parisian autumn

A shoot in Montmartre in Paris, France.

There’s this corner of Marie Antoinette’s estate in Versailles that contains a preserved little hamlet of amazing thatched-roof homes and a fully working/active farm. It’s very easy to miss it if you visit simply for palaces and water features, but I’d recommend a stroll through the English-style gardens and getting up close to the livestock. This guy, while it’s tough to see here, was sitting in the one patch of mud in the pasture, and was considerably more heavy-set than the other guy on the right.

The current Terry Richardson exhibition, “Mom & Dad,” coinciding with the release of his newest book, currently on display in the Colette store in Paris. I snapped a few shots before being reprimanded by the staff. The book (and related exhibition) utilize a lot of older, already-published shots (having already been included in “Terryworld,” etc), but regardless, it was a pleasant surprise to see his work and merchandise showcased inside of Colette.

So, regarding the pilgrimage to the expensive French boutique, I first heard of Colette while working as a web designer for Macy’s in their Times Square office in 2005. One of the art directors (Yujin) brought back the double-disc “Colette No.7” to the art director I worked under, Hat, and he shared it with me, as we were always passing music back and forth. It was such a well-curated and ear-opening mix that I kept trying to get my hands on any other mixes they had compiled, but kept failing to locate any for purchase, assuming I’d just have to visit one day. In subsequent years, I kept hearing about the store collaborating with interesting artists and growing in profile. When Jenn and I did arrive at Colette finally the other week, it exceeded my expectations. I’m not one to generally be excited about retail environments or shopping in general, but the in-store music was on-point (energetic and only instrumental/electronic, and not like much I had heard before), and the product offerings range from design, fashion, and culture books and limited edition items all the way to very high-end couture (Jenn was eying a dress that was in the ballpark of 4300 euro). And of course, to top it off, Terry Richardson’s likeness and photos were all over the place as well, plus a good percentage of the clientele were there to see and be seen. All in all, unlike any shopping I’ve seen in New York or elsewhere.

A model, after the Chloe show in the Jardin des Tuileries, during Paris Fashion Week.

Inexpensive Parisian rent on the Saint Martin canal.

Sidewalks in Paris are not unlike sidewalks I’ve seen in Buenos Aires, Argentina. All sorts of treats to step on.

Versailles, France. Something happened a day after we arrived in Paris: a switch was flipped and it became Fall in Europe.

The Musée des Égouts in Paris, or the Sewer Museum, has quite a “ripe” smell as you traverse through live sewers. Not recommended for the queasy.

We’re now back, State-side, after a good, exhausting adventure.

i haven’t been, but i hear it’s nice

All smiles in Milan, Italy.

Pig snouts and equine hamburgers (not pictured) line the cases at an indoor market in Milan.

A burlesque night at Sargeant Pepper’s in Milan only brought out a handful of the rockabilly kids, but did pack the bar, spilling out into the street for several hours.

An unexpected railroad strike kept us in Florence, Italy for an extra day longer than we anticipated, but there are likely worse places in the world to be stuck.

There’s an amazing little museum in Lyon, France that houses brilliantly ornate miniature scenes – many of which were created to be shot during big-budget films as part of the special effects in past years. This was part of a tiny but elaborate butcher’s shop scene. Well worth an hour of your time to visit Musée Miniature et Cinéma if you find yourself in Lyon.

But the real reason to visit Lyon is the food. Even just spending a few nights there, we stumbled into a cooking presentation on escargot soup in a plaza, and all of our meals were great despite a tight budget.

Some tips: go with a “pot” of the house wine plus a carafe of tap water to spend next to nothing on drinks. Also, opt for the pre-fixe menu at a traditional Lyonese restaurant away from the few tourist spots to get many large courses for a reasonable price.

In just a few days I had some of the best meals I’ve eaten in some time (maybe ever) and didn’t hit anything remotely high-end (like Michelin stars, etc). Lyon can cook.

On an unrelated note, Jenn and I were surprised to see none other than Pete Doherty and a buddy of his walking up a cobblestone alley toward the gallery district of Lyon on a Saturday afternoon. I was too surprised to break out my camera – apparently he had a show later that night. I was never sure why the owners of the now-defunct Safe Haven bar in South Slope, Brooklyn were vehemently anti-Doherty. I’m not necessarily up on Babyshambles or anything, but it’s hard to beat the likes of the Libertines, “Up the Bracket.” Solid stuff.

A bicycle thrown into the river in Lyon, France collects an assortment of algae.