust

    Cafés and conversations, architecture and attitude, shopping and schlepping, ahh our trip has come to an end. In a deliberate, concerted effort to have a real relaxing vacation instead of our usual wondrous but harried and overly exhausting adventure travels, we have succeeded in finding a new Paris; the serene, non-touristed Paris. Late morning wake ups (no alarm clocks allowed), afternoon catnaps (just a couple of hours, but who’s counting), late night out-on-the-town prowling (shall I have another glass?) and not one visit to a typical Paris landmark besides our incredible dinner at Jules Verne. Enlightened, invigorated, refreshed and rejuvenated, we return. Our minds full of new ideas, the next direction clear… watch out, The Paris Market and Brocante is about to blow your mind!

    France Revisited

    Searching for best remedy to stave off the summer doldrums of Savannah?  How about summer in Paris?  That’s right, while the Parisians are trading city for sea, this Savannahian is trading sea for the city.  

    After the past few months of back-office backlog, animated accounting, and POS BS, I’m more than ready for a healthy dose of my muse.  Eschewing my penchant for the Grande hotel, I’ve instead settled on an apartment in the 6th arrondissement.  My husband is worried that this is my attempt to slowly transition to full-time Paris living, but I know he secretly harbors the same dream. 

    Up at the crack of noon (okay, so I’m not so good with jetlag), croissant from Polâine in hand (how can butter and flour combine so impossibly), strolling through the plane tree filtered sun of the Luxembourg gardens – ahhh, this is going to be the best summer ever! 

    Daydreaming At Deyrolle

    There are few places in Paris better to enjoy a jet-lagged neural enhancement than Deyrolle.  Somewhat politically incorrect, but entirely mesmerizing and enchanting, this treasure trove of taxidermy is, without doubt, one of my favorite stores - anywhere.  Heart-wrenchingly beautiful fauna from around the globe populates this emporium appearing magically transported from its natural environs and frozen in time.  

    Fancy a baby elephant, perhaps a zebra or a gazelle – better grab an extra-large childbasket beside the till.  Special order a giraffe or polar bear, how about a darling baby ocelot or penguin or one of hundreds of a kaleidoscope of songbirds?  Don’t fret, young American, you can’t bring any of these back stateside without risking a full body cavity search at US customs (honest officer, I don’t have any ostrich eggs, would you please stop looking).

    I think I may have already ruined my child, as she spent about an hour enthralled in the second floor back room.  Here, hundreds of specimen cases, display thousands upon thousands of insects with inexplicable precision.  From butterflies and spiders as large as your hand, to centipedes and beetles you could collar and take for a walk, the intricacies of these arthropoda amaze while also giving me the heebie-jeebies.

    There are a few other taxidermy specialty stores in Paris including Galerie Chardon, Design et Nature and Claude Nature, but Deyrolle is tops.

    A Fascination in Furstenburg

    If you happen to be in Paris in spring, don’t miss the four extravagantly blooming Paulownias in the charmingly picturesque Place de Furstenberg.  If you are there any other time, don’t skip a visit to the equally charming Yveline.  With a keen curated vision, objets d’art fill the three rooms drawing one to the usual pièce de résistance in the back.  I, as usual, want everything.

    Swimming In A Pool Of Fashion

    If you are not six feet tall, don’t have to eat cheeseburgers and French fries for a week just to become a size zero again, or don’t feel comfortable walking around in four-inch Jimmy’s all day, better skip the real life catwalk of Avenue Montaigne in the 8th.  The 6th is your style nirvana.  Sure, you may get a little extra attention exiting your exotic, dripping with accessories, and escorted by a security detail.  I, however, exiting my Vélib’, dripping with sweat, escorted by my shorts wearing husband and sorbet-stained child, still received plenty of largess.

    Sonya, Louis, Hermy – all my friends are here.  The end of June also marks the start of the six-week summer sale season.  Oh falling Euro rejoice!  Don’t forget to visit the Hermès boutique (built in an art deco swimming pool) or Bon Marché, Gustave Eiffel’s tower of shopping.  Have your husband (or lover) get a cut and shave downstairs, while you frequent the nail bar on the first floor in preparation for visiting the shoe department under the magnificent dome upstairs.  Need some energy – grab an espresso and pastry at Rose bakery. 

    After a daylong shopping frenzy, sit with the other tourists (Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Gainsbourg, and most of the locals have long departed) at Brasserie Lipp, Les Deux Magots, or Café de Flore, order a café crème and contemplate your credit card bill while watching the world go by.  Or, if you were really successful and are maybe a little homesick, don your new duds, snag a table at Ralph’s and order a Ralph’s burger.

    L’Oiseau Blanc  

    In 1927 a French biplane disappeared in the Atlantic while making a transatlantic flight from Paris to New York.  In 2015, an American girl disappeared for a few days while attempting a summer-long apartment stay in Paris.

    Alright, I admit I have a thing for new hotels – plus, it was a surprise, plus, it was my birthday, and a milestone at that.  The meticulous restoration of this Haussmanian classic; soft tones accented with high-gloss, chic, simple, elegant was utterly sumptuous. 

    The service, impeccable; the staff, so accommodating, it makes you blush; the room, control everything from your über-comfy bed.  Special word about the bathroom, a marvel of marble, a swoon-worthy bathtub, and ooh, I’m going to miss you all-inclusive Toto.  You know you are in a great hotel, when even your child wants to repeatedly go to the bathroom.

    Watching the sunset over the rooftops while finishing our dessert in the conservatory of a restaurant, the Eiffel tower twinkling to life like a fantasy – heaven!

    A Marvelous Day In The Marais

    This morning for breakfast, instead of the ubiquitous and undeniably faultless croissant, we opted for a selection of King Leopold’s favorites - waffles from Meert.  No Waffle-house here – these are a refined bunch with flavors like praline with puffed rice, pistachio and morello cherry, blackcurrant and violet, and raspberry with Séchouan pepper.  

    After the obligatory visit to Merci (is it just me, or has it kind of lost its cache), we headed down the street to the three story BonTon to do more Solde damage.  Skip the lower Marais (now too bland and blasé) and wander the upper’s crooked streets and marvel the swamp to swank transformation.  Do check out Place des Voges – my preferred address after I hit the loto.

    Canicule

    The hot period between July and early September; a scorching heat wave that lasts for at least three consecutive days, with no relief from intense temperatures at night.

    One of the worst things about renting an apartment in Paris can be the lack of air conditioning for those “dog days” – the best part, just must stay in the hotel for a few more days.   It’s been crazy hot the past week, so we have retreated to our 16th haven (heaven, whatever) and haven’t even been leaving to cruise the city until late afternoon.  

    This does highlight a tourist insider bonus – there are practically no lines at any attractions this time of day.  Hidden inside these solid stone edifices are cool sanctuaries of even cooler works.  Sure, there is the Louvre and the Musée d’Orsay, the Pompidou, Rodin and Picasso Museums, but my absolute favorites lie in the Jardin des Plantes.  The Museums of Natural History, especially the Grande Galerie de L’Évolution and the Galleries D’Anatomie Comparée et de Paléontologie.  For something a little off the grid, my husband recommends the Musée des Art et Métiers, or way off the grid, his favorite Musée Dupuytren, hidden inside the School of Medicine.

    Marché Madness

    The last two weekends have been spent frolicking with Paul Bert, Biron, Dauphine, Jules Valès and the rest of the gang down the Rue des Rossiers.  Cabinets for my curiosities – check; curiosities for my cabinets – check; bric a brac and brocante – check; that once in a lifetime find – check, check, check!

    Wow, I don’t know if it is the economy,  the Euro’s recent and precipitous demise, or just luck of the draw – we happened on some killer finds.   As usual, my favorite Marche aux Puces de Vanves, yielded the best results.  “Bonjour monsieur, combien pour tout?  Vraiment?  Oh oui, je vais prendre tout!”

    Stay tuned fellow Francophiles, our treasures are coming home.

    A Train, A Boat, A Plane, A Camel, And Frank’s Masterpiece 

    The Fondation Louis Vuitton in the Jardin D’Acclimatation makes for a seemingly odd juxtaposition.  Like everything else in France, even the amusement parks have an air of elegance.  This retro-chic attraction amid the wonderful Bois de Boulogne is, without a doubt, my child’s favorite part of our stay.  Fresh churro coated in sugar and dipped in nutella in hand, she excitedly darted from ride to ride, played games long since retired at any other stateside parks, rode everything from a lazy river boat to a camel, finally collapsing in the grass to watch a play called (I kid you not) Circus Vegetables.

    Don’t get me wrong, this can be a day trip enjoyed by all ages.  Instead of the typical fair food, you can opt for a lunch at the Terrace or one of the Angelina café branches or grab an incredible snack, treat or just a luscious ristretto lungo at one of the too-cute food trucks.

    Exhausted from all the child’s play?  Too bad, Gehry’s architectural gem, the Fondation Louis Vuitton should not be missed.  Marvel at the house of LVMH, and cap off your day with dinner at Le Frank.

    The Anti-Museum

    Rebellious and uncompromising, the Palais de Tokyo is the one of the best venues in world to experience art with all your senses.  Play gondolier, disappearing through the flooded Acquaalta (Céleste Boursier-Mougenot); marvel the butterfly wings, shed snakeskin, eggshells and painting on ashes (Patrick Neu); and freak out your child with the grotesque but kitschy imagery of Tianzhou Chen. 

    My favorites, definitely Baitogogo (Henrique Oliveira), a spectacular Gordian knot that organically emerges as if from the womb of the building; and Le Païpe, a series of geometric abstractions and monochrome landscapes (Isabelle Cornaro).  Grab a snack at Tokyo Eat, or be seen on the Terrace and just exude intellectual cool at Monsieur Bleu.

    Avenue Montaigne

    Just steps from the hotel, tucked between Avenue George V and Avenue Des Champs Elysées, sits the street of fashion dreams. Valentino, Vuitton, Prada, Chanel, Dior, Gucci and more - you name it, it’s here. Like a stroll through Paris Fashion week, windows mirrored in the latest fashion magazine, holy-Euro, I’m in heaven. Uber-cool statuesque brunettes line the seats of the Hotel Plaza Athenée, was that Giselle Bundchen at L’Avenue? High society, higher heels than you’ve ever mustered, and yet even higher prices to top it all off.

    So after dragging my poor husband around for four hours trying to find the perfect dress (I did, but the 6995 Euro price was a bit much – almost peed my pants) for the gala party tonight (more on that tomorrow), I ended up splurging on a to-die for pair of Valentino shoes. Ah, pure delight!

    Marché Aux Puce

    Sorry for the short absence. Shopping-a-rama! After a one-year hiatus from the markets of Paris, I have had to achieve some major catch up. The stalls are packed in anticipation of the fall/winter shopping season. Buyers from around the world can be heard haggling in broken French, calculators at the ready, hoping to score a bargain (yeah, right) on the latest must have antiques. My credit card is cracked, my wallet's bare, and my poor husband's back worn from wear and tear (hey, I should be a poet!). Our familiar vendors are somewhat spooked about all the "Demolition Hardware" knockoffs (photos interdit), but nothing like a hunt for the next big thing to get the blood pumping. I think we are on to something, next weekend we will try to firm things up in Isle Sure La Sorge; but you have to wait until Christmas for us to spring it on you.

    King George

    Of all the hotels in the world, and I do love hotels, the George V Paris has always been my favorite.  Ah, if only so rich to call this place home each time I visit this great city.  Opulent yet understated, luxurious yet not flamboyant, this bastion of style and refinement is a haven for the who's who of the who's who.  Discretion is paramount, privacy has primacy.

    "Good morning, Mrs. Danyluk, shall I call you a car?  Good afternoon Mrs. Danyluk, how was your shopping excursion?  Good evening Mrs. Danyluk, your dinner reservations are confirmed."  The counter behind the concierge overflows with the ribbon bedecked boxes of every major luxury design house from Avenue Montaigne to Rue St. Honoré.  The spa - heaven, equipped with a pre-treatment relaxation room overlooking the Romanesque pool - befitting the Queen herself.  My husband came back from the gym remarking wouldn't it be nice if someone always handed him a chilled, mint-infused towel halfway through his workout.

    Provence

    Tucked between the limestone cliffs of the Luberon Valley, this land of lavender, olives and honey soothes the soul and restores the spirit.  The frenetic pace of Paris is left far (and fast – the TGV moves like the wind) behind.  Unbelievably quaint and picturesque hilltop towns and walled cities replace the monolithic architecture of the city.  Don’t get me wrong, if you want grandiose architecturally stunning sites; just visit the home of one half of the dueling popes in Avignon.  I, however, prefer the solitude, solace, and charm of the smaller towns.  There are actually six départements of Provence, ranging from the mountains to the sea.  The last time we were here we spent most of the time in the Var and Alpes-Maritimes (read: summer sitting beachside in St. Tropez, Cannes and Nice).  

    Come October, however, the tourists are gone, the locals back at work, children back in school, and highways and byways empty of traffic.  This is the ideal time to visit the Vaucluse.  All the wonderful names reside here:  Avignon, St. Remy, Aix, Bonnieux, Arles and more.  Our home for the next several days will be Lacoste.  Perched precariously on a hilltop with stunning views of the surrounding valley, this will serve as our base of exploration.  I will share more in the next few days.

    LaCoste 

    If Walt Disney were attempting to create the superlative French village, he could not have matched the unparalleled beauty of this hilltop village.  Authentic beyond compare, this is the consummate example of Provençal beauty.  The restored castle ruins of the notorious Marquis de Sade, now home to Pierre Cardin, preside over the narrow cobblestoned streets, which cascade down the hillside.  The vista in every direction is breathtaking; as far a one can see, fields of cherry and olive, and perfect rows of grape laden vines, with distant hilltop towns dotting the horizon.  Too picture perfect, in fact, so much that one feels the need to reach out and try to touch the supposed false painted background.  L’école SCAD is in session, so during the day the streets are filled with students – l’artiste est en residence.  At night the sun sets over the valley only to rise again revealing a mist-covered wonderland.  An artist’s dream world, a tourist’s nirvana.

    Excursions

    There are too many sights in Provence, even just in Vaucluse, to try to see and do everything.  No mad dash to and fro.  The best way to experience the true nature of this region is to take your time and relax.  With our shopping and business out of the way, the majority of the rest of the week is a combination of napping, eating, and short sightseeing excursions (to be honest, personally this means more gluttony and sloth than actual tourism). 

    This area is, however, rife with the picture perfect; splendor is ubiquitous.  One probably should visit Aix-en-Provence, and Avignon for the history and architecture (although my husband just wanted to dance on the bridge in Avignon with our daughter while singing “Sür la Pont” – crazy Canadians).  Apt and Isle Sur La Sorge have the markets; Fontaine de Vaucluse has the quaintness (the “Fountain” isn’t, most of the year), and Bonnieux, Lourmarin, Ménerbes, and Lacoste for the true classic village atmosphere.  Smaller towns are asleep from about noon to three (lunchtime, so have a long leisurely feast), and dinner usually doesn’t start until after seven, so plan accordingly.  Our favorite haunts are the more subdued like L’Arome in Bonnieux.  Splendidly covered from head to toe with stone, speckled with rather mod art, this would be haute cuisine if not so laid back and comfortable.  Skip the Stark inspired hotel and

    When viewed from our balcony, the cool mornings of late have made for an enchanting vista of mist covered fields; slender steeples of the neighboring towns just peeking above the low clouds, serpentine narrow roads disappearing into the distance as though on a path to nowhere.  The gentle hills and shallow valleys are covered with almost too ripe grapes, ancient fruit trees with branches bowing from the weight of a bouquet of apples, gnarled olive trees, trimmed by generations of love, filled to capacity, slowly dropping their harvest to the earth.  The scent of burning wood and the aroma of freshly baked bread and pastries all jockeying for olfactory supremacy.  A cup of strong café in hand, this is the Provence of my inner thespian.  And in the distance… the call of a goat herder, no too harsh… a songbird? no, too shrill.  Ah, yes… it’s my toddler.  Snap back to reality, as Eminem would say.  Although exquisite, the youngster only has eyes for the yogurt (although I must say, the Yoplait in the ceramic jar is pretty damn good).

    Michelin starred restaurant – you know who you are – in favor of the cozy.  This land feels as though time has slowed and mellowed, and after a few more days, so have I. 

    Mornings In Provence  

    When viewed from our balcony, the cool mornings of late have made for an enchanting vista of mist covered fields; slender steeples of the neighboring towns just peeking above the low clouds, serpentine narrow roads disappearing into the distance as though on a path to nowhere.  The gentle hills and shallow valleys are covered with almost too ripe grapes, ancient fruit trees with branches bowing from the weight of a bouquet of apples, gnarled olive trees, trimmed by generations of love, filled to capacity, slowly dropping their harvest to the earth.  The scent of burning wood and the aroma of freshly baked bread and pastries all jockeying for olfactory supremacy.  A cup of strong café in hand, this is the Provence of my inner thespian.  And in the distance… the call of a goat herder, no too harsh… a songbird? no, too shrill.  Ah, yes… it’s my toddler.  Snap back to reality, as Eminem would say.  Although exquisite, the youngster only has eyes for the yogurt (although I must say, the Yoplait in the ceramic jar is pretty damn good).

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