• A Delicious Find!

    Paris, France…a cold and wintery city of lights. I stumbled upon a cool and also delicious restaurant in the 11th Arrondissement near Republique! A former Pharmacy converted to a restaurant with amazing food, low key vibe, cute servers, and reasonable prices….

    A delicious steak with the finest sliced and roasted potatoes! Oh, Paris always delivers on gourmet but this new find makes it really hip too.

    Bon Appetit!




  • Gotta Love the French!

    Paris, France…it’s a cold and rainy Friday night in the city! But I love Parisians resilience to it all…they still look chic and fill outdoor cafes with their love of life; albeit with outdoor heaters warming them as they enjoy glass after glass of wine and delicious fare! They really do know how to live and seem to truly enjoy themselves to the fullest.

    I would be painting an untrue picture if I didn’t mention that Parisians are a difficult bunch! They have zero tolerance for visitors that do not perfectly speak French and really do not go out of their way to be friendly.

    I have been yelled at more times than I can count these last few days! I had a store clerk scold me for touching the merchandise, I had a metro attendant scowl at me for asking a question, I had a waiter loose patience and walk away, and have had more stares of utter disgust than I care to remember! But that’s the uncanny charm of the whole experience…once you chill, let it roll off, and call them on their behavior it all becomes a series of funny French moments! Don’t get mad, don’t raise your voice, and don’t fight! It’s like a cat and mouse game that shouldn’t spoil a moment of your time in one of the most beautiful cities I know!

    The French and their personalities are like the memorable stars of a magical movie set to the most breathtaking cinematography! It’s all the magic that makes up the City of Light!


  • Creature of Habit!

    Paris, France…I have travelled to Paris yearly for decades and of course I have “my places”!

    I have done this trip on business so many times that I have an automatic itinerary and route I follow. I can cover this city in under three days like a true pro!

    This time my trip is more relaxed and I don’t need to be so thorough…I am taking my time and just hitting my absolute favorites and by going off course I hope to discover spots I may have overlooked on previous visits!

    But there is one habit that I cannot break…lunch or dinner at Chez Andre! It’s a must, I don’t feel I have been in Paris if I have not been here. I have brought many people here and introduced them to this charming French bistro near the Champs Élysées. I was introduced to it on one of my first trips in 1990 and have returned religiously ever since! I have years of memories logged at this place shared with various friends and colleagues over the years.

    Chez Andre dates back to the 1930’s and I love the very Parisian waitresses in their black uniforms with starch white collar and matching apron. Several of these ladies have been here as long as I have been indulging in their delicious French fare!

    I start with a delicious kir royale, then either the amazing lentil salad or goat cheese salad, of course accompanied by to die for bread and fresh butter..but the “piece de resistance” for me is the steak tartare with a side of pommes frites! Oh la la! Yum Yum! Today I skip desert, but the tarte tatin is heaven…

    Some habits die hard and this French tradition is going no where! I look forward to returning to Paris soon along with another amazing meal at Chez Andrez…





  • Window Shopping!

    Paris, France…window shopping galore! This city offers so much sensory stimulation…fashion, art, antiquities, interiors, and on and on!

    I love a leisurely day absorbing all the creativity this design hub can offer! The Marais, Saint Honore, Champs Élysées, Avenue Montaigne, and St Germaine des Pres all stimulate with shops and galleries! These are the must hit areas for fashionistas and power shoppers of all kinds!

    Besides just looking at clothing, I look to be inspired! Art and fashion are innately linked…I stumble on a gallery showcasing the art of Alias Henri Desclez and I am struck by the fashion sensibility of these mirrored florals painted on simple geometrics! These look so of-the-moment in fashion…I can see amazing pieces of wearable and chic art made from this art!

    There is no way not to be inspired in this city of so many wonders…design is everywhere you look!




  • Weaving Fashion Magic!

    Paris, France…today is the day for me to get back in the game, albeit briefly! I am breaking my extended vacation to return to Premier Vision, the huge fabric expo on the outskirts of Paris. This show marks the official design kickoff for Fall 2013…it’s a must attend for fashion professionals as it’s a one stop shop for the building blocks of any collection: fabric, prints, and trims! It’s a great way for me to stay informed and on top of what’s going on while I am on my long sabbatical…

    Everyone always wants an insider view on fashion…this is far from glamourous, it’s an overwhelming maze of a show…halls the size of football fields are filled with vendors showcasing the newest innovations in chic! It’s daunting, even after many years of attending. It requires incredible focus and energy to find a needle in this haystack!

    This show blends the art of fashion with true commerce! Trends spoken in airy fairy language and the hard reality of the business coexist here. As a designer, you need to cut through all the noise and find what’s new and interesting and recognize key trends that will permeate the clothing and interior design world and become big retail hits!

    I spend the day navigating hallway after hallway and some things start to inspire! What is great is to feel all the creative energy of thousands of designers converged in one place…each seeing the offerings in their own unique way. Plus I get a giggle at all the fashionistas checking each other out and parading around in their new Fall outfits!

    In six months, we will see all this materialize into runway extravaganzas and in less than a year the stores will be filled with what started here!



  • La Belle Vie!

    Paris, France…I arrived in the City of Light a bit weary after 20 hours of air travel from Cape Town via Doha. I always love Paris and have spent a lot of time here over my years in the fashion industry!

    Regardless of being tired I am anxious to hit the Parisian streets! I am staying in the Marais which is my favorite area in Paris…how convenient to go check out all my favorite haunts…I love this area for it’s artsy vibe. It has become a fashion destination as well since designers have discovered this neighborhood and set up shop!

    Place Des Vosges instantly puts me in a French mood and gets me in a Paris state of mind! From there, I stroll the shops of the Marais, peeking into little hidden squares and taking in some grand architecture.

    Next it’s on to the old Jewish ghetto area of the Marais that is still filled with butchers and bakeries! I must stop and indulge in the famous falafel sandwiches and admire the beautiful challah in the bakery windows.

    Tea lovers come to the Marais for Maraige Freres, the famous tea shop tucked down a short street in the heart of the Marais. I continue my window shopping and enjoy the beautiful Fall day!

    I wind up my stroll through my favorite arrondissement at Hotel d’Ville. This beautiful piece of history is alive with pedestrians and the light sort of bounces off the Seine in the distance!

    Paris is feast for the eyes and the palate! I relish my few days here every year in the early Fall…Oh, this is the good life!








  • Understated Chic!

    St. Tropez, France…last day in this French playground! I decide to take a more laid back approach today to the beach in order to cap off my holiday on the Cote d’Azure…

    Instead of one of the swanky beach clubs, I choose Aqua Club. A simpler, less glitzy club along the same yacht filled beach. It’s situated next to yesterday’s Les Palmiers but it’s a world apart!

    I can sit on my lounger and watch people shuttled in from awaiting yachts on one side or I can view the nudist beach to my other side. But this club has no pretension, no class system, and no attitude! It’s a feet in the sand kind of place on the shore…

    Lunch is served simply…tables right on the beach. The list of daily specials sound great and I pick beef carpacio and fresh mussels, one of my favs! Of course, I don’t forget to accompany it with a heaping plate of French fries…I am holding out on my all time favorite, steak tartare for when I am in Paris later this month!
    Besides the laid back vibe, my day here costs half of what it did at the other chicer clubs.

    Its been a marvelous summer getting to spend time on all of Europe’s rivieras…each uniquely it’s own! This winter I’ll be itching for a trip to St Barths…it’s the closet thing we have to this riviera!




  • Fabulous on a Budget!

    St. Tropez, France…this destination is beautiful but it can be harmful to your wallet! I have prided myself this trip on creating major wows on a fairly low budget! Usually, I live by a “Don’t worry, live it up…it’s vacation!” mentality when I travel. But when the trip is 4 months long, that policy needs to be re-examined!

    I knew the French Riviera would be my expense challenge! How can I play with the International elite without breaking the bank? Well, a lot of research and planning and I did very well by Cote d’Azure standards…

    The 5 star hotels like Hotel Sezz or Hotel Byblos start at $500 a night and more often hover around $1000 a night! I found a lovely French hotel, Hotel Mouillage, and by booking in advance secured a rate well under $200. I was worried, but it’s a lovely French style hotel…clean, air conditioned, and decorated in a Provencal style…I have an amazing room with large terrace overlooking their great pool and gardens! Plus, its walking distance to town which saves on overpriced taxis! A total Score!

    Now I needed to keep my spending in check…I decided to splurge on the beach clubs and lunch since that is the essence of life in St. Tropez! That splurge cost approx $150 a day between beach chairs and food! Of course, there are public parts of the beach which are free, but I am not a bare bones kind of guy! The hotel owner was so friendly and he matched me up daily with other guests so we could carpool together in a taxi to the beach! A huge savings…

    I stocked up on drinks and snacks at the grocery store and there are a plethora of take out places, gourmet shops, and little bakeries that have delicious delicacies for take out! I would do dinner on my private terrace for $10-15 and really have a lovely and relaxing time. Grazing on authentic cous-cous, rich salads, delicious sandwiches, or amazing French pizza!

    Then it was off to town nightly to enjoy the parade of yachts and the energy of the beautiful harbor!

    I wasn’t luxuriating on a yacht, rubbing elbows with celebrities, power shopping at Hermes, or indulging in bottles of champagne…but I created my own “lifestyles of the rich and famous” week in the home of Brigitte Bardot, St. Tropez!



  • Designer Soda!

    You’ve got to love the importance of design in French culture!

    They even have designer soda! Diet Coke or Coca Cola light as they call it in Europe is now designed by infamous French designer Jean Paul Gaultier!

    Very cool! Another example of the mass appeal of fashion and how an everyday item can get a little hipper!