Style de Vie
It is here that we will present vignettes
your enjoyment. Expatriates living in France have
tell; part- or full-time residents of Paris give their perspective
on what's new,
unexpected in the City of Light; and the many
people living their dreams in France will share their
of the French native, often the object of envy elsewhere
in the world,
not be overlooked . . . so come along for a glimpse into the
daily life and
lifestyles of people in France.
Café Sitting is a Full-Time Job
The American 'Frog' in Sologne
Edgy Delights in Paris' Twelfth
Burgundy on a Plate
Sitting is a Full-Time Job
by Jill Butler
everyday in the corner café, not just any café,
but rather the famous Salon du Thé, Ladurée, on
rue Royale, numéro 16.*
priority was un double express et un croissant aux amandes.
came the reading of the newspaper, not just one, but three: the
Herald Tribune, The International Edition of the Wall Street Journal,
Le Figaro. For survival at a dinner party or social conversation,
it is imperative to be on top of the news both in France and in the US.
I had a lot to learn.
moved from New York City, I'd taken up the habit of eating breakfast
It seemed the perfect way to connect with the still somewhat sleepy
to see people, to be alone, but not lonely. I could ease into my work
the caffeine did its job.
wrote my first book, Paintbrush in Paris, sitting in
I went daily for nearly 14 years. Paintbrush was my American cat that
with me. He was my English-speaking friend and voice in telling our
of moving to Paris through this first illustrated book.
day came, a year and half later, when the first copies of Paintbrush
in Paris arrived. I held my breath and slowly let it out as I
it through. It wasn't embarrassing!
next morning, I tucked a copy into my bag and headed out for breakfast.
I shared it with Anick, my usual serveuse, and she shared it
the manager, Monique.
a convergence of the stars, the new owners of Ladurée, Francis
and his son, David, were sitting next to me at one of those miniature
~ meaning we were practically sitting elbow to elbow. So, Paintbrush
in Paris was again shared by Monique, but this time with the
Mr.Holder Senior ** turned to me and said, “Charmant, Madame, bravo!”
He asked me who I was, what I was doing in Paris and suggested I should
illustrate something for the salon.
pounding, I spontaneously proposed a series of postcards that could be
sold to other Ladurée and postcard enthusiasts like myself. He
to the idea and immediately passed me and the idea to his son, David,
whom I negotiated our agreement. I was then introduced to their design
and interiors director. With the details of our project concluded, it
time to begin.
love to draw food but this felt like an exam. Being a self-taught
I hoped I would pass the test. On Monday morning, I was "installed"
in the newly renovated, smoke-free dining room and for three intense
silver trays filled with “samples” of every patisserie,
et dessert was placed before me ~ to draw!
making preliminary sketches, I choose to work with two illustrative
one a cut paper style (the façade and coffees ) and the second a
more classic pen and ink watercolor style (the map, macaroons, Viennoisseries
and pastries) as well as a mix of both (the salon interior). Things
capturing the whipped cream or the layers of a mille feuilles
tricky as were les macarons, Ladurée’s signature product.
cherubs painted on the ceiling of the ground floor room alone are worth
the visit. If you look closely you can see they are baking the bread by
the rays of the sun. I choose to use the cherubs throughout the series
of six cards. They also appear in the Ladurée logo.
every drawing was checked by the design director for accuracy and the
was bien regardé for spelling errors and inaccuracies.
last look was with David and the printer, and off to press it went.
smiled when I saw customers discovering the cards as they paid à
la caisse. The enthusiastic mid-westerner that I am wanted to jump
up and introduce myself ~ but I contained myself with being happy that
they were being purchased.
sure now, I knew that café sitting was ~ if not a
job ~ it was a job!
JILL BUTLER'S POSTCARDS (SMALLER THAN ACTUAL SIZE)
a final note, what I learned was to go ahead and speak up in my less
perfect French, to enjoy the moment, to be slightly outrageous by
standards and to go ahead and put forth an idea when given the
because who knows who's sitting next to you waiting to respond in the
tells us, "At age five I had a dream. I was standing on the Left Bank
across the Seine to the backside of
Notre Dame Cathedral. Years later, I found my myself living next to
Dame on the rue du Clôitre. Notre Dame and the bells
awakened me daily. Fourteen years of living in
Paris and Normandy
have given me an abundance of experience and design
inspiration for The Jill Butler Collection of travel
and tabletop accessories."
reach Jill by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit her lively
site at http://www.jillbutler.com.
illustrations © Jill Butler]
'Frog' in Sologne
by Kristi Anderson
first fell in love with France in the late 70s when I went work as a
in Paris. But, being slightly too short to make the « big
», I returned to New York and found a very nice career for myself
I remained in love with France, and in the fall of 1988 I arrived in
to, you guessed it, marry a Frenchman. At the age of 36 not only didn't
I know one word of French, but I barely knew how to use a
Six months of Alliance Française and a few cookbooks
I felt I was well on my way.
1990 I opened Tea and Tattered Pages, a used English bookstore
tearoom which, in spite of its small size, became internationally known
for the reasonably priced books and the charm and ambiance of a
offering the first of what became the fashionable combination of
« comfort food » and tea in a bookstore. Borders and
the rest came after! My press book attests to the store's success with
appearances on Telematin, Paris Premiere, and Jimmy. Articles
and Tattered Pages appeared as far away as Iceland!
1998, my husband and I divorced and, having stayed in love with France,
I sold my Parisian bookstore and bought a delapidated auberge
the tiny but charming Solognot village of Ligny le Ribault.
five long years to completely renovate Auberge Saint Jacques,
has become une maison d’hôtes where themed weekends
on falconry, cooking, or biking are becoming well known. But, all
that was not enough for me. I have turned the orignal bar into
can be compared to as an English club and named it Le Coin Perdu.
I have found various artists to exhibit their works there, and one
knows what one will find: watercolors of a sublime Sologne,
of European soldiers, or modern oil paintings. Each exposition
the ambiance of the « club ».
addition to the Auberge Saint Jacques are themed dinners once a
month. Past dinners have included Thanksgiving, Russian New Year
and Saint Valentines. Each menu and history is well reseached so
that when a guest leaves, he or she is not only extremely well fed but
more informed as well! My cooking classes are also just as
~ Indian, Chinese, Tex-mex, as well as foie gras, and even a "gôuter
en anglais" for children from 7-12.
is well worth a weekend trip to enjoy the beautiful sights of Sologne,
and I promise to welcome you with warmth and good humor to my little
and Auberge Saint-Jacques!
proprietor of l'Auberge Saint Jacques, has established
in the small
of Ligny le Ribault just south of the Loiret département capital
weekends, cozy guest rooms and dynamic art exhibits will entice you to
visit her web site at http://theamericanfrog.com
or to contact
her, send an email to email@example.com.
Saint-Jacques is located at 15, place de l'église - 45240
le Ribault - Tél : 06 83 18 42 31
by Helen Vaughan Simpson
about it. Most of us who have been to Paris more than once or
are past the Eiffel Tower-Notre Dame-Louvre tourist circuit. Not
that I don’t relish one more trip to the Louvre and the Musée
d’ Orsay each time I go, but, in my passion for Paris, after the
few visits I wanted to know more about this beguiling city.
hunger drove me beyond the city center and the tourist tracks that
and Rick Steves have ensured are familiar and fully known.
dedicated Francophile isn’t already familiar with the rue Cler in the
arrondissement, or the rue Mouffetard in the 5th? I wanted
something more, something different. In looking for that
different, I found the edges of Paris and the edgy delights
she yields up only to those who seek to know her in all her depths.
eastern edge draws far fewer visitors than the more celebrated
It was years of visiting the city before I ventured into exploring the
formerly artisan and working class 12th arrondissement -- the
heart of radical and revolutionary Paris. This seldom-explored
offers a great deal beyond the now popular and trendy Bastille
You have to push eastwards, even past the
to the very edge of the Bois de Vincennes to find one of the
fascinating corners and the Palais de Porte d’Orée.
former Museum of African and Oceanic Arts, this extraordinary building
is now the official headquarters of France’s architectural patrimony
in its own design a unique architectural treasure. It was built
celebrate France’s pride in her colonies -- it proclaims in a
world -- and now, in an embarrassing sort of way, France’s
imperial mission. Erected in 1931 for the World’s Fair, it
shouts France’s pride in her colonies and her success in shouldering
white man’s burden. Politics aside, the medium’s message here
not keep anyone from admiring an art-deco artistic masterpiece.
from the Porte d'Orée métro exit, the visitor
the building past a towering golden figure of Civilizing Marianne, her
image glittering in the reflecting pool, lined with palm trees,
at her feet. The palms are the first note of a colonial song that
rings more loudly as the building, covered with monumental carvings,
square columns surrounding the square building pull the visitor around
complex images of ships, tropical trees and flowers, native populations
in exotic dress, elephants and other fauna alien to France but not to
colonies amid a roll call of the names of the colonies.
the western side, shadowed at times by the filtered light of the trees,
is a list of the names of the architects of France’s
Colbert is there, de Lesseps is there — even Iberville and
the “organizers of Louisiana.” All of France’s colonies are
there, even the least important.
in the vast central hall, colorful frescoes in the style of the
of the 1930s continue the celebratory song. The room is beautiful
and the frescoes do as they were intended to do — inspire awe. A
towering figure of blind Justice, French justice clearly, stands in
majesty in one niche, while above the entrance door a flotilla of
ships carries French benefits to all the corners of the world.
complete the introduction to the wonders that colonial exploration
to the homeland, the basement aquarium shelters the only alligators to
be found in the city along with illuminated windows of colorful
fish that glow eerily in the darkened corridors. Not far away,
the Paris zoo and the Lac Daumesnil, is the Buddhist
trip to the edge of the city is a visit beyond the borders of France --
even beyond the borders of the Francophone world. Marianne,
holding high her torch of civilization and light, lingers in the mind’s
eye. To know Paris in all the facets of her richness, a
to the Palais de Porte D’Orée is de rigueur.
It is more than a visit to a monument — it is a visit to the edges of
French experience, to the world and mind of the early twentieth
to the iconography of the 1930s, to a time when western culture was
to shine like Marianne’s torch. And it will introduce you
the fascinating edges of a city in a constant process of
So don’t stay in the center — go to the edge.
Simpson worked and
part-time in Paris from the
mid-1980s until recently.
She is passionate about Paris’ history, artistic heritage,
in this article are the copyrighted property of Helen Vaughan Simpson]
on a Plate
by Sue Boxell
on a Plate, my wine and gastronomy tour company based in
is the eventual flowering of a seed planted long ago while I was
on floating hotels on Burgundy’s inland waterway network. Working
as a chef in the region had been a revelation to me. I delighted
my ingredients from the wonderful outdoor markets ~ a riot of colorful
fruits, vegetables and flowers ~ and I was astonished by the sheer
of cheeses and the quality of the meat and fish. In addition, the
wonderful vineyards where we would take our passengers for tastings
the icing on the cake. I developed a real passion for the
and I vowed that one day I would return to create my own business.
‘life is what happens
while planning other things’ as they say ~ and one day I woke up in
and realized that my long-held dream was looking unlikely to be
It suddenly came to me that not pursuing my dream was going to be far
painful in the long run than simply throwing myself into action and
for it! So after a period of research and several visits to
I set a date for departure.
step was to actually
get to France, which I did by crossing the English Channel in my Dutch
ex-sailing barge. With the help of friends, I navigated for
three long weeks through the waterway network going through, what
at the time, hundreds of locks to get to St Jean de Losne in Burgundy
there was a mooring awaiting me. In France there are not that
suitable employment opportunities for foreigners, so I knew I had to
straight in there and get my business up and running.
confident that I had the skills necessary to offer a truly special
for my clients, and my nine years working for Eurotunnel had honed my
and language skills, both essential in my future undertakings.
delighted to say
that my company Burgundy
on a Plate offers a taste of the real Burgundy, as it’s
by the people who live here. The pride in its cuisine, the magnificence
of its vines and wines and the quality and variety of its produce makes
Burgundy a perfect region for a wine and gastronomy discovery
private, guided tours
will bring participants a deeper knowledge and understanding of the
wine, and gastronomy of this region, enabling them to meet wine
in family-owned vineyards, to taste artisanal local specialities in
remote locations, and to dine in some unusual restaurants, such as a ferme
auberge run by local farmers' wives or a restaurant in a wine
to our week-long
tours, there are eight one-day themed tours to choose from ~from wine
cheese to Cassis, Cooking, and Côte de Nuits ~ for those people
limited time in the area. We also offer custom-made tours,
and whether one's interests lie in wine, gastronomy, history, art,
golf or cooking, we can design and create a tour especially for those
last I am
in my life that I love, and I hope that some of this love of
rubs off on my clients. Judging by their reactions ~ it’s working!
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