Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Laurel Corona Guest Post Finding Emilie

I am so excited to have the incredibly talented and amazing author Laurel Corona as a guest on Paris Atelier today. She is one of my favorite authors and her talent is boundless! Laurel has just released Finding Emilie, this novel is beyond amazing. I just finished reading it today and I highly recommend it! I love everything about it, the details, the history, the elegance, everything French about it. Laurel has written some wonderful novels, Penelope's Daughter has long been another favorite of mine as well. A giant Thank you to Laurel COrona for this beautiful guest post! I hope you all enjoy it! 

Atelier Paris Guest Blog Post
(Simon&Schuster/Gallery Books, April 2011)
Laurel Corona

Renaming Paris: The Place Royale and the Jardin de Roi

During the French Revolution and the Reign of Terror, Paris took on a new look.  Gone were the statues of aristocrats and royals in the squares, gone even were the heads of many of the stone saints in Notre Dame and other churches.  Gone too was the Bastille, the place most associated with the oppression of the past. Streets and buildings were renamed, and even the calendar was rewritten to celebrate the triumph of the people over the tyranny of the Ancien Régime.

Anything with the word “roi” or “royale” in it had to go, including two of the places most familiar to the heroine of my new novel, FINDING EMILIE.  Lili, the daughter of the real-life mathematician and physicist Emilie du Châtelet, who died shortly after giving birth to her, grew up in one of the elegant townhouses lining what she knew as the Place Royale.  At its center was a grand statue of Louis XIII, which was, as one might expect pulled down and melted for its bronze after the revolution. The square was renamed the Place de Vosges, and eventually, after the furor died down, a replacement statue was erected (an error in my book has it as a statue of Louis XIV--I hate it when that happens!)

Place de Vosges

The Place Royale, with its matching red-brick facades and vaulted arcades, was the model for future residential squares in Paris and other European cities.  Meant to be a quiet and dignified place, then on the outskirts of Paris, for the well-to-do to live, it is still one of the most elegant spots in the city. Cafes look out on a tree-shaded square where in summer people lounge on park benches and picnickers play games on the grass. Turgot’s 1739 map of Paris shows what it looked like at the time my book is set, although the shade trees I include are a later addition.

Here’s the quick description I offer of this urban oasis in FINDING EMILIE:

        The Place Royale, home to Hôtel Bercy, was one of the few places in Paris fit for a stroll. Even the gardens of the Tuileries were thick with the stench of garbage, and haunted by beggars and thieves. On dry and pleasant afternoons, those who lived behind the harmonious, arcaded mansions ringing the four sides of the Place Royale could leave behind the sedan chairs they used for calling on their neighbors elsewhere in town, and cross the quiet garden on foot.

Several key scenes occur in this garden, including Lili’s awakening to the cruel social realities of Parisian life, and the awakening of love between Lili’s best friend Delphine, with whom she was raised like a sister, and the future Comte d’Étoges.

For Lili, love blossoms on the other side of the Seine, at what was then known as the Jardin de Roi, today known as the Jardin des Plantes. The site looks quite different today, housing several museums and the Paris zoo along its perimeter. It retains vestiges of one of its primary purposes in the era before the revolution when my novel is set. It was the center of research into botany and zoology, and its head, George Louis LeClerc, the Comte de Buffon, was one of the most important scientific figures of his time.

Place Royale

The Jardin de Roi first appears in FINDING EMILIE when Lili is invited by the Comte de Buffon to spend an afternoon with him.  In the greenhouse, Lili is astonished by a pale pink mantis, perfectly camouflaged on a stem of orchids, and the count explains, using evolutionary thinking he developed a century before Darwin.

        “You see,” he said, taking Lili’s arm to go to the house for dinner. [...] “I don’t believe for a moment that God said during the creation, ‘Let there be orchids as well as mantises that look just like them.’ I believe instead that different types of plants and animals came into the world and thrived where they were put.”

        The great man stopped for a moment once they had crossed the terrace in front of the greenhouse. They were standing in the middle of a grand walkway so long it disappeared from sight before reaching the end of the garden. Lost in thought, Buffon’s hands were clasped as he looked up at the plane trees lining the walk.         Close to the house, gardeners trimmed the hedges of the formal garden, but farther away, the formal grounds meant for pleasant strolls gave way to the densely packed landscape of trees and medicinal plants in the working laboratory of the Jardin de Roi.

Jardin du Roi

        “Things alter over time,” he said, picking up the subject as if his thoughts hadn’t strayed at all. [...] “The climate might get hotter or colder, or wetter or drier, and the perfect fit isn’t so perfect any more.  So a plant might change colors or an animal grow spots, or more hair, or a tougher hide in order to adapt.  Perhaps         this poor little mantis was no good at capturing insects.  He adapted to look like something the insects are attracted to, and voilà!”

Although broad expanses of lawn (forbidden to human feet) have replaced much of the formal gardens, strolling in the Jardin des Plantes today it is easy to get the feel for its former existence.  A small garden of medicinal herbs honors its erstwhile scientific function, and promenades evoke a time when a walk here would have been the height of fashion. Just the place to put on a wig and panniers and pretend for a while--or maybe just get an ice cream and go to the zoo!

Thank you so much Laurel! Below are links to some of my favorite Laurel Corona books and the much anticipated and highly praised Finding Emilie.
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Wednesday, April 20, 2011


Kashgar Travel Journal by Laura West ~ Reverie Daydream Artisan Boutique

Hello! I am so honored to be a guest on the most lovely blog Reverie Daydream todayIf you have visited Reverie, then I'm sure you have been enchanted and mesmerized by the lovely Melissa and her magical world. I am truly humbled and honored to have been asked by her to guest on her series Wishful Thinking. Over the years Melissa's words have been a constant source of inspiration and her blog a special place to revive my soul

Beloved Letterpress Card ~ Reverie Daydream Artisan Boutique

Melissa is the owner of Reverie Daydream an artisan boutique that offers beautiful, carefully crafted, ethically and environmentally conscious goods. 

Thank you so much to Melissa for allowing me to share a tiny place on her blog and world. 

Enjoy the post as well as the talented and wonderful bloggers in the Wishful Thinking series.
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Monday, April 11, 2011

Diamonds Are A Girls Best Friend

"Beneath the makeup and behind the smile I am just a girl who wishes for the world."
Marilyn Monroe

Rhinestone accessories worn by Marilyn

Salut Mes Amis!  I hope you had a fantastic weekend. I posted (here) this weekend about my visit to historic Max Factor Building a few weeks ago. I went to see the Jean Harlow exhibit that is currently showing there. Little did I know that the museum holds a very large collection of Marilyn Monroe memorabilia. The collection is so large and so diverse, I just couldn't believe what I had stumbled upon! I have been a huge Marilyn Monroe fan since I was in Fourth grade, sick and at home from school, my Mother and I sat down to watch Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. I will never forget sitting in front of that TV and wanting to be just like her. She was pure magic on the screen and thus the obsession with old movies, vintage, and glamour began...

Marilyn's bustier from How to Marry A Millionaire

As I mentioned in the last post Mr. Max Factor had four different celebrity make-up rooms dedicated to the stars and designed to enhance a persons beauty by using his theory of Color Harmony. The first room we entered was the "For Redheads only" room. The room is done is shades of Mint Green and had Lucille Ball's personal items as well as Rita Hayworth's. I couldn't have been more excited...or so I thought! The next room was the "For Blondes Only" room. To my excitement and surprise, the entire room was Marilyn! Done in soft shades of Blue, the room contained so many incredible items that had belonged to THE Blonde herself. 

Actual prescription medication belonging to Marilyn Monroe (Wow)!

There in the cases of that gorgeous Blue room (which by the way is not an attractive hue for this Brunette) are studio contracts, handwritten notes, photos, gloves, jewelry, receipts, and so much more, all belonging to that famous blonde Marilyn. There is another large case with one of her dresses and a pair of shoes, and yet another case full of newspapers from the day she died, the prescription medication above, a certified copy of her autopsy, photos from the scene the police found that day, etc. 

The entire makeup table set up with Marilyn's own personal (used) make-up

Her famous makeup case

As I walked out of the room, I thought "Wow, that was amazing, I can't believe I just saw all of those items. I'm so lucky". We walked up the stairs to the first exhibit level and it was more Marilyn! They had her 1961 Cadillac Fleetwood Limousine given to her by the studio. Mr. Zanuck presented Marilyn with a Silver Tiffany key chain engraved with her initials. In the back seat they had her pillow used in the limo and a pair of gloves. They also had an original nude calendar, hundreds of photos and magazine covers, personal notes and multiple checks and receipts (lots for vodka, bourbon, and champagne) including the very last check she wrote (it was to her housekeeper). 

Her 1961 Cadillac Fleetwood Limousine

The collection is so extensive and so interesting, I could not possibly write about it all here. It was so interesting to see and so incredible to be in the presence of all of this Hollywood glamour!  Of course in addition to all of the Marilyn they had Jean Harlow, Clara Bow, Joan Crawford, Elvis, Judy Garland, Desi and Lucy, Mae West, Rudolph Valentino (another fave of mine), Doris Day, Lana Turner, the list is endless.

The stockings she wore in this famous photo shoot

I wish I could fit all of the photos from the exhibit here but the post would go on for days. 

Her famous Korea/Honeymoon dress

Have a wonderful week! 


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Saturday, April 9, 2011

Glamorous Hollywood

~~"Want to be an actor? Call Mr. Factor!" ~Original lyrics from the song Hooray for Hollywood~~

~This photo from the Hollywood Museum website *The lobby~

Hello! As usual, I have been missing you all! I am so excited about sharing this post with you. A few weeks ago I was fortunate enough to go to the Hollywood Museum with my Best Friend. I specifically wanted to go for a Jean Harlow exhibit that is on display there celebrating what would be her 100th birthday, little did I know what gold lies inside those doors. The museum is located in the historic Max Factor Building and I was awestruck from the moment I set foot in there! 

The Max factor building is a gem that sits right off of Hollywood Blvd.  just steps away from amazing places like the Roosevelt, El Capitan, and those famous footprints in the forecourt of Sid Grauman's Chinese theatre. Stepping through the heavily marbled entryway and into this historic building was like stepping back in time to the 1930's and that glorious Golden Age of Hollywood.

~The "Brownettes" Soft Peach colored room. Judy Garland is featured here~

The lobby is basically unchanged from those golden days. It is a polished Art Deco jewel, a rose colored oasis of endless lavish marble, crystal chandeliers, soft hues, and tropical palms. The Max Factor studio contains four special celebrity make-up rooms, each designed to bring out the best in women of a particular hair color: The first is marked "For Blondes Only" (and is done in shades of blue); another for redheads (in mint green), for brunettes (rose pink), and the brownettes (pale peach). These special rooms have been painstakingly preserved, and are complete with the original make-up chairs, lighting, furnishings, and  multi-angled mirrors. They are also outfitted with display cases full of notable clients personal make-up and personal belongings. Some of the legendary clients featured are Marilyn Monroe, Judy Garland, Rudolph Valentino, Joan Crawford, Jean Harlow, Lucille Ball, Claudette Colbert, Norma Shearer, and Bette Davis. I was inches away from Joan Crawford's false eyelashes (used!) Marilyn Monroe's bustier, and Elizabeth Taylor's belongings. 

Sitting in the makeup chair

It is said that Jean Harlow's hair was first dyed platinum in these rooms and that the color was created specifically for her, as is the story with Marilyn's hair, Joan Crawford, and Claudette Colbert. 

One of Judy Garlands pairs of Ruby Red Slippers  from the Wizard of Oz

I cannot even begin to scratch the surface of what this incredible museum contains and the history behind Mr. Factor and his empire. There are endless incredible pieces of Hollywood history here. The Marilyn Monroe collection alone is worth it. I am going to do a separate post just on her memorabilia at the museum tomorrow. They have a Mae West collection, Elvis items, Lucy and Desi, Shirley Temple, Clara Bow, Carey Grants Rolls Royce....Really it is endless! So, instead of boring you with more photos and my rambling I will leave you photo from the Jean Harlow exhibit I originally went to see. Until tomorrow! XOXO!

~~~All photos taken by me and property of Paris Atelier unless otherwise noted~~~

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Friday, March 11, 2011

Hello Friends,

Just a quick post to send out prayers to all of those affected by the devastating earthquake and Tsunami in Japan. To all of those in the world who have been touched by this, my prayers and my thoughts are with you today. Watching the news and reading about the horrific events that have unfolded are heart wrenching.

A reminder to us to hold our loved ones closer and give our little ones an extra kiss. My heart goes out to these people who are searching for loved ones, are trapped, or have lost family. To understand the fragility of life and how in an instant our worlds can be turned inside out is such a horrifying thought.

I can't help but feel so incredibly blessed at this moment. Wishing you all a good night and a safe weekend.
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Monday, February 28, 2011


Via Ciaoeli Tumblr

Hello Lovelies! I have been aching for Paris this last week or so and the feeling just won't go away! Maybe because Spring is approaching and there is no place in the world more beautiful in the Springtime. Maybe because I have been brushing up on my French while teaching the little Little Prince to speak it...Maybe, it is because I left my heart there the last time I left. Whatever the reason, here is a tiny dose of Paris and some interesting little tidbits to tide us over.

Via Tumblr

~ In Paris you are never more that 400 meters from a subway station.

~ The Marseillaise, the French national anthem, was first sung in Strasbourg, not Marseille.

~ The novel La Disparition by Georges Perec, in its original French does not use the letter 'e'.

 ~Via Tumblr~

~ In French two weeks is in fact 15 days, quinze jours.

~ French politicians can simultaneously hold more than one elected office.

~ Lefevre is the most popular last name in France.

~ There are 27 wine regions in France.

~Via Tumblr~

~ Comté cheese is best eaten 30 months after it is made.

~ Alsacien type homes are not considered immobilier, the French term for real estate that also means non-moveable, but in fact mobilier because they are demountable and thus can be moved. Alsacien type homes were built this way so that homes could be part of dowries.


~Facts via Americans In France~
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Thursday, February 17, 2011

Ziegfeld Follies

"Fred Astaire: Here's to the beautiful ladies, Here's to those wonderful girls, Adele's and Molly's, Lucille's and Polly's. You'll find them all at the Ziegfeld Follies."

 Cyd Charisse in the 1945 Hollywood musical ~ Ziegfeld Follies

Bonjour chéris! I just finished watching that amazing movie Ziegfeld Follies. I am still trying to catch my breath! The costumes, the dance routines, the stars...Oh my!

Dolores Costello ~ Ziegfeld Girl

 The Ziegfeld Follies were a series of elaborate theatrical productions, inspired by the Folies Bergéres of Paris, on Broadway in from 1907 through 1931.

Ziegfeld Girl

The Follies were extremely lavish revues that included many of the days most popular performers. The Follies may have been most known for the beautiful girls that graced the stage.

 Lilyan Tashman ~ Ziegfeld Girl

These girls were known for always being decked out in the most elaborate and beautiful costumes. The costumes were often made by designers such as Erté, Lady Duff Gordon, and Ben Ali Haggi. The next morning the talk of New York would always be the ensembles.

The glorious Louise Brooks ~ She was a featured dancer for the Follies in 1925

I love that the movie includes some actual numbers from the original Follies shows on Broadway and showcases so many of Hollywood's brightest stars of the time. It is such an over the top spectacle that it just makes you feel like dancing!

Stay tuned for an incredible giveaway in the next few weeks and a post about my first trip to an auction & the goodies I brought home. I can't wait!
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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Old Hollywood Glamour

Ditas collection of pointe shoes used in her performances

Bonjour! I had so much fun with the last post filled with corsets and feminine frills that I decided to post about the Queen of corsets and femininity...Dita Von Teese.

 An outfit used in her carousel horse act as displayed in her home

I thoroughly enjoyed the Dita feature in February's In Style showcasing her home. I love the way she lives and enjoys all of her vintage treasures daily. She really is a throwback to that glamorous age in Hollywood. She is rarely without her pinup Red lips and stockings.

The article was fascinating and the photos were glorious! If you have not seen it I highly encourage you to check out the pictures. They just ooze glamour, vintage swank, and retro beauty.

A small portion of Ditas vintage hat collection. She owns more than 300!

After that Jean Harlow~esque spread in In Style I searched for more photos of her "Old Hollywood" home. Unfortunately, these were all of the photos I could find.


I recently purchased her Burlesque book on Amazon and I have to tell you, it's gorgeous. The photos are over the top glamour and luxury. The content is well written and had me enthralled.

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Thursday, February 10, 2011

Confectionery Delights

     ~Cherry Blue Corset~

Maya Hansen Corsetry has won my heart! What girl (or guy) wouldn't love these confections?

      ~Calippo Corset~

Madrid born Maya Hansen dreamt up this incredible cake collection. Cakes and candies inspired this frivolous and whimsical collection. Colorful brocades and supple suede combine to make an incredible statement. A colorful bang of trimmings and patterns that evoke the fantastical and lavish court of Versailles.   

~The Marie Antoinette~

I dream of a Lingerie closet full of the most decadent and beautiful pieces...Just like these. A little piece of heaven!

~Mint & Chocolate Corset~

HappyValentine's Day!

All images via Maya Hansen Corsetry
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