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An Afternoon of French Shabby Chic

At the Parler Paris Après Midi gathering yesterday afternoon, we were trying to determine when the meetings first began. With a little research, I found that our first one was on December 3, 2002 at (what was at the time) The Web Bar on rue Picardie.

My assistant, Schuyler Hoffman (who is now the producer and editor of all our newsletters) and I had the idea to hold the monthly gatherings because we had so many requests from readers to meet for a coffee…that of course, if we were to do that, we’d be drinking coffee all day long and getting little done! Without further ado, Parler Paris Après Midi was born.

Reports from the first meetings did not go onto the Web site until October of 2003 when we moved the venue to La Pierre du Marais after The Web Bar closed its doors, but were reported in each following Parler Paris Nouvellettre®.

Here is one small excerpt from the report of that first gathering:


Last Tuesday, SCHUYLER HOFFMAN and I took a table for six at the back of the atrium at The Web Bar and waited for people to come to our first meeting of the “Parler Paris Après Midi.” One by one, or in pairs, they arrived till by about 4 p.m., we had moved together enough tables for the 16 or so who bravely came to see what it was all about. In the two short hours we sipped on our coffees, teas, beers and Kirs, we learned a lot, laughed a lot and made new friends…valuable friends.

14-12-11victoria strongOf those who came, one is still a regular visitor: “VICTORIA STRONG, TV and film producer and Paris resident of 7 years came out to see what the Parler Paris community is all about…” You may recall that Victoria has since changed careers – is now a “Pleasure Coach” — and spoke this past September at Après Midi about “Does Paris Give You Permission to Have Pleasure?” (To read about that meeting, visit Après Midi Archives)

At the time in 2002, there were no speakers – just a two-hour block of time when readers of Parler Paris could come and get to know one another over whatever they wanted to eat or drink. Since this past March 2011, we raised the level of involvement by asking various members of our community to share with us information about what they do, giving those who attend an opportunity to learn interesting things all while still networking and getting to know one another.

14-12-11ppamgroupYesterday’s gathering featured Martine di Mattéo, an Interior Architect and Designer with whom we have worked since first meeting in October of 2006. A mutual colleague introduced us. He knew we would like each other, and assumed we would be able to bring each other much professional success. He doesn’t know how right he was. Martine’s beautiful work and dynamic personality has been a major contribution to the success of our “bouquet” of apartments (Parler Paris Apartments) and to the owners with whom she has worked to turn every “pied-à-terre” into a luxury accommodation for the visitor to Paris as well as a real work of art.

14-12-11pammartineMartine spoke yesterday about how to achieve the interior design look known as “Shabby Chic.” We gathered closely around a computer to see her slide presentation of a variety of interiors – some of those she had done and others she had photos of. She had amassed lots of photos of examples and explained the subtle differences between Shabby Chic and other styles. We learned a lot about how to take something old and recreate it into something new, usable and “très chic!”

In conclusion she had this to say: “Shabby Chic provides an opportunity to give a second life to old furniture, to reincarnate the old into a new form of life. It however respects the past and integrates it into the new living style…recycling always!! The colors are non-colors of mainly whites, with natural earth tones, grays, blues, pastels – directing this trend to a more feminine audience. The industrial look is also a new form of Shabby Chic. Shabby Chic usually forces the furniture to be used in another form than what it was planned for. It requires space for presentation; gives temporary feel to the objects as if they were waiting to be repaired. It can be, and is often uncomfortable, because it is unfinished. Even if English inspired, its source comes from French château life, with the poor aristocrats not able to maintain their splendor after the French revolution!!!”

If you have never attended an “Après Midi” before – don’t confuse it with the French-English conversation group we offer three times a week called “Parler Parlor” – we meet the second Tuesday of each month (except August). It is designed by and for those of you who read Parler Paris – to get to know one another and learn something new in the process.

Our next gathering is in the new year – January 10th, 2012, when Julie Vetter, Online Marketing and E-Reputation specialist, talks about “Inbound Marketing and the Laws of Attraction.” Be sure to be there! For more information, visit Parler Paris Après Midi. To read the report from yesterday’s Après Midi, click here:

A la prochaine…

Adrian byMichaelHoneggerAdrian Leeds
Editor, Parler Paris

(Photo by Michael Honegger)

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 14-12-11newyorkmagP.S. I am thrilled (as any mother would be) to share with you that Erica Simone’s photographs from the series “Nue York Self-Portraits of a Bare Urban Citizen” is New York Magazine’s 19th “Reason to Love New York 2011” this week in print! As she said in a recent post, “So, get into your birthday suit and hit up your local newsstand – maybe even buy a hot dog on the way!” Visit Reasons to Love New York 


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