Monday, August 20, 2012

French Notes


The Marquise de Pompadour.
Ed. Note: Once again my darling Marsi is back. Today she is musing about France. She asks us what have we been doing lately that has us "in a French state of mind." Clearly, I'm living a French state of mind, but I thought I would answer her question more specifically. 

The other day I was talking with my brother-in-law, a curator at a major museum in the United States,  about paintings of Madame de Pompadour, thus the oeuvre above by François Boucher (ca. 1750) which hangs in the Louvre.

             Just sharing a few French things that've caught my eye this past week while summer winds down and we head into my favorite time of year ....

Farewell, My Queen


A behind-the-scenes look at the fall of Versailles, starring Diane Kruger as Queen Marie-Antoinette, Léa  Seydoux as her devoted servant Sidonie, and Virginie Ledoyen as her duchess friend Gabrielle de Polignac. Filmed on location at the Palace of Versailles, there's only one word to describe it: sumptuous.

Avibon


A precious friend supplied me with a tube of Avibon, a Vitamin A-rich ointment available in French pharmacies. Vitamin A is, of course, the skincare code word for "retinoid," which is used to treat everything from acne to wrinkles. Every night, I've been melting just the slightest dab of it between my fingertips, smiling in the mirror, and touching it gently to the outer corners of my eyes and into the smile lines that whisker toward my cheeks. It's super-moisturizing and feels so comfortable ... and yes, I think it's softening my lines.

Into a Paris Quartier


Two nights ago, I finished rereading Le Divorce, a favorite novel on the ways and means of Parisian society. Diane Johnson's vivid prose left me in awe. Now I'm moving onto one of her nonfiction works, Into a Paris Quartier: Reine Margot's Chapel and Other Haunts of St.-Germain. She brings the cobbled streets of St.-Germain to life through her enthralling research into its former habitués, such as d'Artagnan of the Three Musketeers and Queen Margot, among others. It stirs my imagination and makes me long to return to Paris (even more than usual).

Chanel Coromandel


Earlier this summer, I received a sample of Coromandel when I replenished my supply of Chanel No. 19 at the Chanel boutique in San Francisco ... and just fell tête over heels for its dark, sweet scrumptiousness. Coromandel's blend of incense, benzoin, and amber will be delicious for the cooler season right around the corner. I can't wait for the scent to haunt  my cashmere sweaters and wraps when I bundle up to keep winter's chill at bay.

I'd love to hear what you've been doing lately that's had you in a French state of mind. Tell me!

17 comments:

The enchanted home said...

Think I need to track down a tube of avibon. Le Divorce sounds interesting and entertaining....all things French are for me as a matter of fact:)

déjà pseu said...

I loved Le Divorce. I'll check out her new book! I've been keeping up with my "French" breakfast of fruit and plain yogurt. I've been meaning to stop by the Chanel boutique to sample some fragrances, and will add that one to the list. (Someone long ago recommended 31 Cambon and I've yet to try it.)

High Heeled Life said...

Ahhhh France! Just thinking of it takes me back to my visits to this Grande Lady of a country. I can't wait to return. And that cream is definitely going to be on my list of things to bring back!! Happy Monday..xo HHL

Kristien62 said...

I've been gathering things for a trip to Ireland in September. How is that related to a French state of mind, you ask? I have kept in mind the photos of lovely French women that La Femme has shown over the years and am following their lovely example. Neutrals, simple jewelry, scarves as functional and fashionable accessories.

Karena said...

Oh Tish I dream I am in France, am reading of everything French I can get ahold of, and as you watching movies about and filmed in France!

xoxo
Karena
Art by Karena

Young at Heart said...

ooh am off to Lille in Sept shall have to grab me someof that!!

French Girl in Seattle said...

Bonjour from Seattle! I personally can't wait for the new Marie-Antoinette movie to be available in DVD so my relatives may ship it to us. As for the new Chanel fragrance, I love that they picked the name of the beautiful Coromandel screens "Mademoiselle" loved to surround herself with at her rue Cambon private apartment... Veronique (French Girl in Seattle)

kathy peck said...

I saw a French film "The Well-Keeper's Daughter" ~ an old-fashioned French film, in the mood of "Manon of the Spring" and "Jean de Florette". I loved it and felt transported to the French countryside, and everything slowed down for me. Highly recommend it!

hostess of the humble bungalow said...

I must try that Chanel fragrance I love a heavy amber scent for cool fall days.
Le Divorce was a favourite read so I will take note of this title and visit my local book seller.

Does the vitamin A make your skin red or peel ?
I have been warned not to use it because of my rosacea.

BigLittleWolf said...

I also loved Le Divorce. I thought it aptly captured some subtleties that we sometimes miss.

And what's not to love about the scarves?

At the moment, I'm both bemused and dismayed over the issue of love locks on Parisian bridges... I may need an extra dab of Chanel on each wrist, as I work through my thoughts on that one...

jill815 said...

Ooooh, I just loved "Le Divorce," both book and film. In fact, I liked them both so much I wrote an article about the costumes Kate Hudson wore in the movie for Clothes on Film.com. It was great to interview the film's costume designer, Carol Ramsey, about how she clothed a large famous cast on such a limited budget and of course, I had to ask about the red crocodile Hermes Kelly Kate Hudson receives in the film! (It had a stunt double when it was tossed from the Eiffel Tower.) Back to Diane Johnson, she is one of my favorite writers and I'm re-reading L'Affaire right now. XO, Jill

Shelley said...

We spent the month of July in France, mainly near Beune, in Avignon and visiting Bill's son at his new flat in St Paul Trois Chateaux (we were in our motorhome). I ate escargot the first time and we loved the fresh fruit and veg at the farm shops. I'll be blogging about the trip on Wednesdays. Also, just finished reading Seven Ages of Paris by Alisdair Horne. It sounds very serious and I suppose it is, but I found it very readable with all sorts of funny little snippets. It explains a lot about the French, well, about Parisians anyhow. I highly recommend it!

Pam @ over50feeling40 said...

Now, I want a tube of Avibon! I also want to read LeDivorce...enjoyed the post!

A Well Styled Life said...

I loved Le Divorce and L'Affaire. She's great fun. I'll check out her new non fiction.
I've been wearing more scarves, to protect my neck from the strong sun here. I wear 31 Rue Cambon during the summer and Bois des Iles in the cooler months.
Oh, and I'm also wearing lots of striped T shirts with my new Bensimon's

kabayoz said...

I love going to the farmer's market. And when I'm there, I imagined myself in one of those markets in France picking up wonderful stuff to take home and cook. It got a little heavy one day when I said "bonjour" instead of hello to the lady who owned one of the stalls. She asked "what did you need dear?". And most recently, I watched a rerun of Gigi on the movie channel with Leslie Caron and Maurice Chevalier.

Vicki said...

Interesting, about "Farewell, My Queen." I didn't know a thing about it. Based on the popular book and now a French film in limited release since July-2012 in the U.S.A. I wonder if it has English subtitles? I hope I can see it, as I love Sofia Coppola's "Marie Antoinette" (a visual treat as well) and some of my internet search indicates that "Farewell, My Queen" (film) goes where Sofia's didn't, apparently/primarily on the extent of Marie Antoinette's relationships with her closest lady attendants although a lot of that was based on vicious propaganda of the times. Anyway, sounds like another great story of the much-misunderstood Queen. Amazon has the book but not, of course, the DVD as yet...which probably will be my default, as it seems the film is not likely to come to my small town, but we shall see.

What I did today for my French state of mind? Read about the gorgeous, inventive, chic doyenne of style, Coco Chanel (from ELLE magazine) who made pants acceptable, the LBD a fashion mainstay, PEARLS a jewelry box requirement...and elegant dressing the rest of us can only hope to emulate.

Joy Rothke said...

Coco Chanel was a racist, an anti-Semite and a Nazi collaborator. She may have been chic, but she was also a terrible woman.

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