Category: Loving Fashion

Lyon, France: Behind Closed Doors

Lyon Behind Closed Doors

Lyon is truly one of the most beautiful and interesting cities the Barefoot Blogger has visited in France. Aside from its magnificent river views, churches, and extraordinary food, Lyon hides some of its best features out of sight, behind closed doors.

Secret passageways or traboules du Vieux Lyon, were created shortly after the Romans left this area of France, the aqueducts failed, and the citizens moved to the river Saone. The hidden, enclosed walkways were intended to provide protection from the elements to those living nearby as they made their daily treks to gather water. 

Later, the traboules were busy passageways for the silk makers of the city. Their long rolls of silk were much too precious to transport by ordinary means through the streets.

Lyon Behind Closed Doors

Traboules in Lyon, France

Lyon Behind Closed Doors

 

 

Lyon Behind Closed Doors

 

Lyon Behind Closed Doors

When wars raged in and through Lyon, traboules were used as hiding places and hangouts for locals who knew how to find their way from one place to another. Today, traboules act as hallways and elaborate entrances that lead to shops and apartments. 

Lyon Behind Closed Doors

Lyon Behind Closed Doors

 

Lyon Behind Closed Doors

 

Some even open onto elevator entrances.

Lyon Behind Closed Doors

 

Lyon Behind Closed Doors

While wandering through a traboules, I ran into a most interesting shop. Medieval wear at Mandragore. Imagine the fun going through the racks of gowns and robes and imagining times gone by in Lyon.

More about Lyon

What Does a Southern Gal Think of Lyon? “Hog Heaven!”

Lyon’s Musee des Beaux Arts: “The Most Elegant Woman in Paris”

Lyon: A Feast For the Eyes

Les Halles de Lyon Paul Bocuse and New Chaussures


Lyon Behind Closed Doors

“The Golden Girls” Loving Italy: Day 12-13 Florence

Florence, Italy is a place you should try to see at least once in your lifetime. For “The Golden Girls”, two of us were making repeat visits. That meant this had to be a unique and fun experience for each of us to remember.

Little did we know our memorable experience would start as soon as we got there.

As you recall, Mustang Sally was left behind in Girona, Spain so that we could take the late night flight to Pisa, Italy. That meant from here on out, we were getting from place to place by plane, train, bus and cab.

“Nothing wrong with that,” you say.

Well, it depends on who you’re traveling with. You see, (1) none of The Golden Girls know north and south from east and west; (2) trying to read a map is a joke; and (3) we’re all “blonds” to the root.

We arrived at the train station in Florence from Pisa with all our luggage, bags and hats in tow. Planning to take a cab to the AIRBNB apartment, we were pleased that someone met us immediately to take us to the front of the cab stand.

But wait. It wasn’t a strong, burly cab driver.

It was a petite young girl. She quickly grabbed our bags, putting two under each arm. Pulling rolling bags with her hands, she darted about the crowded train station. Through the crowds, down the stairs, to the outside, up more stairs, and then to the cab stand. It was then that we discovered the place we landed looked very familiar. She had taken us in a circle. The cab stand was basically where we got off the train… just outside the door.

We had been duped. She just wanted to hustle us for a tip. 

Visit Florence, Italy 

Hint #1: Get your own cab at the train station in Florence.

Fortunately, the cab driver was honest and took us directly to our AIRBNB apartment — although he couldn’t take us to the door. Our building was on the street of one of the busiest marketplaces in town.- San Lorenzo. Yippee!

Visit Florence, Italy 

San Lorenzo Market

You know that’s not a problem for us. Bring it on! Shopping at our doorstep.

Even better, the apartment and the hosts were terrific. We had our own place with three bedrooms, a kitchen and a living room. After our ordeal in Pisa, this was a palace.

Visit Florence, Italy 

Shopping, Eating and Walking

Two of us had seen all the museums, churches and gold-laced artwork we wanted to see on previous trips to Florence. Golden Girl #3 had no interest in the above. So we set out to make this trip memorable with everything else that Florence has to offer.

Shop ’til you drop

One of the biggest markets in Florence was at our doorstep. — San Lorenzo. Need I say more? There were leather goods everywhere. So many choices and so little space to fit purchases. Believe it or not, I bought nothing!

There were plenty of temptations. Florence is a mecca for leather, jewelry and high fashion.

Visit Florence, Italy 

People watching

Tourists were everywhere. It was easier to find someone speaking English than anywhere else we’d been. Picking out locals from visitors was no problem.

Eat often. Eat well

We had no real agenda for tours or anything else. Our meals and restaurant stops were not scheduled.

An inviting cafe surrounded by interesting sights and sounds would draw our attention and we’d pop in for a drink or a meal. We surely missed a lot of well-known and fabulous restaurants by not focusing on where to eat. However, with no car and no real schedule, mealtime was not a priority. Regardless, you can see we ate well.

A little gnocchi with aubergine and tomato here ..

Visit Florence, Italy

Gnocci with Albergine

A little fried avocado there … 

Visit Florence, Italy

 

Bruschetta as often as possible

Visit Florence, Italy

Bruschetta

Our apartment host was a chef at a local restaurant, so he gave us a few suggestions for places to eat. One was so good we returned for every meal!

Check out La Falterona

Visit Florence, Italy

Pici freschi al ragù di cinghiale – Pasta with Wild Boar Meat

 

Visit Florence, Italy

Grande piatto di verdure grigliate – Mixed grilled vegetables

Visit Florence, Italy

Carpaccio di manzo con rucola e parmigiano – Thin sliced beef with rocket salad and parmesan chesse

Hint #2: Eat where you please. It’s all good!

If there’s music, even better!

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Amazing architecture

Visiting Florence, you feel like you’re walking back through history. Ornate buildings, voluptuous statues and narrow streets remind you of another time. The smallest detail on a structure has meaning and a story behind it.Like this monument on the side of a building. Its design gave rise to the tradition of encasing important religious items in glass enclosures. It was hidden away on a side street in Florence’s busy tourist area.

Shrine encased in glass

 

The Duomo is a study in art, architecture and history all in one. Perhaps you’ve never noticed this ornament at one of the entrances to the cathedral. An ancient compass.Details everywhere.

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Compass at the entrance to the Duomo

Hint #3: Take a tour

Visit Florence, Italy

You can find a tour that suits your interests. It’s worth the time and it gives you lots of exercise.

So you can eat more!

Visit Florence, Italy 

Cycles everywhere

Hint #4: Watch where you walk

There are bicycles and motorcycles that think they have the right-of-way. I’m not kidding. It’s a problem and a danger, but it’s all part of being in Florence.

Best of Florence

For me, the best part of returning to Florence was to share good times with good friends.

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Visit the Ponte Vecchio once more.

Visit Florence, Italy

 

And look at handsome Italian men!

Next stop: Cinque Terre

Visit Florence, Italy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For more of the Golden Girls’ Tour

Day 1-4 Uzès

Day 5-6 Nimes, Pont du Gard, Avignon

Day 5-8 Sete, Beziers and Bouziques

Day 9-10 Port Vendres and Collioure

Day 11 Pisa 

French Fashion: Bobo Style

Now that I’m settled in France, I’m beginning to understand why I love it here. I’m a hopeless romantic.

It didn’t happen by accident that I live in a tower apartment. I’m a princess. Or at least, I always wanted to be one. If I had long hair, I’d wish to be Rapunzel, pining away in my tower prison, waiting on my prince to climb up the garden wall. Seriously, that will never happen. But living in the small town of Uzes, across from the palace of the Duke, it is pretty close to having my own castle. Better yet, if I walk only a few steps down the cobblestone street, I enter into a pure fantasy land where I am transported to the early 1800’s — the age of Romanticism — French fashion “bobo” style.

French Fashion Bobo Style: L’Atelier des Ours

french fashion bobo style

There’s a little shop at the end of the road where I live named “L’Atelier des Ours“. You can’t miss the place because of the teddy bear outdoor decorations, and because there are usually crowds of tourists standing around the entrance taking photos.

french fashion bobo style

Bobo fashion in Uzes

When I first stepped inside the fairytale-like shop, L’Atelier des Ours, I immediately felt I’d walked into another world. First of all, there was literally “sand beneath your feet.” The floor of the entire first level of the shop was covered in several inches of pure white sand.

Second, the cozy store is filled with a vast collection of clothing, folk art and fond reminders of years ago — even centuries passed. Wherever you look, there are decorations and clothing items from an earlier age arranged in elegant, small vignettes.

Being a shopaholic, I’ve visited many stores attempting a “return to the past” theme. Never before have I experienced anything like this.

The “feeling” is achieved masterfully at L’Atelier des Ours, no doubt, because of the clever, topical store decorations, but also because of the artful selection of clothing and accessories — couture straight out of early 1800 France.

french fashion bobo style

Vignette at L’Atelier des Ours

french fashion bobo style

Roses and time clocks from an earlier age

french fashion bobo style

Folk history and fantasy combine

french fashion bobo style

Romantic glimpses from an earlier time

French Fashion Bobo Style: How do you describe the look?

There is a certain style in the south of France that is best described as “provençal“. As I travel around other towns near Uzes, the provençal style of dress is scarcely visible.

It is alive and well in Uzes.

When I discovered how much I admired the look, I tried to discern why some of the avant garde, provençal clothing at other shops around Uzes was so different from the distinctive style found at L’Atelier des Ours.

That’s when I discovered “Bobo”.

Here’s an example the clothing at one shop in Uzes that sells popular French “provençal” clothing.

french fashion bobo style

One type of provençal fashion found in Uzes

 

Here’s a example of the style of clothing at L’Atelier des Ours

 

french fashion bobo style

Fashions at L’Atelier des Ours

What is ” Bobo”?

David Brooks, the NY Times columnist, wrote a book about “Bobos” in the year 2000. Brooks’ book, “Bobos in Paradise: The New Upper-Class and How They Got There,” was subject of an interview with Gwen Ifill on NPR the year it was published. (Read the interview here)

Bottomline, Brooks describes “Bobos” as the cultural result of the “information age”. Quoting from his own review in the NY Times of his own book, Brooks says about Bobos: “These are highly educated folk who have one foot in the bohemian world of creativity and another foot in the bourgeois realm of ambition and worldly success. The members of the new information age elite are bourgeois bohemian. Or, to take the first two letters of each word, they are Bobos.”

According to Brooks, Bobos are identified by having “rebel attitudes and social-climbing attitudes all scrambled together.”

So what does Bobo have to do with fashion?

Bobo fashionistas are everywhere. You may describe the style as “bohemian”, but it’s not. It’s a higher grade of the 1960s “hippy” generation. Kate and Ashley Olsen probably would say they are Bobo. They’d probably enjoy shopping at L’Atelier des Ours. However, I would describe the true Bobo “look” as much more sophisticated than the Olsen twins’.

Personally, I like to think about Bobo as a look that was re-popularized in Paris at the beginning of this century. It is a true throwback to the early 19th century, with a uniqueness that makes it new. It’s a look that is flirty, yet puritan; dark, yet light; feminine, yet tight-laced; rich, yet peasant; fun; yet reserved; elegant, yet simple.

french fashion bobo style

This photo of Mary-Kate is from an article in the Huffington Post that labels her style as ” bag lady” or “homeless chic”. They even mention the moniker “Bobo Chic” for Olsen’s style.

Such is the fashion you find at L’Atelier des Ours and I understand that wealthy Parisian women flock to the store and to its store online.

Expensive? Well, yes!

You can imitate “Bobo” by layering and stacking on clothes you find at the thrift store or in the back of your closet. If you want to go for the “real” Bobo, it’s going to cost you, big time. For a special occasion, it’s tempting to splurge.

It’s tempting! And here’s why …

french fashion bobo style

 

french fashion bobo style

Ruffles and lace make Bobo irresistable

 

french fashion bobo style

Crochet lace and patterned wool make a Bobo statement

french fashion bobo style

Bobo is romance and fashion

french fashion bobo style

A store filled with visions of a romantic age

french fashion bobo style

Time travels backwards at L’Atelier des Ours

french fashion bobo style

Bobo is simple. Bobo is elegant.

A teddy bear’s delight

french fashion bobo style

I hope you have enjoyed this visit to L’Atelier des Ours — translated, Teddy Bear Workshop. Be sure to stop and visit the store when you visit Uzes. It’s definitely a “must see”.

Meanwhile, visit L’Atelier des Ours on the web and Pinterest site. to see more.

french fashion bobo style

Visions of L’Atelier des Ours

Irresistible French Fashion for Summer

Female expat living in Uzes travels through Languedoc and Provence in France for fun and French fashion – Join the Barefoot Blogger on Facebook, too! 

A week or so ago, the Barefoot Blogger could not resist going into one of my favorite shops in Uzes, L’atelier des Ours. There’s a sale going on!

IMG_3240Yes, summer bobo chic fashions are everywhere. Lightweight pantaloons and flouncy ruffled dresses, among other irresistible things.

Who could pass it by?

Certainly not me! 

As is often the case, whenever I stop into the little shop with teddy bears on the door, I enter into a world that’s in a totally different dimension. A little story I wrote about the visit is now published in France Today. Come along with me and see what’s “in” for summer, French Fashion for Summer: Bobo Romantic.

…”There’s a little shop in Uzès, France where “women of a certain style” flock all times of the year. In summer, they pour out of the lace-curtained door of L’atelier des Ours in a steady stream, all carrying pink packages filled with pretty feminine things.”

 

 

 

 

 

Check out L’atelier des Ours on  Facebook and Pinterest

While you’re at it, visit the Barefoot Blogger Facebook page too. There’s always something going on!

 

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Lyon’s Musee des Beaux Arts: “The Most Elegant Woman in Paris”

The Barefoot Blogger finds “The Most Elegant Woman in Paris”

Since I was a little girl, I’ve loved movie stars. My make-believe world included screen legends like Greta Garbo, Lauren Bacall, Betty Davis and Grace Kelly. They exuded glamour and style in their work and their real lives.  If France had been within the realm of my imagination while growing up, surely Jacqueline Delubac would have been close to the top of my list of idols.  She was known in France as “the most elegant woman in Paris.” During her reign in the theatre in the l930’s and beyond, she had it all — actress, Paris socialite, fashion icon.

elegant woman in Paris

Jacqueline Delubac

I came to know about Delubac on my recent visit to Lyon. An exhibit dedicated to celebrating her life and her contributions to the art world as a collector is featured at the Musee des Beaux Arts. Much like “lucking” into a retrospective of Princess Diana and her fashions several years ago at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, I was thrilled to get a “fashion fix” during my day at the museum.

To briefly describe Jacqueliine Delubac, she was daughter to a wealthy industrialist and choose Paris and a job in the theatre over an aristocratic life in Lyon. In Paris she met and married Sacha Guitry, a popular French producer and actor twice her age. With Guitry, Jacqueline starred in numerous romantic comedies, such as Bonne Chance and in  Faisons un Reve (Let’s Dream Together).

In the theatre and in her high society life in Paris, Delubac was admired for her beauty and elegance — much like those actresses of 1930’s and 1940’s in Hollywood. Her opulent life with Sacha Guitry included the best of everything, especially a world-class collection of couture and art, both of which are part of the Museum exhibit.

elegant woman in Paris

 

 

                             elegant woman in Paris

elegant woman in Paris

Jacqueline Delubac, Fashion Icon

After her divorce from Guitry, Delubac faded from the big screen. Yet her passion for art grew until she became totally devoted to building her holdings of fine paintings, sculptures and Impressionist art. She was known for having an “eye for talent” and she possessed some of the earliest works of Picasso, Miro and Bacon.

The Most Elegant Woman in Paris

Living with Art

To me, the most impressive part of the Musee des Beaux Arts exhibit is how it captures the total persona of the legendary Delubac — from displays of her glamorous wardrobe to photographs of the interior of her Paris apartment.  Surrounding each photo of her home are the pieces of art that are shown in the picture.

elegant woman in Paris

 

elegant woman in Paris

 

.

 

elegant woman in Paris

Sitting room of Jacqueline Delubac

 

elegant woman in Paris

 

 

 

elegant woman in Paris

elegant woman in Paris

 

 

 

elegant woman in Paris

 

The multi-floor Museum exhibit featured rooms recreated precisely from Delubac’s apartment.

elegant woman in Paris

 

elegant woman in Paris

Jacqueline Delubac died in 1997 with no heirs. The Musee des Beaux Arts in Lyon is custodian of more than 3o of her paintings and pastels by Monet, Manet, Renoir, Degas, Bonnard, Vuillard, Léger, Braque,Picasso, Miró, Bacon and others.

Due to the contribution, the Lyon modern art museum possesses the largest Impressionist collection in France, outside Paris. 

elegant woman in Paris

The Most Elegant Woman in Paris

More about Lyon

Lyon: A Feast For the Eyes

Les Halles de Lyon Paul Bocuse and New Chaussures

Lyon, France: Behind Closed Doors

Arles: Feria du Riz Food and Fashion

In Arles there seems to always be a party going. Arles’ Feria du Riz is one of the best.

Arles, a town less than an hour down the road that’s mostly famous for being one of Van Gogh’s “hangouts”.  The Feria du Riz, the annual Rice Harvest Festival, celebrates one of the region’s top crops — rice.

Rice in Arles

Arles is on the northern edge of the Camargue which has been the subject of a few earlier blogs. Just as bulls, white horses and flamingos are indigenous to the area, rice has been produced in the Camargue since the Middle Ages. Today there are some 200 rice producers in this small area, representing about 5% of rice production in Europe. Camargue’s “red rice” is a popular local souvenir.

 

The Feria du Riz is, interestingly, a very Spanish celebration to be in France. The food and the fashions are straight from Spain.

Before I get much farther, though, let me set the scene for Arles’ Feria du Riz

When you drive into the old city of Arles, there’s a long avenue with cafes and shops that leads to a lovely park with a walkway that leads to the ancient areas of the town — the arena and the amphitheater. For the Feria, the avenue is spread with carnival-like booths with food vendors and souvenirs.

Arles' Feria du Riz

 

Arles' Feria du Riz

Arles' Feria du Riz

At cafes along the way, the ohm-pah-pah bands are warming up the crowd for the afternoon festivities.

Arles' Feria du Riz

Road barriers lined the street for the running of the bulls scheduled for the early afternoon.

Arles' Feria du Riz

Since this is a Rice Harvest Festival the food booths along the way were showing off their take on  — a Spanish favorite that matches with the theme of the Feria.

I was starving when I hit town and this was the first paella stand in line, so it was my pick.

Arles' Feria du Riz

I sat on the steps of a fancy hotel and restaurant and gulped down the serving of paella with a bottle of water. It hit the spot on the already hot day.

Arles' Feria du Riz

Arles' Feria du Riz

As I walked down the street, I wasn’t certain the place I stopped was the best choice. It all looked so good!

Arles' Feria du Riz

These photo-perfect folks were putting out some fabulous kebab dishes.

Arles’ Feria du Riz is about food

One popular food offering was kebabs — in all varieties. There were kebabs in sandwiches and kebab “stew” served over frites (french fries). The kebab mixtures were steaming away in huge pans, just as the paella.

Then there were the fish specialties — a Fisherman’s plate with calamari and pots of steaming moule (mussels).

Arles’ Feria du Riz is about fashion

My favorite stop of the day was a sidewalk shop with the Spanish dresses, skirts and all the frills. I had to hold myself back from buying one of the skirts. Imagine a holiday party wearing one of these!

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Arles’ Feria du Riz is about the scenery

Beyond the vendors I walked to the entrance to the park and walkway to the old town.

Arles' Feria du Riz

Arles' Feria du Riz

When up the steps and around the town building, there lay before me the beautiful village of Arles, with buildings and roadways centuries ago. People were everywhere, in every square, eating and enjoying festivities and socializing the warm September Sunday.

One of the famous squares in the city, during the Feria, is a showcase of artisans and regional foods.

Arles' Feria du Riz

To my surprise, one of the new products being displayed was barbeque sauces. In France? I could hardly believe my eyes. Of course, I had to strike up a conversation with the owners to tell him I’d been to Memphis in May — the barbeque event of the year. He knew it well and hopes to make it there someday himself.

Arles' Feria du Riz

 

After spending most of the afternoon walking around the town and checking out the food stands, it was time for the bulls running in the street. This time I knew how to get up close and personal. For the next post, though. Along with all the fanfare that surrounds a bullfight in the south of France. Stay tuned!

 

Arles' Feria du Riz

 

French Bobo Fashion for Fall: A New Look from Long Ago

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As published in France Today

There’s a dress shop in the village square of my adopted home in France where finding what’s new in fall fashions takes you back a century or two.

A visit to the store reminds you of rummaging through your grandmother’s closet, or uncovering an old trunk that’s filled with brown tweed jackets and checkered woolen blankets from somebody’s past.

IMG_2209

 

You walk through the front door of L’Atelier des Ours and hear jingle bells tingling behind you. When you look down at the sand covered, tile floor, it’s hard to know exactly why you’re there. Yet you have to take only a few steps to discover there’s something special in this tiny place, waiting to be discovered.

 

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L’Atelier des Ours, translated “the teddy bear’s workshop”, caters to a unique clientele of European women, mostly from France, Belgium, Switzerland and Germany.

The style of clothing, shoes and accessories they purchase in the shop can be called “bobo”,”bourgeois bohème”, or “bohème chic”. The look isn’t for everyone, but for those who define themselves by these flash-back fashions, it is irresistible.

IMG_2348
David Brooks, New York Times columnist, identified and named “bobos” in his book, “Bobos in Paradise,” published in the year 2000. Quoting from his review of his own book, Brooks says about bobos: “These are highly educated folk who have one foot in the bohemian world of creativity and another foot in the bourgeois realm of ambition and worldly success. The members of the new information age elite are bourgeois bohemian. Or, to take the first two letters of each word, they are bobos.”

According to Brooks, bobos are identified by having “rebel attitudes and social-climbing attitudes all scrambled together.”
Helen Bonham Carter, actress and wife of Tim Burton, is the poster child for extreme “bobo” dressing with her unconventional style. The Olsen twins’ non-conformist, bohème fashions could be considered “bobo” — somber colored, layered, and heavily laden with scarves.

For the bobo chic who shop at L’Atelier des Ours — in the store and online — the style is neither “hippy”, nor dull and frumpy, nor make-believe. It is elegant, eccentric, and smart. In fact it is so “smart” that it takes an understanding of each piece of clothing to put together the perfect outfit.

Start with a ruffled organza petticoat

A multi-ruffled organza petticoat is the basic element of “bobo chic” for daytime. Add a tee-shirt that’s delicately fringed around the top and cover it with a dotted swiss tunic. Wrap it all in a soft pewter sweater and shawl; pull on cotton stockings and mary jane shoes; and voilà!
A simple little dress and scarf

Grab one of the dresses with tiny stripes or granny checks off the rack. Slip on an crinkled organdy petticoat underneath (not to be confused with “organza” which is netting). Swirl a matching scarf around your neck; a floppy handbag over your shoulder; and there, you have a dashing afternoon ensemble.

Smocks, frocks and pantaloons

Heavy cotton smocks and baggy linen pantaloons are the mainstays of a “bobo” wardrobe for all types of occasions. Worn with a woolen shawl and crocheted beret you’re off to market. Add a long, flannel, three-button jacket with knee-high, black boots and you’re ready for cold weather.

Poplin dresses and taffeta skirts

When visiting L’Atelier des Ours, I can never leave without trying on one of the “fantasy” dresses and ruffled skirts.
Picture a very pale gray, ankle-length, crushed poplin dress with a scooped neckline and long crinkled sleeves. Below the hemline of the dress are layers and layers of off-white ruffles showing off from the taffeta skirts worn underneath. To complete the fairy-tale costume, a lushiously soft scarf is tied loosely around the neck and shoulders.

I feel like a princess.

Another place and time

Around my little village the “bobo chic” ladies are easy to sight. Occasionally, I put on my checkered frock, tee-shirt and pantaloons and join them among the crowd of towns people and tourists. No one stops and stares.

Fall and winter 2014 bobo style is neither glitzy nor glamorous. It’s more like comfort food and a warm fireplace. A new look from long ago. A different attitude. A way of life.

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Fashion elements for “bobo chic”

A short list of the items that “bobos” stock in their wardrobe doesn’t vary much by season, just by color and weight.

Loose, layered clothing made of natural fabrics
Smocks, tunics, loose trousers, pantaloons
Ruffles, organdy, and lace petticoats
Stapped shoes, boots, and sandals
Mixing patterns of prints and flowers
Simple or no jewelry
Basic-colored scarves in a variety of soft fabrics
Lacy bloomers
Simple tee-shirts, long and short sleeved
Sweaters, wraps, jackets and long coats

For a virtual visit of L’Atelier des Ours, visit the website and catalogue. Better yet, treat yourself with a stop at the store in Uzes, France.

IMG_2351

French Fashion for Summer: Bobo Chic Style

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original_411433__L51bZZIfra_ZNZaTxDkpaZE1There’s a magical space

just steps from my door

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with Teddy Bears,

 

 

L'Atelier des Ours in Uzes, France

 

Teacups,

and Flowers

 

L'Atelier des Ours in Uzes, France

L'Atelier des Ours in Uzes, France

L'Atelier des Ours in Uzes, France

 

Galore.

 

 

 

L'Atelier des Ours in Uzes, France

 

 

 

Button-eyed dogs with long floppy ears,

 

 

 

L'Atelier des Ours in Uzes, France

 

 

Stuffed Rabbits, 

 

 

L'Atelier des Ours in Uzes, France

 

 Baby Slippers ,

 

 

 

L'Atelier des Ours in Uzes, France

 

…  and  more,

 

 

 

L'Atelier des Ours in Uzes, France

 

 Live together, in Harmonyimages

 

 

Of one accord.

 

 

images (1)

 

  I mean, can you imagine?

 

Rompers …

 

L'Atelier des Ours in Uzes, France

 

L'Atelier des Ours in Uzes, France

L'Atelier des Ours in Uzes, France

 

… and rooms filled with Lace,

 

 

L'Atelier des Ours in Uzes, France

 

L'Atelier des Ours in Uzes, France

L'Atelier des Ours in Uzes, France

 

L'Atelier des Ours in Uzes, France

… Dresses and Petticoats,

L'Atelier des Ours in Uzes, France

L'Atelier des Ours in Uzes, France

L'Atelier des Ours in Uzes, France

L'Atelier des Ours in Uzes, France  

L'Atelier des Ours in Uzes, France

All in one place?

 

 

 

cartoon_angel_8

 

Perhaps Pinocchio makes all the rules?

 

L'Atelier des Ours in Uzes, France

 

 … so that Ruffles and Skirts,

 

L'Atelier des Ours in Uzes, France

 

L'Atelier des Ours in Uzes, France

 

L'Atelier des Ours in Uzes, France

 

L'Atelier des Ours in Uzes, France

 

L'Atelier des Ours in Uzes, France

… Ribbons on Hats 

 

 

L'Atelier des Ours in Uzes, France

… and Frilly Night Shirts

 

L'Atelier des Ours in Uzes, France

 

… are Here …

L'Atelier des Ours in Uzes, France

… where Time 

 

 

 

 

L'Atelier des Ours in Uzes, France

… stands Still.

 

L'Atelier des Ours in Uzes, France

original_411433__L51bZZIfra_ZNZaTxDkpaZE1

 

L'Atelier des Ours in Uzes, France

 

 

 

L'Atelier des Ours in Uzes, France

 L'Atelier des Ours in Uzes, France
L'Atelier des Ours in Uzes, France

 

L'Atelier des Ours in Uzes, France

 

 

L'Atelier des Ours in Uzes, France

L'Atelier des Ours in Uzes, France

 

original_411433__L51bZZIfra_ZNZaTxDkpaZE1

 

 

 

A return to the Romance Era of French fashion is not a dream. It is alive and more appealing than ever for summer. Thanks to L’Atelier des Ours in Uzes, France for the inspiration for this post on Bohemian Chic style. 

L'Atelier des Ours in Uzes, France

For more information on L’Atelier des Ours, visit the blog and Pinterest. 

Does anyone wonder why I love France? Am Living in France? Love the Fashion in France?

 

 

French Fashion: Bobo Style

Now that I’m settled in France, I’m beginning to understand why I love it here. I’m a hopeless romantic.

It didn’t happen by accident that I live in a tower apartment. I’m a princess. Or at least, I always wanted to be one. If I had long hair, I’d wish to be Rapunzel, pining away in my tower prison, waiting on my prince to climb up the garden wall. Seriously, that will never happen. But living in the small town of Uzes, across from the palace of the Duke, it is pretty close to having my own castle. Better yet, if I walk only a few steps down the cobblestone street, I enter into a pure fantasy land where I am transported to the early 1800’s — the age of Romanticism — French fashion bobo style.

French Fashion Bobo Style: L’Atelier des Ours

french fashion bobo style

There’s a little shop at the end of the road where I live named “L’Atelier des Ours“. You can’t miss the place because of the teddy bear outdoor decorations, and because there are usually crowds of tourists standing around the entrance taking photos.

french fashion bobo style

Bobo fashion in Uzes

When I first stepped inside the fairytale-like shop, L’Atelier des Ours, I immediately felt I’d walked into another world. First of all, there was literally “sand beneath your feet.” The floor of the entire first level of the shop was covered in several inches of pure white sand.

Second, the cozy store is filled with a vast collection of clothing, folk art and fond reminders of years ago — even centuries passed. Wherever you look, there are decorations and clothing items from an earlier age arranged in elegant, small vignettes.

Being a shopaholic, I’ve visited many stores attempting a “return to the past” theme. Never before have I experienced anything like this.

The “feeling” is achieved masterfully at L’Atelier des Ours, no doubt, because of the clever, topical store decorations, but also because of the artful selection of clothing and accessories — couture straight out of early 1800 France.

french fashion bobo style

Vignette at L’Atelier des Ours

french fashion bobo style

Roses and time clocks from an earlier age

french fashion bobo style

Folk history and fantasy combine

french fashion bobo style

Romantic glimpses from an earlier time

French Fashion Bobo Style: How do you describe the look?

There is a certain style in the south of France that is best described as “provençal“. As I travel around other towns near Uzes, the provençal style of dress is scarcely visible.

It is alive and well in Uzes.

When I discovered how much I admired the look, I tried to discern why some of the avant garde, provençal clothing at other shops around Uzes was so different from the distinctive style found at L’Atelier des Ours.

That’s when I discovered “Bobo”.

Here’s an example the clothing at one shop in Uzes that sells popular French “provençal” clothing.

french fashion bobo style

One type of provençal fashion found in Uzes

 

Here’s a example of the style of clothing at L’Atelier des Ours

 

french fashion bobo style

Fashions at L’Atelier des Ours

What is ” Bobo”?

David Brooks, the NY Times columnist, wrote a book about “Bobos” in the year 2000. Brooks’ book, “Bobos in Paradise: The New Upper-Class and How They Got There,” was subject of an interview with Gwen Ifill on NPR the year it was published. (Read the interview here)

Bottomline, Brooks describes “Bobos” as the cultural result of the “information age”. Quoting from his own review in the NY Times of his own book, Brooks says about Bobos: “These are highly educated folk who have one foot in the bohemian world of creativity and another foot in the bourgeois realm of ambition and worldly success. The members of the new information age elite are bourgeois bohemian. Or, to take the first two letters of each word, they are Bobos.”

According to Brooks, Bobos are identified by having “rebel attitudes and social-climbing attitudes all scrambled together.”

So what does Bobo have to do with fashion?

Bobo fashionistas are everywhere. You may describe the style as “bohemian”, but it’s not. It’s a higher grade of the 1960s “hippy” generation. Kate and Ashley Olsen probably would say they are Bobo. They’d probably enjoy shopping at L’Atelier des Ours. However, I would describe the true Bobo “look” as much more sophisticated than the Olsen twins’.

Personally, I like to think about Bobo as a look that was re-popularized in Paris at the beginning of this century. It is a true throwback to the early 19th century, with a uniqueness that makes it new. It’s a look that is flirty, yet puritan; dark, yet light; feminine, yet tight-laced; rich, yet peasant; fun; yet reserved; elegant, yet simple.

french fashion bobo style

This photo of Mary-Kate is from an article in the Huffington Post that labels her style as ” bag lady” or “homeless chic”. They even mention the moniker “Bobo Chic” for Olsen’s style.

Such is the fashion you find at L’Atelier des Ours and I understand that wealthy Parisian women flock to the store and to its store online.

Expensive? Well, yes!

You can imitate “Bobo” by layering and stacking on clothes you find at the thrift store or in the back of your closet. If you want to go for the “real” Bobo, it’s going to cost you, big time. For a special occasion, it’s tempting to splurge.

It’s tempting! And here’s why …

french fashion bobo style

 

french fashion bobo style

Ruffles and lace make Bobo irresistable

 

french fashion bobo style

Crochet lace and patterned wool make a Bobo statement

french fashion bobo style

Bobo is romance and fashion

french fashion bobo style

A store filled with visions of a romantic age

french fashion bobo style

Time travels backwards at L’Atelier des Ours

french fashion bobo style

Bobo is simple. Bobo is elegant.

A teddy bear’s delight

french fashion bobo style

I hope you have enjoyed this visit to L’Atelier des Ours — translated, Teddy Bear Workshop. Be sure to stop and visit the store when you visit Uzes. It’s definitely a “must see”.

Meanwhile, visit L’Atelier des Ours on the web and Pinterest site. to see more.

french fashion bobo style

Visions of L’Atelier des Ours

Christmas Market in Uzes, France

Christmas Market in Uzes is an annual event that residents and visitors eagerly await. It’s the time when everyone knows they can find favorite holiday foods and unique handmade gifts.

Mid-December Uzes stages a Christmas Market that no one wants to miss. In addition to food and wine tastings for the adults, children are treated to a day of free games and fun family time. This year’s event was blessed with sunny skies to make it even more special. Hopefully these photos will give you a sampling of the market atmosphere and Uzes surroundings you many want to visit the Christmas Market in Uzes at the town’s most magical time of year.

My Name is Deborah

For years I’ve wondered if I should be called “Deborah”, not ” Debby”. It seems like “Deborah” is a name more fitting to my age.

Now that I’m in FrancDeborah, the Barefoot Bloggere, I think I will switch. The French don’t get “Debby”. They say: “DeeDee” or “BeeBee.” Also, taking a new name when I’m trying to “hide out ” among the locals seems appropriate. “Hide out” is a joke, of course. At 5’10” tall and with blonde hair, I hardly look French. Plus, the new clothes I’ve fallen for — all ruffles and flowers–are definitely tourist duds.

In spite of looking and acting like a tourist, I’ve begun to make friends here. Mostly, because I was fortunate to meet one very special and talented lady, Unity. I met her a few days ago at the “popup” gallery on the main avenue of town where she is exhibiting her artwork. We hit it off immediately.

Unity the artist and friend in Uzes, FranceSince meeting Unity, I have been introduced to several of her friends, mostly British ex-pats like Unity and her husband, Tom.

One of the new acquaintances, in particular, has made quite an impression on me. The most eccentric “Geoffrey”. The first time I met Geoffrey was at Unity’s gallery. He was wearing an extremely broad, black beret. Even though it was close to 90 degrees in the shade that day, he also had on a black suit, black vest and tie, and a crisp white shirt. Around his neck, huge headphones were hanging down, tuned to Led Zeppelin, he said.

We didn’t strike up a conversation that day, but we ran into each other the next day, again at Unity’s. This time he was decked out in a dapper pinstriped suit and a canary yellow shirt and yellow straw hat. He said he has over 60 hats. I’ll have to admit, I was enthralled with his flamboyance.

Friend in Uzes, France

That day Geoffrey, Unity and I had time to chat a bit. Soon we were carrying on like old friends. The conversation came around to their suggesting places I should visit during the rest of my stay in the south of France. Geoffrey offered to let me drive his car to nearby Nimes where he would give me a guided tour of the city. The invitation seemed perfectly ok and safe to me, especially because of his friendship with Unity.

He then invited me to join him on a short walk from the art gallery to his home so that he could check his schedule. I said “yes” knowing that Unity was expecting us both back at the gallery shortly. Geoffrey had committed to taking photos of her paintings.

So off we went, down the wide, stoned-paved alleyway to Geoffrey’s house. it was less than two blocks away. When we arrived at his four-story stone house, Geoffrey stopped to point out the posters that were plastered on both sides of the front door. He explained he had put them there as a ruse. The place was supposed to look abandoned, or lived in by gangs, “to ward off intruders,” he said.

It sort-of worked. It did look unpretentious. But then he opened the door. I was first surprised, then amused. I had walked into Goldielocks’ cottage!

Friend in Uzes, France

The front room was a big kitchen with a large table, chairs and big wooden hutch with glass doors. Inside the hutch and hanging on almost every inch of the walls was one of the most delightful and collectible assortments of pottery and china I had ever seen– outside of an antique shop.

It was then I learned where this interesting person had come from. Geoffrey is a retired professor from Oxford. His specialty was pottery and ceramic arts. I almost melted in my tracks. Pottery and china collecting is my passion.

For nearly an hour I toured through Geoffrey’s home, viewing his life’s collection of art and ceramics. He showed me rare platters made from a unique type of clay found only near Uzes. I saw magnificent majolica pieces and early flow blue china. Some of his most prized possessions are family pictures, including one photo that particularly struck me. It was a picture of his grandmother — a showgirl in the early 1900’s — dressed in her show business finery. i knew at once where Geoffrey got his flair.

But wait… it gets better than that. Geoffrey’s grandmother married a circus lion tamer. Now, that’s a story I’ve got to dig into.

Today’s best sound byte

Saturday Market Uzes, France

Uzes, France: Saturday Market Virtually Real Time


Now that I’ve discovered I can blog about my visit to Uzes on my iPhone, my tech problems may be solved.

You won’t see the most professional layout, but hopefully, you’ll enjoy the monologue and photos.

Shopping everywhere
Saturday Market Day usurps any other business activity that might go on in the historic district of the small town. Lots of the permanent shops are closed. Vendors are everywhere, not just in the plazas; but also, along the main streets.

Place aux Herbes and Place Nicclas Fromant
Produce, meats, cheeses, pastries, clothing and more are spread out for sale around the popular plazas at the center of the historic district

What couldn’t I resist?
Today’s purchases included a little something from almost every vendor shown here. Plus, a handmade leather bracelet with silver clasp that just had to go home with me.

 

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First Stop: Shopping

Anyone who knows me has to admit I’m a diehard shopper.

Of course, my first stop in Uzes would have to be to buy something “irresistible.” Who could help from walking into this boutique? Promise, I did find something a bit more suitable than all the ruffles. 😉

Shopping in Uzes FranceThank goodness my new acquaintances from Australia were willing to give my new couture their approval.

New friends in Uzes France
A wonderful start to my visit — lunch at a charming cafe near the Place aux Herbes..

Uzes France

… And children chattering below my window on their way home from school.

Uzes France

Oh yes, I did take a few minutes to walk by THE fountain. The one that entranced me two years ago. Tomorrow it will be surrounded by Saturday Market vendors. See you there!

Uzes France

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