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!

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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.

Paris intermission…..timout!

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Taking time to chill with a little (hastily put together) slide show. Join me for a petite tour along the Seine and rue Rivoli.  Warning, it’s super slow.

Saturday’s work. Paris never sleeps.

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The dream job . . .

And how I ended the day.  The start of Nuit Blanche, an event of various manifestations (performance art) taking place all over the city and lasting until 7 am.

 

 

Paris catwalks. They’re habit forming

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Can’t get enough of Fashion Week. Here was the scene at Jardin des Plantes, the Christian Wijnants show. Rain threatened but all was rosy for the stunning event.

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And then there were the spectacular plants for dessert.

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With love from Paris Fashion Week

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Some streetstyle photos from the hubbub surrounding the Rochas and Aganovich shows this afternoon. Noticing flowing flower print skirts, chunky heels, message t-shirts, and smoking models.

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Chateau hopping & tour shopping

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So you want to head out of Paris for the day and favor the grand architecture of the fairytale chateaus. Here are some tips that can save you time and money.

Vaux-le-Vicomte and Fontainbleau are practically neighbors and can be visited together in 8 hours with plenty of time to tour the gardens and get some lunch. By train and shuttle it can take hours to get to VLV.  From Paris Gare de l’Est, take the direct train Line P (in the direction of Provins). Get off at the Verneuil l’Etang train station. Direct trains every 60 minutes (travel time 35 minutes). Add to that waiting in line, purchasing tickets and taking the same route back from the Chateau. Inexpensive, headachy.

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Fontainebleau is about 35 miles away from Paris. For $20 you can get there via public transportation. Trains leave from Gare de Lyon station regularly and the train ride is about 41 minutes. The train will be heading to Montargis. When the train arrives at Fontainbleau Avon station there are two options for getting to the chateau. There is a bus that leaves from bus station next door to the train station at the arrival of each train.

Now, I never thought I would recommend a tour because I like getting to places the cheapest way possible. But after researching this 2-castle trip and visiting each chateau website, I arrived at the decision that taking a tour cut out alot of grief (which train, timetables, avoiding lines).

The good news: for about $70 you can visit both via a deluxe air conditioned coach. Includes price of admission (you skip the lines), audio guides (or tour guide depending on $$), no extra walking or worrying.  Leaving Paris at 9:00, you get back around 6:00, just in time for cocktails.

The best companies to book with are Expedia and Viator. Their packages are very similar and one or the other always has a deal. I don’t recommend the ParisVision site…wonky confusing and you pay in euros.  Expedia represents them and you pay in dollars and immediately can printout your voucher, price a little cheaper.

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Then there’s the Vallée de la Loire, one-hour away from Paris.  This tour adds up to a twelve hour day, but taking in 3 chateaus and being delivered to each door (price of admission included) by deluxe bus for around $177 is a real deal! You get to see the beautiful countryside out the window and can choose the audio guide or personal tour guide. Time to wander the grounds is taken into consideration. Again, I found the most economical way to see the chateaus I love the best is reserving through the Expedia site…Chambord, Cheverny, and Chenonceau (they even have one that’s a little pricer that includes wine tasting). Through Viator (a TripAdvisor company), the price for Chambord, Chenonceau and Amboise is $169, tour guide included. Note, you travel by van.

“Leave the driving to us” is now my motto. I like to maximize my vacation time, maybe you do too.