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Friday, 6 January 2012


This Christmas in Paris I stayed on the Île St. Louis - it is disorientating but strangely pleasurable to live on an island in the centre of the city - you walk across a bridge to the Île de la Cité or across to the Right or Left bank depending on your destination,  St. Germain, the Louvre Museum and Place Vendôme are all within  walking distance.  Isle St. Louis is a delectable island village.  Rue Saint-Louis-en-l’Isle crosses its length and has inimitable, old-fashioned shops such as Boulangerie-Patisserie

Here I had the Proustian experience of finding a brioche with a sugared top which swept me back to Stanley Bay in Alexandria, the beach of my childhood, where a man in a ‘galabiya’, carrying a large wooden tray on his head, would sell these same, delicious buns. 

At one end of the island, encased in a truly vast wooden box is the XVII Century Hôtel Lambert [famous for its Galerie d’Hercule], it is undergoing a thorough restoration by its new Qatari owners and until recently, it epitomised French elegance.  Alexis de Redé and Marie-Hélène de Rothschild gave memorable parties of casual grandeur with musicians on the magnificent stone staircase to prevent one becoming bored before entering the portals of enchantment...

The Stein Family exhibition at the Grand Palais came from San Francisco and travels next to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New Yorkwhat an exhibition!  

Brilliantly executed by the Curator, it delivers an evocative history of Gertrude Stein, her brother Leo, Michael and his wife Sarah. 

This astonishing family bought Picasso and Matisse before anyone else.  There is memorabilia – all set clearly in its period, the beginning of the 20th Century – wonderfully lit and hung.  You see painting after painting and gasp with pleasure.

1 comment:

  1. Dear John,
    First of all my best wishes for a Happy, Healthy and Succesfull New Year! I can see that you ended the last year in a perfect way! Staying in Paris at Christmas time is the most wonderful way to spend your Christmas holidays!And I wished I was in Paris to visit the exhibition of these masters! I hope to visit Paris within a few weeks to catch up with a lot of discoveries in this beautiful city of lights!
    Kind regards from Belgium,


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