A marvelous painting of a gourmand at his table hangs in the Musée Carnavalet in Paris — a portly, pink-faced figure happily gorging on a regal casserole, with a bottle of wine at one elbow and a luscious-looking soufflé at the other. It is traditionally believed to be a portrait of Alexandre-Balthazar-Laurent Grimod de la Reynière, an aristocrat notorious in Napoleonic France for gratifying his palate with the same abandon as his contemporary the Marquis de Sade showed in indulging carnal desires. Whether or not the painting is actually Grimod’s likeness, it captures the eccentric, omnivorous spirit that made him not only a gustatory symbol in the Paris of his day, but the grand-père of all modern food writers as well.
Starting in 1803, Grimod, whose family fortune had largely been lost during the Revolution, financed his voracious appetite by writing a series of best-selling guidebooks to the culinary wonders of Paris — its famous delicatessens, pâtissiers and chocolatiers — including the first reviews of an alluring new institution called le restaurant. His Almanachs des Gourmands were something new, the Michelins and Zagats of his era, and their offbeat style reflects the author’s larger-than-life character. Grimod was born in 1758 with deformed hands, one a birdlike talon and the other a webbed pincer. But he was not one to be held back, so he had learned to write — and dine — with metal prostheses. A social butterfly, he became a successful theater critic in Paris before the Revolution, survived the Terror and amused himself later by hosting literary salons in the cafes. And, of course, eating.
It was on the trail of Grimod one day last summer that I passed through the vaulted arches of the Palais Royal, opposite the north wing of the Louvre, and into a vast, empty courtyard. In Grimod’s day, the Palais Royal was the heart and soul of Paris, a rowdy entertainment center filled with brothels and sideshows that, despite its louche ambience, also boasted some of his favorite … continue reading
With the 30,000 (give or take 10 to 20 thousand) iphone apps available at the Apple iTunes store, including free, paid and game apps, it can feel no less than overwhelming looking for quality apps. How do you find the needle in a hay stack? Millions of others like you and I browsing the app store feel this pain. The bad side to this is that there are too many poor applications and duplicates, triplicates and quadruplacates (if that’s a word). The good side to having a prodigious amount of apps is that within this sea of apps a significant number of them are really excellent. Yay. Of course, the problem of trying to locate those apps remains pretty elusive. This is why I’m only going to feature apps that stand out of the crowd.
Since apps haven’t really been on my radar, many of the great ones surely slipped by me but I serendipitously stumbled upon this ingenious Paris Metro iPhone App. Seriously, the developers of this one are Gods.
The Paris Metro iPhone App is a must-have app for residents of and tourists traveling in Paris. Forget the clunky paper maps and GPS with a battery life of about 3 minutes. You’ll only need your trusty iPhone 3G because this app takes full advantage of the augmented reality features.
Watch the youtube video of the demonstration (click on the image). It explains how it works. Note: It’s in French but the visual is self-explanatory.
The Paris Metro iPhone App is 99 cents at the iTunes store. Get it now.
On the 20th of May Paris will host an auction that you should attend if you love vintage fashion, and particularly if you like the iconic pieces created by French brand Hermés. Over 700 of their creations will be auctioned at the Hotel Marcel Dassault.
Auction house Artcurial have managed to collect 700 iconic Hermés pieces. Many of them are from the 60s, 70s and 80s, with authentic jewellery in some cases starting at just €70.
From their legendary foulards to jodhpur boots and beautiful bags. As you can imagine, the 700 pieces feature many interesting and unique creations. Don’t forget, you need to book in advance…
Hôtel Marcel Dassault
7 rond-point des Champs-Élysées
20 May 10:30am: Lots 1-250
20 May 2:30pm: Lots 251-End
Auctioneer: François Tajan
15-18 May, 11am-7pm
19 May, by appointment
“Air France has just slashed the price on their Paris Affair by $200. Now you can enjoy round-trip airfare and six nights in a hotel from $849.
This Paris vacation also includes a Bateaux Mouches river cruise on the Seine; a fashion show at luxury department store Galeries Lafayette, a wine and cheese tasting at Galeries Lafayette, a Paradis Latin show with complimentary champagne, and continental breakfast daily.
Though this package is available from now through late March of 2010, the lowest airfare prices are in the fall and winter.
Paris comes to life in the fall with fashionistas rocking the latest trends during fashion’s most exciting season. Winter is also a great time to visit Paris: tourists are few and far between, and the city looks gorgeous with a light dusting of snow.
Prices are based on double occupancy and a Saturday night stay is required.”