lundi 30 janvier 2012

And so to the Cafe Florian............

When The 'Cafe Florian' came into view as we turned the corner in St Mark's Square, it still looked as beautiful and stunning as the very first time I set my eyes on it. As soon as you walk through those doors into the entrance hall bedecked with twinkling chandeliers it is just like stepping back in time.

Tartelette and Frou Frou were totally amazed (as I knew they would be) with the decor and atmosphere.  We were ushered to plush velvet seats by one of the waiters, all of whom wore black tie with long-tailed morning suits

We sat down in one of the six intimate salons which was empty except for a couple  sitting across from us in the opposite corner - and who were locked in a passionate embrace. She was dressed from top to toe in haute couture and casually draped on the seat at her side was her full length mink.

We averted our eyes as best we could -  but they were so engrossed in each other that I'm sure they would not have noticed if we had surrounded them with an orchestra of violins! I simply couldn't not look at her; well, not so much her but what she was wearing. Her jewels.....heavens they were amazing! She was swathed in pink diamonds, even her watch strap was encrusted with jewels.

Was this some sort of aristocratic secret lovers tryst?

When they finally came up for air I had to giggle. They both turned out to be well into their sixties!!! I did try to sneak a photograph but it came out too blurry as I was giggling so much. Anyway............over 60 or not, I say "GET A ROOM " !!!! Poor Tartelette didn`t know where to look.

The lovers stood up, she donned her fur and they swept out on to St Marks Square leaving the  room to ourselves.

The waiter came and took our order which was duly delivered on a silver tray - and Tartlette ordered us not to touch anything until she had photographed it all from every angle!

The Cafe Florian is so divine;I adore the large gilded mirrors that reflect through to each salon..........

...the bronze lamps in each corner.....................
.......and the walls are bedecked with amazing treasures.

The gilded ceilings are a maze of fabulous gilded mirror panels................

the carved marble tables smooth with centuries of use..............
I asked the two girls:   If Casanova himself came sweeping into the salon what look of "allure" would they give him?

Tartelette went for aloof..........
Frou Frou went for coy using her menu as a fan.................. which point, Mark went for another hot chocolat!

Cafe memorable, especially with good friends.

Frou Frou didn`t want to leave at all!!
NEXT TIME.............. the girls 'shop till they drop'........... and the silk velvet slippers that got away!

A la prochaine mes belles.............

samedi 28 janvier 2012

Tartelette, Frou Frou and that poor unsuspecting gondolier!

I won`t bore you again with the sights of Venice but I can tell you that four days with Tartelette and Frou Frou both on good form and both "loose cannons" have made my ribs hurt from the constant laughter.

We arrived late in Venice so went straight to our hotel.After breakfast the next morning we stepped out into the bright winter sunshine and Tartlette immediately spotted a gondola tied up to the stone steps in front of our hotel. In her usual enthusiastic way ( that is an understatement too!) she had soon accosted the poor unsuspecting gondolier who was enjoying his morning expresso.

He told them that when the Pope visited Venice a few years ago he was one of the chosen goldoliers who rowed the ceremonial gondola.Of course that was the deciding factor and she and Frou Frou were off for a tour! I only just had time to grab my camera!

And they were off! To add to their total joy the gondolier seranaded them as they swished through the jade green waters.........
I soon lost sight of them but I could still hear them laughing so I walked down a few tiny side streets to catch a glimpse of them......................
I could hear the laughter getting closer and saw him delivering them home............
Just look at those faces! Who DO they think they are? !!

By the time they were back on dry land they had completed their full interrogation and knew his family history, age, details of his children and quite possibly his shoes size too!!

As for poor Mark he spent the day trying his hardest to be a tour guide but with three women, hoards of wonderful shops and hidden alleyways he was fighting a loosing battle!!

I do believe it was just toooooooooooooooooooo tempting........................

Mark finally gave up and ordered strong alchohol as we girls sat out at a cafe in the Jewish quarter and sang the Barbara Streisand songs from Yentyl.

Papa could you hear us?..............

Coming next ..................Frou Frou and Tartelette head for Cafe Florian.

A la prochaine......

dimanche 22 janvier 2012


Thought you might like to watch this whilst I am away....................(press on arrow to start).

It`s called....Women in art....

I will be thinking of you whilst enjoying a hot chocolate ( hopefully with Mr Depp) in Cafe Florian!   Back soon!

Non parlo molto bene italiano!!

jeudi 19 janvier 2012

It`s not so 'tranquille' after all.................

I adore this tiny hamlet where we live here in deepest Normandie. A rural hamlet of timeworn, stone buildings passed down through the generations from father to son. 

No brash street lighting or busy roads; just tiny lanes - and no shops.  A crossroads, a beautiful little 14th century church and the petite "mairie"  - the mayoress's office at the heart of our community. Nothing ever happens - it is always silent and that's just the way we like it...... a life of pure "tranquillite".

 I think you may have already guessed that there is a  big "BUT" coming (don`t be so rude..... I know what you are thinking there.....not my derriere!!!). of last week changed all that! One evening the village was suddenly awash with  "Gendarmes" - 30 or so police officers driving along the narrow roads and down a track to surround a small cottage hidden away amongst the trees - a quaint little house with a large barn  just visible from the road.

What they discovered has amazed us all!! In the large barns was a factory growing one of the largest cannabis crops ever found in Northern France!! ZUT ALORS!!!!

So ..............something has been going on right under our noses! I wonder if that is why Jacques was always smiling as he drove his tractor through the lanes? Is that why the cows are always lying down? Is that why my electricity bill is so big this year?

As we speak Tartelette is mid-flight on her way to Paris to rampage around the flea markets. If you read her blog it is very humbling  - and she does most definitely need a break. So... I may not even abuse her as I usually do but instaed may even buy her a 'chocolat chaud' in the Cafe Florian in St Mark's Square, Venice next week!

Tartelletes blog is here...........

I now read in the news that Johnny Depp and Vanessa have sadly separated which - is all the more reason for me to be in Venice to help him furnish that new palace he's just bought and to give him some support. Well, it would only be the right thing to wouldn`t it, mes belles?


dimanche 15 janvier 2012

The dapper Monsieur Bourreau

We arrived at the school ready for the auction of its contents (as mentioned in my last blog). This is sight which met our eyes as we entered the gates................

The world and his two brothers, their aunts and uncles had all turned up too!!! It was, bitterly bitterly cold even in the sunshine - but all the seats were full as the ever dapper Monsieur Bourreau had just started the auction.

Everyone was muffled up warm against the biting cold save for Monsieur Bourreau ,who wore his usual suit and waistcoat ( though his wife standing next to him, above, was well wrapped up!) He must have had thermals on methinks!! I felt so sorry for his secretary taking notes of the sales. She was sitting at a desk in the courtyard with her lap top ( see below) - and she looked SO cold!

It soon became apparent that the prices were hideously high. I think that everyone who had ever attended the school had turned up to try and buy a little sentimental 'morceau' of their childhood. But Monsieur B was on good form so we stayed a while to watch. The old school bell which must have rung out thousands of times caused quite a stir - and the bidding was fierce for this 19th century treasure , eventually selling for 300 Euros.

We were allowed to take a peek inside the school rooms whilst the auction progressed..............

When this old 'science class' piece was auctioned off it caused quite a stir!
...the phones hot with bids from several Parisian dealers.
The phone bids also streamed in for some educational  wall charts...
...these eventually selling for 900 Euros! But as for those divine old cast iron radiators...
...I`ll just have to keep on dreaming!!!

A la prochaine, mes belles!

vendredi 13 janvier 2012

Tartelette....... get out of that gondola immediately !!

Well... bonjour, mes belles! Look at you sitting there looking all gorgeous! Pardon?......Yes! I have had my hair coiffed thank you very much for asking; it`s not too short at the back is it?

Honestly-....this week has been so busy that my feet have hardly touched the ground. The renovation work here is back in full swing after the Christmas break and its getting very exciting;  I can see the salon sitting room really taking shape now and it's getting nearer the time to make some decisions about decor. Pale French grey and creamy white or pale Aubusson green?

I have a chandelier and matching sconces that I have been hiding from you ( the nerve of the woman!) and it is a decadent period fitting that came from a very borgeoise Paris apartment. It is covered with pale green and rose silk twisted coils with frothy  tassel droppers.Very, very camp but SO gorgeous. I am going to keep it hidden from you until it is in situ.

 I have been tied up supplying some props for a period drama being made in the UK and then - in the middle of all that - Tartelette rings from Oregon to say she is making plans to come over to Paris!! Here is Tartelette looking Paris chic!!!!

Even in winter there are brocantes and vide greniers every weekend in Paris but not much happens mid week, so we were trying to decide whether she should just hop on a train up here to the chateau or whether I should I go down to Paris for some macaroons and a bit of retail therapy.

But..................I made the mistake of looking at the price of the flights from Paris to Venice - then it all got rather exciting!! Ryanair flights were very cheap, hotels in Venice are far less expensive in January than in the high season - and it all got organised quite quickly. I told Tartelette that she was going to Venice for a few days with Mark and me. I really didn't give her a choice - and she was putty in my hands. When Frou Frou heard about the plans she, too, decided she had to come - and so Mark has to chaperone the three of us!! All I can say is 'poor Mark'.

Our hotel is close to St Mark's Square so we can enjoy regular hot chocolat in Casanova`s old haunt,  "Cafe Florian", if the weather is too cold. We have canal view rooms and Tartellette and Frou Frou - who are both "loose cannons" - are sharing a deluxe twin room...............can you imagine it?!

You know that I am obsessed with Venice as it is just like walking into a period film set and if I am not actually in Venice, I am frequently  thinking or reading about it. I also read this week that Johnny Depp recently paid 8.5 million dollars for a palazzo on the Grand Canal, so surely he will be there checking it out? He might  need help choosing the curtain fabric so I do of course NEED to be there! Here is his new home.....

 Perhaps this trip will finally cure me and I will be ready to explore somewhere else.

Tartelette tells me she has lost 40lbs............................HOW VERY DARES SHE!! I haven`t been able to see what she looks like as Skype is refusing to work between us but I`ll soon get that back on her with all that divine Italian icecream, pasta, pizza and chocolat with cream. I was wondering how I was going to stop all those amorous Italian men from pinching the derriere of the delectable Miss Frou Frou so do I now have another  pert derriere to worry about?

Charles in back to  his normal feline activities, with an endless number of mice being presented to us at the back door as 'cadeaux'. Diggers on the other hand is tucked up in bed sleeping - as usual. He is not a lazy dog; he is simply  studying for his doctorate in sleep -and of course, you have to put in the practise and undergo hours of sleep to do that!

And finally - an old school here that has been open since the early 1800s closed its doors last year and tomorrow there is an auction of the contents. The auction list includes armoires, desks, books, old cast iron radiators and much more.

 Who knows what we will find?

A la prochaine mes belles.....