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!
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.
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.
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.Thank you Noélie, for the courage to experience my country & culture and to share it with yours!
Some of the most interesting and inspiring people, I’ve met along the path of travel. Through our shared affinity for culture and adventure, our lives converge, in a place often unexpected. This was the case with Christina Haag during our recent journey to Serifos, Greece. Via my latest fascination with instagram (obsession is a strong word) I discovered another New Yorker on the island and we met for a local rakomelo. I immediately took a liking to this warm and engaging woman who had in the weeks preceding our visit, made this island her temporary home. Most of the tourists had left for Athens or their respective cities, leaving us time to enjoy what often felt like a private island.
One of the most memorable days in Serifos was spent with Christina and my Italian, light and happy, dining in a taverna overlooking a serene beach. It was there, along the banks of Platys Gialos that Christina shared her stories with me, and I with her. We spoke freely about life and love, our shared passion for Greece, New York, the Hamptons, travel. We spent the early evening driving along the scenic roads, often stopping to admire a view, with Christina as our guide. A few dinners and many conversations followed, we even joined her for a Panagyria festival with the locals.
Christina’s life read much like a book, and I was pleased to learn that she had recently written a memoir. Come to the Edge reminisces on a life of privilege in old New York City, her successes and trials as an actress, and a five year long love affair with John F. Kennedy Jr. A life lived with passion.
From Serifos to Paris, Christina’s stories continued as I lost myself in the soulful words of her memoir. I felt as though I were living these experiences myself, and could not stop reading. I was reminded of our conversations, of how she felt compelled to tell her story, rightfully so, spending months writing in the Hamptons, long after her dear friend and great love’s life had tragically ended.
Christina lives by her heart. For this, I admire her, and feel grateful to have shared our own chapter.
Christina is giving away a copy of her book to one lucky reader. To enter, follow Christina Haag on Facebook and tell us your favorite quote on love or life, below. (Random winner will be announced on November 15th, good luck!) You can also follow Christina on Twitter and Instagram. Incidentally, for those in Paris, there’s an exhibition about the Kennedy family going on until November 30th.
Within you, your years are growing. – Pablo Neruda
Traveling from Paris to London via Eurostar takes just as much time as traveling from New York City to my home in Westhampton Beach via LIRR. With a commute of just over 2 hours, whenever London calls, I answer. My latest chunnel journey was in search of fabrics. While in Londontown there was much going on in the art world (good timing!). In addition to a Paul Klee exhibition at the Tate Modern, followed by a chance Paul McCartney concert in Covent Garden (have I mentioned that timing is everything?), one of my highlights was an afternoon spent at the Frieze Masters.
Some of the most interesting artworks I discovered in the park itself. Looks like fabric!
This piece reminded me of Richard Serra, whom I adore.
Was most impressed by this larger than life face, changing as you moved around it.
Reflecting on the artful day.
A few weeks ago a dear family friend was in town. Since she’s already seen much of Paris, I planned a day of historic elegance in a landscape not too far away. We boarded a bus on an overcast morning, and soon arrived to the legendary, and now private estate, Château de Vaux le Vicomte.
Here began our adventure into the life of Nicolas Fouquet, who created this 17th century castle.
This majestic masterpiece was a collaboration between architect Louis Le Vau, the painter Charles Le Brun and the landscape gardener André Le Nôtre. A ‘home and garden’ to be admired by all.
Yet the story behind Monsieur Fouquet and his château is a unique and tragic one.
In brief, after throwing a lavish party in his new home, Fouquet was arrested by Louis XIV (who had plotted against him out of jealousy), and spent his remaining days behind bars, unlawfully so.
In the famous words of Voltaire, “On 17 August at 6 in the evening, Fouquet was King of France; at 2 in the morning, he was nobody”.
As we wandered the château and landscape, the gray sky set a sobering mood. At once in awe and aghast at the history lesson upon us. Certainly a castle fit for a king, perhaps even too much so.
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?
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.”
What most impressed me was the variety of artworks in view.
From Rodin to Bacon, Warhol, Pierre et Gilles, Cocteau, Flandrin and many more masters.
There was certainly a fair share of ogling by eager onlookers, but well worth braving the crowds.
And worth snapping a few photos, even though it was forbidden. Shhhh!
If you are in Paris, grab your girlfriends (or go solo) and head to the Orsay!
Exhibition ends January 2nd.