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Where Kings and Queens Can Be Themselves

Martine di Matteo and I look forward to it twice a year every year — in January and September.

Martine is the Interior Architect and Designer who has turned every “box” of an apartment into a ‘dream pied-à-terre’ that the clients will allow…such as “Le Beau Marais,” “La Table du Roi,” “Le Pinot Noir,” “Le Deco,” “L’Aubergine, “La Rose du Marais,” “La Bonne Nobel” and “Le Penthouse Voltaire” — all short term rental apartments at Parler Paris Apartments.

“Maison & Objet” is the bi-annual interior design industry trade show extravaganza that will knock the socks off your senses. You don’t have to be an interior designer to appreciate the vast representation of manufacturers and designers from all over Europe and other parts of the world who come to exhibit their wares. It takes place in two locations — “Maison & Objet” at the Paris-Nord Villepinte Exhibition Center near Airport Charles de Gaulle and “Meuble Paris” at the Paris Le Bourget Exhibition Center near the Le Bourget business airport. (Getting there is easy via the RER B line.)

We had one major goal in mind this time around — to find gorgeous luxurious furnishings and ideas for “Le Palace des Vosges,” our latest and most exciting Fractional Ownership apartment located in the Place des Vosges — Paris’ best address. The apartment itself is more like a ‘house in the country’ than an apartment — located at the back of the second courtyard from the entrance on the “place” next to L’Ambroisie, the Michelin three-star restaurant, with more than four-meter-high ceilings, massive 400-year-old beams and a clear view on the Hôtel de Sully. It deserves to be ‘palatial’ in every respect and we aim to marry French regal esthetic with American comfort and functionality.

After having spent
time last year shopping for furnishings for my daughter’s New York apartment in Manhattan, I can tell you that European style and American style have little in common. The Europeans are not afraid to be very bold, sometimes bordering on outrageous, but clearly innovative and daring. The French love their “provincial” casual country style of distressed woods and metals, using whites, pales and smoky colors, in fabrics of course textures. The Italians introduce glitz and glitter, slick surfaces, bright colors and sleek design. The Belgians create an interesting blend of traditional and contemporary almost confusing the cultures so you’re not sure whose behind the ideas and the Asians brilliantly mimic everyone offering inexpensive alternatives to everyone’s taste.

Seriously shopping for furnishings rather than just canvassing for concepts was like being a ‘kid in a candy shop.’ The camera snapped up a zillion different chairs, chandeliers, tables, sofas and accessories for our portfolio of design ideas, but we settled on a few important items that sent us home with a stack of brochures and contacts, and feeling quite accomplished.

One particular showroom was a perfect resource for a chateau-deserving kitchen with an oversized stove hood on which we can hang a range of copper pots adorned by a “Jerusalem” marble top and sink; a long oval dining room table that seats eight sitting on a metal base of carved roses; a zinc bar at which we’ll have our “apéritifs” before dinner and a bathroom sink with matching mirror that one might find in Le Petit Trianon.

The sofa we treasured was as big as a double bed with a zillion pillows that begs you to crawl into its arms — perhaps we’ll have it upholstered in golds, violets and greens. There were two classic arm chairs to upholster in coordinating fabrics that will make perfect accompaniments along with sweet little baroque ‘nesting tables’ to land wherever our hearts desire. The crystal chandeliers and bronze wall sconces were at every turn, but we found one we thought fit the mix of style in elegance without being the least bit gaudy.

Colors are key and Martine is the queen of color coordination and use of fabrics and textures. We’re going for the ‘gold’ — the warms and brights, the royals and regals, the softs and silkies. When you enter “Le Palace des Vosges,” you will be made to feel like a king or queen…but at home where kings and queens can be themselves.

That’s how we felt, too, even as exhausted as we were after an entire day marching up and down the vast aisles and many halls ogling all the exciting new interior design “solutions” for today’s world…but well worth it. The show’s on through tomorrow if you have a chance to attend, or schedule your next trip to Paris for September’s show the 4th through 8th. We’ll be there, won’t you?

On through Tuesday, January 27, 2009
Paris-Nord Villepinte
From 9:30 a.m. to 7 p.m., Last day closing at 6 p.m.

A la prochaine…

Adrian Leeds
(with Martine di Matteo)
Editor, Parler Paris

P.S. I’m headed today to the Hôtel de Ville in hopes to witness a signing between Mayors Bertrand Delanoë and Gavin Newsom of San Francisco today!!! Be sure to tune in to Wednesday’s newsletter all about it!

P.P.S. A few of you have complained about the newsletter arriving in a garbled state. Please “whitelist” Parler Paris by adding “[email protected]” to your address book, and if you do receive it this way, by all means let us know by sending the newsletter back to us at that address. Thank you.


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