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Architecture Art Design Luxury

Galeries Lafayette Haussmann + Champs Élysées Paris

The City of Light in the Season of Light 

At Christmastime it’s more like the City of Lights. Nowhere does festive decorations better than Paris and nowhere does Parisian festive decorations better than Galeries Lafayette Haussmann opposite the Palais Garnier. For the last 45 years, the store has suspended a Christmas tree from its vast stained glass Art Déco dome over the central galleried atrium. This year the pneumatic sundae cottage and lobster clad tree is accompanied by a space helmeted Santa Claus. Luxury fashion and interiors brands in the legendary store – 3,500 in total – include Alexander Turpault, Annick Goutal and Tara Jarmon. “One, Two, Three, Noël,” reads one sign. “Nous vous souhaitons de joyeuses fêtes,” another. Further to the west of Paris, in the shadow of the Arc de Triomphe on Champs Élysées, Dior wins best temporary façade for its monochromatic monoflex.

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Art Design Luxury People

Galignani Bookshop + Rue de Rivoli Paris

There Will be a Moon in Paris Tonight

Cultured Parisiennes like Maud Rabin always comment how Paris is constantly under construction; the city as cathedral. Perhaps that’s how it can lean towards an old architecture yet expressing l’esprit nouveau. Chaneling Channelling our inner Inès (de La Fressange), chic to chic, air kissing and French embracing, we stride along Boulevard Haussmann to a Gershwinesque cacophony of taxi horns. Tout-Paris, tout suite! Palais Garnier is on our right. “It’s full of ghosts!” whispers Maud. “Paris has two opera houses. The other opera house, Bastille, was built in 1989. Très moderne!” Paying homage to the late great Karl Lagerfeld, we head for his favourite bookshop, Galignani. Danielle Cillien Sabatier, Directrice Générale, will later say, “Thank you so much for this really nice publication.”

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Design Hotels Luxury People Restaurants

Galeries Lafayette Haussmann + Angélina Restaurant Paris

A Tale of Two Citizens

The Ritz Hotel Paris © Lavender's Blue Stuart Blakley

“Style is knowing who you are, what you want to say, and not giving a damn.” Gore Vidal

Place Vendôme Paris © Lavender's Blue Stuart Blakley

Midday in Paris. Printemps is the Harrods of Paris | Le Bon Marché is the Liberty of Paris | Galeries Lafayette Haussmann is the Selfridges of Paris. We’re bound for Lafayette’s Angélina restaurant. In the ultimate BYO experience, we’ve brought our own Champagne. Rare Champagne 2002 and Rare Rosé Champagne 2007, no less. It helps that we’re lunching with Régis Camus, the world’s most decorated Chef de Cave, even more no less. Over oeufs brouillés à la brisure de truffe d’été (scrambled eggs with summer truffle breakings) and salade de saumon fume, chèvre frais, avocat, tomates grappes, pomélo, salade romaine (smoked salmon salad, fresh goat’s cheese, avocado, tomatoes on the vine, grapefruit, romaine lettuce), Régis shares his top tips for enjoying bottled glamour:

Le Meurice Hotel Paris © Lavender's Blue Stuart Blakley

Rare Le Secret Champagne in House of Mellerio Paris © Lavender's Blue Stuart Blakley

  • “Temperature is first. It should be between 10 and 12 degrees centigrade for our Rosé and 12 to 14 degrees for Rare Le Secret Champagne.
  • The glass is very important: it is good for wine to be poured in a big glass to express itself. A small quantity in a big glass; 65 percent full maximum. Serve often to keep the perfect temperature.
  • Open the bottle delicately. Don’t turn the cap, turn the bottle.
  • The colour of all wines is either good or not. For example, rosé is not good if it is the colour of onion skin. The amazing colour of Rare Rosé Champagne 2007 has amber and copper tones. I was inspired by the stained glass windows of the Cathedral of Reims when the sun shines through. The Cathedral is the seat of the Archdiocese of Reims and is where the Kings of France were crowned.”

Rare Champagne Lunch © Lavender's Blue Stuart Blakley

Successful Champagne moments are more than mere formulae though. “Feel the joy of the colour with your eyes, the colour of life! It’s vibrant, radiant, expressive! The key is to create pleasure, to discover the smile in discovering Champagne.” Monsieur Camus props the House of Lavender’s Blue brochure on the lunch table to form a backdrop to the Rare Rosé Champagne bottle. The following day, another bottle of Rare Champagne 2002 will take pride of place in the House of Lavender’s Blue itself. After lunch at Angélina, we stroll along the golden streets past the Palais Garnier with all its ghosts, making our way through Place Vendôme, gazing at The Ritz and grazing at Hôtel Le Meurice. It’s time to roar again. Ouhouah!

Rare Champagne Box @ Lavender's Blue © Lavender's Blue Stuart Blakley

“When she was young, Loulou wanted action and fun all the time… she was in a hurry.” Eric Boman on Loulou de la Falaise

Rare Champagne @ Lavender's Blue © Lavender's Blue Stuart Blakley