Wednesday, July 28, 2010

In Como

Sorry girls, I have no George Clooney sighting to report in Como - the star famously owns a villa in this beautiful and posh little town. I did however see things of great beauty, such as the Duomo, with its extraordinary, ornate facade.
In the tiny little streets, every single building seems to have remarkable ancient features (such as that carved woman's face, below, spotted in a private courtyard) and sheer elegant lines - isn't that wood door fantastic? I also shopped and treated myself to something very, very nice. Visit Aurea again this week to check it out!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Delicious Italy

From top:
A pastry shop and coffee shop in Argegno...
In Como, I have an expresso macchiato while I read the critically-acclaimed best-seller Non Ti Muovere, one of the books I most loathed in my life. The boring, self-centered, boo-hoo-poor-me confession of a man who remembers a sordid sexual affair while his daughter lies in a coma... The New York Times Book Review called it "Beautiful. . . . The splintered, humanizing observations that constantly animate this novel . . . are exhilarating." Beats me.
And at a tiny ristorante in Tremezzo, where only the locals go, some antipasti (pickled onions, baby artichokes and white flagioli) and a tiramisu. I blush to admit this, but growing up I was convinced that the tiramisu was a Japanese dessert - doesn't the name sound Japanese?

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Villa Carlotta

One of the things I find fascinating about plants is their Latin names - Citrus Paradisi, isn't that exquisite and tempting? The Villa Carlotta is indeed famous for its botanical gardens. Fragrant with gardenias, dotted with hundreds of camellias, it includes some very exotic specimens and spectacular landscaping.
The Citrus Tunnel for instance, which is literally a tunnel made of orange, lemon and grapefruit trees of all kinds, seemed like something out of Alice In Wonderland.
Inside, the villa, we discovered some moving sculptures. I adore how the hard, cold marble can convey the limpness of a Madonna's hand, the delicate curves of a body. Really, how can marble dance?

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Around Tremezzo

The Villa where we're staying, seen from the park and its sumptuous lobby.

In Tremezzo, by the Lago di Como... The village seen from the coast, the stairs leading to the preschool and steps that take you to the water.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

On The Road To Italy

We drove through Burgundy...

Through Switzerland...

Italy at last!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Packing For Italy

Tomorrow I am leaving for Italy - Tremezzo, by the Lago di Como, in the North. Maybe it's because I had an Italian great-grandmother, but since my very first trip to Italy I fell intensely in love with the country. I just adore it.
Here are some of the things I am packing...
A vintage 1930's man's hat I bought on Etsy and, also from Etsy, a Japanese eye mask to sleep in the car; the latter was made with an old kimono by Naomi and its soft silk lining rests soft soft soft against my closed eyelids.

A pile of freshly purchased all-cotton Petit Bateau T-shirts. This classic brand is worn by French little kids and stylish young women alike. I've been buying the same models for decades! I have to say though that those tees used to last a lot longer back in the days when they were Made In France.

Supreme historian Juliet Gardiner's 800-page volume on The Thirties - the 300 first pages are fascinating so far, especially for someone like me who is obsessed by the 20's and 30's.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

A Saturday In Paris

Down the rue Michel-Ange...

... and then left on the rue Molitor...

... past the intersection with the rue Boileau...

... to take the Métro at Chardon-Lagache.

Waiting for the Métro...

... to take me to meet a friend at La Motte-Picquet, where the Métro flies above the street.

And then, off to the Théâtre du Châtelet, where Diaghilev produced his first Parisian shows of the Ballets Russes...

... to see the amazing Novosibirsk Ballet dance Balanchine!

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Petit Garçon Parisien

Last summer, my little friend Arthur visited me in Los Angeles - where he discovered the beach. This summer, I paid him a visit at his Paris apartment. Despite the unbearable heat (the temperature is in the mid 30's Celsius, or the 90's Fahrenheit), Arhtur was a gracious little host. He showed me his favorite piglet book and then we walked to a nearby park.
Isn't he just perfectly adorable, with that pouty mouth and that silky shock of hair?

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Ballet De L'Opéra

Last night, I was delighted to go to the Opéra Bastille to see the institution's ballet company performing Jiri Kylian's extraordinary Kaguyahime, inspired by an ancient Japanese legend. My favorite ballerina, Marie-Agnès Gillot, was regal as ever (but pictured above is the equally exquisite, emotional Agnès Letestu). An ensemble of traditional Japanese musicians played live, as Eastern tradition merged with Western modernism in its most graceful and poignant expression. It was a triumph.

Speaking of art and sublime women, did you know that the Louvre's Venus de Milo has a blog?

Sunday, July 04, 2010

What Would Alice Wear?

Here are some of my most recent Etsy purchases... This Alice In Wonderland Oversized Bow by Zara Carpenter, made with some vintage cotton upholstery fabric (as if a naughty Alice had cut out a bow from her mama's fancy living room chairs...) has become my everyday accessory. I adore it so much that I may buy this one too. In fashion-conservative, conformist Paris, people stare at my quirky bow on the street but I don't care.
My bloomers by Under The Root have also become a staple. I love their candy colors and their old-style design. I think Lewis Carroll's Alice would like them too, no?And finally, these exquisite vegan shoes (yes, that does exist!) by The Generation, oriental style Mary-Janes; these flats are super comfortable, and perfect to run after a rabbit who dashes ahead as he mumbles "I'm late, I late..."

Saturday, July 03, 2010