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.
It 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.
Could there have been a more perfect setting? We’ll see where next year finds us.
What better place to sample French wines than in a boat on the Seine?
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.
I was joined by friend Amy Feezer. Following a glass of bubbly we all became better acquainted.
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.
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!
When the sun comes out, so do the Parisians. On a recent spring-like day, moods were high and there was a lightness evident in the air. Now this is what spring is meant to feel like! My Italian and I joined a group of friends at the gardens of the Palais Royal for my favorite summer pastime, le pique-nique. It was here too that I played my first game of pétanque, the famous French sport so often played in and around Paris. Immediately I took a liking to this game of ball throwing, even winning a few times.Perhaps the champagne helped!
It was beneath these blue skies that once again, I felt lucky to live within such immense beauty.
On the way home, a little surprise in the form of fashion to end a well-spent day, la vie parisienne.
Most recently another friend and fellow expat has spoken, this time through film. An actress and film-maker from NYC, Jennifer Geraghty arrived to Paris no more than 2 year ago, and now, she has a few stories to tell. Namely, all about the romantic tales between expats and the French. All true stories, not all her own. Certainly enough to entice any mademoiselle or monsieur out there who wonders about dating in the French capital! Have a look, listen, and share the love! Jennifer and her collaborator Alexis are in the midst of raising funds via kickstarter to turn these tales into a series of short stories, 12 of which are already written. To learn more, here’s their website.
To add a little incentive in the form of Kasia Dietz handbags, I’ve designed a custom hand-painted tote for those able to donate a generous sum. More info on their kickstarter page…
May these tales of L‘Amour (or less) come to life!
Every Fall I look forward to the wine harvest in Montmartre, the Fête des Vendanges. An annual event during which I don’t mind braving the crowds surrounding the Sacré-Cœur Basilica, eager to sample the various regional wines, paired with plentiful samples of cheese and fois gras, bien sûr!
This year my friend Sarah was in town from Rome, a wine aficionado as luck would have it, and she too was eager to indulge her palate in the tastes of France.
A white night following a bright blue Indian summer day. The ideal mood and climate for Paris’ annual Nuit Blanche, the one night of the year that the city ceases to sleep. One of my favorites, allowing those brave enough, to explore museums and churches in the early morning hours. Our adventures took place in the Marais, beginnning with a video installation of The Leopard at the magestic Hotel de Ville. Incidentally, the first book my Italian ever gave me.
From there we sought the shortest lines with the most engaging exhibitions. Not an easy task. We found Moby Dick at the Museum of Hunting & Nature, complete with a backdrop of whale sounds.
Seeking a moment of respite from the growing crowds, we entered the Église Notre-Dame des Blancs-Manteaux, only to be enchanted by an array of musicians in “Des voix dans la Nuit!” From pianists performing Chopin to a chorus singing Ave Maria, to a dramatic organist... certainly the longest (and the latest) I have ever sat in a church!
By now it was nearly 1am and we made our way to the grand exhibition Purple Rain. The line was wrapped well around the block, and so we passed by, trying to catch a glimpse of this incredible purple rain… Would it have been worth the wait? Perhaps.
Not yet ready to return home, we caroused the early morning streets in search of a last hurrah. What we found was an impressive structure at the Bibliothèque.
Composed solely of cement blocks held up by their arrangement.
Finally, time to end this white night and before it bacame another bright blue day.
With a last stop in Heaven at the Musée d’art et d’histoire du Judaïsme.