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Vintage Clothes in the Marais

Vintage Clothes in the Marais

Jennifer was on a quest to find the best vintage clothes in the Marais.  As soon as we were planning the trip, Jennifer began researching names and locations of vintage clothing stores.  Then, she decided to narrow it to the Marais.  With that limitation, she and I could map out the stores and create a route for the day, with some culture and a snack or two along the way.

Jennifer is an expert at vintage clothing and has a collection that rivals the best shops anywhere.  Whether in New York, Miami or London, Jennifer has found exceptional quality at vintage clothing stores.  Along with clothes, she shops handbags, jewelry, shoes, luggage, and hats.

On the trip in January, Jennifer packed 3 vintage berets that she sported jauntily in our evenings out.  Also in her suitcase, she packed vintage dresses from Yves St. Laurent and Givenchy, vintage Gucci heels, vintage clutch, and bags full of vintage earrings and jewelry.  (She was stunning each night!)  Her motto is save for something spectacular and timeless, and do not waste money on trends at retail stores.  With that goal in mind, she set our mission for the day of shopping at vintage clothes in the Marais, and we were off.

Start at Saint Paul for Vintage Clothes in the Marais

Rue de Rivoli near Saint Paul

Rue de Rivoli near Saint Paul Métro

First, we took the Métro up to Saint Paul station.  After walking past some of the beautiful foods offered at shops along the way, we arrived at Tilt on the rue de Rivoli.  Jennifer went in to check out our first shop of vintage clothes in the Marais.  A few minutes later, she returned to the sidewalk without making a purchase.  Her assessment:  not high end, not really vintage, more of a resale shop.  Nice sales people that were helpful.  At the end of the day, she added that Tilt is not crammed and jammed like the ones on the rue des Rosiers (more to come about those).

Fit in a Little Culture and Some Great Food

Picasso Museum Courtyard Entrance

Entrance to the Picasso Museum – nice house!

From Tilt, we walked to the Picasso Museum and saw his personal collection on the top floors.  Then, we walked around the corner and ordered crêpes to go from Breizh Café annex – next door to the sit-down restaurant.

Park behind Picasso Museum

Great picnic spot! The other side of the house from the entrance to the Picasso Museum.

We walked across the street and had a picnic at one of the tables in the park behind/in front of the Picasso Museum.  Along with our to go boxes, the cutlery and packaging were all biodegradable.  (An example of Paris really trying to be green.)  This was a completely perfect way to enjoy a delicious Breton crêpe in the Marais!

Bio c’ Bon

Bio c' Bon

Now that we were fortified, we could start our shopping in earnest.  But, Paris has many diversions, even if it is a grocery store.  On our walk, we passed a store, Bio c’ Bon and I went in to get a bottle of water.  It turned out to be an amazing store of 3 floors of only organic products.  From brimming meat cases to stunning produce, to everything else in a regular grocery store – all organic.  A great find – and they are all over Paris.  Add it to your list.

Place de la République

Place de la Republique

Place de la Republique

We kept going up to near the Place de la République to find the shop, Nice Piece.  It was supposed to open at 12:30 pm, and we got there right at 12:30.  We looked in the window for a few minutes.  Jennifer said it looked good and worth checking out.  We waited, then walked up the street and looked at Place de la République, took some photos, then back again.  Still not open.

Onward to High-End Vintage

Time was ticking, so we walked over to the end of rue Tournelles.  Two vintage stores are down the block from each other:  Odetta and Fabri & Co.

Fabri and Co

From the outside, each one looks like a high-end boutique – small, tasteful, luxe.  Jennifer and John were in Fabri & Co. so long that I was sure Jennifer was making a purchase.  Finally, they came onto the street without a bag.  But,  Jennifer was very impressed.  She said the shop owner was super friendly, high-end vintage, the quality was great, clothes were in great condition, lots of beautiful jackets and matching skirts or pants from the 70s, 80s, and 90s.  Also, handbags and some shoes.

Odetta

Next, they went into Odetta and did not spend as much time.  Jennifer said it was extremely high end with a salesman to match.  The shop is a sparse boutique with a well-edited collection.  Clothes are beautifully made, along with handbags and jewelry, all in great condition.

Café Time

Chez Janou zinc bar

As we made our way down the street, we saw a café and stopped in.  It was Chez Janou.  A café with a super-great Parisian feeling.  A beautiful rounded zinc bar, a friendly bartender, a lively crowd and an excellent looking menu!  We ordered a celebratory drink – Jennifer a glass of Champagne, John a kir and me a glass of red wine.  Maybe you wonder why celebratory?  It is Paris and that is reason enough to celebrate!!!  Plus, Jennifer was feeling especially optimistic about our next stops.  After our pick-me-ups, we started out again.

More Beautiful History

Place des Vosges winter

Place des Vosges in winter.

On the way to the next store for vintage clothes in the Marais, we had a few stops to make.  First, we walked in and around the Place des Vosges.  We sat on a bench for a few minutes admiring the amazing architecture and calming square.  Even without any leaves on the trees, it remains one of the most beautiful squares in Paris.

Snack Time

Florence Kahn Bakery

Even in cold and rain, you can sit outside at Florence Kahn Bakery and enjoy falafel.

Then we made our way down the narrow streets to the corner of rue des Rosiers and rue des Ecouffes – falafel central of the Jewish quarter.  John had been waiting for a snack here.  He got a falafel stuffed pita and we all had a bite of the falafel – deee-licious.  It is always a great place to go on each visit to Paris for a reasonably priced and delicious meal (or snack).  When making plans, remember that most of these restaurants are closed on Saturdays in observance of the Sabbath.

Kilo Shop

Kilo Shop – one of multiple.

While we were walking for a falafel snack, Jennifer saw a second-hand store, the Kilo Shop, and went in.  Jennifer’s assessment:  some vintage clothes, fur coats, men’s and women’s jackets, shirts, and jeans.  Minimal accessories and the store was packed with things.  Here, shoppers buy by weight – an interesting idea.  Later comment – Kilo Shops are all over Paris with thrift-store quality.

More Like Thrift Stores

Vintage Desir

Look on the glass storefront for the painted letters – Vintage Desir.

Another find was right off of the falafel corner.  Vintage Desir (or Coiffure – looks like a leftover sign from a previous haircutting place) is a second-hand shop and Jennifer went in.  Her assessment:  slightly more upscale thrift shop quality.  Much more wear to the clothes, both men’s and women’s clothes, everything from jackets, to bins of scarves, purses, hats.  Some hidden gems.  Kind of a free-for-all inside with the shoppers.

Free'P'Star

Another Free’P’Star is across the street from this one. Look at the piles of purses.

Free’P’Star was the last store of vintage clothes in the Marais on Jennifer’s list.  It is in the next block from Le BHV with a Kilo Shop next door.  Jennifer’s assessment:  claustrophobic, free-for-all, thrift store grade, knock-off purses by the load.  Once she got in, she had a hard time getting out.  It is two stores, one across the street from each other.  I only looked in the window and it was a mob scene.

Place de l’Hôtel de Ville

Hotel de Ville

After the raucousness of Free’P’Star, that was it for the day.  We walked to the Place de l’Hôtel de Ville, satisfied our craving for a Nutella Crêpe, saw Yellow Vests marching down the rue de Rivoli, then headed back to the hotel for a nap.  No purchases, but Jennifer took us on a great tour and we found out a lot about vintage clothes in the Marais!

Take a tour of vintage clothes in the Marais, but add some spice and spend the day.  Here is a map with directions for this walking tour of vintage clothes, history, art, and food.

Tilt
8 rue de Rivoli
75004 Paris

Picasso Museum
5 rue de Thorigny
75003 Paris

Breizh Café
109 rue Vielle du Temple
75003 Paris

Nice Piece
76 rue Charlot
75003 Paris

Fabri & Co.
82 rue Tournelles
75003 Paris

Odetta
76 rue Tournelles
75003 Paris

Chez Janou
2 rue Roger Verlomme
75003 Paris

Kilo Shop
locations around Paris

Vintage Desir
32 rue des Rosiers
75004 Paris

Florence Kahn Bakery
24 Rue des Ecouffes
75004 Paris

Free’P’Star
61 rue de la Verrerie
75004 Paris

Paris 2019 – Free Admission to the Louvre on the First Saturday Night of Every Month

Paris 2019 – Free Admission to the Louvre on the First Saturday Night of Every Month

As of January, 2019, the Musée du Louvre opens its doors for free to all visitors on the first Saturday night of each month!  That’s right – for free – from 6:00pm to 8:45pm.

Louvre to Open First Saturday Night Each Month with Free Admission

Attempting to attract more first-time locals to visit, the Louvre adds the first Saturday of each month to its free admission line up.  As the most visited museum in the world, the Louvre has no problem attracting visitors.  But, it wants more locals to visit as well.

With this exciting news out of Paris, the Louvre adds more time for locals and visitors from all over the world to visit the Louvre without paying the price of admission.  Right now, a full-price admission ticket is 17 euros.  For a family of 4, that price could keep away many families working full time jobs and trying to make ends meet.  So, to try to get more locals in the doors, it has opened on an additional night.  That is good fortune for visitors, too!

Past Efforts

In the past, the Louvre opened on the first Sunday of each month with free admission, trying to draw in the locals.  But, after reviewing data on visitors coming at that increasingly popular free day, the museum lacked an increase in locals.  It appears that more and more international visitors are taking advantage of the 12 free Sundays each year.  Who doesn’t want a free entry?

One goal of the Louvre is to engage locals.  Saturday night seems like an obvious gateway to reach suburban locals wanting a night out.  Louvre officials hope that this additional free time does the job and entices young adults and families from outside Paris proper to take advantage of the world’s most-visited museum.  In addition to being free, the museum is hosting a board game area and a reading corner – all trying to lure young families in the door!

Bonus for You!

Of course, for non-local visitors, it is a boon as well.  Night visits are an extraordinary way to see the massive royal palace and its dumbfounding treasures.  Along with looking out of the windows into the night sky of the city, fewer people visit at night.  You may wind up in a gallery with entire rooms to yourself.  Admire the art with only your family and friends.  Climb the worn marble stairs alone.  Wander through the vast space and imagine the kings and queens that were there before you.

Musée du Louvre

Hours:  Open Wednesday – Sunday from 9am to 6pm
Night opening until 9:45pm on Wednesdays and Fridays
Night opening until 8:45pm on FIRST Saturday of the month beginning January 2019
CLOSED TUESDAYS
CLOSED: on the following holidays: January 1, May 1, May 8 and December 25.
Arrondissement:  1st
Nearest Métro:  Two stops serve the Louvre.  Exiting at Louvre-Rivoli, you will be at the eastern-most end of the Louvre.  Exiting at Palais-Royal–Musée du Louvre, you will be closer to the pyramid entrance and very close to the entrance at the Passage de Richelieu (if they will let you in) and the entrance through the Carousel de Louvre – kind of underground shopping area that leads you to the main entrance under the pyramid.
Nourishment:  Food and drink options available inside the Louvre in various locations – enjoy a baguette sandwich overlooking the entrance while watching the people come down the stairs under the pyramid!
Official websitehttps://www.louvre.fr/en/
Suggested time to visit:  In the evenings on the days it is open late

 

You may also be interested in one of the lesser known museums in Paris, such as Musée Picasso Paris, Musée Marmottan Monet or Musée Rodin. See the article on “15 Lesser-Known Museums in Paris” for more details here.

Tricentennial of New Orleans

Tricentennial of New Orleans

The year 2018 has been a year-long celebration of the Tricentennial of New Orleans, obviously a French city from its beginning.  Through its 300 years, it abounds with history from war, malaria, floods, fires, the birth of the cocktail and much of Mardi Gras.
 

The Founding of New Orleans

New Orleans was founded in 1718 by Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne de Bienville (photo) of the French Mississippi Company.  The outpost at a curve in the river was named for the Philippe II, Duke of Orléans.  And, the colony of La Louisiane was named for King Louis XIV when René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de la Salle claimed all the waters drained by the Mississippi for France in 1682.
 

Celebrate the Tricentennial of New Orleans

Cabildo
 
As a fitting end to the Tricentennial celebrations, a final grand costume ball will be held in New Orleans on Saturday, December 1, 2018, at the Cabildo.  The invitations specify the attire as “period costume reminiscent of Don Almonester’s era (late 18th century), or the era of the Baroness (early 19th century through 1850s).”
 
The Cabildo is a fitting venue for the grand costume ball.  In its antique rooms, the Louisiana Purchase was finalized and the Louisiana Territory became part of the United States of America in 1803.  Out of its windows you can see Jackson Square and the two flanking red brick buildings from the 1840s that were built by the Baroness Pontalba.
 

Baroness Pontalba

Baroness Pontalba
 
If you do not remember much about her, here is a short version of famous Baroness.
 
Micaela Leonarda Antonia de Almonester Rojas y de la Ronde, Baroness de Pontalba was born in 1795 in New Orleans and died in Paris in 1874.  Her father was from Spain, Don Andrés Almonester y Rojas.  Don Almonester created a fortune from his political dealings from the Cabildo.
 
Besides being the richest woman in New Orleans, she probably had one of the most interesting lives of anyone from New Orleans.  She designed and constructed the twin buildings.  The Baroness wore pants and climbed ladders while overseeing every detail of the work.  Even the iron work bears her initials, “AP” for Almonaster Pontalba.  The buildings are so important to the United States, they were declared a National Historic Landmark in 1974.
 
Pontalba Building
 

Deep and Long-Lasting Connections

While in New Orleans, the Baroness was also shot repeatedly by her father-in-law before he killed himself.  For years, he and her husband had been trying unsuccessfully to wrest control of her fortune from her.  She survived the gunshots suffering mangled fingers that blocked the bullets from killing her.  Eventually she moved permanently to Paris to a grand house she commissioned.
 
And, by grand, it is really grand.  Baroness Pontabla’s former mansion, the Hôtel de Pontalba, is now the United States Embassy.  It is right off the Place de la Concorde on the rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré.  Look for American armed service members patrolling outside.  Needless to say, nothing shabby about the Baroness.
 
Hotel de Pontalba Paris
 
If you want to know more about her, read the fascinating and engrossing story of the real Baroness in the late Dr. Christine Vella’s Pulitzer-Prize nominated book, Intimate Enemies. You can find it here on Amazon:

History Comes Alive

 
Back to the Tricentennial celebration of the French city, New Orleans.  Along with the costume ball, you can join in a lunch celebrating the Tricentennial on Friday, November 30, 2018.  At the lunch, attendees will have a chance to meet Charles-Edouard and Isabelle, Baron and Baroness de Pontalba of Château Mont-l’Évêque.  Charles-Edouard is a direct descendant of Micaela Almonester, Baroness de Pontalba.
 
 
Also at the lunch, Pontalba family historian Pierre de Pontalba will talk about his family’s legacy.  And, Louisiana State Museum guest exhibition curator, Randolph Delehanty, PhD, will give remarks and be available for questions for the new exhibit, The Baroness de Pontalba and the Rise of Jackson Square.
 
 
Want to attend any of these festive events?  Get more information here.  Or, check out the Louisiana Museum Foundation site.
 
 
This is one example of finding Paris everywhere and anywhere!  Paris exerts her influence far and wide.  What part of your local history has connections to Paris?
 
How Did Paris Get So Many Green Spaces?

How Did Paris Get So Many Green Spaces?

Planning the Greenspaces of Nineteenth-Century Paris, written by Richard S. Hopkins, is an LSU Press publication exploring the green spaces in Paris.  For the avid gardener and garden designer/planner, this could be a great book to learn more about Paris’ parks. Many people may think parks and gardens were created just to look at.  But, the government influences more than people’s eyes.

Emperor Napoleon III wanted to make Paris an international capital.  And, what an emperor wants, who can deny?  Along with his great recreation of Paris, he wanted to include green spaces in each of the city’s sections.  So, while Hausmann was tearing down ancient buildings and creating wide boulevards, gardens were being planned and planted all over the city.

Certainly, urban planners in the second half of the 1800s faced similar issues as those of today.  First of all, how do we create green areas and their facilities that will attract visitors?  Also, how do we serve the people living nearby and be good looking?  Like today, building gardens and public gathering areas was a way to build communities and provide identity to the neighborhood.

This detailed book explores the history behind green spaces in Paris.  Green spaces were public works projects.  Many people were employed to construct and maintain the parks.  This maintenance has continued for hundreds of years.  So, it seems the parks succeeded at that goal.  And, other goals were accomplished too.  We, as visitors, are certainly the beneficiaries of this great nineteenth century project!

Praise for Planning the Greenspaces of Nineteenth-Century Paris

Planning the Greenspaces is a fascinating read and a welcome addition to the scholarship on Paris and on urban greenspaces that could work well as a supplemental text in an upper-division course on Paris or France.”—American Historical Review

“This concise and elegant book reflects rigorous archival research rendered in readable prose. . . . Geographers will appreciate the author’s attention throughout to scale as an analytic tool, and his sustained analysis of the social production of urban space through a dialectic of design and use.”—Journal of Historical Geography

“Richard S. Hopkins’s book Planning the Greenspaces of Nineteenth-Century Paris serves as an important reminder that the development of acres of parks and gardens were also central to the project of creating a modern European capital. . . . [An] insightful and enjoyable text.”—Canadian Journal of History

Read more for yourself in Richard S. Hopkins’ book.  He is an assistant professor of history at Widener University.  The only part that I would have liked more is to have had illustrations of some of these green spaces.  Sadly, there are none.

Planning the Greenspaces of Nineteenth-Century Paris, by Richard S. Hopkins.  Order here.

Exhibits at The Met – Gardens and Versailles

Exhibits at The Met – Gardens and Versailles

Are you thinking Paris is too far away for the weekend?  Then head to New York City to explore exhibits on French gardens and Versailles.  That’s right, through the end of July, go see Paris in New York City!  Public Parks, Private Gardens: Paris to Provence and Visitors to Versailles 1682 – 1789.  Both mounted in the halls of The Metropolitan Museum of Art and full of treasures from France.

Exhibition #1 – Public Parks, Private Gardens: Paris to Provence

In Public Parks, Private Gardens: Paris to Provence, The Met, “explores horticultural developments that reshaped the landscape of France and grounded innovative movements—artistic and green—in an era that gave rise to Naturalism, Impressionism, and Art Nouveau.”  All of these artistic movements are well-represented through works presented in this exhibition.

Past urbanites are no different from today’s.  People living in developed cities flock to gardens and parks to be outdoors, enjoy the air, stretch out in the wide open space and delight in the beauty of nature.  To illustrate this love of gardens, the exhibition features a wide range.  Sections include Parks for the Public, Revival of Floral Still Life, Portrait in the Garden and Private Gardens.

Exhibits of Ceramics, Drawings and Paintings to Photography

Choosing works from its extensive holdings, The Met displays drawings, etchings, paintings, glassware, ceramics and even early photographs.  Although the objects show gardens and parks in other parts of France, the majority is focused on Paris and surrounding areas.  Garden lovers will delight in seeing works depicting Fontainebleau, Parc Monceau, Bagatelle, Jardin du Luxembourg, Tuileries, Versailles, along with many other well-known and even less well-known gardens.

Love still life paintings of flowers and garden scenes?  Then this exhibition is for you.  Works by heavy hitters like, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Paul Cézanne, Berthe Morisot, Claude Monet, Édouard Manet, August Renoir, Eugène Atget, Edgar Degas, Vincent van Gogh, Mary Cassatt and many more hang from the walls.

Do 18th century Sèvres porcelain vases with garden scenes painted on them get you going?  What about Art Nouveau glass with elegant flower designs in the glass?  Do you enjoy the details of garden plans and garden furnishings?  Then this is exhibit is also for you!  They are all there in cases and on the walls.  Really, anyone who is at all interested in gardens in Paris and in France would enjoy this exhibition.

Even if you cannot make it to New York to enjoy the show in person, the exhibition features an accompanying catalogue.

Exhibition #2 – Visitors to Versailles

In Visitors to Versailles 1682 – 1789, The Met, “highlights the experiences of travelers from 1682, when Louis XIV moved his court to Versailles, to 1789, when the royal family was forced to leave the palace and return to Paris.”  The objects demonstrating this experience range from souvenirs for the visitors to gifts to the royalty and what the visitors wore and saw.

Sections of the exhibit include, Incognito and Private Visitors, To See the King, Getting Dressed for Court, the Gardens and Going to Versailles.  The dedicated rooms in the museum present men’s suits and hunting clothes, women’s court dresses, riding habits, shoes, ball gowns and fans, sculpture, tapestries, rugs, miniature portraits in diamond surrounds, hats, swords, military outfits, furniture, porcelain and objects of art.  Also, very interestingly, paintings of visitors.

And, it is convenient that the garden exhibit in another section of the museum is on at a similar time.  Gardens at the palace were a major part of court life.  You will see multiple illustrations of gardens.  Royalty wanted to be outside too.  Versailles had unending garden delights for royalty and visitors.

Everything is Over the Top, In a Good Way

Like Versailles itself, nearly everything on display is over the top.  Many things are gilded, handmade items have the most intricate detailing, master craftsmen used precious stones and rare and exotic materials – it is all here.  Just take a look at a set of ivory buttons decorated with scenes of Versailles and the gardens – talk about limited edition.  The description explains that the buttons, “intended for a man’s coat may have appealed to tourists.”  Of course, they would!  Fascinating.  And, beautiful.

Along with many items focused on the multiple kings called by the name, “Louis,” Marie Antoinette figures in the exhibition.  Likewise, multiple objects depict the visitors to Versailles.  For example, a Tunisian ambassador, several Asian dignitaries, and would be Americans, like, Benjamin Franklin!  Paintings of Ben and even some of his clothes are on display.  From 1776 until 1785, Benjamin Franklin was the representative to France of the American colonies that revolted against England.  He was at the French court all the time.

Adding to master works from The Met’s holdings, more than 50 lenders, including the Château de Versailles, offered works to the show.

Don’t miss the statue of a monkey riding a goat!

Like Exhibition #1, even if you cannot make it to New York to enjoy the show in person, the exhibition features an accompanying catalogue.  On the cover is an illustration of the gardens of Versailles and visitors enjoying their time in the landscape.

Praise for the exhibition:  ” A fascinating window into how the court would have appeared to foreigners and day trippers alike…. ” -Artnet

Public Parks, Private Gardens: Paris to Provence

Where:  The Metropolitan Museum of Art (The Met Fifth Avenue)
Address:  1000 Fifth Ave., New York, NY 10028
When:  March 12 – July 29, 2018
Admission:  Entrance fee for museum which includes exhibit
Official websitehttps://metmuseum.org/exhibitions/listings/2018/public-parks-private-gardens

Visitors to Versailles 1682 – 1789

Where:  The Metropolitan Museum of Art (The Met Fifth Avenue)
Address:  1000 Fifth Ave., New York, NY 10028
When:  April 16 – July 29, 2018
Admission:  Entrance fee for museum which includes exhibit
Official websitehttps://www.metmuseum.org/exhibitions/listings/2018/visitors-to-versailles