the wall of love

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We need more walls…of love. This one in Paris has become quite well-known since it’s installation in 2000. You’ll find le mur des je t’aime nestled inside the lovely Square Jehan-Rictus garden, adjacent to Place des Abbesses in Montmartre. Artists Frédéric Baron and Claire Kito created the mural using dark blue enamel lava tiles inscribed with “I love you” written 311 times, in 250 languages and dialects. The bits of red throughout represent a broken heart – the heart of humanity. The wall is a symbol of peace, uniting the globe with one simple phrase. Such a meaningful message, always.

 

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Le Mur Des Je T’aime | Square Jehan-Rictus 75018 Paris

claire heitzler for ladurée

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During my last trip to Paris, I was invited to experience the first creations of Claire Heitzler, the new creative director of Ladurée. It was an incredible honor – those that know me best understand how exciting it was for me (I’m still pinching myself). But enough about me – let’s talk about these stunningly beautiful and delicious pastries. The first (shown above) is the religieuse fraise verveine, a choux pastry filled with light verbena mousse, garnished with fresh strawberries and strawberry jam. It was delicate, refreshing, and unfortunately…seasonal. However, that is one of many reasons their creations are so special, as they are only available for a limited time, and are occasionally re-released. Wherever you are in the world, if you have a Ladurée in your city (lucky you), you can experience Claire’s current creations for yourself.

 

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This gorgeous treat is known as la tarte nuance, and yes..that is edible gold leaf. It was a dreamy pâte sucrée with praline and fleur de sel, vanilla biscuit soaked in dark rum, topped with a sheet of white chocolate. It just might have been my favorite, but then again, the religieuse is a classic of the maison, and you can’t go wrong with any adaptation of it (the pistache is shown below). A little bit of history about Claire: she hails from a small village in Alsace (a fact that I’m particularly fascinated by, given my family history), and was influenced from a young age living close to a pastry shop with a celebrated chef. She went on to be pastry chef at Alain Ducasse’s Beige in Tokyo, where she was inspired by the serenity of the environment and emphasis on fresh fruit. She was most recently the pastry chef at Lasserre restaurant in Paris. Claire is aiming to gradually reinterpret the classics, making them fruitier, lighter, and a bit less sweet.

 

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All of these treats pair beautifully with their selection of teas of course, and I highly recommend taking a long pause at one of their many beautiful tearooms. The Rue Royale location is truly special, as it is the site of the original maison, founded in 1862. I’ll have to write a separate post showcasing the beauty of the restaurant, as well as the adjacent boutique. I’m so grateful to have had this experience courtesy of Ladurée, it truly was a magical morning, pour moi.

 

Ladurée | 16 rue Royale 75008 Paris

haven in paris feature

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During my last trip to Paris, I stayed in a lovely apartment in Montmartre, provided by Haven in Paris. I had the opportunity to truly experience the neighborhood, and subsequently fell in love with it. While I’m anxious to spend even more time getting to know the area, I had some very enjoyable adventures in and around the famed butte. I shared some of my favorite addresses over on their blog, and I’d love to know your favorites…please share!

my montmartre: food, coffee, shopping and more

café marlette

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If you’re looking for a delightful little sanctuary to grab breakfast, brunch, or lunch in (or near) the 9th, Café Marlette is your place. I first discovered the Marlette brand while brunching at Claus – their (delicious) organic bread and cake mixes were sold there. On my last trip, while staying nearby, I made the café a destination. I ended up there for a late lunch after a morning of exploration, and it was the perfect spot to recharge (both literally and figuratively). They have a wholesome selection, and I enjoyed the soft-boiled eggs, along with the chau fleur salade (shown below). My dessert consisted of a slice of their divine banana bread, which was perfectly accompanied by a cup of great coffee, supplied by Coutume. The interior is minimalist and cosy, and the staff is friendly and attentive. If you’re short on time, take a snack à emporter!

 

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Café Marlette | 51 rue des Martyrs 75009 Paris

musée picasso paris

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The Musée Picasso was high on my list during my last trip to Paris, and it didn’t disappoint. Between the amazing collection and the breathtaking architecture, I was in heaven. The museum underwent an extensive renovation that lasted five years, despite the intended closure of two years. It was worth the wait, in my opinion…the 17th century mansion in the Marais is as equally stunning as Picasso’s work, in my opinion. I must admit, as an interior designer, I’m a bit biased – the mansion had me at hello with it’s commanding gates and Baroque architecture. Formerly the Hôtel Salé, it has a rich and fascinating history, as almost everything in Paris does. Inside, the collection is staggering (it’s the largest in the world) – with pieces spanning his entire career. The range is impressive, encompassing works from every medium he explored.

 

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My preferences tend to be his sculptural works from the 1930’s-1960’s, with an exception to my favorite Picasso piece. It always amazes me how art can be so specific to an era, and yet timeless. In 1955 the artist moved to Cannes, where he hunted for pieces of old furniture, branches, and lumber scraps which he would incorporate in the only multi-figured sculptural ensemble of his career (shown above). I was extremely attracted to the mid-century modern feel of it, in addition to the minimalism. I was also naturally drawn to the beautiful view of the courtyard through the wavy glass.

 

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There was so much design porn here I couldn’t even capture it all – it took my breath away. The museum was quite busy, so all of the architectural shots I attempted were thwarted by entranced visitors. I did however wait (15 minutes or so) for one “money shot”, and I’m glad I did. Some things are just worth waiting for, especially when you’re somewhere so special. This image makes me think about all the elegant inhabitants of the mansion over the centuries, and what it would be like to call this home. If only walls could talk, the stories they would tell here.

 

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Musée Picasso | 5 Rue de Thorigny 75003 Paris