Paris in 48 Hours; Part Une

The closest I have ever been to Paris was in Las Vegas at the Hotel Paris.

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When booking our return flight home from London, Hubby found out that British Airways offered a less expensive flight home with a stopover in Paris, so we decided to go for two days rather than not at all.

The flight is less than an hour from London. We hopped in a taxi to get to our hotel. It was raining but I was ready with an umbrella and comfortable boots. About ten minutes later I looked to the right and there it was-

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The Eiffel Tower!

It seemed so much shorter than I expected but still was exciting to see.

To make our trip easier, my friend Kathy, who is from France made us a terrific itinerary complete with photos, street names, and metro lines. She really nailed it!

She suggested we stay near the “Latin Quarter” which is an historic area with lots of beautiful architecture, quaint shops and close to Notre Dame. We stayed at the boutique Melia Colbert, 7 Rue del’Hotel 75005 Paris.

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It was across the street from the cathedral and all of the staff was courteous and multi-lingual as was everyone we encountered.

This was the view from the room

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We got there at 8 a.m., dropped off our bags and started our day of walking.

One block away was the main street . We stopped in a cafe to have “American” coffee, ( a shot of espresso in a coffee cup with a little pitcher of milk to dilute it) and croissants, (the best!)

Sitting in the cafe, we could see the Notre Dame Cathedral.

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Architecturally, it is a spectacular example of Gothic style with wonderful detail. The inside was not as elaborate as I expected but still had beautiful examples of craftsmanship including the world famous stained glass windows.

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Inside, as expected, were oversize paintings, statuary, chandeliers and relics

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Upon leaving the Cathedral, we came upon these magnificent gates.

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They turned out to be the entrance to the complex of the Sainte-Chappelle, an unexpected but very interesting destination. As quoted on their website; http://saintechapelle.monuments-nationaux.fr/

“a masterpiece of Flamboyant Gothic architecture built by Saint Louis in the heart of the Palais de la Cité on the Ile de la Cité in Paris. Discover its unique stained glass windows rendering the air iridescent with light and colour, symbols of the Heavenly Jerusalem”

Such inspiration of color and Gothic motifs! Enter through a very old and narrow stairway..

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and step back in time to this-

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Look up to the ceilings hand painted with fleur de lis

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Gothic columns and arches everywhere!

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The same motifs continue throughout on the windows

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floors..

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and the exterior stone.

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If I had stayed a Textile Designer, I would have had a whole collection made by now!

These are details of the hardware on the entry doors.

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Next to the chapel is a museum of paintings from the life of Saint Louis.

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Stained Glass

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And relics

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We walked back to the hotel to check in, had more coffee and croissants, then to the metro Line 1 and got off at the entrance to the Champs De Elysee. That night began a Christmas festival with tents lining both sides of the entire avenue.

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A large Ferris Wheel was erected for the festivities and the night sky was all aglow.

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This is my money shot of the Eiffel Tower rain, fog and all-

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We hadn’t had dinner yet because we didn’t want to waste time in a restaurant.This was the perfect place to eat but to make a decision was not easy. We would walk the entire thing and then decide what to have.

First up was oysters, one of my favorites

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Cheese and more cheese!

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What is cheese without wine and champagne?

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True smoked salmon

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and grilled sausage…

DSC01772Traditional Christmas ornaments from around the world were also for sale  such as these Russian nesting dolls

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What would France be without crepes?

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or macaroons? They weren’t from Laduree but still looked yummy!

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There really is a Chocolate Heaven!

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The Santa of Liberty and Beer

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A Human Snow Globe

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While crossing the street I spotted this building which was an art gallery.

I could live here.

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a skating rink was still under construction but was looking like fun

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Dinner turned out to be the grilled sausage with sauteed onions on a baguette.

We got back onto the metro to the Hotel Deville and walked back to our hotel. Day one was already a memory. Tomorrow would be the Marche aux Puces, the world renowned flea/antique market and the town of. Montmarte.

It was a tiring but fun first day in Paris. That night I was going through my photos and starting to plan my blog and remembered this-

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Seriously???

I almost forgot I was in Paris and felt like I was back in New York.

I flew all the way to Paris to see Hermes, Chanel, Dior, Louboutin  and St. Laurent…. NOT Michael Kors. He is everywhere. Europeans LOVE their Michael. Instead of Louis Vuitton, even the street vendors sell Michael Kors knock offs! Very ironic…

But I must have my say.

First of all, Michael, save the advertising for media, not beautiful buildings. Second, Michael, stick to fashion. We already have someone who drapes buildings in fabric.

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And if you are going to drape a building at least do the whole thing..

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Michael should hire Christos to do this to him-

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Check back for 48 hours in Paris, part deux!

More New Stuff

The Money Pit got the upstairs flooring done this week. Unfortunately, it took a verbal lashing to the installers for not showing up as scheduled, so they fit us in. Three days of sawing, banging and nail guns. Nowhere to hide, it was not fun. However, it is now DONE!!

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The term “let the dust settle” took on a new meaning. Three days of vacuuming and dusting. Of course, nothing here is done without a catch…

Months ago, we paid $75 an hour each for 3 men to install baseboards and hang all of the custom made doors. The baseboard was installed for 3/8″ flooring but somehow they didn’t realize that all the doors should also have the same clearance.

SO….

All the doors had to come off the hinges and now have to be cut so they can open and close like doors are meant to do.

I have so much unexpected space upstairs after the housing police made us redo, that I have taken one room and decided to make it an office for myself.

It is the first room in the house where I decided not to be so rigid and just have some fun. I absolutely love pink and any shade of, so I had a good time.

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A pink crystal chandelier, silk settee and velvet office chair set the mood.

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This room has the Juliet balcony over the front entrance; a nice bonus!

The settee was meant for my bedroom. We drove two hours to pick it up and I wanted to use it to have my morning coffee and catch up on emails. We tried everything to get it through the doorway. We took off the trim and even hand sawed a part of the gilt work. I finally gave up and put it in this room.

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Today we bought a mattress for a guest room and I am starting to put it together.

However…..

A simple attempt to wash my hands revealed that there is an apparent short circuit in our water well and we have no running water. That means, no washing dishes from last night’s steak dinner, no showers, no laundry and the more personal stuff.

Sometimes I wonder if we bought sacred grounds…..

Christmas Comes to London

Hubby’s job brought him to London this past week , so of course that means I also went. This time though, was especially fun because friends of ours from New York have relocated there, so I had my friend Melinda as a partner in crime the whole time!

It was so much fun to be able to see the city with her. We laughed so much while strolling the streets, going to coffee shops, (no tea here!), exploring the British Museum and the best part of all- shopping.

To me, Harrod’s is the ultimate shopping mecca. I went two days in a row and still didn’t get to see everything they offer. The food court alone is a one day excursion.

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Being American, this time of year is all about Thanksgiving. Everywhere we go we see turkeys, pilgrims, cornucopias and beautifully set tables. However, I tend to forget that Thanksiving is strictly and American holiday! That means Europeans get a jump on the Chritstmas holiday by a month.

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The streets of London were shining brightly at every corner, especially the windows at Harrod’s. The building is about as big as the New York City Macy’s, which takes up an entire city block. That means a lot of windows. It was dark out when I was leaving so I walked the entire building to get some photos to share.

The front of the building were all colorful and animated Christmas themed vignettes.

The toy top was spinning while the birds chirped.

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The jewelry box ballerina danced to music

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Final touches were being put on the animated marionette

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The rocking horse swayed back and forth to Christmas music

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The princess spun on her throne to show off her gown by Stella McCartney

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Santa was flying through the air with his eight reindeer

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A Jack-in-the-Box moved up and down

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And a large clock counted down the time til the New Year

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 Another side of the building had smaller windows which were two or three level dioramas. The detail was incredible for such a small scale.

Every one of these had tiny little snow flakes falling down.

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The last side of the building were various vendors highlighting their products. They were also very festive and beautifully done.

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The trip has really inspired me for the upcoming holidays and our first Christmas at the Money Pit …

SO….what would a post be without  an update???

Before we left for our trip, we purchased flooring for the entire upstairs. I made an installation appointment on  a recommendation from the flooring store. The man came here, measured, gave us a price and a written estimate. We booked him to start today through Wednesday.  I just hung up the phone on him as I had to call because he never showed up. He told me he doesn’t recall who I am, doesn’t remember coming to the house and is so booked is not sure when he can start. Seriously!???

So I sit here blogging away with this view…IMAG0068

Thank you, Mr. Floorman for embarrassing me when I have to tell my friends they can’t come this weekend because there is no room for them to sleep.

WELCOME BACK TO REALITY…

Already Redecorating!

We are living in The Money Pit almost two months now and already I have started to change things.

However, in this case I will not take full responsibility.

“Dick” the architect had originally designed the master bath to have a high ceiling with two story windows and a dormer. When the housing police made us rip out the upstairs, the dormer was deleted ($1000.00 window wasted) and the two leftover windows had to be installed at ground level. Being they were roll out casements, they would have hit the eaves of the above roof.DSC00711

So this is what I had to work with. I hated it. To make do and not hold anyone up, I went to Restoration Hardware and bought in stock vanities and mirrors.DSC01599

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It turns out the bathroom does not get a lot of daylight and is very dark.

How depressing to wake up first thing in the morning and feel like I am in a dungeon.

As most creative people will admit, we are more sensitive to our surroundings and can be affected by color, lighting, aromas and overall use of space. My husband didn’t quite get my reasoning but has been patient enough to watch me go on a mission to make it all work.

First came the hours of surfing on Pinterest to get all the following photos of rooms I liked. I was stuck between a French rustic feel or the more formal French which I usually end up with.

I have a huge copper soaking tub and want to do this alcove around it.

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These doors are the exact doors I have in wood. I have primed them white and will age and gild them.

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Adding a full mirrored wall will reflect light and make the space feel bigger.

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I also like the beams, but I think I may pass on them…

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Venetian Plaster everywhere else will give me shine

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I started with the purchase of two trumeau mirrors from Ebay

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and would paint them to work with the vanity inspiration from Segreto Secrets…

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 I bought lighting from quorum that was the exact feeling I had in mind…light in color and scale.

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This photo gave me the idea to mix a very light gray into the mix of beige with all the travertine in the room

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When I am ready for window treatments, silk puddled panels and a beautiful burn out lace shade is my choice.

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After the wood was applied to the vanities, I primed them white.

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I then painted the mirror and drawer fronts in the gray.

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And then added gold (of course!)

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Then it was time to call in Ericka, my Faux Finishing genius friend to apply the aging technique.

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Perfection!

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All is coming together for me . The next phase is the tub alcove so there will be more updates to come!

P.S. Today I got to see the Harrod’s Christmas windows in London. Blog to follow soon!

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