Sunday, 30 May 2010

A morning walk through St Germain - Paris Part 2

My last morning in Paris took me across the Seine to the Left Bank and the St Germain area.  I found it to be quite an "upmarket" and residential area and lovely to walk along in the warm sunshine.  Naturally I went the wrong way when I came out of the Metro, but hey that is part of the fun of finding your way around a new place ;-) and it lead me to find things I may not otherwise have this walk is food orientated so it may be best to read this after you have eaten.

Boulevard Raspail - the central reservation of the road had these lovely wrought iron circles at intervals with flowers which I though were rather pretty.

A close up of one of the beautiful pink standard roses.

On my erroneous route I came upon a small fresh food market - it was just in the middle of the road on the central reservation!  I love these markets as you know and for me it was a first to find a proper one in Paris - after all these years they DO exist!!

Every meat/sausage under the sun...
Lots of cheese...
The lovely artisan breads....
Asparagus Season in full swing - look at the tiny ones at the front!!

Lovely colourful fresh vegetables
Leaving the market I carried on my walk and found a couple of specialist shops...firstly Barthelemy is a specialist goats cheese shop... 
...but I really wanted to buy the little goats in the window..but they are not for sale!
There was a beautiful cake shop - Dalloyau - if I ever I lose my job I think I'd like to learn the art of the patissiere in France! 
How is this for a macaroon!
And finally the pasta maker...
I hope you had a nice gourmet walk through St Germain with me!

Sunday, 23 May 2010

A Spring Trip to Paris - Part 1

I went to Paris this week for a quick trip to see the ballet La Bayadere at the Opera Garnier - more of that later. Paris was bathed in lovely sunshine so it was very nice to wander around. My first stop was Hermes FSH followed by a taxi ride to George V, then I walked back to my hotel along the Seine and across the Place de La Concorde.

The Eiffel Tower from the Right Bank somewhat in silhouette as the sun was behind it!

The beautiful Pont Alexandre III

The Place de La Concorde

Looking up the Champs Elysees towards the Arc de Triomphe.
On my walk back from Avenue George V, I walked along the avenue parallel to the Champs Elysees to avoid the crowds - I happened upon a rather lovely square - François 1er which had some beautiful buildings.

In the evening, I went to the Opera Garnier theatre to see Nureyev's La Bayadere ballet. My seat was not the best in the house as the tickets were like hen's teeth so I was very lucky to get just 1!! It was a very lovely production with the most beautiful costumes, but of course La Bayadere is most famous for it's stunning Kingdom of The Shades/Les Ombres scene. The ballerinas pulled it off perfectly and to very well deserved applause.
Here at the curtain call are the 3 Étoiles who danced for me(!) left to right - Dorothée Gilbert (Gamzatti), Aurélie Dupont (Nikiya) and Nicolas Le Riche (Solor) (he could jump really high!) - I was lucky to meet all of them after the show at the stage door and they kindly autographed my programme for me so I have a lovely souvenir!

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Big Bird - Not Quite Hermès!

I like aeroplanes and my biggest regret in life is never having flown Concorde :-( Concorde was such a beautiful aeroplane and nothing else quite has that cachet.

A BA Concorde on her final flight with the amazing Red Arrows Team
 - photo from Solar Navigator

However, a few years ago along came the new Airbus A380.  I was not sure I would like to fly on such a big plane, but now that I have seen a few at airports they are not so intimidating anymore!  I thought I would have to go somewhere exotic like Singapore to be able to fly on an A380 but no!!  Air France have launched

Air France A380 - photo from Air France (UK site)
a special offer to celebrate the arrival of their new A380 and they are offering an amazing price on summer weekend flights between Paris CDG and London Heathrow - the price is unbelievable.  How could I resist?  I managed to book a flight London to Paris and back both on an A380, so I can fulfill this ambition, but not only that I get to go to Paris and "you know where" as well - I think I just died and went to heaven!

Bon voyage!!

Monday, 17 May 2010

Ducklings to Ducks

Well I was amazed this weekend to see the ducklings - they are nearly fully grown - that was SO fast!

Here they are toddling up the lawn to be fed watched over by their mother and father (well we think he is!) - compared to the adults they are nearly full size now.

Mum and Dad at the back.

Saturday, 15 May 2010

Caring for your Plissé Scarves

I have watched the SAs in Hermès fold plissé scarves into their little round boxes several times and I think I have the "knack" now!  A few people have asked me what to do when the pleats come apart a little - my suggestion is to wrap the scarves carefully like the Hermès SAs and pack them in their boxes the right way round so as to ensure the pleats are "compressed" into shape.  For my plissé that came from an Ebay sale with no box I found that it was a tiny bit out of shape so I wrapped it around a water spray canister that was the right size and patted the scarf down as far as it would go, compressing the pleats, and this seems to have helped ease the pleats back. 
If you have a box then here is my video "how to" of putting the scarf back in its box correctly. Start by taking the end of the scarf in your hand, held in place by your thumb. Then start to wind it around, carefully coaxing the pleats together whilst also trying to keep them flat. It looks a bit wide at the start of the video, but as the scarf is wound up and popped in the box, the pleats settle down into place. Hope this helps!

Monday, 10 May 2010

Bringing Home the Goodies!! London Part 3/3

Over on tpf we have a new thread called the Ode to La Femme aux Semmelles de Vent where all varieties of this design are being celebrated!  I decided to add to my collection when I saw this baby pink colourway in Harrods!!

This was a lucky find as the design is more or less sold out everywhere.

Here worn simply with a scarf ring.
And here wearing by-pass style with the scarf ring again.
I managed to fold the scarf carefully so as to maximise on the gorgeous spring colours.

I also brought home some delicious praline macaroons from Laduree - I fell in love with their Lily of the Valley box!

After a long, but fruitful, day in London I was glad to come home for a rest before returning to work this week!!

Sunday, 9 May 2010

Anyone for Lunch? London Trip Part 2/3

One of my favourite restaurants for a very special treat is Marcus Wareing at The Berkeley in London(Marcus Wareing at The Berkeley).  The food is so delicious and so beautifully presented I just had to blog it!!

I started with an apperitif of Louis Roederer NV Champagne, then the food came!!

Nibbles: A confit of foie gras with feuilletine and orange marmalade topping and a taramasolata and avocado dip with croutons.

Amuse bouche: Mushroom velouté with truffle creme and ultra thin bread sticks.

Starter: Great Grant Farm Suckling pig with devilled whitebait and picallili.

Main: Sea bass with squid, squid ink, garlic cream on a nettle salsa.

Pre-dessert: Shot glass of white rum pannacotta, cucumber and lime granité.

Dessert: Meringues with praline and milk sorbets on smoked caramel and nuts.

Then a complete surprise the Maître d' had arranged for a mini slice of the chef's famous egg custard tart, which I love!  Marcus Wareing made this tart for HM Queen Elizabeth II at a special banquet 2 years ago and for which there was a TV competition to determine the menu.  It just melts in your mouth!


Then it was hand made truffles and tea to finish.
I have to say I love this restaurant and can highly recommend it.  The service is tip top and the food is divine, so if you need a treat, and you are in London, this is THE place to come!!

Saturday, 8 May 2010

Dresses for Princesses - Trip to London Part 1/3

I was up in London the other day as I went to see the Grace Kelly Exhibition at the V&A Museum.  The show was quite small compared to the original "The Grace Kelly Years" which I saw in Monaco in 2007, naturally logistics prevented all the exhibits being sent to the UK.  Nonetheless I was able to take a picture of one dress at the exhibition entrance:-

Also on display at the V&A is one of Princess Diana's dresses - this is the "Elvis" dress made by Catherine Walker and worn by Diana several times, including a trip Hong Kong in 1989. 

Diana sitting for a formal portrait in 1990 by photographer, the late Terence Donovan.

The donors of the dress were The Franklin Mint who bought the dress in Diana's famous 1997 auction at Christies in New York.