Monday, January 16, 2012

Pour (For) Heather

I have a lovely friend named Heather who I usually see at our gym. She told me it was quite a letdown to see pictures of New York City's Lower East Side when we could be looking at Paris, France!

So voilà, Heather! Here's a little more Paris before we return to the south of France.
 These photos of Paris are by Dianna Cramer.

More jardin.

Me in the Jardin du Luxembourg wearing a Coton Doux scarf and my new Longchamp bag from Le Bon Marché. The bag is perfect for travel. Chic, lightweight and secure from picky fingers.

More mode.

More patisserie.

On to the south of France. First stop, Avignon and un chapelier
 (hat maker) called Le Mouret.

Photo by Dianna Cramer
Aren't these hat symbols wonderful?

Le Mouret, 20 rue des Marchandes, Avignon. Le Mouret is classified as a "Monument Historique de France." Founded in 1860, the facade and shop interior have not been changed since that time.

This dapper dandy has a decidedly 20's vibe.

A dapper fellow kind of like my father, Sam, shown here with his beloved Excalibur.

Le Mouret claims to have "les plus beaux chapeaux du monde pour dames comme pour hommes."
(The most beautiful hats in the world for both women and men.)

Dianna purchased this lovely sun hat. The shop's interior is in the style of Louis XVI. Did somebody say Louis XVI? Reminds me of Marie Antoinette, le chat.

This is La Vendeuse (the sales lady). I love her necklace.
 It's vintage and she got in at a flea market for 10 francs.

Now let's go to Le Luberon and les plus beaux villages de France.

Using Avignon as our home base while in the south of France, we travelled out each day, in our rented Renault, to the region of Provence called Le Luberon, home of the most beautiful villages of France. The Lonely Planet guide describes it as an area of "rugged beauty, relentless hills and cliffs, riots of purple, ochre, red and green and inhospitable forests." It is all that, but the magic and mystery for me is in the little villages perched on hills. I grew up in Sea Cliff, New York, a tiny village perched on hills, so I have a special love for these places.

Carol Markel in her "Storm" coat and red beret in Sea Cliff, New York.

Our first stop in Le Luberon was Roussillon.
This artistic wall is in a parking lot. It looks like a Mark Rothko painting.

No. 13 White, Red on Yellow by Mark Rothko, 1958.
Courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Roussillon is the site of an old ochre quarry. Ochre is an earth color, or a natural pigment, used in painting. Roussillon's quarry was one of the most significant ochre deposits in the world.

In fact, it is in Roussillon that you will find La Dame de Roussillon.
I did this portrait of her holding my tube of Linel Ochre Rouge gouache.

Photo by Dianna Cramer

The colors of Provence ... in Roussillon, warm reds, yellows and oranges.

À New York, nous avons Les Toiles du Soleil
(the fabrics of the sun)

These beautiful cotton fabrics are from Les Toiles du Soleil, a store in the Chelsea section of New York City. The original company in located in the south of France. Even in deepest winter, you may enjoy the colors of Provence.

Do these drawers remind you of a parking lot in Roussillon?

Our new sofa from Design Within Reach with Les Toiles du Soleil pillows.

À Bientôt. 
More beautiful villages of the south of France next time.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

New York Saturday Morning

It's so warm today, you would swear it was spring. We decided to walk to Whole Foods for some shopping. We crossed Houston Street and walked down 1st Street, an eccentric byway that runs on a diagonal from lst Avenue to 2nd Avenue. It felt like I had entered a secret world with the sun on my back on a January day.

Have you read Blood, Bones and Butter by Gabrielle Hamilton? This is her restaurant, Prune. Her book is a good read, especially when she writes about her magical childhood in New Jersey. Her father did huge set designs and her mother was French. Every spring they threw a huge party and roasted lambs. When she describes her job of putting the Coca Cola bottles in an icy stream for the party, you can just taste the sweet drink. According to her book, when her parents divorced, she was virtually abandoned and had to make her own way in the world at a young age. She's a tough cookie.

Update: My sister, Jeanne, has sent me a photo of Prune's private dining room, under the stairs and with a view of the toilet. She has a lot of pull with Gabrielle, or maybe I should say "push" -- rhymes with tush.

The private table next to the privy at Prune.

 I'm talkin' to you, reader.

 Has Amélie been here?

Right on, sister.

Maybe Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan lives here?

At John Derian's shop, clever dishes with letters of the alphabet. This is where you can buy the beautiful glass paperweights that everyone covets (and copies).

We stopped for a bit of breakfast at Peel's on the Bowery and 2nd Street. The same restauranteurs own Freeman's on Freeman's Alley off Rivington.

 Richard made this fellow laugh when he said, "You broke the camera!"

The former home of the Amato Opera. Anthony Amato, the founder of the opera, died last month at age 91.
"Anthony Amato, the founder and artistic director of the Amato Opera Theater, the scrappy, often threadbare and very rarely dull chamber opera company on the Lower East Side of Manhattan that was a mainstay of New York’s cultural life for 61 years, died on Tuesday at his home on City Island, in the Bronx. Mr. Amato, who was also the company’s stage director, music director, prompter, vocal coach, diction coach, caterer, broom pusher and emergency tenor, among other things, was 91." The New York Times, December 11, 2011.

We arrive at our destination.

Have a great Saturday!

À bientôt!