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Paris Tips: Paradise Found

LE TRAIN BLEU COCKTAIL WITH NAPOLEON’S FAVORITE CAMP STAPLE: COURVOISIER (Photographs by Theadora Brack)

Pass the new-fangled Ambre Solaire, 1935 (Image: T. Brack’s archives)

By Theadora Brack

This week, as a teary adieu to Mad Men, let’s catch some bliss and sunrays. On gossamer wings, follow me to the terrace at the Musée d’Art Moderne, located on the eastern arm of the Palais de Tokyo. Built for the 1937 Exposition Internationale, here is one of my favorite havens in Paris. The wine is affordable, while the view of the Eiffel Tower breaks hearts faster than Don Draper.

On the terrace, you’ll also find voluptuous nymphs chill-axing by the poolside. Wearing nothing but sheer confidence and stylish do’s, don’t hate them because they’re still beautiful. According to master coiffeur Acacio Pezzutti da Silva, our mod squad is sporting the softer 1930s rolled-up version of the bobbed hairdo, originally fashioned by Antoine de Paris in 1909.

Never underestimate the power of a flattering hairdo. Perhaps this explains the strength they exude?

As my grandmother Helen used to say, “If you look like a million bucks, you’ll feel like a million bucks.” I couldn’t agree more.

Trekking to Paris?

Don’t leave the city without indulging in a beverage (or two) on a café terrace. Sure, your drinks may cost a little more than in a grocery store, but the upside is that you’ll have courtside seats for people-watching, and you can stay as long as you like. So don’t forget to pack your sketchbook or selfie stick!

CELEBRATING ORPHISM: ROBERT DELAUNAY, EIFFEL TOWER, MUSÉE D’ART MODERNE, 1924-1925

ROBERT DELAUNAY, EIFFEL TOWER (MUSÉE D’ART MODERNE)

What to order? For inspiration, let’s take another dip into Frank Meier’s The Artistry of Mixing Drinks. I’ve pulled another batch of recipes from his book for your garden parties.

Winding it back: during the heyday of the cocktail, Frank was the head barman at the Hôtel Ritz. Published in 1934, his flask-sized guide is full of tips, recipes, and gossip, along with some old-fashioned remedies. Feeling the motion of the ocean? Champagne is your pal, according to Frank. Good one Frank, I’d say! Rock the boat.

Pulling no punches, he serves up 300 easy-to-follow recipes for Cobblers, Coolers, Daisies, Fixes, Flips, Highballs, Juleps, Rickets, Shrubs, Slings, Smashes, and Sours. With wit, he delivers. Whenever he’d serve his signature “Tin Roof” cocktail, he’d quip, “It’s on the house!” and then follow up with, “but this hotel’s roof is made of tile!” That joke never got old, I’m sure.

Tip: While planning your own shindigs, don’t forget Frank’s credo about what makes a great bar truly great. It’s not the drink recipes, he said. And it’s not the décor. It’s the people. At long last, love! Crank up the printers!

1. Sea Pea
(Created for Cole Porter) In shaker: the juice of one-half Lemon, one glass of sweetened Anise “Pernod fils,” shake well, strain into fizz glass, add Schweppes soda water or siphon and serve.

Looking Elegant at the Palais de Tokyo, Exposition Internationale, 1937 (Image: Le chronoscaphe)

Palais de Tokyo, 1937 (Image: Le chronoscaphe)

2. Elegant
In mixing glass: a dash of Grand Marniere, half French Vermouth, half Gin; stir well and serve.

3. Million Dollar
In shaker: half white of Egg, a dash of Grenadine, a teaspoon of Pineapple ice, one-half glass of Gin; shake well, strain into double cocktail glass and serve.

4. Tuxedo
In mixing-glass: a dash each of Maraschino and Anise “Pernod fils,” half French Vermouth, half Gin; stir well and serve.

5. Automobile
In a mixing glass: a dash of Orange Bitters, one-third each of Italian Vermouth, Gin and Scotch Whiskey; stir well and serve.

6. Top Speed
In shaker: one-fourth Anise “Pernod fils,” one-fourth French Vermouth, half brandy; shake well and serve.

7. Fascinator
In shaker: a dash of Anise “Pernod fils,” half French Vermouth, half Gin, a sprig of Mint; shake well and serve.

8. Temptation
In shaker: two-sixths Bacardi, one-sixth Lemon juice, half Anise “Pernod fils,” shake well and serve.

Palais de Tokyo, Exposition Internationale, 1937

Palais de Tokyo, Exposition Internationale, 1937

9. Gin and Sin
In shaker: a dash of Grenadine, a teaspoon each of Orange and Lemon ice, three-fourths Gin; shake well and serve.

10. Last Round
In mixing-glass: two dashes of Anise “Pernod fils,” two dashes of Brandy, half French Vermouth, half Gin; stir well and serve.

Obviously Monsieur Frank liked Pernod fils—an early case of product placement?—but to be perfectly frank, it does offer a certain sine qua non that always makes me think of France. Speaking of which . . .

In the mood for more Paris time travel?

Grab another cocktail, and then head on over to Le Chronoscaphe. Aline Héau’s website is full of found photography. The impressive collection now hovers around 30,000 slides and photographs.

In the wise words of Don Draper

“Nostalgia—it’s delicate, but potent . . . it’s a twinge in your heart far more powerful than memory alone . . . it takes us to a place where we ache to go again . . . it lets us travel the way a child travels—around and around, and back home again, to a place where we know are loved.”

Don, you will be missed.

BAS-RELIEFS BY ALFRED AUGUSTE JANNIOT, MUSÉE D’ART MODERNE, PALAIS DE TOKYO, 1937 (PHOTO BY T. BRACK)

BAS-RELIEFS BY ALFRED AUGUSTE JANNIOT, MUSÉE D’ART MODERNE, PALAIS DE TOKYO, 1937

On a Roll: DUBONNET Collage by SONIA DELAUNAY, 1914 (Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía)

On a Roll: Another DUBONNET by SONIA DELAUNAY, 1914 (Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía)

LÉON-ERNEST DRIVIER AND AUGUSTE GUÉNOT,  PALAIS DE TOKYO, 1937

LÉON-ERNEST DRIVIER AND AUGUSTE GUÉNOT, PALAIS DE TOKYO, 1937

“Le Train Bleu” cocktail, named after the Calais-Mediterranée Express (a.k.a., “Le Train Bleu”)

“Le Train Bleu” cocktail, named after the Calais-Mediterranée Express (a.k.a., “Le Train Bleu”)

LES NYMPHES BY SCULPTORS LÉON-ERNEST DRIVIER AND AUGUSTE GUÉNOT,  PALAIS DE TOKYO, 1937

LES NYMPHES BY SCULPTORS LÉON-ERNEST DRIVIER AND AUGUSTE GUÉNOT, PALAIS DE TOKYO, 1937

“Nostalgia—it’s delicate, but potent”— Don Draper (Beau Catcher by Vigny)

LES NYMPHES BY SCULPTORS LÉON-ERNEST DRIVIER AND AUGUSTE GUÉNOT, PALAIS DE TOKYO, 1937

Palais de Tokyo, Exposition Internationale, 1937 (Image: T. Brack's archives)

Palais de Tokyo, Exposition Internationale, 1937 (Image: T. Brack’s archives)

BRACK Beauty 1156

BRACK Beauty 1170

 

 

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51 thoughts on “Paris Tips: Paradise Found

  1. Ahhh, dear Theadora, it was wonderful to come home from work and running errands and then to find myself in Paris, people-watching and having a few drinks. One of these days, it will be for real, I hope, but until then, I love indulging myself through your eyes and words. Santé! And don’t forget to put Chicago on your travel list. 🙂

    janet

    Like

    • Thanks, Janet! It was great fun to share a cocktail with you. And YES. Chicago is on my travel wish list.

      Oh, how I miss that toddlin’ town. 🙂 Giddy up: “The Degas: At the Track, On the Stage” opens on July 1, 2015 at Art Institute of Chicago (one of my favorite museums in the world. The exhibition looks pretty darn great!

      Santé!
      Theadora

      Like

    • Thanks, Elizabeth!

      Here’s a tip for the road: The Musée d’Art Moderne’s permanent exhibition is still free. Here you’ll find works by Georges Braque, Robert and Sonia Delaunay, and Henri Matisse. Another favorite haven in Paris!

      Have a great week!
      Theadora

      Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, they’re blue sugar crystals. In periwinkle! I also have them in red, yellow and green. The crystals are quite popular at dinner parties. They really work well with vintage bar glasses. I’m still learning how to rim the glass. It’s an art form. Timing is everything!

      Enjoy the evening,
      Theadora

      Liked by 1 person

    • Well, thank you! It was a fun post to create. As you know, I love sunsets and sunrises. And the café terrace at the Palais de Toyko is the perfect place to rest after a long day of non-stop museum-hopping and window-shopping. Especially at l’heure bleue! The view of Eiffel Tower is wonderful. And so are the comfortable chairs!

      Enjoy the week!
      Theadora

      Like

  2. Love your jaunts around the City of Lights … I’ll take an Elegant, always had a penchant for Grand Marnier – the last photo Cosmo Cover looks like Marilyn? Cheers!

    Like

    • Elegant! A perfect cocktail choice! Yes, woman on the Cosmopolitan does look like Marilyn. Great eye! It’s the August 1933 issue: The Midsummer Fiction issue.

      And by the way, Frank named one of his drinks after an editor at Cosmopolitan magazine: Ray Long. Here’s the recipe: In a mixing glass: a dash of Angostura Bitters, a sash of Anis “Pernod fils,” one third Brandy; stir well and serve.

      Santé!
      Theadora

      Like

  3. Awesomeness. Great post. Memories of Cafe de la Pais. A simple Jambon et Fromage avec Café was all I could afford back on my first visit to Paris. Then a real martini at Hemiway on my last trip ( better budget) Now I want return as your drink options sound so much better. As alway your posts create the nostalgia that Don so aptly describes . Thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, I love your flashbacks! Café de la Paix? That’s awesomeness. And the jambon et fromage sandwich. The best portable, affordable meal on the planet! Did you dine indoors or outdoors? Did you have a view of Opéra? Where did order the martini? The same joint?

      Thanks for sharing such a sweet memory!
      Theadora

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Great post, as usual. I love living (in Paris) vicariously through you. 🙂 And I need a “le train bleu” in my life right now… preferably on a Parisian cafe terrace… sigh…

    Like

    • I’m with you! 🙂 Le Train Bleu is a looker of a drink. Have you tried to create one?

      Here’s the recipe:

      First, rim your glass with natural decorating sugar. Then, in an ice filled tumbler: Pour one ounce Cognac and two ounces pineapple juice. Shake well and strain into the glass. Top with three ounces bubbly. Decorate the rim with fresh chunks of pineapple or orange slices.
      Chill and serve. And then repeat.

      Enjoy the week and upcoming weekend!
      Theadora

      Like

  5. Oh my………..here you are with these beautiful cocktails……of course I started with the Le Train Bleu and then had an Elegant, Million Dollar, Tuxedo followed by a Topspeed, Automobile……..oh my, then I crawled into the lap of one of the Nymphs and finished with a Gin and Skin………..what a delightful post, Theadora. Your photos are fantastic and so many marvelous cocktails that I did not even know existed. Oh to have been around during the age of the cocktail…….how elegant and marvelous……coat and tails….sipping and mingling ……..oh Tin Man would have loved it. Best to you and cheers!!!!

    Like

    • Oh, my! Goodness. Gracious. Looking Elegant? Looking like a Million Dollars in a Tuxedo, while trekking at Top Speed in an Automobile? I’m impressed, Monsieur “James Bond” Tin Man. Then Gin and Sin, followed by waltzing with Nymphs, to boot? Now that’s a flashback! I’m grinning. Strike up the band!

      Here’s to more marvelous mingling!
      Theadora

      (And speaking of sipping, I’ve been thoroughly enjoying your wine journeys! Safe Travels!)

      Like

  6. You’ve done it again! I am intoxicated already just *reading* about all those cocktails, so I can’t wait to try some. First, of course, I must score some anisette somewhere. Those tiny bleu crystals of sugar on that beautiful photograph you took were a marvel in and of themselves. All in all, what a nice mixer of old and new, retro and moderne . . . count me as both shaken *and* stirred!

    Like

    • Thanks for your sweet words, Martino! Photographing cocktails (especially ones with fast-moving crystals) is tricky! It took a few batches to get the shots. Luckily, my shindig guests (my faithful testers) did not mind.

      Have a great week!
      Theadora

      Like

  7. Slowly one finger at a time she removed her wrist length white kid gloves and carefully laid them on the zinc covered bar. She raised her glass and toasted her reflection in the mirrored bar then turned to Tin Man. Their cocktail glasses made a joyful crystal ping sound. “To Theadora and her Paris magic. May the journey never end”.

    Like

    • Oh, Virginia! I love the ping. The joyful crystal ping! The gang is back together. You and Monsieur Tin Man look ‘S Wonderful, ‘S Marvelous. I especially love the gloves.

      By the way, I flipped through Frank’s book, looking for a Ruby Slipper recipe. I was only able to find his Golden Slipper cocktail. I think Diane de Poitiers would have approved. (King Henri II’s favorite, famed for quaffing liquid gold. It was her beauty treatment!)

      In cocktail glass: one-third Benedictine, the yolk of an Egg, one-third Dantziger Wasser (liqueur containing gold flakes). Ingredients should not mix.

      And yes! May the journey along the yellow brick road never end!
      Theadora

      Like

  8. Theadora, recently I came back from Paris, and again, and again realized why you love this city so much. Your posts are like a guide through the city but to the places which are hidden for the basic tourists.

    Like

    • As always, thank you for your thoughtful words, Alexander. I’m looking forward to seeing your Paris photographs. Any magical moments? Knowing your eye, I’m sure of it. Did you find a favorite café or restaurant? Museum? Or neighborhood? Yes, I’m already looking forward to your report.

      Have a creative week!
      Theadora

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you Theadora. Unfortunately, I have no such a talent to describe all my thoughts and feelings about this Great City. I will try. I think it is going to be several posts. Because of my busy life I hope the first one I can introduce this coming weekend. To find something special that is hidden from tourist’s eyes you have to be there for a long time because all of that well known landmarks catching your eyes like a magnet. Of course some places made special influences. Opera! It is the best what I’ve seen before. Cafe de la Paix beside Opera is a lovely place. To be honest, I even do not remember the names of all cafe we visited. All of them are great. I’ll come back with my story about Paris.
        Have a nice day!

        Liked by 1 person

      • No such talent? Oh, no, Alexander! As you know, I love how you capture the world with your lens AND words. Yes! I’m looking forward to your reports. Keep me posted!
        ~T.
        (I love your recent nod to the cherry blossoms. Gorgeous photographs.)

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Magnifique, comme toujours! We just had a whirlwind three days in Paris and finally made it to Le Train Bleu which did not disappoint. A cocktail with you would have been perfect. Another time? I’m still in line for your book!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Great to hear from you, Patricia! Questions for you: What did you think of Le Train Bleu? And what did you order? Yes! A cocktail would have been fun. Say, I’m in line for book three in your Love In Provence. Sending positive writing vibes your way. Do you have a launch date?

      Enjoy the weekend!
      Theadora

      Like

  10. Someday … someday I will have that drink at the Parisian outdoor cafe … someday … and the Sea Pea caught my attention the most. Cheers!

    Like

  11. People watching at the museum with one of those cocktails…the temptation, I think, would be a lovely way to spend an hour or so in Paris.

    Like

    • It is a lovely way to spend the early evening hours.Maybe I’ll create a post on favorite museums with café terraces and gardens . . . Thanks for the inspiration, Karen!
      ~T.

      Like

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