Henry James once said
“Paris is the greatest temple ever built to material joys and the lust of the eyes”. While the opulent aesthetics and exquisite detail surrounding this surreal wedding setting may resemble a masterfully painted trompe-l’oeil mural, rest assured the glamorous locations and artifacts staged for this Parisian/France shoot are completely authentic and utterly swoon-worthy. It is no secret that the arts flourish in France. Style alchemists, tastemakers, designers, and artists, have long drawn inspiration from the abundance of natural beauty emanating from every imaginable corner of the country. The arts flourish here… the refined culture, rich heritage, stunning landscapes, architectural masterpieces, renowned museums, legendary landmarks, imposing castles, grand cathedrals, formal gardens, prominent galleries, exotic boutiques, couture design houses, and unrivaled restaurants, are each independently enthralling. Steeped in history and notoriously romantic, Paris, per se, prevails in showcasing notable cultural attractions, a luxuriant lifestyle, and refined eccentricities that truly enchant and contribute to its global status as a premier destination. A designer need not embellish to extremes in this heavenly place, as nature’s beauty, and man’s masterpieces combine to form postcard-perfect vignettes ideal for photography.
The bespoke invitations created for this micro-eventscape were fabricated with striking black Moulin du Gue card stock (utilized for the handmade envelopes), and soft, white Moulin du Gue for the invitation suite. The stock showcases a highly pronounced deckle-edge, resembling a raw, feathery extension from the stock. Each envelope was hand-calligraphed in opaque white ink and the interior revealed a renaissance wallpaper design replicated for the custom envelope liners. The invitations were printed with care on vintage letterpresses, (a nod to the preservation of vintage artisanal printing techniques), revealing a deep impression of vintage floral ephemera. Each invitation was attached to a beautiful hardcover book on Paris, entitled “Best Kept Secrets of Paris”, detailing the history and curiosities of the city, and hand-delivered to select guests participating in the exclusive shoot. A single long stem white rose adorned the top of each symbolizing new beginnings and budding love.
Mairie de Neuilly-sur-Seine was the captivating location selected for the wedding ceremony primarily due to its charismatic appeal. Housed within the town hall, in one of the most affluent and prestigious suburbs of Paris, the grandeur of the building and the opulence of the interior spoke to the iconic old-world elegance desired for this occasion. The endless charm of Le Marais, situated in one of the oldest quarters of Paris, provided another stunning backdrop for this shoot, showcasing the charismatic “Old Paris”, with its beguiling stately mansions, historic stone and timber architecture, cutting edge galleries, sublime bakeries, bistros, and wine bars, all of which line captivating cobblestone streets. Among the handful of quintessential Parisian locations selected to photograph, is a renowned destination positioned on the Seine River between Institut de France and Palais du Louvre. The legendary pedestrian Pont des Arts Bridge, occupies this serene location providing an idyllic setting for open-air art studios, picnics and prime photography. Most famous for its history as the romantic “Lock Bridge” of Paris, visitors are drawn to this attraction to attach personalized “love padlocks” to its railing, then embrace the opportunity to throw the keys into the Seine for safe keeping.
Despite efforts of the government of Paris to remove a plethora of locks in 2015, thereby alleviating the tremendous weight on the structure, it is estimated that over a million more locks have been attached equating to approximately 45 tons. Naturally, we contributed to the tradition, but in a rather discreet location nearby the bridge. A close-up photo of our padlock, as well as a collection displayed on the bridge are a testament to the endearing tradition.
The pinnacle of gilded moments for this lovely Parisian trip was that of “castle-hopping” in the Loire Valley, a place unlike any other. The Loire Valley is home to beautiful rivers, renowned vineyards, and hundreds of majestic, historical castles. Each renowned castle is unique unto itself, boasting a signature statement about intricate avant-garde architectural styles. Masterful artistry is evident in the imposing and enchanting structure of the castles… the monumental tree-lined entrances, the exquisite grounds, elaborate courtyards, perfectly manicured formal French gardens, the drawbridges, moats, vibrant stained glass windows… the eccentricity of the interiors boasting sculpted stairways, massive carved doors, labyrinths of hidden passages, secret chambers, tunnels, perfectly appointed period furniture, statuary, portrait and art galleries, distinctive exhibits, collections of various decorative arts, artifacts, textiles and tapestries. The list of virtues is endless. As if all this grandeur wasn’t sufficient, infuse the decadent ambiance with refined food, fine wine, art exhibits, renaissance music festivals, garden festivals, and the like. Our last portion of the photography best encapsulated the abundance of elegance that is omnipresent in France. This photography showcases the magnificence of “Chateau de Chambord”, a distinctive French Renaissance “architectural jewel that has become emblematic of the French Renaissance in Europe and throughout the world.” (www.chambord.org). This is truly a “bucket list” destination not to be missed.