March 8th, Yann Tiersen “Breathe Owl Breathe”

February 21, 2011  |  inspiration  |  No Comments

On March 8th, French composer and musician Yann Tiersen is performing live at the Regency Ballroom in San Francisco. Best know for writing the score of “Le Fabuleux Destin d’Amélie Poulain,” Tiersen has just released a new album.

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April in Paris

April in Paris

February 21, 2011  |  inspiration  |  No Comments

April in Paris is the name of the charming boutique of master leather craftsperson, Béatrice Amblard, located at 55 Clement Street in San Francisco. The choice of the name is full of significance. It sounds like a melody — the beauty of  Paris in the spring, the joy and love that permeate the air. And love is what she feels for her craft. Trained as a leather artisan in the old French tradition, Béatrice perfected her skills at Hermès before opening her own shop. Today she is the only artisan to have worked for Hermès as well as own her label and boutique. Her custom leather pieces are so sought-after that if you would like to order a leather bag, there is a three-month waiting period. Her clients come from all over the world, admiring her savoir-faire and her technique.

Béatrice talks about leather as having a soul of its own, as being her constant love and passion. Every piece she makes, whether a bag or an accessory, is uniquely crafted and hand-sewn with the promise to last and enchant. The leathers she uses for her creations are of the highest quality. With her craft, she breathes life into the dying luxury of investing in your looks, of choosing the color and the feel of your leather accessories, of feeling the pride of owning a dream piece. Only the imagination is the limit to what she can accomplish, she tells me in her soft and agreeable voice.

Men and women alike find their happiness in her store. She makes handbags with the classic saddle stitch and carries pieces you can purchase immediately without the wait. She also designs accessories — wallets, checkbook holders, iPhone cases, briefcases, and belts. Her beautiful bee logo is displayed on all her creations. She can even transform your car interior with the touch of a magician! And as an accomplished artist and designer, she also makes jewelry and furniture. How lucky we are to have such a incredible shop in San Francisco, where a woman with a vision and love for beautiful and lasting things makes life feel like April in Paris!

  • April in Paris, 55 Clement Street, San Francisco
  • (415) 750-9910
  • Visit website!
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“What French Women know” by Debra Ollivier

February 21, 2011  |  inspiration  |  No Comments

I decided to talk about his book, because I bought it as a Christmas gift for a good French friend of mine, and she adored it. It gave her validation for who she is, where she comes from and that, oui, she exudes this chic elegant French flair, and will never understand American dating. I will never forget a Bill Maher stunt, when after a long soliloquy of contrasting Franco-American differences, he finished by saying…. “Can’t we learn something from the French?” Indeed, there is so much one can learn from French culture that life will never be the same again. And that is the beauty of this book. It is educational and illuminating, giving you tons of references to continue your exploration.

I met Debra Ollivier last year in San Francisco when this book came out. While American by birth, she is married to a Frenchman and looks like someone who has lived in France for a long time, simply revealed by her clothing style and the certainty in her attitude. She feels comfortable demystifying cultural differences, and that’s what she does in this book. In the preface, she refers to Descartes and makes the point that the purpose of writing a book of this genre is not to judge one culture against the other, but to point out the differences in order to understand one’s own culture.

What I love most in this book is how well it is researched. Ollivier cites Edith Wharton, Véronique Vienne, historian Emmanuel Le Roy Ladurie, and others. She refers to contemporary thinkers, conducts interviews, and draws from her own experience with popular French culture to give us the affirmation that France is still “a place of sensual and cultural refuge, intellectual freedom, hot sex, high culture and fabulous food.” Throughout the pages, one feels how deeply ingrained the cultural makeup of the people and their appreciation for aesthetics are, how important bringing pleasure into one’s life is, and that sensuality is indeed a French word.

We learn that French women prefer a living over making a living, and that joie de vivre is actually an external matter. “You derive this kind of joy from acknowledging greatness outside yourself — in things, in nature, in others.” The book gives one the impetus to go out, find a French restaurant or a wine bar, and start enjoying life In French Style. What should matter in life is having joyful experiences and cherishing the memories of the good times. In the words of Véronique Vienne, cited by the author, it boils down to the “holy trinity of essentials — a simple bottle of wine, a loaf of bread and a good company — is all that’s needed for a deeply satisfying moment.”

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