Natalie Portman: welcome to Paris

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The most anticipated Hollywood arrival has landed in Paris, but will she be in town for long?

Natalie Portman is setting up house in the City of Lights, as her husband Benjamin Millepied takes the reigns of the Ballet de l’Opéra de Paris.

The move will see the starlet and her family based in Paris, but travelling often to her native Israel, where she is set to make her directorial debut in A Tale of Love and Darkness. Filming on that is slated to begin in January 2014.

One thing is for sure, there will be a certain adjustment period for the quasi-vegan Portman. Paris is a city of Vuitton leathers, J Mendel furs, and boudin noir.

Good luck finding the nearest Urth Café or organic cotton chemise. But if you crack for some dairy, you’ve got the best cheese selection right around the corner!

Mandarin Oriental Paris: worth the wait?

For those of us protectionistes who hate to see change in the classic landscape of Paris, the fears that the new Mandarin Oriental would be an eyesore on lovely rue St. Honoré were unfounded. After nearly three years of suspense, hidden behind a horrid construction facade that took up half of the rue, the big reveal was  by all accounts a non-event.

In fact, the exterior facade of the hotel is so inconspicuous,  almost communist in its austerity, that Petite Brigitte has missed the entrance to the hotel several times and had to turn around!

Once successfully inside, the fresh modernity consistent with the Mandarin brand comes through in the minimalist design, white flowers, and noble materials. To the left is the space age bar, where a small interior opens out into a verdant Hong Kongesque garden cocktail louge… definitely the tables of choice on a nice evening. The menu is strictly liquid for the moment though snacks will be added shortly. The bar specializes in gourmet cosmo-style cocktails as well as champagne cocktails, at prices that rival the Plaza Athenée (around EUR24 a pop), though perhaps not at the same quality or expert service of the Plaza. Petite Brigitte & co. waited 30 minutes for cocktails– a near disaster. At these prices, the clientele consists mostly of hotel clients, a few curious Parisians, and businessmen with expense accounts. While it is a more fashionable clientele than neighborhood rivals like the Park Hyatt, it cannot touch the coolness of the adjacent Hotel Costes.

To the right, the restaurant ‘Camelia’ continues in the cool, modern style, with a gastronomic menu, and although Petite Brigitte hasn’t tried it yet, the ambiance looks a little froide. The only tables really worth having are outside along the pond, as the candlelight and foliage create a romantic setting. Just hoping the service is better than at the bar!

Mandarin Oriental Paris

251 Rue Saint-Honoré

75001 Paris

01 70 98 78 88

New legal headache for Galliano as lawyer sues

Shamed fashion designer John Galliano was facing a new legal headache on Monday after his former lawyer lodged lawsuits against him alleging defamation and slander.

The British couturier was sacked as French fashion house Dior’s creative director in February after being caught on film subjecting cafe patrons to a drunken anti-Semitic tirade.

While criminal charges relating to the outburst are pending, and Galliano could face a year in jail and a 22,500 euro fine, in April he lodged his own suit accusing lawyer Stephane Zerbib of embezzlement.

The stylist accuses his former adviser of siphoning almost three million euros (4.3 million dollars) from his account and that of one of his firms, according to French legal sources.

But on Monday, Zerbib counter-attacked with two suits accusing Galliano of smearing him with the allegations, again according to judicial sources.

According to a copy of the suit seen by AFP, Zerbib insists Galliano had been made fully aware of all transactions carried out on his bank accounts and had never expressed concern about any transfers of money.

via Capital FM Kenya: New legal headache for Galliano as lawyer sues.

Keeping her crown

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Miss France and pageant organizers have reached a compromise decision following the photo scandal that surfaced last month (see previous article).

 Valérie Begue will keep her crown this year, but will not participate in any international contests, such as Miss Universe. Instead, Miss New Caledonia will fill in. 

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Who is Miss New Caledonia? It’s Vahinerii Requillart (see above). Where is New Caledonia? It’s a French island in the Southwest pacific, where they don’t take scandalous digital photos, and still use the franc as currency!

This seems like a win for Miss France (the public was on her side anyway). Now with no pageants to rehearse for, she have lots of time to….

Ducasse at the Eiffel Tower

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The newly revamped Jules Verne restaurant, which stands 410 feet high on the second level of the Eiffel Tower, opens today as the new brainchild of chef Alain Ducasse. It’s been a busy year for the celebrated chef, as he recently opened the new Dorchester in London. He now holds 14 Michelin stars to his name.

With an enhanced interior that allows for better viewing, the restaurant will serve lunch for around 75 euros, and dinner menus from 155-175 euros. Plus wine, bien sur.  

Louis Vuitton’s worst nightmare: Britney Spears


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Oddly enough it seems that the execs at Louis Vuitton DO care about their brand image! Despite years of gratuitously pumping the profits from their company, playing it up to the asian market, and moving production out of France, the company appears to have recognized its image is headed downhill faster than the Speedy bag.

So when Britney Spears drove a flaming pink Hummer and tapped her finger on a dashboard upholstered in the Louis Vuitton “Cherry Blossom” motif during her 2005 music video “Do Something,” executives at LVMH took notice. More accurately, they tossed their flutes of Moet champagne into the air and called up every lawyer in the house. And this was before Spears went off the deep end!

LVMH won their case in Paris civil court this week, ordering Sony BMG and MTV to stop broadcasting the portion of the video that features the Vuitton upholstered car. The music companies will also pay 80,000 euros in fines for breaking counterfeit laws.

The ruling said that the video was an “attack” on Louis Vuitton’s brands and its luxury image. Check it out for yourself while it is still on the internet (not for long)— but beware, it’s an attack on your ears more than anything else.