car-free Paris

Imagine a city with no cars or motor vehicles, where cyclists take over the wide lanes, paths are filled with pedestrians, & a public bike system provides the means for transport.

IMG_2309That’s exactly what happened last Sunday when Mayor Anne Hidalgo implemented a car-free day, provoked by a citizen collective called Paris Sans Voiture (Paris Without Cars).

Read More

the roaring twenties

Back from adventures in Turkey and Greece to a Paris filled with life. (More on the travels later.) La rentrée brings with it a city full of openings and events. I had the privilege to attend an evening of cocktails and entertainment at Le Bar du Bristol, one of the chicest addresses in Paris. Le Bristol Paris is celebrating 90 years, having opened in 1925, in the midst of the roaring twenties. Who better to join me than my fashionable mom who’s now in town. Here’s a taste of what the roaring twenties looks like…

FullSizeRender

FullSizeRender_1 copy 2FullSizeRender copyparty 1FullSizeRender copy 2FullSizeRender(2) copy 2
FullSizeRender(2) copyFullSizeRender_4FullSizeRender_3 It was certainly a night to remember! Find my full story on Bonjour Paris.

at the top

Today marks 6 years since I moved to Paris. How time flies while living la vie Parisienne! It’s not all croissants and strolls on the Seine as one might believe, life in the city of lights does have it’s challenging moments, but I’ll save that for another post. Really, I can’t complain. I am surrounded by love in the form of an Italian and dear friends, and each day holds with it limitless inspiration, it’s just a matter of finding it. This time I found it at the top.

IMG_8666I’ve wanted to ride La Grande Roue, Paris’ Ferris Wheel, for years. Imagine the views!

IMG_8710Recently, while a friend was visiting and I was playing tour guide, I grabbed the chance.

IMG_8688Up, up, up we climbed… from four floor buildings to vistas overlooking Paris.

IMG_8686IMG_8697I felt like a child, my eyes wide with amazement as I took in the sights from both sides.

IMG_8690IMG_8703I could have spent all afternoon at the top, with a perfect view of Sacré-Cœur Basilica.

IMG_8708IMG_8713  But alas, our time was up and we returned to views from below. Not so bad either.

bridge of love

I’m certainly an advocate of expressing love in it’s many forms, both privately and publicly, but when it starts to weigh heavily (in this case literally) even I, a diehard romantic become disenchanted. This is the case with Paris’ much loved bridge, also a symbol of love.

IMG_9632In 2008, tourists from around the world began attaching ‘love locks’ to the Pont de Arts. By engraving their initials & throwing the key into the Seine, their love was forever locked.

IMG_9635In February 2014, well over 700,000 locks were estimated to be attached to the bridge.

IMG_9646There was much concern about the possible damage caused by the weight of the locks. In June of 2014, that fear was justified when part of the parapet on the bridge collapsed.

IMG_9647In August 2014, the Paris Mayor’s Office began to encourage “selfiies” in place of love locks, with their campaign “Love Without Locks”. “Our bridges can no longer withstand your gestures of love. Set them free by declaring your love with #lovewithoutlocks.” Even a No Love Locks campaign was started by two concerned women who call Paris home.

IMG_9674Over 50% of the panels on the Pont des Arts had to be boarded over with plywood.

IMG_9677On September 18, 2014, much to tourists dismay, the City Hall of Paris replaced three panels with glass as they searched for a suitable replacement which could hold no locks.

IMG_9661Starting on June 2015, the locks were removed, with Health and Safety officials stating “the romantic gestures cause long term Heritage degradation and danger to visitors”.

IMG_9689As of 2015, over a million locks weighing around 45 tons were attached to the bridge.

IMG_9699These days, Pont des Arts has become less about locks and more about art. Artists Jace, El Seed, Brusk & Pantonio have been commission to decorate the bridge with their work.

IMG_9713As I walked the length of the bridge and around it, I admired the graffiti artwork and the stories being told, knowing that this will in time be replaced by padlock-proof glass panels.

IMG_9702 Love continues to reign in padlock form as tourists attach their locks to the sturdier sides.

IMG_9716 I couldn’t help but think that true love should be set free, rather than locked. Yes, I know it’s only symbolic. But there are many less damaging ways to express our sentiments.

IMG_9726What are your thoughts about love and locks and this new look of Pont des Arts?

celebrating four years

Today marks four years since that magical day in Monterosso, our wedding on the sea. To mark the occasion, I thought who better to capture my Italian and I than Chloe Lodge, a friend and photographer whose work I have admired since she lived in Paris. During her recent trip to the City of Lights we met her at our favorite apéro spot Café SaintRégis.

CLP_04From there we walked through Île de la Cité enjoying the sunshine on a perfect spring day.

CLP_13CLP_14As natural as it felt, I knew Chloe and her camera were watching us. My Italian lightened the mood with his humor. I could not help but to smile as we danced along the Seine…

CLP_34CLP_36CLP_37This time was precious. There was nowhere to be but in the moment. In love.

CLP_18 CLP_28Time passes so quickly. Thank you Chloe, for helping to savour it, one moment at a time.

playtime at palais-royal

I first met Susan of Fleurishing over brunch in Paris, almost one year ago. I had been reading her design and lifestyle blog for years prior, and was so pleased to finally meet in person! Being a devoted francophile, and now the mother of twins (who I have been slightly obsessed with via Susan’s instagram feed), this year Susan planned a trip with her entire family, little Marie and Henry included! Not sure if I was more excited to see her again and meet Mr. Fleurishing, or get to play and cuddle with the twins. Let’s say, both. We met at Palais-Royal, and it was love at first sight, at least for me. Here’s a little impromptu photoshoot, the twins dressed all in Gap kids. What good sports they were!

IMG_8866 IMG_8872 IMG_8874 IMG_8877  Honestly, I couldn’t stop running around with these kids, such fun, and so much energy!

HenryMarieSusan and her husband are truly blessed with these darlings! I look forward to the day when I will be running around Palais-Royal chasing my own little creation… or two.

galerie des galeries

Few people know that within Galeries Lafayette, one of Paris’ most prestigious department stores, lies an art gallery, aptly named Galerie des Galeries. I discovered this on a recent private tour of this fashion haven with Rendezvous en France. Can’t fashion be art?

IMG_8520Painter Karina Bisch has taken over the space with expo Arlequine, the walls covered in a 70 meter long canvas. Window-like openings within the canvas reveal colorful paintings.

IMG_8528IMG_8530_2IMG_8524IMG_8529_2Six characters stand within the open space, dressed in outfits created by Karina, named for select artists including Sonia, Varvara, Giacomo, Pablo, Ellsworth and Gustav.

IMG_8527The space is transformed into a theatre in which the mannequins are the spectators.

IMG_8522_2IMG_8531Thank you Galeries Lafayette, for inspiring the shopper. What’s next? Expo ends May 9th.

life lately

Dearest readers and lovers of Paris, my sincerest apologies for not keeping you up to date on life as of late. Since returning from Istanbul, I’ve been busy launching new handbag collections including the much anticipated Palais-Royal clutches, and bags inspired by Monet’s gardens in Giverny. Just in time for spring as Paris is in full bloom! You can view photos of this beautiful season in the city of lights via Instagram.

IMG_8573_2I’ve also been working on another project which I am excited to share with you. Ever since my travels around the world in 2007 I’ve had the desire to write a book, a memoir of sorts, to share this incredible experience of travel and personal growth. Each of us is writing our own story, and I look forward to sharing part of mine in hopes of inspiring others to follow their dreams, as I did. I hope you will enjoy my journey around the world from NY to Paris, in written form. With my proposal finished, the search for an agent begins…Wish me luck!

In other exciting news, I’ve recently been featured on fabulous Australian based website My French Life. Find out exactly how I arrived to Paris and started designing bags.

More exciting adventures in Paris and beyond coming soon…

Andalucia inspired

Last week I finished my latest handbag collection inspired by recent travels to Andalucia, Spain. Who better to shoot these new bags with than one of my favorite Paris photographers, the uber talented Catherine O’Hara. We set the date for a clear and calm Sunday, and headed for one of my favorite settings, Île Saint-Louis. To avoid the crowds we descended the stairs and the heart of the city became ours, at least for a moment.

Catherine O-Hara Photography-Kasia Dietz Handbagskasia-bags-27 kasia-bags-31kasia-bags-37To celebrate the coming of spring, I’m giving away one of my new Andalucia handbags. {From left to right: Cordoba, Seville, Granada.} To enter, leave a comment with your favorite bag and where you would like to travel. Winner chosen at random on March 10th. You can also enter via instagram at: instagram.com/kasia_dietz

kasia-bags-56Here’s an outtake with Catherine’s adorable pooch Percy. I couldn’t resist a shot with him!

kasia-bags-78Thank you Catherine for such gorgeous photos! Had a wonderful time with you and Percy!

You can find all my handbags online at www.kasiadietz.com

first class dining

I don’t often write about dining, but this meal was one to remember! Last week I had the pleasure of joining France Today website editor, a site and magazine for which I write, for a decadent lunch at Le Cinq. Five-courses. Two Michelin stars. New chef Christian Le Squer, (who himself holds three stars). Does it get much better than this? Actually, it does. We had the privilege of touring the famed wine cellar. Now, that is a something to write about.

IMG_6768I couldn’t wait to try Le Squer’s menu, this “creator of savors and composer of tastes.

IMG_6764 The amusebouches were incredible! Each a unique melange of flavors to fill the palate.

IMG_6775The meal started with a sweet onion filled with oysters and carmelized onions.

IMG_6776 Next, Mont Blanc as Egg Soufflé with black truffle. Heavenly!

IMG_6783My main dish was wild sea bass with caviar in ‘fermented milk from my childhood’.

IMG_6791A little cheese before dessert? My choices included soft truffled brie and Mont d’Or.

IMG_6799This sweet caramel concoction was simply divine!

IMG_6805My dessert was an original work of art, and truly had to be tasted to be understood.

IMG_6813Breton specialty Kouing-Amann to end the meal on a sweet note.

IMG_6850Having tasted a variety of wines with our meal, each carefully selected to complement the dishes, it was a privilege to tour the cave. Built during WWII, Four Seasons George V‘s wine cellar is hidden 14 metres (45 feet) below the ground. With nearly 50,000 bottles, it’s filled with vintage treasures, including over 2,800 French and international wines.

IMG_6843Here’s one I wouldn’t mind tasting! (The magnum Petrus 1964 is valued at 40,000 euros.)

IMG_6828The oldest bottle in the collection is a 1792 Madeira. Impressive!

IMG_6891Every time I pass by hotel George V, I will fondly recall this first class culinary experience.

Je Suis Charlie

The events of the past few days in Paris are unfathomable. Attacks on freedom of expression in a nation whose principles are Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité. Incomprehensible deaths of innocent people. It is difficult to accept and impossible to understand. Having experienced 9/11 in New York, and now this in Paris.

IMG_5618To support my adopted home, and the very notion of freedom, my Italian and I joined friends in today’s Unity March, with over 2.2 million people from around the world.

IMG_5638It was a day of unity, with over 40 world leaders heading the march, linked arm in arm. The energy felt in Paris was undeniable and contagious. United we marched. Je suis Charlie!

IMG_5669Following the march we walked by the location of the shootings for a moment of silence.

IMG_5687My heart goes out to all the victims. May we pray for peace.

Christmas in Paris

Friend and fellow traveler Lynne Martin, author of Home Sweet Anywhere (a book I highly recommend) and blogger at Home Free Adventures, asked me to describe celebrating Christmas in Paris as an expat. I took a moment to think about what makes the city of lights even brighter during the holidays, and having spent many a holiday season in Paris, here is what I came up with. You an also find this article online at TravelSmith!

What is it about Christmas time in Paris that truly captivates the senses? Where to begin…

The intimacy of the sidewalk cafes with their heat lamps and blankets, beneath which you can indulge in a glass of seasonal mulled wine. The street vendors selling roasted chestnuts on many a corner. The annual holiday markets scattered around the city, revealing an array of artisanal gift ideas. But I suspect it’s the culinary specialties from various regions of France that draw the crowds. My favorites include raclette and the more decadent tartiflette, hailing from the Haute-Savoie.

Known for their pâtisseries, it’s no surprise that the French celebrate Christmas with cake. The bûche de Noël originally represented the yule log, a sponge cake with a bark-like texture made of buttercream. Many variations can be found around Paris, each more decadent than the last. Beginning in late December, pastry shops in Paris fill their windows with galettes des rois, or King Cake, to celebrate the Epiphany on January 6th. A good luck charm called la fève is baked inside this puff pastry filled with frangipane, and whoever’s piece contains la fève is crowned king or queen for the day. The cobbled streets sparkle, each dressed in it’s own string of holiday lights. The Champs Elysées glows the brightest of all, each year in late November a lighting ceremony takes place, with thousands of fairy lights lit along this grand boulevard. Yet another reason why Paris is so often referred to as the City of Lights.

At the grands magasins including Printemps, Galeries Lafayette, Le Bon Marché, and Bazar de l’Hôtel de Ville, the window displays are reminiscent of theatre sets, revealing animated Christmas scenes that leave both young and old marveling. Often a family trip is taken to view these story-telling windows.

We cannot forget the celebrated churches. My first Christmas in Paris was spent at Notre Dame Cathedral. The choir alone was worth braving the crowds, as they filled the 800 year old space with song, a midnight mass never to be forgotten. Even passing by the Notre Dame by night, the majestic sparkling Christmas tree will take your breath away.

Christmas in Paris

Wherever you are in the world, I wish you happy holidays + a bright and happy new year!

Follow my holiday adventures in Andalucia, Spain, via instagram and facebook.

Fondation Louis Vuitton

Paris is a city steeped in history, with rarely a modern structure in sight. This is why the Fondation Louis Vuitton is such an important and monumental museum and cultural center for Paris. It not only houses art, but in my opinion it personifies art. It opened in late October in Paris’s Bois de Boulogne, and soon after that I was lucky enough to experience it. My last trip into the mind and work of Frank Gehry was at Guggenheim Bilbao and more recently NYC’s Guggenheim. This one was perhaps the most impressive of them all!

IMG_0504Frank Gehry’s vision was realized thanks to the generous funding of LVMH, at a cost of no less than $135 million. Within this 43 meter high private foundation of glass, concrete, timber and steel, you can find the art collection of Bernard Arnault, LVMH’s art-collecting owner and France’s wealthiest man. “You don’t put a price tag on a dream,” says Arnault. Eleven galleries provide 3,850 sq meters (41,441 square feet) of exhibition space. Pas mal!

IMG_0522From the top you can perfectly view Paris’ business district of La Défense in the distance.

IMG_0567I was enchanted by the mirrors and moat on the ground floor.

IMG_0581 IMG_0592Outside, the cascading waterfall creates a feeling of serenity amidst the concrete.

IMG_8670My Italian and I were so fascinated with the reflective structure and the way in which the light changed throughout the afternoon, that we stayed until nightfall.

IMG_8714THIS was a sight to behold!

The Dream Life of Diana Antholis

I liked Diana the moment I met her. She possesses strength in her manner, her eyes sparkle with optimism, and her deep voice exudes confidence. We first met at the women’s group we belong to, and soon after we shared thoughts about leaving New York and starting life in Paris, as well as the trials and thrills of running a business. I have yet to join Diana on a Paris workout (but I certainly will) and am a big fan of her book, filled with wise advice on how to live a more healthy, balanced, and yes, sexy life. Her story (and her book) is certain to inspire!

IMG_4750ppDecember 20, 2013 was a day of YES. I said yes to the marriage proposal and my new fiancé accepted the contract for a new job in Paris. Two months later, we arrived at Charles de Gaulle on a rainy morning, hardly believing what we had just done. 
 
Rewind a few months and if you told us we would be living in Paris now, we would have laughed (even though my now-husband is French.) We had a beautiful life in New Jersey and New York City. My husband had a solid job and absolutely adored the USA (and still does), but he was looking for a greater challenge. I had most of my business connections, my best friends, and family, but wasn’t ready to “settle” in the suburbs of New Jersey. Actually, our eyes were focused on California. My time living in San Diego was wonderful and we both knew the California lifestyle would fit us perfectly. But then, in what felt like a blink of an eye, my husband was recruited rapidly by a company he used to work for in Paris. Questions arose: Could we live in Paris? Is this good for my business? Is now the right time? Would we love our lives there?
 

I was scared. Even though I had dreams of living abroad during my lifetime and felt a strong pull towards Paris, I truly never planned any kind of move. I figured marrying a Frenchman would fulfill my French dream, as we would be traveling there at least once a year to visit his family in Normandy.

Diana Upward Dog la SeineWe ultimately decided that it was an opportunity we couldn’t pass on. My business is online, so I could easily continue my work as an Author and Healthy Lifestyle Coach. Helping women live the balanced, centered, and sexy lives they deserve worldwide didn’t limit me to a particular timezone. I had big plans for my business, and I could easily continue in Paris. 
 
I was actually reading my own book to get through my nerves about moving abroad. Don’t get me wrong, I was incredibly excited, but all of the what ifs creeped into my brain, especially knowing that I had to re-learn French. I had moved across the country before (NYC to San Diego, San Diego to Washington D.C., then back to NYC) but I never had to learn a new language to live in those cities. But, in true Diana fashion, I pushed forward because I knew I was going to make it. I had no other choice. This is what I help women deal with on a daily basis: following their intuitions, pushing through the what ifs, and creating lives they love.

Diana Luxembourg Stretch

I’ve been called the fastest expat transition in Paris. On my second day here, I went to a women’s networking group meeting, the Paris Women of Success. Freshly jet lagged, the group gave me a round of applause for putting myself out there when I hadn’t even been living in my new city for 24 hours.

Ten months have flown by already. I have expanded my online business to an in-person element in Paris doing workouts in the parks and have big plans for an Unleash Your Sexy Experience launch in 2015, online and in-person. Plus, many of the women of Paris (francaise et expatriee!) have been using my book “Unleashed” as their lifestyle bibles. I have made new friends from all over the world. I know my way around the city and actually can get certain places without the Maps app on my phone (big success for me). I have travelled so much of France and was able to take weekend trips to London and Rome. I have a wonderful life in Paris. 

Diana 1My husband works 12-hour days (sometimes more) so I’ve been on my own for most of this. We enjoy weekends together, though he jokes that he knows Paris through my Instagram feed. He’s been incredibly supportive and happy with my transition and luckily shares the same experiences from when he moved to the USA. I took French courses for the first nine weeks I was in Paris and practice with my local boulanger and new family when I see them. I’m proud of myself that I feel comfortable enough with the language to have conversations and get what I want! It’s not always easy living in Paris. I’ve had my fair share of rudeness and bureaucracy. Even being married didn’t make the visa and immigration process facile. But I made a very important decision when I arrived: I always have a choice, and I choose happiness.

Diana 2What have you overcome because you chose happiness? Or what can you overcome now to find happiness?  Leave a comment and like the Unleash Your Sexy Facebook Page to be entered to win a copy of Diana’s best-selling book “Unleashed: Live the Balanced, Centered, and Sexy Life You Deserve.” And follow Diana on Twitter & Instagram!

c’est chouette

One of my favorite French words is chouette which literally means owl, or when used to describe someone or something, means it’s great or cool, as in c’est chouette. A few weeks ago while walking around my neighborhood, I noticed Les Chouettes, what appeared to be a new eatery. Upon entering I was completely taken with the decor and design of this new restaurant which opened on October 4th. Love at first sight! 

IMG_0890The restaurant was in fact named for an antique owl that the French owner found at a flea market. Inspired by art and a New York vision, the owner hired Spanish architect Lázaro Rosa-Violán to design the three level interior, what used to house a jewelry factory.

IMG_9290 As I climbed the spiral staircase to the second floor I discovered a bar serving artisanal beer and ale, as well as a vast selection of liquor. They even make their own juices.

IMG_0431The third floor revealed a cozy library in which to sip your wine while reading Rimbaud.

IMG_9231This is the perfect place to escape to for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or a evening apéro.

IMG_9234And how is the food? I have yet to try it, but with an inventive French chef and seasonal ingredients, and a menu that changes every two weeks, how can you go wrong?

IMG_0426This is certain to become a favorite haunt in Paris. Welcome to the neighborhood!

Les Chouettes : 32 Rue de Picardie, 75003 (01 44 61 73 21)

united we stand

In an attempt to make even a small difference in the world, one that is often fraught with conflict, I designed the United Collection, representing people coming together in freedom, harmony, balance and unity. Twenty percent of all proceeds from sales of the United bags will go towards the global humanitarian organization, International Red Cross. With my mission in place, this was certainly a fun project to work on. Photographer Hélène Loire and I spent a beautiful late afternoon photographing the collection, beginning with that which we are all entitled to, freedom.

freedom (n): The power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants.

DSC_0028

DSC_0058 2

harmony (n): A pleasing combination of elements in a whole.

DSC_0452

balance (v): To bring into or maintain in a state of equilibrium.

DSC_0200

DSC_0210

united (n): The state of being united or joined as a whole.

DSC_0293

More images from the United Collection on Kasia Dietz handbags website.

In addition to donating 20% of United bag sales to International Red Cross, I’m giving away a bag to one of my readers (chosen at random Dec 1st) as an early holiday gift. Just leave a comment below stating which United bag is your favorite, and be sure to join my designing life on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram. Meanwhile, let’s all try to maintain a sense of freedom, harmony, balance and unity.

morning with Picasso

I first visited Picasso in Paris ten years ago, stopping to admire the 17th-century mansion known as the Hôtel Salé, on one of my many walks around the Marais. I remember thinking what a shame that so much of his personal work was in storage, as there was scant wall space to display the artwork. Little did I know I would end up living just a stone’s throw from this artist’s legacy, but with only the garden open for viewing. As anyone who is a fan of Picasso’s work knows, the Musée Picasso has been closed for the last 5 years (3 years longer than expected), undergoing extensive renovations.

IMG_0335

On Friday morning, October 24th, one day shy of Picasso’s birthday and the official opening, I was invited inside the newly renovated museum, now three times the size and much more impressive.

IMG_0324

IMG_0325

I walked around the five floors in awe of the renewed space which now boasts over 400 of Picasso’s paintings, drawings and sculptures, as well as works from his personal collection.

IMG_0342

IMG_0344

IMG_0331

Musée Picasso plans to host one major exhibit each year. Next year, in collaboration with New York City’s Museum of Modern Art, it will be a show revolving around Picasso’s sculpture. Until then, I plan to spend many a Paris morning with Picasso.

Seven Letters from Paris

Samantha Verant is a woman after her own heart, one that she left at a train station in Paris in 1989. His name was Jean-Luc. They met randomly at a Paris bistro during her European adventures, and the seeds of love were planted. Like most travel romances, after their 24 hour affair, they continued to journey solo. But not without Jean-Luc writing Samantha seven heartfelt love letters, filled with passion and depth. Years went by and Samantha found herself living an unfulfilled, passionless life, dreaming of this handsome Frenchman from the past. What happens when Samantha uncovers these letters 20 years later and searches for her long lost love, Jean-Luc? In a word: magic. But not without hardship. Samantha’s memoir Seven Love Letters from Paris is proof of the power of love and how overcoming fear can help dreams come true.

Even though I haven’t yet met Samantha, (but plan to soon as I’m certain she and I and our passion driven husbands will get along splendidly), I feel like I know her. We became friends via our blogs, and when I heard about her romantic tale, I couldn’t wait for her to share it with the world. Once the book was published just days ago, I could not put it down, as Samantha recounts her love story with her amorous rocket scientist, from the very first meeting. Fiction could not have told a better tale! How happy I am for this couple in love, who were certainly destined for one another. In Samantha’s words, as in my own, “L’amour! Encore l’amour! Toujours l’amour!”

SEVEN LETTERS FROM PARIS: A MEMOIR:

Twenty years, seven letters, and one long-lost love of a lifetime 

Watch the book trailer:


Thank you Samantha, for living and documenting your love story with such a generous heart!

Connect with Samantha via: Web, Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter

 

13-a baker’s dozen

Last Sunday I attended, assisted and feasted at a grand brunch for 25, with David Lebovitz as the guest of honor. The hostess was Laurel of 13-a baker’s dozen, one of my favorite lunch spots in Saint Germain, with home cooked specialties. Also, my first choice for coffee and dessert (specifically Laurel’s famous carrot cake). This too is one of the locales where I hold my bag painting workshops.

photo 1 copy

Friends uniting over food and conversation. An ideal Sunday.

photo 3

I’ve met David on several occasions and couldn’t wait to read My Paris Kitchen.

photo 4 copy

What could be better than tasting recipes from David’s new book?

photo-123

photo 6

photo 7

Have I mentioned the carrot cake?

photo 8Melissa of Prête-Moi Paris and I took photos and helped to make everyone feel at home, and of course we dined like queens! I’m already looking forward to the next brunch… at David’s?

home sweet Paris

It’s true that to be truly happy we must appreciate not only who we are and what we have but also where we are. This means to make the most of wherever we call home. There are several places close to my heart, but these last 5 years, it’s Paris that I am lucky to call my home. With all it’s flaws and imperfections (those who have lived here know what I’m talking about), but much like a person, no place is perfect. There are certainly days in which I miss the chaos of New York City, or the calm of Westhampton Beach, but there is certainly no place as beautiful as Paris. And I have seen a lot.

IMG_8237

A few days ago, I took a walk along the Seine.

IMG_8249

It is here that I often find myself on early evenings.

IMG_8252

I had a rendezvous with my Italian, but kept walking and walking…

IMG_8256

Captivated by the light on this late summer evening.

IMG_8259

And this is when it occurred to me exactly how lucky I am.

high tea for two

One reason I love when my mom comes to Paris to visit is that I get to spoil her. I spend months in preparation, planning all sorts of events, exhibitions, eating experiences, etc. This year I thought I’d surprise her with a mother/daughter high tea. Where better than at the Four Seasons George V?

IMG_1501Upon entering this ethereal setting, we were taken with Jeff Leatham’s stunning floral compositions.

IMG_1448

My mom and I were in our element, both of us favoring sweet over savory.

IMG_1454We began our indulgent afternoon with one of Lucien Gautier’s fruitful masterpieces.

IMG_1462Is there anything better than French pastries with champagne to compliment?

IMG_1480How happy I was to spend such a memorable afternoon with my mom, and in such sweet splendor!

 

rive droite to rive gauche

Even before I moved to Paris I was always drawn to the rive droite, the right bank. That to me, is home. Everyone has a side, don’t they? When Habitat Parisien proposed that I experience life on the left bank (and in one of their gorgeous apartments with a stunning view) I didn’t think twice. Maybe this would turn me into a rive gauche girl?

SAMSUNG CSC

My apartment was situated in Saint Germain, close to Pont Neuf. I climbed up to the terrace just as the sun was setting… What a view! Sacre Coeur in the distance, beneath a sky unlike any other.

IMG_3260

I quickly made myself at home on rue Dauphine and contemplated never leaving this perfect perch.

IMG_3265

Is there anything more magical than the Paris sky at twilight?

IMG_3483

The next few days I spent evenings on my terrace, watching the sky change it’s hues, rosé in hand.

IMG_3231

So how was life on the left bank? It certainly gave me a new appreciation of Paris as I explored a lesser known neighborhood and often felt much like a tourist. My affinity for the rive gauche grew, but deep down I’m still a rive droite girl.

folks and sparrows

In the last few years, the coffee scene in Paris has really changed, or might I say improved. No longer a need to rely on muddy watered down coffee at corner bistros for that caffeine fix. Trendy little cafes and eateries are opening up all around Paris, serving up some of the best café cremes around. The latest such spot to hit the North Marais is Folks and Sparrows. I was curious to experience this newcomer, along with Mardi, friend and fellow coffee drinker.

FOLKS-BOUTIQUE2I arrived a little early and took interest in the design and details of the space. A carefully curated gourmet épicerie and lunch spot. Curious, I began speaking with the owner, a Brad Pitt look-alike. It turns out Franck lived in Brooklyn for 10 years, well versed in NY’s food culture as a manager at a trendy restaurant. Now it was time to open his own spot, lucky for us, back on his home turf.

FOLKS-CAFE

We spoke about New York and Paris (of course), and how the café and restaurant culture in Paris has evolved over the years, due to the French traveling more and returning home with their creative visions. Inspired by the American dream, perhaps? Yes, anything is possible.

Folks2And how was the coffee? Both Mardi and I agreed that it was delicious! Some of the best I’ve had in Paris. And in such a cozy yet uniquely chic space. Well done, Franck! I’ll soon be back for lunch.

Folks and Sparrows: 14 rue Saint Sebastien (open 10-7 daily, closed Mondays)

Peninsula paradise

In 1908, at the height of the Belle Époque, one of Paris’s most luxurious hotels opened at 19 Avenue Kléber in the 16ème arrond. Hotel Magestic was among the most elegant addresses in Paris and certainly a place to see and be seen! In the decades to follow, this late 19th century Haussmanian building lost it’s luster as it’s hotel doors closed and instead it housed various organizations.

Historical - Exterieur Historical - Lobby Historical - Terrace

It was in 2008 that Katara Hospitality group decided to restore the building and create in it’s grand space the Peninsula Paris. I was lucky enough to be invited to the preview of this, the first Peninsula Hotel in all of Europe, and the 10th in the world.

Kleber EntranceI arrived to a red carpet, jazz musicians and champagne flowing! Following a presentation on the building’s history and the meticulous attention to detail in the restoration and modernization process, we met the highly skilled chefs & pâtissiers in charge of the hotel’s six dining options. Executive Chef Jean-Edern Hurstel’s “farm to table” philosophy is certain to please many a palate.

L'Oiseau Blanc Terrace copyPerhaps my favorite of the restaurants is L’Oiseau Blanc (The White Bird) situated on the rooftop. Is it here where I met the Marchand brothers, the hotel’s fromagiers, and tasted an exquisite goat’s cheese with a hint of rose. Following this dairy decadence I was served a dessert that I cannot even begin to describe, a creation by award-winning Chef Pâtissier Julien Alvarez. With a stunning view of the Eiffel Tower, I could envision the many lavish evenings that were soon to come to life in this new found paradise.

Dancing Leaves - LASVIT copy

As I toured the hotel, I took note of the many historic details. Some of France’s finest artisans were hand-picked to restore this grand structure to it’s former glory. Needless to say, what resulted in the 6 years of restoration is the ultimate in French craftsmanship.

Lobby ceiling detail Lobby column detail

Roof

On August 1st the Peninsula Paris will welcome it’s first guests, in regal style. And in the days to follow I will certainly be one of them, at the least sipping a cocktail on a familiar terrace.

The King and I

When I was ten, my mom took me to see the Broadway musical Annie. That was the beginning. From Phantom of the Opera in NYC to Les Miserables in London… any chance I could get, I would lose myself in a magical, musical setting. Theatre, opera and ballet quickly followed. When I learned that The King and I was on in Paris (and in English) at the Théâtre du Châtelet, I didn’t think twice. This famed production by Rodgers and Hammerstein is based on the 1944 novel Anna and the King of Siam by Margaret Landon, taking place in Siam in the early 1860s. A love story ensues.

king 053king 079 king 111 king 214 king 240 king 363 king 382 king 417 king 426 With powerful performances by Susan Graham and Lambert Wilson, and breathtaking set designs and costumes, not to mention the musical score and choreography, I was completely enchanted! Following a standing ovation, we left the theatre smiling and filled with melody. Encore!

Dîner en Blanc

This year I finally made it to the annual Dîner en Blanc. This invite-only secret dinner party began 25 years ago by a man named François Pasquier. He invited a few friends to the Bois de Boulogne on an evening in June, and asked that everyone bring another friend. All the attendees wore white in order to find one another more easily. (My friend Delphine’s parents were among the first dinner guests!) The event was a grand success and each successive year friends invited friends and it grew into a 10,000+ dinner party. I’ve always loved the idea of it, even given all the preparation ahead of time. Everyone attending must provide their own food, drink, even tables and chairs, and all must be white! Considering it’s not exactly legal, the prestigious location is disclosed just before the dinner actually begins. This year the grand event took place along 6 bridges. Our designated spot was close to Pont Alexandre III, with gorgeous views of the Grand Palais and Eiffel Tower.

IMG_2503 IMG_2506

IMG_2563 IMG_2575 IMG_2586It was one of those magical nights spent with friends both old and new, wrapped in warm summer air and the setting sun, surrounded by the grandeur of Paris, that remains with you forever.

IMG_2651

Could there have been a more perfect setting? We’ll see where next year finds us.

Lights Out

June 6th marked the 70th anniversary of D-Day, the day on which Allied forces invaded northern France via beach landings in Normandy. In commemoration of this day I joined a new Context Tour, Lights Out, Paris Under the Occupation, accompanied by my Italian and a few friends. Following are several of the relevant spots, including bullet holes I had never noticed, along our 3 hour walk, led by a well-schooled historian. These images and the stories behind them will stay with me forever.

IMG_2201 IMG_2226 IMG_2265 IMG_2267 IMG_2272

To learn more about Paris history, art, food… join a Context tour. You might even find me there.

blogger collective

There are many advantages to being a blogger in Paris. Most of all, the contacts you make with fellow expats and Parisians, which often lead to friendships. There too, are random events. But a collective for native English and international bloggers in France? Now THAT is a brilliant idea. Native Native is just that, started by Imogen Bailey who I recently had the pleasure of meeting. The idea behind it is to organize blogger events every month, at unusual venues in Paris. Sign me up! The first event took place at Emé & Isa Galerie where we learned the art of creating a DIY bracelet.

IMG_1074

The founder of Milh Mercerie showed us the ropes, literally.

IMG_1081

And in no time we were braiding away… with champagne in hand.

IMG_1101

I enjoyed the DIY process and was well impressed with my creation!

IMG_1122Six bloggers with six unique accessories. Well done! Here’s the link to make your own bracelet.

Thank you Imogen! Looking forward to the next Native Native events!

USA à Paris

In mid 2013, I met a French journalist who had in 2011 spent 6 months living in New York City. This experience changed her life. Upon returning to Paris she was filled with new ideas and dreams, having gained the “we can do it” attitude from life in the big apple. In September 2011, Noélie Viallet joined forces with Kamal Ben Saïd and together they launched  www.paris-newyork.tv, for their shared love of New York and America. Following the success of that project, Noélie spent the next few years working on a book, expressing her affections for all things American, in Paris.

Kasia Dietz-USA in Paris photo

We met to speak about my handbags, as a New York designer now living in Paris, and our conversations quickly led to life between here and there. I enjoyed speaking with Noélie and was impressed with her ambitious projects! Needless to say, I’m honored to be included in Le Guide des USA à Paris, which was recently published and can now be found in bookstores all over Paris and on Amazon.com. All photos by photographer Pierre Olivier Signe.

USA a Paris cover

Included within the pages are many fabulous addresses for all things USA, including food, fashion, culture… Among them fellow New Yorkers and friends Suzanne Flenard of Square Modern, Daisy de Plume of THATLou (and now THATRue) and Kristen Beddard Heimann of The Kale Project.USA a Paris-Kasia DietzThank you Noélie, for the courage to experience my country & culture and to share it with yours!

THATRue launch!

Last Sunday my Italian and I took to the streets of Paris for a treasure hunt unlike any other, joined by over 30 friends and Paris bloggers. We were searching for the likes of Montaigne and Rimbaud, among other hidden gems. This hunt amidst historic Paris being THATRue, the latest creation by Daisy de Plume, mastermind behind THATLou. You can read about my THATLou adventures here.

THATRue

Being a great fan of Daisy’s endeavors at cleverly educating while entertaining the masses on French culture and history, I was honored to be one of the co-hosts along with Forest of 52 Martinis and The Chamber. I designed a THATRue bag for the occasion, to be won & worn by the winning team.

IMG_8091 2

IMG_8113

IMG_8126

IMG_8158Our team included Erica of HiP Paris Blog, and though we did not win, we had a blast discovering corners of the left bank none of us had known, and my Italian even sang for us, to earn extra points of course! Though he seemed to enjoy it. As quoted in the latest feature in The Huffington Post, “This new Paris scavenger hunt is the perfect way to see the city.” I could not agree more.

wine on the Seine

 What better place to sample French wines than in a boat on the Seine?

IMG_7384

On a recent overcast afternoon I experienced Wine Tasting in Paris, started by wine connoisseur Thierry Givone. Admittedly, I didn’t know too much about the many wine regions of Paris, other than which regions produce my favorite wines, namely Bourgogne and Bordeaux. And the Champagne region of course! This was the perfect occasion, not to mention setting, in which to educate myself.

IMG_7419

I was joined by friend Amy Feezer. Following a glass of bubbly we all became better acquainted.

IMG_7427

One glass of wine followed another, from the Loire to Bourgogne to the Côtes du Rhône. And with each glass a thorough description of the grapes, the notes, the tastes… even a lesson in the way wine should be savoured. Thierry has a particular affinity towards Bourgogne, that region being his home, but he is an expert on all regions of France and certainly has developed a nose for wine! I was pleased to taste wines I would otherwise not have thought to try, and was impressed with Thierry’s expertise and attention to detail when it came to French wines.

IMG_7441

After over 3 hours of tastings and conversation, with a view of the sun setting over the Seine in the distance, Amy and I left the boat a little bit tipsy and a lot more knowledgeable. Santé!

For more information: www.wine-tasting-in-paris.com and Facebook and Twitter

 

five years later

As anyone who has read my blog will know, I wasn’t raised to believe in fitting in nor living by societal standards. I was raised believing that anything is possible, and that life was meant to be a design of our own creation. This was instilled by two creative, soulful parents who themselves rarely followed conventions. Above all, I was taught to live by my heart.

It was by following this unconventional script, from the urban jungle of NYC, to the scenic landscapes of the earth’s far corners, that led me to my Italian. And to Paris. Exactly 5 years ago.

NYC

Everyone has a story. Some have yet to live theirs. Today we celebrate ours.

 

curating inspiration

As anyone in Paris is well aware, given the amount of fashion forward (and fashion faux pas) walking the streets of Paris these days, it’s Fashion Week. Rather than attending crowded shows to catch a glimpse of new trends that are often only seen on the catwalk, I chose a more inspired path. Friday night was the opening of the Dries Van Noten exhibition at Musée des Arts Décoratifs. I was lucky enough to join Anne of Ritournelle Blog, along with the who’s who of fashion, including Dries himself! This is the Belgian fashion icon’s first solo exhibition, aptly titled Inspirations. Not merely a fashion exhibition, but a look into the mind of a designer through art, imagination and creativity.

IMG_7217The starting point of a collection can be either very literal or abstract, a painting, a certain colour, a thought, a gesture, a smell, a flower, anything really. What matters to me is the journey from that first flash of inspiration to the final destination, the individual garments, the collection.

IMG_7213

IMG_7194 IMG_7199 IMG_7200 IMG_7203 IMG_7210

IMG_7208

IMG_7215

IMG_7193

I was impressed and inspired by this in-depth look into the mind of an artist. Here’s what Suzy Menkes of the International New York Times had to say, along with a video tour with Dries himself. This exhibition, which took 2 years to mount, will be on display until August 31st. Well worth a visit for anyone with creative sensibilities and a love for fashion, art & travel. Worth even a trip to Paris!

year of the horse

This is the year of the horse. In the Chinese zodiac, that is. The spirit of the horse is recognized to be the Chinese people’s ethos – making unremitting efforts to improve themselves. It is energetic, bright, warm-hearted, intelligent and able. Returning to Paris just in time enjoy the local celebrations, living close by to one of the cities Chinese neighborhoods. In NYC I lived not far from Chinatown and reveled in the yearly parade that wound it’s way through the streets. This felt much like those days, living amidst an ethnic people and sharing in their traditions.

IMG_5962

IMG_6152

IMG_6092

IMG_6156The traditional costumes were elaborate and impressive!

IMG_6097The parade took place near Arts & Metiers, close to the Marais. There lives a small population of the Wenzhounese from the Zhejiang province of China. The majority have settled in Belleville, which along with the 13eme arrondissement, is considered Paris’ Chinatown, the largest in Europe.

My quest this year of the horse, in addition to improving myself,  is to find a dim sum restaurant!

the happy show

Often I question, what is happiness? Is it something we can control? For me, happiness can be as simple as sitting along the banks of the Seine, watching the sun set behind Notre Dame. Equally, cruising around the spectacular Greek island of Milos on a catamaran beneath a clear blue sky, or floating in a hot air balloon above the natural wonder that is called Cappodocia. Both of these memories elicit great happiness. Come to think of it, almost anything related to travel, beauty, love (or nearly anything sweet), brings me happiness. I recently read an article that shed a little light.

IMG_5719

When I discovered an exhibition based on this very topic, I couldn’t wait to go. Stefan Sagmeister is creator of The Happy Show, a study of happiness, a topic that has long intriqued him and led him on his happiness hunt. This Austrian-born graphic artist, whom I’ve had the pleasure of meeting in New York City, asks “Is happiness a muscle just like any other?”

IMG_5737

The first question, what makes us happy? (Genetics, Activites & Life Conditions)

IMG_5730

IMG_5727How happy are you on a scale of 1-10? Looks like the gumballs are almost gone in #9.

IMG_4812What makes us unhappy? “Trying to look good limits my life”

IMG_5743It has been proven that taking risks increases happiness. I agree!

IMG_4802

My Italian and I attended the opening of the expo and were very happy to speak with Stefan about his studies on happiness and what inspired him to put together the show, as well as the film he’s working on. For those interested, here are 7 rules for making more happiness from Stefan.

The Happy Show is making it’s way around the world, from Philadelphia to Toronto to Los Angeles and now in Paris at La Gaîté Lyrique. Will the exhibition itself make you happy? You can bet on it.

happy holidays!

This year we are celebrating Christmas and New Year in Paris. Much like my first year in the city of lights, with a traditional Polish dinner and midnight mass at Notre Dame… customs that I will treasure throughout my life, regardless of where I live. I’ve been lucky in these last few years to experience an Italian Christmas as well as a few spent in the Florida sun. The greatest gift is having family and friends all over the world, with whom I can celebrate from afar, in gratitude.

Christmas in Paris

Wherever you are in the world,  I wish you Merry Christmas, Wesołych Świąt, Buon Natale, Joyeux Noël… and much happiness in the New Year!

epicurean extravaganza

Recently I was invited to what can truly be considered a food lover’s paradise, the inauguration of the brand new La Grande Épicerie de Paris. This uber gourmet food hall located within the Le Bon Marché is the spot for anything indulgent, from everywhere in the world. And indulge we did!

IMG_5432

The night commenced with a presentation by the bakers and butchers, fit for a king. Champagne flowed, accompanied by plentiful platters of fois gras, oysters, and cheeses, France’s finest. It wouldn’t be a party without a selection of fine Italian hams… and a heavenly chocolate fountain!

IMG_5365IMG_5391

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The fruits, vegetables and produce were elegantly displayed like works of art.

IMG_5328

IMG_5374

I felt grateful to live in a country that celebrates food so ceremoniously!

IMG_5412

The icing on the cake, aside from the many desserts we inhaled (including macarons and freshly dipped ice-cream pops),  was DJ & comedian Ariel Wizman, spinning tunes in chef Jean-Jacques Massé’s new restaurant La Table. This was certainly the epicurian extravaganza of the year!

Read more about the grand new epicerie on France Today.

Discover another Paris

Little did I know how much I would grow to love my neighborhood of the North Marais. I’ve witnessed it’s evolution over the last four years, from low-key neighborhood bordering the historic Marais, to trendy hotspot frequented by Parisians and expats alike. When KLM and iFly Magazine approached me to host their segment on Paris, naturally I was honored, and it was the Haute Marais that I was eager to share with their millions of viewers. After all, they were looking for little secrets of Paris, as can only be shared by a local, and the North Marais holds many!

KLM filming 1

The crew and I spent two days shooting beneath a mix of clouds and sunshine, and what fun it was!

KLM filming 2

By the end of the filming, I felt even more like a Paris local, and proudly so. I introduced viewers to some of my favorite spots in the North Marais, we explored the largest antique market in the world, Marché aux Puces StOuen, stopped to admire the photography of Henri Cartier-Bresson at his Fondation… and of course enjoyed a rendezvous with my Italian. It wouldn’t be Paris without a little romance, would it?

KLM filming 3

I’m very excited to share this video with you, dear readers. Et voilà, Discover another Paris! You may also find my Paris tour on your next cross-continental flight with KLM… Or perhaps a travel show?

 

supporting the small

Today is Small Business Saturday, the day following the largest shopping day in America. Even prior to starting my own handbag business I always tried to support small enterprises, those with the courage, passion and drive to start a venture of their own. One such Paris-based, chic, eco-conscious scarf company I recently learned about is Krama Heritage. Here’s a little background.

The Krama, which has been traditionally worn in Cambodia for centuries, is the Khmers’ belonging sign and a very useful scarf in their everyday life. For us, it’s the best way to develop a social project in Cambodia: all our Kramas are woven by a cooperative of weavers in fair trade conditions and, for each Krama purchased, we hand out €3 to the Non Governmental Organization Pour un Sourire d’Enfant (For a Child’s Smile).

Krama Heritage

Launched 11 months ago, these unisex scarves are making a statement around the world. I share one with my Italian, and each time he or I wear it I think of Cambodia and it’s people. Having been to Siem Reap and Phnom Penh during my travels, and meeting the locals, I know how greatly such a business can benefit it’s people. Bravo to Krama Heritage for thinking globally and acting locally!

Krama scarf

On our recent trip to Bruges, a little piece of Cambodia proudly accompanied us.

Find out more about Krama Heritage on their website and Facebook page.

And thank you for supporting small business!

cat café

As much as I would love to adopt a cat, considering how much we travel, I would feel sad leaving the furry feline on it’s own for extended periods. When I discovered a cat café just opened in my Marais neighborhood, I was elated, and needless to say, curious. Are French cats as friendly as those in America? And how exactly does this concept work?

IMG_5961

The first cat café, where you can drink or dine surrounded by friendly felines, started in Taiwan in 1998, and soon after gained popularity in Japan, where there are now over 150. Vienna, Budapest and London have also followed suit. Le Café des Chats is the first such café to open in Paris, and so far it’s creating quite a buzz amidst cat fans. So busy that reservations need to be made, even for tea.

IMG_5990

At the window sits the oldest of the 12 cats, all rescued and chosen for their mellow personalities.

IMG_5976

The cats lay sleeping in the cat beds or upon the lounge chairs, kept company by client filled tables.

IMG_5984

I thought it might be strange to drink or eat in a room filled with cats, but these felines create a natural environment. It feels much like visiting the next door neighbor, the crazy cat lady. I found myself distracted, as all I wanted to do was find the cats and play with them. Let sleeping cats lie?

IMG_5933

I was happy to learn is that all the cats are very well cared for in their new café home. I suspect this will become a regular spot for me and fellow feline loving friends. And they serve brunch!

IMG_6007

Le Café des Chats is located at 16 rue Michel Le Comte, Paris 3eme, open daily from 12-10pm.

for the ladies

What makes a perfect ladies night? How about champagne, macarons, nude men and good friends? That’s exactly the ladies night I just had the pleasure of indulging in. Following a Girls Guide to Paris soirée to launch their new magazine, I met girlfriends at the Musee d’Orsay. That’s where we found the nude men. Did I neglect to mention they were sculpted?

IMG_1968

Rarely in history has the male nude, the basis of Academic art training, been displayed the way the beauty of the nude woman has, and still is. The Musee d’Orsay decided to change this by curating the exhibition, Masculine / Masculine. Their aim is to take an “interpretive, playful, sociological and philosophical approach to exploring all aspects and meanings of the male nude in art.”

IMG_1981And how pleased are we women? And quite a fair share of men too.

IMG_1984

IMG_1976

What most impressed me was the variety of artworks in view.

IMG_1978

From Rodin to Bacon, Warhol, Pierre et Gilles, Cocteau, Flandrin and many more masters.

IMG_1987

There was certainly a fair share of ogling by eager onlookers, but well worth braving the crowds.

IMG_1971

And worth snapping a few photos, even though it was forbidden. Shhhh!

IMG_1986

If you are in Paris, grab your girlfriends (or go solo) and head to the Orsay!

Exhibition ends January 2nd.

hidden romanticism

Clandestinely situated down a long alleyway on an unassuming street in the 9eme arrondissement, sits the house of painter Ary Scheffer, also known as the Musée de la Vie Romantique (Museum of the Romantics). How did I not know about this earlier? I decided to venture there on a sunny morning, with friend and fellow romantic Jacquelyn, to explore this artist’s home, dedicated to the arts and literature of the first half of the XIXth century. Truly a hidden gem!

IMG_9121

It is here that much of writer George Sand‘s memorabilia are displayed including portraits, pens, jewelry… even her hair! An impressive collection. Incidentally, this famous writer and mistress of Chopin, once lived on my street in the Marais!

IMG_9113

After touring the house’s many chambers, filled with landscape paintings by George Sand and portraits by Ary Scheffer, we took our romantic musings to the garden.

IMG_9119

A memorable morning spent with the romantics… and a new favorite hideaway in Paris.

Musée de la Vie Romantique
16 rue Chaptal 75009

four years!

IMG_8631

Today marks four years in Paris. Hard to believe how quickly time passes, does it ever slow down? Not to labor on all the sentiments, hardships, and celebrations of the last 4 years (though certainly I could), I will simply say that it’s taken this long to feel that Paris is truly my home. Whenever I return to NYC, I embrace the city and it’s chaos, but it is Paris that I long to return to. The calm and culture. And in both cities, I cherish the people. Life is much about the people we share it with, and those that are truly dear, will forever be. Regardless of where life takes us.

IMG_8711

Fittingly, today I took part in a project all about New York in Paris, very proudly of course! More on that later. In celebration of this exciting endeavor and my Paris Anniversary I am giving away a bag! Simply leave a comment with your favorite French word or phrase (who knows, it could appear in my new Paris bag collection) and the bag you’d like to win, from any of the collections: kasiadietz.com

Winner will be selected randomly & announced August 27th! Bonne Chance!

la république

One reason I love living in the North Marais is the proximity to Place de la République, bordering the 3rd, 10th and 11th arrondissements. At it’s center proudly stands Marianne, 10 meters high, a monument to the history of the formation of the Republic. Recently the ‘Place’ has been renovated, creating a vast area in which to sit and read, have coffee, play with kids, watch a concert… I attended the opening on a gorgeous sunny day, along with Daisy de Plume and her darling son, and we even made it onto a French website, now I’m truly a local! Here is a look at the new pedestrian space.

IMG_7378

IMG_7370 IMG_7374  IMG_7380 IMG_7381

Recently in the new ‘Place’, my Italian and I attended a concert to honor Nelson Mandela on his 95th birthday, how memorable! Looking forward to many more neighborhood memories still to come.

lights. camera. action.

IMG_7017

Yesterday my Italian and I spent a hot summer day surrounded by lights and optical illusions at the Grand Palais. Light and motion in 20th Century art. What a unique and dynamic expo, aptly named Dynamo. Needless to say, we left illuminated! Following are some of those enlightened moments…

IMG_6866 IMG_6880 IMG_6885 IMG_6899 IMG_6902 IMG_6907 2 IMG_6915 IMG_6925 IMG_6959 IMG_6967 IMG_6985 IMG_6992 IMG_7002 IMG_7005 IMG_7021

For those in Paris, hurry, last day is July 22nd!

Pop in the Pompidou

IMG_6062

Recently I attended the opening of the Roy Lichtenstein retrospective at the Pompidou. How could I resist a major American artist from the Pop Art era? Though little did I know the breadth of his artistic skill until I walked through the galleries exhibiting his over 100 works. Many pieces were not allowed to be photographed, but I did my best to curate my own mini Lichtenstein exhibit for those who aren’t able to make it, or to entice those who can, to go. Capturing both his sculptures and his paintings, well beyond the world of Pop. Well worth the visit into the mind and life of an artist.

IMG_6099

“I want my painting to look as if it has been programmed. I want to hide the record of my hand.”

IMG_6113 IMG_6115

“The subjects aren’t what holds my interest.”

IMG_6117

“Brushtrokes are almost a symbol of art.”

IMG_6124 IMG_6127“I’ve always wanted to make up someone as a cartoon.”

IMG_6132IMG_6134

IMG_6133

Exhibition runs now until November 4th.

Provence in a bag

In honor of what almost feels like summer in Paris, and simply due to inspiration during my travels in the South of France, my latest handbags are aptly called the Provence Collection. Filled with colors and flowers to brighten up the grayest of days, in Paris or anywhere for that matter. With the help of photographer Louise Chester, these bags came to life and are now available online at www.kasiadietz.com. All bags and totes are reversible, limited edition and of course, made in Paris!

Flowers tote

Flowers tote and matching clutch.

DSC07737

DSC07826

Colors bag and matching purse.

Colors bag and purse

Wishing all a colorful summer, wherever you may be in the world!

diner à la française

IMG_4463For those living outside of France, or even for many of those on the inside, what does it really feel like to dine with the vrai français? How do the French dine, what do they serve and with which formalities, what do their homes look like? Personally, I’m lucky to have a few dear French friends who have graciously opened their homes to me. But I still often wonder what secrets are discovered at these French dinners.

By the clever collaboration of Renaud Maigne who often traveled for work and was tired of dining alone, “The thing we remember the most is the personal exchange we’ve had with the locals who tell you about their country and traditions.”, and Matthieu Heslouin who wanted to make the foreign dining experience accessible to all, “Thematic dinners are as numerous as the passions of the hosts. To each his own dinner! Or in French, à chacun son dîner!” Thus VoulezVousDîner was born! Dinner parties for all to attend, all around the world.

IMG_4486

I was eager to attend one of these Paris dinners, and chose Diner Concert Chez Sacha. Gourmet dinner followed by a piano concert? Yes please! My Italian and I arrived first, how very un-French of us, and we became acquainted with our lovely host Sasha and her friend Carl, who generously poured the champagne. Another French couple arrived and we were seated at a table set with plates designed by Sacha herself. Before the food was even served, I was impressed!

Once dinner began we all became well acquainted and shared various musings on life in Paris, both from the perspective of locals and foreigners, while Sacha told us all about her history with cooking and her passion for pottery. Each course was creatively inspired, delicious and plentiful, paired with select wines and ending with dessert… and cheese bien sûr!

IMG_4465

To end the evening, Sacha performed a few piano pieces as we sipped on a digestif. It was certainly a night to remember! Looking forward to my next VoulezVousDîner, in Paris or elsewhere.

time travel

As many times as I’ve stepped onto an airplane, crossing a continent, it never ceases to amaze me how in mere hours you can be transported through time, or so it feels. Most recently I flew from Pisa, near Monterosso where my Italian and I spent the weekend with his family and friends…

Monterosso

…to New York City, to visit my family and friends. From what felt like the past, to the future.

NYC

Could there be any two places on the earth more different yet equally loved? Yes, certainly there are. But these are mine. Two very distinct and disparate parts of the world I call home. One for it’s calm and beauty, and one for it’s energy and innovation. And both for their culture. Not to mention all the other parts of the world that became home even for a brief moment. Ah yes, and then there’s Paris…

flying carpet

One of my creative passions (other than designing bags) is decorating. Finding just the right furniture and accessories to fill the space and create a home. Since moving to our new apartment, this is exactly what I have been doing. With the approval of my Italian, of course. (Thankfully, he usually agrees with my taste.) In need of a carpet for the living room I thought why not find one in Istanbul? And with the help of our local friends during our recent visit, that is exactly what we did.

IMG_4152

Rather than brave the Grand Bazaar with the tourists, Emre took us to the street of rugs. And there began our hunt for the perfect piece to complete our Parisian mid-century modern salon.

IMG_4149

The friendly sales people, who were busy mending a carpet when we entered, were more than pleased to help us, having many options of traditional woven kilims as well as patchwork rugs.

IMG_4137

We were shown dozens of rugs, mostly the patchwork style which I had quickly fallen in love with for it’s ancient yet modern allure. And then the bargaining began… Which was the chosen rug?

home

An elegant black and white patchwork, that fits perfectly with our decor, and is the best souvenir we could have brought home. I knew this was our rug as soon as I saw it, but what fun to experience running around the carpet stores! Now perhaps a trip to Morocco for a lamp?