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Van Cleef & Arpels dazzles at the MusĂŠe des Arts DĂŠcoratifs Assouline, the couturier of the book world A sneak peek at the new Louvre-Lens
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Fall 2012 features 32 Book Smarts Creating books that are objets d’art has made Assouline a leading independent publisher on both sides of the Atlantic by Roland Flamini
40 Van Cleef & Arpels The Musée des Arts Décoratifs showcases one of the crown jewels of France’s cultural heritage by Amy Serafin
50 Reframing the Louvre, Sketching a new Lens The Louvre’s new outpost aims to redefine the world’s most famous museum and revitalize a struggling town by Sara Romano
departments 5 The f: section Culture, books, film, music, travel, shopping, food & wine edited by Melissa Omerberg
28 La Musique Django Reinhardt by Dan Carlinsky
60 Calendrier French Cultural Events in North America COURTESY OF ASSOULINE
by Tracy Kendrick
64 Temps Modernes A Place in the Sun prints such •asHigh-quality this classic botanical illustration are part of Assouline’s expanding line. See page 32.
by Michel Faure
While editing Sara Romano’s piece on the new Louvre-Lens, I had a flashback to our Fall 1990 issue. It featured a series of articles on Lille (located17 miles north of Lens), which at the time was determined to break out of the economic mire created by the decline of its textile industry. Like Lens today, Lille faced what appeared to be overwhelming challenges, yet as we interviewed one resident after another, what impressed us most was their energy and optimism. Typical was Thierry Mabille de Poncheville, a dynamic twenty-something lad who worked for APIM, the agency responsible for bringing foreign investors to the Lille metropolitan area. At the time, he and his colleagues were betting on the convergence of the new European Union (1992), the TGV (1993) and the Channel Tunnel (1994) to change the city’s destiny, a vision they enthusiastically sold to companies seeking a European base. In the years that followed, Mabille de Poncheville would rise through the ranks, becoming director of APIM before moving into the Van Cleef & Arpels is the •glittering attraction this fall private sector. at Paris’s Musée des Arts Décoratifs; this 1971 brooch We checked back with him to see if his youthful is among the exquisite jewels confidence was well-founded. “That period turned out on display. Story page 40. to be a huge turning point for us,” he recalled in a recent phone conversation. “Today Lille is a European metropolis, headquarters for companies from around the world. We have a world-class convention center, an international school, scientific parks that have lured companies from Paris and elsewhere, one of the most modern stadiums on the Continent, a beautifully renovated fine arts museum…. So much has changed! The historic center has been renovated, new neighborhoods have been built…. In short, my children are growing up in a very different Lille from the one I knew as a kid.” All of which augers well for Lens, which for its part is betting on perhaps the most prestigious “brand” in the world—along with local investment and the remarkable resilience of its people—to make its own comeback. KAREN TAYLOR
Editor PHOTO CREDITS Book Smarts pp. 32-33: courtesy of assouline ; pp. 34-35: courtesy of assouline ; evan joseph images ; © jordan doner ; pp. 36-39: courtesy of assouline. Van Cleef & Arpels pp. 40-41: courtesy of van cleef & arpels ; patrick gries ; pp. 42-43: patrick gries, ©patrick gries /van cleef & arpels ; pp. 44-45: tino hammid /© california collection, © patrick gries /van cleef & arpels, © franck seguin /deadline photo press ; pp. 46-48: courtesy of van cleef & arpels, ©patrick gries /van cleef & arpels ; p. 49: moca /van cleef & arpels. Reframing the Louvre, Sketching a new Lens pp. 50-51: ©2007 musée du louvre /angèle dequier, © sanaa /imrey culbert/ catherine mosbach ; pp. 52-53: © sanaa / imrey culbert / catherine mosbach ; pp. 54-55: © 2007 musée du louvre /angèle dequier , ©2008 musée du louvre /christian décamps, ©2006 musée du louvre /claire tabbagh /collections numériques, © jure erzen /delo ; pp. 56-57: alain leprince, ©the museum of modern art/scala /art resource ny, ©rmn-grand palais /art resource ny, gemeentemuseum / den haag ; pp. 58-59: office du tourisme de lille, courtesy of le grand duc, © palais des beaux-arts de lille /j. boussemart, les dunes de flandre /ch. bonte, musée de la chartreuse /douai.
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f • The moody “Avril” (2003), a Polaroid by award-winning photographer Sarah
Moon, is one of the works featured in Paris Photo.
Edited by MELISSA OMERBERG
Paris & the provinces
Paris at the Movies Paris is the foreign city most often depicted in Hollywood movies; more than 800 American films have been shot on location there or on sound stages re-creating the French capital. The Hôtel de Ville’s Paris, vu par Hollywood traces the City of Light’s history on the silver screen through film clips, stills, set designs, costumes, original screenplays and movie posters. Through Dec. 15; paris.fr. Collectors’ Club In January 1906, a group of Le Havre-based art collectors and artists—among them Georges Braque and Raoul Dufy—formed the Modern Art Circle. Between 1906 and 1910, they organized exhibits, lectures, poetry readings and concerts, with support from
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such illustrious figures as Guillaume Apollinaire and Claude Debussy. Their exhibitions included works by “old” Impressionists such as Monet and Renoir, but it was the Fauves who truly captured the group’s interest. Featuring some 90 works, the Musée du Luxembourg’s
etchings and posters, including works by Toulouse-Lautrec, Edouard Vuillard and members of Les Nabis. Also on view: a selection of zinc shadow puppets. Through Jan. 13, 2013; museedemontmartre.fr.
Le Cercle de l’art moderne: Collectionneurs
Interiors In the 19th century, it became fashionable for the haute-bourgeoisie to commission portraits of rooms in their homes. These were kept in albums to be shown to guests or given as gifts to married children. About 90 such works are presented in Intérieurs romantiques : Aquarelles 1820-1890, which offers a peek into some of the most patrician dwellings of Europe. Donated to the CooperHewitt, National Design Museum in New York by Eugene V. Thaw from his private collection, these watercolors and gouaches on paper reflect design styles and evolving tastes at a time of major political, economic
takes visitors into the brief but fascinating life of the club. Through Jan. 6, 2013; museeduluxembourg.fr. d’avant-garde au Havre
The Black Cat Founded in 1881, Le Chat Noir was Paris’s first avant-garde literary, artistic and musical cabaret. Erik Satie, Claude Debussy and Gustave Charpentier all composed a portion of their music there (it was the first club authorized to have a piano). The Musée de Montmartre conjures up the atmosphere of this mythical venue in Le Chat Noir through more than 200 canvases, watercolors, illustrations,
© C O L U M B U S M U S E U M O F A R T, O H I O
• Edward Hopper’s wife Jo was the model for “Morning Sun” (1954), part of a retrospective on the American master at the Grand Palais.
and social change. Through Jan. 13, 2013; vie-romantique.paris.fr. La Bohème The figure of the Bohemian first emerged in the mid-19th century, when the image of the artist was undergoing a profound transformation. Talented young artists were no longer seeking aristocratic patrons; they were now solitary geniuses, impoverished and misunderstood. Their lifestyle was highly admired in the popular imagination, thanks to literature and the press, theater and opera. The crossdisciplinary Bohèmes at the Grand Palais looks at the myth of artists, gypsies and outsiders through some 180 works; the décor replicates an artist’s garret, a Montmartre cabaret and— chillingly—the Zigeuner room at Munich’s 1937 “Degenerate Art” exhibition. Through Jan. 14, 2013; rmngp.fr. Raphael’s Final Years at the Louvre focuses on the last seven years of the artist’s short life—years that were also the pinnacle of the Italian Renaissance. His powers were at their height, and his altarpieces and subtle, intimate portraits reveal an extraordinary inventiveness, technical virtuosity and an unparalleled sense of grace. The first show devoted exclusively to the final period of Raphael’s career brings together 100 paintings, drawings and tapestries by the master and two of his students. Oct. 11, 2012, through Jan. 14, 2013; louvre.fr.
Les deux maîtres de Venise
Edward Hopper The Grand Palais showcases Edward Hopper in an eponymous exhibit that illuminates the complexity of the American artist’s work. The first half of the show covers Hopper’s formative years, comparing his work with that of his contemporaries and art he saw during his stays in Paris in 1906, 1909 and 1910. The second half looks at his mature work, whose apparent realism and “metaphysical” dimensions led to comparisons with De Chirico. Through Jan. 14, 2013; rmngp.fr.
Impressionism and Fashion With the rise of the department store, the advent of ready-to-wear clothing and the proliferation of fashion magazines, avantgarde artists and writers turned a fresh eye to contemporary dress, which they saw as an
Raphaël, les dernières années
©COLLECTION KRÖLLER-MU ! LLER MUSEUM, OT TERLO
Van Gogh’s “Pine Trees at Sunset” (1889) and “Country Road in Provence by Night” (1890) reveal •Japanese influences in an exhibit at the Pinacothèque.
Masters of Venice In the 18th century, vedutisti—artists who produced oversized, highly detailed paintings and prints of grand vistas—flocked to Venice, drawn by its timeless charm. The Musée Jacquemart-André’s Canaletto – Guardi:
focuses on two of the greatest exponents of this highly popular genre, combining scenes of La Serenissima with “caprices”—remarkable and little-known depictions of an imaginary Venice painted by Canaletto, Guardi and artists such as Bernardo Bellotto. Through Jan. 14, 2013; museejacquemart-andre.com. Canaletto and the vedutisti are also the subjects of the Musée Maillol’s Canaletto à Venise, which tracks the artist’s stylistic evolution through a series of luminous canvases that are subtle yet sublime. Through Feb. 10, 2013; museemaillol.com.
emblem of modernity. The Musée d’Orsay’s L’impressionnisme et la mode examines the role of fashion in the works of the Impressionists and their contemporaries, with major figure paintings, period costumes, accessories, photographs and popular prints highlighting the relationship between fashion and art from the mid-1860s to the mid-1880s—decades when Paris emerged as the style capital of the world. Through Jan. 20, 2013; musee-orsay.fr. The Campanas And now for something completely different. That could be the motto of Fernando and Humberto Campana, the Brazilian design duo whose iconoclastic creations are entirely original. The brothers were inspired by the Arte Povera movement as well as Brazilian street life and Carnival culture, and their pieces are often made of unusual materials: adorned
Gagosian, now XXL After establishing a branch in central Paris in 2010, GAGOSIAN—one of the world’s leading modern and contemporary art galleries—is opening a second space this fall north of the city, near Le Bourget. Housed in a converted 1950s factory building, the new location comprises 17,760 square feet on two levels, plus a 3,660-square-foot mezzanine overlooking the main space. The gallery was designed by architect Jean Nouvel in collaboration with HW Architecture. Their design retains the building’s distinctive features, while restoring and transforming it into a modern, versatile exhibition space for large-scale sculptures, paintings and installations. The inaugural show features works by Anselm Kiefer. gagosian.com
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Culture seen. Les Jouets Star Wars at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs features action f igures, dolls, costumes, masks, spaceships, stuffed animals, video games and more. They come from a single source: ScienceFictionArchives.com, founded by an ardent fan and collector of SF paraphernalia. May the Force be with you as you make your way through the 400 items on view. Oct. 4, 2012, through March 17, 2013; lesartsdecoratifs.fr.
Van Cleef & Arpels The Musée des Arts Décoratifs explores the history of Van Cleef & Arpels through some 400 pieces of jewelry. (See article, page 40.) Through Feb. 10, 2013; lesartsdecoratifs.fr. 100 Photographic Masterpieces La Photographie en cent chefs-d’œuvre
comprises 100 stunning works from the collection of the Bibliothèque national de France. Not a history of photography per se, the show seeks to explore what constitutes a masterpiece in such a wide-ranging, diverse medium. Every photographic genre is represented—portraits, landscapes, nudes, photojournalism, advertising, scientific photos—with works by both the world’s most celebrated photographers as well as anonymous talents. Nov. 13, 2012, through Feb. 17, 2013; bnf.fr.
Camille Corot’s “Zingara au tambour de basque” •(c.Jean-Baptiste 1865–1870), on view in “Bohèmes.”
Art in Wartime The Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris presents nearly 400 works by more than 100 artists in L’Art en guerre - France 1938-1947 De Picasso à Dubuffet. Beginning with the 1938 International Surrealist Exhibition, this important exhibit goes on to explore the ways in which French, European and American artists living in France adapted their themes, materials and processes to the Phony War, the outbreak of WWII and the Nazi Occupation. The show wraps up with a look at postwar artistic responses to the physical and emotional tolls of the wartime experience, with sections devoted to sacred and Outsider art. Oct. 12, 2012, through Feb. 17, 2013; mam.paris.fr. Van Gogh and Hiroshige Comprising some 40 works, Van Gogh, Rêves du Japon demonstrates the importance of Japonism to the Dutch artist. Indeed, most of the landscapes he painted after 1887 were clearly influenced by Hiroshige. Visitors to
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the Pinacothèque de Paris will have a chance to draw these connections for themselves by combining a trip to that exhibit with Hiroshige, L’Art du voyage, featuring woodblock prints depicting travels between Edo and Kyoto. Through March 17, 2013; pinacotheque.com. Paper Cuts Scissors and paper rock at the Cité de l’architecture et du patrimoine, where Architectures de Papier is showcasing the art of découpage and folding. The show includes work by five artists from Europe and the U.S., each of whom uses a different technique to replicate iconic architectural structures or create imaginary cities that are both fragile and poetic. Oct. 11, 2012, through March 17, 2013; citechaillot.fr. Star Wars: The Exhibit Right now, in a museum not so far away… a whole galaxy of Star Wars toys can be
Hello, Dalí Known for his grandiose personality (“At the age of six I wanted to be a cook. At seven I wanted to be Napoleon. And my ambition has been growing steadily ever since.”), Salvador Dalí came to believe that he embodied the Surrealist movement. Certainly his melting watches, eggs, ants and lobster telephone left an indelible mark on art history. The Centre Pompidou pays tribute to the moustachioed Spaniard with a major retrospective featuring some 150 canvases as well as a selection of films and sound recordings. Nov. 21, 2012, through March 25, 2013; centrepompidou.fr.
French Touch The movement known as “French Touch”—a style of electronic dance music embodied by such groups as Air, Daft Punk and Cassius— experienced its heyday in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Their sounds inspired many graphic artists, who worked with the musicians to create album covers, flyers, fanzines and videos. French Touch: Graphisme, Vidéo, Electro at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs explores this extraordinarily close collaboration. Oct. 10, 2012, through April 17, 2013; lesartsdecoratifs.fr LE CANNET
Misia A legendary figure on the French art scene, Misia Godebska (a.k.a. Natanson a.k.a. Sert) was propelled to the center of a group of artists who championed Symbolism and the decorative arts through her 1893 marriage to Thadée Natanson, editor of La Revue blanche. At the height of her influence, she became a sought-after
©RMN / MUSÉE DU LOUVRE / RENÉ- GABRIEL OJÉDA
with stuffed alligators, for example, or woven “haphazardly” from colored cord. Les Frères Campana: Barroco Rococó at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs illuminates the sibs’ playful approach to design. Through Feb. 3, 2013; lesartsdecoratifs.fr.
portrait model, sitting for Bonnard, Vuillard, Vallotton, Toulouse-Lautrec and Renoir. Misia, reine de Paris, now at the Musée Bonnard, brings together portraits of Misia and her entourage as well as works and documents that illustrate the French capital’s thriving cultural scene at the time Misia ruled Paris. Oct. 13, 2012, through Jan. 6, 2013; museebonnard.fr. CHANTILLY
The Dawn of Orientalism The Domaine de Chantilly’s newly restored Jeu de Paume opens this fall with Delacroix et l’aube de l’Orientalisme. The exhibit traces the Egyptomania sparked by Bonaparte’s 1798 campaign; the war of Greek independence and the rise of Romanticism, when artists began painting their first Orientalist canvases without ever leaving home; the vogue for travel, when painters finally began making their way to Greece, the Middle East and North Africa; and the conquest of Algeria, chronicled in works by court painter Horace Vernet. Through Jan. 7, 2013; chateaudechantilly.com. LILLE
Flemish Landscapes, Babel Bosch, Bles, Bril, Brueghel: Les fables du paysage flamand au XVIe siècle, du merveilleux au
at Lille’s Palais des Beaux-Arts reveals the fantastical, cosmological nature of landscapes created by some of the greatest Flemish masters. These artists invented a new way of painting in which reality and the imagination overlapped, Christian faith and popular superstitions were intertwined, and the marvelous and monstrous existed side by side. Also on view (through the same date) is Babel, the first exhibition to examine how the legendary tower is dealt with in contemporary art; the show features monumental works by artists such as Anselm Kiefer, Vic Muniz, Du Zhenjun,
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Roland Fischer and François Schuiten. Oct. 5, 2012, through Jan. 14, 2013; pba-lille.fr. MOULINS
Lacroix and the Paris Opera Ballet Christian Lacroix was the talent behind the sumptuous costumes seen on stage in last year’s revival of “La Source,” a Romantic-era ballet performed by the Opéra National de Paris. The tale of a nymph who sacrifices herself for the sake of a young hunter and the woman he loves inspired the designer to create a combination of neoclassical and Orientalist outfits embroidered with Swarovski crystals, now on display in Christian Lacroix, La Source et le Ballet de l’Opéra de Paris at the Centre national du costume de scène et de la scénographie. Through Dec. 31; cncs.fr. STRASBOURG
from the Disney classic The Aristo•catsA scene (1971) in “Paris, vu par Hollywood.”
performance pieces and sound works will be presented in the Tuileries during the event, with other site-specific pieces on display at the Jardin des Plantes. Oct. 18 through 21; fiac.com.
Annette Messager A winner of the Golden Lion at the 2005 Venice Biennale, Annette Messager is known for highly original installations that incorporate stuffed animals, bits of fabric, manufactured items, photographs, prints and drawings. Her recent works are less whimsical and more troubling; Annette Messager: Continents Noirs at Strasbourg’s Musée d’art contemporain reflects such contemporary concerns as environmental degradation, economic difficulties and the loss of moral values. Oct. 13, 2012, through Feb. 3, 2013; musees.strasbourg.eu.
Paris Photo The Grand Palais is hosting 150 galleries from 22 countries at Paris Photo, which showcases the best of photography from the medium’s inception to the present. This year kicks off “Paris Photo seen by…”, in which a prominent figure is invited to choose his favorite images from among the works presented by the various galleries. David Lynch is this year’s guest of honor, which should make for an intriguing selection. Nov.15 through 18; parisphoto.fr.
CULTUR AL FESTIVALS
Croatia in France Croatia is in the spotlight this fall with
FIAC One hundred sixty-five of the world’s leading modern and contemporary art galleries (including 33 newcomers) are participating in the 39th edition of Paris’s prestigious International Contemporary Art Fair, or FIAC, at the Grand Palais. Sculptures, installations,
“Croatie, la voici” Festival de la Croatie en
This “cultural season” will feature some 60 events at 45 locations, mainly in Paris and the Ile-de-France area, including art exhibits, concerts, dance and theater performances, and films from the Balkan nation. Through Dec. 2012; croatielavoici.com. France.
Mougins revisits the classics Provence’s newest museum, the MUSÉE D’ART CLASSIQUE DE MOUGINS, offers a savvy mélange of ancient, neoclassical, modern and contemporary works as well as the world’s largest private collection of ancient arms and armor. To highlight the enduring influence of Antiquity on generations of artists, the museum eschews a traditionally chronological approach, instead interspersing Roman, Greek and Egyptian art and objects with 100 classically inspired paintings, drawings and sculptures by artists such as Picasso, Matisse, Chagall, Dufy, Cézanne, Rodin, Dalí, Warhol and Damien Hirst. mouginsmusee.com
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• This gouache version of René Magritte’s “Golconda” (1955) is one of the enigmatic works showcased in LaM’s “La Ville Magique.”
Lille reigned as European Culture Capital in 2004, and when the year was over, the northern city wanted to maintain its momentum on the cultural front. So it launched LILLE3000, a more-or-less biennial program showcasing the most cutting-edge contemporary artists. No topic is off-limits; high-tech textiles, spirituality and the cities of the future have all provided fodder for artistic exploration. The theme of this year’s event is “Fantastic,” and with a packed program that includes exhibits, film screenings, performances, readings, workshops and plenty of food, that is what it promises to be. The three-month-long celebration kicks off with a parade featuring enormous inflatable characters (think Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade on steroids), crazy costumes, music, dancing and pyrotechnic displays. The power of the imagination continues to be a driving force throughout the fall, when museums and galleries in Lille and nearby towns examine the extraordinary, the uncanny, the otherworldly, the
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dreamy…. The centerpiece of these artistic explorations is “La Ville Magique” at Lille’s Museum of Contemporary Art (LaM). Comprising more than 200 paintings, drawings, collages, photographs and films, this four-part exhibit focuses on the various urban myths of the interwar years, when the modern city was a subject of both fascination and anxiety for avant-garde artists from New York to Berlin to Paris— embodying the sublime while also reflecting the dark workings of the subconscious (musee-lam.fr). Lille itself undergoes a marvelous transformation during the festival, with streets, squares, parks, train stations, churches and other venues playing host to often whimsical public art displays. While wandering through the city, you might encounter a futuristic flying saucer, an unsettling cloud of mist, a gigantic upside-down house or a menagerie of hyper-realistic exotic animals.… Fantastic indeed. Oct. 6, 2012, through Jan. 13, 2013; lille3000.com.
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spotlight on... Lille3000
Beaux Livres PARIS BY HOLLYWOOD
edited by Antoine de Baecque
Published in conjunction with an exhibit of the same name (see page 6), this engaging volume chronicles Hollywood’s long love affair with the City of Light. Lavishly illustrated with film stills, sketches and publicity materials, the book examines the silent era, “cancan” films, the sophisticated Paris of romantic comedies, Audrey Hepburn’s Parisian persona, the French capital as seen through the lens of Walt Disney and Woody Allen, and more. Flammarion, $65.
RODIN & EROS by Pascal Bonafoux Rodin was endlessly fascinated with the female form, and eroticism permeates much of his œuvre. In this beautifully illustrated new volume, art historian Bonafoux examines the many aspects of sensuality and desire expressed in the master’s sculptures and drawings, discussing Rodin’s relationships with women, his friendships with poets and fellow artists, and the controversy aroused by his work at a time when public morals were very much at odds with private behavior. Thames & Hudson, $34.95.
PAINTING – MUSÉE D’ORSAY
by Stéphane Guégan
Coinciding with two major milestones, the 25th anniversary of the Musée d’Orsay and the renovation of its picture galleries, this lovely book presents 300 key works from the museum’s collections. Organized both chronologically and thematically, it offers a comprehensive overview of the history of painting from 1848 to 1914—one of the most inventive periods in art history—beginning with the Realists and ending with the Post-Impressionists. Skira, $75.
MANET Portraying Life by MaryAnne Stevens, Colin B. Bailey, Stéphane Guégan et al. Once controversial, Edouard Manet is now considered the father of modern painting, thanks to his subversive way of handling paint and his choice of subject matter. Featuring more than 100 paintings and historical photographs, this fascinating new book—accompanying an important traveling exhibit—presents a new look at the artist’s contributions to portraiture while exploring the hitherto unplumbed relationship between his portraits and genre scenes. Royal Academy of Arts, $55.
NEW PARIS STYLE
by Danielle Miller, photographs by Richard Powers
This chic new book offers plenty of style inspiration for those seeking to inject a little more glamour into their homes. Nearly 30 dwellings are showcased, from a Haussmann-style apartment on one of the city’s grands boulevards to edgy digs in Belleville. Their eclectic, sophisticated décors reflect the people who live in them—creative talents from the worlds of fashion, film, design, music and art. Thames & Hudson, $40.
ROBERT DOISNEAU Paris Les Halles Market
by Robert Doisneau and Vladimir Vasak
Dubbed “the belly of Paris” by Emile Zola, Les Halles was the city’s central gathering place for centuries, until it was ultimately shut down in 1971. For Robert Doisneau, it was the perfect vantage point from which to observe the lives of ordinary Parisians, many of whom he befriended, and he photographed the area for decades. Boasting several rare color photographs, this album captures the bustling life of the market and its surroundings, and chronicles its sad destruction. Flammarion, $45.
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every note silenced Manet: Portraying Life October 7â€“January 1
France Magazine and the French-American Cultural Foundation are honored to receive the support of these distinguished foundations.
For more than 35 years, the Florence Gould Foundation has been actively involved in a variety of projects that further Mrs. Gould’s desire to promote FrenchAmerican amity. Recent efforts include a grant to World Monuments Fund for the planning and documentation of the cloister restoration at the Church of St Trophime in Arles; a grant to The Frick Collection in New York for “Renoir, Impressionism, and Full-Length Painting”; funding for several American Postdoctoral Fellows to study and work at Paris’s Institut Pasteur;
The Annenberg Foundation is a longtime supporter of L’Académie Américaine de Danse de Paris, which trains students from around the world.
and a partnership with the French Heritage Society to aid in repairing the Monumental Staircase of Auch, in Gascony. On a smaller scale, a gift was made to Boston’s Franklin Park Zoo for the acquisition of two Baudets de Poitou, an endangered variety of French donkey. At last report, Samuel and Balthazar had completely settled in and were enjoying their new surroundings as they help educate the public about rare breeds of farm animals.
The Annenberg Foundation is a family foundation that supports nonprofit organizations in the United States and globally. Its mission is to advance the public well-being through improved communication; as the principle means of achieving this goal, it encourages the development of more effective ways to share ideas and knowledge. Since 1989, it has generously funded programs in education and youth development; arts, culture and humanities; civic and community life; health and human services; animal services and the environment. The Foundation contributes to numerous programs that foster cultural exchange between the U.S. and France through its Paris-based initiative GRoW Annenberg. GRoW supports innovative projects in the arts, education and humanitarian efforts.
Samuel and Balthazar, two rare Baudet de Poitou donkeys donated to Boston’s Franklin Park Zoo by The Florence Gould Foundation.
The Foundation’s French grantees include the Institut Curie, which has created a research lab to further the understanding of the origin of neuroblastoma, one of the most common forms of childhood cancer. It is also supporting the development of educational tools at the Louvre and the operations of L’Académie Américaine de Danse de Paris, which offers American-style dance instruction to students from around the world. In the humanitarian sector, GRoW funds a wide range of programs by CARE France and Médecins du Monde, which work to improve the health and well-being of individuals worldwide. The Foundation continues to be a vital presence abroad and remains among the most generous American contributors to France. annenbergfoundation.org
Notes for the savvy traveler SUPER DOME
The opulent bathroom in The Four Seasons George V’s new penthouse suite.
Galeries Lafayette’s iconic dome turns 100 this year. In honor of the anniversary, the famous department store on boulevard Haussmann is presenting a program of events dubbed “100 ans sous la coupole.” Activities include “1912-2012: Chro-
In the ongoing competition among Paris palaces to offer the city’s most extravagantly luxurious hotel suite, the Four Seasons Hotel George V has just raised the ante. Sleekly contemporary and drop-dead elegant, its much-anticipated 1,700-square-foot penthouse suite includes such over-the-top touches as a winter garden, an infinity-edged bathtub and six terraces with stunning 360-degree views. fourseasons.com/Paris • Smooth, Zen, minimalist are all words that describe Hôtel O, the brainchild of hot young French designer Ora-Ïto. Built around a courtyard garden, this 29-room boutique hotel has been dubbed a “pocket palace” for its combination of luxury and small rooms. Each cocoon-like bedroom features a futuristic four-poster bed with a built-in remote control for adjusting “comfort settings.” From E199; hotel-o-paris.com. • Conceived by lingerie designer Chantal Thomass, Vice Versa Hotel gives “vice” a good name. The décor on each floor is devoted to a different cardinal sin: “Gluttony” resembles an ice-cream parlor designed by Marie Antoinette, “Avarice” incorporates banknotes into the wallpaper, and “Lust” offers mirrored ceilings, tastefully erotic photography and a sexy pink-and-black color scheme. Heaven is represented by an all-white lounge equipped with comfortable seating, while the steamy hammam in the basement is painted black, evoking that other place. E94 to E365 with free Wi-Fi; viceversahotel.com. •
• Paris Bon Appetit: Shops, Bistros, Restaurants by Pierre Rival. A respected food writer, Rival takes readers on a mouthwatering tour of the City of Light in this lusciously illustrated volume. Bistros, bakeries and other purveyors of gourmet goodies are divided into three categories—“decadent,” “traditional” and “contemporary.” Must-visit destinations include La Dernière Goutte, a wine shop run by a Cuban-American from Miami. Flammarion. $29.95. • Sweet Paris by Michael Paul. Kiwi lifestyle photographer Paul offers a sumptuous photographic tour of the French capital, with a focus on the city’s most delectable desserts. Along with suggesting where to indulge in the best chocolates and pâtisseries, he includes more than 30 recipes for those brave souls who are daring enough to attempt their own tarte Tatin or mocha macarons. Hardie Grant Books, $29.95.
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niques d’un parcours créatif,” an exhibit curated by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Rem Koolhaas (through Jan. 26, 2013); weekly guided heritage tours; and lighting effects by conceptual artist Yann Kersalé. galerieslafayette.com
G U I L L A U M E D E L A U B I E R ; G R O U P E G A L E R I E S L A FAY E T T E
Notes for the savvy traveler THAT’S THE TICKET
When an exhibition space • CheZaline is a little eatery housed in a former horsemeat butcher’s, or boucherie chevaline; the owners replaced the “v” on the sign out front with a “z,” and voilà! this tiny hotspot run by Delphine Zampetti got its name. Order to go or grab one of the few barstools and sample a selection of flavorful hors d’œuvres: beans with pesto; tuna and tomato sauce; marinated mushrooms; shredded carrots.… You can also order sandwiches, daily specials and traditional desserts. We recommend the veal Milanese with a glass of white wine—très Old Paris. Sandwiches €4 Above: Delphine Zampetti of CheZaline. Below right: to €7, daily special €9, desserts €5; 85 rue de la Refined fusion fare at the new Roquette, 11e; Tel. 33-1/43-71-90-75. boho hangout Clandestino. • Everything’s a delight at Pan, but check out the herbed bread and jambon blanc, the gnocchi with fresh tomatoes, the joue de boeuf confite with smoked polenta and vinaigrette carrots.… And leave room for dessert—perhaps a yogurt-lemon-olive oil ice cream or a ginger-beer granita. Menu from €25 to €45; 12 rue Martel, 10 e; Tel. 33-9/52-51-63-70. • Clandestino boasts a bright red ceiling, but the real drama is on the plate. Chef Masayuki Shibuya serves up an exquisite mackerel marinated with yuzu and herbs on a bed of flying-fish roe, an unforgettable pan-fried John Dory with grilled cauliflower and green zebra heirloom tomatoes, and a chocolate cake to die for. Lunch menu at €22 and dinner menu at €44.44 (no à la carte options); 8 rue Crosatier, 12e; Tel. 33-9/80-68-08-08.
opens later this fall at Air France’s new Satellite S4 hub at Charles de Gaulle Airport, passengers will be able to browse works of art from Paris’s great museums before catching their flights. And culture on the fly is just one attraction. The terminal also boasts the largest retail area of any European airport. Elsewhere, two large vertical gardens bring the outside in, a
to demonstrate that its city isn’t as overpriced as some believe, the Mairie de Paris (with the help of social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook) has compiled a map showing cafés where an espresso is E1 or less. At last count, there were more than 160 citywide. goo.gl/maps/mvtk • If you’re living or studying in France and can easily navigate French Web sites, you should know that unlike airline tickets, train tickets can be legally resold in France—as long as they’re priced at or below the purchase price and aren’t printed in your name. Keep this in mind when buying tickets online and always choose the “add name later” option. You can unload unneeded tickets or find some great travel deals from other sellers on sites such as Troc’ des Trains. trocdestrains.com • The SNCF’s new iDBus caters to budget-conscious travelers with service from Paris or Lille to Amsterdam, Brussels and London. Buses are equipped with restrooms and realtime information screens as well as reclining seats, adjustable footrests, individual A/C and lighting, free Wi-Fi and electrical outlets. Best of all, stations are in the center of town. E33 to E65, with a special “Buy 3, Get 1 Free” promotion for groups of four; idbus.com/. Heather Stimmler-Hall and Julia Sammut contributed to this section.
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theme continued in Air France-KLM’s spacious, nature-inspired business lounge designed by Noé Duchaufour-Lawrance.
S T É P H A N I E F R A I S S E ; M P I G N ATA M O N T I / C L A N D E S T I N O ; K O N R A D Ł A S Z C Z Y Ń S K I F O T O 3 6 0 / F O T O L I A ; © L U C B O E G LY / B R A N D I M A G E
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Discover France in a whole new way! No other land affects like France; the allure of romance calls, the visions of great art inspires and the taste of the cuisine excites us all. Let Le Boat take you on a journey through this amazing land; cruise the picturesque canals that weave a serene pattern through cobbled street villages, fields of lavender and sunflowers which enlivened great artists and the land of the exalted grape that produces the sweet nectar wine. Le Boat, Europeâ€™s number one self-drive boating holiday company, has 10 cruising areas throughout France sure to entice anyone. Travel at your own pace stopping where you want and when you want. Best of all this requires no experience or licence!
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AFLOAT IN FRANCE
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If you want to be pampered Le Boat offers Afloat in France, all inclusive luxury barging. Relax with a glass of wine on your private deck as your crew steers you through the romantic French countryside. Phone 866.649.1979 or visit www.leboat.com/luxury for more details.
Notes for the savvy traveler
The new Radisson Blu Resort on Ajaccio Bay offers guests ample ways to unwind at its 9,685-square-foot spa and fitness center. Treatments incorporate products from the prestigious Sothys line along with Crena Care potions extracted from Corsican plants and natural substances. Three- and seven-night packages include organic food and different types of massage. carlsonrezidor.com
Fall is grape-picking season in France, and throughout the country, Fêtes des Vendanges—harvest festivals—celebrate the bounty in typically Bacchanalian style. • PARIS When Le Clos Montmartre, Paris’s last wine-producing vineyard, hauls in its grapes, the city pulls out the stops with five days of parades, live music, theater performances, grape-stomping, terroir-centric feasts and fireworks. This year’s theme, “Montmartre Fête les Gourmandises,” means that visitors can also look forward to special events devoted to chocolate and cheese. Oct. 10 through 14; fetedesvendangesdemontmartre.com. • ALSACE Alsace’s distinctive Riesling,
Les Compagnons du Baillot Bordelais •celebrating Montmartre’s Fête des Vendanges.
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Pinot Gris and Gewurztraminer grapes will be harvested this October in scenic villages all along the Route des Vins (alsaceroute-des-vins.com), and towns throughout the region will be partying hearty. Connoisseurs particularly appreciate the festival in Barr. With its cobblestone streets and carefully preserved historic center, this little town hidden in the hills outside Strasbourg puts on a great show, with folk costumes, parades featuring flower-covered floats, and free-flowing wine. Marlenheim is one of the stars of the “Couronne d’Or”—19 villages in the heart of Alsatian wine country renowned for their exceptional terroirs, which are showcased during the festival. And those looking to try the region’s Grand Crus shouldn’t miss the Kaysersberg Valley, home to the prestigious Schlossberg wines. For specific dates, visit tourisme-alsace.com. • BURGUNDY The historic town of Joigny is mounting its 23rd annual Fête des Vendanges, with a catered feast and tables at its covered market piled high with regional specialties and local wines. Just a 90-minute drive from Paris, Joigny is best known for its vin gris, a historic rosé
once favored by the French court, as well as its Chardonnay and Crémant sparkling wines. The town’s Michelin three-star restaurant and hotel, La Côte Saint Jacques (cotesaintjacques.com), is a great base for exploring the nearby vineyards of Chablis, Côte de Nuits and Beaune. Oct.14; tourisme-joigny.fr. • LANGUEDOC Wine and antiquehunting go hand in hand at Ouveillan’s festive Foire aux Rougnes des Vendanges, featuring a brocante and local craft fair during the day followed by dinner, winetasting and dancing throughout the evening. This tiny hilltop village is an easy day trip from Carcassonne or Narbonne. Oct. 7; le-guide.com/ouveillan. In the little Mediterranean village of Banyuls-sur-Mer, a portion of the harvest arrives by sea to great fanfare, followed by a communal feast for 7,000 guests on the beach, live music, a gourmet food market, and grape-stomping contests for the kids. Oct. 12 through 14; banyuls-sur-mer.com.
COURTESY OF FÊ TE D ES VENDA NGES, MONTM A RTRE
fêting the harvest
What’s in store
MEDITERRANEAN MODERN Charles Kalpakian’s new FURNITURE AND LIGHTING
CONCRETE ACCOMPLISHMENTS Fred Flintstone meets The Jetsons in Paris-based designer Dzmitry Samal’s limited-edition MEN’S WATCHES. Combining a concrete frame with modern graphic motifs and—as the designer puts it—“French creativity with Swiss technical performance,” they’re simultaneously retro and futuristic. $1,240; samaldesign.com.
OUT OF THIS WORLD Marianne Olry’s otherworldly COFFEE BREAKS Missed “Monumenta,” Daniel Buren’s big show at the Grand Palais this past summer? You can still get a piece of the artist. The colored circles featured in the exhibit have turned up in a set of ESPRESSO CUPS Buren designed for Illy. They come in a box adorned with his signature stripes. $225; shop.illy.com.
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finds inspiration in the cosmos. Iridescent and lightweight— the balls are handcrafted of polyester resin— the piece conveys fun rather than gravity. $145; momastore.org. NECKLACE
D A R E N A R T D E S I G N ; G I O T T O E N T E R P R I S E / © I L LYC A F F È S . P. A . ; © T H R E E D Z M I T R Y S A M A L ; © M O M A 2 0 11
collection for Dar en Art reflects the France-based designer’s Lebanese roots. His “Hawa” folding screen, “Nour” lanterns and versatile “Ahlan” bench pair modern lines with a distinctly Mediterranean sensibility. darenart.com
TEE TIME It don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got that swing, as the song goes. Well, Valgrine’s
The exotic fragrance of Le Palais des Thés’ new THÉ DU HAMMAM CANDLE is redolent of one of the brand’s most delectable beverages. Your nose will be captivated by the heady mélange of green tea, roses, berries, orange flowers and green dates. $50; us.palaisdesthes.com.
certainly hit a hole in one. Their highly aerodynamic Dandy, in particular, looks fine on the green. valgrine.fr
DRY RUNS Aigle’s BOOTS are made for walking … in the rain, that is. And if the paisley pattern by Liberty of London reminds you of raindrops, that’s no coincidence. Available in blue and khaki. From $179; aigle.com.
VA L G R I N E ; PA L A I S D E S T H É S ; G A L E R I E B S L ; A I G L E / L I B E R T Y; Y V E S D U R O N S O Y
NATURE OF THINGS Noé Duchaufour-Lawrance’s experimental Naturoscopie collection evokes nature yet consists entirely of synthetic materials. Objects include shelving, coffee tables, a mirror and BRANCH-SHAPED LAMPS designed to mimic the dappled light of the sun when it’s filtered through foliage. noeduchaufourlawrance.com
Paris on the Hudson Two of France’s most iconic luxury companies have new homes in the Big Apple. BACCARAT has opened its first-ever lighting showroom in the U.S. at the D&D building; the location is home to more than 20 spectacular chandeliers, including its Marie Coquine (right), designed by Philippe Starck (us.baccarat.com). CHRISTOFLE has unveiled a sparkling new 1,400-square-foot Madison Avenue flagship where you can
pick up three silver trays whose designs are exclusive to the New York store (christofle.com).
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à la carte
French food & drink in America TINY BUBBLES Released this fall to mark the 160th anniversary of Charles Heidsieck’s introduction of his Champagne to America, this BRUT RÉSERVE in a magnumshaped bottle is a sparkling way to celebrate. $65; at select wine shops.
By DOROTHY J. GAITER
LET US EAT CAKE
A CUT ABOVE
Satisfy your sweet tooth with France’s Goulibeur line of PASTRIES, exclusively imported by The Breton Gourmet. This Broyé du Poitou ($10) can be enjoyed as is or used as a base for a tart. bretongourmet.com
Designer Cédric Ragot has unveiled his first KNIFE COLLECTION for Henri Mazelier. Produced in Thiers, this high-end cutlery is surprisingly versatile; some models fold up, others have protective caps that serve as knife rests…. Sharp! From E185; coming to the U.S. next year. henri-mazelier.com
Manhattan’s first two PALAIS DES THÉS stores open their doors this November. Temptations include this lovely box set featuring nine different gourmet teas (six bags of each)—the perfect hostess gift or treat for a tea lover. $50; us.palaisdesthes.com.
summer in a jar Now that fall has set in, farmers markets overflowing with summer fruit are only a fond memory, but one that has been beautifully preserved by expert jam makers such as DIDIER GOUBET and L’EPICURIEN.
The head of a family business located in the Ardèche region of France, Goubet explains that like the best wines, the best jams, jellies and preserves are made from the highest-quality fruit picked at the perfect stage of ripeness. He works only with organic farmers in his area who supply him with gourmet varieties such as poires Williams, pêches de vignes and fraises mara des bois. “It’s very dry in Ardèche, but we don’t irrigate,” he explains. “So our fruit is smaller and has more intense flavor.” He still makes his jams in small batches in copper pots—no more than 60 jars at a time—and uses only pure cane sugar, never high-fructose syrup or other additives or preservatives. And the higher the percentage of fruit in each jar, he says, the better.
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While a delicious confiture slathered on a crusty buttered baguette is still the classic breakfast decadence, gourmands now make jams part of every meal. Goubet suggests using them as a base for a tart or simply mixed with unflavored yogurt. His Confiture de Pêches de Vigne is especially good with fresh goat cheese, but he says all you need is a spoon to enjoy his Confiture de Châtaigne. His daughter Romane,
meanwhile, loves to scoop out the core of an apple, fill it with jam and bake it in the oven until it bubbles (didiergoubet.com). More ideas for pairing jams, preserves and confits are available on L’Epicurien’s Web site, which offers suggestions for just about every product it sells (epicurien. com). The company sources most of its ingredients in the Languedoc region, and while only a few of its jams are organic, it stresses quality ingredients and production methods. Its Black Cherry Confit, made with whole cherries, is heavenly with sheep’s milk cheese, especially Abbaye de Belloc and Ossau Iraty from the Pyrenees. The Fig and Walnuts Confit from Provence is terrific with goat cheeses, and the Burgundy Black Currant Jam adds taste and texture to simply roasted chicken, lamb, beef, duck and pork. And for a pretty dessert, you need do no more than drop a dollop of Confit of Rose Petals on a mound of vanilla-bean ice cream. Yummy.
M A R C H A L L E T / S T U D I O B ; T H E B R E T O N G O U R M E T; PAT R I C I A K E T T E N H O F E N ; B E R N A R D T O U I L L O N 2 0 12 ; C A K E S I N T H E C I T Y
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French food & drink in America
( ) Talking Beaujolais Nouveau with…
C O U R T E S Y O F D E U T S C H FA M I LY W I N E & S P I R I T S
THE AMERICAN IMPORTER WHO MADE A FRENCH WINE THE STAR OF COAST-TO-COAST PARTIES
Last spring, France’s consul general in New York, Philippe Lalliot, presented William Deutsch, chairman of Deutsch Family Wine & Spirits, with the insignia of Chevalier of the Légion d’Honneur. The importer was given the coveted distinction in recognition of his efforts during the past 50 years to bring French wines to Americans’ lips. Deutsch’s portfolio includes some of the most
Bordeaux négociants are just a few of the winemakers that I’ve represented, some for more than 25 years. I’ve had one wife but lots of wines.
respected names in French wine—André Lurton, Marcel Guigal—but this marketing genius is most famous for the annual Beaujolais Nouveau fanfare, the coast-to-coast parties celebrating the U.S. arrival of the first French wine of each harvest. He and Georges Dubœuf, now old friends and co-owners of a winery, will celebrate the 30th anniversary of Beaujolais Nouveau in the U.S. this November.
are very serious wines and there are wines that aren’t so serious yet taste very good and bring enjoyment at different times of the year. Beaujolais Nouveau is the first wine of the vintage. It gives people an indication of what the vintage will be Georges Dubœuf and William Deutsch offer a toast. like. It’s made very rapidly by good winemakers, and it’s made for early Lichine, acclaimed wine expert and, for a time, consumption. Many people agree that it goes owner of Château Prieuré-Lichine. I owe a lot well with Thanksgiving turkey. of my knowledge to him. He traveled with me to the same regions in France that I’d visited How many bottles of Nouveau have you sold in before, but he went into things in much greater the U.S? Somewhere between 36 and 40 million. depth, explaining the who, what, where and how. We tasted lots of wines and met so many What sorts of things have you done to promote people. In 1977, we were traveling in eastern it? One year, we had a race from Kennedy Airport France, and we met Georges Dubœuf, a young to midtown Manhattan; we sent wine via taxi, the man who’d started his business traveling on a subway, bicycle and a runner. The subway won. bicycle selling wine to restaurants and shops. It was great. The most memorable Beaujolais Nouveau for me, though, was in 2001. After Then in 1981 you went out on your own. Yes, the September 11 tragedy, I was betwixt and I believed there was a niche in the U.S. wine between as to how we could do something that business for a wine-import company that would was meaningful because it was a very difficult work with prestigious family producers around time for everyone. Georges Dubœuf was able the world and sell to family distributors. A year to secure some firefighters’ helmets from fire after going out on my own, I got a call from stations in Romanèche-Thorins, where his winery Georges Dubœuf. He reminded me that we’d is, and we invited New York firefighters to the met in 1977. He hadn’t exported any wine to the Beaujolais Nouveau luncheon that year. I had U.S. and wanted to know if I’d be interested in tears in my eyes. One of the French helmets is representing him. now on display at the New York City Fire Museum. Now I’m responsible for 195 employees, and my son Peter is CEO. We represent the And this year? You can hold a smart phone top-selling brand in the U.S., Yellow Tail from up to the label Georges designed and view an Australia, and the leading French wine producer interactive image that will tell a magical story in the U.S., Georges Dubœuf. We also represent of Nouveau created by Marco Tempest, the brands from California, Chile, Italy, Portugal, Virtual Magician. We’ll also have parties New Zealand and Spain. In France, Jeannationwide and invite customers to enjoy the f Michel Cazes, Anthony Barton and a number of wine. Nouveau is a wine of celebration!
You started out as an accountant. How did you end up in the wine business? In my first job, I was sent to audit Gold Seal Vineyards in New York, which had acquired the rights to import wines with the Maxim’s de Paris label. Maxim’s had a British salesman—Peter Townsend, Princess Margaret’s old beau—and Gold Seal needed an administrator, so they hired me because of my accounting background. On my first visit to France, in 1963, I traveled with Townsend, and he pointed out all the places he would go when he was running away from the press—Bordeaux, the south of France, Burgundy. He quickly established wonderful relationships with vintners, and I was surprised at how warmly they welcomed me, too. You later managed sales for Gold Seal, then in 1974 went to Austin, Nichols & Co. to run its import division. Was it difficult to sell French wines to Americans? I actually did well selling to restaurants and retailers across the country. At the time, French wines were just beginning to grow in popularity; people were traveling more, going to Europe and seeing how Europeans drank wine. It was the early stages of Americans beginning to learn about wine. The following year, you met the late Alexis
Some people turn up their noses at Nouveau, which goes on sale the third Thursday of November. There
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French food & drink in America
New York is a magical city. People here like quality, and that’s what we do.
— Eric Kayser at the August opening in Manhattan of the first U.S. outpost of his famous Maison Kayser boulangerie. Two more are planned for Manhattan, followed possibly by cafés in Washington, DC, and Boston.
• Lunch in Provence by Rachael McKenna and Jean-André Charial. A luxuriant feast, this beautiful book features McKenna’s gorgeous photographs and 35 recipes by Michelin three-star chef Charial, who presides over L’Oustau de Baumanière. Also included are recipes for regional classics as well as historical and literary notations. “Sharing good food and wine with someone you love is perfection,” Charial writes. Indeed. Flammarion, $39.95. • Coquilles, Calva & Crème, Exploring France’s Culinary Heritage; a Love Affair With French Food by G.Y. Dryansky with Joanne Dryansky. An odyssey through France’s history and regions and an ode to authentic, delicious food before it came with a side of hype and prices to match. Especially charming are the stories about the characters who created and enjoyed these meals: “Of
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the classic food at Maxim’s, I remember most of all a dish of potatoes, which I ate often with perfectly roasted, perfect quality chicken. Pommes Anna are very thinly sliced potatoes, piled between layers of butter, as a bricklayer would, and baked in a copper pan.” Ohhhhh. Pegasus Books, $28.95. • Thomas Jefferson’s Crème Brûlée How a Founding Father and His Slave James Hemings Introduced French Cuisine to America by Thomas J. Craughwell. In 1784, when Thomas Jefferson left the United States to become Minister to France, he took with him to Paris a 19-year-old slave named James Hemings to be trained as a chef. The older brother of the now-famous Sally Hemings, James mastered the art of French cooking and negotiated a pact to secure his freedom: After he trained his replacement in the U.S., Jefferson would free him (which he did). This fascinating tale is accompanied by Hemings’s recipes for dishes such as macaroni and cheese and crème brûlée; the original copies are in the Library of Congress. Quirk Books, $19.95. • Pierre Gagnaire 175 Home Recipes With a Twist by Pierre Gagnaire. This Michelin three-star chef known for serving up eclectic and sometimes wildly unusual combinations at his eponymous restaurant in Paris doesn’t fail to surprise here: There’s orange and cardamom coffee, Assassin’s Eggs with pomegranate seeds and beets approximating blood. There’s also surf and turf tartare and some iconoclastic plate mates, such as smoked herring waffles with ham, green apples and bean sprouts. Flammarion, $34.95.
© D AV I D G I M B E R T
• The Complete Bocuse by Paul Bocuse. Named Chef of the Century by the Culinary Institute of America last year and considered by many to be the father of modern French cuisine, Bocuse presents 500 traditional recipes revised for the home cook, neophyte and veteran. Also included: a glossary of culinary terms and little historical notes, such as the Elysée Truffle Soup was created for former president Valéry Giscard d’Estaing for a dinner on February 25, 1975, at which Bocuse was made a Chevalier in the Légion d’Honneur. Flammarion, $49.95.
Homage a Gustave Caillebotte 1848 – 1894 • The Realistic Impressionist The artwork Rainy Day (1877) inspired contemporary painter John Pacovsky as he created this, one of more than 150 pieces in our Absente Homage to Great Artists Collection.
GRANDE ABSENTE ~Absinthe Originale Its maker’s private recipe has stood uncompromised since 1860. Hand-crafted in Provence. Only fine botanicals of the region are selected – including artemisia absinthium, the wormwood of legend. Grande Absente is 138 proof so please enjoy responsibly.
Grande Absente Liqueur, 69% ALC/VOL., Grande Absente and Grande Absente Logo are trademarks owned by M. P. Roux, Imported from France by Crillon Importers Ltd., Paramus, NJ 07652 © 2012
• Born in Belgium, guitar virtuoso Django Reinhardt—shown here in 1940—is revered worldwide for his “hot jazz” technique and ebullient jazz manouche, which fused traditional Romani sounds with 1930s swing. His Quintette of the Hot Club of France, co-founded with violinist Stéphane Grappelli, is considered one the most original jazz bands ever.
Django Reinhardt an exhibition and revamped club bring back the magic of his gypsy jazz by DAN CARLINSKY
©WILLIAM GOT TLIEB / GE T T Y IMAGES ; COLLECTION LIBR ARY OF CONGRESS
Ever since Django Reinhardt’s unexpected death in 1953, at age 43, the jazz manouche style he pioneered—often called “gypsy jazz” —has been stubbornly and joyously kept alive by a global web of musicians and music lovers. They display an almost cultish devotion to the guitarist, and their persistence has paid off: Today, Django’s stock has never been higher, and Paris remains the center of the jazz manouche universe. The growing stream of biographical films and books as well as tribute CDs has certainly helped. These homages picked up noticeably during 2010—the centennial of Reinhardt’s birth, which was also celebrated with memorial concerts galore and the naming of a suitably scruffy square in Paris’s 18th arrondissement Place Django Reinhardt. Other honors included a Belgian commemorative €10 coin bearing his likeness and a Daily Doodle tribute on Google’s French home page. This fall, the museum at Paris’s Cité de la Musique is hosting a special exhibition, “Django Reinhardt, Swing de Paris,” perhaps the most convincing evidence yet that his legacy is being taken seriously. Reinhardt was the innovative guitar master who fused the traditional music of his Romani culture with the swing of 1930s Paris dance halls to create the first significant European contribution to America’s music. His invention was a small-group interplay based on la pompe, rhythm guitar laying down a relentless and infectious boomchicka-boom-chicka, typically behind solo guitar, string bass and perhaps a violin. By the postwar era, he had become an international celebrity.
The Reinhardt influence—especially his novel solo guitar technique, an invention born of two severely fire-damaged fingers on his fretting hand—stretches far beyond jazz. Rare is the accomplished guitarist of any persuasion who doesn’t admit to a case of Django-envy: Les Paul, Chet Atkins, B.B. King, Julian Bream and others have sung his praises. One of France’s top contemporary jazz manouche stars, Thomas Dutronc, like many guitarists, places Reinhardt at the very top of his list of the instrument’s virtuosos. “He could play guitar at a crazy speed without ever making a mistake and always land on his feet like a cat,” he told a France Soir interviewer. “No one comes up to his ankle.” For the Cité de la Musique exhibit, the museum has bolstered its own holdings with loans from the Bibliothèque Nationale de France and the private collections of several “Djangophiles.” On view will be works by major photographers, unpublished letters, original concert posters, vintage record albums and more. The exhibit touches on Django’s childhood among the Roma in Paris (including rarely seen family photos); his early days as a musician (in one photo, a 15-year-old Django poses holding a banjo);
• Django and Duke Ellington share the stage at New York’s Aquarium during their 1946 tour.
his success with the Quintet of the Hot Club of France (the all-strings group he formed with violinist Stéphane Grappelli); his relatively easy life during the German occupation (Gypsy or no, his superstar status kept the Nazi wolf from his door); his encounters with America’s biggest jazz names as he burst onto the international scene (handwritten letters in barely literate French detail the stops on his 1946 tour of the U.S. and Canada with Duke Ellington); and a historical look at the Selmer guitar workshops, where his favored instruments were made (one, his celebrated Selmer No. 503, is part of the museum’s permanent collection). In his last years, Reinhardt left Paris, moving some 50 miles upriver to Samoissur-Seine, where he worked on updating his music with a nod to bebop, the new language F R A N C E • FA L L 2 012
of jazz, as well as the new instrument of the day, the electric guitar. There, he relaxed by fishing, playing billiards and indulging in his longtime passion for painting, often breaking Romani custom by portraying nude women; some of his canvases are also part of the exhibit. To add even more meat to the show, the museum has programmed films featuring the manouche people and their music, from 1930s documentaries to Woody Allen; manouche-style guitar lessons for
there to preserve the Django spirit. Before long, fans started making the pilgrimage to listen to those who had heard and even learned from the master. Even when the place became somewhat seedy—the building went up the same year Reinhardt was born and looked it—La Chope remained the spot for True Believers. The man whose passion—and money— is ensuring that the role of La Chope will continue is Marcel Campion, an extraordi-
“He could play guitar at a crazy speed without ever making
a mistake and always land on his feet like a cat. No one comes up to his ankle.” children; and a string of performances by a Who’s Who of gypsy jazz. For those who want to hear jazz manouche in its natural setting—a bar or club— Paris offers no shortage of opportunities (see sidebar). Chief among the listening spots is the venerable Chope des Puces, just outside the city limits in Saint-Ouen, near the equally venerable and always-mobbed Clignancourt flea market. The bar-restaurant has been the high temple of gypsy jazz since the early ’60s, when manouche guitarists who had known Reinhardt started playing
narily colorful and successful businessman known in the Paris press as le roi des forains, king of the fairgrounds. The giant Ferris wheel and the merry-go-rounds all over Paris? Campion. The huge fair in the Bois de Vincennes? Campion. The sprawling yearly Christmas festival on the Champs-Elysées? Campion again. In addition to making plenty of euros from amusement rides, Campion happens to play a pretty fair jazz manouche guitar himself. As a devotee of Django and his music (it was he who prodded the city to name that square Place Django Reinhardt),
he liked La Chope so much that a few years ago he bought the place. After a thorough but gentle makeover, the adjective “seedy” no longer applies, yet the feel of the old Chope des Puces remains miraculously intact. Outside, there’s a neon guitar over the door and usually, during weekend music sessions, a crowd on the sidewalk as curious flea-market shoppers peer inside. In the rear is a comfortable dining room decorated with Django memorabilia and retired instruments of notable guitarists, including the strikingly simple acoustic owned by Mondine Garcia, house guitarist for more than 50 years until his recent death. The new owner has dabbled with creating spaces in the building for a recording studio, guitar makers’ workshops and a school for jazz manouche, but the heart of the place is still, as always, the jammed bar area in front. The “stage,” such as it is, is in a corner by the window—just a couple of chairs on a raised platform where musicians play jazz manouche versions of a mostly standard repertoire: “Sweet Georgia Brown,” “It Had to Be You,” “Autumn Leaves,” “All of Me” and Django’s own soulful “Nuages.” The musical dean of the place is Ninine Garcia, Mondine’s son, who joined his father on the job in 1976 and never left. Drop-ins frequently play a set; Campion himself sits in frequently, losing himself in the music for a tune or three. Every so often a bartender walks among the customers proffering a black top hat. Except for the euros that are tossed in instead of francs, it could be the 1960s.
• “DJANGO REINHARDT, SWING DE PARIS” runs
• GYPSY JAZZ FESTIVALS draw crowds in many
from October 6 through January 23, 2013, at the museum of the Cité de la Musique. citedelamusique.fr
parts of Europe, North America and elsewhere. The granddaddy of them all is the Festival Django Reinhardt held on the tiny Ile de Berceau, near Django’s final home at Samois-sur-Seine, southeast of the city. Next summer’s edition—the 35th—will take place June 26-30; the program and additional information are available at festivaldjangoreinhardt.com.
• LIVE PERFORMANCES of jazz manouche take place at La Chope des Puces every Saturday and Sunday year-round from 2 P.M. to 7 P.M. 122 rue des Rosiers, 93400 Saint-Ouen; Tel. 33-1/4011-02-49; lachopedespuces.fr. Other venues include L’Atelier Charonne (21 rue Charonne, 11e; Tel 33-1/40-21-83-35; ateliercharonne.com) and Au Clairon des Chasseurs (3 place du Tertre, 18e; Tel 33-1/42-62-40-08; clairondeschasseurs. com); both offer drinks or dinner with nightly performances. Several other bars and restaurants offer live gypsy jazz in a club atmosphere once or twice a week; check out the listings in print and online entertainment guides.
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• PLACE DJANGO REINHARDT, near the guitarist’s old stamping grounds, is just inside the northern boundary of Paris’s 18th arrondissement, at the intersection of avenue de la Porte de Clignancourt and rue René Binet. On Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays, the square is home to flea market vendors selling T-shirts, sunglasses and underwear with funny sayings. – D.C.
• La Chope des Puces carries
on Reinhardt’s gypsy jazz tradition. From left: Louis de Gouyon Matignon, Rocky and Ninine Garcia.
N A N C Y C A R L I N S K Y / © C A R L I N S K Y & C A R L I N S K Y, I N C .
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BOOK SMARTS Called the “couturiers of books,” Martine and Prosper Assouline are known for producing tomes that are as pleasurable to hold and look at as they are to read. Their books-as-objets d’art approach has made them a leading independent publisher on both sides of the Atlantic.
BY ROLAND FLAMINI
coffee tables didn’t exist, Martine and Prosper Assouline would have to invent them. There are always bookcases, of course, but vertical stacking just doesn’t do justice to the exquisite books published by the French couple over the past two decades. Assouline’s tomes are visual feasts from the first page of high-quality printing to the last; they demand to be displayed and admired, left open on a book-rest as an irresistible invitation to turn the pages. Not that they are purely decorative. Chanel, for example, is a fact-packed three-volume set (fashion, jewelry, perfume) that comes in a quilted black-leather slipcase—a nod to the couturier’s famous handbags. The text assembles various writers with unique perspectives on Mademoiselle Coco, including a former member of her couture house. The recently published Ballets Russes, which the Wall Street Journal describes as “almost beyond lavish,” is a beautifully choreographed account of Serge Diaghilev’s legendary ballet company in Paris and THEIR FIRST its colorful, over-the-top star, Vaslav BOOK WASN’T Nijinsky. And Fernand Léger, available MEANT TO in a hand-bound limited edition with LAUNCH THEM lush color plates and a linen-covered AS PUBLISHslipcase, offers a scholarly survey of ERS. “WE WERE the artist by university professor and author Kenneth E. Silver. IN LOVE AND The Assouline narrative is about JUST WANTED a publishing couple who shrewdTO DO SOMEly combine their sense of style with THING TOgood instincts and an understanding GETHER,” SAYS of the kind of quality that appeals PROSPER. to “Bergdorf Goodman people,” as Martine calls them. Their formula of minimal but carefully chosen texts and lush illustrations has made Assouline the largest independent publisher operating on both sides of the Atlantic, with offices in Paris and New York as well as boutiques in the United States, Peru, Turkey and South Korea. Prosper has always had an interest in print. A Moroccan-born immigrant to France, he apprenticed in the design department of L’Express in his teens, then moved on to Filipacchi magazines before partnering with his brother and sister to launch magazines for luxury brands. He also published Le Palace, a chronicle of Parisian nightlife; Air France Madame, the first in-flight magazine for women; and A Les Aventures de l’art, which was so successful that the Marie-Claire group bought it a week after its launch. Martine, meanwhile, studied law and became a publicist for Rochas. She possesses that typically Parisian elegance that makes practically anything she wears look good but is especially fond of creations by her friend Azzedine Alaïa. 34
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The two met nearly 25 years ago (and married in 1991), frequently spending time at their favorite hideaway, the Colombe d’Or in St-Paul-de-Vence, a “boutique hotel” long before the term was invented. On a lark, they decided to pool their talents and produce a book on the place, with Martine writing the text and Prosper taking the photos and designing the pages. The subject offered a great story and rich visual material: In the early 20th century, it had been a watering hole for artists such as Miró, Picasso and Chagall, and the walls are hung with their paintings, the currency with which they sometimes paid their bills. Later it became a chic meeting place for writers, actors and filmmakers. James Baldwin slept there, as did Michael Caine, Marlene Dietrich and a French contingent headed by Truffaut. Simone Signoret and Yves Montand were married there. As Prosper tells the story, the project wasn’t meant to launch them as publishers. “We were in love, and we wanted to share an experience, to do something together,” he relates. But the book was well received, giving them simultaneously an initial success and a sense of direction. They started their Paris publishing house in 1994, “and our name began to be a brand, a representation of a lifestyle,” Prosper says in his accented English. “Our concept was for each book to be a succession of images— like a movie—with text adapted to the visuals.” That original image-driven approach prevails to this day. Martine says their initial moves were “not very strategic.” Basically, they set out to make books that they couldn’t already find in bookstores. Operating out of their Paris apartment, they had an early success with their first series, Les Mémoires de La Mode, which covered the careers of leading fashion designers. To date, the series has sold more than eight million copies worldwide and has been translated into a dozen languages, with subject matter that now extends to art, architecture, food, even cigars. All have the same format (6 x 8 inches) and are priced at $25, making them affordable to collect and easy to display. When other publishers such as Rizzoli began buying the rights to Assouline books, translating them into English and then selling them in the United States under their own imprint, the couple knew that it was time to cross the Atlantic—a decision that would, ironically, involve buying back the rights to many of their own titles. Prosper knew Ron Frasch, then the CEO of Bergdorf Goodman, and the high-end fashion
emporium offered to launch Assouline in the United States, giving the publisher a corner in its Fifth Avenue store. “I told Ron that we would create a quality product that would be priced at the same level as a pair of the store’s top-of-the-line shoes, which at the time was $600,” recalls Prosper. “And that’s what we did.” Bergdorf people were quick to recognize a new status accessory when they saw one, and sales took off. “Six months later, they gave us a better location with three windows overlooking Central Park,” he adds. “Initially, our idea was simply to establish a U.S. office to market translations of our French books,” says Martine. “But people loved our collection, so we started publishing American-themed titles as well. Suddenly we had two companies, one in Paris and one in
New York.” Over the years, their enterprise has gone full circle: Only the occasional book from Assouline’s active backlist of more than a thousand English works is translated into French. “In the early days, we published 20 to 25 percent in English and the rest in French,” says Martine. “Now those percentages are reversed.” The Paris operation remains alive and well, however, with one or the other of the Assoulines spending time in the French capital at least every six weeks or so.
The first book to come out of their New York office was Bright Young Things by Manhattan socialite Brooke de Ocampo (2000). It borrows its title from the glittering London social and
LEFT: Assouline’s Paris boutique showcases a selection of volumes from the company’s chic yet affordable Mémoires series, which has sold more than eight million copies worldwide. RIGHT: Publishers Martine and
Prosper Assouline in Paris; the company’s airy office in Chelsea’s warehouse district. FRAN C E • FALL 2 0 1 2
EACH OF THEIR SPECIAL EDITIONS SEEMS MORE AMBITIOUS THAN THE LAST, STRIVING FOR UNPRECEDENTED UNIQUENESS AND OVER-THETOP QUALITY AND DESIGN.
The library-like Assouline store in Istanbul features a trunk custom-designed for the publisher by the venerable malletier Goyard.
Assouline’s titles include an eclectic selection of topics ranging from fashion to art to spirituality. CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: Dior, The Big Book of Chic, The Impossible Collection of Cars, South Pole, The Spirit of New Orleans and Fernand Léger.
literary set in the 1920s that included Evelyn Waugh and the Mitford sisters, but there the similarity ends. The jacket blurb describes it as “an inside view of America’s young style,” and it is an unabashed portrait of New York’s trend-setting beau monde. When the book sold 20,000 copies, Martine and Prosper Assouline knew they were on to something. So they signed up another noted New York hostess, Rena Kirdar Sindi, daughter of Iraqi billionaire Nemir Kirdar, to compile Be My Guest: Theme Party Savoir Faire, and after that socialite Bettina Zilkha to define Ultimate Style. By 2004, when Kalliope Karella, wife of a Chanel executive vice-president in New York, wrote Weddings of Style (“featuring weddings of Karella’s high-born friends and far-flung acquaintances,” as one reviewer put it), The New York Times had labeled Assouline “a [publishing] subgenre” that produces “the society-targeted coffeetable book conceived of, for and—most improbably—by the very cream of New York society.” Thankfully for non-Manhattanites—and perhaps for their own publishing reputation—the Assoulines branched out from the society niche. The company’s Web site now offers books in six categories: Fashion (still the largest number of titles); Travel and Leisure; Art; Design and Architecture; Epicurean Arts; and Religion and Spirituality. Asked what she regards as a suitable subject to get the Assouline treatment, Martine replies, “I know what is not an Assouline book, but saying what is is difficult. I suppose the main way to describe the topics that we choose is that they
all have an element of style. Maybe our customers are a bit elitist; they are definitely curious, sophisticated and appreciate new ways of looking at familiar things.” As the price tag on luxury shoes has climbed, so has the retail price of the most extravagant books in the Assouline library, some of them reaching $1,000 or higher. Each of these special editions seems more ambitious than the last, striving for unprecedented uniqueness and over-the-top quality and design. The Impossible Collection of Cars, for example, is a wish list of 100 vintage automobiles (impossible, because no one could possibly own them all). For this title, Prosper dreamed up a 14 x 17 inch clamshell case made of a substance that looks and feels like smooth black rubber—a nod to automobile tires. Then there’s South Pole: The British Antarctic Expedition 19101913, with Herbert Ponting’s photos taken on Captain Scott’s expedition; every page of the $3,000 deluxe edition is entirely waterproof. As Prosper says, it could be left displayed on the deck of your yacht, and you wouldn’t have to worry about it getting wet. Assouline’s most expensive offering to date is Gaia, a hefty (16.3 pound, 17 x 24 inch) tome of striking color photographs of the Earth taken from the orbiting International Space Station by Guy Laliberté, founder of Cirque du Soleil. The cover boasts silver inlay on leather lettering, and many of the images were hand-glued onto the pages. The book retails for $7,000, although it should be noted that proceeds benefit Laliberté’s One Drop foundation and that, as FRAN C E • FALL 2 0 1 2
Since 2001, Assouline’s New York office has been located in an airy, expansive space in Chelsea’s warehouse district, overlooking the Hudson River. Red accent walls break up the white décor, books are everywhere and conference tables with glass tops mimic the contours of Paris—a reminder of the company’s origins. Martine Assouline is seated at one of them; behind her, a wall of big, arched windows provides breathtaking views of yachts and launches crisscrossing the river. She is talking about the Assouline creative process. Unlike most publishing houses, which largely rely on literary agents to suggest topics, the Assoulines’ ideas for the 40 to 60 books they put out each year come mostly from themselves, their creative staff (about 50 in Paris and New York) and their large, cosmopolitan circle of friends. For example, they credit Brooke de Ocampo with the idea for their first American project, and they say Jacqueline Kennedy’s sister, Lee Radziwill, commissioned them to write and publish her biography (Happy Times), turning over suitcases filled with Assouline’s most luxurious tomes are hand-bound by Paul Vogel; shown here, his workshop personal photographs and material. at the company’s boutique at the Plaza Hotel in Manhattan. Their guiding principle seems to be that if they are passionate about a subject, their readers will be too. is frequently the case with special editions, there are two smaller, less For all its international standing, Assouline is still a mom-and-pop opulent versions available for $875 and $65. operation at heart, one rooted in a symbiotic relationship between In 2011 Prosper Assouline was made a Chevalier of the Ordre a husband and wife whose skills complement one another—even if des Arts et des Lettres (the poet T.S. Eliot was the first recipient in they don’t always know how or why. The exchange of ideas about the 1950s) for distinguished work in the service of French culture. their work is part of the ongoing domestic dialogue. French architect Thierry Despont, famously known as Bill Gates’s Once a book project has been decided, Martine does the heavy architect and now revamping the Ritz Hotel in Paris, presented lifting of actually directing the research and design teams, then the medal at a ceremony at Sotheby’s in New York, calling the overseeing production. Some books get closer personal attention Assoulines “les grands couturiers du livre.” than others. One of her recent favorites is Ballets Russes because of Despont went on to say, “You create volumes that help us to her fascination with Paris as the literary and artistic Mecca of the understand and to see—that allow us to hear what is not said—that 1920s. She further explored the world of Picasso and his contemhelp us to perceive the better part of our lives…. You did not ask poraries in Kiki de Montparnasse: Paris in the 1920s, the life and for this honor. You deserve it…and Martine will wear it for you, for times of a celebrated artist’s model and performer, which Assouline she also deserves it.” will publish in February 2013. 38
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She is particularly good at sniffing out research material hiding in unlikely places. Once, she visited Sotheby’s to take a look at Cecil Beaton’s work with the vague notion of doing a book on the British photographer, who was a social arbiter on both sides of the Atlantic. Suddenly she spotted, tucked away on a shelf, several boxes of Beaton’s meticulously kept personal scrapbooks. “I took out one of the boxes,” she recalls, getting excited at the memory of her discovery. “It was rich material that no one had ever seen: photographs, newspaper clippings … the makings of a great book.” The result was Cecil Beaton: The Art of the Scrapbook, a fascinating view of society between the 1930s and the immediate post-war years. Martine is also the “eyes” behind each book. “I look at hundreds of images before I make my selection,” she says about the all-important process of photo editing. “I really see each book as a film. And in every case, the work has to have esprit,” she continues, echoing Prosper’s words. But there seems little doubt that her husband has the final word, not just on art direction—his old trade—and the sometimes eye-popping production values (that rubber cover, those waterproof pages) but also on the entire look, from paper to covers to slipcases (obviously, all of the highest quality). He is also the talent behind Assouline’s brand expansion, which now includes book totes and bookstands, home décor items and of course the boutiques, which he personally designs. This fall, the company plans to launch Assouline Home—various products and services signed Prosper Assouline. “I’m not the visionary of the company,” Martine says. “That’s Prosper. When he first told me that we would start a distinctive luxury publishing brand, I wasn’t sure what he meant.” She is now, and according to her husband, no one understands the concept better. Still, after all these years, the word “instinctive” frequently comes to mind when PROSPER NOW observing the way they both operate. ALSO DESIGNS For example, good writers with a LIBRARIES, social pedigree seem to be chosen over OR “CULTURE good ones without. Natasha FraserLOUNGES,” AS Cavassoni, the lead writer of Chanel, THE PUBLISHnot only once worked in the design house and is a Parisian by adoption but ING HOUSE is the daughter of the historian Antonia SOMETIMES Fraser, the granddaughter of Lord and CALLS THEM, Lady Longford (both writers), stepFOR HOTELS daughter of the playwright Harold AND LUXURY Pinter and sibling of half a dozen APARTMENTS. other writers. The Light of London, a forthcoming Assouline book of blackand-white images of the British capital, includes text written by the distinguished writer John Julius Norwich, a Venice specialist but also a lord. Another Assouline book has forewords by Princess Anne of Britain and Prince Albert of Monaco. As for photographers, the Assoulines say they choose talents from around the world, but Prosper’s influence from his days in French publishing are evident. Typical was the choice of the photographer for The Grand Bazaar: Istanbul—Paris-based Laziz Hamani, who has known Prosper for years. The Assouline reputation is built on exhaustive attention to every detail, particularly when crafting the limited editions. One-of-a-kind
items are hand-bound by Paul Vogel, who operates out of the Assouline boutique in Manhattan’s Plaza Hotel. “Someone from the 1500s could walk into our bindery and feel very much at home,” he says. Vogel uses naturally tanned leather or linen for the covers, and endpapers imported from Paris and elsewhere. Possibly even more painstaking is the process of hand-tipping each color plate onto the pages of a book (publishing jargon for illustrations glued individually to the page), as is the case with the Léger book. Though it is sometimes hard for outsiders to suss out exactly who decides what, writers find the Assoulines are decisive and rigorous in their working methods. Despite the high standards and minute quality control at every stage, the whole process, says Serdar Gülgün, the Istanbul-based Ottoman art expert and interior designer who wrote the Grand Bazaar text, moves at a brisk pace. “They are very well-organized and very fast moving, and you have to run to keep up,” he recalled recently. “At the same time, they gave me complete freedom in writing the book.”
Inevitably, the Assoulines are asked how it is that their company is flourishing in the age of digital publishing, iPads and Kindles. Prosper Assouline responds, “We have respect for our books, we spend a lot of time and energy designing and producing them. Our customers know they’re not going to be boring, they know they’re going to be decorative. I love the iPad, it’s fantastic, but it has nothing to do with my business.” “Where is the pleasure of an iPad?” chimes in Martine, “It delivers instant information, but it’s not about pleasure. Assouline books are about pleasure.” Indeed, the couple keeps that idea of pleasure—visual, intellectual, sensual—in mind throughout the entire process. To maintain the brand’s strength (as Prosper would say), the Assoulines sell their books from exclusive boutiques and shop-in-shops. Assouline also sells high-quality There are Assouline outlets at prints, such as this photograph by Peter Muller. New York’s Plaza Hotel and on Paris’s rue Bonaparte as well as in Costa Mesa, Istanbul, Lima, Mexico City and Seoul. The shop-in-shops include a location at Sotheby’s in New York, another at Neiman Marcus in San Francisco and three in Florida. Additional openings are planned for Kuwait, Brazil and Colombia. Prosper has his eye on China, but Martine is more cautious. “I don’t want to think about China—not yet anyway,” she says. As a growing sideline to the publishing business, Prosper has recently begun designing libraries, or “culture lounges,” as the publishing house sometimes calls them, mainly for hotels and luxury apartments. A custom-designed library from Assouline was one of the “fantasy gifts” in the Neiman Marcus 2011 Christmas Catalog (“guaranteed to make you feel like a worldly intellectual”). Prosper created the space down to the last detail, including the rug decorated with letters of the alphabet, the reading lamp and the folding chairs. The price was $125,000—and it sold within a day. FRAN C E • FALL 2 0 1 2
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1939 Hélène Arpels sports the family jewels at the Prix de Diane horse races. 1968 A vintage “Alhambra” mother-of-pearl ring from the year the collection was launched; its quatrefoil motif evokes Moorish architecture.
VA N C L E E F & A R P E L S
The Family, The Jewels, The Legend
THIS FALL, THE MUSÉE DES ARTS DÉCORATIFS IS SHOWCASING THE STORIED PLACE VENDÔME JOAILLIER, HIGHLIGHTING THE INNOVATION AND TECHNICAL PROWESS THAT HAVE MADE IT A CROWN JEWEL OF FRANCE’S CULTURAL HERITAGE.
By Amy Serafin
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U N L E SS YO U HA P P E N
to be a member of the 1 percent, few experiences are more rattling than ringing the doorbell of a Place Vendôme jewelry boutique and staring down the security guard before checking out the merchandise. Hoi polloi, take heart: the exhibition “Van Cleef & Arpels, L’Art de la Haute Joaillerie” is on view only a few blocks away, at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, through February 10, 2013. It offers the masses glittering insights into one of the world’s most storied and exclusive French jewelry houses. In recent years, retrospective exhibitions have been devoted to Van Cleef & Arpels in Tokyo, New York and Shanghai—all important markets for the house. Given that the audience for the Paris show is predominantly French, the main goal here is to shine a light on an extremely elite part of the country’s cultural heritage. “The general public doesn’t necessarily know much about Van Cleef
& Arpels,” says Arts Décoratifs’ Evelyne Possémé, who curated the exhibit. “Most people recognize the name, but I’m not sure they are aware of what is really behind it, what it represents.” What it stands for could fill volumes: The finest stones, tracked down around the world, then assembled in designs of remarkable creativity and savoir-faire. A century of technical innovation that has put the house in a category of its own. The positioning of Place Vendôme as the international epicenter of haute joaillerie. And while Van Cleef & Arpels might seem to belong to a parallel universe of red carpets and royal weddings, it is also a source of national pride, says Possémé. “We want to show people that this is their heritage, and that they are actually a part of it.” The company usually presents its exhibitions thematically, but the Paris museum has arranged this one chronologically, by decade. Viewed this way, it is amazing how a hundred-odd years of jewelry design can encapsulate so many of the key moments of the 20th century—not just fashion trends but current events, from the discovery of King Tutankhamun’s tomb to Neil Armstrong’s walk on the moon. The story of Van Cleef & Arpels also encompasses the century’s most extravagant expressions of love (no matter how complicated). In 1936, King Edward VIII gave Wallis Simpson a platinum,
1908 Bell push featuring the client’s yacht, the Varuna; the butler was summoned by pushing a gemstone button.
1935 Black-lacquered “Volutes” Minaudière, with many handy compartments. 1924 “Egyptian” bracelet inspired by the discovery of King Tut’s tomb.
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diamond and ruby bracelet inscribed “Hold tight.” Her dearly bought patience was rewarded, and a few months later he abdicated the throne. The last Shah of Iran showered each of his three wives with jewels from the house, including the emerald ring he gave his second wife, the green-eyed Soraya, weeks before their marriage dissolved because she couldn’t provide an heir. And after Aristotle Onassis left Maria Callas for Jackie Kennedy—having covered both women in astonishing jewels—the opera singer told journalist Peter Evans that “Ari’s total understanding of women comes out of a Van Cleef & Arpels catalogue.” Men have been accused of worse. Three hundred pieces in the exhibition come from Van Cleef & Arpels’s own collection, while 120 It is amazing more are loans from private individuals around the world, most of how a hundredthem anonymous. Those who lend odd years of a jewel have the payoff of seeing it in jewelry design a museum catalogue, but the gesture is nonetheless generous, since the can encapsulate owner must part with the item for so many of the as long as six months. Some refuse.
key moments of the 20th century.
1936 Mystery-set “Bouquet” brooch; the prongs holding the gems are concealed beneath the stones.
Nothing from the Duchess of Windsor’s extraordinary collection, for example, has made it into this show. When her jewelry went to auction in 1987, it is rumored that a single collector bought all 23 of the pieces by Van Cleef & Arpels, and she declines to lend them out today. Van Cleef & Arpels is an active collector of its own vintage jewels (ironic though it may sound, they sell new creations and buy back old ones at the same time). Catherine Cariou, the house’s Heritage Director, manages an annual budget earmarked for acquiring rare pieces—at auction, from private dealers or (best of all) directly from the owners. But she says it’s a tricky business: When something comes up at the beginning of the year, she has no way of knowing if even more interesting items might appear on the market a few months later. Moreover, it is increasingly difficult to keep up with what the mega-rich are willing to pay. At Christie’s auction of Elizabeth Taylor’s jewels last December, there were three or four pieces Cariou hoped to buy. Ultimately she could afford only one, the “Granny” necklace that Richard Burton gave Taylor in 1971 when she became a grandmother for the first time. Cariou paid $902,500 for the jewel, or five times its high estimate. The diamond, emerald and gold choker with a detachable lion’s head is a highlight of this exhibition.
1945 “Lace Bow” brooch; gold jewelry predominated during the war as precious stones became unavailable in Europe.
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1952 “Zip” necklace with extension, a concept suggested by the Duchess of Windsor.
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Bugatti. (They originally met through her mother, who served as a ties, Van Cleef & Arpels nurse in WWI and cared for the young lieutenant on the battlefield.) began with a marriage. In Puissant had an unbridled imagination, and although she couldn’t 1895, Alfred Van Cleef draw, she had an excellent partner in draftsman René Sim Lacaze. wed his cousin Esther Their combined talents made 1954 Arpels (known as Estelle), for a remarkable legacy. At the “Two Feathers” whose father was a dealer 1931 Colonial Exposition celebratbrooch, with in precious stones. Both ing foreign cultures, Van Cleef & mystery-set were born in France, he Arpels presented several pieces called sapphires. of Dutch-Flemish ancestry, “Chinese Hat.” The bracelet, earshe of Dutch alone. rings and necklace were all inspired The jewelry business is by the round pointed hats that peasnotoriously secretive, and ants wore in rice fields—rendered piecing together the Van Cleef & Arpels story is even more difficult in polished gold rather than bambecause the various accounts of the family’s history tend to contraboo. In 1937, Puissant dreamed up dict one another. It seems that after his marriage, Alfred and his the “Flot de Rubans” brooch, a father-in-law, Léon Salomon Arpels, created a company specializing three-dimensional tangle of interin precious stones. In 1906, following Arpels’s death, Alfred and laced “ribbons” in platinum and diaMade of two of his brothers-in-law, Charles-Salomon and Julien, acquired a monds. Like real ribbons, they had diamonds and space for Van Cleef & Arpels at 22 Place Vendôme. They were later a different texture on each side, one platinum, joined by the third Arpels brother, Louis. Place Vendôme had just in brilliant-cut diamonds, the other started to blossom as a center of luxury and haute joaillerie—Frédéric all-white jewelry in baguette diamonds to resemble Boucheron opened his workshop there in 1893, followed by the Ritz grosgrain ribbon. was the height hotel in 1898 and Cartier a year later. Then there was the oversized of chic against a “Jarretière” (garter) bracelet designed Van Cleef & Arpels grew quickly, opening boutiques in Nice, Deauville, Dinard and Vichy, and the family traveled in the same little black dress. for Marlene Dietrich, made of circles as their well-heeled clients. The archives from the early years cushion-shaped rubies surrounded disappeared during World War I, and very few of the original jewels by round and baguette diamonds. remain, so the earliest pieces in the current exhibition date from You can see it sparkling on the actress’s wrist in Hitchcock’s 1950 1918. One of these is a châtelaine, a hanging brooch with a tiny movie Stage Fright. Upon Dietrich’s death, her grandson told the New timepiece hidden in the back, reflecting the fact that in those days, a York Times that it was her favorite piece of jewelry, the only one she society woman had no real need to know the time. never wished to sell. In 1992 Sotheby’s auctioned it off for $990,000, In 1922 archaeologist Howard Carter uncovered King Tut’s and it now belongs to a private owner (rumored to be Madonna). tomb, and the resulting Egyptomania spread all the way to the world of high jewMYSTERY elry. A Van Cleef & Arpels bracelet from Only a handful of SOLVED 1924 depicts scribes kneeling in profile, artisans know how to craft the ingenious like in ancient Egyptian paintings. Their Mystery Setting. bodies consist of buff-top rubies, shaped At Van Cleef & Arpels’s workand polished rather than faceted, so their shops in Paris and New York, gentle curves resemble the human form. artisans, or “Mains d’Or,” craft In the late ’20s, all-white jewelry was every jewel by hand using tools all the rage. Made of diamonds and platithat wouldn’t be out of place in a dentist’s office. But Paris num, it was the height of chic against a is the only place they make little black dress. When there was color, the Serti Mystérieux, and just it came from precious stones—sapphires, a handful of highly specialized rubies, emeralds—and geometric designs artisans know how to do it. reflected the Art Deco style of the time. A recent visit to the atelier But nature has always been an important piece, he will buff 65 rubies, is a latticed system of tiny gold culminated in a small, lighttheme for the house, and in 1925 a Van each one taking as long as rails on the underbelly of the filled room where a gem-cutter five hours. Despite his incredpiece. Each stone has grooves wearing a magnifying eyepiece Cleef & Arpels bracelet with red and white ible dexterity, he can expect near the bottom so that it can was sitting at a table next to roses fashioned from rubies and diamonds to discard as many as half the slide into the parallel rails like a a rapidly spinning disc coated won the grand prize at the Decorative Arts stones that don’t come out just drawer on runners, before being with diamond dust. He inserted Exposition in Paris. right—even more for tiny trianlocked in place. The ingenuity of a ruby into a holder at a precise Alfred and Estelle’s daughter, Renée this system is that if one stone angle, buffing it against the disc gular forms such as the tips of (born Rachel) Puissant, took over the comflower petals. breaks later on, it can be reto the exact shape for its posipany’s artistic direction in 1926, just after He demonstrates how the moved and replaced without taktion in the Mystery Setting that her husband’s death at the wheel of his stones will be invisibly set: There ing the entire jewel apart. —AS he was working on. For this LIKE ALL GREA T D Y N A S -
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A key feature of Van Cleef & Arpels jewelry is transformation— the possibility of wearing a jewel one way on Thursday and a completely different way on Friday. The “Passe-Partout,” which the house showed at the 1939 World’s Fair in New York, was a perfect example. Its flexible gold snake chain and system of rails allowed it to metamorphose into a necklace, a choker, a belt or a bracelet. Flower-shaped clips made of blue, pink and yellow sapphires held the piece together or could be detached and worn separately as brooches. One of the house’s best-known inventions is the “Minaudière” evening bag. Legend has it that Charles-Salomon Arpels once saw Florence Jay Gould, daughter-in-law of the American railroad magnate, toting her lipstick and personal belongings around in a vulgar Lucky Strike tin. He came up with the idea of a jeweled box like a vanity case with a series of compartments where a woman could carry her lighter, dance card and other necessities. Alfred Van Cleef dubbed it the “Minaudière” in honor of his wife’s tendency to minauder, or be coyly flirtatious, and the house registered the trademark in 1933. The same year, the house patented a brand-new technique, the Serti Mystérieux, or Mystery Setting. Inspired by tiny Roman mosaics, it consisted of small stones lined up in a continuous flow without any visible metal or means of support, as though miraculously fused together. It quickly became a house signature. (Cartier also filed a patent for an “invisible mount” but for some reason never pursued it.) At first the company used the setting on the flat surfaces of Minaudières. As the artisans became more comfortable with the technique, they tried it out on concave and convex shapes. The Serti Mystérieux has been ideal for the organic and natural forms the house favors, such as the rippling ruby petals of the 1937 “Peony” brooch. “It has such clean lines, it always looks modern,” says Cariou. “Put a 1951 jewel with a Mystery Setting next to one from 2005, and you can hardly tell the difference.” Another milestone passed in 1933 was Van Cleef & Arpels’s exclusivity agreement with the Atelier Langlois, which it now fully owns. The museum exhibition has one section devoted to the Paris workshop, including a video by fashion-documentary filmmaker
SCHOOL FOR JEWELS
A single piece of haute joaillerie can take several extraordinarily skilled jewelers more than a thousand hours to create. Obviously, this is not a craft to 46
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pick up in your spare time. But for those who wish to buff their understanding of how high jewelry is made (and why it costs so much), Van Cleef & Arpels has just opened a school in an 18thcentury townhouse on Place Vendôme. The Ecole Van Cleef & Arpels offers courses to an international group of students, in English and French, with a maximum class size of 12. The non-technical curriculum has no pretensions of turning people into jewelers; instead, it offers a peek into this enigmatic world, developing a basic knowledge of precious stones and jewelrymaking through observation and hands-on activities.
Loïc Prigent. It offers impressive behind-the-scenes footage but doesn’t convey just how intimidating an actual visit to the atelier can be. Those who manage to penetrate the sanctuary, located on the top floor of the company’s offices, must sign a confidentiality agreement, are forbidden to take photos of the artisans and receive their own personal security guard throughout the entire visit. It’s enough to make you feel vaguely guilty. ALFRED
putting an end to the Van Cleef line. A year later, several members of the Arpels family traveled to New York to represent the house at the World’s Fair. World War II had just begun, and they decided to stay, opening a branch in Rockefeller Center and then later relocating to Fifth Avenue. The family was Jewish, so it is difficult to understand why Estelle and Renée remained behind in France. Estelle fled to the Côte d’Azur, but her daughter made the unfortunate decision to go to Vichy, where the family had a store. She died after the Nazis invaded France’s so-called free zone. The official cause was suicide. As for the French side of the business, the family held off the Germans by “Aryanizing” the company, or transferring it to Christian ownership, though they intended to take back control of it as soon as they could. They chose their accomplices well, and at the end of the war, the second generation—Claude, Jacques and Pierre Arpels—were able to reclaim the entirety of the business. At the same time, the American branch became permanent, with several family members electing to remain in the United States. During the war years, work at the Atelier Langlois slowed but did not stop. Precious stones could not easily make their way to Europe, so gold predominated. Surprising jewels of the time included a gold “Résistance” brooch based on the fourragère, the ornamental cord that French soldiers looped around their left shoulder. “It was extremely subversive to wear that during The school offers seven fourthe war,” says Cariou. After the Liberation, hour sessions focusing on three different themes: “Unveiling,” the house made celebratory, patriotic jewels: “Shedding light on” and “Rea bird in a cage with the door flung open vealing.” In one course, stuand a “Pax” brooch featuring the French, dents handle precious stones English and American flags. while a gemologist explains their In 1947, American radio personality origins and value. In another, they Drew Pearson came up with the idea for design their own piece of jewa “Friendship Train,” asking Americans to elry in gouache and learn how donate food to send to hungry Europeans. to polish gold. In the most advanced courses, they watch the The response was enthusiastic; ultimateartisans at work in the studio ly 700 boxcars of relief supplies were and try on couture pieces. The shipped to Le Havre and distributed school is open to all; four-hour throughout France and Italy. In return, the classes run €600 to €950. One French sent a “Merci” train to the United caveat: Unlike at summer camp, States in 1949, filling it with folk art and you don’t get to take home typically French gifts. One was made by the stuff you play with in class. lecolevancleefarpels.com —AS Van Cleef & Arpels: a gold brooch in the
shape of a hand holding a torch like the Statue of Liberty and embedded with diamonds, rubies and sapphires. Meanwhile, Van Cleef & Arpels’s New York atelier crafted happy-go-lucky fare in the 1940s, such as a series of colorful ballet dancers and fairies. (Twenty years later, the company inspired George Balanchine to choreograph “Jewels” for the New York City Ballet.) The jeweler also borrowed ideas from the fashion industry, transforming gold and diamonds into incredible trompe l’œil lace, tulle and passementerie that appeared as soft and pliable as real fabric. In the 1950s, the house launched a more accessible “Boutique” line designed to appeal to a younger clientele—though still precious enough for the likes of Princess Grace. A lover of animals as well as diamonds, the American movie-star-turned-princess collected whimsical brooches such as a surprised-looking little duck and a lion with a ruffled mane and emerald eyes. She had been a faithful client of Van Cleef & Arpels since 1955, when Prince Rainier asked the jeweler to create an engagement set; the following
year, the house became the principality’s official supplier. Visitors who get the impression that innovation and technical prowess came effortlessly to the jeweler will think differently after seeing “Zip,” a necklace created in 1951 that worked like a zipper—a breakthrough that came only after years of trial and error. The Duchess Surprising of Windsor initially proposed the wartime jewels idea in 1938 after her friend Elsa included a gold Schiaparelli became the first couturier to incorporate zippers into “Résistance” designs. Ever the fashion brooch based on clothing avant-gardiste, Wallis thought a zipthe ornamental per necklace would be fun and sugcord that French gested it to Renée Puissant. The “Zip” had gold teeth attached to a soldiers looped gold band that looked like zipper
around their left shoulder.
1960s & 1970s
1976 Tiara worn by Princess Grace of Monaco for the 1978 wedding of Princess Caroline.
1968 Vintage “Alhambra” necklace; the design has become an emblem of the house. 1971 Bird brooch / pendant; the wings and briolette diamond are detachable.
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Today 2012 “Zip” earrings, part of the house’s latest collection.
2004 “Kikumakie” brooch, one of several butterfly designs inspired by traditional Japanese craftsmanship.
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fabric and a tassel to slide it open or closed. When completely closed, it could be wrapped around the wrist as a bracelet. Of course by the time “Zip” came to fruition the Duchess had lost interest, but it still became an iconic item for the house. The peace-and-love spirit of the ’60s found its equivalent in exuberant, colorful jewelry where turquoise, onyx and lapis lazuli coexisted with diamonds, rubies and sapphires. While hippies headed to the beaches of Goa, Van Cleef & Arpels created showy baubles inspired by Indian styles. In 1968, the “Alhambra” motif made its début; resembling a four-leaf clover, it first appeared on a sautoir necklace. The design was an immediate success and soon became a house classic, worn by women from Elizabeth Taylor to Reese Witherspoon. Over the years, the “Alhambra” collection has grown to include rings, earrings, bracelets, pendants and necklaces made from a seemingly endless variety of materials—diamonds, carnelian, tiger’s eye, motherof-pearl…. “It’s a mystery,” admits Cariou. “Why does a certain piece become so famous and have such an aura? I can’t explain it.” On the other end of the jeweler’s spectrum of offerings are custom
Patrick Jouin’s innovative display cases, introduced in Shanghai.
DESIGNING THE ULTIMATE JEWELRY BOX
Patrick Jouin and Sanjit Manku didn’t know much about jewelry six years ago, but they sure do now. One of France’s hottest young design teams, Jouin is the talent behind projects ranging from Alain Ducasse’s restaurants to the Vélib’ bicycle; Manku, a Kenyan-born Canadian with long hair and a soul patch, became his associate in 2006. That was the same year they redesigned Van Cleef & Arpels’s historic boutique at 22 Place Vendôme, starting a relationship with the jeweler that continues to this day. The duo is responsible for the exhibition design for the shows in Japan, China, New York and now Paris. Manku says it is a very different
challenge from designing a store. “The visitors have to be able to grasp the essence of the house much more quickly because they are looking at so many pieces. It’s not about purchasing but about understanding the philosophy and the magic.” Each exhibition has its own unique design, inspired by the city and building in which it takes place. In Shanghai, the jewelry was displayed in a garden, in a dreamlike space like a clearing in the woods. The Musée des Arts Décoratifs occupies a wing of the Louvre, which requires what Jouin calls a more “institutional” decor. “The layout had to be precise, impeccable, so you understand the history.” The building is also imposing because of its size—the central gallery’s ceiling soars nearly 60 feet high. When you’re trying to show off a pair of earrings, they are totally out of scale in this
orders from the world’s rich and famous; arguably the most prestigious of these is the crown that Farah Pahlavi wore to become Empress of Iran in 1967. Pierre Arpels spent six months shuttling between Paris and Teheran to make it, since the imperial jewels could not leave the country. It boasted 1,541 stones, including a 150-carat emerald, and is now on permanent display at the Central Bank of Iran. (A replica is in the Musée des Arts Décoratifs exhibition.) The company’s anything-goes spirit eventually gave way to a more buttoned-down aesthetic in the ’80s and ’90s; necklaces became shorter and stiffer, and pearls played a bigger role. By now the Arpels family had grown to be a crowd spread around the world, and in 1999 they sold a majority interest in the company to Swiss luxury group Richemont. Since then, Van Cleef & Arpels has continued to flourish, with record profits, expansion into developing markets and new products such as high-end niche perfumes. Some things haven’t changed. The house still maintains a close relationship with the royal family in Monaco, crafting the “Océan” tiara that Prince Albert gave to Charlene for their wedding in 2011. A reference to her former life as an Olympic swimmer, it contains more than a thouspace, no matter how big the sand diamonds and sapphires set in a wave diamonds. In order to minimize motif and can also be worn as a necklace. the vastness, the designers And Van Cleef & Arpels continues created huge fiberglass petals to experiment and innovate, pushing the that float overhead. Elegant limits of what the workshop can achieve. display cases like curved glass For its centennial in 2006, Cariou dug blades divide the room into up an archival sketch from the 1930s of sections and gently guide the visitors, who weave in and out a chardon (thistle flower) brooch with from the center area to the oblong stones. Though one does exist smaller rooms of the exterior from that time, it has faceted rubies in a galleries, traveling from one pronged setting—nothing like this pardecade to another. ticular sketch. “I would imagine that we There are different kinds of never found the right stones or knew how display cases in the lateral galto make it,” she muses. So 60 years later, leries. On the Tuileries side, a she sent the workshop back to the drawing forest of floor-to-ceiling plexiglass tubes allows you to see board. After toiling for 1,900 hours, they both the front and the back of presented a new “Chardon” brooch with each jewel, a privilege normally soft buff-top rubies poking out like rows reserved for the owner. On the of tiny petals in a Serti Mystérieux setting. Rivoli side, the pieces hover inIt was an entirely new way to use this techside glass domes. Each is invisnique. And in 2010, the house created the ibly attached, so they seem to “Perroquet Mystérieux,” a parrot brooch float within their cases, and the designers have tried to make with feathers made from navette-shaped the glass as inconspicuous as sapphires in a Mystery Setting. The meticpossible. “If you use square ulously selected stones turn gradually from glass cases like those in a blue to mauve to rose. museum, you immediately creThe exhibition at the Musée des Arts ate a distance with the visitor,” Décoratifs ends with the “Phénix Myssays Jouin. “It’s a beauty that térieux,” a necklace from this year’s “Palais frightens and intimidates. That’s de la Chance” collection, inspired by the not what this show is about. We want people to get as close as ways different cultures view luck. It is possible to the pieces, for the displayed here for the first time ever; in setting to be as light as possible fact, the catalogue shows only the sketch, so you don’t create a barrier.” not the jewel itself, since it was completed Of course, there is a barrier, just in time for the show. The phoenix, of whether you see it or not—the course, symbolizes perpetual renewal—a security precautions surrounding brilliant analogy for the visionary house this exhibition make Fort Knox f that created it. look like Disneyland. —AS FRAN C E • FALL 2 0 1 2
R E FR A M I N G T H E
SK E TC HI NG A N EW
When the world’s most famous art institution decided a decade ago to build a satellite museum, anything was possible. An advance look at Louvre-Lens, slated to open this December, reveals counterintuitive choices, from location to design to concept. But perhaps an “anti-Louvre” is precisely what the 21st century needs?
By SARA ROMANO RIGHT: An architectural rendering of a section of Louvre-Lens’s Galerie du Temps and images of two of the works that will be exhibited there: Delacroix’s famous “Liberty Leading the People” (detail) and Sir Joshua Reynolds’s “Master Hare” (1788).
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ABOVE: SANAA conceived a luminous entrance hall that will function as the heart of the new museum; this open and welcoming space has a bookstore, café and areas that can be used for local events, making it part of the community.
hortly before daybreak on August 15, 1917, 10 battalions of Canada’s expeditionary force crept out of their trenches and headed up Hill 70, a heavily fortified German position on the outskirts of Lens, in northern France. As World War I engulfed every corner of this border region, the Canadians set their sights on this treeless bump in the landscape, a stepping-stone to Lens itself, which was firmly under German control. It took just 24 hours for the Canadians to take Hill 70, but the toll was steep. “This isn’t war, it’s murder,” exclaimed a Canadian stretcher-bearer. “The dead are piled in heaps.” German forces fought back in 21 separate counterattacks, and on the night of August 17, they fired more than 15,000 shells loaded with mustard gas. Though Canada’s men had been warned to wear gas masks and shield their skin, many were left voiceless, blind and covered with burns. The 11- day fight resulted in 9,198 casualties on the Canadian side, twice as many on the German side. Hill 70 is but one of many painful episodes in the history of Lens, a town of 36,000 that is part of Lens-Liévin, France’s 12th-largest metropolitan area. Long just a small village, the town grew quickly after coal was discovered here in the mid-19th century, only to be destroyed during each of the two World Wars. Later, it was forced to endure the ravages of de-industrialization; the last coal mine shut down in 1986, leaving many Lensois out of work, with little education to fall back on and no economic alternatives. Now, that same town is about to become the improbable home to Louvre-Lens, the first permanent branch of the world’s largest and most famous museum. The €150 million edifice is slated to 52
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open on December 4—the feast day of Saint Barbara, the patron saint of miners. The sleek complex of buildings, whose designers include Tokyo’s SANAA Architects, winners of the 2010 Pritzker Architecture Prize, is situated on a plot of land in the middle of town. Until 1980, it was a working coal mine. Some see the move as visionary, others as bold but risky, still others as pure hubris. Unemployment here still hovers around 16 percent, and the town, which has lost many of its small businesses to the suburbs, is not exactly what you would call picturesque. Obviously, there is the hope that the museum will spark an economic revitalization in the area, which is surely why regional and local governments ponied up 80 percent of the financing, with the European Union supplying the rest. But that’s only part of the story. If all goes as planned, LouvreLens will be a radically new kind of museum, one that will offer traditional audiences unexpected experiences and introduce an entirely new public to the benefits that can be derived from art and culture. In other words, ambitions worthy of the name “Louvre.” “Don’t think of Lens as an offshoot of the Louvre, think of it as a different Louvre altogether,” says Xavier Dectot, Louvre-Lens’s amiable 39-year-old director. A medievalist by training, he ran the Musée Cluny in Paris for 10 years before taking on this project. “Lens and Paris must be two sides of the same coin, working together yet each operating in its own distinct way,” he continues. “Louvre-Lens can be a laboratory, a place that, by virtue of being smaller and more flexible, can experiment much more than Louvre Paris can.” One look at the building’s design conveys this difference. Its 75,000 square feet of public areas (compared with the Louvre’s 652,000) boast no elaborate paneling, gilt moldings or marble staircases.
ABOVE: The architects designed the pavilions of LouvreLens to blend unobtrusively into their environment; polishedaluminum façades interact with their surroundings, and glass walls convey a sense of transparency.
The five low-slung glass and polished-aluminum pavilions gracefully Yet unlike the mother ship, which has historically organized its blend in with their surroundings, the intention being to respect the holdings into eight departments (Near Eastern Antiquities; Egyptian environment rather than dominate it. This is not a palace built by a Antiquities; Greek, Etruscan and Roman Antiquities; Islamic Art; king to impress his rivals and intimidate his subjects, nor is it the kind Decorative Arts; Prints and Drawings; Sculptures; Paintings), the of “look at me” architecture that has become popular in the museum Galerie du Temps will display art chronologically, affording visitors world. Everything about this elegantly unassuming space suggests entirely new perspectives, even on masterpieces they already know openness, transparency, accessibility. quite well. The oldest work on view in the inaugural exhibition is a In all, Louvre-Lens occupies 300,000 square feet of built Mesopotamian tablet dating from 3500 B.C., representing the origins space—a collaborative effort involving SANAA and New York’s of writing; the most recent is Eugène Delacroix’s renowned “Liberty Imrey Culbert—and 153 acres of grounds thoughtfully landscaped Leading the People” depicting the 1830 revolution, France’s first great by Paris’s Catherine Mosbach Paysagistes. The museum, which has workers’ revolt. “That painting resonates very powerfully with this a €15 million annual operating budget, will have no permanent region,” says Dectot. collection but rather will show works on long-term loan from Another section of the museum, the Pavillon de Verre, will feature Louvre Paris. It will also host two temporary exhibitions annually, successive 10-month exhibitions designed to complement and play borrowing from other French and foreign institutions. off of the Galerie du Temps (the first show is, appropriately enough, The largest pavilion is the 400foot-long Galerie du Temps, which will exhibit more than 200 works— many of them famous masterpieces— This is not a palace built by culled from the 35,000 pieces now a king to impress rivals and on display at the Louvre (the megaintimidate subjects. Everything museum has another 350,000 works in about this elegantly unassumstorage). They will be on loan for five years (a few will be rotated out after ing space suggests openness, a year, usually replaced by another transparency, accessibility. work by the same artist) and will span the 4th millennium B.C. to the mid-19th century, the entire period ABOVE: The museum’s low-slung buildings and grounds occupy nearly 50 square acres in the center of covered by the Louvre’s collections. Lens, on a site that was previously a coal mine. FRAN C E • FALL 2 0 1 2
COMING TO LENS The Galerie du Temps will display Louvre masterpieces arranged chronologically; other galleries will be devoted to special exhibitions such as the inaugural “Renaissance,” showcasing the recently restored “Saint Anne” (far right).
Dish with tulips and carnations, Iznik, Turkey, c. 1560-1580.
Statuette of Lady Tuya, matron of the harem of Min, Egypt, c. 1370 B.C. Portrait of Baldassare Castiglione (1478-1529) by Raphael, c. 1514-1515.
devoted to the notion of time, how we perceive its passage, sensually going beyond simply facilitating access; the goal is nothing less than to and intellectually). Here, artworks borrowed from Paris will be jux- demystify museums, to bring down the barriers that so often create a taposed with pieces from other northern French museums as well as distance between people and art. contemporary art. The building’s architectural transparency sets the tone. The Finally, there will be a temporary exhibition space that will host two main pavilion will welcome visitors, offering a convivial environshows annually. The star of the inaugural exhibition, “Renaissance,” ment that includes a café, museum store and multimedia library as is Leonardo da Vinci’s recently restored “The Virgin and Child with well as spaces that can be used by local residents for various events. Saint Anne.” Last year, the Louvre mounted an exhibition devoted Visitors will also have the unusual privilege of peeking inside the to this painting, bringing together sketches, preparatory drawings museum’s storerooms and studios, where they can see the Louvre’s and other works illustrating the lengthy meditation and successive expert restorers and conservationists in action. Standing behind a solutions that went into this masterpiece. glass partition, they may also use computer touch screens to virtually This “21st-century museum,” as Dectot likes to call it, will also pull any work out of storage and examine it from every angle. Other make extensive use of the latest technologies, not only in areas such areas normally off limits to the public will also be exposed—visitors as lighting but also to create new and more personalized experiences. will even be able to see the little underground shuttle that ferries As visitors stroll through the galleries, they can, for example, select everything from works of art to restaurant supplies from one end of works on their multimedia guide and save them in a basket that they the museum to the other. can later browse at home. While Dectot hopes that Louvre-Lens will lure many of the 100 million people who live within a 200-mile radius of the new museum, Visitors will have the unusual he insists that one of his leading objectives privilege of peeking inside is “to reach out to new audiences, to people the museum’s storerooms who never go to museums.” In other words, residents of the immediate vicinity, the workand studios, where they can ers and descendants of workers who contribwatch expert restorers and uted so much to the French economy yet conservationists in action. endured such great personal hardship and damage to their local environment. To that end, admission to the Galerie du Temps will Above Director Xavier Dectot has presided over the construction of Louvre-Lens for the past few years; be free for the first year. But Louvre-Lens is in August, he delightedly announced that he finally had the keys in his pocket. 54
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The Virgin and Child with Saint Anne by Leonardo da Vinci, c. 1508.
Liberty Leading the People by Eugène Delacroix, 1830.
Bather by Etienne Maurice Falconet, 1757.
iven that the Louvre’s northern satellite has yet to open its doors, most commentators have remained circumspect, waiting to see the finished project. But there is already one highly vocal critic. “This project is wrong from start to finish,” writes Didier Rykner, a historian who runs the cultural Web site La Tribune de l’Art and has opposed other Louvre ventures, including the one due to open in Abu Dhabi in 2015. “From the outset, this Louvre-Lens was created not for museographic or cultural reasons but for political reasons. The point was to decentralize,” he says. “But a decentralization where you rob Peter to pay Paul is not a decentralization.” He claims that Lens will “deprive” the Paris landmark of masterpieces visitors want to see and criticizes the selection of objects in the opening exhibitions as random and covering too broad a sweep of history. Dectot brushes aside these remarks, branding Didier Rykner a “polemicist” who dislikes just about everything. That the Louvre in Paris is being emptied of its contents is an acutely Paris-centric view, says Dectot, and the idea that a visitor would be “deprived” of a specific cultural experience is absurd. “Many of the 8 million people who visit the Louvre in Paris also go to Versailles and Fontainebleau. Why wouldn’t they go to Lens, which is only an hour away and thus even quicker to get to, if there is art there that they want to see?” True enough, Lens is easily accessible. The TGV from Paris gets you there in an hour, and the train station is a short walk from the museum. Three highways also lead to Lens, and it is within easy reach of Brussels and London. Another reason to go: It is part of a region that is particularly rich in art and architecture. Arras (a UNESCO World Heritage site) is close by, as is Lille, with its lovely Vieille Ville and ornate Flemish townhouses, and many of northern France’s museums are renowned for their world-class holdings.
But as Jean-Christophe Castelain, editor-in-chief of Le Journal des Arts, remarks, if Louvre-Lens is to be a success, the town itself has to offer more than the Louvre. “I’m all in favor of Louvre-Lens, but once the novelty wears off, and the architecture of the building generates less traffic, they’ll need to have additional draws: to program parallel events, have nearby towns put on exhibitions, get art galleries to curate shows and provide a variety of cultural alternatives, so tourists can say, ‘If I go to Lens, I’ll see more than just Louvre-Lens.’ The Louvre is a strong brand, and it can act as a powerful cultural magnet.” Nothing would please Senator Daniel Percheron more. Also president of the Nord-Pas de Calais region, the 70-year-old former history teacher has worked longer and harder than anyone to put Lens on the cultural map. He explains that in the French collective imagination, “the North represents industry: factory smokestacks, mining towns, textile mills. But all that is history now. The arrival of the Louvre allows us to give the region a new identity without denying its great past.” Percheron launched his crusade a decade ago, when he heard that Culture Minister Jean-Jacques Aillagon wanted to decentralize Paris museums, and that Louvre director Henri Loyrette was seeking a second location for his collection. The senator—who at the time was busy bringing Paris-based masterpieces to the belfries of the North for Lille’s 2004 stint as European Capital of Culture—put Lens’s name forward. Six cities vied to host the museum, but in the end, President Jacques Chirac picked Lens. Why? Percheron relates that when Chirac first became prime minister in the mid-1970s, he presided over a terrible mining accident in Lens-Liévin; he believes that three decades later, Chirac remembered this town’s hardships and sacrifices. While the senator hopes that the Louvre will be a catalyst for economic revival, just as Frank Gehry’s Guggenheim has been for Bilbao, FRAN C E • FALL 2 0 1 2
he also realizes it isn’t enough to simply build a museum. So he has rallied public and private investors in the region, coming up with a total of €1 billion, part of which will be used for “Euralens,” an initiative mirroring the Euralille business district that in the 1990s helped turn struggling Lille into a major European business hub. Also on the drawing board: urban landscaping; hotels and restaurants; an east-west tramway connecting the towns of Lens and Liévin; the renovation of corons, the brick row houses where miners and their families lived; and various cultural projects. Already the coal-black area around Lens—the site of Europe’s highest slag heap, a 500-foot-high mound as tall as the Great Pyramid of Giza—is being transformed into a carpet of greenery by internationally renowned landscape architect Michel Desvigne, who designed the gardens around Paris’s Bibliothèque François Mitterrand. ince December 2010, a special Louvre-Lens tourism unit has been charged with figuring out ways to lure travelers to an area that rarely sees tourists. Norbert Crozier, who runs Tourisme Louvre-Lens, believes there is real potential. He was thrilled this past summer when the Nord-Pas de Calais Mining Basin, the 75-mile-long plain where Lens is located, was added to UNESCO’s World Heritage list. The site “bears testimony to the quest to create model workers’ cities from the mid-19th century to the 1960s,” UNESCO declared, adding that it “documents the living conditions of workers and the solidarity to which it gave rise.” Making the list that already includes such prestigious sites as Mont Saint-Michel and the Great Wall of China was an enormous boost. “Now we have two world-famous names in the region,” says Crozier. “UNESCO and the Louvre.” Already the area holds great appeal for World War I history buffs. More soldiers died here than at Verdun, and they are not forgotten. Plans for the 2014 centennial of la Grande Guerre include the inauguration of a monument inscribed with the names of all 600,000 of the men from 65 different countries who gave their lives. Located near the French military cemetery, on the road from Béthune to Arras, the €6 million project will be one of the largest monuments in the world. Lens-Liévin is also funding an adjacent center that will use the latest museum technologies to relate the history of WWI. Crozier and his team have spent the past months honing a strategy that respects this past yet conveys that the area has embraced the 21st century. Their ideas range from turning the area’s emblematic brick row houses and factories into chic hotels and B&Bs with designer touches, to building an ultra-contemporary “baraque à frites,” the shacks where vendors sell French fries, a local specialty. Even coalblack is being recast as cool. “What is more chic than black?” asks Crozier, who is commissioning designers to come up with a line of very hip black products. Within a decade, Crozier thinks that Lens, like Metz, home of the new Pompidou outpost, will be a place where visitors will want to spend more than just an afternoon. A place where they can enjoy contemporary amenities while delving into the history of World War I, learning about the working classes who built modern France and, of course, experiencing great art. “Louvre-Lens has to work, but it also has to be a catalyst for more cultural development,” says Dectot. One encouraging sign: Oignies, a former coal-mining site 10 miles from Lens, is already building Le Métaphone, an ultra-modern concert hall that is itself a musical instrument with walls that produce and emit sound. There is nothing else like it in the world. 56
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DIRECTORS’ CUT The Nord-Pas de Calais region has the densest concentration of museums anywhere in France, with the exception of Ile-de-France. The directors of these institutions love art, but they also love the region they now call home. To welcome Louvre-Lens and its visitors, they have agreed to share some of their favorite places as well as their cultural coups de cœur.
SOPHIE LÉVY DIRECTOR OF LAM (Lille Métropole, musée d’art moderne, d’art contemporain et d’art brut) Villeneuve-d’Ascq GREAT ESCAPE “The beach at Wimereux, a little town near Boulognesur-Mer, is a personal favorite. Just beyond the Victorian houses are wide stretches of sand and dunes that are an irresistible invitation to strolling, dreaming and napping.” MUSEUM “The Musée des Arts Contemporains (MAC’s) in Grand Hornu, Belgium, is wonderful. It has an exceptional location in a converted 19th-century coal-mining complex; intended as ideal living and working quarters for miners and their families, it is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. And the contemporary art exhibits organized by Laurent Busine and Denis Gielen are as poetic as they are inspiring.” mac-s.be
Left: La Piscine, a museum devoted to art and industry, occupies a former Art Deco swimming pool in Roubaix.
BRUNO GAUDICHON DIRECTOR OF LA PISCINE MUSÉE D’ART ET D’INDUSTRIE ANDRÉ DILIGENT Roubaix BOULANGERIE “Verchin is a charming little village in a beautiful valley in Pas de Calais. It has a church with a remarkable twisted spire and an unbelievable bakery. Everything is made on the premises: brioches, sourdough bread, tarts with thick crusts (called “à gros bords,” they are a local specialty). Baked in a wood-burning oven, all of these simple, tasty treats seem to come from another era. I never tire of them.” Madame Bocquet, 25 rue de Maranville, 62310 Verchin.
LANDSCAPE “I especially love the light on the Gravelines canal, which Georges Seurat painted several times. There you discover that the true landscape of the North is its sky: immense, picturesque, with a luminosity that is sometimes almost blinding (really!). It constantly surprises you.”
GOURMET SHOP “Carlier Vogliazzo in Roubaix offers tastes of all the cultures that have made Roubaix: charcuterie, cheese, wine, spices, sweets and more from Spain, Italy, Portugal…. An extraordinarily sunny place.” 110 rue de l’Alma, 59100 Roubaix. Tel. 33/3-20-70-64-43; carlier-vogliazzo.fr.
COUP DE CŒUR “I’m absolutely enthralled by Veronese’s ‘Portrait of a Woman’ at the Musée de la Chartreuse in Douai. When I visited this lovely museum with my family, I felt like her eyes caught mine.” museedelachartreuse.fr RESTAURANT “La Cour des Vignes in Lille, right next to the SaintSauveur train station, is always an excellent choice. Run by two very nice sisters, it serves delicious fare and carefully selected wines at modest prices.” 21 bd Jean-Baptiste Lebas, 59000 Lille; Tel. 33/3-20-54-97-27; cour-desvignes.com.
Above: The light on the Gravelines canal enchanted Georges Seurat, who painted this canvas in 1860; Veronese’s engaging “Portrait of a Woman” (c. 1555) at Douai’s Musée de la Chartreuse. Right: One of the many Piet Mondrians at The Hague’s Gemeentemuseum.
BOUTIQUE “If you’re looking for a gift or art book, Roubaix’s Boutique du Lieu is full of surprises: plaid throws from England, marmalade, model ships, scarves, fans, trophies…. And an excellent selection of books, including those from every exhibit held at La Piscine. In short, cultural offerings and temptations.” 23 rue de l’Espérance, 59100 Roubaix; Tel. 33/3-20-36-11-08. ESTAMINET “There is no place quite like the Café des Orgues, located in Herzeele, which is part of French Flanders. It boasts three monumental, beautifully decorated mechanical organs. The large room in the back is one of the most poetic spots in Nord – Pas de Calais; every Sunday, people gather there to dance and enjoy frites and white beer—much as they did in 1912, when the oldest of the organs was built. It’s a truly moving and warm experience.” 2 rue des Orgues, 59470 Herzeele; Tel. 33/3-28-2763-02. COUP DE CŒUR “When you’re in Nord-Pas de Calais, you’re just a stone’s throw from Belgium and Holland. The Gemeentemuseum in The Hague is without a doubt one of the most beautiful modern and contemporary art museums in Europe. Built between the wars, it is a luminous, elegant showcase for exceptional art, including the world’s largest collection of works by Piet Mondrian, the greatest Dutch artist of the 20th century. A fascinating and enriching place to visit.” gemeentemuseum.nl
RESTAURANT “I’m going to do a little bragging here: Restaurant Meert in our museum, La Piscine, is a wonderful spot to have lunch or a drink. On sunny days, the terrace in the courtyard garden is a unique, wonderful place to gather. The food is great, the menu is inspired by our exhibits, and the famous pastries are a must.” 23 rue de l’Espérance, 59100 Roubaix. Tel. 33/3-20-01-8421; meert.fr. FRAN C E • FALL 2 0 1 2
FESTIVAL “I always enjoy going to Les Chimères de Bernicourt, a festival held in a beautiful 18th-century château in Roost-Warendin, near Douai. All sorts of artistic activities (theater, music, painting) revolve around the theme of folk tales and legends. chimeres-bernicourt.com
ANDRÉ DUBUC DIRECTOR OF THE CENTRE HISTORIQUE MINIER Lewarde WALKS “The terrils, or slag heaps, that dot the old coal-mining landscape are a great place to walk. I especially like the ones at Oignies and Loos-en-Gohelle; when you climb to the top—they are higher than the Pyramids!—you get surprising vistas of the entire region.” GREAT ESCAPE “The Vieille Bourse on Lille’s Grand Place. I collect antique books, and I love poking around the bouquinistes in this historic place, one of the jewels of 17th-century Flemish architecture.”
RESTAURANT “Le Between Terre et Mer is a great little place in downtown Arras between two squares famous for their Flemish architecture. The menu is quite varied and offers excellent value.” 12 rue de la Taillerie (downstairs), Arras. Tel. 33/3-21-7357-79; betweenterreetmer.fr.
DOMINIQUE SZYMUSIAK HEAD CURATOR, MUSÉE DÉPARTEMENTAL MATISSE Le Cateau-Cambrésis GETAWAY “The Château d’Aubry, which dates from the 16th century, is now a lovely hotel and restaurant. Only five minutes from Valenciennes, this secluded oasis is surrounded by beautiful gardens.” 65 rue Henri Maurice, 59494 Aubry-du-Hainaut. Tel. 33/3-27-21-88-88 or 33/6-8175-30-64; chateau-aubry.com.
BAR “Café le Voltaire in Lille is a fun spot with a 1970s décor that is as warm as the hospitality of the wait staff. They also offer very good crêpes.” 12 rue Nationale, 59800 Lille; Tel. 33/3-20-54-82-08. COUP DE CŒUR “LaM in Villeneuve d’Ascq is wonderful. You walk through a lovely sculpture garden before arriving at the museum. The collections are terrific; I especially like their selection of Art Brut.” musee-lam.fr
B&B “Le Grand Duc in Valenciennes, a magnificent maison bourgeoise, offers six rooms with fabulous décor (a savvy mix of antiques and contemporary design) and very refined cuisine.” 104 ave de Condé, 59300 Valenciennes; Tel. 33/3-27-46-40-30; legrandduc.fr. QUIRKY CULTURE “Expect the unexpected when you visit the international center for the creation of glass sculptures in Sars-Poteries.” 1 rue du Général de Gaulle, 59216 Sars Poterie; museeduverre.cg59.fr.
Above: Valencienne’s Grand Duc B&B, a converted maison bourgeoise; one of the whimsical creations at the Musée du Verre in Sars-Poteries. Left: The region’s spectacular slag heaps; bookstalls in the Vieille Bourse on Lille’s Grand Place.
COUPS DE CŒUR “This region is so rich, I can’t pick just one! Dunkerque’s LAAC is a favorite, with its sculpture garden and wonderful collection of artists from the 1950s to 1970s. The Musée de Tourcoing is also a gem, with very original presentations of ancient and contemporary art. The most beautiful Goyas are at Lille’s Palais des Beaux-Arts, the most beautiful Carpeaux are in Valenciennes....” DINING “The Brasserie de l’Abbaye, which still makes its own delicious beer, is a great place to grab a bite. Built in the early 20th century, it is situated on the site of the Abbaye de Saint André, which was making beer as long ago as 1775.” 16 rue du Marché aux Chevaux, 59360 Le Cateau-Cambrésis. Tel. 33/3-27-0719-19; brasserieducateau.fr.
MARKET “I really like the Marché de Lomme—it’s a very popular spot, and I find it very relaxing to walk through the stalls, chatting with vendors and other visitors. A number of local farmers, many of them organic, offer high-quality produce.” BOULANGERIE “Au P’tit Gourmand makes baguettes and breads with sel de Guérande as well as delicious waffles that can even compete with Meert’s famous gaufres! It’s a charming place.” 6 rue Jean Bart, 59140 Dunkerque; Tel. 33/3-28-6696-70. SHOPPING “We have some great vintage-clothing boutiques, such as Troc Madame. The atmosphere is always festive, with everyone looking for that special treasure, that great deal. I never know what I’ll find, but I inevitably leave with original, high-quality pieces.” 364 ave Dunkerque, 59130 Lambersart; Tel. 33/3-20-93-25-25.
Above: The dramatic sculpture gallery in Lille’s Palais des Beaux-Arts; Château d’Aubry, now a lovely hotel and restaurant near Valenciennes. Right: The peaceful Dewulf dunes at Leffrinckoucke offer continually changing vistas.
of the city’s most beautiful monuments.” 6 rue Thevenet, 59140 Dunkerque. Tel. 33/3-28-66-52-41; s-restaurant.com. BAR “A fun watering hole is the Tchin Tchin, along the seawall in Dunkerque’s Malo-les-Bains neighborhood. A modern, cheerful décor and friendly, energetic young staff.” 46 Digue de Mer, 59240 Dunkerque; Tel. 33/3-28-59-12-52.
AUDE CORDONNIER HEAD CURATOR, MUSÉE DES BEAUX-ARTS AND THE LIEU D’ART ET D’ACTION CONTEMPORAINE (LAAC). Dunkerque RESTAURANT “One of my favorite dining spots in Dunkerque is Restaurant le S. The cuisine is at once very refined and creative; the décor is modern and pleasant; and the staff is young, attentive and charming. Another asset: It is located behind the Eglise Saint-Eloi, one
Above: Miró’s 1969 “L’exilé vert,” part of LAAC’s rich collection from the 1950s to 1980s. Right: Douai’s Musée de la Chartreuse, where a former chapel is now a soaring space for exhibiting art.
GETAWAY “The Dewulf dunes at Leffrinckoucke are wonderful. This practically wild, protected environment with wide sandy beaches is a great area for long walks. Along the way, you’ll notice a rather surprising tension between nature, industry and Dunkerque’s wartime history: In the distance, you can see the Valdunes metallurgy factory; just beyond the dune grass is a vast expanse of sea, and every once in a while, you’ll come across a World War II bunker. Several years after moving here, I am still amazed by the many dramatic contrasts between industry and nature in this area. It is, in fact, one of the reasons I came here.”
COUP DE CŒUR “The Musée de la Chartreuse in Douai is a veritable voyage back in time. At once close to the center of town and a bit apart, it is a very peaceful place. The tall white chapel contrasts with the elegant sobriety of the other brick and stone buildings. Works are hung as if in a home, rather like at the Hospice Comtesse in Lille. There are several outstanding pieces in the collection, in particular several great 16th- and 17th-century Italian paintings.” museedelachartreuse.fr FRAN C E • FALL 2 0 1 2
Calendrier French Cultural Events in North America
• Compagnie 111 explores the dynamic of man versus machine in “Sans Objet,” part of BAM’s Next Wave Festival.
NOTA BENE In Compagnie 111’s “Sans Objet,” two nouveau cirque performers take the stage with an unlikely newcomer to show business: a huge robotic arm used for automobile manufacturing in the 1970s. Alternately humorous and unsettling, this exploration of the dynamic between man and machine is one of the many events slated for the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s 30th annual N ext W ave F estival . Also on the program: the ever-relevant Ionesco play “Rhinocéros” (see p. 60), presented by Paris’s Théâtre de la Ville, and “Paris Commune,” in which the theater troupe The Civilians uses period documents and songs to transport audiences back to 1871, when working-class people briefly took over the government of the French capital. Performances of the latter will take place in the 250-seat black-box theater at BAM’s newly inaugurated Richard B. Fisher Building. The 2012 Next Wave Festival continues through Jan. 19, 2013; for complete details, visit bam.org.
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A G L A É B O R Y; © S T E R L I N G A N D F R A N C I N E C L A R K A R T I N S T I T U T E , W I L L I A M S T O W N , M A ; © 2 0 12 S U C C E S S I O N H . M AT I S S E / A R T I S T S R I G H T S S O C I E T Y ( A R S ) , N E W Y O R K
A master draftsman and wildly prolific artist in multiple media, Honoré Daumier is best known for his satirical images of the rich and powerful, notably King Louis-Philippe and members of his July Monarchy. He and his fellow political cartoonists exercised their métier at considerable personal risk; Daumier’s depiction of the King as Gargantua earned him a six-month jail sentence. When Artists Attack the King: Honoré Daumier and La Caricature, 1830– 1835 presents 50 scathing visual com mentaries from the five-year period leading up to a government ban on political caricature. Through Nov. 11 at the Cantor Arts Center; museum.stanford.edu.
Brooklyn JEAN-MICHEL OTHONIEL
The name Jean-Michel Othoniel may not ring a bell for many Americans, but those who have visited Paris may well know his most famous work: the colorful glass and aluminum “Kiosque des Noctambules” crowning the entrance to the Palais Royal–Musée du Louvre Métro station. A number of the artist’s more transportable glass creations, including monumental necklaces and a fanciful bed, are among the 67 works on view in the mid-career retrospective Jean-Michel Othoniel: My Way. Before turning primarily to glass in the early 1990s, he favored mutable materials such as sulfur and wax. Intimate sculptures from this early period reflect his ongoing interest in the human body and metamorphosis. Through Dec. 2 at the Brooklyn Museum; brooklynmuseum.org.
Los Angeles GUSTAVE MOREAU
A Strange Magic: Gustave Moreau’s Salome centers on one of the artist’s best-known canvases, Salome Dancing Before Herod (1876), a dreamlike Orientalist concoction of architectural elements and symbolism drawn from different eras and cultures. Some 50 related paintings, drawings and preparatory studies from the Gustave Moreau Museum in Paris are on view, many for the first time in this country. Through Dec. 9 at the Hammer Museum; hammer.ucla.edu.
Toledo MANET’S PORTRAITS
Bringing together nearly 40 works from public and private collections around the world, Manet: Portraying Life focuses on the 19th-century master’s portraits, which often show their subjects in casual
settings rather than formally posed. These figures include the artist and his family, his literary friends, and contemporary actors and politicians. Among the highlights is Manet’s celebrated painting of writer Emile Zola, on loan from Paris’s Musée d’Orsay. Oct. 7, 2012, through Jan. 1, 2013, at the Toledo Museum of Art; toledomuseum.org.
Seattle WOMEN ARTISTS FROM THE POMPIDOU
A condensed version of an exhibition that occupied more than a floor of France’s national museum of modern art for nearly two years, Elles: Women Artists from the Centre Pompidou, Paris presents 130 works in all manner of media. This alternative survey of avant-garde art from 1907 to 2007 reveals not only how female artists navigated the prevailing, male-dominated movements of their time, but also how they forged paths of their own. Sonia Delaunay, Louise Bourgeois, Cindy Sherman, Frida Kahlo, Yayoi Kusama and Mona Hatoum are just a few of the dozens of talents included. Loosely chronological, the show is organized by theme: “Paris in the 1920s and 1930s,” “The Body,” “Narrations”…. This will be its sole U.S. presentation. Oct. 11, 2012, through Jan. 13, 2013, at the Seattle Art Museum; seattleartmuseum.org.
Montreal A HISTORY OF IMPRESSIONISM
A History of Impressionism: Great French Paintings from the Clark showcases 74 masterworks from the Williamstown, MA, museum. Bonnard, Degas, Monet, Sisley and all the other big names of that perennial favorite of Western art movements are represented—Renoir by no fewer than 21 canvases. A contrasting selection of works by Bouguereau, Gérôme and other Academic artists illustrates how radical the Impressionists were in their time. Oct. 13, 2012, through Jan. 20, 2013, at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts; mbam.qc.ca.
Berthe Morisot’s “The Bath” (1885-1886) charms viewers in “A History of •Impressionism: Great French Paintings from the Clark.”
Cleveland MARY CASSATT
Mary Cassatt and the Feminine Ideal in 19th-Century Paris combines works on paper by the expatriate American artist with depictions of women by such contemporaries as Berthe Morisot, one of the few other female Impressionists, Degas, Pissarro and Renoir. Presented thematically, the images capture an assortment of women, from affluent homemakers to ballerinas to prostitutes. Oct. 13, 2012, through Jan. 21, 2013, at the Cleveland Museum of Art; clevelandart.org.
Dallas POSTERS OF PARIS
Posters of Paris: Toulouse-Lautrec and His Contemporaries surveys the golden age of the affiche artistique, beginning with the work of Jules Chéret, who is credited with inventing the medium in the 1870s. As fin-de-siècle prosperity fueled advertising and artists sought to increase both their income and their audience, the A few eloquent lines convey •motion in Henri Matisse’s “Acrobatic Dancer” (1931-1932), on view in Baltimore.
city became a giant outdoor exhibition space. Affichomanie took hold, and collectors started tearing down posters as soon as they went up—understandable given how popular many of the images remain to this day. More than 100 affiches by Bonnard, Mucha and many others are displayed, along with various preparatory works. Oct. 14, 2012, through Jan. 20, 2013, at the Dallas Museum of Art; dallasmuseumofart.org.
Chicago THE BOUROULLEC BROTHERS
Originally presented at the Centre Pompidou-Metz in France, the midcareer retrospective Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec: Bivouac showcases more than a decade’s worth of the brothers’ innovative designs, a number of which reside in the permanent collections of New York’s Museum of Modern Art, London’s Design Museum and other prestigious institutions around the world. Embracing both the industrial and the artisanal, the practical and the lyrical, the Bouroullecs create not only chairs, tables and other furniture essentials but also “microarchitecture” that shapes and divides interior spaces—including the galleries for this F R A N C E • FA L L 2 012
Philadelphia DANCING AROUND THE BRIDE
In his 1912 painting Bride, Marcel Duchamp introduced a “juxtaposition of mechanical elements and visceral forms” that would reappear in his famous masterwork The Bride Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors, Even (The Large Glass) (1915–23). Its influence on four major postwar American artists is now the subject of Dancing around the Bride: John Cage, Merce Cunningham, Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg, and Marcel Duchamp. One example is Cunningham’s 1968 homage to Duchamp, Walkaround Time (1968), with a set by Johns that references The Large Glass. The Algerianborn, Paris-based artist Philippe Parreno designed the exhibition, which combines dozens of works of art with videos and live performances. Oct. 30, 2012, through Jan. 21, 2013, at the Philadelphia Museum of Art; philamuseum.org.
Washington, DC, and New York THE 24TH ANNUAL INTERNATIONAL FINE ART & ANTIQUE DEALERS SHOW The New York Times once described The International Fine Art & Antique Dealers Show as “a sprawling cabinet of wonders, an awesome hodgepodge of rare, beautiful and strange objects.” Indeed, the myriad works of art, craft and design displayed represent a wide array of styles, origins and eras— René Boivin’s “Feuille de Platane” brooch (1948), a highlight of the not to mention budgets, Armory show. with prices ranging from the hundreds to the millions. Beyond its great variety, IFAADS is known for its high standards of quality. Founded in 1989, it was New York’s first vetted fair—that is, the first to require that all objects be authenticated by a panel of experts, a process now de rigueur at major shows in the U.S. This year’s edition brings together 67 top American and European dealers, among them New York’s own Todd Merrill, London’s Wartski and Paris’s Martin du Louvre. Oct. 19 through 25 at New York’s Park Avenue Armory, with a preview party to benefit Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center on Oct. 18; haughton.com.
MEDIEVAL TO MONET
Founded in 1842, the Wadsworth Atheneum is the country’s oldest public art museum. This fall, it presents 75 highlights from its extensive holdings of French art in Medieval to Monet: French Paintings in the Wadsworth Atheneum, a Who’s Who of Impressionism, Neoclassicism, Realism and other major movements across the centuries: Monet, Degas, Gauguin, Poussin, Ingres, Courbet…. A companion exhibition titled Medieval to Modern: French Drawings and Pastels runs concurrently. Oct. 19, 2012, through Jan. 27, 2013; thewadsworth.org.
Matisse’s Dancers presents more than 30 works on paper and sculptures dating from 1909 through 1949. The centerpiece is a series of prints exemplifying the artist’s ability to capture figures in motion in a few eloquent lines. The show also includes dance-related sculptures by Rodin and Degas. Nov. 14, 2012, through Feb. 24, 2013, at the Baltimore Museum of Art; artbma.org.
Washington, DC XAVIER VEILHAN
(IN)balance is the first major U.S. museum exhibition of the works of the Parisbased multimedia artist Xavier Veilhan, whose take on the historical reflects a futuristic aesthetic and a fascination with cutting-edge technology; his 2009 show at Versailles summoned up the royal family’s departure in 1789 through a 50-foot-long faceted purple sculpture of a carriage and its team of six horses. The show includes photo-based works, paintings (some new) and sculpture, including a site-specific installation. Nov. 3, 2012, through Feb. 10, 2013, at The Phillips Collection; phillipscollection.org.
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New York MATISSE PAINTINGS
Fascinated by the artistic process, Henri Matisse once hired a photographer to document the evolution of his paintings and then conceived an exhibition that juxtaposed finished works with pictures of their earlier incarnations. He also painted the same image in different styles, a practice perhaps rooted in his days as a student copying the Old Masters. Matisse: In Search of True Painting brings together 48 paintings that illustrate how the artist used recurring motifs to experiment with perspective, color and other variables. A selection of sculptures and works on paper, including the 158 plates made from a series of drawings titled “Themes and Variations,” rounds out the show. Dec. 4, 2012, through March 13, 2013, at The Metropolitan Museum of Art; metmuseum.org.
PERFORMING ARTS Los Angeles, Berkeley, New York and Ann Arbor RHINOCÉROS
Paris’s Théâtre de la Ville visits four U.S. venues with its highly acclaimed production of Rhinocéros, Eugène Ionesco’s absurdist 1959 drama about the pressures of conformity and the power of brute force. Le Monde declared company director Emmanuel DemarcyMota’s staging a masterpiece when the show debuted in Paris in 2004. In French with English supertitles. Sept. 21 and 22 at UCLA’s Center for the Art of Performance, cap.ucla.edu; Sept. 27 through 29 at UC Berkeley’s Zellerbach Hall, calperfs.berkeley.edu; Oct. 4 through 6 at the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Howard Gilman Opera House, bam.org; and Oct. 11 through 13 at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor’s Power Center, ums.org.
San Francisco FRENCH CINEMA NOW
The San Francisco Film Society hosts French Cinema Now, a festival that combines screenings of recent releases from the French-speaking world with appearances by their directors. Oct. 24 through 30 at the Embarcadero Center Cinema; sffs.org.
L’INVITATION AU VOYAGE
The period-instrument ensemble Opera Lafayette performs L’Invitation au Voyage, an evening of chamber music inspired by the Greek “island of love” where Aphrodite is said to have come ashore after emerging from the sea—mainly as it appears in Watteau’s famous fête galante painting “The Pilgrimage to Cythera.” The program includes works by Clérambault, Elisabeth Jacquet de la Guerre, Fauré and Debussy. Featuring French soprano Emmanuelle de Negri. Oct. 30 at the Kennedy Center Terrace Theater and Nov. 2 at Weill Recital Hall (Carnegie Hall); operalafayette.org.
Miami FRANCE CINÉMA FLORIDE
The eighth annual France Cinéma Floride Film Festival screens the U.S. premieres of 10 French releases from 2012. Nov. 2 through 4 at Miami-Dade County Tower Theatre, with repeat screenings Nov. 9 through 11 at the Paragon Deerfield 8 in Broward County; francecinemafloride.com.
New York THE RODIN PROJECT
The Russell Maliphant Company performs the U.S. debut of its celebrated founder’s latest work, The Rodin Project, first presented in Paris this past January. Inspired by the “energy and twisting” of the 19th-century master’s forms, the six-dancer piece blends street and contemporary idioms and features a score by the Russian composer and cellist Alexander Zekke. Dec. 3 sneak preview and discussion with the choreographer at the Guggenheim Museum, guggenheim.org; Dec. 5 through 9 at The Joyce Theater, joyce.org.
France-Atlanta 2012 is a series of cultural, scientific, humanitarian and business events aimed at promoting innovation and French-American ties in the southeastern U.S. Highlights include choreographer Pierre Rigal’s Compagnie Dernière Minute dancing “Standards,” an hour-long hip-hop exploration of the tension between society and its codes, and saxophonist Raphaël Imbert performing his jazz tribute to William Faulkner in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the writer’s death. Oct. 25 through Nov. 10 at various venues; france-atlanta.org. —Tracy Kendrick For a regularly updated listing of cultural events, go to francemagazine.org.
C O U R R T E S Y O F I FA A D S
show. The exhibition’s title refers to this versatile, modular quality, embodied most famously by the award-winning “Algues,” plastic seaweed-like branches that can be snapped together in a variety of configurations. Oct. 20, 2012, through Jan. 20, 2013, at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago; mcachicago.org.
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A Place in the Sun by MICHEL FAURE
construction was in full swing along the Riviera. Luckily, Saint-Tropez times, drew the terrace of Saint-Tropez’s Café Sénéquier, he made escaped relatively unscathed. BB bought herself a waterfront home, all the people look alike, slumped in their chairs and hiding behind and other stars and a few business tycoons followed suit. And to sip a enormous sunglasses. This brilliantly ironic image encapsulates the coffee or enjoy a chocolate granita, there was just one place: Sénéquier. conformity of jaded holidaymakers and confirms that Sénéquier is With the ’60s, pop idols invaded the beaches. Baby boomers a true institution, the place to see and be seen when you’re in Saint- went skinny-dipping and danced all night long to “Twist à SaintTropez.This year, Sénéquier fêtes its 125th anniversary. I had always Tropez” performed by Dick Rivers and Les Chats Sauvages. Next believed that the history of Saint-Tropez began in 1954, when Brigitte to arrive were the ad execs, the Café de Flore’s telegenic intellectuBardot slinked barefoot down Quai Jean Jaurès in Roger Vadim’s movie als and pretty young things who rode in Mini Mokes and played Et Dieu créa la femme, so I’ve been brushing up on my history. pétanque on Place des Lices. Across from the café, the fishing boats As it turns out, the town was colonized by the Romans, conquered were replaced by splendid yachts, whose bridges were draped in by the Arabs and recaptured by the Genoans. Then in 1887, a pastry young people and bouquets of gladiolas. chef named Martin Sénéquier from May ’68 changed nothing, except the neighboring village of Cogolin for the irony. That was the year fell for a lovely Tropézienne, Marie, Sempé published his album Saintand asked her to marry him. She Tropez, whose cover featured the agreed but made it clear they had to Sénéquier terrace occupied by dozlive in her home town. So the couens of grumpy clones. One of my ple opened a pastry shop—Maison favorite drawings shows a man and a Sénéquier—down by the harbor, woman who’ve leaned their bicycles where Martin baked cakes and against the pier and are watching made award-winning white nougat. the sun set over the picturesque It probably wasn’t just the nougat, landscape. “It’s so beautiful,” says but soon enough, the town began the husband, “that only one word attracting savvy travelers. Guy de comes to mind—cash.…” Maupassant showed up to nurse his His remark sums up people’s syphilis in the sunshine, followed ambivalence about Saint-Tropez, by Paul Signac. Enchanted by the a charming village swarming with • Sénéquier, a St-Tropez legend, celebrates 125 years in business. tourists region’s beauty and luminosity, the whose simple architecture painter told his artist and writer friends about this little paradise. contrasts with the ostentation of its yachts; a place where provincial The 20th century brought even greater renown. In 1929, Martin gawkers mingle with flashy celebs. But it’s precisely that mixture of and Marie’s daughter, Lisette, married Casimir, who turned the popularity and exclusivity that has always guaranteed Saint-Tropez’s pastry shop into an outdoor café with bright red tables and chairs success. Here the dream is accessible to all; campers and CEOs drink and a sign reading “Pâtisserie – Tea Room – Glaces – Sénéquier.” their coffee at the same bistro. Former president Jacques Chirac never Colette, Jean Cocteau and Picasso were all spotted there. Then fails to stop at Sénéquier when he passes through Saint-Tropez, one came the war. It wasn’t until 1952 that Camille, Casimir’s daughter, of 3,500 customers this legendary café accommodates daily. You reopened the family business. Her timing couldn’t have been better, have to be clever and brazen to find a table. Many people hover near because a charming unknown named Brigitte Bardot arrived just seated customers, hoping they’ll get up and leave. But of course they three years later, dancing a killer mambo and riding her bike through do no such thing, taking sadistic pleasure in lingering over their tarte Saint-Tropez’s narrow streets. The French went wild for her. tropézienne. The only good time to sit on this infernal terrace is during It didn’t take long for our fathers to pull out their Michelin maps the winter, when it’s quiet. and locate the village; how convenient that they had just bought new But you don’t come here for the quiet. You come for the crowds, cars to vacation in the sunny South! Soon, Sénéquier’s terrace was the starlets and campers, the parties. Happiness is democratic in this packed, and triangular tables—still fire-engine red—were installed to republic of illusions. You can pretend you’re a star, smile at the girls, accommodate even more customers. dance, drink magnums of rosé and return to Paris tan, happy and broke. The mid-’50s were an optimistic time; we had just embarked on an Six decades after BB, Saint-Tropez is no longer the sleepy village that extended period of extraordinary growth, the baby boom was under seduced our parents. But it’s still the place to go for a good time. And f way, housing complexes were going up in the French suburbs, and I’d be surprised if our children didn’t follow in our footsteps. 64
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AY L I N
When Sempé, that great chronicler of modern
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Published on Sep 30, 2012
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