Hotel de Charost

This is the first time the British Ambassador’s Residence opened its doors to the public in connection with the European Patrimony Days. The queue was not long but there were already a lot of visitors inside, and still a big number keeps on arriving. I was not hopeful about taking even a single photo, aware that the British Government is so strict about people taking photos of public places by reason of security. So when they announced that photography is allowed, I couldn’t believe it!

Hotel de Charost, so-named because it was built by the duc of Charost (1722-25).

The Entrance Hall with the marble statue of Pauline Borghese, Napoleon Bonaparte’s sister who bought the house after it became abandoned during the French Revolution.


Salon Pauline


The Empire bed of Pauline.  She became an Imperial Princess when the First Empire of Napoleon was proclaimed.


The Throne Room which is now used for investiture ceremonies.


The Ballroom


The State Dining Room.  When Queen Elizabeth visited the Embassy in 2004, the official dinner took place here.


The English-style Herb Garden


The garden where the Queen planted a cherry tree and a ginkgo biloba, and the Queen Mother a weeping mulberry, a double cherry and a beech.

European Patrimony Days – Maxim’s Restaurant

Once known as the most famous restaurant in the world..
The grand names in politics, cinema, business…make it a point to include it in their Paris itinerary…
It’s been made into a play in 1899, the setting for films, books, songs…

But what really made Maxim famous was its ladies – the courtesans of the Belle Epoch – the reasons why Kings, Princes, Dukes and the cremes of international elite frequented this restaurant.

Maxim’s is on the list of the the European Patrimony Days Guide and I thought this is my chance to see the most famous restaurant in the world with its Art Nouveau interiors and a museum showing a 1900 courtesan apartment, thanks to Pierre Cardin who re-created it with his personal collection of 550 Belle Epoch pieces from around the world.

The facade at 3, rue Royale, 8th arrondissement

Ground Floor – The Parlour

Ground Floor – The Restaurant

First Floor

First Floor – The Bar

The spiral staircase which starts from the Ground Floor Restaurant up to the Fourth Floor Museum

A courtesan’s bedroom which is a part of the Museum.  The bed was created by Majorelle.


I left the building utterly blown-away!  I told myself how lucky am I to see such beauty, and I again thank Monsieur Pierre Cardin for sharing this amazing place to the world.

European Patrimony Days – France Television Studios

The building on Esplanade Henri de France

France Televisions
I watch their shows everyday, my favorite being Telematin, their morning magazine show which talks about food, fashion,politics, art, books, animals, garden, the internet….. The show is so relaxed, everyone is like a member of one big family.  So when the opportunity came for me to see how their studio looks like, I did not dilly-dally, even if it means queueing up for hours.

France TV is just one of the many historic monuments, government buildings, palaces… which opened their doors to the public, for two days, as part of the Les Journees Europèennes du Patrimoine (European Patrimony Days) held every third weekend of September.


The sign on the queue says:  “On this spot, the waiting time is 2 hours.”  Sounds discouraging but I just had to do it.


And with my favorite news reporter, Nathanael, I made sure that I did not leave the studio without a souvenir photo of him.  Actually, due to my excitement, I forgot to take his autographed photo – he even asked my name so he can write “Maria” on it.  Luckily, I remembered and went back to claim it, braving the tight line of security in the maze of rooms and corridors…


I don’t know what this room is called, I was not listening to the Guide as I was busy photographing.  One thing I remember, the staff stationed here controls when a TV ad has to be inserted; they also control the cameramen, the sound, at the same time watching all the shows going on. 


She is Valerie, the weather reporter.  Here, she explained to us how she points to the weather map which is actually displayed on the right side of this photo (not seen) but on TV, the same map shows up on the green board behind her.


The robotic camera that moves by remote control.


This is another studio where we were shown how the lights change into different colours

I left the building happy and satisfied.  They even gave us a bag of goodies!  I love it!

The biggest Fashion Show on Earth

I went to watch the Fashion Show at Galeries Lafayette last Friday, the first they had after breaking off for the summer holiday. (I didn’t realize earlier that they also disappear in August, too bad, I was hoping to take my sister and her family to watch their Friday catwalk show when they visited Paris  last month.)

Anyway, it’s nice to be in familiar surroundings again.  The last time I was here was almost two years ago.  Starting at 3pm and lasting for half an hour, the Autumn/Winter collection of Cavalli, Sonia Rykell, John Galliano among others were presented.  I took just a couple of still photos as I was videoing the show most of the time.  For a change, I wanted to show you the catwalk movement of the models and I will post the video shortly, meanwhile, please be patient with these photos:

Wedding dress by Cymbaline Paris
I looked at their website and learned that Cymbaline won the wedding trends news award of the Best French designer of the year 2009 and 2010

These ladies in the audience came as a big group and occupied the entire left wing of the Salon de Opera. I reckon they are the successful applicants who will be participating in the Biggest Fashion Show on Earth.


After the show, I went out of the store and was astounded at this montage of photos covering the entire facade of Galeries Lafayette.

 They must be the photos of the successful applicants who come from all walks of life, a perfect formula where the theme of the event will be about Street Fashion.

On September 30, at 6pm, Galeries Lafayette (GL) is hoping to set a Guinness World Record by staging the biggest fashion show on earth.  Boulevard Haussman, home of its flagship store, will be transformed into a giant catwalk.  On the same day, at the GL branch in Berlin, at the same hour, another fashion show will be staged.  The other GL branches in France will hold similar shows on Sept 25 starting at exactly 4pm.  In total, all the 61 stores will be mobilized, about  10,000 people will be parading for the show in a giant catwalk comprising 2 kilometers. 

National Heritage Weekend

The spiral staircase of Musee Maxim

This is just one of the many photos I will be posting which I took from the first day of the  Journees de Patrimoine (National Heritage Days) in Paris.  I am lost for words.. it’s a day I shall never forget: a visit to the TV Station, the residences of the British and Swiss Ambassadors….. Tomorrow I shall be queueing up as early as 6am outside the Palais de l’Elysee (Palace of the French President) and maybe, get inside the make up room of the Lido.  Huh! I am so crazy about this city, it never ceases to overwhelm me!