Oh the splendor of Avenue Foch!! If only I could capture it in a photograph. Avenue Foch has to be one of the most impressive avenues in Paris. Magnificent displays of Haussmannian architecture, decorative iron fences, towering trees…throw in the landscaped plots of flowers and the wide expanse of lawn, and you have the recipe for my favorite haven of green space in the 16th. I love the Bois de Boulogne, but if you need a quick fix of green, Foch is the place. In fact, it is an extension of the Bois, designed and built in mid 1800s. It was originally named the Avenue of the Empress, after the wife of Napoleon III. No wonder the Onassis and Rothschild families had houses here. And for all of you history buffs out there, for a while during the Second World War, the headquarters of the Gestapo could be found at number 72 Ave Foch.
It is definitely one of my favorite walking places…happy strolling and beware of extreme apartment envy!
Spring in Paris! Since moving to Paris, I have had to adapt to apartment living after having a house and garden for many years. And I love it! No leaves to rake, no snowy driveways to shovel, and no grass to mow. This spring, however, I have the itch to tinker in a garden and watch things grow. I think this had made me more attuned to all the amazing florists and greenery in the sixteenth. There is a florist on practically on every block. I love seeing fresh flowers around every corner and their abundance cheers up what could other wise be a grey city. Like with anything, though, some florists are truly superior. I go out of my way to walk past their window fronts and linger and drool as if I was looking at pastry. Two florists have made my favorites list, but I find Gilles Pothier “top.” The arrangements are simply stunning. Modern, elegant, but not fussy. And I love the fact that they go beyond fresh cut flowers. I am always attracted to their plant arrangements because they will last! It is obvious why Gilles Pothier is a Meilleur Ouvrier de France* and Champion du Monde Interflora. I dare you to walk by and not want to take something home. It is easy to imagine their flowers gracing the poshest restaurants and hotel. The second mention is Claude Quinquaud. Quite simply I am in love with the gorgeous urns that flank the doorway and I have been itching to take photos. Take advantage of your next walk and stroll by while the roses are in bloom. It is like a little rose garden, right on the street corner. Gilles Pothier, 97 Avenue Raymond Poincaré, 75116 Paris; Claude Quinquaud, 15 Rue de Chaillot, 75116 Paris
If you have a favorite in the neighborhood that compares, please let me know. I will have to add it to my walking route!
*The title of Un des Meilleurs Ouvriers de France (shortened to MOF) is a unique and prestigious award in France according to category of trades in a contest among professionals (from wiki). I really love this idea, and if the the good ole USA has something similar, I am not aware of it. Look for the MOF’s in your own neighborhood… it is worth it!
People who know me, know I adore my dog. I walk him every day, several times a day, starting with an early morning constitutional. He is one of the inspirations behind this blog and he led my first foray into social media. Having a dog has changed my view of Paris – both the people and the neighborhood. On my early morning quiet walks we smell the bread baking, see the kiosks opening to sell newspapers, and most importantly, have made acquaintances with others who share the same routine. One thing we pass that I had never payed attention to before is the quaint shop Centre Artisinal des Monastère de Bethléem (18, rue Mesnil). In the morning the security blinds are drawn and I walk by without a second glance. Then last Friday I walked by and the lights were on, window shades open, and I could see all the wonderful products offered. I strolled in the other day with my husband and not so subtlety said, “If you are looking for a Mother’s day gift, here is the place.” Well – good boy! He bought some goodies there: homemade confiture, local honey, and a gorgeous plate I plan to use for cheese and other yummies. I CANNOT stop eating the confiture and embarrassingly now have a picture with the jar half empty. What a deliciously lovely reminder of the region’s bounty and bonus: I am supporting the monastery. (And before I received my gift, I stopped back in by myself to buy some soaps. They have many lovely beauty products. Maybe the nuns can work miracles on my aging skin!) So much goodness! I hope y’all stop by and take a look for yourself.