I want to first thank everyone for their heartfelt sympathy emails about the passing of Lynn Jeffress.
After my three-day stay in Milan in early December, I took the train to Florence. I hadn’t been to Florence in over 35 years and my only recollection was the Ponte Vecchio.
Approaching the center in a taxi from the train station I started to get in touch with the beauty of the city again. My friend who I stayed with in Milan also lived in Florence last summer for two months and came with me for the day to show me around.
We had lunch at her favorite spot La Managere, a sprawling complex with a restaurant, café, flower shop and home boutique. The café served lighter, healthier food, some of it organic, a nice respite from the calorie laden pizza, pasta, and veal Milanese I over consumed in Milan.
I was torn between visiting the famous museums and artworks-The Uffizi, The David and The Accademia or just walking the streets and exploring, since I only had two and a half days in Florence. I opted for exploring and I am happy I did. The weather was superb, sunny with postcard blue skies and not too cold. I did get one museum in, the Pitti Palace, the former home of Marie de Medici, who became the Queen of France when she married King Henri IV in 1600. After the assassination of her husband, the day before she was crowned Queen, she had a new palace built, the Palais Luxembourg, which she referred to Palais Medici. She instructed her architect Salomon de Brosse to make the Palais Luxembourg look like the Pitti Palace, so it reminded her of her former home. I was curious to see the similarities but after 30 minutes I decided it was too beautiful outside and daylight hours were too short to be indoors. I strolled through the Boboli Gardens behind the palace breathing in the refreshing grass scented air and admired the architectural shrubs which were perfectly manicured, creating a cascading maze climbing a steep hill.
I walked over the Ponte Vecchio and could see why it had stuck in my mind all these years. The hue of the ochre and red facades of ancient palaces and the archways of the other bridges reflecting on the river was breathtaking.
The next two days I meandered all over Florence spending most of my time on the less touristy side of the river opposite the Duomo. I photographed countless doors, building facades, piazzas and gardens.
I discovered an area with artisanal boutiques where many of the owners made their designs right on the premises. I was fascinated with a woman who was hand painting a map in her storefront studio and I spoke at length with a clothing designer who showed me he atelier in the back of the boutique. I met a very special calligrapher and graphic artist Betty Soldi who had the most enchanting home boutique, & Company de Betty Soldi & C. Sas. Many of the items in the shop featured her delicate calligraphy including stationery, initialed mugs and other ceramics. She showed me her design studio in the back of the shop and also told me she was part owner and the designer for two hotels located in former palaces.
One other highlight was the Great Synagogue of Florence, one of the largest synagogues in Europe, built in 1882.
Next week I will share with you the fantastic hotels I stayed in.
If you go
La Managere -Via de Ginori, 8, 50123 www.lamangere.it
Cibreo Trattoria Via dei Macci, 122R
Lo Sdrucciolo Sdrucciolo de' Pitti, 8/red, 50125
Tiziana Alemanni Couture Sdrucciolo Dé Pitti 20 r – 50125 http://www.tizianaalemanni.it/en/#home
& Company (and Company) Via Maggio, 51r, 50125 http://bettysoldi.com/on08mfojinx3ax9zz38f5613nroehh
Atelier C Via del Fossi 33, 50141 http://www.ateliercfirenze.it/
Arte de Ciompi – great handmade stationery & paper shop- Via Cerretani, 18e
Eye Prefer Paris Photos
I am happy to announce a new series of Eye Prefer Paris photos for sale just in time for the holidays. Give the gift of Paris to for your Francophile friends, relatives, colleagues and co-workers.
- I’ve listed 20 new photos on my Etsy page for easy shopping.
- Photo prints come in two sizes, 8”X10”, $35 each plus shipping and 11”X14”, $50 each, plus shipping.
- They are printed on Fuji crystal Archive metallic paper with rich satin gloss finish and are unsigned and unframed.
- Shipping is $6 per photo in continental U.S. and shipping time is 3-5 days via USPS.
- I can also ship them UPS or Fedex for an extra charge.
- If you are ordering photos as a gift, I can write a personal note card if you send me your text.
Click here to see full selection of images.
Below are some sample images.
Eye Prefer Paris Postcards
I am thrilled to announce the launch of Eye Prefer Paris Postcards, a 3, 6 or 12-month subscription service where the subscriber receives three physical postcards of my iconic Paris photos every month. Each month will have a specific theme, from architectural street scenes to romantic outdoor cafes to beautiful gardens to unique shots of iconic monuments. Each mailing will include two postcards in color and one in black & white or sepia, beautifully packaged in a special French Blue postcard holder with a custom designed seal.
Each 6” X 4.25” traditional size postcard is printed on thick matte coated card stock, similar to traditional vintage postcard stock that enhances the vibrancy of every image.
Only $30 for a 3-month subscription plus shipping or
Only $60 for a 6 month subscription (plus shipping)or
$110 for a 12-month subscription (plus shipping)
Click here to order a 3-month subscription from my Etsy store
Come experience Eye Prefer Paris live with Eye Prefer Paris Tours, which are 3-hour walking tours I personally lead. Eye Prefer Paris Tours include many of the places I have written about such as small museums & galleries, restaurants, cafes, food markets, secret addresses, fashion & home boutiques, parks and gardens and much more. In addition to my specialty Marais Tour, I also lead tours of Montmartre, St. Germain, Latin Quarter, in addition to Shopping Tours, Gay Tours, Girlfriend Tours, Food Tours, Flea Market Tours, Paris Highlights Tours, and Chocolate & Pastry tours.
Tours start at 225 euros for up to 3 people, and 75 euros for each additional person. I look forward to meeting you on my tours and it will be my pleasure and delight to show you my insiders Paris.
Check it out at www.eyepreferparistours.com
Click here to watch a video of our famous Marais tour