Tag Archives: Paris

Where to stay in Paris: A romantic getaway on Valentine’s Day at five-star Buddha-Bar Hotel Paris.

Paris, is undeniably the dream destination for romantics. For decades, lovers have been heading to the French City of Lights with their significant other, aspiring to prove their love and faith – eventually by attaching a lock to the famed Pont des Arts. The bridge may now be gone, but the romantic spirit lives on in the numerous other establishments around the city and we take a look at one hotel that fits the bill: Buddha-Bar Hotel Paris.

Paris has much to offer visitors and each hotel in the city has its own magic spin that will lure you in. Buddha-Bar Hotel Paris, a boutique hotel located near the Faubourg St Honoré neighbourhood, joins the list of exclusive locations that one might turn to, to bring their loved one to. Situated in the same neighbourhood as haute couture Maisons such as Dior and Chanel, the exclusive hotel is a charming alternative to the luxury chain hotels around the city.

Buddha Bar Sunset party hotel paris

Sunset Party at Buddha-Bar Hotel Paris (©Christophe Madamour)

From the outside, the Buddha-Bar Hotel looks as it did in days gone by. The historic building, which was once owned by Augustin Blondel de Gagny, art collector and treasurer to King Louis XV, was constructed in 1734 and has stood tall through the many changes over the centuries. Transformed in a luxury travel establishment 20 years ago, it has maintained the magnificence while going through an assertive revamp. Inside, the French art de vivre meets the calm of an Asian temple. Aiming to be a phantasmagoric representation of 1930s Shanghai, the hotel, established around a paved inner courtyard, merges traditional architecture with a surprisingly modern decoration, that evokes a sense of wanderlust and inner peace.

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Grande Suite Historique, Buddha-Bar Hotel Paris (©Guillaume de Laubier)

The most luxurious suite of the hotel, La Suite de Gagny, which is named after the historical owner of the hotel, stands out from the rest of the establishment with its look. Frescoes and original mouldings have been restored to preserve the 18th-century aspect and pink granite fireplaces and crystal chandeliers add to the Parisian atmosphere. The rest of the furniture, though are contemporary and suit the Asian spirit brought to life by Buddha-Bar Hotel concept creator Raymond Visan.

With two bedrooms, and of a total182m², the suite is noticeably large. One has to admit it is rare to find such a space in Paris. And, because it is tempting to stay inside when the cold seizes Paris during the winter, the suite has the perfect escape with a golden bath that sits proudly as the centrepiece of the 30 square metre bathroom.

Salon de Bain de la suite de Gagny, BuddhaBar Hotel Paris (©Guillaume de Laubier)

Salon de Bain de la suite de Gagny, Buddha-Bar Hotel Paris (©Guillaume de Laubier)

For those who are not lucky enough to stay in the best suite, Buddha-Bar Hotel Paris also boasts 55 other rooms which include 18 suites and three new Prestige suites, that are all available for your enjoyment. Come Valentine’s Day, the hotel will be offering a special package for guests starting from 525€ (US$ 555) for one night. The package includes a dinner for two at the Vraymonde restaurant, a small bottle of champagne, breakfast in bed, and late checkout till 3pm, amongst others.

For more information visit Buddha-Bar Hotel Paris website

icons of modern art paris exhibition

Louis Vuitton Foundation art exhibit extended: Shchukin curated “Icons of Modern Art” to run until March 2017

Hotels opening in 2017: Check into these new accommodations in Paris, Bora Bora and more for your upcoming holidays

The queue at Musee D'Orsay in Paris, France (Photo credit: AFP / Loic Venance)

Where to see Impressionist art in Paris, France: Musee d’Orsay is still a top museum despite its lack of space

Thirty years after the Musee d’Orsay opened its doors for the first time, it has become as much a Paris landmark as its big sister the Louvre just across the River Seine. But while the Musee d’Orsay is one of the top most-visited galleries in the world thanks to its unrivalled collection of Impressionist paintings, it is several times smaller than its rivals.

And with an average of 3.5 million visitors a year pour through its spectacular vaulted nave, it is also the “most dense museum in the world”, according to its director of collections Xavier Rey.

Massive donation

But the real problem isn’t so much the public as finding a place to show its staggering collection of late 19th-century and early-20th century masterpieces which runs from Courbet’s notorious “The Origin of the World” to Manet’s reclining nude “Olympia” and Van Gogh‘s searing self-portraits.

While the museum is packed with some of Degas, Cezanne, Gauguin and Toulouse-Lautrec’s best work, only around 4,400 pieces can be shown at any one time. That leaves some 164,000 paintings and sculptures in its stores, which is set to grow even further with the massive donation by a Texan couple of their 350-million euro ($372-million) art collection to the French capital.

Businessman Spencer Hays and his wife Marlene last month signed off on the first instalment of 187 works for the Musee d’Orsay including pieces by Degas and Modigliani worth around 173 million euros. Their gift, the biggest from a foreign benefactor to France since World War II, also includes important work by Bonnard, Vuillard and Redon. Some 140 works by Bonnard and Vuillard were also given to the museum in January by the French collector Jean-Pierre Marcie-Riviere.

Faced with such pressure, the museum has bought a neighbouring 18th-century mansion on the banks of the Seine to house its library and research centre on the post-Impressionists.

Architectural gem

The idea of a fine art museum in a railway station was revolutionary when the museum opened in December 1986. Not that the Art Deco terminus was your average transport hub. Built like the Eiffel Tower and the Grand Palais for the Universal Exhibition in Paris in 1900, it had the same architectural exuberance.

Having survived demolition plans in the 1970s, it was converted into a museum for mostly French art dating from the revolutions of 1848 to the outbreak of World War I as one of the late French president Francois Mitterrand’s “grands projets” to renew the French capital. A runaway success from the start, with its architectural elegance and head-turning collection equally praised, Rey said that “one can no longer imagine the museum anywhere but in this station”.

With another show featuring Van Gogh to open in March, it’s biggest hit remains the exhibition questioning if the Dutch artist was really mad — “Van Gogh-Artaud, the Suicide of Society” — which brought in more than 654,000 people in 2014.

Some of its biggest successes have even surprised its curators, with almost half a million people flocking to see an exhibition this year on Rousseau, who was derided as a “Sunday painter” by his contemporaries.

A 2013 show on the male nude in art, “Masculin, Masculin”, which Cogeval curated, was “to my great surprise a very big popular success with 430,000 visitors,” he said.

The surprises don’t end there. The so-called academic painters from the mid-19th century, who had long fallen out of fashion like William Bouguereau and Charles Gleyre, are now having an unexpected resurgence in popularity, said Rey.

Paris investment properties luxury homes

Invest in Paris, France: Luxury homes in the City of Love

With a stride in its step, the French capital is coming out of the doldrums. Incentives for property buyers mean that foreign investors can afford a café au lait and croissant from the terrace of their new downtown apartments.

One of the biggest metropolises in Western Europe, Paris has always held an immense amount of appeal on the international luxury real estate scene. While one of London’s main draws has always been its claim as a European capital of finance, Paris has retained its pull as one of the world’s leading tourist destinations, despite being hit by the 2007 financial crisis and the recent terrorist attacks. The City of Light continues its legacy of being a home to some of the world’s best restaurants, architectural landmarks, cultural institutions, fashion, shopping, food and wine and beacons luxury property buyers with its undeniable charm steeped in history and heritage.

“Paris is unique from many other capital cities in that it is not full of high rise buildings and has kept its 19th century cityscape largely intact”, says Roger Willoughby, Partner at Prestige Property Group.  “It is a friendly city with a comprehensive public transport system, but if you prefer to walk, there is nothing better than to walk from one Parisian district to another on a sunny afternoon”.

With the price of an average home seeing drops of 2.5% to 3% in 2014 and 2015 respectively, the strong performance of Sterling against the Euro and the Dollar at its 12-year high, the Paris residential property market is alive with opportunities for international buyers. In 2016, Paris, once again, is a buyer’s market with house prices recovering from the lull and overseas clients returning to Paris for residential property investment opportunities.

“Between 2002 and 2012 prices increased almost 200% and demand has continued to push up prices”, says Marie-Hélène Lundgreen, Director, Belles Demeures de France, International Department of Daniel Feau, exclusive affiliate of Christie’s International Real Estate. “French buyers are back and in July we sold 80 homes – around three a day. Low levels of interest rates are motivating buyers to complete purchases, but France’s economic recovery is also having a positive effect on the real estate market”. In a similar tone, Lundgreen’s projections forecast a 2.5% and a 5% return on investment in residential and commercial property markets respectively.

An additional recent incentive for international buyers that is making property investments in Paris all the more lucrative is this year’s EU court ruling that reduced the capital gains tax for non-residents from 34.5% to 19%. Overseas buyers no longer have to pay the additional “social charges” tax of up to 15.5% on the gain, making the tax conditions in Paris all the more favourable.  

Demonstrating an appreciation for antiquity and culture, properties in key areas of Paris have retained their value: the Golden Triangle in the 8th Arrondissement with its inimitable historic Haussmanian and Art Deco architecture, the 6th  and 7th Arrondissements, Saint Germain des Prés, Invalides and Champ de Mars with Eiffel Tower and 18th century mansions and buildings remained steadily popular with wealthy buyers. “Paris is and will always be a scarcity market, as they do not build anymore in the centre of Paris”, says Lundgreen. “Those with an appreciation for antiquity have the opportunity to purchase a home with striking architecture steeped in history”.

As for new opportunities for savvy investors, lucrative possibilities are emerging all around Paris this year. There are new trendy areas budding in the centre of Paris, with the 1st, 2nd, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th and 18th arrondissements arising as the prime spots of interest that can offer better value. Concludes Lundgeen, “These areas are a bit cheaper but still boast boutique cafes and shops popular with younger people”.


On the market

Ecole-Militaire, Christie’s International Real Estate

Located on the seventh floor of a historic 1914 building, with close-up views of the Eiffel Tower, the 130 square metre apartment is a true gem in Paris’ desirable 7th arrondissement, situated close to several government ministries and headquarters. This top floor apartment boasts sky-high, six metre ceilings and a tilted skylight, offering a truly unique view of the iconic Eiffel Tower. The spacious apartment also includes three bedrooms with en-suite bathrooms, a master suite, a mezzanine study, fitted dressing rooms and a spacious kitchen with dining facilities.

Price: EUR 3,690,000 (approx. USD 4.15 million) available on christiesrealestate.com

Paris investment properties luxury homes

Ecole-Militaire Interior

Place de L’etoile, 16TH Arrondissement, Paris, France

On the top floor of a beautiful building of late 19th century (Haussmann), this spacious apartment spans 2,529 sq. ft. with a beautiful view of the Arc de Triomphe and the avenue Foch. The entrance-way features a large reception room and study facing south with views of Place de l’Etoile.

This three-bedroom home includes a master suite with en-suite bathroom and includes a spacious dressing room and two further en-suite bedrooms. The kitchen opens up onto the dining room and guest toilets. A service room is connected to the flat. Parking can be available in the courtyard of the building.

Price On Application, available on www.greff-international.com / www.greff-immobilier.com /  www.greff-eurasie.com

Paris investment properties luxury homes

Place De L’etoile interior with a beautiful view of Arc de Triomphe

Text by Olha Romaniuk 

This article was first published in Palace Magazine

Cezanne exhibition in Paris, France: See the artist's paintings on display at Musee d'Orsay

Cezanne exhibition in Paris, France: See the artist’s paintings on display at Musee d’Orsay

An exhibition, titled ‘Cézanne Portraits’ will feature over 50 of Post-Impressionist painter Paul Cézanne’s portraits at the Musée d’Orsay in Paris. Beginning on June 14 till September 24, the exhibition will move onto London‘s National Portrait Gallery and the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C

Regarded as one of the most prominent painters of the 19th century, Cézanne painted almost 200 portraits in his lifetime, with 36 self-portraits and 29 of his wife. Visitors will have a rare opportunity to see artworks from museums and private collections from Brazil, Denmark, France, Japan, Russia, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

‘Cézanne Portraits’ will be look back at the artist’s career from a chronological perspective, observing the shifts of his painting style and methods throughout the years, as well as his focus on complementary pairs and multiple versions of a subject.

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“Madame Cézanne in a Yellow Chair,” 1888-90, by Paul Cézanne © Wilson L. Mead Fund, 1948.54, The Art Institute of Chicago. “Cézanne Portraits” at NPG London

The works to be displayed will include paintings of Cézanne’s uncle Dominique from the 1860s, to portraits of Vallier, his assistant in Aix-en-Provence – one of his final works.

“Up until now, Cezanne’s portraiture has received surprisingly little attention, so we are thrilled to be able to bring together so many of his portraits for the first time to reveal arguably the most personal, and therefore most human, aspect of Cézanne’s art,” said Dr Nicholas Cullinan, Director of the National Portrait Gallery in London.

“Cézanne Portraits” is a collaboration between the three museums and will show at all three venues. It will be on display at the Musée d’Orsay from June 14 to September 24, 2017; the National Portrait Gallery in London from October 26, 2017 to February 11, 2018; and the National Gallery of Art from March 25 to July 1, 2018.

Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show Paris Takeover

Most Expensive: Eiffel Tower Stairs Set Record

Most Expensive: Eiffel Tower Stairs Set Record

A section of stairs from the Eiffel Tower in Paris sold for more than half a million euros, auctioneers said Wednesday – more than 10 times the pre-sale estimate. Yes, the estimate on this was 40,000 euros.

The 14 wrought-iron steps from a winding staircase between the second and third floors of the Paris landmark went for 523,800 euros ($556,000) after furious bidding at the sale in the French capital.

Auction house Artcurial said the dramatic sale on Tuesday had “unleashed the passions” of several international buyers, with bids rising rapidly from 20,000 euros, leaving the aforementioned 40,000 euro estimate far behind.

The prize eventually fell to a telephone bid from an Asian buyer.

Auctioneer Francois Tajan said “the battle over the phone and in the auction room for the stairs showed the profound attachment there is for a monument that is so emblematic of French culture.”

The stairs date from 1889 when the legendary French engineer Gustave Eiffel built the 324-meter (1,063-foot) edifice as the centerpiece of the Paris Universal Exhibition.

It soon became the most iconic feature on the Paris skyline, and is France’s most visited monument despite suffering calls for its demolition in the years after the exhibition.

It is still the country’s third tallest structure, and was the highest building in the world for 41 years until the construction of the Chrysler Building in New York in 1930.

The stairs were removed from the tower in 1983 to make way for a lift and cut into 24 sections, ranging from two to nine meters high.

Several were bought by museums while others ended up in the gardens of the Yoshii Foundation at Yamanashi in Japan, beside the Statue of Liberty in New York and at Walt Disney World in Florida, next to its copy of the Eiffel Tower.

Artcurial sold a larger 3.5-meter section of 19 steps for 220,000 euros in 2013.

Tajan said he was particularly “moved by the sale… having watched the first sale of the staircases in 1983 which was presided over by my father Jacques Tajan.”

Although the Eiffel Tower stairs fetched “an exceptional price”, the highest from the sale of Art Deco artifacts was four monumental sculptures by Georges Saupique which went for 1.24 million euros.

Saupique is best known for his bust of Marianne, the woman who symbolizes the French republic.

Jeff Koons Offers Sculpture Paris Terror Attack Victims

Jeff Koons Sculpture for Paris Terror Attack Victims

American artist Jeff Koons announced he would give Paris a “Bouquet of Tulips” sculpture as an offering of remembrance for the victims of the November 2015 jihadist attacks, city hall said.

The monumental work, which has yet to be built, will be 10 meters (34 feet) high, and be made of bronze, stainless steel and aluminum.

The sculpture will represent a huge hand holding out a multicolored bouquet of tulips, the contemporary artist said at the US embassy in Paris, a statement said.

Once it is completed in 2017, it will be set up in front of the City of Paris Museum of Modern Art and the Palais de Tokyo building.

The sculpture will cost some three million euros ($3.2 million) to make. Financing will come from private donors in the United States and France.

Koons said the sculpture was designed as an offering in memory of the victims and as a symbol of optimism, in an effort to help Paris overcome the tragedy that struck the French capital on November 13 last year.

In a string of coordinated attacks by Islamic State group jihadists that shocked the world, 130 people were killed that day.

Koons, who is known for toying with objects from popular culture, said the hand holding the tulips in his massive sculpture is intended to mimic the State of Liberty grasping its torch.

Paris is home to a several smaller replicas of the Statue of Liberty, including one on the Seine River, within sight of the Eiffel Tower.

“The fact that this great artist has decided to offer to the city of Paris… a monumental artwork is a symbol of generosity and sharing, and shows our capital’s ties with the United States are unbreakable,” Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo said.

Original Tintin Drawing Sets New Auction Record

Original Tintin Drawing Sets New Auction Record

An original drawing from the popular Tintin adventure “Explorers on the Moon” sold for a record 1.55 million euros at a Paris auction on Saturday, auction house Artcurial announced.

The 50 cm X 35 cm drawing in Chinese ink by the Belgian cartoonist known as Herge shows the boy reporter, his dog Snowy and crusty sailor Captain Haddock wearing spacesuits and walking on the moon while looking at Earth.

It had been expected to sell for between 700,000 and 900,000 euros ($741,00 and $952,000).

“It’s simply fantastic! It’s an exceptional price for an exceptional piece,” said Artcurial’s comics expert Eric Leroy.

He described the “Explorers on the Moon” as “a key moment in the history of comic book art… it has become legendary for many lovers and collectors of comic strips.

“It is one of the most important from Herge’s postwar period, on the same level as ‘Tintin in Tibet’ and ‘The Castafiore Emerald’,” he added.

World Record

The 1954 book is viewed as one of Herge’s masterpieces. Saturday’s sale was a record for a single cartoon drawing. In 2012, the 1932 cover illustration of “Tintin in America” fetched 1.3 million euros.

Herge already holds the world record for the sale of a comic strip.

A double-page ink drawing that served as the inside cover for all the Tintin adventures published between 1937 and 1958, sold for 2.65 million euros ($3.58 million at that time) to an American fan two years ago.

Original Tintin comic book drawings have been fetching millions at auctions over the last few years.

In February 2015, the original cover design for “The Shooting Star” almost matched the record when it was sold for 2.5 million euros.

Back in May, the original artwork for the last two pages of the “King Ottokar’s Sceptre” book sold for $1.2 million while in October of last year a double page slate from the same Tintin book fetched more than 1.5 million euros.

That same month, an Asian investor paid $1.2 million for a drawing from “The Blue Lotus” book, published in 1936, of Tintin and Snowy in Shanghai.

Alongside the moon drawings, Artcurial also sold 20 ink sketches Herge created for a series of New Year’s greeting cards known as his “snow cards”.

The drawings, including Tintin and Snowy skiing, or hapless detectives the Thompson twins ice-skating, brought in 1.2 million euros.

Unfinished Thermozero

Prices for cartoon art have multiplied tenfold in the last decade, according to gallery owner Daniel Maghen, who also works with comic art.

Rival auction house Christie’s is putting drawings from another rare Herge strip up for sale later in the day in Paris.

It said the page from the unfinished story “Tintin and the Thermozero” – estimated at 250,000 euros – was the first ever to come to market.

Why the artist never finished the tale of espionage and a terrifying secret weapon set against the backdrop of the Cold War, is one of the great mysteries for Tintin-ologists.

The 1954 “Explorers on the Moon” completes the lunar adventure started in “Destination Moon” (1953) and features several hilarious episodes including Haddock getting drunk on whisky and floating off into space to briefly become a satellite of the asteroid Adonis.

It turns on Tintin foiling a plot to hijack the rocket by the evil stowaway spy Colonel Jorgen, who is backed by a mysterious foreign power.

The sales come as Tintinmania again grips the French capital, with Herge currently the subject of a huge retrospective exhibition at the Grand Palais.

Herge sold some 230 million Tintin albums by the time of his death in 1983.

Pierre Berge Library Auction By Sotheby’s: Part Two

As we announced a few months agoPierre Berge, the co-founder of the Yves Saint Laurent fashion empire has auctioned off the second part of his library in Paris. The private collection, which was made up of 376 works, is estimated to be the most valuable and has raised five million euros. Under the care of auction house Sotheby’s, rare first editions of classics of 19th century European literature including signed books by French greats such as Balzac, Hugo, Stendhal and Baudelaire.

Two pieces by Gustave Flaubert went under the hammer. The first, was a handwritten manuscript that sees the whole passages of the novelist’s travelogue “Over the Fields and over the Shores”, scratched out. The travelogue that earned 537,880 euros, was an account of his tour of France’s Loire and Brittany regions in 1886. The second was an original edition of Flaubert’s masterpiece “Madame Bovary” that sold for nearly twice its estimate at 190,369 euros.

However, the top earner from the two-day sale was for the manuscript of Stephane Mallarme’s “Noces d’Heriodiade”. The manuscript about the marriage of the biblical character Salome’s mother, sold for 587,720 euros. The sale adds to the 11.7 million euros that had been raised by the French philanthropist last year from first part of his collection. With four more sales of the library planned for next year, the collection is expected to be worth over 30 million euros. The proceeds of the auctions will be given to a foundation set up by Berge with Saint Laurent.

1964-alpine-m64-berlinette

Artcurial Sells Iconic James Bond Aston Martin

A slew of classic and vintage collectible cars are set to go under the hammer in Paris, October 30 as Artcurial Motorcars celebrates a decade of its “Automobiles sur les Champs” auction – including the 1964 Aston Martin DB5. The 80 cars that will be up for grabs vary in age, origins and models, with several having appeared on both the big and small screens as well as in comic books.

1964 Aston Martin DB5

1964 Aston Martin DB5

Under the spotlight is a 1964 Aston Martin DB5  – which is a lovely car but not strictly speaking a classic car – that was driven by James Bond in Goldfinger. With an estimated value of €550,000 to €650,000, the car is a rare left-hand drive model that first started out as a “show model” from the 1964 Paris Motor Show. Joining this appointed star of the show are other notable vehicles including sports cars such as a 1964 Alpine M64 berlinette, a Bugatti Type 40 spéciale from 1927 and a Porsche Carrera 3.0L Group V from 1976. Guess which one of these is a proper classic…

1927 Bugatti Type 40 Spéciale

1927 Bugatti Type 40 Spéciale

Those with a love for Italian automobiles will be in for a treat with the 1967 Ferrari 330 GT 2+2, a 1995 Lamborghini Diablo VT and even a 1968 Alfa Romeo GTA 1300 Junior in the auction catalog. For those with a more modest budget, the auction will also feature more affordable options such as two Alfa Romeo Polizia, former Italian police cars from 1969 and 1981. Fans of the Michel Vaillant comic books will be more interested in the 1999 Hommell Vaillante “Grand défi” paying tribute to the series, estimated at €40,000 to €60,000. Finally, buyers with even more modest budgets can snap up a 1968 Fiat 500 L, estimated at €8,000 to €12,000. Yes, vintage vehicles aren’t all hugely expensive propositions

Before going under the hammer, the cars will be on display at the Artcurial private garage in Paris from October 29 to 30.

US Couple Donate Art Collection to Musee d'Orsay

US Couple Donate Art Collection to Musee d’Orsay

The Musee d’Orsay has recently been gifted 187 works of art that are estimated to be worth $188 million, which certainly makes it one of the most generous gifts in the world of art and museums. Apparently, this gift will keep on giving because it is only the first instalment of a donation from businessman Spencer Hays and his wife Marlene. Why? Well that is not entirely clear at the moment. What we do know is that the US couple first started their love affair for art in 1971 when they first visited the French capital, which is why they selected a French institution such as the Musee d’Orsay.

The donation, that includes works by Edgar Degas and Amedeo Modigliani, is just a fraction of the 600 works that the couple have collected. Spanning from the late 19th to early 20th centuries, their total collection is said to be valued at almost 350 million euros. When completed, this will mark the largest foreign foreign collection donated to France in 60 years.

“When Marlene and I grew up in a little town in Gainesville, Texas, even visiting France was far beyond our great expectations. But in 1971 we made our first trip to Paris, and our love affair with this wonderful country began,” Hays told a crowd which included President Francois Hollande at the Elysee Palace.

“The people who know you know your collection gets bigger around July 14 and December 7, because those are your birthdays. And this year, once again, Marlene, you gave Spencer a Matisse, and you, Spencer, gave Marlene a Modigliani… It wasn’t easy to live up to that!” Hollande said. The President added that the couple had given France not only their collection but also “access to culture for everyone”.

“Your act, your donation, honors the French Republic,” he said during a ceremony in which the couple received the distinction of commander of the Legion d’Honneur, one of the country’s highest honors.

Scarlett Johansson Opens Parisian Popcorn Shop

For those who care to know such things, the latest celebrity business venture comes from Scarlett Johansson, who is opening a gourmet popcorn shop at the Marais district of Paris. If you’re lucky, you might even get the world’s highest paid actress to serve you.

The Yummy Pop gourmet popcorn shop is a labor of love of Johansson and her French husband, advertising executive Romain Dauriac. Flavors will range from savoury to sweet, including truffle, parmesan, real Vermont cheddar, and sage (Johansson’s personal favorite). Chef Will Horowitz of Ducks Eatery will also concoct special flavors, such as sea salt & olive oil, ‘Real Vermont Maple’, strawberries & cream, and chocolate-covered strawberries.

If the venture proves a hit at the world’s gastronomic capital, the couple is planning to expand to other areas. The shop will be managed by Dauriac’s sister.

Johansson’s spokesman said the Paris shop would close after its “soft opening” on Saturday so “they can fine tune everything with what they learn from customers before the grand opening”, which is likely to be before the end of the year.

 

Plateau Urbain Converts Derelict Buildings

Plateau Urbain Converts Derelict Parisian Buildings

As part of its new project, the organization called Plateau Urbain is turning once derelict buildings into lively work spaces. These condemned areas now serve as a place where start-ups and artistic associations can find success without worrying about the strain of financial stress.

One such individual who is benefitting from the project is 26-year-old Margot. Her art studio was once a gynaecology ward in a hospital in the south of Paris. At a reasonable (really) rate of $19 per square meter per month for the studio, she now shares the space with illustrators, graphic designers and artists where occupants pay just enough to cover the costs. “This allows me to have a stable place” to work, she says. Young artists like Margot aren’t the only ones to have benefited from the Saint Vincent de Paul hospital’s new use, started by the association Plateau Urbain (Urban Platform).

Some 1,000 migrant workers, vulnerable youths and people who were once homeless have found shelter there, while young entrepreneurs and NGO members have turned it into their work space. “We also see people from the neighbourhood, locals who come to have their midday coffee, tourists and hipsters who come … by bike because they think it’s cool here,” says Simon Laisney, who heads Plateau Urbain. “I’d say it’s a big experiment in social integration.”

The experiment, inspired by the vibrant Berlin art scene, puts the owners of abandoned buildings in touch with possible tenants. Laisney first dreamt up the idea when he was still a real estate analyst with a major corporation. “I found out there were 2.9 million square metres (31 million square feet) of empty space in what we call second-hand buildings — meaning they have already been rented once. Of the 2.9 million square metres, there were 800,000 square metres that haven’t been rented for at least five years,” Laisney explained.

“The idea was to put these spaces to use again,” said Laisney, who is not yet 30. The group’s first project in 2013 saw an artist set up her studio in a renovated ground-floor space in the heart of Paris’ hip Marais district, for the hard-to-believe price of just 150 euros a month. A dozen other similar projects have since sprung up, with Plateau Urbain using grants and awards to finance its work.

The way it works is that tenants living and working in Plateau Urbain-managed spaces do not pay rent as such — they just pay enough to cover expenses. And even though the association, run by just two permanent staff members along with a group of unpaid volunteers, is still very small, the set-up has won over Laurent Vuidel, head of a housing association called Lerichemont.

Vuidel says it has been a cost effective alternative for vacant properties. In April, he handed a group of artists the keys to a 530-square-metre building in the south of the French capital. “We have managed to stop paying the costs of securing the building, and the current occupants contribute to the monthly charges — heating, electricity, etc,” Vuidel said. Had the building been left to disuse, it would either have grown derelict or seen squatters move in.

Otherwise, the owners would have had to pay security guards to keep watch — and that would have been expensive. Vuidel said it would have cost “some 10,000 to 15,000 euros a month to have a permanent on-site presence.” Having previously rented out rooms in buildings destined for demolition to students, Lerichemont took the plunge. And now, this former university building has become a hub for painters, designers, sculptors, potters and landscape artists. “For us, it’s a boost for the arts,” beams Nicolas Bouchet, who runs the Labolic collective that manages the space.

While Vuidel believes in the project, he remains a little concerned about the future. “We have to wait and see what happens when we decide to take the building back — whether we’ll actually be able to get it back,” he says. But for Plateau Urbain the goal is what Laisney calls “urban pragmatism” — a temporary solution for vacant buildings. He’d like to see it become systematic that “when an elected official, or a property owner has a vacant building, he says to himself, ‘I’m going to let it be used for temporary occupation’.”

4 Street Art Stars Cities that Love Them

4 Street Art Stars and Cities that Love Them

Street art is by its nature transient, with city authorities in a race to paint over work that seemingly pops up spontaneously – these four artists and three cities defy this stereotype. We haven’t included Paris on this list but it is actually the first to open a dedicated permanent space for the voice of the street, so to speak. The AFP Relaxnews used the occasion of that opening to highlight three artists and the cities that have – sometimes – hosted them warmly. We added Blek le Rat to the list because, well, ignoring Blek is just criminal.

Banksy

In the age of doxxing and wikileaks, the artist (or collective) known as Banksy is an anomaly. He (for want of a better pronoun) is certainly the world’s most famous anonymous street artist, whose subversive and satirical humor has been reaching ever larger audiences since he surfaced in the 1990s.

Hailing from the underground activist culture of the southwestern city of Bristol (also the birthplace of trip hop), his unmistakable stenciled output generally features an anti-establishment bent.

In artistic terms, be it on the street or in the gallery, he is emphatically Big League, rubbing shoulders with Damien Hirst for the “Keep it Spotless” collaboration, which fetched $1.8 million at Sotheby’s in New York in 2008.

As we’ve reported here many times, Banksy’s identity is unknown. The last stab at unmasking the artist produced the idea that he may be Robert “3D” Del Naja of trip hop band Massive Attack.

4 Street Art Stars and Cities that Love Them

By Eric Lin from San Francisco, USA – blek le rat sleeping, CC BY-SA 2.0. Wikimedia Commons

Blek le Rat

Born Xavier Prou in Paris, 1951, Blek is the elder statesman of global street art and the clear influence behind none other than Banksy. Blek was himself influenced by the street art of New York in the 1970s and adapted the style for Paris, acknowledging the vast difference between the architectures of the two cities. Blek’s true identity was only exposed in 1991, when he was arrested by police in Paris. Nevertheless, Blek says he prefers to street to the gallery, with his first solo exhibition just 10 years ago, in London.

In keeping with this, Blek is not well represented in museums and galleries but you can see his work at the Quin hotel in New York City, which includes his work in its permanent collection.

JR

While Blek may have inspired Banksy, JR is his French successor and some would say a more original artist than Banksy. He started out on the streets of Paris before making waves in a clutch of venues, from Rio’s favela slums (featured image: 28 Millimetres: Women are Heroes, Action in Kibera Slum – Train Passage 6 – Kenya, 2009, JR) to Shanghai and New York. Certainly, JR is a wildly ambitious artist whom our friends at Art Republik call “a master of manipulating images in context.” As far as contextual art goes, street art is tough to beat.

One of JR’s most emblematic projects involved collecting some 4,000 portraits via his mobile photo booth truck and putting the resulting “participatory” mass collage on display at the newly restored Pantheon temple in the French capital.

Earlier this year he wrapped the glass Louvre Pyramid in photographic prints, creating a trompe l’oeil effect appearing to make the structure blend into the actual palace facade.

A ceramic mosaic of 1970s US cartoon character Hong Kong Phooey created by Invader. © AFP PHOTO / FILES / Philippe Lopez

A ceramic mosaic of 1970s US cartoon character Hong Kong Phooey created by Invader. © AFP PHOTO / FILES / Philippe Lopez

Invader

Monikers are par for the course in street art and this one is particularly good. The contemporary French artist Invader gets his nom de guerre from “Space Invader” because he produces pixelated works reminiscent of early videogame figures.

Invader is a very active artist, who travels far and wide like the others on this list. With some 3,000 “invasions” on his CV to date, Invader has on occasion been taken in for questioning by inquisitive US police. Invader himself calls his artistic excursions “invasions.”

Last year his replica mosaic of 1970s American cartoon character Hong Kong Phooey sold at auction at Sotheby’s in Hong Kong, fetching HK$2 million ($258,000). The popular piece of street art had been destroyed by the Hong Kong authorities, infuriating residents, and was later re-made for sale.

New York

New York City is the obvious cradle of the street art movement, graffiti artists having used subway tunnels and handy walls as canvases since the late 1960s.

The 1990s saw a move towards the mainstream with the Queens district hosting the 5 Pointz mural space on Long Island.

For two decades, some 1,500 artists had the run of 20,000 square meters (215,000 square feet) of space, creating an open-air museum and tourist magnet – until the site owner in 2013 had the area demolished for construction of a condominium complex.

Berlin

Berlin’s East Side Gallery – a 1.3 kilometre (one mile) surviving section of the Berlin Wall – merits mention with its gallery of 1990 (the year after the fall of the Berlin Wall) paintings by more than 100 artists from across the globe.

With the site receiving an annual three million visitors, renovation was required in 2009.

One of the best-known frescoes depicts the “fraternal kiss” between former Soviet president Leonid Brezhnev and East German leader Erich Honecker, painted by Russian artist Dmitri Vrubel.

London

London’s edgy-but-trendy eastern district of Shoreditch is a true hive of street art in the British capital, “hosting” a raft of Banksy creations that see visitors beat a steady path to the area.

Somewhat less known is Leake Street Tunnel, an “authorised graffiti area” behind Waterloo railway station which lures an alternative crowd. Most output gets covered over on a regular basis.

Banksy, himself involved in turning “a dark forgotten filth pit” into “an oasis of beautiful art”, has also fallen victim to this artistic licence at what was for a while dubbed “Banksy Tunnel”.

Robert Pattinson Fronts Dior Homme Spring 2017

Robert Pattinson Fronts Dior Homme Spring 2017

Robert Pattinson proves that he is more than just a glittering vampire thanks to the new campaign for the Dior Homme spring 2017 collection. Set in Paris, the black and white images are captured by none other than Karl Lagerfeld. Of course, Pattinson has been closely associated with Dior for awhile now, being the face of Dior Homme and having fronted well-received fragrance campaigns for Dior in the past.

Dressed in a biker jacket, tuxedo and suit — one of which is embroidered with lily-of-the-valley motifs, Pattinson shows off a collection that was overseen by Dior’s creative director Kris Van Assche. The campaign is meant to evoke film noir.

“I’m always floored at the undeniable beauty of Paris,” said Pattinson in a statement. “And at night in the alleys and the side streets, emptied of crowds it’s almost more breathtaking. Contrasting shadows make everywhere you look seem like a frame from a movie.”

Saint Laurent Paris Fashion Week

5 Runway Trends: Paris Fashion Week

As far as the news cycle goes, Paris Fashion Week was overshadowed by the robbery involving Kim Kardashian and millions worth of jewelry. But that does not mean that the catwalks in the city delivered anything but the finest designs for the upcoming season. We take a look at five of the best runway trends from Paris Fashion Week.

Glitter Gang

The designers have brought the glitter to the catwalks in numerous ways. From the shiny vinyl fabrics that were used in jackets and skirts to tight 1980s-inspired off shoulder tops, Mugler and Kenzo brought some sparkle to their collections. Like Dior and Lanvin, Nicolas Ghesquiere used gold and silver gleam to provide a little rock-lux to the Louis Vuitton collection.

Under Where?
Lanvin Paris Fashion Week

Lanvin

Transparency is the name of the game for many this season. Most designers included at least one or two see-through dresses or tops in their collections with a majority of the sheer black tops and “Belle de Jour” tulle dresses were worn without bras on the runway. However, Chanel was one brand that used underwear as outerwear through lingerie dresses that were seen through most of the collection. Over at Lanvin and Agnes b, their silky pajama suits proclaimed “It’s summer, why get dressed at all…”

In Bad Taste

Saint Laurent’s Vaccarello went flashy with stilettos that had the letters YSL forming the heels. The designer also went with mono-boob dresses for women who preferred to make an entrance — or maybe Lady Gaga. There was no shame at Dior with the brand showing off the slogan “J’adore Dior” on shoulder straps, straps of its sandals and belts. Chanel embraced some style secrets of rappers by pairing its baseball caps with chunky rapper bling diamond jewelry.

Return Of The Establishments
Dior Paris fashion Week

Dior

While the last few years have seen young rebel labels take over the runways, this fashion week has seen the likes of Dior, Saint Laurent, Lanvin and Leonard climb back to the top of the pile. While neither Maria Grazia Chiuri at Dior nor Anthony Vaccarello at Saint Laurent are revolutionaries, there is a edgy energy in their spring-summer collections that promises the old stagers could surprise us yet.

Tickled Pink

From Chanel to Valentino and Nina Ricci, pink hues proved to be another trend on the catwalks. Pale ivory pinks were dominant for lingerie dresses. Two toga dresses from Celine used the soft shade to cut the edgy oversized feel.

Comics & Illustrations Auction By Christie’s

On Saturday, November 19, Christie’s Paris, in partnership with specialized gallerist and publisher Galerie Daniel Maghen, will host the second ‘Comics & Illustrations’ auction of the year. One month prior, a medley of these auction items will be on view in London (October 4-12) and Amsterdam (October 19-24) as a free public showcase before landing in Paris.

The selection of European comics on display spotlights beloved adventurers and heroes such as the unvanquishable Gaul Astérix; the scientist/captain duo Blake & Mortimer; the intrepid sailor Corto Maltese, the boyish, perpetually red-clad Spirou, and the forest-dwelling blue-hued community of Smurfs.

Albert Uderzo, ASTÉRIX, 'Astérix In Spain.' Original page n°16. Estimate: €170.000-190.000 © 2016 Goscinny - Uderzo Use only Galerie Daniel Maghen with Christie's

Albert Uderzo, ASTÉRIX, ‘Astérix In Spain.’ Original page n°16. Estimate: €170.000-190.000

Hergé — born Georges Remi — has been part of the popular imagination for over half a century with his ‘ligne claire’ style, and is currently the subject of a major retrospective at the Grand Palais in Paris. His work is represented in the showcase here by a double-page spread from his first published series, “Quick and Flupke,” dated from 1930 (estimate: €90,000-100,000). In addition, an Hergé sketch for the 1957 calendar in ‘Le Journal de Tintin’ spotlights the 12 main characters from ‘The Adventures of Tintin’, seen dancing like mad (estimate: €110,000-120,000).

Edgar P. Jacobs, 'Blake et Mortimer, La Marque Jaune' (The Yellow M). Original page n°6. Estimate: €120.000-140.000 © © Studio Jacobs / Editions Blake & Mortimer, 2016 Use only Galerie Daniel Maghen with Christie's

Edgar P. Jacobs, ‘Blake et Mortimer, La Marque Jaune’ (The Yellow M). Original page n°6. Estimate: €120.000-140.000

“I believe that the subject of comics and graphic novels is no longer a niche. Over the last ten years, the demand has considerably grown and many galleries and institutions have organised exhibitions in response,” noted Daniel Maghen of the medium’s new wave of relevance. Moreover, he notes the changing regard is also affected by the nostalgia factor of a grown-up generations of young readers. “I think that when one buys an original page from his [or her] favorite adventure, it is above all motivated by the feeling of a nice memory that is materialized by a piece.”

There will be a special focus — for both the sale and the exhibition tour — on French graphic novelist Jean-Pierre Gibrat. This marks the first time that Christie’s Paris will devote an auction catalog to a contemporary artist. The tome features 17 full-page comics and original drawings, as well as a Q&A with the author, who noted that “the detail is what drives the composition.”

Jean-Pierre Gibrat, 'Le Sursis,' Original page n°24. Estimate: 35.000-40.000 © Gibrat Use only Galerie Daniel Maghen with Christie's

Jean-Pierre Gibrat, ‘Le Sursis,’ Original page n°24. Estimate: 35.000-40.000

Gibrat will attend the London and Amsterdam exhibitions and present his work to the public. They will draw from the seven volumes that constitute his celebrated publications: “Le Sursis” (1999), “Le vol du Corbeau” (2002 and 2005), “Mattéo” (2008, 2010, and 2014).

Additional contemporary figures like Moebius, Bilal, Vance, Rosinski, Guarnido, and Loisel are being shown as well.

Chloe-Paris-Fashion-Week

5 Beauty Trends: Paris Fashion Week

As one of the fashion capitals of the world, Paris did not disappoint during fashion week. From the designs to the drama off the runway, the city ensured that all eyes were on it for one week. While the collections certainly captured our attention, we could not ignore the various makeup looks that models sported down the runway. We take a look at five of the top trends from Paris Fashion Week.

Girly
Chanel-Paris-Fashion-Week

Chanel

Models who walked for Rihanna’s Fenty X Puma collection showed off holographic pink highlighter and doubled-up lashes that gave off a doll-like look while their temples sported blusher with the help of the ‘draping’ technique. Chanel went with a similar theme where models sported low-slung side ponytails and baseball caps that were worn at a jaunty sideways angle. To cap off the look, was pink lip gloss.

Disco Lips
Maison Margiela Paris Fashion Week

Maison Margiela

While Fendi captured the audience at Milan Fashion Week with glitter lips, Maison Margiela brought it to Paris. Acne was another brand that adopted the trend though it went with a striking holographic gunmetal blue shade. The hue caught the light and was paired with thick, brushed brows, matter foundation and just a hint of under-eye highlighter.

The New Smokey
Dries-Van-Norton-Paris-Fashion-Week

Dries Van Norton

The smoky eye look was turned up a notch at Dries Van Noten and saw eye shadow applied across the bridge of the nose for a shimmering mask. To enhance the effect of the eye shadow, the area immediately beneath was lightened. At Vivienne Westwood’s unconventional show, metallic shadow was applied to the inner eyes and bridge of the nose for a hollowed out effect.

French Girl Beauty
Balmain-Paris-Fashion-Week

Balmain

Loose curls, a matte base and just a smudge of liner under the eyes gave the models at Chloe (Main Picture) that laidback Parisian look that the brand is known for. Another fashion house that embraced sophisticated French beauty was Balmain with matte skin, soft taupe eyes, nude lips and a dash of highlighter that provided a carefree and glamorous evening look.

The Red Eye
Kenzo-Paris-Fashion-Week

Kenzo

Paule Ka chose to match cherry-stained lips with the eyes to bring about a tropical look. Over at Kenzo, the rulebook was thrown out the window by teaming statement red lipstick with a theatrical red eye for a greater impact.