Thursday, January 21, 2010

Highlights from Paris- Part 1

David and I just returned from a four day trip to Paris. It was a whirlwind of sightseeing, eating, and visiting with friends. During our previous trips we always stayed on the left bank in St. Germain but for this trip we really wanted to try something different. So we stayed right in the heart of the Marais. We loved the pulse and vibe of the Marais and enjoyed exploring the maze of streets filled with unique shops, restaurants, and incredible architecture. If you love 17th and 18th century French architecture then you would feel like you've gone to heaven like I did.

Since the weather was rather cold and rainy we decided to pass most of the time away indoors visiting museums and having leisurely lunches and dinners. The first museum on our list was the Musee des Arts decoratifs. During our last visit to Paris the museum was closed for renovations so were very excited to finally see it.

Some of the true highlights of the museum were the Albert- Armand Rateau designed boudoir and salle des bains of Jeanne Lanvin. Because the rooms are enclosed in glass I could not take decent photos so I had to rely on the images from the museums web site. But in person they are truly stunning. A tour de force of incredible quality and attention to detail from the hand carved stone bidet to the carved plaster relief behind the tub.

Displayed in another gallery was an stunning collection of grisailles wallpaper panels. I loved the contrast between the colorful painting in the foreground and the muted tones of the grissailles panels in the background.

The faience figure almost appears as if it is stepping out of the scenery behind.

A colorful and exuberent example of antique wallpaper above.

A beautiful corner of a 18th century room. I am drawn to the extraordinary mahogany bureau a cylindre set against the muted greens and pale yellows of the painted boiserie and the silk damask curtains. The colors in the period Savonnerie rug are exceptional.

A rare and splendid Cartier clock in the form of a Chinese gate. It is made from jade, ebony, and coral. Note the coral hands!

A 1921 chaise by Clement Rousseau in ivory, shagreen, and pallisandre, which is an exotic wood from Brazil.

A dimunitive mahogany, shagreen, and ebony commode by Paul Iribarne Garay. Circa 1912.

A mahogany two tiered side table inlaid with ivory and gilt bronze.

All photos with the exception of the Rateau rooms were taken by Michael Hampton


Anonymous said...

Amazing. That will definitely be on the list for my next visit to Paris. Thanks so much!

Best Wishes

Robert Webber

Michael Mattison said...

Gorgeous posts on Paris; your enthusiasm is obvious in every line -- thanks for sharing.
The Musee Nissim de Camondo is new to me -- nice that there are still things one hasn't yet seen in Paris! Great tip.
And did you enjoy your stay in the Marais? It's just so perfectly located, for dining, culture, people-watching and, yes, nightlife.
All the best,

Things That Inspire said...

Despite my love for all things French, I have only been to Paris once (my parents were British, so I have always focused my European travels on the UK). My one and only visit two years ago, and I enjoyed each and every minute. I must have walked 100 miles - we never took a taxi, just walked and walked and walked.

Michele from Boston said...

Wow. I'm going to dream about that Cartier clock for days! Thank you so much for the post.