Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Paris in September

Is it possible that I still have an editor's timetable implanted in my brain? Is this why I am veering toward Paris in these sentimental September days? One of my favorite issues of Victoria was A Woman's Private Paris. I knew that many of my readers had never been or would never be able to go to Paris, but I wanted to share the magic of that special place through a woman's eyes. Interestingly, two of my favorite issues happened during the last year I edited Victoria. The other, was In Love with Shakespeare's England. If I had stayed on, I would have lobbied that that issue become the basis for a book.

I loved both of these issues because they had the work and enthusiasm of the editors who worked on them--Trish Foley for England--and Susan George and Eliette Markhbein for Paris. Also, the incomparable Mary Forsell brought her knowledge of literature to the quotes in the Paris issue. I signed Mary up at once to do the quotations I included in my new book, My First Best Friend. Her ear for voices from women's literature is impeccable.

And so, yesterday, after a visit to my dentist, I virtually walked across the street to the Paris Theater. It is a treasure in New York--at the tip of Central Park and across the street from the Plaza Hotel (moan, the Palm Court is now gone). When my long time dentist, Dr. Bill Munton, moved to 61st Street and Fifth Avenue, I knew it was a danger zone. At least my husband felt that way. It is also a hop and skip from Bergdorf Goodman, where I go to look at lovely new and old furnishings on the 7th floor.

The Paris is beautifully maintained and even has a mezzanine which takes me back to my old movie-going days. Showing was Coco Before Chanel with the enchanting Audrey Tautou. The theater was packed with young women eating and drinking their way through a good but not great film. I'll let you all judge for yourselves if your interests take you to a movie house near you or watch it in the future on DVD. What excited me, almost more than the film I was watching, were the previews for The Young Victoria. I shall be first in line for that one. I'll find my aisle seat at the Paris, if I am in New York and not in Ames at the time.

And so during an early autumn day, I was engulfed in Paris, in more ways than one. I even stopped at Bergdorf's and got a spritz of a lovely French perfume on my wrist. Was that the reason I did the impossible--get a cab on Fifth Avenue at the beginning of a good rain? Maybe so. A woman's private Paris day in New York.


  1. Oh my , this post is one I am really relating well with!"A woman's Private Paris Day in New York"!-How wonderfulthis sounds to me! I was just looking again for when the coco Before Chanel movie will be at the theatre here.--another new movie I am looking so forward to seeing , is "Bright Star".it is a love story composed from the actual letters from a famous British Poet.

    --Most of all though, I am waiting with baited breath to watch "the Young victoria" movie as soon as it is released here in the US. I had been reading about the movies production for three years now! The movie-sound-track CD was released for purchase about two months ago, I just love it!The theme song for the movie is called"Only You" by Sinead O'Conner, just such a beautiful and fitting song!

    I only have one issue for September of the victoria magazines, just love it and am hoping to find more issues as Autumn -Sept-Oct is my favorite time of the year and my birthday also. A good friend of mine who also adores your magazine sent me a bunch of the October issues, & told me it is a surprise for my Birthday month, -what a thoughtful thing for her to do...

    I love Perfumes- which French one did you try on at Bergdorf's?

    and to have rain here, like you did in New York would be a blessing- it only rained once here in Reno,Nevada.I really miss a good downpour! Love,Valery

  2. That issue, A Woman's Private Paris, is undoubtedly one of the best. I used it as a guidebook when I took my first trip to Paris. I visited every shop mentioned and had my first experience speaking French with the incredibly patient natives.
    As for French perfumes, for me, it's toujours Chanel No. 5! Which perfume DID you try?
    By the way, Nancy, if you've not seen it yet, go see The September Issue...the world of magazine production is neatly (and messily) exposed there.
    Why don't you write that book about England? I'll be in line to read that one, too.
    And yes, Young Victoria is on my list of must-sees this fall. It's wonderful and curious how each generation seems to fall under the spell of that powerful small woman, isn't it?

    Saluting autumn,
    Karen Marline

  3. Oh yes, I have that issue out on my bedside table. I loved the focus on Paris - one of my favourite places to visit. I wish I could go every year, but since I can't, I travel vicariously by way of books and articles such as A Woman's Private Paris.


  4. I must say, this may very well be my favorite post on your blog thus far because it brings back so many wonderful memories of your time at the magazine. And I, too, would love to see your book idea come to pass! When the Victoria movie arrives in theatres, I will be well prepared since one of my reading accomplishments of the past year - and I officially do not "do" thick bios! - was Stanley Weintraub's biography of Queen Victoria which was featured in your Victoria! In fact, when re-reading those classic issues of your magazine, I very often find myself led to track down some book mentioned in its pages. And I am never disappointed!

  5. Oh Nancy! I cannot believe I just stumbled upon your blog...I have every issue of Victoria ever published! I still love them, and consider them my most treasured of possessions (after my grandchildren, of course!)Your blog reminds me of reading your monthly "Dear Friends". I will be stopping by quite often to read your lovely posts.
    Kathy L

  6. Now, my nearest and dearest friends, good try, but you know no French woman would ever reveal her perfume. And in that fine tradition, I will keep mum about the very expensive and very delicious perfume that I only had part of my life for a few hours. I can tell you that it had magnolia notes, which you can find in a wide variety of perfumes.

    I once, foolishly, asked Madame Leslie Caron what delectable scent she was wearing and she gave me a look that reminded me of my grandmother's when someone wanted to know the secret of her pie crust. It was loving, but at the same time drew a line in the sand.

    In all honesty, if I remembered, I'd spill the beans in a second: But it was a fleeting encounter with an exotic scent I knew I'd never really possess. nl

  7. Oh yes Dear, I love [and still love] your Paris and England 'Victoria' magazines.

    How lovely that I can finally say my Thank You to you, personally.

    Gentle hugs,
    Aunt Amelia

  8. Dear Nancy, I must have been kissed by the angels, because I was lucky enough to have a tres francaise Air France stewardess reveal her scent when I naively inquired (in halting French on my maiden airship voyage to Paris, that magical city). She was divinely chic, her French twist swirled perfectly around her compact, dark head. She smiled conspiratorially with her deep red lips, leaned closer, and in utterly charming, musical French murmured, "Yves St. Laurent--Rive Gauche!" We smiled together and she honored me by asking my scent. It was a moment I'll never forget. I felt I'd entered a sisterhood!

    Karen Marline

  9. This post has given me an idea for my own Paris Day at Home. It should certainly incorporate a French movie or two, some spa time, French-inspired menus and a long soak in the tub with the little toiletries I have left over from last year's visit. Why not?

  10. My goodness, I'm so happy to find this blog. I'm a veteran Victoria fan, and have every issue ever published. My husband and I went to Paris for the first time this December. We left Missouri the day after Christmas, and spent 10 glorious days in an apartment on Rue St. Dominique with a view of the Eiffel Tower.

    In planning for the trip, I remembered the Paris issue and headed to my closet to find it. This took over 2 hours since you can't sit down with well over a hundred Victoria's and not look through many of them. I have most of the older covers memorized and so found the wonderful Paris issue, which remains a delight.

    Regarding Coco Before Chanel, we actually just watched it last night. I would agree, a good movie, although I did enjoy seeing how the style of Chanel evolved into the tailored suits and hats which defined such a memorable look.

    Thank you Nancy for still being out there, and writing and seeking out the beautiful slices of life that you shared with us for years! I was 28 when I first started reading Victoria in 1988, and just turned 50 this January. The magazine you founded has been a profound source of enjoyment for half my life!