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Welcome 2 France Newsletter March 2011
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This Month's Featured Apartments

Saint Germain des Pres - Champagny

A one-bedroom, one bathroom gem in the upscale 7th arrondissement is a perfect getaway for a couple. A sofa-bed in the living room pulls out to sleep two more if needed. The apartment is conveniently located on the ground floor of a nineteenth century building overlooking a basilica on a residential street. A small terrace even provides a spot for breakfast al fresco on a spring morning.

Champs Elysées - Tour Eiffel - Place des Etats Unis

Live large in this beautiful 3-bedroom, 3-bathroom apartment. Perfect for a big family or for three couples who enjoy traveling together, this apartment not only has 2000 plus sq ft of space and all the mod cons, it has a terrific view of the Eiffel Tower outside the living room window. Enjoy the tower from a private terrace as well!

March Newsletter

Rooting for Rodin

One of my favorite museums in Paris devoted to a single artist is the Musée Rodin named for the French sculptor Auguste Rodin (1840-1917). Located near the Hotel des Invalides, the Musée Rodin is housed in the magnificent Hotel Biron, an eighteenth century mansion purchased by Duc de Biron, the Governor of Languedoc, in 1753.

The Hôtel Biron was later subdivided into apartments, which were subsequently rented out to artists and writers as studios. Rodin spent the last nine years of his life working there. The mansion now fittingly houses a significant collection of Rodin's works donated by him to the State the year before he died.

Rodin, much like the Impressionists he worked alongside, breathed new life into the traditional world of art, specifically into that of sculpture. His technique was to model in clay, not to carve. Rodin then hired studio assistants to render copies of his clay models in plaster and bronze, and also to replicate them by carving in marble under his supervision.

Camille Claudel, also Rodin's lover and source of inspiration, was one of his better-known helpers. She has since received recognition as a sculptress in her own right.

The museum has nearly 500 Rodin sculptures in its collection, including original marbles, bronze and plaster casts. It's easy to recognize the iconic Thinker, The Kiss and The Hand of God. The equally famous Gates of Hell were cast after Rodin's death in 1926 and have been in the mansion since the late 1930's. They were inspired by Michelangelo's Last Judgement as well as by Lorenzo Ghiberti's Gates of Paradise.

In the museum are also more than 5000 sketches and watercolors by Rodin, along with his personal art collection, with works by Van Gogh, Monet and Renoir.

Be sure not to miss the beautiful gardens in the back of Hotel Biron, which can be visited independently. They are a fine example of formal French gardens with mature trees and hundreds of rose bushes. Interspersed, of course, are more of Rodin's works, such as The Burghers of Calais.

Musée Rodin
77 Rue de Varenne
Metro: Varenne

Vintage Vixen

Lately I've become a vintage-clothing hound. Call me a chameleon in the tough economy or simply someone who likes to mix things up. Last year, I picked up a vintage Guy Laroche chinoiserie-inspired matching top and jacket, along with a 1950's Hermès scarf, all for a fraction of the price I would have had to pay for buying similar items today. Yet they are chic and classic, and add a certain je ne sais quoi to whatever recent items of clothing I pair them with.

If you have a penchant for finding and wearing vintage treasures, the best place to go clothes shopping in Paris is to Didier Ludot's triad of vintage boutiques. Monsieur Ludot hits all the right notes with his shops and selections.

First, he has an ultra chic, red-carpet-ready boutique that carries the finest, most gently used haute couture, the crème de la crème of fashion, custom-tailored to individual dames. Think of sweeping glamorous Dior and Givenchy gowns. These are not cheap, but way less expensive than the current selection offered at the namesake stores. If you have a special soirée to attend, or a grand wedding, make this stop a must. No one else will be wearing an outfit like yours.

For the rest of us, Ludot has a prêt-a-porter or ready-to-wear boutique next door, again filled with smart vintage clothes by the likes of Chanel, marginally more affordable, just as much fun to browse through. Restored shoes and handbags are also available.

If you notice the conspicuous lack of black, pop around the corner to the most useful vintage clothing store known to womankind. That which specializes in the ubiquitous little black dress.

In this boutique, La Petite Robe Noire, engage the shopkeeper to help you find the classic black dress for all seasons and multiple occasions. The grey and red accented space is perfect for showcasing rack after rack of LBD's. Be sure there is one for everyone, including a selection of petite noire dresses designed by Monsieur Ludot himself.

Didier Ludot
20-24 Galerie de Montpensier

Le Petite Robe Noire
125 Galerie de Valois

Art for Custom's Sake

Only in Paris can one find a custom art supply shop and that is what has defined the Sennelier art supply store for more than a century. In 1887 Gustave Sennelier opened his namesake store to cater to Parisian artists. If locations mean anything, which they do, his business was close to both the Louvre Museum and the most famous art school in Paris, the Ecole Des-Beaux-Arts.

At first Sennelier sold supplies made by other manufacturers, but he soon created his own niche in the market. He became fascinated by making his own materials and travelled far and wide for pigments based on minerals and plants. He rather romantically bound his custom pigments with honey from the French Alps and probably organic eggs.

In any case, artists such as Cézanne and Picasso became regulars.

  If they wanted a particular shade or hue that wasn't available, Sennelier would conjure it up for them with his magic potions. For Picasso, he created the oil pastel, with a waxy not powdery finish that was more resilient to smudging and user-friendly on multiple surfaces.

The art supply store is still run by the Sennelier family and will bring out the artist in anyone. Shop for supplies ranging from colored pencils to mahogany easels, and of course, the Sennelier brand of pastels, gouaches and so forth.

3 Quai Voltaire

Calendar of Events, March 2011


April 27-May 1
La Bastille Modern Art Fair
Place de la Bastille,
Place de la Bastille, Metro: Bastille
€8 (open daily)

Festival of Modern Designs
Rue du General Foy, Metro: St Augustin
€12 (time varies)

February 9-May 23
Cranach Exhibition
Musée du Luxembourg
19 Rue de Vaugirard, Metro: Odeon, Saint-Sulpice
€11; free under 13's (open daily)

April 27-May 1
La Bastille Modern Art Fair
Place de la Bastille, Metro: Bastille
€8 (open daily)

Exhibitions and Other Museums

Art Paris
Galeries Nationales du Grand Palais
Grande Palais
3 Avenue du General Eisenhower, Metro: Champs-Elysées-Clemenceau
€11 (dates vary)

Printemps du Cinéma
Locations vary
€3.50 per screening

Music, Theater and Dance

April 20-May 18
Tosca by Giacomo Puccini
Opéra Bastille
Place de la Bastille, Metro: Bastille

June 16-Jul 16
Cosi Fan Tutte by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Opéra Garnier
Place de l'Opera, Metro: Opera

The Bolshoi Ballet
Palais Garnier
Place de l'Opéra, Metro: Opéra
€5-180 (times and programs vary)

Paris Chopin Festival
Orangerie de Bagatelle
Orangerie de Bagatelle, Metro: Port Maillot, then bus to Bagatelle
€ (time and programs vary)

June 21
Fête de la Musique in the Musée d'Orsay
Musée d'Orsay, Metro: Solférino
€ Free


French Wine Fair
Palais de la Bourse/Palais Brogniart, Metro: Bourse Grands Boulevards
€ (times and dates vary)

March 6
Paris Carnaval
Place Gambetta, Metro: Gambetta


February 5-March 19
Six Nations Championships: France
Stade de France, Metro: Saint-Denis Porte de Paris
€ (dates vary)

Note: the information in the newsletter and calendar are accurate when we publish, but things do change, so it's always a good idea to check before you go.

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Thank you for your interest and best regards,

The Welcome 2 France team
Tel. 1 (650) 267-4328
(free local call number in U.S. or Canada)

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