Looking Up at the Angels, Looking Down at the Cellars
LOOKING UP AT THE ANGELS
Rosemary Flannery, author of “Angels in Paris” and now “Les Anges de Paris” in French (angelsofparis.com/), described herself yesterday at “Parler Paris Après Midi” as a ” flâneuse ” — like the “flâneur,” a top-hatted dashing young gentleman with a cane “whose literary prowess allowed him to describe and analyze social customs, art, commerce, and politics in the modernizing city.” The feminine version, “flâneuse,” is well described by blogger Dana Goldstein as an “angel in the home” — all this quite befitting her surname “Flannery.” Rosemary comes by it naturally, and her focus is, but of course, angels.
Rosemary sees angels everywhere she goes. So much so that she wrote a book about the angels in Paris. It then became so popular, that it’s now published in French as “Les Anges de Paris.” To photograph the angels which are mostly quite highly placed, Rosemary carries a tall aluminum ladder with her over her shoulder. She manages to look very official and has been able to get her shots without anyone stopping her for being in places perhaps she wouldn’t have been allowed otherwise.
After trying to get Rosemary’s iPhone to act as a remote control for her PowerPoint presentation, and not getting it to work thanks to our technical failings, I became her slide changer while she described some of her favorite Paris angels. Her talk at Après Midi was immensely enlightening as most of us haven’t been so astute as to pay much attention to the detail of these cherubs and ethereal creatures which lord over the city and protect us. According to Flannery, Paris was saved from the ravages of war over the centuries unlike London and other European cities and we may have its angels to thank for that!
Both books make perfect gifts. Rosemary Flannery as “flâneuse” will change your perspective…if you’ve been looking down all these years, rather than UP at the angels in the City of Light and Halos! You can purchase both books on Amazon by visiting our Recommended Reading page.
Note: Read more about our afternoon and see the photos we took at “Parler Paris Après Midi.”
LOOKING DOWN AT THE CELLARS
Olivier Magny, who wears more hats than me, and likely sleeps a lot less, never stops making things happen. He’s French, but he’s one of those rare entrepreneurial types who’s made one dream after another come true, in spite of the French administration that makes doing what he has done near to impossible.
First Olivier focused his sights on wine. I first met him when he was doing wine-tastings in a loft in the 11th arrondissement owned by a friend under the name O-Chateau, at a mere 23 years old. Not long after, he opened O-Chateau in a physical location on rue Jean-Jacques Rousseau in the 1st district at number 68. That wasn’t enough, so he became a best-selling author (“Into Wine, An Invitation to Pleasure,” “Stuff Parisians Like: Discovering the quoi in the je-ne-sais-quoi” and “Dessine-Moi un Parisien.” In his ‘spare’ time he teaches university courses, hosts a TV show and writes a blog. He says, “I’m also a very lucky husband,” but that wasn’t enough, either. So, he just opened Les Caves du Louvre…inaugurated just yesterday.
My photos don’t do the newly renovated cellars at 52 rue de l’Arbre Sec (1st arrondissement) any justice. The spaces are even more beautiful in person as they are on their new Web site, amazing and overwhelmingly stunning. Every inch was custom designed and made by hand and it shows it. Here is where wine is what it’s all about, where you can learn all you need and want to know about wine, create your own wine (!), hold private tastings and enjoy every drop of learning about wine and of course, experiencing it.
Olivier gave us a personal tour of the many cellars, one after another winding around two levels below ground to what he says was once a private entry into the cellars of the Louvre. Along the way, you can discover the different types of vines, the many different scents used to make wine and learn how to cork your own bottles. At the very back and end of the tour, we tasted wines, snacked on luscious sweet hors d’oeuvres and reveled in the experience he and his partner, Nicolas Paradis, have managed to create. In one corner is a photo booth where you can have your photo taken as a queen or king, just for the fun of it. On the street level is a boutique where you can purchase “good vino,” books and games, wine accessories, candles, maps, posters and personalized bottles. They thought of everything!
Olivier and Nico have taken wine to a new height in the City of Light. While I’m sure there will be many copycats worldwide trying to reproduce the same effect, it would be near to impossible. First you have to have the foresight, gumption, guts and wits of Olivier and Nico. Then you have to have the cellars themselves, of which Paris is renowned, and then lots of money, of course.
Kudos to the kings of Les Caves du Louvre!
A la prochaine…
The Adrian Leeds Group
(“Queen Adrian” at Les Caves du Louvre)
P.S. Author Cara Black will be speaking at our next Parler Paris Après Midi! If you can’t come to our event on Tuesday, November 10th, then don’t miss the Panel discussion: On Writing, with Cara Black and M.L. Longworthÿ at the American Library in Paris on Tuesday, October 20th, 7:30 p.m. For more information, visit:
P.P.S. Thanks to everyone for your very lovely birthday wishes! (Yes, I am a year older today and not afraid to admit my 63 years. Next week and the following week, you will find me ‘holed up’ in my apartment in Nice (“Le Matisse”) exclusively writing the first few chapters of the first of what I hope will be a series of books to tell some of the stories of life in France, many of which you have been reading these past years, but with greater depth and development of characters. During those two weeks, in lieu of the usual timely Parler Paris and Parler Nice Nouvellettres, you will receive a few of the best of past issues — those that we know you enjoyed and might enjoy reading again! (Hope you don’t mind!) Note: “Le Matisse” is available or rent when I’m not there — so inquire now about our Winter low season discount! [email protected].