Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Vogue Fashion Night Out 2014 Paris

A petite taste of 2014 Vogue Fashion Night Out and my first time attending.

I wish 2015 VFNO was just around the corner now that I've got the hang of it.

There are tons of 'limited editions' for this special night like this T-shirt. The deal is you buy September Vogue (5€). Pay an extra 10€ for the T-shirt IF the new stand has any left, which most of them didn't by the time I got there. Lucky for me I found one at the news relay at Gare Montparnasse on the way to the Loire. Unlucky for me I do not look quite like this young thing in it. C'est la ve.

Fauchon had a limited edition éclair for last night's event along with their other 36 flavors out this week.

These girls snagged one and were eating it OUT IN THE STREET! What? I was at Fauchon as presse but we VIPs only got foie gras and Champagne. No eclairs? Dommage.

Loads of fashion houses stayed open from 6 to 10 for the night. Champagne flowed like water.

Deluxe mustard maison Maille was pouring Champers too.

Plus their head chef Didier Heyl was happy to mix up a personalized jar of mustard for you on the spot. Heaven no? I went home with caramelized onion mustard. Yum

Maille has a new winter collection based on old 17th century recipes from the house. How about verjus/grape with a touch of honey. Or champignon mustard. Or cocoa with framboise (raspberry). I must go back and make a great study of all their many flavors. Could mustard displace vanilla in my life ?

White orchids everywhere along with Champagne on VFNO.

Inside Dior on rue Royal white orchids spill out of tall glass vases.

Balloons too. You got signature balloons to carry around at breauty house Carita and everywhere else.11 rue du Faubourg St.Honoré

Picture taking was rampant.

A major player  Frédérique Verley, rédactrice en chef beauté de Vogue poses with Carita's artistic director, Tom Marcireau. Love the green tie and watch...
Lovedthe stairway at Carita, but I didn't get on line to get my makeup done. Too many places to visit.

The streets were buzzing last night.


A fashion show took place in the middle of rue St. Honoré. No indication of the name of the designer.

More picture taking with the essential balloon floating overhead.

Girls getting their picture taken while holding other pictures they'd had taken. Does the one with the most pictures win?

At Polo you could wait on line for for a red carpet free photo holding a Champagne glass bien sur.

Love the stairway at Polo. Paris has some terrific stairways.

Colette has changed their picture taking policy. You can take all you want! There's even a sign on the door. Will the rest of Paris shops follow suit? Wouldn't that be nice.

The 3 authors of hot  book, How To Be A Parisian were the main attraction at Colette and signing like crazy.

Popcorn, believe it or not, has become the NEW hot snack food in Paris especially in weird flavors I've found so far to be terrible. Popcorn was all over last week's Maison et Objet. Last night it was served in signature cups bearing the name of fashion houses. Go figure. Get out your poppers everyone.

Pierre Marcolini has a divine chocolate shop on rue St. Honoré.

Charming and gracious beau mec Pierre himself was out front greeting and inviting in each guest inside.

For luscious tastes of his chocolate-covered orange peel. Such hospitalité!

I was invited for an 'It' cocktail at Hotel Mandarin Oriental's Bar 8, but when I got there I was told it was completely booked, shown the closed door inside (why ever bother?) and then told it was all young people anyway. Hmmm. Not nice. Never mind. The rest of the evening was loads of fun and everyone else could not have been nicer. Nice to come home to my bridge too. 

Monday, September 15, 2014

Festival de la Tomate - Chateau de la Bourdaisiere

During July while painting French tomatoes nonstop for the August Sketch Letter I had my eye on the  prize.

A visit to the annual Festival de la Tomate held the second weekend in September at chateau de la Bourdaisiere in the Loire Vallée.

Yesterday I joined a journalists group visiting the tomato fete. Just a short 55-minute TGV train ride from Paris.

This year's fete had a tie-in theme appropriately with Disney's Ratatouille.

We entered the chateau now a lovely three-star 32-room hotel for our tomato fete introduction.

Country luxury hotels are, thank goodness, short on the Marie-Antoinette syndrome that's taken over too many Paris hotels. The chateau particularly has a feeling of a cabinet of curiosities - very intriguing.

The owner of the chateau, Prince Louis Albert de Broglie informally joined us to explain the details of his great endeavor - preserving over 640 heritage tomatoes and developing biodiversity farms that can feed up to 50 families.

We set off to see the property, visiting farms and cultivation plots, the Prince leading the way and proudly explaining the progress they've made. The gardens were designated a national tomato conservatory in 1998.

Tomatoes everywhere and simply magnificent.

Purveyors displayed the many varieties.

The Prince shares his just-picked bounty with us. Sweet as honey.

Not just tomatoes are cultivated at the chateau, but more than 240 varieties of rare Dahlias are grown by resident expert, Mme. Martine de Roquefeuil/a>.

A sea of exquisite specimens in the gardens and inside the hotel.

Time to taste those tomatoes.

A 4-course meal was served every dish tomato-influenced.

Firstly a plate of the most divine tomato varieties with a light balsamic dressing. 

The main plat was roti de porc au Romarin and of course Ratatouille, that famous Provençal stew of summer vegetables, plus a savory tomato flan and tomato bread.

To follow a fine chevre of the Loire Vallée, St. Maure, served with delicious tomato jam made at the chateau.

Naturally I raced off to buy a jar only to find another jar of tomato  jam waiting in our goodie bags at departure. Can one ever have too much tomato jam? Two bottles should keep me going until next September's Festival de la Tomate hopefully.

The affable Prince joined us at lunch. He could not be more relaxed or charming.

Naturally I gave him my August Tomato Sketch Letter but I forgot to take a picture of him holding it unfortunately. It's not everyday you get to give a prince your artwork...

There were tents selling wonderful country-made items: pain d'epice, nougats, gardening tools, gardening books, plants, holistic creams for the event. And the chateau has fabulous gift shops with many designs from Le Prince Jardinier, the mark of the chateau, including the Prince's own vest design in Bordeaux velvet.

I regret not picking up a bar or two of his tomato soap. The tomato bath salts looked enticing though to have a bathtub in tiny Paris apartments is a luxury not many can boast of.

The Prince took over Deyrolle on 46, rue du Bac and breathed new life into it. When there was a fire in 2008 he rallyed artists and others to contribute to an auction that rebuilt and repaired the devastating damage. Deyrolle is a must-visit when you come to Paris. A step back in time to a magical  world.

The trip to the Festival de la Tomate was magical indeed. I felt all green and ecological afterwards. Bear came along bien sur and plans to return next year. Meanwhile this upcoming weekend is Jours de Patrimoine, so the chateau will be open and free to the public - a truly lovely way to spend a weekend afternoon exploring the gardens and supping on a tomato lunch non?