I was very honored when Christina of Greige Design suggested that I could be a guest blogger while she enjoys time away. Blogging has become a very personal journey as I am able to share ideas, design inspirations, travel stories via words and images, an electronic common place book of sorts. My blog Francine Gardner Art De Vivre is a synopsis of who I am, someone who just loves family, life, nature, far away cultures and brings all these experiences into my design work.
I left the South West of France at the age of 18 to study in United States (Boston), a country that has fascinated me to the point that I am now a US citizen. But I will always love PARIS. I believe if there is a "place one must see before you die", please make it Paris.
Paris through the eye of Henri Cartier Bresson
You may, if you wish, follow me on my stroll through my favorite part of this extraordinary city.
Arrive early morning at the small Lenox Hotel on Rue de l'Universite in Saint Germain where I always stay, shower, clean clothes and off I start my free day before meetings, shows etc.. breakfast at Cafe Flore where wealthy locals and tourists meet to chat , see and be seen. Then a long magnificent walk along the Seine to my favorite museum, Musee du Quai Branly.
Cross the Seine and heads to the Musee de l'Orangerie where all walls of two large rooms are covered with massive canvases of Monet Water Lillies. A profound beautiful experience not to be missed.
Keep walking through gardens and enjoy a well deserved lunch on the terrace of Cafe Marly, overlooking the Louvre.
Then on to some shopping, all Streets of Saint Germain are filled with art galleries and boutiques but I always end up at the Bon Marche, their food emporium is a treat to all senses, their hip women's fashion department irresistible, let's not mention the shoes....there, you see french women at work...shopping.
Back to the Flore for a chevre chaud, dinner at one of my favorite restaurants, alone or with friends, then, my nightly walk, through Place de Furstenberg, magical at night, getting lost in the small streets of the quartier latin and crossing the bridge to Isle Saint Louis. Along the way, I spend hours browsing the shelves of the bookstores which stay open until midnight. The french love to read... I usually end up buying boxes of books that I ship back to New York.
My free day is over, off to sleep.
My dear friends Monique Duveau, food critic and style editor at Cote Sud, and artist Jose Esteves have introduced me to their favorite restaurants, numerous memorable diners that still tease my taste buds.
Lily-Wang, designed by Jacques Garcia. Simply superb Asian fusion dishes.
40 Avenue Duquesne, Paris 7th # 01 53 86 09 09
Casa Olympe: Olympe is one of the most celebrated chefs in France, fresh breads, inseason truffles, cheeses from Corsica, crayfish...her dishes are an inspiration and a delight to the senses.
48 Rue Saint Georges, Paris 9eme. 01 42 85 26 01
Le Severo Bistrot; the land of Holy meat, best quality, cooked to perfection and at prices easily digested..
Charming bistro, only eight tables, best meats and french fries in Paris.
8 Rue des Plantes Paris 14eme. 08 99 78 72 43
Bistrot Paul Bert: Exquisite comfort food, very parisian food and atmosphere, killer deserts, Paris-Brest is a must.
18 Rue Paul Bert,Paris 11eme 01 43 72 24 01
My favorite stores
Merci! Not to be missed, hip boutique, eclectic mix of fashion and design, great place to shop,be inspired, have an espresso or lunch
111 Blvd Beaumarchais Paris 3eme (near le Marais)
Caravane; the owner Francoise Dorget and I share the same passion for travel, home and design
6 Rue Pave, Paris 4eme, 19 nRue Saint Nicolas, Paris 12eme, 22 Rue Saint Nicolas
Gallerie Yves Gastou: decorative arts of the 20th century
12 Rue Bonaparte, Paris 6eme.
Table by Robert Couturier
Miller et Bertaux: Home, fashion and scents
17 Rue Ferdinand Duval
Hope you enjoyed!
Paris, a bientot...