Places in France : Deauville in Spring

It’s not summer yet, but one can see the potential of the throngs of people that will gather once the weather warms up. As it was, on a chilly spring mid morning – the scarves, foulards and heavy jackets were all telling of the weather outside. We arrived just before lunch, after a toss up between staying in the apartment and watching the Golf Masters on TV,  or making the two hour drive to Deauville ; a beach resort in Western France. Deauville won out and it was well worth the drive.

Conversations: Anna Getaneh – MD & Creative Director of African Mosaïque

A month ago, breezing through a Ralph Lauren store, a whimsical dress in a mud cloth-inspired fabric caught my eye. Could it be? I thought. Had another African inspiration, other than Vlisco, the Dutch-made wax fabric, ubiquitous in much of West Africa and beyond made it to the design studios of Western designers?
I literally stopped in my tracks and went over to touch the fabric. It had a supple silk feel but the design on the fabric was definitely African.
I then remembered a designer that had introduced me to this Malian cloth; Anna Getaneh. At the time, almost five years ago, she was working out of her home-based studio.  I had made  a few trips to her to have my boubou, a very fashionable and simple design, enhanced with this fabric across the midriff- making it both easy-to-wear and timeless – it still hangs in my wardrobe. Now here was Ralph Lauren, years later.

Mascarades et Carnavals at Musée Dapper

Hidden away in the 16th Arrondissement, Musée Dapper seems incongrous in its surroundings. High-end clothing boutiques, designer stores, an elegant Nespresso boutique, and just off the posh Avenue Victor Hugo is the museum.
An artistic and cultural space for Africa, the Caribbean and their diaporas is how the museum bills itself. It is an offshoot of the Dapper Foundation, which was established to raise the profile of sub-saharan Africa’s artisic heritage.
I took in the Mascarades et Carnavales exhibition last week. It is on until July. A fitting exhibit seeing as it is the month of carnivals. I do believe the Paris Carnival is itself an annual treat, which I missed. Quel dommage!

And then the snow fell

After a week of reports on the big chill sweeping across Europe and my daily conversations with both our gardienne and the school bus driver about the  freezing weather, the snow finally fell in Paris. It facinates me to no end the endless conversations one can have about the weather in this country.

Indulging the nerd within at Bibliothèque Mazarine

The Winter Sales started today and I was trying by all means to avoid any place that would lead to encounters with shoppers. It’s crazy out there! I needed to write and was not getting any inspiration in the apartment so headed out to the library.
I must confess, libraries have always been my favourite places to spend time – I am a nerd that way. I grew up in Lesotho and some of my fondest memories are of visits to the National Library. It was not a huge library- although as a child it seemed enormous, but it was well-stocked. Precious hours would be spent here, where I’d lose myself in the worlds of Enid Blyton, Roald Dahl, C.S. Lewis and later on Judy Blume. I still get a thrill from being inside a library; the muted sounds, the scholarly seriousness, the books… this visit to the Bibliothèque Mazarine was long overdue.

From Abstract to Minimalist

I thought it being a Sunday, not to mention a cold day it would be fairly quiet; this was not the case. While some Parisians were enjoying the comforts of their cosy apartments, others were taking in the jovial atmospheres of warm and loud brasseries; I do love how, irrespective of the weather, visiting your neighbourhood brasserie is very much the thing to do. The more popular ones are always overflowing.

Galette des Rois

Suddenly the window displays and counters of my favourite boulangeries are lined with these pastries.
I became wisened to this celebration a bit late but it  happens around January 6th of the New Year or according to some on the first Sunday of January- the flaky pastry consumed is filled with almond and pastry cream and a small trinket is placed inside. It is then shared and the lucky little boy or girl that finds the trinket in their piece is King or Queen for the day. Lovely french custom.

Books: HOW TO READ THE AIR by Dinaw Mengestu

Title: How To Read the Air
Author: Dinaw Mengestu
Published: 2010
Genre: Fiction

I am drawn to immigrant stories. There is something in them that speaks of strength and survival in countries foreign that I can relate to. How To Read The Air offers glimpses of Jonas Woldemariam’s parents’ transition into America from their home country, Ethiopia. The story itself does not focus entirely on the problems they encounter in America, but of how they have to forge a life as immigrants, who hardly know each other, and build a life from their little-shared past.