Up Next? THATLou Website!

C - 1' pyramid from above

So it’s sort of wild that THATLou is fairly close to its first year anniversary  (23 March was our first Angels + Wings Treasure Hunt at the Louvre, as was reviewed in Out and About in Paris among a host of other generous blogs). What’s most wild about this landmark may be something pretty basic:  we don’t yet have a website. It’s the first tool that most small business owners attack, that and business cards.

But it’s been a much busier year than I expected, and all good things come in time, right? So it is with great pomp and fanfare that this blog post should alight to your in-boxes to announce: This past week web-design-extraordinaire Jenny Beaumont and I have been on full-on all’attaque mode to produce THAT website! Jenny, an American based in the rolling hills of Normandie, is a bastion of patience and practicality as well as being a genius designer and crafty UN diplomat/devil’s advocate.  And I am blessed to have her guidance, as well as the wise counsel of Allison Blumenthal to subtle-ly stomp my sometimes feral enthusiasm.

C - 4 Spiral staircase, pyramid not evident

On the first-things-first basis we’ve been distilling all the necessities that are admittedly tricky to find on this blog.  The themes will be explained, the schedule and booking will be made easier, the generous press will be integrated along with corporate quotes, happy tourist reviews on Trip Advisor and testimonials of destination weddings and school groups visiting Paris.  And in a depth of field that I just can’t fathom (I tend to read the paper in hand, and write letters with a pen) I am getting a glimpse of just how abstract and brilliant Ms. Beaumont is.

C - 3 spiral stairs, pyramid above

The new www.THATLou.com website will be launched toward the end of Feb / beginning of March. Until then I shall post sporadic photos that both El Argentino (my husband) and I have had a ball taking for it. Of course most of the snaps posted here won’t be included in the final site (there are hundreds!), but if you happen to see any that you recommend certainly feel free to drop a line either below or via email.

Needless to say, I still need to take a dip south of the Seine to photograph for THATd’Or (Treasure Hunt at the Musée d’Orsay), as there will be a little sister site www.thatdor.com which will be launched simultaneously.

C - 2 ' triangular fountain from above

J’Adore THATd’Or

J'Adore THATd'Or !!

I hope they sing J’Adore THATd’Or !!

You can’t really tell, but the photo in this RIP-ROARINGLY EXCITING INVITATION is of a gorgeous Piet Mondrian landscape (credited below) that has a white plume of steam (train) defining the horizon. It’s much better in person, so I guess you’re just going to have to sign up for the very first THATd’Or… Dope! was that a hint that it just might be included?

Good news for non-AFMO AVANT Garde members – you get free entry to the Musee d’Orsay if you RSVP prior to Wednesday 23 January:

Please click here to RSVP to the real invitation…

And apologies for all of the bold, caps and itals, but I’m clearly over the moon that the American Friends of the Musee d’Orsay (AFMO)’s AVANT Garde Young Patrons have invited me to cross the Seine. A very special thanks to Sarah Miller Benichou, Kristina Tencic and Mary Kay, of Out and About in Paris (who’s very suggestion it was to contact Sarah!).

More to come on this front, in the fortnight leading up to the Thursday 31 January THATd’Or!!

Photo credit: Piet Mondrian, Polder landscape with a train and a small windmill on the horizon, 1907 © RMN-Grand Palais (Musée d’Orsay) / Hervé Lewandowski, 2013 American Friends Musee d’Orsay, All rights reserved.

Awards!

I don’t know whether you guys can tell, but I started this blog exclusively for its namesake, THATLou. When I was setting up the company everyone said the same thing – that blogging, Twitter and Facebook were indispensable. Up until last spring I was a virgin to all three — allergic to the idea of not corresponding by post or speaking in person, etc — so my learning curve has been steep. I have to say, though, I’ve grown to thoroughly enjoy blogging about pieces in the Louvre, and museums, art and treasure hunting in general. I don’t think of myself as a blogger, but simply that it’s a tool within my business. However, this is no excuse for not participating in a community which has generously welcomed me, given me tips and supported me with likes, comments, and blogging love — all of which has been an unexpected pleasure.

So that I’ve left this Awards post as long as I have is both inconsiderate and unforgiveable (since April, I think). I owe huge thanks to both Marissa of Medieval Musings and Rasha of Leanova Designs for having nominated me for the Versatile Blogger’s Award and the Genuine Blogger’s Award, respectively. From what I can tell with the blogging awards no one ever actually wins them, it’s simply a means of spreading the blogging love, and referring your own interests on to the next blogger.

I am adding a stipulation at the end to the rules, however, as I received them they are:

  1. To thank the person who gave you the award
  2. Include the link to their blog
  3. Share 7 things about yourself
  4. Nominate 15 other blogs you think are worthy of the award
  5. Contact the 15 and inform them of the nomination

Marissa is reading medieval history at St Andrew’s in Scotland and is on a wonderful mission to get the general public interested in the Middle Ages. She has a gift at synergising the modern with the old and writes up her medieval subjects beautifully.

With a background as an architect, Chicago-based Rasha is a graphic designer and a mother of three. She also has a fantastic jewelry collection which she’s designed and from seeing her tweets is fluent in French.

Seven things about myself:

1) I don’t know how to drive

2) I haven’t smoked since Storsh was born but frequently have the most wonderful, heavenly dreams of taking a drag in a myriad of places or situations

3) I am a creature of habit and my favourite spring/summer restaurant near my office has closed leaving me to feel homeless. It was an overpriced Italian place with fresh veggies, delicious pasta and a gorgeous courtyard with a running fountain.

4) The sound of fountains remind me of Rome, no matter where I am.

5) I inherited 28 African Violets from my grandmother, some of which were older than I was, and kept them thriving for 4 years despite moving between NY and Brooklyn and back again. They’re still thriving, and dispersed among my friends in both NY and Brooklyn.

6) My mother worked at the MoMA when she moved to NY and once sent out 4000 embossed (or engraved?) invitations to an opening with the wrong date on it. She didn’t get fired.

7) My father was a commodities broker with a seat at the NYSE (the post used to be inherited!) interested in gold and mining, but when asked by snotty ladies at posh parties what he did he’d say he was a Gold Digger and move in a step closer as he raised his whisp of a Chinese brow

And now to pass on the blogger love, unfortunately I can’t reach 15, as I just don’t have enough time to read as much as I would like with my job, Storsh and THATLou. Here are some favourites, though:

Love in the City of Lights – Thoughtful musings on the charmed life of Kasia Dietz and her Italian. A fellow transplant from NY, Kasia moved to Paris for her Love and has wowed the town ever since with her gorgeous hand-painted bags.

The Kale Project – Kristen Beddard Heimann is on the impressive (and daunting) crusade of introducing Kale to the French. She’s done a superb job of already furnishing the farmers with (certified) seeds, and is now pulling forces between restaurateurs and chefs in preparation for the first harvest this autumn! She has my full support.

Expat Edna – an inherent globetrotter, Edna Zhou has a wonderful travel blog with posts from Australia to Bulgaria, Shanghai to Paris, and of course Singapore where she lived and where her expat fiance still is. Currently she’s a press agent for the Olympics in London, but will be back to blogging imminently.

52 Martinis – About to launch a 52 Martinis App to Paris, Forest Collins does a fantastic job analysing Martinis and their lounges across Paris each Wednesday with her 52 Martinis members. 52 Martinis is a concept. Her writing is no non-sense, clear, and eloquent.

Tales from the Chambre de Bonne – Ella Coquine has a deliciously sassy touch. She started her blog after some rancid fiance called off their engagement, but luckily has kept posting her hilarious take on the world, including wonderful posts about her Italo-American family from the West Village. Quite rewardingly Ella has a lovely Sebastien to replace the jerk who dumped her.

Savoir Fair Paris – Despite her 10+ years in Paris, Sasha Levenson-Wahl only recently started her Paris Up Close and Personal blog, which provides fresh tips on the city, from travelling with children to logistics about moving here. It accompanies her successful concierge company by the same name.

Paris Breakfasts – Carol Gillott’s enthusiasm and appreciation for Paris is a joy to look at through her posts of photos on all things French. The blog accompanies her beautiful watercolours, again, of all things Parisian. A former James Beard photographer Carol’s focus is often food, more specifically macaroons.

Paris Museums – The official blog for Paris Museums, Drew covers exhibitions and happenings across Paris with unflagging energy. His blog is rich with interactivity such as a film of Claude Monet painting at his home.

Perfectly Paris – Gail Boisclair has both humour and good cheer in her wonderful blog about Paris, often focusing her eye on excellent photos of Paris from the turn of the century and posting them on Pinterest or FB. Gail has more than 30 apartments for short term rentals in Montmartre, which has time and again won the Conde Nast award.

Lost in Cheeseland – Recently I’ve been very much enjoying Lindsey Tramuta’s Franco File Friday series, started in March 2011, which covers Parisian personalities with insightful questions. I understand that she, too, has a full time job and company making Lola’s Cookies.

Santu Online – As Somesh Mahanty, a recent graduate in India, put it whenever he’s near the weather’s always warm and sunny. I am nearly twice Somesh’s age, and on paper we probably have very little in common, but this wordpress world has brought us together somehow, and I very much enjoy visiting with his life and watching his writing develop. He was my very first reader / like-r / commenter and for that and for his (indeed) sunny disposition I shall always be appreciative!

As all of you above have been a part of the blogging community far longer than I, you may very well have already received one or both of these awards. In case not, there’s one important point / rule on these lovely honourable mentions I’d like to add:

Under no circumstances are you to feel obliged to pass these awards on. They are not meant to play on your blogging karma, time or guilt conscience. Me including you herewith is simply because I enjoy each of your contributions. I’m sure whomever created them would not want to impose obligation.

THATLou Roundup (+ Limericks!)

Poisson d'Avril THATLou crew
Poisson d’Avril’s THATLou fishermen, counting their score

One couldn’t win a THATLou exclusively on bonus points, but it’s the bonus points which make the hunt so much more entertaining. Some questions quiz you on your knowledge of Paris, for others it’s a physical challenge like being able to photograph all four corners of an enormous canvas (your team in the foreground of course). Usually it’s a matter of finding a work by the same artist or palace nearby that may have been profiled in these pages. But recently the limerick and rhyme-on-the-go has made an appearance in the bonus points. Herewith I would like to post two recent little ditties, with a bit of context as to Milo of Croton (a version by Puget as well as one in fighting supine position by Falconet) to follow in the days to come:

The winners of THATLou Kids yesterday was Team Perfectly Sweet Paris, comprised of three lovely brunette Sweet Peas aged 8 – 14 (Yasmin, Margot and Maïa) and their mothers, Gail, of Perfectly Paris, and Alisa, of Sweet Pea. They were also well ahead of the other teams of kid-parent teams in part due to the following limerick, a bonus request embedded in the text of both Puget and Falconet’s sculptures of Milo of Croton:

MILO OF CROTON
There once was a fellow named Milo
Who wanted to live in a Silo
But as Croton had said, “You are out of your head,
And you may as well live in a pastry of Phyllo”

Team Perfectly Sweet Paris

Team Perfectly Sweet Paris, wordsmiths on the go

And the Poisson d’Avril team below, comprising Jonathan, Vanessa, Jessa and Ben, produced an adorable ditty for Abraham van Beyeren’s Still Life with Carp, a 17th Century Dutch painting featured in these pages. Beyeren was a protege of a (lesser) still life painter with a fantastic name: Pieter de Putter. The clever fishermen below were granted bonus points a plenty for reading the small print and writing:

Pieter de Putter

Painted a Painting of Fish

And this looked de-lish

Poisson d'Avril rappers

Poisson d'Avril rappers

Winners of the 1 April Poisson d’Avril THATLou consisted of Colette Dillon Waldron, Mathieu Romary, Sasha Levenson-Wahl, of Savoir Faire Paris, and Sara Waldron, of Brunette à Bicyclette. As the theme was Fish + Water, they won a very fancy water gun, which I believe Sasha and Mathieu will be using indiscriminately on their adorable pooch. I hadn’t realised they, too, have a limerick (which shall be posted imminently). And just for the record I would like to state that I was not responsible for counting their score — I mention this as both Sasha and Sara have generously written THATLou up on their newsletter and blog, respectively.

Poisson d'Avril winners

Poisson d'Avril winners

Apologies for my fuzzy phone photos. If you have THATLou hunting shots you’d like included, please send them my way (And sorry I haven’t posted the ones I already have). At some point I’ll start a photo page at top (under “THATLou”), where you  can see former teams out on the prowl, in action or counting up their score.

Last, but certainly not least: A very big thanks to the following people who have written up THATLou in their newsletters and blogs (I shall figure out the hyperlink soon enough, but for now a cut and paste will have to do). Again, I shall start a “Reviews” page up under the THATLou tab. In any event, I greatly appreciate all of the generosity and help spreading the word of all of those below:

Perfectly Paris

http://parisperfectlyparis.blogspot.fr/2012/04/thatlou-treasure-hunt-at-louvre.html

The Savoir Faire Paris newsletter

http://us4.campaign-archive2.com/?u=3c69e1e8c9ec80f878b6e4945&id=537f081041&e=7d16366646

Brunette a Bicyclette

http://brunetteabicyclette.com/2012/04/09/thatlou-a-new-way-to-see-the-louvre/#comment-191

Totally Frenched Out

http://totallyfrenchedout.blogspot.fr/2012/03/thatlou.html

Out and About in Paris

http://outandaboutinparis.blogspot.fr/2012/03/hunting-for-treasure-with-thatlou-most.html

Jennyphoria

http://www.jennyphoria.com/2012/04/treasure-hunt-at-louvre.html

Love in the City of Lights

http://www.loveinthecityoflights.com/paris/treasure-hunting/