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Anything French is Turning Our Heads
Parler Paris--your taste of life in Paris and France
Monday, May 24, 2004
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Dear Parler Paris Reader,
I'm still physically in New York City, but France is all around me and the reminders are making me awfully homeick.
At the Metropolitan Museum of Art, through August 8th in the Wrightsman Galleries of European Sculpture and Decorative Arts, is an exhibition entitled "Dangerous Liaisons: Fashion and Furniture in the 18th Century." It focuses on dress and its aesthetic interplay with art, furniture, and the broader decorative arts between 1750 and 1789 presented in the Museum's French period rooms. Wandering through the exhibition, from elaborate room to elaborate room, of gilded moldings and brocades, I was transformed into imagining I was on a tour of Versailles.
For a coffee after the exhibition, we ducked into a little café called "Le Charlot" at 19 E. 69th (212-794-6419) -- reminiscent of my own neighborhood in the Marais where rue Charlot is just one street parallel to my own. The owners and waiters were all French. I spoke French with them, asked for "une noisette" and easily forgot where I was, if not in France. One review of this restaurant says that "Le Charlot works best in the afternoon after the lunch celebrities have left, and before the want-to-be celebrities have arrived, allowing for lazy hours of romancing and drinking chilled Brouilly. You will not find graduates of the acclaimed New York French Accent School working here, but rather the Frenchies themselves who, in the afternoon, can be studied drinking, smoking, and playing cards. The only thing missing is a good game of boule." While sitting there, actress Goldie Hawn jumped into her chauffeur-driven Lincoln Continental.
On Fifth Avenue, the Cartier building is flying banners sporting the Eiffel Tower plus the French, American and British flags, all red, white and blue. They're celebrating 150 years of history when in 1847 Louis-François Cartier first took over the
jewelry shop of his teacher at 29 rue Montorgueil.
Scaffolding is obscuring the entrance, but the awning is still visible of the The French Institute Alliance Française at 22 East 60th Street (212-355-6100, http://www.fiaf.org, email email@example.com). French Institute Alliance Française The FIAF is an American private, non-governmental, not-for-profit organization. Its mission is to promote and enhance the knowledge and appreciation of French and Francophone culture, to increase the knowledge of the French language, and to encourage interaction among French, Francophone and American people through programs in education and the arts. Founded at the turn of 20th century, the French Institute and the Alliance Française de New York operated as two separate organizations, the first promoting French arts, the second teaching French. In 1971 they merged to form the FIAF, what has become one of the largest and most respected centers of French-American activities in the United States.
On 7th avenue just south of 27th street, across from the Fashion Institute of Technology, is a new coffee shop called "J'adore" with the closest thing to a real French croissant I've had Stateside. The owner is French and the croissant rivals Carton's on rue Buci.
And tonight, we celebrate my daughter's graduation at a French restaurant called "Café Florent" (69 Gansvoort, Meatpacking District, 212-989-5779). Jane Po at TVTech.com wrote: "It's been around for about a decade now, before the neighborhood became just too hip for words. While it used to be a hangout for celebrities who didn't want to be seen (I remember sitting next to Matt Dillon and author Pete Hamill in the early '90s), it has now turned into a place for everyone who wants to be seen."
Our longing for Paris is obviously showing...since anything French is turning our heads.
A la prochaine...
P.S. Be sure to book now for the June 18 - 20 Working and Living in France Conference to get the special hotel rates! And if you can't make the conference, but want to come to the dinner and hear Thirza Vallois speak on Paris Past, Present and Future, be sure to sign up as soon as possible. Visit /parlerparis/liveinfrance/wlif/wlif_home.html for more information.
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* Practice speaking French and English with people from all over the world! Open all Summer long!
* Great meals in Paris don't have to be expensive. Parisians do it every day...pay less. Learn how.
A big thanks in advance from your faithful Parler Paris team.
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Anything French Is Turning Our Heads
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