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Paris the City of LOVE & LIGHTS!!!

“Paris. City of love. City of dreams. City of splendor. City of saints and scholars. City of gaiety. Sink of iniquity.” –Edward Rutherfurd

French history is a long and enduring one that dates back to the Iron Age. Nothing speaks of the profusion of elegance and romance like Paris. “Paris was founded in the 3rd century BC by a Celtic people called the Parisii, who gave the city its name. By the 12th century, Paris was the largest city in the western world, a prosperous trading centre, and the home of the University of Paris, one of the first in Europe. In the 18th century, it was the centre stage for the French Revolution, and became an important centre of finance, commerce, fashion, science, and the arts, a position it still retains today”.Paris is the home of the most visited art museum in the world, the Louvre, as well as the Musée d’Orsay, noted for its collection of French Impressionist art, and the Musée National d’Art Moderne, a museum of modern and contemporary art. The notable architectural landmarks of Paris include Notre Dame Cathedral (12th century); the Sainte-Chapelle (13th century); the Eiffel Tower (1889); and the Basilica of Sacré-Cœur on Montmartre (1914). -Wikipedia.

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In the 19th and Early 20th Century Paris became the European capital of Fashion and was in its artistic prime. From the french language, food, wine and decor to the opulence and decadence of french royalty, art, architecture, music, theater and history; Paris is a conglomeration of style and opulent culture. Cultural events such as the opera, theater, ballet, classical concerts are highly regarded.

The opulence and extravagance of the Versaille era came about when King Louis XIV ascended the throne and ended with the 1789 French Revolution. The French view on marriage is romantic and practical. Family values form a major part of culture in France, and responsibility to your namesake comes before all others in providing financial and emotional support. But we all know that the French knows how to create a great party. The decor for your event or wedding should reproduce the sophistication and refinement of  french tradition. Flowers, good wine and chocolate are customary at a french party along with the a formal dress code as fashion is taken seriously.

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Gold:

Nothing represents opulence and prosperity better than GOLD! Therefore when considering decoration for your wedding and event gold fabrics and accent pieces are a must!!!!

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Chiavari Chairs:

Although Chiavari chairs were created in Italy. The Chairs were praised for its design by Napoleon III and was reworked into the French Empire style.

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Flowers:

Flowers should be given in odd numbers but not 13, which is considered unlucky. Some older French retain old-style prohibitions against receiving certain flowers: White lilies or chrysanthemums as they are used at funerals; red carnations as they symbolize bad will; any white flowers as they are used at weddings.

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Tufted Chairs, Sofas, Writing Tables & Cabinets : 

During the 18th century neoclassical architecture and furniture design was evolving in France. The French neoclassical furniture is described in three phases of styles namely, Louis XVI style, Directoire style and Empire style. It is believed that in the 18th century the Louis XVI style was greatly influenced by Marie Antoinette. Louis XVI furniture is distinguished from Rococo by straight lines, geometric curves, and classical motifs. Pieces are simple rectangles with outlines softened by ornament. Simple cabinets, tables and draping complete the look. But the focal point for the head of your room should be the neoclassical style french chairs that took over the era of the 18th century. My favourite is the tufted look. It is both decorative and strikingly visual.

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Baroque Pattern:

The word “Baroque”, like most periodic or stylistic designations, was invented by later critics rather than practitioners of the arts in the 17th and early 18th centuries. It is a French transliteration of the Portuguese phrase “pérola barroca”, which means “irregular pearl“, and natural pearls that deviate from the usual, regular forms so they do not have an axis of rotation are known as “baroque pearls“. n particular, the term was used to describe its eccentric redundancy and noisy abundance of details, which sharply contrasted the clear and sober rationality of the Renaissance.In informal usage, the word baroque can simply mean that something is “elaborate”, with many details, without reference to the Baroque styles of the 17th and 18th centuries.- Wikipedia

This pattern for me signifies the essence of excess and style that was seen throughout the 17th and 18th century France. By using this fabric you will be able to add texture and dimension to your tables. Damask/Baroque is a sumptuous fabric. By the 1700s, weavers in Lyon, France, were putting a more naturalistic spin on already-popular Asian and European designs. Aristocrats entertained in rooms appointed with matching damasks on walls, curtains, and upholstered furniture. Napoleon favored overscale neoclassical imagery such as urns, eagles, and shields, as well as natural motifs. Therefore it would only be natural to add this fabric to the top of your decor list.

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Lace & Crochet:

Lace production bloomed on the French soil in the 19th century, the laces were in such demand that small suburban town of lacemakers Saint-Pierre-lès-Calais became so prosperous that it outgrew Calais and merged with it in just 50 years. Northern France became the European center of the finest Leavers laces. So now such lace are often called Dentelle de Calais. Chantilly lace is also a popular french lace that is delicately woven from silk. Lace softens the look of any room and would be a great textural aspect. If lace is out of the budget consider bringing in the look by using crochet.

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Crochet can be just as elegant and stylish. It can be done using silk yarn and the lace design.

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Ornate Frames:

During the Rococo period, furniture was lighthearted, physically and visually. The idea of furniture had evolved to a symbol of status and took on a role in comfort and versatility. They could be used as picture frames or mirror frames as well as trays for centerpieces. Art was a significant part of life for the more affluent and intellectual. The more elaborate moldings and ornate designs. These can be used for hanging from the ceilings, table decor and backdrops.

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The earliest candle chandeliers were used by the wealthy in medieval times, this type of chandelier could be moved to different rooms.[3] From the 15th century, more complex forms of chandeliers, based on ring or crown designs, became popular decorative features in palaces and homes of nobility, clergy and merchants. Its high cost made the chandelier a symbol of luxury and status. By the early 18th century, ornate cast ormolu forms with long, curved arms and many candles were in the homes of many in the growing merchant class. Neoclassical motifs became an increasingly common element. -Wikipedia

The elegance and grandeur of the French Empire crystal chandelier provides a stunning magnificence wherever it is suspended with its graceful yet complex beauty. The classic French form is not only a decorative ornamentation in “gilded” golden brass or wrought iron components paired with beaded crystal and finial of icicle drops, but the light fixture itself is enduring glamour that becomes a focal point of opulence. -Houseappeal

If you are having a french themed event it would not be complete without a chandelier!

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The Eiffel Tower:

The Eiffel Tower  is an iron lattice tower located on the Champ de Mars in Paris, France. It is the global cultural icon of France. You can not have a french theme without incorporating this into your decor.

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The Food & Drinks:

Wine is a staple and high quality wine is to be expected. But the most difficult choices may be the food. Like any culture food brings families together for a great time. Each course is served, in proper order: appetizer, soup, main course, palate-cleansing sorbet, salad, cheese, dessert and coffee, and a cordial. This will require true culinary skill and may work best if you’re holding the affair at a French restaurant, or you’re using a caterer whose specialty is French food. According to The  Knot website the following are great suggestions for your menu. For hors d’oeuvres, pass canapes, miniature croissants and quiches, and escargot, and serve various spreads, such as gourmet cheeses and fine pates, on French bread. Also fill a table with a variety of pates and tureens, cornishon pickles, Brie, apples, grapes and, of course, baguettes. For dinner, serve French dishes such as onion soup, beef burgundy, and coq au vin. For dessert, serve mousse au chocolat, creme brulee, and a Poire Belle Helene — poached pear served with vanilla ice cream and drenched with melted chocolate. Compliment dessert with hot chocolate and, of course, cafe au lait.

If you take the time to infuse these ideas into your party, wedding or event I promise you it would be a complete success!