April 29, 2010

Z = Fun at Zebra Square...

Our final day in Paris... what else but a PARTY at Zebra Square... 
there's a lot a room for all of us... LOVE the decor... 
entertainment will be by Katie Melua whose song is featured on the Zebra Square website...

hope you are enjoying all of this lounging atmosphere...
and as we celebrate the last day of April in Paris... we dine on lobster...
sip lovely champagne...
nibble yummy desserts...
and bid adieu to the A to Z Challenge... merci to all who have joined moi on this adventure!!! It's been FABULOUS and FUN!!!

Paintings of the April in Paris Adventure are available in prints and ORIGINAL PAINTINGS @ Bargain Prices... more than 50% off ... visit my MY GALLERY!!!

Y = Château d'Yquem... literature and cinema...

Château d'Yquem itself was acquired by Jacques de Sauvage in December of 1593. De Sauvage acquired the property from the French monarchy by exchanging other lands that he owned for what was then referred to as the 'House of Yquem'.

The site has been home to a vineyard since at least 1711 when the estate became fully owned by Léon de Sauvage d'Yquem. In 1785 it passed to the Lur-Saluces family when Françoise-Joséphine de Sauvage d'Yquem married Count Louis-Amédée de Lur-Saluces, the godson of Louis XV and Lady Victoire de France. Monsieur Lur-Saluces died three years later, and his wife henceforth focused her energy on sustaining and improving the estate; indeed, the Château as it is now known is largely due to her work, as well as that of her descendants, who ran the property for over 200 years and whose name remains on the label to this day.

Château d'Yquem references in literature and cinema...

-In the sixth Episode of the Japanese TV-Series My Little Chef Château d'Yquem plays a vital role.

-Proust's hero in À la recherche du temps perdu "...sips Yquems which lay concealed in the Guermantes cellars."

-Fyodor Dostoevsky mentions Château d'Yquem in part II of The Possessed (also known as The Devils or Demons) as the last wine drunk by a young man in a hotel who commits suicide after having squandered 400 roubles given to him by his family to make purchases for his sister's wedding.

-In her autobiography, My Life in France, Julia Child mentions celebrating Christmas Eve in 1949 and 1950 with a bottle of 1929 Château d'Yquem with Peter and Mari Bicknell in Cambridge, England.

-Château d'Yquem is a favorite of Hannibal Lecter. In the novel Hannibal, he tracked down and purchased a bottle of Château d'Yquem that was bottled in the year of Clarice Starling's birth as a 33rd birthday gift for her.

-Château d'Yquem is referenced in Vladimir Nabokov's novel Pnin, as Pnin prepares his heady 'Pnin's Punch' for his home-warming party. The mixture contains chilled Château d'Yquem, grapefruit juice, and maraschino.

-Château d'Yquem is said to be the favourite wine of Old Etonian Denys Finch Hatton (1887-1931), the Kenya-based white hunter, aviator,bon vivant, and lover of novelist Isak Dinesen (Karen Blixen).

-Château d'Yquem is the wine used to poison Mikhail Skobelev in Boris Akunin's novel The Death of Achilles.

-Château d'Yquem is mentioned by the narrator in the novel Una familia lejana [Distant Relations] by Carlos Fuentes.

-There is a mention of Château d'Yquem in Ocean's 13, in a scene when Matt Damon tells a joke with a 1973 Yquem.

-Château d'Yquem is mentioned in Harold Q. Masur's 1949 novel, Suddenly a Corpse.

-Château d'Yquem is the favourite tipple of Darcy Dancer, Gentleman, in works by J. P. Donleavy.

-A bottle of Château d'Yquem appears in the end of episode Body and Soul from TV series Star Trek: Voyager. It is mentioned by character 'Seven of Nine' (citing the Culinary Database) as the ideal accompaniment to a Foie Gras with Truffle meal.

-A bottle of infamous "Thomas Jefferson" Château d'Yquem is mentioned in Season 3 Episode 6 of the Showtime series Dexter, when describing the greatness of a Miami-based restaurant's wine cellar.

-Humphrey Bogart mentions Château d'Yquem in the film We're No Angels.

-Fifi Flowers famous words... "Let's buy a case of Château d'Yquem and celebrate... Long Live April in Paris!"


and I say we celebrate here at Château d'Yquem...

Merci beaucoup to my friend Kirsten Lobe (living, writing and being a maman in Paris) for giving moi this information via Wikipedia.

Tomorrow is the end... le sigh... of April in Paris... and the end of my A to Z Challenge... À demain...

April 28, 2010

X = X Marks the Spot in Paris

Whether you're a seasoned visitor to Paris or on your first visit, the Paris Mystery Tour will show you Paris in a way like no other.

(image via HERE)

Crack the clues, guide yourself around this great city and expect to discover something new both on and off the beaten track.

A Mystery Tour is a self-guided journey around an area of a tourist city where the route you take depends on your answers to a set of clues, questions and puzzles that can be tackled in any order.

There's no tour bus, no tour guide and no headphones. Instead, they supply you with a map and a series of conundrums that send you on a journey of discovery of a city's past and present.

It's a fun way to get your bearings, see major sights, discover hidden corners, pick up interesting facts along the way and start to get a flavour of the history, architecture and people of Paris.

The information in this post is via X Marks the Spot... I've never taken this tour, but it sounds INTERESTING!!!  Sorry no paintings today... still bizeeeeeee doing commissioned paintings and working on the last to days of this A to Z Challenge... "Y" and "Z" in Paris will be PARTY DAYS come back with your fancy frocks!!!

April 27, 2010

W = Wine Museum in Paris

Today... we visit the Musée du Vin Paris...
In the abbey of Passy, in the heart of Paris, monks produced their own wine in the 14th century by cultivating a vineyard on the Chaillot Hill. Today, these cellars exhibit old bottles, wax models, vats and other tools used for winemaking. At the end of the visit, enjoy a glass of wine accompanied by some foie gras

How to get there... Metro line 6 : Passy... Bus: 72

Opening... The Wine Museum closes every year from December 24th to January 1st. The wine Museum is open from Tuesday to Sunday from 10 AM to 6 PM...

and after the lovely tour... there is a restaurant...

of course there is also wine tasting... 
and wine classes... 
Shall we sign up???  oui oui oui... I know that it will be on my list of things to visit next time I am REALLY in Paris... and drinking wine along the Seine (painting available)...

Now... I'm off to VIRTUALLY wander around Paris and find the letter "X"... hmmmm... not sure what I will find... come back tomorrow to find out as my A to Z Challenge continues!

Looking for a painting to remember this VIRTUAL trip... visit it my shopping Gallery!!!

April 26, 2010

V= Vie as in La Vie Parisienne

'La Vie Parisienne' was one of the more famous and well-known of specifically Parisienne magazines. Originally intended as a guide to the privileged social and artistic life in the French capital, it soon evolved into a mildly risqué publication in which illustrations of scantily clad damsels abounded.

It was all done in very good taste though it had more than its fair share of detractors. General Pershing for one is said to have personally warned American servicemen against purchasing the magazine - for little good that would have done. 'La Vie Parisienne' was also banned in certain countries such as neighboring Belgium for instance, though in war-time it appeared that such silly regulations were not always adhered to. (info via HERE)

I adore all these illustrations... would LOVE to illustrate one of these magazine covers "Fifi style"!!!

This is the last week of my A to Z Challenge... April in Paris... stop by all week!!!

April 23, 2010

U & T = "U"nder PINK "T"rees in Paris...

Bardot in Blue photographs the Tour Eiffel from under PINK trees...

PINK hat in PINK tree...

PINK hat on trés adorable Bardot in Blue... and according to her "was conceived in Canada. Born and raised in California. Destined for Paris"…

anddddddddd Fifi's painting under PINK trees in Paris (painting available and many MORE at Bargain prices)...

Nowwwww... be sure to go visit lovely Bardot in Blue... she has FABULOUS photos of Paris!!!  Anddddd be sure to visit other A to Z Challenges and PINK participant on Saturday via Beverly of How Sweet the Sound... Bon week-end to EVERYONE!!!

April 22, 2010

S = Sweet Lessons in Paris

Lenôtre, Creator of pure indulgence.

(these two images via HERE)

As the prestige arm of Accor group, Lenôtre is an ambassador for french gastronomy across the world.

Including pastry, catering, chocolate, candy, event organisation and restaurants, the group now has 52 luxury gastronomy outlets across 13 countries.

As partner of major international events, prestige caterer and member of the Colbert Committee, Lenôtre operates parisian institutions le Pré Catelan and le Pavillon Elysée, whilst the Culinary and Pastry schools teach professionals from the world over and a growing number of amateur foodies.

ELYSEE PAVILLON... A temple of gastronomy...

Built opposite the Grand Palais in 1900 for the universal exhibition, the Pavillon Lenôtre was entirely remodeled in 2003 with a contemporary gourmet touch.

The Pavillon Elysée Lenôtre is consecrated to the art of entertaining. At the same address, on the world’s most beautiful avenue, you will find a culinary and pasty school open to adults and children alike, a Café Lenôtre, a gourmet store and a reception venue.

Le Pavillon Elysée is the place for epicurians who are passionate about gastronomy, fashionistas taking a break from shopping on the avenue Montaigne and for the hip events of Paris society.

Won't you join moi at my table and we can sample some sweets!!!  Or if you like you can take a SWEET class and I will be waiting here to sample what you make... ooh la la what a SWEET idea from my A to Z Challenge!!!

Sorry no paintings... currently, I am working on several commissions... MAYBE one is a GIFT for YOU!!!  J'adore painting special GIFTS... and paintings are soooo personal and lovely keepsakes!!!  If you have someone special you would like a UNIQUE gift for... email me about commissioning a painting of their favorite photo of their pet, house, vacation, etc etc!!!

ENJOY your day... see you tomorrow for "T" and "U"... we are getting to the end of the alphabet and the end... le sigh... of our April in Paris adventures.

April 21, 2010

R = Risqué, Racy Frenchy Novel

FIRST... a few words about "a courtesan"...

Diane de Poitiers, the mistress of French King Henri II
(image taken from HERE)

A courtesan was originally a woman courtier, which means a person who attends the court of a monarch or other powerful person. In feudal society, the court was the centre of government as well as the residence of the monarch, and social and political life were often completely mixed together. In Renaissance Europe, courtiers played an extremely important role in upper-class society. As it was customary during this time for royal couples to lead separate lives — commonly marrying simply to preserve bloodlines and to secure political alliances — men and women would often seek gratification and companionship from people living at court. In fact, the verb "to court" originally meant "to be or reside at court", and later came to mean "to behave as a courtier" and then "to pay amorous attention to somebody". The most intimate companion of a ruler was called the favourite.

As a result, in Renaissance usage, the Italian word "cortigiana", feminine of "cortigiano" (courtier) came to refer to "the ruler's mistress", and then to a well-educated and independent woman of free morals, eventually a trained artisan of dance and singing, especially one associated with wealthy, powerful, or upper-class men who provided luxuries and status in exchange for companionship. The word was borrowed by English from Italian through the French form "courtisane" during the 16th century, especially associated to the meaning of "court-mistress" and "prostitute".

A male figure comparable to the courtesan was the Italian cicisbeo, the French chevalier servant, the Spanish cortejo or estrecho. It actually seems that the figure of the chevalier servant (French, lit. serving cavalier, lady's escort) of a married lady was quite common in Europe up to the 18th century.

There is a LONG list of French courtesans or royal mistresses via HERE.  One very well known courtesan (seen in the famous painting above) was Jeanne-Antoinette Poisson, Marquise de Pompadour, also known as Madame de Pompadour (29 December 1721 – 15 April 1764), was a member of the French court, and was the official maîtresse-en-titre of Louis XV from 1745 to 1750. The maîtresse-en-titre was the chief mistress of the king of France. It was a semi-official position which came with its own apartments. The title really came into use during the reign of Henry IV of France and continued till the end of the Ancien Régime... a list of these women can be found HERE (via Wikipedia)

Today, the term courtesan has become a euphemism to designate an escort or a prostitute, especially one who attracts wealthy clients. (via Wikipedia)

Andddddddddddd... that brings us to our MODERN day courtesan novel... "French Trysts: Secrets of a Courtesan" by Kirsten Lobe, a former fashion designer from New York, and the author of the novel Paris Hangover. Six years ago, Kirsten followed her dream; leaving NYC’s Tribeca for Paris’ St. Germain where she now writes, exhibits her oil paintings and is “maman” to her new son, Oscar Maximilian.

and to my blogging BOOK CLUB friend Carmie, The Single Nester... and her Review and Recommendation...

If you love all things French, from haute couture to architecture, from food to yes, sex, then this read is for you.

Not knowing what a courtesan was, I quickly found out when on the first page, Alex is trying to decide which earrings will work best for an orgy; hoops or studs.

Follow Alex as she goes from struggling art student to sexy courtesan pulling out every stop in her Kama Sutra. A fun, quick read, I do wonder how the author knows so much about this lifestyle. It felt to me as if Alex's main lover was modeled after the head of uber-luxury house, LVMH.

I found that my 8 years of French were not so rusty after all. And I now know how to say condom in French. You never know. It might come in handy one day.


Welllll... Carmie, you're right... you never know... anddddd I soooo adored all the "Frenglish" or franglais throughout the book... it's the way I speak French... LOL... I think I can sum up Alex's life as a courtesan... it started with ice cream...
moved on to an Hermès saddle...
ended with "WILD"flowers...
and LOVE prevailed... is that about right, Carmie?  Not giving anything away and maybe NOW... people are wondering what this all means, non?

Anddddd to mon amie Kirsten... I enjoyed the book... HOWEVER, it might not be for everyone... soooooo let me suggested your FIRST novel, Paris Hangover... I LOVED it!!! 

"A glamorous fish-out-of-water first novel, Paris Hangover stars Klein, a just-escaped New Yorker with trunk-fulls of fabulous footwear but without the significant relationship she'd really expected and longed to have by now, in her mid-thirties. Fleeing a live-in lover and their sleek Tribeca triplex as well as a career in fashion, Klein stars over in Paris-in a tiny walk-up in the 6th that she had to lie (in broken Franglais) and write a bad check to get, only to discover that, among other things, Parisian apartments don't come with kitchens.

Living out of her ten piece of (Louis Vuitton, natch) luggage, Klein plunges into the mysterious world of French men and dating. She muddles her way through: the sexy Renaud, the prototypical Frenchman; dating three men named Jean simultaneously; and one completely wrong Monsieur Married Man, who wants Klein for his very well-kept mistress.

Set against a backdrop of knowing references to Paris and its unique manners and mores, Paris Hangover is ultimately a very satisfying modern romance as Klein falls-- possibly permanently--for the least likely man to catch her eye." (via Macmillan Books)

Happy Frenchy Novel reading to everyone and be sure to good read an interview with Kirsten Lobe ...

À demain... See you all tomorrow as my April in Paris... A to Z Challenges continues... S will be for SWEET... what will I tell you about... hmmmmm
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