France

Pauses in the Palace

Versailles, France The Grand Trianon, Le Petit Trianon and the Temple de l'Amour www.bluemesablog.com

Beyond the crowded bustle of the palace and halls, Versailles has a thousand hidden corners. The grandeur of the place is remarkable, but the little places where light and shadow fall over marble, where the pastel frescoes are a little faded, or the morning sun glints over the chandelier are more beautiful still. I love spending moments by the fountains in the gardens, or in the quiet halls of the Grand or Petit Trianon. Rest by the water or against the cool columns of the Temple de l’Amour. Look up at the ceilings and out of the windows. Arrive early in the morning and spend the whole day lingering where no one else takes the time to pause—in Versailles, in your own home, anywhere.

Versailles, France The Grand Trianon, Le Petit Trianon and the Temple de l'Amour www.bluemesablog.com

Versailles, France The Grand Trianon, Le Petit Trianon and the Temple de l'Amour www.bluemesablog.com

Versailles, France The Grand Trianon, Le Petit Trianon and the Temple de l'Amour www.bluemesablog.com

Versailles, France The Grand Trianon, Le Petit Trianon and the Temple de l'Amour www.bluemesablog.com

Versailles, France The Grand Trianon, Le Petit Trianon and the Temple de l'Amour www.bluemesablog.com

Versailles, France The Grand Trianon, Le Petit Trianon and the Temple de l'Amour www.bluemesablog.com

Versailles, France The Grand Trianon, Le Petit Trianon and the Temple de l'Amour www.bluemesablog.com

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Food, France

Dehillerin, Paris

Dehillerin, Paris www.bluemesablog.com

[A Note: Today it is my pleasure to introduce you to William, who will be contributing the occasional guest post to the blog.]

I feel ambivalent about eating in Paris, with its discourteous waiters and tourist-trap bistros, but my enthusiasm for the Dehillerin kitchen store is entirely unreserved. Dehillerin was founded in 1820, and crossing the threshold is like stepping back in time. It’s immediately apparent why the store exercises such magnetism over celebrated chefs, from Julia Child to Joel Robuchon—as well as an awed succession of tourists and culinary pilgrims. Copper turbot kettles, duck presses, and other paraphernalia seldom seen in a modern kitchen are all around. Everything from sautĂ© pans to oyster knives displays an old-fashioned, over-engineered solidity. All that planished copper is undeniably beautiful, but it isn’t for decoration: this is kitchen kit designed to be used. Consider the series of K Sabatier knives, beginning with a paring knife and increasing by increments, culminating in a ten inch chef’s knife. The blades are high carbon stainless steel, which takes and holds a great edge; you have a choice of rosewood (my favorite) or stained beech handles; and their balance is impeccable—all for disconcertingly sensible prices. Knives made for cutting, not for display. But the same observation might be made about any of Dehillerin’s utensils and appliances. Visit next time you’re in Paris. Come with a shopping list, but expect to find something you didn’t know you needed.

Dehillerin, Paris www.bluemesablog.com

Dehillerin, Paris www.bluemesablog.com

Dehillerin, Paris www.bluemesablog.com

Dehillerin, Paris www.bluemesablog.com

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France

Le Temple de l’Amour, Versailles

Le Temple de l’Amour, Versailles www.bluemesablog.com

Beyond the palace, the canal and the sweeping gardens, further than le Grand Trianon and le Petit Trianon, rests the quiet Temple de l’Amour. Since I always seem to find myself at Versailles with a raging fever (or perhaps always insist on going even when I have a raging fever), I will forever consider le Temple de l’Amour as a place of respite. There I can recline on the sunny steps, rest my forehead against the marble, and recover from the journey through the visual feast that is the palace, and the long walk through the majestic gardens. So peaceful is that place that I’ve even been known to doze off beneath the state of L’Amour.

Le Temple de l’Amour, Versailles www.bluemesablog.com

Le Temple de l’Amour, Versailles www.bluemesablog.com

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