From Paris with Love: Le dernier cri from Anne Fontaine

There's no need to go looking for Paris today, not when Paris comes calling so early. An email arrived from the Grand Palais  that magnificent Beaux Arts structure on rue Winston Churchill, a few steps off the Champs Elysées. They want me to book tickets now for their fall 2014 exhibits, not to wait. My first thought? Well, why not? My second, how did they find me?

I suspect they may have captured my email address last spring when I went on-line to purchase tickets for a retrospective they were having in June -- 250 works by Robert Mapplethorpe, the largest show ever given his work by any museum. Alas! The exhibition was closing three days before I was due to arrive in town.

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Disappointed, I switched to the offerings over at Le Petit Palais, across from the Grand. Of the two, the 'Petit' (above) is a favorite, an idyllic place to spend a few hours. Or, for that matter, the rest of my life. Museums seem to be my natural habitat. I breathe more easily. Should you visit, you might want to check out the permanent collection or simply wander around this magnificent building. But whatever you do, be sure to have lunch outdoors under the soaring colonnade which shelters a beautiful tranquil  garden.

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And there's a bonus: Unlike the Louvre and the musee d'Orsay, if you plan ahead and time your viist wisely, Le Petit will reward you with a moment of solitude.

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My morning search was rewarded: In June, the 'Petit' would be putting on what I felt was sure to be a blockbuster: Paris 1900: la Ville Spectacle. Paris, the city of entertainment. And along with that, a smaller show on the brilliant architect, Charles Girault. (Monsieur Girault was also one of four architects responsible for the Grand Palais.) Fearing I might be shut out, I hurriedly purchased advance tickets , entry at 10:00 AM. The earlier the better.

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Coincidentally, this morning's email advises me that October, the 'Petit' will be having a show celebrating the 250th anniversary of Baccarat. For those of you who read my first post, you can see that Baccarat is making a splash right here on Madison Avenue.

And guess who else wrote ? Anne Fontaine emphasizing the importance of the white shirt in every woman’s wardrobe. Looking at the pre-fall styles, I’ll hang onto the one I have -- ruffles at the neck, ruffles at the wrist -- both feminine and classic. (I'd show you mine, but it's at the laundry.) But here's the latest -- le dernier cri-- if you cannot afford a shirt, Anne Fontaine has handcrafted collars in a wide range of styles and prices. Starting with the simple ‘Biba’ (think: Peter Pan) at $195, you can work your way up to my favorite, the ‘Bubble Gum’ at $285.

I remind myself: look, don't buy. Such amazing collars, shown over bare shoulders, demand equally amazing upper arms -- ballerina arms, slim and supple. With that in mind, it’s time to hit the gym.