Musée Yves Saint Laurent

If the Dior exhibition on at Paris’ Les Arts Décoratifs was right up your street, then the recently opened Musée Yves Saint Laurent is not to be missed either.

The museum is located in the legendary hôtel particular at 5 Avenue Marceau, where Yves Saint Laurent designed his collections for almost 30 years, from 1974 to 2002.

Around fifty designs are on display, alongside sketches, photographs and videos.

Visitors can see the haute couture salons, where clients would be welcomed by after collections were presented to place their orders, as well as the studio where Saint Laurent worked.

Musée Yves Saint Laurent, 5 avenue Marceau 75016

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Hermès: Les Mains Sans Sommeil

The Hermès Les Mains Sans Sommeil (The Sleepless Hands) exhibition on at Paris’ Palais de Tokyo is so wonderfully weird, I went to see it twice in one weekend.

It showcases the work of the nine artists that took part in the second cycle of the Artists’ Residencies programme of Hermès’ Fondation d’entreprise. These chosen few, who were mentored by leading figures on the contemporary scene, were able to discover the artisan skills used at Hermès’ workshops, with work created during this time showcased alongside other works by the same artists.

From spoons to shoes via a shop of nightmares, this must-see installation will definitely leave its mark.

On until 7 January at Palais de Tokyo, 13 avenue du président Wilson, 75016.

To market, to market

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For a long time, I never went to French food markets at the weekend. Because, well, I was a bit intimidated by the hustle and bustle of it all.

I worried about getting an ankle injury as people barged past with their shopping trollies, intent on snapping up a slice of brie or a rotisserie chicken, paying scant regard to who or what was in their path. And I also worried about placing my order: where does the queue start, what the hell is that weird shaped vegetable, and how do you pronounce fenouil anyway?

But then I went with an actual French person, and was converted. Because just as much as an attraction as the food on display are the interactions going on around you.

Take the exasperated stall-holder and the old French woman who wouldn’t get her hands off his plums, for example. “I want some plums,” she says, squeezing five or six of them in turn and smiling widely. “Please don’t touch them,” he replies, a muscle working in his jaw. “I’ll take three,” she says merrily, squeezing them again for good measure. “Madame,” he barks, “Please don’t touch my plums, it’s difficult to sell them afterwards.” And on and on it went.

Watching agog from the next stall along, I was so fascinated by the exchange that the fact I was now apparently obliged to pay €12 for a sliver of cheese barely registered. Well, I could hardly say I’d changed my mind. And besides, one has to treat oneself sometimes. The trouble is, you get so seduced by the juicy strawberries, ripe cheeses and freshly baked bread on offer that before you know it, you’ve spent a week’s wages on half a week’s worth of food. Oh well, as they say here in France. C’est la vie.

Paris Dark Side tour

IMG_3018.jpgDespite having lived in Paris for many years, there’s still so much about the city I don’t know. So with Halloween fast approaching, my friends and I decided to book ourselves on the Paris Dark Side Tour to see a few sights not in the guide book.

Our tour guide was Justine, who, armed with her history degree and bags of enthusiasm, dug up lots of interesting facts about Paris, the French revolution and writers like Marquis de Sade, Victor Hugo and Jean Paul Marat.

We visited the site of Paris’ first cemetery, the city’s morgue (which apparently used to attract up to 40,000 people gawping at the dead) and learned about the non-Disney version of Victor Hugo’s Notre-Dame de Paris (The Hunchback of Notre Dame). Then it was off to Hotel de Ville, where public executions took place, and on to Place des Vosges, where Justine read us a passage from Peter Weiss’s play Marat/Sade. We finished up, quite fittingly, at Place de la Bastille, the birthplace of the French Revolution.

And once the tour was over, we decided to book ourselves onto the pub crawl, which was also organised by Sandemann New Europe Tours. Because you can take the Brit out of England…

The Dark Side tour is running up until Halloween, so make sure you don’t miss out.

Spaghetti ice cream at Spaghettina

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Summer is finally here in Paris, which pretty much means any excuse for ice cream… Sunday was a sweltering 32 degrees when I stumbled across Spaghettina, an ice cream shop that serves up the cold stuff in the shape of spaghetti.

Spaghettina has brought this German spaghetti-shaped concept (invented by Dario Fontanella in 1969 in Mannheim) to the French capital, to a little shop in the 10th arrondissement.

You opt for a cone or pot, then choose your ice cream flavour–so far, so normal. And that’s where things start to get interesting. A layer of cream lines your pot or cone, your scoop of ice cream is fed into a machine and comes out like spaghetti, and you choose a sauce and a topping. I opted for praline ice cream, caramel sauce and white chocolate shavings; my friend went for something more fruity and topped with raspberries, and we ate sat by the canal.

I’d highly recommend this place–great staff, great ice cream and a novel concept. Price wise it gets a gold star too–my ice cream spaghetti cost less than €5.

Spaghettina
61 rue de Lancy
75010 Paris
Metro: Jacques Bonsergent

Free chicklit!

Have Your Cake Novella Cover.jpgMy short story, HAVE YOUR CAKE AND EAT IT, is available for FREE worldwide on Kindle, Kobo, Nook and iTunes, so go and grab yourselves a copy!
http://bit.ly/2hiN35v

Bella Hunt thought the nanny quitting was the worst life got. Until she lost her job, that is. Going from a high-flying fashion PR consultant to a stay-at-home mother of three turns out to be a rather rude awakening, and Bella finds she’s coming up short in a few too many areas. But with a dash of ingenuity, a spoonful of friendship, and a sprinkling of love, Bella manages to not only have her cake, but eat it, too.

~ One of five finalists in a Chick Lit short story contest judged by Marian Keyes, Have Your Cake and Eat It is a novella about family, friendships, and making lemon cake out of lemons. A reader’s delight that will warm the heart and maybe even inspire some cake making. Or some eating, at the very least! ~

 

Coffee & cake at Merci

img_5830There’s no shortage of places to go for coffee and cake in Paris, but the Used Book Cafe at the Merci concept store is one of my favourites.

Located at 111 Boulevard Beaumarchais, it’s the perfect place to refuel after a Saturday spent (window) shopping in the Marais.

I opted for a cappuccino and a slice of chocolate cake, but if you’re feeling flush there’s an organic salmon and cream cheese bagel on the menu for 18–for that price it can only be fabulous.

Merci was set up in 2009 by the founders of children’s clothing label Bonpoint, who spotted a gap in the market for a place that combines fashion, design, household goods and refreshments. Each year the company contributes to a foundation that funds educational projects and development in south-west Madagascar.