Friday, May 28, 2010

How I Fell In Love With Paris

Postcards from Paris


I haven’t always loved Paris. In fact, when I was growing up in Geneva, Switzerland, where everything was pristine and perfect and remarkably clean, I used to think we were slumming it a little each time we drove in to France.

Geneva Geneva, Switzerland

The first time we visited Paris, when I was quite young and it had still not gone through its many renovations and clean ups, I thought it was a big, crowded and unkempt city, not unlike my unfortunate view of the rest of France. So when my friend Muffy invited me to spend a week with their family in a hotel in Paris, at age fourteen, I didn’t exactly jump with joy. I had heard the Swiss “jokes” about France, about how things didn’t work properly, or nobody was ever on time, and people in France certainly didn’t have pristine houses like ours in Switzerland. I couldn’t understand the attraction to Paris, but I was willing to give it a try.

Paris France

I remember being so pleasantly surprised when we settled into our comfortable rooms at the Hotel de St. Simon, where the walls were padded with silk toile, the courtyard was beautiful, the rooms were elegant and spotless, and the geraniums in every window were as healthy and happy as their Swiss counterparts.

Paris Geraniums

Soon we were navigating the metro, visiting the newly opened “ Drugstore” on the Champs Elysees (where you could listen to your favorite music with headphones), and sampling a few wonderful restaurants and stores in our neighborhood. I tasted Croque Monsieurs for the first time, and ate so many croissants that a part of me turned to butter.


We walked through the Tuileries gardens, were introduced to the Louvre and “Jeu de Paume” museums, and were mesmerized by the Bateaux Mouches on the Seine and their miniature counterparts in the pond of the Luxembourg Gardens.

Tuileries Gardens

Tuileries Gardens 2

Un bateau mouche on the Seine

Bateau Mouche, Point St. Michel

Luxembourg Gardens

Luxembourg Gardens

Luxenbourg Gardens fountain

I loved the long, wide tree lined boulevards, like St. Germain, Raspail and St. Michel.

paris-saint-germain-des-pre St. Germain

St. Raspail MarketSt. Raspail Market

I loved the magnificent stone buildings and began to discern the differences between the old medieval Paris and the more recent 18th and 19th century city, with its Haussmann influences.

Hausmann Style Haussmann architecture in Paris

I was fascinated by the beauty of the architecture, the scroll work on the balconies, the massive doors and the intricate gates that led to enchanting cobblestoned courtyards.

Paris Balcony

The perfect spot to enjoy your morning cafe & croissant

Paris Gates

Parisian CourtyardA secret garden within the city

I remember feeling safe and grown up and independent, where Muffy and I could maneuver the metro on our own, visit Montmartre and have our portraits sketched, run to Notre Dame to catch the end of an organ concert and sample our first decadent chocolate macaroons, at Dalloyau on the rue de Grenelle.

Dalloyau Shop

Chocolate MacaroonsChocolate macaroons…trés delicieux!

I learned to become a café regular, sitting on the terraces of the big wide boulevards, mastering the delicate art of flirting with the waiter and doing my best to look older and sophisticated. I remember slowly falling in love with the city of Light and thinking that someday, some time, I’d want to live there.

The Latin Quarter, Paris, France

That dream has never died, and to this day, I have been doggedly pursuing it, with somewhat more ambition and urgency than ever before. Fortunately, with the wonderful job I have (and very understanding business partner), along with my incredibly supportive and adventurous family, this dream may be slowly turning in to a reality.

Parist at Sunset

This is the beginning of a series of blogs on finding an apartment in Paris, an adventure which has taken me back to my favorite city dozens of times in the last few years, with more adventures in love and heart break than I could ever imagine. Despite all the ups and downs and all arounds, I think this one may just have a happy ending.

Stay tuned …



Tuesday, May 25, 2010

A Trip to Remember

Beach Beauties

Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) Ladies on the beach at Cassis

Thirteen years ago, during her medical checkup for her fourth birthday, my daughter’s best friend was diagnosed with Juvenile Diabetes. As the friendship matured and we became closer to this sweet girl and her wonderful parents, we learned much more about the life threatening and disruptive effects of this disease and determined that we should try to do something, in our own small way, to help find a cure.

We’re fortunate to have a beautiful property in the South of France, Les Murets, and with the generous help of Delta Air Lines, we were able to offer our house as a live auction item for the Juvenile Diabetes Atlanta Gala. We were thrilled that it was very profitable for the cause. But you can’t offer the same thing year after year, so we needed to do something that would spice it up a little.

I’m not sure how this idea evolved, but I decided to throw myself in to the mix and offer a week at the house, with yours truly acting as the chef, chauffeur, tour guide and bottle washer (although it turns out there is nothing more efficient or helpful in a kitchen than a group of eight women, so I don’t think I ever washed a single bottle!). The week was a terrific success and set a record for any single item raised during the live auction of the JDRF Gala. Equally importantly, everyone bonded nicely and had a great time.

Many of the women on the original trip decided they wanted to do the trip again, and of course I was more than happy to oblige. So this year, four of the original group, along with two lovely newcomers, joined me for another trip of a lifetime – and with their generous contributions, they actually surpassed the amount raised several years ago. (All you have to do is attend a JDRF Gala, and your heart will be warmed by the number of generous and committed people who have poured their lives in to finding a cure for this disease.)

For me personally, this trip has magically turned in to the gift that keeps giving. What started off as a fundraising event for a cause that my family supports very personally, has actually now broadened in to another business venture that is a natural extension for Huff Harrington Fine Art. This year, we will lead four trips to Provence, each one with different people and slightly different interests.

Could I have ever asked for more when I originally suggested this trip to JDRF? I don’t think so. Although the JDRF family is the first to wish for its own demise, and of course I agree with that, (for that would mean a cure for diabetes), I have to say that I am enormously grateful to this organization for what it has brought me personally: The chance to share my passion and love with extraordinary people for the benefit of an important cause, and the chance to build another business venture that keeps our gallery growing, happy and healthy. I’d call that a wonderfully American win/win! We hope you enjoy the photos from this special trip to Remember.

P.S. We still have a few openings for our October 2 to 9, 2010 trip to Provence. For information, please call the Gallery or visit our website.

A Day in Cassis

A Calanque in Cassis

A Calanque in Cassis

Barbara and her toyIngenious Iphone: Never miss another photo-op

Sally and Terry on the beachThe idyllic Cote d'Azur - a memory that will last forever.

Dipping her toes in the Mediterranean Dipping toes in the Mediterranean

Vera in Cassis

Mediterranean port villages provide the best photo backdrops!


On the terrace

Home Sweet Home: on the terrace at Les Murets


A Day at the St. Remy Market

(for more pictures, see our last blog: Hooked On…Orange)

A vision in pink and orange

Dining al fresco – a vision in pink & orange

Eggplant perfection at le B du P

Eggplant perfection at Ann’s favorite restaurant – Le Bistrot du Paradou

Molly and Barbara with their Orange Striped Market bags

Pink & orange goodies from the market


At Edith Mezard's

At Edith Mezard’s, from which our delicious candles hail!


Chappelle Sainte Sixte

Our ladies of the Wind


Terri in the Wind

A vision in blue in St. Hillaire

Mary Beth St. Hilaire


For more information about the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, click here (national chapter) and here (Georgia chapter).




Friday, May 21, 2010

Hooked on...Orange

We're not sure if it's the rising temperatures and the happy onslaught of early summer, but we've all got the hots for orange right now, whether it's on the wall, in the home, out and about, or on the toes. What is it about this juicy and vibrant hue that has us salivating right now? We're noticing it everywhere...

On the walls:

Our artists must be feeling the same way - and we love the way they're interpreting this lively and energetic palette into their work:

Spies Melancholy 36 x 48 Susan Spies, Melancholy

Nancy Franke, Julep Cup

Jessica Falstein

Barber Promise of Spring Elizabeth Barber, Promise of Spring

Cooke Diane 36x24Bonnie Beauchamp Cooke, Diane

On Oneself:

Atlanta designer Liz Shults, owner of Le Chateau Interiors, never leaves her house without wearing a touch of orange. In the winter, it’s a soft orange scarf that she wraps around her neck. It’s gorgeous and keeps the chill away.

And, in the summer, she swaps it out for a lighter-than-air gauze version. She’s also crazy about her new carnelian stone necklace that she loops around the neck. How stylish is that...

Liz stopped by the gallery while we were blogging! Here’s her gorgeous new necklace & summer scarf (with Amy Dixon’s paintings in the backgroud).

To any self-respecting femme Francophile, the #1 thing that comes to mind at the thought of the color orange is: HERMES.

Hermes Logo

This French fashion house is the quintessential purveyor of the color orange in a variety of forms. Orange silk scarves, cashmere throws, ceramic ashtrays, enamel bracelets…even the boxes come in this vibrant hue!

Hermes Orange ScarfA little orange to dress the neck...

Hermes boxesStack the boxes on a table for a chic pop of orange.

Hermes ashtrayAn ashtray on the vanity is a great place to store jewelry.

On the toes and at the beach:

With the return of warm weather, orange is a must for the summer! Make your feet look tan and polished with a pop of orange on your toes.

Essie Tart Deco Essie “Tart Deco”

Or if you’re really feeling bold, go all out with a great pair of orange sandals from Tory Burch (who, of late, seems to be responsible for orange’s resurge in popularity. Her fabulous boxes are almost as coveted as those from Hermes.

Tory Burch Thora flipflops

In the Home:

One Huffington is having an obsession about re-doing a master bedroom in French linen popping with accents of Hermes orange.

Room by Scott Schubel

Room by Eileen Kathryn Boyd

These little touches of tangerine, mandarin, and orange juice orange are guaranteed to pack a punch:

Leontine Linens Shasta Quilt Leontine Linens “Shasta” quilt

Leontine Linens Hayden Bedding
Leontine Linens “Hayden” bedding

Leontine Linens “Horsebit” bedding

No Huffington get-together would be complete without a little taste of our favorite bubbly…which coincidentally comes in an orange box.

Amy Dixon, Vive Le Veuve

Out and About (and Abroad!):

A perfectly orange house in Cassis

When we decided to do an orange blog, we put feelers out to Ann who happened to be in Provence on ladies’ trip (more about that in another blog).

Orange signs in St. RemyOrange signs in St. Remy

She had fun recording a few orange standouts in the market in St. Remy, where she usually spends her Wednesdays (before having lunch at her favorite place, Le Bistrot du Paradou).

A delectable fruit tart

Orange looking strawberry tart

St. Remy Market

Orange Napkins in ProvenceNapkins or hand towels…a lovely gift.

Tomatoes in the MarketGorgeous tomatoes in the market. Don’t they look like mini pumpkins?

Orange on a Manequin in the Market of St. Remy Orange French FashionsAn Orange Dress Flying in the Wind
An orange enthusiast selling his wares in the market

An Orange Enthusiast at the St. Remy Market

One vendor in the market was a little suspicious when she started snapping pictures of his orange shoes, but when she explained that it was for a blog on the color orange, he raised his eyebrows, shrugged his shoulders and said the French equivalent of “Whatever!” (“Bof!”)

Orange shoes in the market

A woman standing next to her said, “But wait a minute: I am a “symphony of orange” and gladly posed for the camera, revealing her perfectly orchestrated orange handbag and matching orange wallet (from Renoir, in Paris by the way).

Indeed, just her little bursts of orange on a sea of grey was the perfect contrast and “je ne sais quoi” that took ordinary to extraordinary. As the French woman knows so well, with the color orange, less is often more.

Van Gogh's Orange Beard in St. RemyAnn with Van Gogh’s Orange Beard

What are some of your favorite pops of orange? We'd love to hear from you