How is it already the last day of April? It seems like yesterday was April 1st. Watching the flowers blossom and trees get their leaves again seemed more beautiful than ever been before. It was a very welcome distraction from everything else going on in the world. Good news is on the horizon for France in May and the coming months as our latest déconfinement begins. This week’s Five Friday Finds from France includes a sweet muguet (Lily of the Valley) tradition plus Christian Dior’s love for muguets, a new café to add to your Paris list, dog friendly Jardin du Luxembourg, and more!
France’s Déconfinement Plan
Yesterday Emmanuel Macron revealed the four phases of France’s latest déconfinement. Basically, May 19th can’t come soon enough. I’m beyond ready after what will be nearly seven months of closures to start to get a sense of normalcy back. It’s been exciting watching the preparations underway at restaurants and cafés, including one of my favorite spots Le Saint Germain.
French Muguet (Lily of the Valley) Tradition + Christian Dior’s Love for Muguets
May 1st is Labor Day in France (Fête du Travail). It’s also customary to give a Lily of the Valley to loved ones as a porte-bonheur (good luck charm, which is what inspired the name of my antique and print shop La Porte Bonheur). They’ve been popping up all around Paris this week and I can hardly wait for tomorrow. I love this sweet French muguet tradition and think I’ll give one to Dalton again this year.
Last year we were in Normandy on May 1st and I read about how Christian Dior, who was from the same area in Normandy, loved muguets. The text below is from Dior Mag:
A symbol of celebration and a harbinger of brighter days ahead, the Lily of the Valley was one of the founding couturier’s lucky charms. Faithful to the tradition, he offered it each May 1st to all his petites mains and clients. Christian Dior so cherished this spring flower that his florist, Madame Dedeban, grew it for him year-round in a specially heated greenhouse! Thus, summer or winter, he was never without a sprig of it in his buttonhole.
He also kept some in a finely-wrought box in his pocket. During preparations for his fashion shows, he would ask his petites mains to sew some sprigs of Lily of the Valley into the hem of a sleeve or a dress. Being the talisman that he was, he was also prone to pinning it to the underside of the lapel of the suits worn by his models.
His beloved flower was also present in his collections each season. He devoted an entire line to it for spring 1954, and two years later, with Edmond Roudnitska, the couturier realized his dream of capturing its green and floral fragrance. And so, 1956 saw the launch of his third opus, Diorissimo, a triumph of olfactory prowess.
Lily of the Valley inspired the house’s perfumes and designs ever since, as it did the Spring-Summer Haute Couture collection. Sprigs of Lily of the Valley traced out in beads and sequins, bloomed across a white bar jacket, the result of over three hundred hours of embroidery.
Later in 2016, at the 69th Festival de Cannes, Kirsten Dunst ascended the famous steps in a white silk gazar Dior haute couture dress embroidered with 300 Lily of the Valley flowers. This special creation was inspired by the dress ‘Muguet,’ designed by Christian Dior for his Spring-Summer 1957 collection in which the flower also blossomed on a dress named ‘Mois de Mai.’Dior Mag
Grace Café in the Seventh Arrondissement
This week I met up with my friend Molly for a takeaway lunch at Grace Café in the 7th arrondissement. It’s the perfect little lunch spot with homemade quiches, salads, sandwiches, pastries and of course coffee. It’s located just directly across from a park which is great for right now. They also have a great temporary terrasse that will be perfect for the coming months. Maybe my favorite part – it’s right next to a gorgeous flower shop. You can’t beat the views!
The Dog Friendly Section of Jardin du Luxembourg
This week Dalton’s adventures continued in the Jardin du Luxembourg. I never knew it was dog friendly. Dogs have to be on leashes (which we didn’t know but is very enforced, in a polite way). If you’re looking at the Senat, dogs are allowed in between Rue Auguste-Comte and Boulevard Saint-Michel on the elevated levels.
Scented (and Edible) Geraniums
I’m probably very late to the party but I had no idea scented geraniums existed. I first saw cherry scented geraniums earlier this week. My friend Amy sent me a recipe to make a syrup with them. As the week went on I kept noticing more flavors including orange and mint. I have my eyes out for a rose scent – I think there’s a Rose Geranium Margarita in my future!
I hope you enjoyed this week’s Five Friday Finds from France. I’ll be back tomorrow with Weekend Links!