Paris cheat sheet: Hermès Rive Gauche

Paris is one of the world’s capitols and a city rip to Paris would therefore not be complete without visiting some of the iconic flagship stores of the legendary brands like Chanel, and Hermès who have become part of Parisian culture. Although Hermès is nowadays renowned for its iconic Birkin and Kelly bags, the house of Hermès originally rose to fame with saddles that were delivered to all the courts in Europe. The first shop opened its doors in 1882 in Rue du Faubourg in Paris, which you can still visit. However, I opted to go to their Rive Gauche (meaning: left river bank) store at 17 Rue de Sèvres in the Saint-Germain-des-Prés neighborhood that opened in 2010. Why? Let’s dive into it!IMG_0032ed IMG_0033ed

Hermès Rive Gauche is located in a historic building with an architectural design that is as distinctive as the Hermès articles on display. The monumental building was once home to the Lutetia swimming pool. The interior designers and architects of RDAI left in many elements of the Art Deco style, but also brought in contemporary design with a reverence to yesteryear. Especially in the 1930s the swimming pool was a real elite hot spot and base of the oldest swimming club of Paris.IMG_0042ed

You can still see the original structure with its mosaic tiling on the floor and preserved ironwork. But the real eye catchers are three woven wood pods that stretch nine meters high and serve as walk-through departments. Curves, waves, roundness, and the skylight coming in from the glass roof are all elements of the space that pay homage to the Lutetia pool.IMG_0037edIMG_0039ed

The store itself has a minimalist feel so that the designs can shine. Beautiful leather goods, silk shawls, and home accessories are luring you further into the store. There is a small bookshop, and a tea shop overlooking one of the balconies. In the wooden huts you can swoon over their new home collection of fabrics, furnishings and tableware. There is even a Hermès bicycle with leather details of which I will not repeat the price tag, but you better get an alarm and a dozen or so locks to go with it. Hermès Rive Gauche is definitely worth a visit, even if you don’t care much for fashion.IMG_0040edIMG_0041ed

 the photos are taken by me with my iPhone


Book review: Fräulein Klein lädt ein

During every festive day, whether it is Easter, Christmas or a birthday, I always turn to the books by Fräulein Klein. Her latest book Fräulein Klein lädt ein, published by Callwey, is yet another great resource to create special and pretty decorations and recipes. Like her two preceding books (see here and here) she shares with us seasonal and holiday recepices and DIY projects to present the food and drinks with allure and prettiness, or to spruce up your tablesetting. The book is divided in four parts, corresponding with the four seasons. From Key-lime Pie, to strawberry-rhubarb yoghurt popsicles, madeleines and chocolate pecan pies, the book is boasting with sweet guilty pleasures presented in an unique and fun way.

Also check out her fantastic blog for regular inspiration and beautiful party ideas.IMG_4005 IMG_4006 IMG_4007 IMG_4008 IMG_4009

City Guide Leiden: 149 Bites & Drinks

It’s been a while since my last hot spot tip in Leiden, my home town. New restaurants and shops have been popping up all over the city. Last year, a new restaurant opened in the Breestraat on number 149. The restaurant is called 149 Bites & Drinks. I’ve had dinner there twice now and really like the concept, as well as the spacious contemporary interior.IMG_3870

The interior is a mix of industrial and contemporary chic. Most striking are the many design lamps. The iconic chic Ghost chairs and stylish lighting are combined with rough wooden tables and exposed pipes. On the walls black and white photography of Dutch landscapes and details.IMG_3874IMG_3876IMG_3880 IMG_3882 IMG_3899

The restaurant’s menu is internationally inspired with small size dishes from different continents. The owner wanted to create an experience that takes you on a journey a to some of his favourite destinations, but also encourage sharing and sampling of the diversity in flavours and textures. From Antillean snacks, to mini surf & turf burgers or Asian roasted sticky quail, there is something to everyone’s liking. You can either order everything at once, or take it by the course until you are satisfied. The menu changes every two months.

food at 148 bitesIMG_3925

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Hotel to Heart: Hotel Vernet in Paris

Hi everyone, I’m finally back from my blog break. As it turned out, I needed a longer break than expected to rest and refuel. I’m happy to be back on the block and blog because I have a lot to share. I’m kicking off with one of my new favourite hotels in Paris: Hotel Vernet. The five-star luxury hotel is only steps away from the iconic Arc de Triomphe and the always bustling Champs Elysees. Apart from the perfect location, it is also a real design gem with a mix of modern furniture in a traditional setting. Since I stayed at the hotel during the Christmas season, I was treated to elegant christmas decorations and beautiful christmas ornaments throughout the hotel that added extra glam and sparkle.IMG_4383IMG_4414IMG_4379

The hotel was refurbished and renovated in 2014. The building is a typical 19th century Parisian style, called the ‘Haussmann’ style, with its signature load-bearing walls, cream colored limestones, mezzanine and rooms without balconies. Traditional elements hark back to the chic Parisian establishment like the staircase and iron elevator, or the stunning stained glass roof of the restaurant. The contemporary interior design is of the hands of designer François Champsaur who pays tribute to Parisian elegance and French craftsmanship. IMG_4390IMG_4419IMG_4375

The monumental stained glass dome in the hotel’s restaurant was designed by the famed Gustave Eiffel.  A glass window gives the space an airy feel and offers direct sight into the kitchen.  The round space makes the eye wander around the room. On the left many original works of art from contemporary artists add colour and balance out the traditional architecture. In the morning breakfast is served in the restaurant with a buffet of pastries, fresh bread and croissants, juices and warm and cold choices.IMG_4359 IMG_4357ed

For an after-dinner drink or morning cup of coffee and newspaper guests flock to the cozy bar area. A white Carrera marble counter, with it’s rounded edges seems to be floating. The ceiling is covered with a fresco, painted by internationally celebrated Jean-Michel Aberola, which seems to be reflecting the dynamics of the carpets designed by the same artist.IMG_4367IMG_4362IMG_4369

My room, was quiet and comfortable with an elegant Parisian chic decor. Beautiful design lamps, marble top side tables and walnut wooden furniture are mixed with warm colours and ikat print throw pillows. I loved the chic bathroom with the black and white mosaic tiles, marble counter, double sinks, walk-in rain shower, and brass details. Fluffy slippers and robes are at your disposal. Fresh fruit and chocolates were left in the room to welcome me back after a long day of shopping and sight seeing. The service is impeccable yet non-intrusive. I had a perfect stay at the Hotel Vernet and can’t wait to return to this chic yet unpretentious hotel.IMG_4207IMG_4233IMG_4225Bathroom hotel vernet 2bathroom Hotel VernetIMG_4213

For more info or reservations, visit the Hotel Vernet website.




Merry Christmas and till next year!

I’m signing off for this year to take a short holiday break. I would like to wish you all a Merry Christmas and all the best for the year ahead. I aim to be back on the blog after January 12, 2015 with more photos and stories from my trip to Paris, but also with lots of new products, restaurants, and trends. I hope I have inspired you this past year and may continue to do so in 2015. Thank you for your visits to my blog, your comments, and engagement. I’m leaving you with 2 photos of the interior of my hotel in Paris: the Vernet Hotel.  See you soon! kerstboom 2014IMG_4407


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