Insights • Inspirations • Destinations • Design

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Paris When It Sizzles

Paris is beautiful any time of the year; when it rains, when it sizzles, when it changes mood from sunny to subdued. I've lingered in Paris so often I've come to think of it as my second home. In saying that, I'm having a torrid affair with New York at the moment so I'm actually cheating on the City of Love, I'm afraid to say. I do hope Paris lets me come back when I've had enough of Manhattan's wicked ways.

Here, in a travel tribute to Valentine's Day, are some of my favourite scenes, images and inspirations from what is still the most beautiful, most romantic, most spectacularly lovely place in the world. (Sorry, Buenos Aires.)   {Above image via the official Diana Vreeland website – – another woman who was mad for Paris.}

Audrey Hepburn as Gaby in Paris When It Sizzles (1964).

Filming Paris When It Sizzles atop a rooftop terrace with the Eiffel Tower in the background. Look at those gentlemen looking bored. How could you be bored going to work with a view like this  everyday? Pick yourselves up people!

Audrey in a promotional still from Funny Face. (This was the hat she went fishing in the Seine with. Isn't it gorgeous? I wish my fishing hat looked as glamorous.)

Pink peonies at the Rue Cler street market.

A deliciously pink patisserie in the 5th arrondissement.

Mrs Haris Goes To Paris. Apparently this book is delightful. As is the movie. I just adore the cover. And the whimsical title. Has anybody read it or see the film? Is it as really good as they say?

Schiaparelli pink walls at the Musee Nissim Camondo, Paris.

A hot pink door in the Left Bank. Who knew hot pink could look so sophisticated in a front door?

Chantal Thomass' French home, dressed in her signature pink. {Via Madame magazine, October 2009}

The gorgeously ornate facade of Chantal Thomass' Paris boutique. I'm not a fan of the lingerie but I'll take the architecture any day...

A scene from Vogue's fabulous shoot on French haute couture, wittily entitled A Handmade's Tale. This was taken in the Givenchy atelier.

Pale pink walls and panelling with two black-and-white striped chaises. Very Parisian! I love this image. It may not be Paris but it's clearly taking a leaf out of the place. From the book A Passion for Collecting.

The perfect handbag to have in Paris. By Kate Spade.

Another scene from Vogue's story on Parisian haute couture.

Sarah Jessica Parker dressed in Dior. Photographed by Mario Testino for American Vogue. Have you ever seen such a sumptuously beautiful gown?

Two of the designs created in a collaboration with Taillardat, a manufacturer specializing in luxurious high-quality reproductions of 18th century furniture including Marie Antoinette, Louis XV, Louis XVI, Empire, and Directoire styles. The company invited five key figures in the design and fashion worlds to create pieces of furniture that embodied the luxury of the 18th century style that they are known for. These two pieces were by Chantal Thomass. The top image is a glamorous pouf made of black varnished beechwood and nickel plated nails, with fabric by Pierre Frey. The image below it is a smoking chair with a cigarette box, made of black varnished beechwood and nickel plated nails, also featuring fabric by Pierre Frey. Too, too beautiful to sit on!

Fauchon department store, one of the most wildly colourful interiors in all of Paris. And the food is fabulous too. (Tip: Head here for a light lunch or a picnic-to-go: their takeaway meals are so exquisite, you'll have a difficult time deciding what to get.) {Via}

The Eiffel Suite of the Plaza Athénée, Paris. (The hotel Carried stayed in during the Sex and the City episodes shot in Paris.) Look at that view. {Via Plaza Athénée}

A lovely piece fom an old Balenciaga collection. Love the dress, the setting, the glorious glamour of it all...

Did you know there's actually a paint colour called 'Pink Chanel Suit'?

The islands of Paris, which are at their most beautiful at dusk.

A dress from the latest Dior collection. I'm so in love with this frock!

And one last image to end the Parisian fantasy... It's rare to see pink cafe chairs in Paris. How cute are the tables? {Source unknown}


  1. What a totally breathtaking post!!
    The pink smoking chair is exactly the colour of my pink chair (when it was pink!!!)
    I like the new design for ease of reading but the old one was so dramatic and it was like going on an adventure finding everything!!!
    Do hope I make it on to your blog roll when it goes up because you are just going to be soooo big!!!! xxx

  2. My heart is in Paris can't wait to visit. Love your beautiful blog and enjoyed every post look forward to visiting again. Hope you have an amazing Valentine’s Day.

    Always Wendy

  3. Oh Le Sigh... I want to visit Paris again. Such beautiful images Janelle..Thank you - what a lovely eve of Valentine's day post. Hope all going well. x

  4. p.s. forgot to say - Big thumbs up to the new layout - very smart. Sarah x

  5. UTTERLY GORGEOUS!! Paris, Schiaparelli Pink, and macarons - what's not to love?? Thanks for another mouth watering post! Exx

  6. Another beautiful post. Yes, I have read "Mrs Harris goes to Paris", but a very long time ago! As I recall, it is about a cleaning lady saving to buy a couture dress.
    I do like your redesigned blog, it's making it easier for me to read all the earlier posts.
    Also, you have inspired me to pick up the camera again and take holiday snaps, as a result of the the photography tips you have posted. So thank you.

  7. Oh Janelle. I'm * sighing* in Hobart. This is such a divine post. Thanks for all your effort in putting it together. How utterly sublime. J x

  8. Thank you Wendy. Very touched by your note. So nice to hear from a new reader. Do hope you continue to like The Library in 2012.

  9. Thank you Sarah and Julienne. And thank you for your helpful comments on the difficulties of navigating The Library Julienne. I had no idea the sidebar lines weren't showing up. My little Apple laptop must have been the only computer that showed them! Or perhaps the problem was with the librarian...???


  10. Thank you so much E (always such lovely comments) and Claire. And I'm glad you're using your camera again Claire. I hope you enjoy it!


  11. What a beautiful looking post. You know until a year last December I didn't get Paris but we went (and stayed at The Plaza Athenee funnily enough, the hotel was fine but the restaurant served me the best meal of my life)
    and walked and walked and walked and it finally fell into place for me. I had been 8 times before and never really understood what people saw in the city. I think we're going back to the south of France this summer - that's one of my favourite parts of the world.

  12. Hi Jane and Tabitha,
    Lovely to hear from you glamorous ladies, as always. And I know what you mean about Paris Tabitha. It can be quite polarising. Sometimes you're uncertain by it, and sometimes you idolise it. (It's very French like that.)
    Also, every time I go there I get sick. I mean: Every. Single. Time. I don't know what's in the air but I'm always paying a visit to the chemist. And their chemists aren't friendly places like England's Boots either! They're like scary apothocaries.

  13. To the silly person who sent the strange "I hate Paris / Get a grip" comment earlier today...

    Firstly, comments like that will not be published. So don't even bother. And if you have to hide behind an Anonymous label, you're clearly a coward as well as an idiot. (At least I'll use my name if I'm making a constructive comment on a blog.)
    Second, learn how to write. Your sentence was so far from grammatically correct that I fear you are illiterate.
    Third, learn some manners.
    Fourth, Paris may not be to everyone's taste, but I can imagine it's a lot better than the hole where you come from. (Sorry, I forgot my own manners there.)
    Fifth, "Get a grip" is not a phrase that makes a journalist sit up and take notice. Perhaps find something a little more creative next time? I don't care what. Use your imagination.

    I hope that helps you.

    Oh – and you don't have to read blogs, you know. If you don't like them, just go away and read something else. Porn, perhaps. It's very simple really.

  14. Oh Janelle, this is possibly my favourite post of yours! Pink, Audrey, Fauchon deli/chocolates, Paris - four of my oh so favourite things (bugger the kittens and brown paper packages!). I have seen Mrs Harris goes to Paris and it's just a gorgeous film, quite cinderella-ish but with an older Angela Lansbury as the lead, and at her loveliest! I definitely recommend. Katie xx

  15. Just a beautiful post Janelle - Paris and pink, what could be more perfect for a Valentine's related post?

    I was toying with the idea of a Valentine's post for my blog, but I'm just going to suggest everyone visit Library of Design instead, so they too can also enjoy all of the beautiful images...


  16. What a beautiful post Janelle! I hope you don't mind, but I've linked this post to my blog as a Valentine's treat...and so anyone has yet to discover your fabulous blog can be equally as enchanted.

  17. Hi Annie,
    That's completely fine. Thank you for the link! Hope you had a lovely Valentine's Day.

  18. Hi Katie (aka Pink Faerie), Your comment made me laugh. You have a sense of humour as witty as your mother's! Janelle x

  19. I bumped into your website when searching for "Paris When It Sizzles" on google. You have a good eye for pictures and what works well together. I especially like the colours used on this page and the pictures/images featured; somehow they all seem to fit perfectly.

    Absolutely breathtaking.

  20. Dear Janelle

    Breathtaking post, truly beautiful! Afraid I need to provide comments under Anonymous as my husband is something of an IT and general security fanatic - I'd prefer not to do so, but then I'd have a problem with the man I've lived with for over 40 years!

    In answer to your question about Paul Gallico's book, I read it many years ago and it was a delight. Would love to have seen the movie, if there was one. Trying to revive my past memory, the heroine is a charlady (cleaning lady - for those of us who are not Brits of a certain era) who has an unlikely and seemingly futile yearning to own a Dior couture dress. She works very hard for all her employers and saves and then one day wins a smallish prize in the pools. She goes to Paris and is treated kindly by a gentleman at the Dior salon (can't remember who this was, but probably not Dior himself) who remembers his motherly old English charlady - think he refers to her as Mrs Mops - from his days at Oxford or maybe Cambridge. She returns with a wonderful creation designed specially for her. One of her employers is a would-be actress who falls in love with the dress and begs for the chance to wear it one night for an evening with someone who might be important to her career. She finally returns the dress, damaged with a tear and I think cigarette burns. She is quite unrepentant and casual and seems to have no idea of the value of the dress nor of its importance to the heroine. "Mrs Mops" is not as crushed as we would expect - she rises above such cavalier and callous treatment, buoyed up by the memories of her achievement in buying the dress and her wonderful time in Paris. A lovely story, and very Paul Gallico! Best wishes - Pamela

  21. Hi Jane,
    I am currently reading your Paris: An Inspiring Tour book; I love it! Where is the pink door in the 5th?

  22. Hi Jane, I am currently reading your Paris: An Inspiring Tour and I love it! Where are these pink doors on the left bank?
    Thank you!!


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