From Paris with Love: Le dernier cri from Anne Fontaine


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

I suspect they may have captured my email address (Le site utilise des cookies...) last spring when I went on-line to purchase tickets for a retrospective they were having in June of 250 works by the photographer 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.

Disappointed, I switched to the offerings at Le Petit Palais, directly across the street from Le Grand Palais. Of the two, the 'Petit' is a great favorite of mine, an idyllic place to spend a few hours weekly for the rest of my life. Museums seem to be my natural habitat. In them I breathe more easily and, finding myself surrounded by so much beauty, I'm truly content.  Should you visit the Little Palace you might want to check out the permanent collection or simply wander about in a truly magnificent building. Whatever you do, be sure to have lunch outdoors under the soaring colonnade which wraps its arm around a secluded garden that sits at heart of the museum.

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

Indeed, when I visited their website, my search was rewarded. The 'Petit' would be putting on what I felt certain would be a blockbuster: Paris 1900: la Ville Spectacle. Paris 1900, the city of entertainment. And that it was! What's more, there would be an auxiliary exhibit on the brilliant architect of the 'Petit,' Charles Girault. Monsieur Girault was also one of four architects responsible for Le Grand Palais. Fearing I might be shut out, I hurriedly purchased advance tickets for entry at 10:00 AM. The earlier the better.

Coincidentally, this morning's email also made mention that in October, the 'Petit' will be having a show celebrating the 250th anniversary of Baccarat. For those of you who missed my first post, Baccarat is making a splash on Madison Avenue.

And guess who else emailed? Anne Fontaine, reinforcing the importance of the white shirt in every woman’s wardrobe. Looking at the pre-fall styles, I’m going to hang onto the Anne Fontaine I have—ruffle at the neck, ruffles at the wrist—both feminine and classic. 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 ‘Biba,’ a simple Peter Pan collar at $195, you can work your way up to my favorite, the ‘Bubble Gum’ at $285. Which do you like better, the black or the white?

I remind myself: Look, don't buy. Such amazing collars intended to be worn over bare shoulders, demand equally amazing upper arms—ballerina arms, slim and supple. With that in mind, it’s time to hit the gym. Thanks for dropping by. Hope to see you next week when I'll have the coffee waiting... à bientôt.