Paris in the Snow

paris title

January always lulls us into a false sense of security. We always think that it will be a month of catching up and getting back on track, after the madness of the Christmas season! For us, most of January is taken up with buying trips, as this is the time of year when most of the trade shows are on. So, as well as shows in London, there are trips to Paris, New York……and Birmingham. Guess which one we look forward to least! Anyway, at the end of January we had the first of our bi-annual trips to Paris…from the plane

To be honest we were lucky to get there, as there had been heavy snow fall in Paris – and heavy snow was forecast for when we flew. Luckily we flew from Heathrow just before the snow hit London, and we landed in Paris just after the snow had fallen (heavily).

The view from our hotel (Concorde La Fayette)…from the hotelWell, due to the weather, our usual day for trawling round flea markets was derailed slightly, so we headed to the Musee d’Orsay for a day of culture and sophistication!chairs

Serendipity has always been a favourite word of ours, and this day was, well, serendipitous.                                                                                                                  Jardin Des Tuileries, towards the Ferris Wheel….ferris wheel

The walk from the ‘Tuileries’ metro station – from the Rue de Rivoli, across the Jardin Des Tuileries, over the river to the Musee d’Orsay, was breathtaking to say the least. Due to the heavy snow fall that had covered Paris that night, the whole area including all of the buildings of the Louvre was just so beautiful.

Looking towards The Louvre……winter scene2winter scene 1

Looking towards the Musee d’Orsay, across the Seine….winter scene4

They say that Paris is the City of light – well the light that day was truly something. It gave the whole city a magical and ethereal feel. A dream for photographers, amateur or professional!snowmenjoggerstatues

One of the two famous clocks on the facade of the Musee d’Orsay…..paris orleans

And this is the view from the inside. After waiting ages for the area in front of the clock to clear of people, when i finally got a picture of it without anybody in front of it, i realised you get a much better sense of proportion when there are people in view…..clockj

Looking from the inside of the museum back over the river to the north side…..d orcy

Thanks Paris, for the snow and some wonderful photo opportunities.merci

Quintessance, Paris.

While on our last buying trip to Paris in September, we stumbled upon the most intriguing and inspiring of places….. With no name on the outside, no business cards, no obvious signs of staff working there, we left somewhat mystified about where and what exactly we had just visited. All we knew was that it was quite breathtaking. And very, very inspiring….Only after returning home and looking up the address did we discover that it is called QUINTESSENCE…..Essentially it is a 650 square meters concept store created by Ludovic Messager, Interior designer and Antiques dealer. From what we can gather, this gallery style environment is used mainly as a showcase for the eclectic display, visual merchanding and interiors style of it’s creator.Some of the worlds most innovative and respected retailers and designers have come to this ‘house of curiosities’ to commission interiors projects. ABC New York, Anthropologie, Ralph Lauren, John Varvatos to name a few.You have to be careful in Paris when taking pictures in shops or boutiques. A lot of the owners/proprietors don’t like it at all. But they were kind enough to let us take pictures, in fact we got the nod from the man himself, Monsieur Messager. This is just a selection….

Merci.

If you’re looking for inspiration in Paris, then Merci, on Boulevard Beaumarchais on the edge of the Marais, is always worth a visit…The brainchild of Marie-France Cohen & her husband (founders of children’s brand Bonpoint) Merci is a concept store, that since opening in 2009, has in a few short years, gained quite a reputation amongst interiors & lifestyle journalists and bloggers. And with good reason!Set in an old factory, set back from the main road (sorry Boulevard!) Merci has 15,000 sq ft of the very best in contemporary furniture, lighting & accessories, mixed with exquisite vintage & antique pieces…There is also a whole floor of exclusive designer clothing and accessories, with many pieces designed exclusively for Merci, by Stella McCartney, Paul Smith and Isabel Marant – to name a few. There is also a library/café where you can slow down and maybe browse or buy the books while you sip your green tea! It’s also worth mentioning that Merci donates all it’s profits to Women’s foundations in Madagascar. But the thing that stands Merci apart, is the innovative visual merchandising and displays that are implemented throughout the store… That and the little vintage Red Fiat 500 Cinquecento that stands in the courtyard ready to greet you as you enter….Merci, indeed.

Paris – New York (Pt 1)

Well, we’re half way through our buying trips now. We’ve had shows/fairs in & around London and recently returned from Paris. Without sounding cliched, we discover something new about this wonderful city every time we go there. I guess it’s the same with every great city. Anyway, here’s a few photos we took that will be going on our mood board for the coming season. We took a fair few pics in the Louvre – If you’re even slightly interested in art, architecture, or history, it really is stunning, well worth checking out. And absolutely huge! You really need a whole day to explore it properly. So here’s some things that inspired us………..

Parlez vous Anglais?

We go over to Paris twice a year and every time, before we go, we always start to wonder about whether we’ll get out of it as much as we hope.  We wonder if we’re going to find the right products for the season, new products, new suppliers and probably most important of all…we hope we’ll be inspired. Well, as usual we needn’t have worried. The trip was fantastic on all fronts.

Anyway, the plan now, is to get the right stock in at the right time, which can be frustrating when dealing with some continental suppliers. They tend to do things their way, whether you like it or not. C’est la vie! It’s always worth it when it arrives though, and by the way, the new stock will start coming in, in a couple of weeks and continue coming in up until December. We’ll be posting some of it here, so watch this space.

Couple of great places for lunch…………..

As planned, we had a day to wander round the city, and the highlights, in no particular order were:

Tea at Merci…..

Wonder at Dayrolle

The allure of the flea markets …

……..for Deb it was discovering new boutiques in the Marais. And for me, it was finding these little Pathe baby film rolls featuring Charlie Chaplin movies!

Now if only I had something to play them on…………

Off to Paris.

So, it’s that time of year again, when we’re off and about, here there and everywhere buying new stock for the season ahead. (Sorry, but Christmas starts early for us!!)

The highlight of the buying season for us is always our trip to the trade show in Paris. We usually have 3 days at the show and a day to soak up Paris; the sights, the sounds, the food, the wine, the architecture…..pretty much everything really. For inspiration, you can’t beat it!
Usually, the way we work when we’re there is, we cherry-pick from our usual suppliers and mix it up with (hopefully) one or two new suppliers. And take on board some display/styling ideas from some of the many wonderful stores/boutiques in Paris itself. The stock we’ve ordered starts trickling through from end of September pretty much all the way up to December. Here’s a few pics to set the tone………..