Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Self-portrait at the Brocante & Art News

Art News

Esti's book is out!

Cashmere brand Eric Bompard has chosen danseuse étoile Emilie Cozette to be the face of the brand - see her dance here. (Click on Dans Les Pas d'Emilie Cozette)

If like me you love artist Kara Walker, don't miss her Autumns collage for the NY Times.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Le Lion, The Elephant and The Rhino

On Saturday at the brocante (flea market), I found an ancient copy of Joseph Kessel's Le Lion, a book that had enchanted me as a child; indeed, the novel tells the story of a little girl, Patricia, who lives in Kenya and has a special relationship with a wild lion. I too spent my childhood in Kenya and while I did not cuddle with wild beasts, safaris gave me plenty of opportunities to watch and adore animals. I had a soft spot for elephants - I almost bought the toy elephant, left, that I also found at the brocante.

The closest I came to genuine wild animals was when I rode... a rhinoceros! Grey rhinos are endangered, so they used to be followed around by armed guards and were thus comfortable with humans. It was a unique experience, and one that made me forever an advocate of animals. May we preserve them.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Mantegna at the Louvre

The Louvre's major Mantegna exhibition opens today. I adore the colors and the soft, dream-like qualities of this Italian Renaissance painter (15th c.)'s works, and love how the show's huge poster contrasts with the Louvre's severe stone facade...

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Patrick Le Chat

Last week, when I introduced my Girl With A Dog With A Blog logo, cat lovers around the blogosphere felt a little left out.
So today I thought we'd go feline - I'm happy to introduce fluffy and camera-shy Patrick Le Chat, whom some Parisian friends have just adopted.
Isn't he adorable?

I was thrilled to receive an award from both the super clever and stylish Hila and creative foodie Laura.
I'd like to pass on the award to the exquisite Sanctuary, the super-smart Mansuetude from Tumbleword, the lovely Bonbon-Oiseau, sweet as her name suggests, shoe-obsessed Miss Glitzy, the refined South End Blend, the playful Red Aprons, and Liivian Talossa's fabulous photos.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Oh Rudi!

I can't remember a time when I didn't know who Rudolf Nureyev was. And I vividly remember the day I was told he had died. Like countless ballet fans around the world, I found him endlessly fascinating. His larger than life personality and connection to the great Russian tradition of dance also satisfied my craving for all things Russian! And because he was born on the Trans-Siberian (near the sublime Lake Baikal), a train I rode when I was a little girl, I also felt some kind of intimate, if remote, tie with him.

So I'm really enjoying his biography, Rudolf Nureyev - The Life, by former dancer Julie Kavanagh (just out in paperback). It features some beautiful pictures, including the one on the cover, by one of my all-time favorite photographers, Richard Avedon.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Weekend Dahlia

I have time and again featured beauties from one of my favorite flower shops in Paris, Le Bois d'Auteuil on the rue d'Auteuil (16eme arrondissement). Here's a look at yet another stunning bouquet - dahlias, I'm told...

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Fall Style In Paris

My friend Chloe recently cleared her closet and gave me this stunning Balenciaga jacket, actually part of a suit (with friends like that, who needs stylists....). Its lines are very simple, the fabric is exquisitely warm and thin, and I adore the collar.
The weather has indeed become pretty cold in Paris, around 60 degrees F (16 degrees Celsius) during the afternoon... Brrrrr... To tell you the truth I have caught a kind of flu and am in bed with lots of tea, honey, and vitamin C.

The girls of Paris too have started wearing tights and jackets (a lot of velvet around!), as well as boots, and I thought I'd share with you the amazing look of this red-loving gal, whom I spied on the subway yesterday...

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


Yesterday I filled in for a friend who teaches at a Parisian public high school that offers an undergrad-level program to prepare students for the entrance exams to graduate engineering schools. I snapped a picture of the blackboard for you - I like the flower that pops up, left, like a whimsical provocation, so true to the teenage spirit.
I worked 1-on-1 with students yesterday, which I love. Teenagers have such an inner intensity. And they're smart.

I remember my first school... Riverside Farm Nursery School, in Nairobi (Kenya) was right across the street from our house. There were lots of children from different countries, all blabbering away in English. No matter how wonderful the institution, I never really liked school; I always felt like my heart was somewhere else, where the rules of the games were my own, and where I got to choose the stories I longed to hear. I had friends, but I felt like a loner who had somehow not received the key memo - an impression that became only more intense as years went by and as I went on to other, more French institutions around the world. By the time I got to a very Parisian high school, I felt and was treated as something of a freak.
I hate to finish on such a sour note so I'll only add: if you're in high school and miserable, the good news is, high school has an end.

Monday, September 15, 2008

A Girl With A Blog With A Dog

Some of you have noticed the A Girl With A Blog With A Dog logo that has appeared in the right column of this blog. Inspired by the incredible number of us bloggers who have canine companions and feature them in our posts, I thought I'd create this logo to draw the attention of blog visitors to the fact that guess what, you'll find a pooch in this blog... If you too are a girl (sorry guys) with a blog and a dog, please do feel free to use this logo. It would be great if you'd let me know you were using the logo so that I could keep an updated list of our dog-blog community.

Of course, who should be the sponsor for this logo but Benjy?

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Chez Prosper

Some time ago, I mentioned the lovely Café de Tournon, and thought I may post about other Parisian cafés that are less of tourist/show-off nests than Les Deux Magots, the Flore and others.
Would you like that?

Chez Prosper (Metro Nation) is really an old-style classic Parisian café, with retro posters from decades ago (can you see me, reflected in the glass protecting the poster to the left?), as well as a wealth of amusing details - such as the old soda water bottles and the mural dial phone... The Bouillon Kub reminded me of a post on Octavine's lovely blog. The food is really fresh and while vegetarians may have a hard time finding something to eat, everyone will be happy with the Berthillon ice-cream for dessert...
Meet me there!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

September 11

For the past few years, every September 11, I make it a point to wear my I Heart NY t-shirt. It's a tiny way of paying tribute to those who fell that day in NY, Washington and Pennsylvania, and also a way to say, as the song goes, We shall overcome.

I by no means intend to drag politics into this blog, but I thought that those of us who will vote in November may be interested in checking out a new collective blog, Women Against Sarah Palin. To think that a woman would necessarily stand up for women is foolish.
Let us steer clear of those leaders who think God's on their side. To quote one last song, Bob Dylan's God On Our Side: And you never ask questions, When God's on your side. (See full lyrics here, and hear it here, sung by the divine Joan Baez, live in 1966)

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Purple crocuses

It's been such a long time since I last posted about flowers! So here are some crocuses that appeared one day in Lafitte - a delicate gift, courtesy of the garden.
They make me think of Joni Mitchell's song Little Green (hear it here), from her masterpiece, Blue: There'll be crocuses, to bring to school tomorrow... I adore every song on that album.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

A Wedding Anniversary

The same week as my friends were wed in the Loire Valley, my parents celebrated their 31rst wedding anniversary.
Above is a picture of my mum dating from about the time when she met my father.
Here's the story of how they met... A Frenchman was working in Bogota, the capital of Colombia, after spending some 15 years working in Africa. A young American woman, who had been living in Uruguay where her parents were from, had had to leave Uruguay when the military dictatorship there closed down the universities and proceeded to assassinate prominent professors; she was working as a clinical psychologist in Bogota, and was all set to leave for Illinois shortly, to begin her PhD in psychology. She spoke impeccable French - her third language.
Their unlikely paths crossed at the Bogota airport.
They have been together ever since, moving to Paris where I was born, and then living in Iran, Kenya, Iraq, China and France...

Sunday, September 07, 2008

A Loire Valley Wedding

It was a French-Iranian-German wedding in a small Mairie (City Hall) on the banks of the Loire river this Saturday. As everyone couldn't fit in the Mairie, the couple came to the window to exchange their wedding rings in front of the crowd of relatives and friends... So romantic! After leaving the Mairie, and being showered with rose petals thrown by the many children, they went for a spin in an old Citroen car, then joined everyone for a cocktail in the divine gardens of an aunt's house,with its ancient stone tower. The beautiful bride, with rose petals in her hair and the smile of happiness on her face, wore white satin Christian Louboutin shoes! To add some color to my otherwise demure outfit (Nina Ricci jacket, black Joseph skirt and vintage veiled hat) I chose NARS's pink lipstick Schiap - a little punk spirit here.
Best wishes to my dear, dear friends!

Friday, September 05, 2008

Bowler Hat

Lock & Co. of St James street in London makes the best and most beautiful bowler hats in the world. They are super expensive, but I got this one on eBay; it's a glorious addition to my hat collection! It protects my hair from the rain, as Paris has already shifted into Autumn mode...

This week end I'm attending a very dear friend's wedding in the exquisite Loire Valley - make sure to check back in on Sunday or Monday for pictures of this French-Iranian-German party!

Thursday, September 04, 2008

My Life With Tolstoy

When did I fall in love with Russia? When, at age 9, I rode the Trans-Siberian? The dense birch forests, both graceful and ominous, the little girls' bows holding their braids, the extraordinary kindness of the people of Moscow, the whimsical onion-domed churches...
Or was it 3 years later, when my mum bought me a copy of Anna Karenina?
I have lived with Tolstoy's books ever since, reading Anna Karenina in several different translations. I even made a pledge to re-read that supreme work every summer. It's like being reunited with old friends, and as I mature, I appreciate more some characters, such as Kitty, whom I used to find annoying.
This year however, I bailed out and read instead a new novel, What Happened To Anna K. by Irina Reyn. It's a bold attempt to re-imagine Tolstoy's novel, in the Russian Jewish community of Queens, NYC. Her Anna is much more Emma Bovary than Karenina in my opinion, but I guess that one of the reasons that Tolstoy's work is so extraordinary is because it allows each one of us to read it differently and see things in it others may have not imagined.
Next stop in my life with Tolstoy: re-read War and Peace, this time in the translation by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky. I'm eager to see Natasha!

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Meet Chloé and Cancan

My friend Chloé has been my style icon since high school; back then, she was a super cool girl who just went ahead and hung out with super nerdy, not-popular me. She has a tremendous sense of fashion, and fabulous taste in books and music, as well as a talent for illustration.
Today I met her at the roomy and impeccable café Tournon, on the eponymous street; it turns out author Joseph Roth used to live in this very building in the 1930's! Exciting, for a literature addict such as myself.
Chloé was wearing an Antik Batik wrap dress over a black tee and leggings, with crocodile gladiator sandals and crimson toenails. She was reading Ludwig Lewinsohn's The Case of Mr Crump. And who was hiding in her slouchy leather bag but Cancan, her 2.5lb long-hair chihuahua!
Je t'aime, Chloé!