Piscine Molitor: Where the bikini was born

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The Art Deco masterpiece Piscine Molitor was built in 1929 to resemble an ocean liner. Surrounding the pool were three levels of cabins with round windows resembling portholes. The indoor pool became an ice rink in the winter and the decks of the outdoor pool were lined with sand. You didn’t go there just to swim, you went to be seen.

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In 1946, the first modern bikini designed by Louis Réard was unveiled. The pool soon became a magnet for all things chic. Sunbathers would lounge among celebrities and starlets, stretched out in white deck chairs and very often topless.

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Ultimately it was referred to as “les Grands Établissements Balnéaires d’Auteuil” (the Great Seaside Establishment of Auteuil) and became the site of various sporting events. Olympian Johnny Weissmuller was one of the first lifeguards.

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By 1989, the pool was in decay and due to safety standards permanently boarded up by the city. Developers proposed to rebuild it as a hotel and parking lot. To the rescue,  a group of citizens founded the “SOS Molitor”.  They  successfully halted demolition and in 1990 the Molitor was listed in the inventory of the French Monuments Historiques program. Sadly, vandalism and poor maintenance took its toll after being protected by the government (see above).

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A new organization called Piscines Molitor was created to obtain funding for the rehabilitation of the site. In 2014, it reopened as a privately owned club adding a 124-room swanky hotel, spa and restaurant.  The clientele is still the same well-heeled crowd. A day pass will run you around $245 and annual membership fees are $4,500. For guests of the hotel, daily fees are, of course, gratuit.

Molitor, 8 Avenue de la Porte Molitor, 75016 Paris

Give a gift of Paris. . .

https://read.amazon.com/kp/card?asin=B00822LOKI&preview=inline&linkCode=kpe&ref_=cm_sw_r_kb_dp_QVDvybA2GJME5

 

Paris, the “enLITEnd” city

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It’s December and the City of Light is showing off what it is known for now that the holiday season is in full swing. Taken from the International Space Station (merci NASA), the photo above shows off the brightest boulevard, Avenue des Champs-Élysées, historical axis of the city. The Arc de Triomphe, meeting place of eleven major boulevards, appears as a star at one end. The many forested parks stand out as black polygons.

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How did it get it’s nickname? Reason number one:  “La Ville-Lumière” as it was called in the 18th century, was the birthplace of the Age of Enlightenment, famous as a center of education, philosophy and learning  throughout Europe. Reason number two: Paris was one of the first cities to start using street lights during the Great Exhibition of 1889. Having street lights meant people could now do activities after dark that they could not do before. The streets suddenly grew safer. Fast forward to 2016……the tango:

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A little advice. Sleep in so you can stay up at night, at least until midnight. A whole new sparkly city will emerge, the illuminated monuments almost toylike, cafes: full, flashing taillights wake up the boulevards, and a steady stream of tourist bateaux snake along the Seine. It’s ALIVE!

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You might find yourself falling in love again. With your partner or if going solo, with this vibrant amazing city.

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French Comfort Food Restaurants

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Simple…..delicious…..filling. Food that’s not an art project. My definition of Comfort Food. Now that winter is approaching, there’s no better treat than entering a bustling jam-packed restaurant, ravenously hungry, ready for the warmth of a good satisfying meal. A few suggestions:

L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon 

 

 
5 rue de Montalembert, 75007 Paris
Quail stuffed with foil gras…..oooh la la. Legendary.

La Petite Rose Des Sables    6 rue de Lancry
, 75010 Paris
Traditional French dishes. Try the coq au vin. Large portions.

Les Cocottes   135 rue Saint-Dominique, 75007 Paris


Try the veal.

Le Volant Basque 


 13 rue Béatrix Dussane, 75015 Paris
Try the beef bourguignon, creme brûlée.


Auberge Pyrénées Cévennes   106 rue de la Folie Méricourt
, 75011 Paris
Cassoulet — the southwest France staple. A big pot of warmth and soul.

Le Bistrot d’Henri 

   
16 rue Princesse, 75006 Paris
Good old liver and onions

Le Calife 

  3 quai Malaquais, 75006 Paris
Exceptional chicken


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Le Chemise 

   42 rue de Malte, 75011 Paris
Cozy ambiance

La Jacobine 

  
59-61 rue Saint-André des Arts, 75006 Paris
Standout homemade fois gras


L’Ebauchoir 

 
  43 rue de Citeaux, 75012 Paris
Generous prix fixe menu. Tender duck breast.

Miznon 
  
22 Rue Ecouffes, 75004 Paris

A reasonably priced pita place. Lamb kebob is  a winner.

La Coïncidence 

 
15 rue Mesnil, 75116 Paris
Beef, duck, scallops. Great service. Translated menu.

Le Potager du Père Thierry 

   
16 rue des Trois Frères, 75018 Paris
Local organic ingredients, wine. Small setting. Good creamy risotto.

Les Papilles 

 

 
30 rue Gay-Lussac, 75005 Paris
Cauliflower soup

Au Père Louis 



 
38 rue Monsieur le Prince, 75006 Paris
Escargot, cassoulet

Paris’s independent hotels with pizazz

A few good Parisian hotels to consider. We continue to get good feedback on these four.

NO WORRIES PARIS

If you’re tired of impersonal hotel chains or super deluxe swank with “over the moon” prices, look no further. Here are a few that have been renovated by architects and stylists with color, style and contemporary decor. Vitality, glamor, customer satisfaction and reasonable rates are the key elements of these properties.

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Hotel Fabric
31 rue de la Folie Mericourt, 75011    http://www.hotelfabric.com

Occupying 4 floors, the hotel boasts 33 ultra-comfortable rooms in a resolutely contemporary setting drawing decorative and ornamental inspiration from the industrial past of the Oberkampf district. The brick walls, plentiful space, unconcealed supporting structures and immense windows admit plenty of natural light. On a very quiet and quaint street with shops and restaurants very close no matter which way you turn. Honor system happy hour.  Starts at $240.

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Hotel Regent’s Garden
6 Rue Pierre Demours, 75017 Paris,  www.hotel-regents-paris.com/en/

The former private mansion that is now the Hotel Regent’s Garden…

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Parisian etiquette: Unwritten rules you should know.

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A little politesse goes a long way.

Some handy tips:

It’s cheaper to stand at the bar, order your coffee and croissant and eat it standing. DO NOT take it to a table and sit down.

Bread comes with most meals. Don’t ask for butter, it will be considered a tartine, a breakfast item.

Food can be rich and filling. Don’t ask for a doggie bag. It’s okay to leave food on your plate.

Parisians have excellent manners. Always say “bonjour madame, monsieur, mademoiselle” and “au revoir madame………” when coming in contact with your fellow man. And say it softly as best you can, no need to shout.

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Even more tips inside No Worries Paris. A great Christmas gift for anyone headed for the City of Light.

covnoworriesparis2012

 

 

 

Take a breather in Paris’s EcoJardin: Square du Temple

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A park where I take a timeout with a warm croissant/jambon sandwich from the bakery nearby. Nestled in the Marais, you might spot Tai Chi or small yoga classes on delegated green spaces, or someone asleep occupying an entire bench. The scene is everchanging.

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The site of the commandry of the knights of the Order of the Temple in the 13th century, the square became the scene of bloody repressions when the Templars were considered heretics.

It’s a much more peaceful place today. An English garden embellished with numerous exotic trees: American honey locust, goldenrain tree, Ginkgo Biloba, Turkish hazel, and a tall Japanese pagoda specimen embellish the landscape. This is an EcoJardin. It has been awarded the official French stamp of approval which recognizes ecological management guiding gardeners and managers of green spaces towards good practices (only certain sprays can be used, etc).

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The wildlife in this large garden has never been so vibrant. Many different species of birds come to refresh themselves near the ornamental pool and waterfall constructed of rocks from the forest of Fontainebleau.

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Complete directions to get here are in the No Worries Paris guidebook.

Square du Temple
64 rue de Bretagne – 75003 Paris

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Paris Up My Sleeve

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With visions of Paris Fashion Week still rolling around in my brain I find myself spotting a blouse trend as I laboriously edit my photos. The late Bill Cunningham used to call out such peculiarisms in his New York Times column, so Bill, “here’s to you.” You were truly missed at the parade of fashion on and off the catwalk this year.

Fashionistas, make sure your blouse sleeve is voluminous and proportionally way too large for your figure in 2017. Oversize is “in.” Tip: buy them in the men’s department if you want to save $$$. Or check your local thrift shops where I’ve seen jillions of ironed Brooks Bros. striped models lined up and ready to snatch.

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And by all means watch those cuffs when eating your spaghetti.

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Be sure it’s tucked.

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Not terribly comfortable, but soooo cool!

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And what this has to do with promoting our guidebook, No Worries Paris, I don’t have a clue. Just thought you deserve a little extra entertainment from the fashion world now and then. A bientot!

covnoworriesparis2012

 

Merci: a cool concept store

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Take a little trip to my newest discovery. You’ll enter through what looks like a cafe/bookshop, walk a few steps down a narrow passageway and Voila….it opens to a two story boutique full of items and ideas you will want to bring home.

After you get your fill, which could be hours and hours, finish your shopping day in their wine bar just next door.

MERCI

111 BOULEVARD BEAUMARCHAIS 75003 PARIS

MÉTRO – LIGNE 8 – MÉTRO SAINT SÉBASTIEN FROISSART
BUS – LIGNES 20 ET 65
Lundi 10h – 19h
Mardi 10h – 19h
Mercredi 10h – 19h
Jeudi 10h – 19h
Vendredi 10h – 19h
Samedi 10h – 19h

What to bring back from Paris

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It used to be you could buy an article of clothing, accessory, delicacy or souvenir that had the label “Made in France”. I tried my best to hunt down such gifts only to find almost everything is made in China, Morrocco, Bangladesh, and India. Even the Chanel lotion I bought at the airport on my way home was made in New Jersey. And strict new rules forbid bringing back cheeses, pates, sausages, most everything edible. Wine and chocolate are okay.

I don’t go to Paris to shop. I have other things to do that are more important. BUT, when the days dwindle down to departure time, I develop guilty feelings and break down. Friends and family deserve a little something, and I mean LITTLE.

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Tea pleases most everyone and packs light. Galeries Lafayette gourmet and the Bon Marche have great selections.

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Macarons are traditional. Laduree are some of the best and there’s an outlet at DeGaulle.

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All purchased at Monoprix on the Champs Elysees.  1. Caudile hydrating cream $13; 2. LaRoche sunscreen $15; 3. Chocolate, $2-$4;  4. Eiffel Tower postcards $1.20 each; 6. Nuxe Huile Prodigeuse (the best), $20

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Paris bracelet, Galeries Lafayette, $7;  2. Traditional silver coated almonds; 3. Nuxe honey lip balm, $10; 4. Nuxe oil (again, because I like it); 5. Art postcard on thick matte paper, $1.50; 6. Melvita rose water, $15; 7. Hydrating face masks, 3-5 euros. 8. Vogue Paris accessory, $8.

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Light tote from Grand Galerie de L’Evolution (Jardin des Plantes), 4 euros) 2. No Worries Paris, one of Paris’s best walking guides; 3. hat, $12, Au Printemps; 4. paper goods, Merci, (111 boulevard Beaumarchais, 75003); 5. Necklace, Au Printemps; 6. Lait-Crème Concentré – Embryolisse, $16; 7. Petite notebook, Merci, 3 euros.

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Scarf, Galeries Lafayette, 17 euros; 2. Selection of trendy, cleverly packaged medallion bracelets ranging from 3 to 12 euros, Merci,  a must-see concept store in trendy 3rd arrondissement (with 2 restaurants).

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Alas, it will be time to depart and your leftover euros are burning a hole in your pocket. Take caution when it comes to the cosmetics vendors at the airport. Your aim was to return home with French products, non?

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I didn’t check where these were made and hoping not China or New Jersey. This is the Chanel display at DeGaulle. Irresistable. I’ll take the black pair. Put it on my Visa (just fantasizing, of course).

 

Diary from the Paris Fashion Week trenches: day 6

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I promised myself to take a day off, however, as I scurried to the Apple store to buy a new external hard drive replacement, there they were, the guys in black with their cameras and tripods on the stairs of Opera Garnier. I couldn’t refraid and joined the mob.

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The Stella McCartney show was just ending and Carine Roitfeld, former editor-in-chief of Vogue Paris, stopped a few moments for comments.

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Not much security for the models once the show is over.

 

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And the grand finale: Kristin Scott Thomas, the actress and Parisian resident practicing her invisibility.

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Word on the street: The Kardashian robbery is taking it’s toll already. Security at the fashion houses tight.  Guards barricade the doors and purses, shopping bags are routinely examined before entering. The YSL showroom on  Avenue Montaigne not so busy, Chanel on the other hand full of clients. It will be interesting to see how it all shakes out in the coming months.