Friday, March 13, 2009

Je joue

Stop! Before you read any further, you must watch this short (less than a minute short!) video. Please click here.

It’s a delightful confection of a commercial for Dior by director Sofia Coppola, centering around model Maryna Linchuk. Miss Dior Cherie is the fragrance featured, and the song playing in the background is “Moi, Je Joue” (“Me, I Play”) by 1960s personality Brigitte Bardot. Coppola has described the song as “a charming, catchy melody, a little ‘bubble gum.’”

Reminiscent of Coppola’s 2006 film “Marie Antoinette,” the Miss Dior Cherie commercial shows a carefree day in Paris, of fountains and little dog-walking, strolling by the Seine, flower markets, couture, bangs, a perfect pink dress, bicycle-riding, posing, macaroon pastries, sunglasses, significant looks, swinging, floating, falling into white bedclothes, sauntering indoors, skipping outdoors, shimmying downstairs, balloons in the blue sky, smiles, spraying perfume, roses, and kissing your boyfriend—before finally grabbing hold of a bunch of ribbon-tied balloons and taking flight over the city!

Don’t you love fashion?

It was this fanciful advertisement that was the inspiration for the photo shoot for my sister that took place in South Pasadena recently. Who needs to go to Paris when you have South Pasadena nearby? South Pasadena is the home of some very fine French business establishments, conveniently in walking distance from the Mission Street Metro station.

First, there’s Bistro de la Gare, which is very near the station, as the name suggests. The outdoor diners seem to enjoy themselves very much, but the people seated indoors have the benefit of looking out the black painted French windows at a not-too-tended herb garden. For the wonderful ambiance of this place, the menu prices are very reasonable indeed.

Along the path, Autumn happened upon this little dog, called Cosmo. (It’s Cosmo like the “Singin’ in the Rain” character played by Donald O’Connor, not the flower of the same name, the owner informed Autumn.)

Then, you can pick-up some special long pasta or a jar of fine sour cherry preserves at Nicole's Gourmet Foods next door to the Bistro de la Gare. One L.A. Weekly writer said of the place: “Yes, there’s nothing that I can’t live without, and nothing that doesn’t make life just a wee bit better.” You can also choose a French chocolate cake from the glass case.

Next, you can venture a bit north and west, to Jean-Vier Espirit et Creations Basques on Mission Street, which sells mostly fantastically colorful table linens from the southwest region of France. Don’t miss the company’s website here.

Finally, if you are tired and in need of a nap, you might like to set a blanket down on the lush grass at South Pasadena’s Garfield Park. Just walk eastward on Mission Street. As you rest, you might look up and see a couple of ambitious balloons from a child’s birthday party nearby. That might be the moment that you believe that you are in the land of “The Flight of the Red Balloon.”

Please check on Wednesday for our pictures from Pasadena’s Lake District!


grannybabs said...

I had no idea that South Pas was so replete with fun places to go.

They tell me Montrose is like that too.

I need a day off to explore my own neighborhood!

hanner said...

If living in Paris is at all like that, I will die a happy woman. I might have to re-post that video on my blog... :)

lifeinoleg said...

Cosmo looks like he just noticed Gene Kelly dancing by...

...Whereas the picture above it is just perfect.

Garfield Park is nice. Though it's useful to bring a jacket later in the day as it gets chilly.

Rose said...

What a fun holiday! The films, the shops, following Autumn in that darling dress with party balloons, the music it was all so fun to see. And of course the day fades away into a pink and yellow California sunset. Thanks for all the fun!

Lisa said...

This post made me full of giggles. It's just the thing i needed. Thanks Ashley and Autumn!

Laurie said...

These shots are wonderful. And right here in my town! I love so many things about your post -- the great Bardot-inspired Dior commercial, the mention of so many of my South Pas treasures, your beautiful interpretation in pictures, a dog named after one of my favorite characters in cinema, and your beautiful joie de vivre. Thanks for this!

Ashley said...

grannybabs: Have you seen this blog, Glimpses of South Pasadena ( I really love it. Montrose is also a favorite of my family's.

hanner: Of course! (On all counts!)

lifeinoleg: Thank you. I think Cosmo is "just perfect."

Rose: You understand the magic of California, I think. Thank you.

Lisa: Glad that you like it. Do you like the "giggle" shop?

Laurie: Really glad that you stopped by, and thanks for all the compliments! Maybe you'll meet Cosmo someday in real life?