Archive for the Paris Category

Awaken to Seine River Cruises

Posted in French Books, French Travel, French Women, Paris with tags , , , , , on March 4, 2014 by Therese Waddell

Bonjour everyone,

Can you picture yourself floating along here…

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aboard a boat on the glassy waters of the Seine? A twilight cruise with other tourists, although cliched, can be one of the best ways to see Paris transform into two worlds; the glittering city of Paris by night comes to life at twilight as it glides by on its glorious, mirrored world of reflections.

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Go with a friend. Go without. It makes no difference here. Feel the breeze and relax on board any one of the boats referred to by the French as ‘ les bateau mouche”. Buy your ticket at the dock. Most boats dock at Pont d’Alba near the Eiffel Tower which you’ll see from here…

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and it will cost you about 12.50 euros. You may want to pick up a bottle of bubbly from here…

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as well. I do recommend you go a little earlier to get your tickets and be top of the queue to secure your choice seats- undercover or at the bow if you feel like doing a ‘Titanic’ with arms outstretched.

You can reserve tickets online at the official site here: http://www.bateaux-mouches.fr/en

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To capture the experience, my french awakening insists you give a thought to employ the lovely and creative Australian- come- Paris- resident, photographer  Carla Coulson who offers a four hour photo shoot anywhere in Paris. Her unique forte lies in photographing women in Paris. She not only highlights Paris glamour and sheer femininity but manages to intensify inner beauty so well that it makes not only for an unforgettable momento of portrait shots but an altogether uplifting experience in itself. You can see her gorgeous work at  her website gallery in ‘Carla Loves Photography’ at  http://carlacoulson.com or her many published books.

Imagine yourself under Paris light. It’s not too difficult is it?

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Best Wishes, Therese

Copyright@2014 Therese Waddell

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Awaken to the Guillotine!

Posted in French Travel, Paris with tags , , , , , , on February 23, 2014 by Therese Waddell

Bonjour my friends,

Many people including Parisians, are not aware that here at ‘Place de la Concorde’ was the site of the Guillotine during the French Revolution.

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In the shadow of today’s Hotel de Crillon – one of the most expensive and most luxurious hotels in Paris, was once the site that locals referred to as ‘Place de la Revolution’.

Set in a blood stained field and now dark cobblestones, it was around 1794 during the ‘Reign of Terror’ that Paris mobs, thirsty for execution and bloodshed, stood in anticipation; For when the bell was rung, (a signal to release the guillotine’s handle) and the drums would stop beating, crowds stood motionless to witness the drop of a large single angled blade which lopped off the heads of Royalty and commoner alike. It’s been recorded that over 2500 people died by the dreaded guillotine just in Paris alone, including Louis XVI, his wife Maria Antoinette, Madame du Barry-mistress of Louis XV and many more, not to mention 92 year old Mary Anne Duay and the youngest victim who was merely 14.

The sound of the blade piercing soft flesh and hitting the bloody splintered wood underneath bought momentary silence (no doubt in the case of their King), then cries of “Vive la Republique!” And the crowds  would burst forward to the dripping head held high on a pole, to dip their wiry fingers and handkerchiefs into the gushing blood of a warm, decapitated head, particularly one which was blue blooded. Sometimes the mouth and eyes gave into opening and closing while the next cage of quivering victims rattled down Rue St Honore (today, the site of luxury chocolate shops) -prized victims like white circus tigers nearing extinction, from the Conciergerie Prison.

My french awakening to guillotines went haywire when I learnt that the last death by guillotine was in 1977!  The same year that Apple released its first computer with keyboard, the same year that Elvis Presley died, the same year that Barbie Road Trip with Motor Home goes into toyshops.

Paris….always raw.

AuRevoir,

Therese Waddell

copyright@2014 Therese Waddell

 

Awaken to L’Orangerie, Paris.

Posted in French Gardens, French Painters, French Travel, Paris, Paris gardens and all things green with tags , , on February 19, 2014 by Therese Waddell

Bonjour everyone,

People often asked me, “If I had limited time in Paris, what would be a MUST to see?” Apart from the obvious icons, I tell them this:

“Head straight to L’Orangerie Museum on the western corner of the Tuileries garden”. You’ll need to enter through the main gates off the Place de la Concorde, pass the library…

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and a two minute walk upwards…

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to the lawn of statues outside the Museum.

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Be an early bird and beat the crowds as I do. (This pic was taken after my visit not long after opening time.)

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Go straight ahead to the white rooms at the back of this small museum – the dedicated space of Monet’s “Nympheas.” Sit down on the leather bench dead centre of the room wrapped by enormous panels of French Impressionism and the gardens of Giverny (remember, https://myfrenchawakening.wordpress.com/2009/12/26/awakening-to-monets-garden/ ) in all its serene colour.“Nympheas” It’s nothing like you’ve ever imagined.

For a small virtual of what to expect go to the museum’s own website at:  http://www.musee-orangerie.fr/homes/home_id24799_u1l2.htm (Click onto Salle One and Salle Two to see the two rooms dedicated to Monet) . This doesn’t however, impart how you feel when you’re actually in there. Trust me. I have the same reaction every time I visit. And I watch others’ reactions and wait for them to simply exhale.

It’s  as if the very breath of Paris  essence has smacked each of us in the face.

If you do have more time, wander downstairs and see amateur artists copying the real thing in the Paul Guillaume Collection. There’s a saying here that “if the imitation is too good, the gallery will keep it” and you’ll find very friendly student artists such as Frank who will allow you to chat with him as he changes a small area of his work in order to take it home.

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Because that’s really what it’s all about here at L’Orangerie….

Everyone takes a piece of Paris home.

Happy travels and Best Wishes,

Therese

Copyright@Therese Waddell 2014

Awaken to the Closure of Le Rouvray Fabric Shop, Paris

Posted in French fabrics, French Quilts, Paris, Paris Shopping, Therese Waddell's Quilts with tags , , , , , , on February 9, 2014 by Therese Waddell

Bonjour friends!

For those of us who do some quilting, I have some sad news. It is with deep regret to inform you that the beautiful Paris fabric shop across from the foot of Notre Dame, ‘Le Rouvray’, which many of you have used, is now closed. After 45 years of patchwork and adventure in Paris, the lovely owner and co founder, Diane Obaldia passed away some time ago now and Le Rouvray has closed its doors for good.

Before her death, Diana wrote to me a expressing great interest in ‘My French Awakening’ and the article I did on her shop at: https://myfrenchawakening.wordpress.com/2010/02/16/awakening-to-le-rouvray-french-fabrics/

Good business deserves acclamation I’ve always thought and Le Rouvray was no exception. Diana was “touched and dazzled” by the article (which I felt was by no means brilliant) but beckoned “come have lunch with me” and that’s the kind of lady she was. No wonder her shop was filled with beautiful fabrics and beautiful service from quietly passionate people. Diana and her team made for a very successful business and above all, a business of friendship building. Well, that’s how I see it anyway.

I shall always regret not being able to share that meal with Diana Obaldia and hearing about her road to success and adventures in Paris. It would have made a much better story than the one I told.

What was your experience in Le Rouvray?

Best Wishes,

AuRevoir, Therese

copyright@2014Therese Waddell

 

Awaken to Chocolatiers in France

Posted in Chocolate Shops in Paris, Food and Recipes, French Travel, Paris, Paris Shopping, Therese Waddell's Chocolate Art and Facebook Page with tags , , , , , , , on December 10, 2013 by Therese Waddell

Bonjour everyone,

One of the very best things to do in Paris is to go chocolate hunting. Like jewels in the crown, chocolatiers are dotted around the city of Light, breathing aroma and gorgeous chocolatey creations in a rich tradition of expertise.

When we were kids, treasure hunting for sweets in unexpected places was great fun. Some of us (you know who always cheated)  became really deft at discovery, but these days when the back drop is Paris and the prize is couverture chocolate, it makes the game so much better! I’ve hunted down and tasted some of the world’s best chocolates from the hands of the best chocolatiers in Paris. My French Awakening hopes you may find the list of chocolate shops in Paris helpful when you visit. It’s just the tip of the ice berg but it makes for a great day when sightseeing.

1. Patrick Roger- Number ONE on my list, residing at 108 Boulevard, Saint Germain and several others shops across Pars.(see his website below).

This bearded bad boy is totally unconventional from the rest of chocolatiers… an extraordinary chocolate sculptor, artisan and motorbike rider all in one! No wonder he has chocolate which is so earthy and herbal! He’s a creator of insanely different flavour combos and new taste sensations. Even OUTSIDE,  his shop windows alone will captivate you, with his over sized chocolate creatures. Apes, drinking Hippos and waddling hens  in glorious detail, reflecting his superb mastery of an age old craft bought to the contemporary platform with wild humour. Something rings in my own heart here.

Many of you don’t know but MY OWN passion is chocolate. Really. Working with chocolate is like nothing else. My French Awakening will give you a sneek peep of my chocolate sculpturing ….doing what I love (besides writing about France…)

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My new FACEBOOK PAGE  at: https://www.facebook.com/pages/La-Belle-Epoque-Couture-Cakes-and-Chocolate/211250185696289  shows you more of my work and contact. I would really appreciate you LIKING the page and a very big thankyou to all those who have generously done so already and/or ordered a celebration cake with chocolate work. Your comments as well only make for better business. If you would like a spectacular cake for a special occasion contact me here or on my facebook page! I would love to make you something extroadinary!

But back to Patrick Roger….He really encourages the public to go out back of his shop and taste test to constantly keep in touch with today’s changing palette. His umbilical cord to the public is uncommonly tight even though he works unconventionally with great freedom and little constraints. There is no arrogance here which some other chocolatiers aerate.

My French Awakening refers to Patrick Roger as Le Willie Wonker du Chocolat for Patrick works outside the chocolate square. You must try his pralines if nothing else. They’ll tingle all your senses…and that’s why he’s my unquestionable  hero in the chocolate world.

Check out his world of eight Paris addresses at http://www.patrickroger.com/en/index.php and you’ll see what I mean. While you’re doing so, try this….

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The other chocolate shops in Paris on my list are not in any divine order but are WELL WORTH VISITING. It includes:-

2. Michael Chaudun- also a talented chocolate sculptor producing whimsical pieces at 149 Rue Université, 75007 Paris. A lovely  gentle soul who loves his work and you can tell when you walk in the shop. There’s a friendly warm air here dotted with plenty of oohs and arhhs as we spot replica European sausages hanging from the ceiling, stylish chocolate stilettos and faberge eggs amongst a classic repertoire of  glossy chocolates including his fabulous pave.

3. Jean Paul Hevin at 231 Rue St Honore. He’s been at it for a very long time and has taken out numerous conventional awards along the way, offering high end, precisional chocolate with some Asian inspired tastes. No wonder he’s opened up in Japan. Website at: http://www.jeanpaulhevin.com/en/

4. La Maison Du Chocolate at 225 Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré. Here you’ll find wonderful, creamy ganaches. Website at: http://www.lamaisonduchocolat.com/en/#/home

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5. Pierre Herme – 39 Avenue de l’Opéra and 185 Rue de Vaugirard and 72 Rue Bonaparte, Paris at http://www.pierreherme.com

6. Michel Cluizel- originally from Normandy has his shop at 201 Rue Saint Honoré, 75001 Paris at http://www.cluizel.com/fr/

7. Godiva-237 Rue Saint Honoré, 75001 Paris.Found at  http://www.godivachocolates.eu/en/godiva-chocolatier-since-1926

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where executive chef (chemist to chocolatier), Thierry Muret makes gorgeous chocolates at Godiva.

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8. Christian Constant- author of two award winning books on Chocolate and a fine chocolate maker at: http://www.christianconstant.com/intro/

Of course there are many, many more. Now that you know my passion, what’s yours? 

What’s YOUR favourite chocolate shop in Paris?

AuRevoir,

Therese

Copyright@ Therese Waddell 2014

Awaken To Angelinas, Paris

Posted in Food and Recipes, French Patisserie, French Travel, Paris, Paris Shopping with tags , , , , , , , on June 17, 2013 by Therese Waddell

Bonjour mon amis,

Yes, it’s been a while and as you know I’ve taken THAT trip to France…from Paris to Provence and I’M DYING TO TELL YOU ALL ABOUT IT. But first, how have you been my dear friends? What’s happening in your lives? I’ve heard from many of you while I’ve been away and the wheels of life are turning in all directions but there’s one thing we always seem to have time for…and that’s France. That’s why we’re here really.

So I’m going to take you on another journey with me.

And it all began in Paris.

Sitting pretty under the arch which lines Rue de Rivoli, there resides a very old French establishment blushing royal purple and brown and trimmed with fine gold frills like some Grand Duchess. With her carriage outside,

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one would swear like a commoner that she was all too perfect and particular to encourage private audiences… but I would be wrong.

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The minute you brush pass her golden roped barriers outside and step ever so cautiously onto the red carpet welcome into Angelinas, you will be pleasantly surprised that you actually feel right at home here, despite her precious exterior.

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I was instantly welcomed with a warm, sweet hug of recently baked cakes and pastries and a cup of hot chocolate, rich and thick enough to cement even a broken heart.

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It felt just like a trip to my nans as a kid on our Sunday visits, that would prompt the same knee jerk reaction of releasing the fine bone china out of the cupboards and set her about in an aproned whimsy to check her batch of scones. Albeit, Angelinas- the Paris Shrine To Pastry And Flaky Sweetness and the meeting place for devout gourmands, is by chance a tad more detailed in its selection of cakes…

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With her embellished Rum Baba glaze over sponge…

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and sunshine yellow Tarte Citron popping with mathematically precision cloned marshmallows. Then there are Mont Blanc art pieces piped with meringue under a mound of vermicelli chestnut …

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I recall nan’s colour palette was a touch more conservative compared to Angelinas…

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and perhaps the interior of Angelina’s is not quite nan’s decor… Image

but the warmth and aroma and long conversations with angelic people who are kind and generous, knowledgeable and dedicated…

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will make you feel just as welcome.

Angelinas at 226 Rue de Rivoli, Paris, made me feel right at home and only the best holiday destinations do that. Why don’t you drop in to Angelinas? The Grand Duchess makes a perfect gesture for you in Paris.

She’ll always put the kettle on.

AuRevoir,

Best Wishes, Therese

copyright@ 2013 Therese Waddell

Awaken to a New Year in France

Posted in East of France, French Affair, French Travel, Paris, South West of France with tags , , , , , , , , , on January 23, 2012 by Therese Waddell

Bonjour lovelies,

Well, well,… Christmas has come and gone and look at us, smack bang in the middle of a new year! Bonne Annee mon amis! We have a new beginning to continue the same life as last year or introduce something new. I know it’s difficult for some of you to get out of the routine for many reasons but I’m asking you to just contemplate an alternate road or patch of grass or another window of opportunity and HOLD that thought.

Can you imagine yourself here on french grass in Flavigny perhaps, in the heart of Burgundy?

(You do remember my escapades on the trek for more than chocolate? go to https://myfrenchawakening.wordpress.com/tag/flavigney-sur-ozerain/ )

or take a peep down any one of the country roads you could be driving through on your next France adventure…

or look out from some other window- a french window. Come on! My french awakening sees no harm in discovering a new view which is very different from the one you’re seeing now perhaps?

Life is sometimes greener on the other side particularly if you’re travelling through the south of France…

or the north east corner…  (remember Colmar? https://myfrenchawakening.wordpress.com/2011/01/02/awaken-to-a-new-year-in-colmar/ )

or from this window in the east, at Quemigny-sur-Seine, France…

and more views from country France from modern frames…

and ancient ones in eighth century stone as at Mont St Michel (remember Awaken to Mont St Michel? See https://myfrenchawakening.wordpress.com/tag/mont-st-michel/ )

And if you fancy yourself as more of a city mouse than a country mouse, you might appreciate looking out from the windows behind wrought iron balconies in Paris…

Or from that very special window in a beautiful french village in between.

The view’s not bad from here.

Just imagine.

Give France a thought this year. It won’t disappoint.

Au revoir,

Best Wishes, Therese Waddell

copyright@Therese Waddell 2012