Life, Night Au Musée

2017

egg & dart blog

The weekend before last we went to the Louvre. If you’ve stuck with me this long, you might remember that we went all the time before parenthood changed our schedules. We had the amazing annual membership for those up to 30 years old (if you live in Paris and that description fits you, get it!) and we would meet after work for the Friday late night openings and just wander.

Musée du Louvre - egg & dart blog

The year I was pregnant with Élie was the same year they held the campaign to raise funds for the restoration of Winged Victory, my favorite sculpture, and, as you could donate in someone else’s name, I thought, “Wouldn’t it be wonderful to be able to donate in the new a baby’s name!” But É was due in January and we didn’t even know that he would be É since we were waiting to find out the baby’s sex.

I waited until that last minute anyway. Just in case. And what do you know, the baby was in a rush and made December 26th his birthday! So his first action on Earth (after stealing our hearts) was to help, in a small way, preserve that statue for many more years of visitors to one of our favorite places and I really, really love that. But we had never gotten to go see it with him and see the work that was done. We finally checked that off the list two Sundays past.

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I’ve started to feel an intense necessity to do all those things we haven’t done yet here or try all those restaurants I follow on Instagram or go back to our favorite spots in the city for a visit because 2017 is taking us away from Paris and into the south. We are moving! Sooner than R expected, MUCH sooner than I expected. I could write quite a bit about how being an expat has been for me, my love/hate (sometimes really hate) relationship with this city that everyone else seems to have stars in their eyes about, and how wrenching it feels to finally be leaving it but I will save that for some other posts, because it does bear talking about.

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A Eugène Isabey painting from a 2012 exhibit* – olive trees like those covering the South of France

The past month or so was been a blur of trying to wrap my head around this, a job interview for R, thinking, talking, thinking more, holidays, visiting our new city, Montpellier, scouting places to live, negotiations for a rental, prepping for and hosting visits of our current apartment, coordinating moving company quotes, and I don’t even remember what else. We’re sad to leave this little apartment that we love in a suburb we finally felt home in but come late February we will be starting a whole new adventure of living in a small village near Montpellier in the south and renting a whole and entire HOUSE! I haven’t lived in a single family house since I was two. Those are things we are pretty excited about! So while we try to soak up every second we can here, I’m also dreaming of spreading out in my own space for a studio/office in the new home. And I’m looking forward to sharing all those fun new things here on the blog come spring.

So cheers 2017, let’s make it a good one! I have so many thoughts and dreams to turn into plans but for now I’m wishing you all the best of years and hoping you’ll spend some of it following along here as we set off into new waters!

xo,

A.

  • You can read a bit about the Eugène Isabey exhibit here (my blog) & here (in French).

 

 

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La Grande Galerie de l'Evolution, Paris, France - egg & dart blog
Paris, Visiting France

La Grande Galerie de l’Evolution

La Grande Galerie de l'Evolution, Paris, France - egg & dart blog

It’s been months since our visit in February to the Grande Galerie de l’Évolution in Paris’ Jardin des Plantes. But as the weather gets colder, and we turn back to the indoors, I wanted to share this jewel box of a museum.

With four floors, there is a lot to see. The first floor is dedicated to species of the sea and the second to those of the land but the top two floors take a more philosophical approach with exhibits on man’s effect on the environment and evolution, and the mechanisms of evolution.

On our visit, we began with the second floor and its signature parade of exotic animals.

La Grande Galerie de l'Evolution, Paris, France - egg & dart blog

La Grande Galerie de l'Evolution, Paris, France - egg & dart blog

(Look at that little pudge! It’s always hard to believe how much they change in a few months. Élie was fascinated, especially by the elephants which he loves, but when the automated recording of an elephant trumpeting activated, he clung to his Papa for dear life, despite the volume being well adjusted to the space and not overly loud.)

The second floor opens above to the soaring ceiling, the top two floors being large balconies that run the entire perimeter of the space. You don’t notice it at first, it is so natural seeming, but that ceiling and the walls of the second floor are fitted with lighted panels that gradually change color and intensity to mimic a day on the savanna changing into evening. Sounds of insects and birds float through the space until you suddenly realize that is has become quite quiet and the panels have turned an ominous blue gray. The sound of a sudden downpour and thunderstorm sweeps through the floor as flashes of lightning travel across the ceiling. Then, as suddenly as it arrived, the storm is over and the panels melt into the soft colors of a rainbow after the storm. It is brilliant. And magical. Eventually the panels fade to a quiet night with crickets providing their song only to eventually start again with a dawn breaking and the day beginning. It is a testament to the place that the guards we encountered took great delight in telling us the little details not to be missed, like the one who smiled and told us “A storm is coming but watch the ceiling, there is a rainbow after!” when we noticed the change in atmosphere.

La Grande Galerie de l'Evolution, Paris, France - egg & dart blog

La Grande Galerie de l'Evolution, Paris, France - egg & dart blog

La Grande Galerie de l'Evolution, Paris, France - egg & dart blog

Of course, every kind of animal can be find here from the large and impressive to the tiny and delicate. And not just animals, plants are just as important in this story.

La Grande Galerie de l'Evolution, Paris, France - egg & dart blog

La Grande Galerie de l'Evolution, Paris, France - egg & dart blog

La Grande Galerie de l'Evolution, Paris, France - egg & dart blog

La Grande Galerie de l'Evolution, Paris, France - egg & dart blog

La Grande Galerie de l'Evolution, Paris, France - egg & dart blog

La Grande Galerie de l'Evolution, Paris, France - egg & dart blog

La Grande Galerie de l'Evolution, Paris, France - egg & dart blog

La Grande Galerie de l'Evolution, Paris, France - egg & dart blog

La Grande Galerie de l'Evolution, Paris, France - egg & dart blog

La Grande Galerie de l'Evolution, Paris, France - egg & dart blog

La Grande Galerie de l'Evolution, Paris, France - egg & dart blog

The backdrop of the exhibits, the building itself, is just as much a reason to visit as what is on display. Built in 1889, the museum was actually closed for years between 1965 and its reopening, relatively recently, in 1994. It has that wonderful, moody mix of its time: the elements of classical architecture refracted through the lens of the industrial revolution and the age of steam.

La Grande Galerie de l'Evolution, Paris, France - egg & dart blog

La Grande Galerie de l'Evolution, Paris, France - egg & dart blog

La Grande Galerie de l'Evolution, Paris, France - egg & dart blog

La Grande Galerie de l'Evolution, Paris, France - egg & dart blog

La Grande Galerie de l'Evolution, Paris, France - egg & dart blog

La Grande Galerie de l'Evolution, Paris, France - egg & dart blog

La Grande Galerie de l'Evolution, Paris, France - egg & dart blog

La Grande Galerie de l'Evolution, Paris, France - egg & dart blog

So there you have a peek into this treasure of Paris. It’s a wonderful place to visit and wander, and a perfect museum for children, too. Definitely put it on your list for a day indoors and check their website for film showings for both adults and children.

And I had to share these chairs for visitors to rest in because I just loved their design – such a perfect mix of echos of the space’s architecture and a modern sensibility!

La Grande Galerie de l'Evolution, Paris, France - egg & dart blog

La Grande Galerie de l’Évolution

36 rue Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire, 70005 Paris

Jardin des Plantes

xo,

A.

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design, Life, Styling

One Bamboo Table – A Design Exercise

egg & dart blog

Last time I was at my favorite brocante, one of the last things I picked up, arms full of bags and a toddler, was a bamboo folding table. For me, the best way to go at the flew market is with your gut: do you love it? Go with it! Are you not sure? Walk away. This method has never led me astray in almost ten years of brocanting. Do not over think it! So when the price was great and I didn’t have much to lose, I grabbed this little table knowing I’d figure out what to do with it when the time was right.

In the mean time, I decided to give myself the challenge of styling the table for two different set-ups: one as a bedside table and the other as a little writing desk using only what I had access to already at the house.

Bedside table

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I love this as a bedside table. If you have the space, it feels luxurious to have such a large surface to keep some of your favorite things nearby while still having space for the necessities.

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For me, those necessities are a place to have a glass of water at the ready and a dish for taking off jewelry at the end of the day. For years now, my favorite type of dish for that has been these beautiful vintage salt and pepper dishes! While I don’t keep pinch bowls of salt and pepper for daily use, the little bowls of these dishes are perfect for rings and earrings.

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Add books, a focal piece of artwork, maybe a favorite photograph (that one is my husband as a wee one!), and some green and you’ve a bedside table that is useful and inspiring!

Writing Desk

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I think we would all like to be better at finding the time to write notes and thank yous by hand. The time you spend thinking of someone while putting pen to paper creates something that feels so much more special than a digital note. I’m pretty sure if I had a pretty little writing spot like this, I’d be better at it, non?

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Favorite books and some to pull inspiring quotes from, a box for stamps, envelopes, and writing tools, and some cards ready to be addressed. What else does a writing desk really need? Oh, that pretty little box will be in the shop Friday!

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It was wonderful to sneak in the time to try these two set-ups and I’d love to try to find time (and space!) to do more. When I bought this table, I first pictured it for plants and artwork, but who knows how it will end up being used! What do you think?

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A special note of thanks to my assistant, above. I could have done it without you. But it maybe wouldn’t have been as much of a challenge. 😉

xo,

A.

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Uncategorized

Weekend Sale!

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To celebrate Small Business Saturday there’s a sale in the Brocante Moderne shop! 15% off + free gift wrapping on orders of 30€/$32 or more from now through Cyber Monday. Hurry over as this is the only sale of the season!

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Also, beautiful limited edition gift wrapping is now available to add on to any order during the holiday season, one less thing on your to do list, right? 😉

Here’s a peek at some of the latest editions to the shop (click the pictures to go right to the listings). Hop on over! And happy weekend!

Brocante Moderne

Brocante Moderne

Brocante Moderne

Brocante Moderne

Brocante Moderne

Brocante Moderne

Brocante Moderne

xo,

A.

 

 

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Chateau de Chenonceau - Loire Valley, France - egg & dart blog
Art, design, Visiting France

Chenonceau again

Chateau de Chenonceau - Loire Valley, France - egg & dart blog

It’s not the first time we’ve been to Chenonceau, and, you might remember, not the first time I’ve written about it (1 & 2). But it is one of those places that you hold dear to your heart. There is something about it besides its location spanning the beautiful Cher River, or its grand but comfortable dimensions, or even its ornate detail. It must be its soul.

Chateau de Chenonceau - Loire Valley, France - egg & dart blog

Chateau de Chenonceau - Loire Valley, France - egg & dart blog

Halloween day turned out to be a glorious sunny day in central France and, lucky us, R and I had planned to leave É and his Mamette to have fun for the day while we went our way. The first time we’ve been gone that long since he was born I think.

It was autumn, my favorite season, and I knew I wanted to go soak up the inspiration and beauty of my favorite chateau. That we needed that. Luckily R was in complete agreement and, to our surprise, we realized it had been more than 5 years since our last visit, after our French wedding in 2011. So we set out for Chenonceau.

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The Chateau dates to the 16th century when Thomas Bohier and his wife Katherine Briçonnet demolished the existing castle and mill to build the chateau we see today, minus the wing spanning the river. Katherine supervised the work and incorporated modern art and design, like the flights of straight rather than spiral staircases, a model brought from Italy.

Katherine lived for just two years longer after the castle was finished but she said and had carved into the doors, along with their initials ‘TBK’, this saying: “S’il vient à point, me souviendra” (If it is completed, I will be remembered). I think she succeeded.

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Chateau de Chenonceau - Loire Valley, France - egg & dart blog

Known also as the ‘Chateau des Dames‘ (castle of the ladies), Chenonceau was seized by the crown from Katherine’s son for unpaid debates and King Henri II’s mistress, the famous Diane de Poitiers took up residence. She oversaw the building of the wing over the river, at that time a bridge, and extensive flower and vegetable gardens. While she was particularly fond of Chenonceau, she was forced to give it back to Henri’s widow at his death, Catherine de Medici, who transformed the bridge into a 2-story wing where she hosted spectacular fêtes and balls. The first fireworks seen in France were displayed over Chenonceau.

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Chateau de Chenonceau - Loire Valley, France - egg & dart blog

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The clever contraption above has a weight on the other end of the rope which hangs out the window over the river. As the weight drops down, the movement rotates the spits on the fire in the kitchen!

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Chateau de Chenonceau - Loire Valley, France - egg & dart blog

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The bedroom on the second floor where this arrangement was is called the Five Queens Room for Catherine’s two daughters and three daughters-in-law, one of whom was Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots. There were so many people visiting I wasn’t able to photograph them, but Mary’s guards left fascinating graffiti carved in the chapel walls on the first floor, including “Man’s anger does not accomplish God’s justice.

Year-round the chateau is filled with the amazing arrangements of Jean-François Boucher. They are always perfection and are an integral part of what keeps the chateau and its history alive for visitors. You can follow his work on Instagram.

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Chateau de Chenonceau - Loire Valley, France - egg & dart blog

Chateau de Chenonceau - Loire Valley, France - egg & dart blog

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The line of ladies of Chenonceau continued when Louise de Lorraine withdrew to mourn her husband, King Henri III, to this room on the top floor in 1589. With black walls adorned with the symbols of mourning and dark textiles, Louise would have glowed in royal white mourning clothes in this room. While hers was the last royal residence of the chateau, the line of women mistresses continued even through the World Wars when Chenonceau played an important role as a hospital.

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Chateau de Chenonceau - Loire Valley, France - egg & dart blog

Here I promised myself that I would offer a visual tour of our time at Chenonceau and not go into too much written detail! But I love this place and its history is such a fascinating and important part of its soul.

If you can, plan your visit to the chateau so as to finish in the dying light of the day before you leave. The magic of the windows spilling golden light onto the gardens and river is not to be missed! Like being able to peek in to see the household of Catherine de Medici bustling around preparing for the evening meal to be laid. The past still lives here.

Chateau de Chenonceau - Loire Valley, France - egg & dart blog

Chateau de Chenonceau

open year round with special decorations for the holiday season

xo,

A.

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