It’s no secret that many of us at Chronicle share a slight obsession with one very special city (Francophilic case in point: Paris). So, when I was given the privilege to work on the cover of Paris: An Inspiring Tour of the City’s Creative Heart, I eagerly dove into the book in search of images that could convey the quintessentially Parisian je ne sais quoi. I quickly found myself with way more material than I could possibly use and started wondering: “How can you go beyond macarons and colorful café chairs to more effectively distill the sights, sounds, and spirit of Paris into a simple, everyday style statement?” I wanted to share a few of the inspirations I found inside this luscious book that make no reference to the Eiffel Tower or baguettes, but can still bring a bit of unmistakable Parisian flare to any day:
The color is in the details.
Living in San Francisco, it seems a bit odd to call Paris a “colorful” place. But there’s something about that moody grey sky and those white buildings that make the colors you do find in Paris seem so much more unexpected and rewarding. (In fact, Nichole Robertson has illuminated this fact beautifully in her Paris in Color series)
Is it just me, or do trés chic polka dots and stripes in classic black and white just scream Parisian elegance?
At the market, at the café, at the boulangerie—not only are they typographic eye candy, they are evocative of a nostalgic “simpler time” spent leisurely wandering the arrondisements to find the freshest markets and most secret hideaways.
Old World meets New World.
With centuries-old buildings as a backdrop, Paris is a place in which an elderly man passing the afternoon alone with a cup of coffee seems just as stylish as trendy young fashionistas and street style photographers. Vintage is always in vogue and handmade, haute couture still drives the scene.
While I unfortunately don’t have any Parisian getaways planned for the foreseeable future, I found these pages to be a rich visual resource that can help inspire a bit of that inexplicable Parisian spirit in everyday life. Which brings me to my question: If you could reduce Paris to a few simple sights, sounds, or smells, what would they be? Or better yet, I would love to hear how you are already incorporating a Parisian flair into your home/wardrobe/daily life. Leave a comment sharing your inspiration and one person will be randomly selected to receive their very own copy of Paris: An Inspiring Tour of the City’s Creative Heart.
All photographs © Janelle McCulloch and Chris Middleton