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Sunday, 8 April 2012

APRIL IN PARIS


That old song, "April in Paris", composed by Vernon Duke/E.Y.Harburg in 1932, was sung by many famous singers, including Frank Sinatra and Doris Day. It inspired generations to visit Paris in the Spring. It's April now and I yearn to jump on a Eurostar and cross the Channel. Sadly, I don't have a trip booked at the moment.



April in Kensington Gardens.  This beautiful sight reminded me of Proust's descriptions of hedges and trees in blossom in "Rembrance of Things Past", his memoirs of Paris during La Belle Époque. Unfortunately, Proust suffered with chronic asthma and often had to avoid the beautiful trees and flowers that he so loved. In fact, he spent much of his later years inside his cork-lined apartment in Paris.










As for me, I will have to resort to some reminders of Paris and my imagination.

Gazing at a map of Paris printed on a pink background (Paris giftwrap paper from Harvey Nichols), I see the street names Faubourg St Honoré, Avenue de Montaigne and Boulevard Haussmann and I am out and about in Paris looking at the shops.  There's the Louvre on the Rue de Rivoli and I am standing in front of Da Vinci's enigmatic Mona Lisa. Then I come to the Seine and I'm walking along the Left Bank past the Musée D'Orsay and the Eiffel Tower.



 Turning the pages of April French Vogue, with its designer clothes and cosmetics, and I am visiting the legendary Chanel boutique in the Rue de Cambon.  

I'll go out in London and look at Les Jeans de Chanel Nails, a lovely trio of blue nail varnishes developed by Peter Philips for last Autumn's Fashion Night Out.  Coco Blue is a pale denim, Blue Boy is a deep denim and Blue Rebel a darker, inkier shade. Somehow these blues remind me of Paris in the rain - well after all, it is April.  The Impressionist painting by Caillebotte, "Paris Street, Rainy Day" with its umbrellas and blue colours, comes to mind.



Now I'm going to make a good cup of coffee (Café Connoisseur, a "French-style, full-bodied blend" from Marks and Spencer).  I'm sitting in a café in the Boulevard St Germain.  I'll play my "Paris" CD with tracks by "Nouvelle Scene" artists including Paris Combo, Coralie Clément and Carla Bruni.  Nothing sets an atmosphere like music.


Dream on!

IMPORTANT FASHION FACT: The first modern Parisian couturier house was opened in 1858 by Charles Frederick Worth, an ENGLISHMAN. Vive La Topshop!

Au revoir.