Paris via New York: Proust’s Muse at FIT


From regular contributor Betty Guernsey comes word of a stunning (and very Parisian) show:

Originally shown at the Palais Galliera, Musée de la Mode de la Ville de Paris, “Proust’s Muse, The Countess Greffuhle” currently at the FIT Museum in Manhattan (September 23-January 7, 2017) is, as to be expected, an exhibition of beauty and sophistication.

The inspiration for Proust’s legendary Duchesse de Guermantes in “A la recherche du temps perdu”, the real-life countess, a famous beauty of her time celebrated for her artistic elegance, had a flair for drama and the cutting edge – her most spectacular costumes include creations by Worth, Lanvin, Ricci, and Rouff.

Proust aficionados will delight in the exhibition catalog, “La Mode Retrouvée”, containing photos by Paul Nadar not only of the countess herself (who studied photography with Nadar), but Parisians of her influential social circle.

Free Paris Travel Resources on our New Website


From innovative chefs to neighborhood flea markets and major works of art, Paris offers much to discover in 2016.  And the low exchange rates (at this writing, the euro and the USD are nearly at par) make discovery affordable.

Whether you’re looking for inspiration or practical information, our new Paris by Design website makes it easy to learn the city’s possibilities.

Panoramic photos take you into the heart of the city, from the Seine to the sidewalk to the table. (Read why these gorgeous pics were not so easy to come by.)

Expanded Travel Resource pages share tips on Paris apartments vs hotels, taxi vs Uber, airlines, and upgrades.

Favorite apps help you suss out the best pastries and translations, navigate the city, and enjoy the Louvre.

Need help getting organized? Packing and to-do lists give you the inside scoop on Paris fashion while eliminating pre-trip stress.

And then there is our raison d’être: our small group Paris tours and custom travel planning services, easily accessed by pull down menus and photo grids.

Please take a look around the new site — and let us know what you think!

Dries Van Noten “Inspiration” at Musée des Arts Décoratifs


The Dries Van Noten retrospective, “Inspiration,” at Musée des Arts Décoratifs, crosses disciplines and cultures to provide a fabulous context for the Belgian couturier’s work.

Beware, the first few minutes are confusing: dim lighting caused me to walk into a display case, where several seemingly dissimilar garments appeared to float. Pieces ranged from indigenous costumes to textiles owned by the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, to selected vêtements from Van Noten collections.

None were identified, and I didn’t know quite what to make of it all.

Then I found illuminated panels at the ends of the cases, which identify the contents, their designers, and—très important—the themes that unite them: the world of punk, the color gold, the ephemeral qualities of butterflies, the sartorial elegance of the Duke of Windsor, the emotional impact of the films “Clockwork Orange” and “The Piano”, to name a few.

The Van Noten garments make up less than a third of each vitrine; the show is dedicated to the art and artifacts that inspired their creation.

What’s a Dior ensemble from 1947 doing alongside the raw energy of David Bowie and designs by Vivienne Westwood? All three influenced Van Noten’s work—and part of the expo’s beauty is the way it makes such diverse influences tangible.

This joyful gathering of objects around aesthetic and theoretical qualities provides a glimpse of the designer’s creative process. The more I looked, the more I saw not just fashion, but a mind at work.

Until Aug 31.

Have you seen the show? Most people I talked to loved it, but a few didn’t. What did you think?

Secret Sources to Share


Some say I have the dream job, but it isn’t always as divine as you might think. When I explore Paris, I make mistakes, get lost, eat bad food, pay too much, and wait in line, so my clients don’t have to.

To narrow my prospects, I do a lot of research on-line before I even set foot out the door. Here are a few fun sources:

David Lebovitz. American expat food blogger and pastry chef on dining, shopping, and more.

Easy Fashion. Portraits of fashionable people in the streets of Paris.

The Catacombes. An underground collection of bones that you can visit (don’t forget your flashlight).

Vingt Magazine. For and about artists and anyone interested in the arts – here, a great post on vintage clothing shops.

Paris Film. Everything you need to know to shoot your next film in Paris (or watch one).

Théâtre des Champs-Elysées. The second most impressive performance space in Paris.

Does any of these sites inspire you? Which ones? Do you have a favorite Paris source to share?

Les Docks, Cité de la Mode et du Design, for Fashionistas

What do you do when you see a startling new building on the Paris horizon? You ask friends what it’s called. And if they don’t know know?

You ask the kindly older woman on the bus next to you, pointing to the wavelike, green structure on the Left Bank as you cross the Seine.

And if she doesn’t know?

You walk along the river in the 13th, to investigate.

Les Docks, Cité de la Mode et du Design, a sleek concrete and glass space that used to be a dockside warehouse, is dedicated to avant-garde fashion. Designed by Paris architects Jakob+Macfarlane, Les Docks contains classrooms and offices for l’Institut Français de la Mode (the French Fashion Institute), and hosts designer runway shows.

The space also houses a concept store; a boutique; a fabulous upper deck terrasse; a hip café, restaurant and 2 nightclubs; and fashion expos.

Through Oct 7, see Cristóbal Balenciaga: Collector of Fashion.” This collection of Balenciaga costumes and clothing from the designer’s private collection is stunning, especially in the ubermodern setting.

Also showing: a Rei Kawakubo installation of Comme des Garçon’s 1212 all-white spring/summer collection, “White Drama.”