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How iconic can a pair of shoes be?
Well you just have to look at the two tone shoes created by Coco Chanel to know.
Revolutionary when Coco launched them on the market 60 years ago, the concept has certainly lasted the test of time.
You have to understand that up until that time, shoes where monochrome. They simply matched whatever you were wearing. Coco wanted to bring out a shoe that was elegant, comfortable and durable. The two tone was born, beige and black, round slightly pointed toe, sling back with a 5cm block heel.
Women where going out and about a lot more, leading a more independent life - taking public transport, working even. The aim of her revolutionary shoe was to take you straight through from breakfast to lunch to dinner. Her idea with the black tip was to elongate your leg as well as camouflage any scuffs you may have made when running around town.
The two tone was an immediate hit.
From here, she teamed up with a renowned bookmaker Massaro and started to play around with the design. She introduced new colours - blue, maroon, gold - she elasticated the sling back, changed the height and shape of the heel and toe. She famously said, "All you need are four pairs of my shoes and you are set up!"
Since taking over as Design Director of Chanel in 1993, Karl Lagerfeld has continued the tradition. The icon is now available in more colours, flowers and padding have been added and is available in sneakers, ankle boots, espadrilles, ballerinas, thigh highs and more.
Now we can't call that 'fast fashion' can we?
When I first arrived in France ***** years ago (a long time ago!), I loved the names of everyone I met. They all sounded so grand. I had a friend called Marie Antoinette - and everyone actually called her Marie Antoinette. Another friend was Pierre Henri, who, yes you guessed it, was always called Pierre Henri. No-one ever used a diminutive. So after having been called Tricia all of my life, there was a new me 'Patricia'. I loved it.
I then noticed that the same names were used time and time again, perhaps just in a different sequence - Jean Pierre or Pierre Jean. There was not much variety.
There was in fact a reason for this. Up until the end of the 1960s, by law, the French could only choose the given names for their children from a fairly restricted list of saints names. Hence the lack of variety.
In 1963, the list was extended to allow regional names, foreign names, alternative spelling and diminutives. And it was only when a new law in 1993 came into practice that the French were given the freedom to choose the names they wanted.
So, whilst you still have some Marie Antoinettes and Pierre Henri there are also Violettes, Amber and Karim. Still quite traditional but loosening up a little.
As in all countries names go in and out of fashion and each year there is a list of the most popular. As you will see from the Top 20 names of 2015 below, times have changed.
Which are your preferred names?
Top 20 girl's names.
5. Inès / Ines
19. Adèle, Rose
Top 20 boy's names
20. Gabin, Maël
Not everyone seems happy about it!
Martell, the oldest of the great Cognac houses in the Charente region of France, is celebrating its tricentenaire this year.
Created in 1715 by the young 21 year-old Jean Martell from Jersey, the Martell house has maintained a standing of excellence and refinement from its beginnings to this day.
During the period of its creation France was under the rule of le Roi Soleil and already renowned across the continent for its art-de-vivre. Martell, with its respect for the nature, craftsmanship and the arts, fitted right in.
The house experienced rapid success across Europe at the highest echelons of society and in the mid 1800s crossed the oceans to the world – USA, Asia and Oceania. Martell’s reputation of refinement, culture and savoir-faire was second to none.
Working with the three core values of art-de-vivre – creativity, know-how and substance, Edouard Martell, the great grandson of Jean, created The Martell Cordon Bleu to rapturous applause. With the house continuing to be recognised not only for its respect of tradition but also for its innovation.
A strong patron of the arts, to celebrate its 300 year anniversary, Martell has published The Martell 300 list. A list of the 300 most innovative French nationals, living in France and around the world, in the areas of gastronomy, mixology, fashion and the arts.
The list was launched at a sumptuous gala dinner at Le Palais de Versailles followed by 300 local gala dinners around the world.
The list certainly showcases how France has successfully exported its art-de-vivre around the world. An interesting list. I would love to hear your comments and if there is anyone you feel should be add.
It is said, the pavements of Place Vendôme are paved with gold - not true (unfortunately).
The history behind this saying may be because Place Vendôme and the surrounding streets of rue de la Paix, rue Castiglione and rue St Honoré are home to the most prestigious jewellers in the world. Some names may be better known to you than others, such as Cartier, Chaumet, Chopard, Dior, Fred, Van Cleef & Arpels, Boucheron, Mikimoto, Mouawad, Piaget, Buccellati, Harry Winston, Patek Philippe, Stern H, Mauboussin, Jaubalet. Each one of these 'Houses' is at the pinnacle of their trade and is a member of the very rare club of what is called 'High Jewellery'.
Some of the houses may also have their retail arm, which is already investment level jewellery, but the 'High Jewellery' is the jewels of dreams. Jewels made of the rarest, purest stones, crafted into masterpieces by the most skilled craftsmen who have mastered and perfected their trade over decades.
I love the jewels. Not because I am walking around in a tiara and dripping with precious gems but for all of the above - the quality, the beauty, the craftsmanship.
I always visit Place Vendôme when in Paris. There is, as would be expected, security around the shops and some may feel a little intimidated to go in. That is why I wanted to do this post for you. For one thing, to give you some eye candy and secondly to let you know that Chaumet, one of the jewellers on the Place has a pop-up museum in their store with an exhibition called Promenade Bucolic retracing the company's history until January 30th, 2016. A must visit in my book.
I would love to know which piece below you prefer - and if you get to the exhibition.
s, No doubt, like me, when you think of Paris you envisage long sweeping tree-lined boulevards. Each boulevard straddled by majestic stone buildings. The buildings, whilst most constructed with the same white stone and of similar height and style, are each individual - no two are the same. Some doorways may be grand coach gates decorated with wrought iron and glass, others may be large heavy wooden entries adorned with elaborate brass door knocks. Windows may be square or arched, some full height some small. Then, look up higher and you will see the rooflines with their carved stonework are just as elaborate and varied as the rest of the building.
It is this constraint in the Haussmannian architecture that gives Paris her rythm, her comfort, her familiarity. But it is her detailing that gives her her intrigue.
I love it all. I never tire of roaming the streets of Paris. And on days when I might be fatigued or feeling hard done by, all I need do is look up and take in the beauty of the stonework, the intricacy of the roof line. Try it, it works wonders. In minutes my spirit is lifted and imagination buzzing.
On a number of occasions, it has been when I have been doing just that and enjoying my reverie that I have chanced upon something quite extraordinary - streets that defy all of the Haussmannan constraints. Little pockets of wonder that beg exploring.
I would like to share one such street with you in this post.
Most of us have enjoyed meandering around Montmartre, taking in the sights, perhaps stopping for a bite to eat. In your stroll, if you have adventured along the Avenue Junot you may well have stumbled upon Villa Léandre - a haven of English Normand houses. Yes, that is right, English style houses, one prettier than the next, all stacked up against one another. What a delight!
This street was built in 1926 on the site of an old mill. Why it was built in this style and still stands today is a bit of a mystery. At least the former is. The latter may be due to the fact that this little pocket of paradise happens to be one of the most expensive streets in the city. That reason alone is sure to keep the developers at bay.
Each house is different, most made of brick with a variety of decoration - tiles, wooden carvings, wrought iron. Owners certainly take their gardening seriously with each little patch in front of the houses well kept and inviting.
As you can see from the photo below, one resident has taken the English theme further with a Number 10 Downing Street sign!
I hope you make it there one day and if you have already visited, do share your experience with us below.
Many years ago when I first lived in Paris (pre-Jean-Marie), a Parisian friend once said to me, "To really discover Paris, just look up."
She explained to me that the true beauty of Paris and its architecture was the wonderful variety of facades and that to really appreciate them, you could not simply look around you at eye level but had to look up to see them in full splendour.
Here are some to marvel at.
This articles was inspired by the book 'PARIS 100 FAÇADES REMARQUABLES' published by Parigramme.
If 50 is the new 40 and 60 is the new 50, then Yummy Mummies, you had better look out - here come the Grannies Who Rock.
I have selected 15 Grannies Who Rock - French Style - vital, intelligent, beautiful and rocking it.
The recently refurbished, Hôtel du Cap Eden-Roc situated on the Cap d’Antibes retains its place as one of the most sumptuous establishments on the Côte d’Azur. Indeed, some might say – The Globe.
Few realise that Eden-Roc, as it is affectionately known, started its life in 1870 when Auguste de Villemessant, the founder of Le Figaro newspapers, seduced by the tranquillity and beauty of the location, generously built a magnificent refuge for writers, named the Villa Soleil.
Over the years, the refuge lost its lustre and fell into disrepair. It took the arrival of a young hotelier, Antoine Sella, to appreciate its potential and realised his vision of creating a luxury palace hotel. The journey of Eden-Roc had commenced.
Since then, the hotel has seen a number of reincarnations – always luxury and always playing host to many Royals, Statesmen and Women, Stars of stage, film and the sports as well as players in high society.
But celebrities aside, what I love about Hôtel du Cap Eden-Roc is that everyone can enjoy the hotel whether you are staying there or not.
What hits you is the tranquillity of the location - the magnificent gardens and beautiful vistas over the water – you simply revel in the whole sumptuousness of the place.
If you are staying overnight or for a séjour, you can choose between a room or suite the main building – the previous Villa Soleil – or if you prefer, stay in one of the stunning villas.
There are two restaurants to choose from – both highly rated in the region. There is the formal Restaurant Eden-Roc or the, as elegant but more casual, Grill & Bar Eden-Roc.
Not forgetting the bars – enjoy an ice cream at the Juice and Ice-Cream Bar, Champagne at the newly opened Eden-Roc Champagne Lounge (A MUST) or an early evening aperitif at the Bellini Bar or the Bar de la Rotonde.
So, no matter what your budget – room or villa, restaurant or grill, ice-cream or champagne – there is something for everyone to enjoy.
Very well travelled, Tricia has spent many years in the Tourism Industry and in France, and is perfectly placed to guide you on your own French journey into lifestyle, fashion and more...Stay tuned!