Monday, October 29, 2012

Still Day 3 in Paris

During the reign of Henry IV, the Marais became the hometown of the French aristocracy.  In the 17th century, big shots built their private mansions close to Henry's ritzy Place des Vosges.   The mansions that survived the Revolution now house museums, libraries, and national institutions.

The Marais is in both the 3rd and 4th Arrondissement and is the location for Place de la Bastille and the flashy, curved, glassy facade of Opera Bastille - which we are going to on another day.  For now we are continuing our window shopping.

A dainty macrame and rhinestone bracelet.
We haven't found soutache cord yet,
 but I did get rhinestone chain.

Old Roman Glass necklace

Each of these pieces were hand cut

Lots of metals - silver and gold - in the shops.

We are walking west (at least I think it is west) on the rue des Francs-Bourgeois which leads to the Centre George Pompidou which is a massive complex housing the Musee National d'Art Moderne and a number of rotating exhibitions.

We spotted this wall mural as we rounded
 the corner before the Center

Another totally different neighborhood feel - 
with the fountain, kids playing in the water,
music, and the modern art atmosphere.

We saw lively street dancers,
other entertainment and chalk paintings.

As we head south back to the apartment,
we pass this 170 ft bell tower.
This was part of the St Jacques de la Boucherie Church
 which was built during the Renaissance,
and destroyed during the French Revolution.
 The bell tower is all that remains and is the
 centerpiece of  Paris' first public square.

Across the river to Saint Michel

Close up of the fountain

After passing this building, we decided to get off the main boulevards and walk thru the side streets and
passageways (pedestrian only streets)
which was a lot quieter and less touristy.  
Back thru the Sorbonne area and the Pantheon to home.
Not a bad day considering how it all started.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

the Marais

Bead Street News:  All the painting has been done - at least I think it is done.  You know how it is - you paint one wall and an adjoining wall looks a little dirty, so you have to paint that one, and then ......  Have hung up row 8 on the Czech glass wall (4 more to go).  Irene did a fabulous job of organizing the gals when this stuff came down.  So pretty easy to get back up, just time consuming.  Running short of space on the Teals and Greens (go figure) so may have to reshuffle some - but making progress.

Now  to Paris - the Marias - Day 3:

The Marais means 'the marsh' in French but it is now one of the most elegant and aristocratic districts in Paris. Because it is Friday, and the Marais is a Jewish community, their Sabbath is Saturday and most stores and restaurants close early on Friday.  Some stores close at noon - some stores were not even open today.  So if you go, and I recommend you do, go earlier in the week.

Our visit was a very colorful and eventful one. We saw Renaissance-era architecture, galleries, Michelin-starred restaurants next to Kosher bakeries, and expensive boutiques next to thrift shops.  The Marais is bohemian, artistic and cosmopolitan.

When I say colorful - here's a sample of what we saw.

This is inspiration to me.
Instead of doing an entire bracelet,
I am working on just one ring - similar to this one -
and then maybe use some Chinese Knotting cord
and do a macrame something.

Pretty nice huh! 
 Maybe a little too bright to wear in Boise. 
We'll have to see,

First event - Sign says Free Hug. 
 Barb always seems to find the 'Huggers'
(remember the Czech Republic trip). 
This gal appeared to be a little safer however,
 so instead of running, I actually got one too

This is me sitting in the gutter. 
My job on trips is to navigate - to get us wherever
we need to be, then safely back home. 
 Barb' s job is to entertain and provide medical care. 
 Boy did we need her medical advice on this trip. 
As it turned out, three of us fell at some point -
 I was just the first.  Sprained my ankle, hurt my hip and knee 
and ripped my pants (notice the knee). 
 Fortunately, Parisians are all very helpful and
 thankfully - no one broke any bones.

The Marias is full of antique stores, boutiques, and vintage shops. 
 Of course, we had to go into this one. 
Not a lot of what I would call bargains. 
 The vintage items were from Chanel, Louis Vuitton,
Dior,  Yves Saint Laurent -  we are in Paris afterall.
Colorful and bling with a capital B.
More on our visit on the next post.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Day 2 - the Eiffel Tower

Today, Barb, Jimmila and I are off to see the Eiffel Tower.  Need to get our sightseeing done first before spending all my money on beads and trims.  Have done a little shopping. 
We found a great little shop where we buy 'daily' scarves. 
 We also go to a Pharmacy every day. 

Found these trinkets in an antique store.
Other things I found include antique buttons,
old coins, old keys and  'found objects'. 
Don't know what I'm  going to do with these.
Maybe I will be inspired by what we see today.

We're going to take the Metro -
which is an adventure in itself.
Stay tuned for our  'Subway Stories'.

The Tour Eiffel is just a block from the Metro.
When it was built for the 1889 World's Fair,
commemorating the French Revolution,
the Tour Eiffel faced massive opposition
from Paris' artistic and literary elite.
It is 1,063 feet high and was the tallest
building in the world at the time it was built.

View from the second level. 
High enough for me.

I see jewelry inspiration
Barb and Jimmila went all the way to the top. 
Doesn't it look cozy up there. The tower between them
is Montparnasse tower and 689 feet tall, 
one of Paris' first skyscrapers. 

View from the top. 
This photo makes me dizzy just looking at it.

They say that on a clear day
you can see a distance of 45 miles.


 The glass topped structure center left is the Grand Palais.
It started to rain in the late afternoon - so made our way back
to the apartment to decide on dinner.

Spent the evening beading the "Trio of Bangles". I know, I know it's only a Duo.   I was sick before I left home so didn't pack until a few hours before.  I had beads already packed for weeks but then I changed my mind on some projects.  So didn't have enough crystals to finish the third bangle which is going to be a mid-tone teal color.

Here shown with another bracelet made with Peyote Beaded Beads and Swarovski crystals.

A number of Spring 2013 fashion shows today including Nina Ricci, Balenciaga, Carven, Balmain, Lanvin and others.  The Nina Ricci show  was held at the jardin des Tuileries which spans the area from the Louvre Museum and the Place de la Concorde. Very pretty show with feminine, colorful fabrics,  compared to some of the other shows. First 10 minutes (that have been deleted)  started with falling rose petals making it look like falling snow. This video is about 5 minutes long. 

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Parisian Inspiration

After our little walk, and since it is raining, we all decided to eat in tonight.  Which also means a time to bead.  I'd like to say this bracelet was inspired by some of the things we saw this day - like some of the Gothic, Baroque, Romanesque or (my favorite) Art Nouveau architecture, or the bling we saw in the great boutiques or the colorful Parisian street fashion.  But no, it was actually inspired by dinner.

Made with the Czech Super Duos with a Picasso finish
 - perfect for Paris

I'm not sure this is finished yet. 
 I may have to add another row or I may have to add
some scallops or picots to the outside edge. 

And here is the inspiration.   I had to use the beads I had brought with me - which of course,  was something teal.

We didn't buy this, partly because we didn't know
what it was and no one could tell us. 
 I thought I would ask Gloria Google later. 
 Unfortunately the sign is not for this vegetable.
Update: Andrea (a follower) said this is Romanesco
(a variety of cauliflower). See her blog Here Thanks!

This is part of  'what's for dinner tonight'.
Is this the biggest head of lettuce you have ever seen.

Barb is very much interested in French History and I love architecture in general.  If you are interested, here is an easy (and somewhat entertaining) read about both.  Paris Buildings

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Paris Again

Bead Street Store Progress:  Although all the seed beads have been organized, when the truck arrived, the Czech glass boxes were unfortunately all placed on top of the seed beads.  Since there are no other tables to move this stuff to, the glass will have to be organized on the slat walls.  I would like to say it will take a few days to do this - particularly since it came down in an afternoon.  However, my guess is it will take at least a week before the seed beads see the light of day.  I will keep you informed on the progress.

Now back to Paris.  After our French Onion Soup lunch (still Day 1),  Barb and I headed to Ile' Saint-Louis - the second island in the River Seine - across from the Notre Dame.  No real sight seeing sites but it is home to the best sorbet in Paris.  Reason enough for Barb and I to go. 

Paris neighborhoods are all very different.  The Ile' Saint-Louis had fewer tourists, and was a very classy, quiet area.  The boutiques on the pricier side,  but they had very beautiful items to look at.  A lot of 'soutache' jewelry - as seen on the cover of Bead and Button magazine.  But these pieces were more refined, smaller in scale and absolutely beautiful.  Barb and I are now on the lookout for soutache cord to try our own version. 

Ladder stitched bracelets very popular here as well
 but Parisians like the single wraps better,
 then they stack a dozen of these on their arm.

Not quite the same look as the Parisians - but works for me

From the Ile' Saint-Louis, we ventured west, thru the south side of the Marais, and made our way to the famous Hotel de Ville.  This is the Les Halles area and a lot of people - both tourists and locals partly because the George Pompidou Centre is two blocks north, and the Louvre and Grand Palais just to the southwest.  A large metropolitan downtown area with lots of department stores and lots of traffic and there was yet another tent being assembled for  another fashion show.

Hotel de Ville, now is the Paris City Hall and houses
108 statutes of famous Parisians
plus 30 more representing french cities. 
 Free tours but they are booked out a week.

We went south, back across the River Seine on Rue Dauphine.  The Saint Germain shopping area and more beautiful shops with fabulous items.  We found one little shop that had some crocheted jewelry that was to die for.  Think fine crochet that looks similar to  your Grandmother's doilys in miniature, using Nymo thread with size 15 seed beads added here and there.  I have no idea how this gal did this.

Since it started to rain, and we were without umbrellas, we headed back.   Through the Sorbonne area, by the Pantheon - we got our first look at the Eiffel Tower. 

Barb looks pretty miserable. 
And later we found two umbrellas at the apartment
that the owner had graciously left for us. 
Tomorrow we will check the weather before we venture out.
Districts covered today 1, 3, 4, 5, and 6.

Sunday, October 14, 2012


We arrived in Paris.  This is a photograph taken in 1991 by Peter Turnley that I purchased in Paris.  It spoke to me with everything that I think about the city.  The Eiffel Tower, the River Seine, the mystical quality (due to the fog), and the ancient buildings that  I find thrilling about European cities. 

Because of fashion week - which started the day we arrived, we had to go a little south to find an apartment which was a few blocks from the Pantheon and the Sorbonne in the Latin Quarter.  Our apartment was rented thru Vacation in Paris (that I highly recommend by the way) and was a block from one of the permanent pedestrian market streets called Rue Mouffetard.  

Rue Mouffetard is the remnant of an ancient Roman road.  Some buildings date from the 12th century and it is one of the oldest streets in Paris. After the market closes in the evening, cafes and creperies open up, offering a wide variety of ethnic and traditional French food.  We went multiple times every day.  We tried cheeses with names we couldn't pronounce, bought butter cut from a slab that looked like a hunk of clay, and of course breads and pastries.

Barb and I took off to explore while the rest of our group recovered from the tripWe started walking north on Mouffetard towards Notre Dame and after we passed all the fromageries (cheese stores), and patisseries (pastry shops), we discovered quaint little boutiques filled with wonderful jewelry, lots and lots of scarves and a Pharmacy on every corner.

Lots of color in this town at the end of September

These fabulous designs are by Ayala Bar.
This memory wire bracelet has very colorful beads and
I'm excited because I now know how to make them.

We made our way to the Notre Dame which is on the
eastern half of the Ile' de La Cite'
- an island in the River Seine and the place where Paris began.
Construction was started in 1163 and wasn't completed till 1345.
This view is the backside of the cathedral from the gardens.

Our first official meal in Paris was French Onion Soup in a sidewalk cafe across from the Notre Dame.
The menus are on blackboards hung on the wall.
  As a souvenir, I'm going to use a version of this,
 embed it in a pendant and coat with resin.

There were at least a dozen fashion shows going on around Paris on this day. The Guy Laroche fashion show was at the jardin des Tuileries which is a few blocks west from where we are.  This video is about 5 minutes long.    

This next video is after the show - of people who actually had an invitation (not us) plus some tourists and others.  Have no idea who these people are but I think the colors they are wearing are very inspirational.  I think this video is much more interesting.  About 4 minutes long and gives you an idea of Paris street fashion.