All posts tagged: France

La Petite Papeterie Française

Slow Office – La Petite Papeterie Française

I briefly introduced this lovely French brand in my round-up of finds from the northmodern furniture fair in Copenhagen. And couldn’t wait to dedicate a whole post to their stunning imagery. As some of you may know, I’m a bit of a francophile as well as a scandiphile (no idea if that’s a word, but it should be?) so as soon as I saw their beautifully curated stationery embossed with little French words, AND simply styled, I fell a little bit in love. La Petite Papeterie Française (which translates as The Little French Stationer’s) was founded by Sylvie Bétard, a lover of all things paper, in 2012. She creates beautiful objects produced in France that also respect the environment – most of the items are made from recyclable materials and use solvent-free glues. Who knew you could make pages out of recycled almonds and olives? Following a successful collection designed by illustrator Anaïs Génot for the home, La Petite Papeterie Française has now released a collection for the office created by Elsa Le Saux, as seen in the images here. The …


Travel Guide: two days in Nice

Nice is, well, very nice. I headed there for work a couple of weeks back and couldn’t resist extending the trip over the weekend for that last little bit of sunshine before the darker evenings and misty mornings kicked in. With its long, sweeping pebbly beach, stretching along the Promenade des Anglais to the picturesque Old Town (known locally as Le Vieux Nice), it’s the perfect getaway for a mixture of culture and relaxation. I often get a little restless on beach holidays, keen to get up and go explore, wander around art galleries, sample the local cuisine or simply walk around aimlessly soaking up the atmosphere. Nice is definitely a place for art and design lovers, not only does it have some of the best contemporary art galleries and collections outside Paris, there’s a host of cultural gems outside the city centre just waiting to be discovered. You can see Matisse’s chapel in Vence, Jean Cocteau’s murals at Villa Santo Sospir in Saint Jean Cap Ferrat, or Eileen Gray’s modernist masterpiece E-1027 and Le Corbusier’s Le Cabanon Retreat around the coast …


Travel: Dune du Pilat, Bordeaux

Following on from my post last week of our trip to Toulouse, which featured lots of photos of peeling painted doors and French shuttered windows (see it here) here’s the second half of our Easter weekend, spent in Bordeaux. Not many people know, but about an hour away from Bordeaux there is a gigantic dune called the Dune of Pilat (or Dune du Pilat – Pilat originates from the Gascon word Pilhar, which refers to a heap or mound). It’s the tallest sand dune in Europe, stretching 2.7km along the shoreline of the Atlantic Ocean (and here’s a wikipedia fact for you – it has about 60,000,000 m³ of sand!). We went one sunny afternoon, expecting the little mound-like dunes we get on the British coast, but no this was huge. It really was like scaling a mountain and being met with a desert – once we had got to the top and got our breath back, it really was a ‘wow’ moment. On one side you have the forest and on the other the sea, quite bizarre but incredibly beautiful. It rises as a steep slope …


Travel: Toulouse

I hope you all had a lovely Easter break full of good company, good food and chocolate! Olivier and I went to Toulouse and Bordeaux for the long, four-day weekend to see some friends and it was b-e-a-u-tiful – the sun was out and we managed (it was hard, I know) to enjoy some lunches al fresco; we even came back with a couple of red noses! So here’s the first of my posts on the trip, focusing on the gorgeous city of Toulouse in the southwestern part of France. The city gets its nickname la Ville Rose (“the Pink City”) from the pinkish terracotta-shaded brick buildings that line its streets. Perfect pastel-shaded shutters and beautifully peeling doorways add to its character – one of the best parts of the stay was simply walking the streets, soaking up the atmosphere, and mainly consisting of me taking LOTS of photos of door, after door, after window, after window. The small meandering alleyways are home to cute boutiques, boulangeries selling the most delectable pastries and wine bars to take the French apéro (a delightful …


Travel: Monet's house and gardens in Giverny

On the way back from Île de Ré I stopped off at Monet’s house and gardens in Giverny, about an hour from Paris. Monet and his family settled in the small village of Giverny in 1883, it became the place where he would create his most famous work: a series of 250 oil paintings depicting the garden’s water lilies. The house is now open to the public while the garden is packed to the rafters with climbing roses and coloured banks of poppies and hollyhocks. It is evident Monet didn’t like organised or contained gardens, he married flowers according to their colour and left them to grow freely. “All my money goes into my garden,” he said. Ten years after his arrival in Giverny, Monet bought a piece of land neighbouring his garden and created a small pond, which was later enlarged to the size seen today. It is inspired by Japanese gardens and features tumbling wisteria, weeping willows, a bamboo wood and his famous water lilies. On the day we went the sun was out and so …


Pierre Charpin at Le Corbusier's Unité d'Habitation

French furniture designer Pierre Charpin has transformed Appartement No 50, an almost completely preserved apartment in its 1952 state, at Le Corbusier’s Unité d’Habitation in Marseille, France (I also wrote about it last year when Konstantin Grcic furnished the same apartment). Classified as a ‘historic monument’ in 1995, it opens each summer during which a few of the most talented international designers are invited to furnish it. This year Charpin has mounted large drawings on the wall and added objects by Jasper Morrison, Konstantin Grcic and Ronan & Erwan Bouroullec. The result very much fits in with the original features by Charlotte Perriand and Corbusier and the primary colour scheme of the apartment. For more details on how to visit, see:     All photographs courtesy Philippe Savoir & Fondation Le Corbusier/ ADAGP 2014


Konstantin Grcic at Apartment N° 50 at Le Corbusier’s Unité d’Habitation

Konstantin Grcic has furnished Appartement N° 50, an almost completely preserved apartment in its original 1952 condition, at Le Corbusier’s famous Unité d’Habitation in Marseille, France. Every summer the privately owned apartment is made accessible to the public and transformed into a temporary stage for the works of contemporary designers. In previous years it has hosted installations by Jasper Morrison in 2008 and Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec in 2010. This year, Grcic has furnished the apartment with his own furniture, including 360° chairs for Magis and Medici chairs for Mattiazzi, as well as blown up scans from an original punk fanzine. Grcic explained: “The punk motifs are tempting a slightly devious link between two completely unrelated worlds: Le Corbusier’s architecture and punk rock. Without forcing the idea of common grounds, I find that both have a rawness and uncompromising spirit which I have always found compellingly beautiful. Bringing both cultures together in this project felt most inspiring and, in the end, surprisingly fitting.” The installation will be open to the public until August 15. For more information please visit Images © Philippe Savoir …


French Film Club: Populaire

As part of the Institut Francais’ Rendez-Vous with French Cinema– the 4th edition of the four-day festival celebrating French film, where a host of famous actors and directors descend on the Ciné Lumière in South Kensington- the new film Populaire starring French hearthrob Romain Duris was shown, followed by a Q&A with the actors and director. (Unfortunately, Duris failed to make it to the Q&A afterwards, much to the dismay of the female audience, who reacted in a resounding ‘nooooo!’). Populaire is the first film by Régis Roinsard and is set in 1950s France, with catchy retro music and a colourful display of vintage costumes. The story follows Rose (Déborah François), a shopkeeper’s daughter from a sleepy rural town who dreams of life in the city. Determined to escape the drudgery of everyday village life, she travels to Normandy for an interview for the most fashionable career choice of the day- a secretary. Here she meets the charming Louis Echard (Romain Duris). The interview goes terribly, but in a desperate attempt to secure the job, she reveals a …

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De Bonne Facture

I don’t usually feature men’s clothes, but this was an exception. De Bonne Facture is a new online source for well-made and hand-picked men’s apparel. Craftsmanship is key- they pick out the very best of the best in France- from sailor wools, brushed cottons or heathered tweeds, to the very finest of details such as piped pockets or pure horn buttons. De Bonne Facture said: “We spent a year travelling around France to meet them; we would like them to be better known. Therefore each of our pieces shows the name and location of the atelier which made it. A gauge of quality”. De Bonne Facture’s Winter Wardrobe presents their work with five ateliers, each one specialising in a type of garment. For example, their Brittany knits are made by Fileuse D’Arvor from Quimper, Finistere in France who have been established since 1927, their shirts are made by Atelier FLS, a Loiret-based firm since 1958, and their trousers by Hervier Productions, active since 1988 in Indre, France. Buttons play an important part too, with pure …

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Ciné 32 by Encore Heureux

Seeing as I write quite regularly about French films in French Film Club, what better than a post about an actual French cinema. Paris-based Encore Heureux has designed a five-screen cinema on the site of a former barracks in Auch, South of France. The architects wanted to give the feel of a collection of small neighbourhood cinemas and not a gargantuan multiplex. Encore Heureux said: “We came up with images of old cinemas’ pediment and a tobacco dryer from the south-west of France, with their openwork natural wood façade”. An artist, with a fantastic name, Bonnefrite, has designed the graphic signage on the exterior facade, including the hand painted numbers on each wooden hut. “Cinema has this unique opportunity to gather different people for a common but yet unusual journey. We wish to offer remarkable conditions for such a trip”, Encore Heureux added. Images: Encore Heureux via Dezeen