Save the date: If you prefer to purchase in person, I’ll be signing books, selling prints from my shop along with other holiday treats at the Vente de Noël / Christmas Sale at the storied artist studios, Usine Chapal in Montreuil. Over 20+ artists will be selling their creations, too.
The April showers turned into May showers. Come on June! Kick out the precipitation and bring in the picnics! But enough about the weather already.
I just committed the terrible sin of running errands in my nightdress. A real Franco no-no. In a culture which firmly separates the public from the private, flip-flops, pajama pants, and convenience clothes are only found behind locked doors. Needless to say, I did dress up my nightgown with a French touch, one of my husband’s v-neck sweaters. I’d like the think it was California casual with Midwestern roots. Anyway, the moment I left my flat (with all my Crocs and Snuggies padlocked behind me), I felt the first ray of premature summer sun hit my ankles. And so it begins…
So what do you see when you’ve seen it all? My parents just packed up and set off. But we spent the past week together not seeing the sites. But like any great capital city, there are plenty of new things to discover in Paris that have not yet been immortalized on postcards.
1.) Daniel Buren’s Monumenta 2012. What better way to wrap up a visit than with VIP passes to a vernissage at one the most impressive monuments in Paris, the Grand Palais! Thanks for the passes, mon mari qui fume. Buren planted 72,000 meters of candy-colored table trees. It is as if Mary Quant was Avatar’s production designer. The plastic-topped trees link together to create an interactive forest, flirting with the reflection of daylight and the passerby. Catch it until June 21st.
2.) The Bois de Vincennes. Just east of Paris lies its largest park, complete with a proper chateau, free botanical gardens, and a forest almost three times the size of Central Park. After getting lost in the streets of Paris, why try it in the forest?
3.) Want to take a daytrip? Want to see a castle? How about the Chateau de Chantilly. Check it out here.
4.) The Marche aux Puces de Saint-Ouen, the ultimate flea market, one of my favorite ways to spend a Sunday afternoon. Take line 4 to Metro Porte de Clignancourt and walk toward the expressway to a find a tented market. Unless you need a new Bob Marley t-shirt or a cell phone cover, keep walking. I can never trace my steps because I always end up meandering through the small side streets of packed antique malls. There’s a bit of everything, from museum pieces, to postcard vendors, to button booths. My favorite little haberdashery is Daniel et Lili, tucked away at stand 128 at the Marche Dauphine. With an immense stock of carefully organized vintage brooches, antique postcards, and bargain bins of original odds and ends, it is the perfect place to find an oddball souvenir or two. Or stumble upon a little bit of music and catch a bite to eat at La Chope des Puces, Paris’ premier Django Reinhart bar. LIve music plays in front of the house, and the restaurant in the back beckons the jazz age.
Artichoke season is upon us. I can’t help but pick them up these beauties from the farmer’s market. Partially because they still remain a mystery to me. What’s one to do with that exoskeleton of tough scales? I know, I’ll watercolor it!
I must admit, I am still mastering the art of artichoke carving and preparation. But they will get my asparagus treatment, splitting them in half and baking them with a welcome smattering of garlic, lemon zest, parmesan and breadcrumbs. I need your help, dear readers. Please send me your favorite artichoke recipes!
I am a real foodie now! I’ve started buying locally and seasonally. Farewell, sweet bananas and pineapples from faraway. See you sporadically! However, I made a recent discovery. Over Christmas vacation, we spent a few days at a friend’s cottage in the mountains near La Cévennes. The only fruit in the house were tiny kiwis no bigger than my thumb. And they were local, harvested just nearby. I always assumed that kiwi’s acidity and zippy vitamin C meant their origins were more tropical than domestic. But as winter fruit, they add a bit more variety to the apples, clementines, and grapefruits that fill the colder months. But since Spring has sprung, I should scrap this watercolor. It’s completely out of season!
Does this discovery come as a surprise to you, too?