I originally started this thread in the Louis Vuitton forum, but looking back, it was probably misplaced. It struck me that Vuitton doesn't have that element of 'Joie de Vie*' and the same spirit of adventure, curiosty, and, what I truly believe is a casual refinement that so sparkles in a thing made by H. The orange box is certainly revered, and 'classy' and at the pinnacle of what popular opinion deems 'luxury' to be and all that... but under it's glossy beautiful exterior, beyond the impeccably dressed/groomed staff, far away from glass cases a thing by Hermes is a product, simple, good and honest (at least it is to me - and I know for a fact, to many ladies, and gents, who frequent these forums) that absolutely abandons any advertising or marketing plan Hermes may have under its' belt at the time, and comes to you, born again, to offer you not just a beautiful presence but also a ticket to quiet luxury, however you care to live it, wear it, hide it, or show it.^ But I digress... FRANCE! PARIS! the whole darned thing! Whether it's a whiff of wine, perfume, or dog poop (depending on who you ask*), reality to many; nirvana to many more. But don't ask me, I've never been, these are purely the observations of an self-proclaimed aesthete - with a fondness for french music, food, clothes, furniture, objects.. of any description and consumption. I can't ever put my fascination with these things down to a particular style, or look, I believe it's just the aura of something of precision, something with a glimmer of wit, in a material either beautifully refined or raw and easy, elements that so attracted me to H. not too long ago. Anyhoo.. the original inspiration for the thread was the revelation (in the throws of a hardcore apartment spring-clean, months ago) that many things I love are French in origin, design, or production. I know many of you boys and girls who share their stories of Hermes purchases, knowledge, and general Hermes love are travelled and/or have wonderful tastes in all things. So, I ask, What things strike a chord with you and either leave you salivating, grinning ear-to-ear or nodding quietly in appreciation? Please share a story, a description, a bunch of images! Things... smells, tastes, sights and sounds.. what of France, aside from H. makes you smile? Here are some of mine ----------------------- > I collect and generally admire contemporary furniture, my favourite designers and many pieces I own are French. Or by French designers Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec and Jean Prouve are my favourite designers, and my favourite piece in my collection is my Togo sofa, by french furniture maker Ligne Roset. There's a kind of lightness in spirit, that french designers excell in injecting into their designs, often with very beautiful results. > The French band Phoenix are my fav music act ever. Full stop. Singing in almost American English, Their pop sensibility, mixed with diverse influenced make for some very catchy toe-tappers and pretty, accessible music. Easy-listening of the coolest kind. Serge Gainsbourg is a given, a gift to the world. I'm also very into and Mickey 3D, Sebastien Tellier and love Benjamin Biolay - the man is just darned suave. And who could not like Daft Punk on some level. > A few years ago I bought a little Le Creuset frypan/saucepan combo on eBay, and it was love, since then I've upgraded all my el-cheapo cookware to match. You've gotta love the shockingly vibrant colours it comes in, and it makes a mean ANYTHING. > Hermes (I'll sneak it in here) caught my interest about 4 years ago, but I never really fell in love with it's leathergoods because I felt it was, and still is, a little too 'grown up' for me. My toile Sac Livres, and other assorted tiny items are all loved and used, but I love H. flatware, crystal and porcelain. I have a decent little collection happening that I use all the time. McDonalds on 'Balcons', sushi with 'Siesta'. There's nothing like drinking white grape juice out of a chartreuse crystal Hermes tumbler first thing in the morning > I really admire french graphic design duo M/M Paris, they've been a definite influence on my design work (along with the rest of the world's). Not always entirely effective, in my opinion... but, witty, beautifully CRAFTED work that is always fun to see > Louis Vuitton, was bigger in my books a few years ago.. the more fashion-oriented it becomes, the duller its' shine. But a fascinating history, quality that truly endures, and some wonderful, iconic pieces, however overstated. > I was gifted a tiny little vial of a Commes des Garcons fragrance many years ago, and now, Man 2 and the Incense series are my staples. Why smell like any old bouquet of flowers when you can smell like CdG's Tar > french cheese. French whenever I can afford it.. soft, hard, either, yum.. when I scored my current job I made myself a grilled camembert, gorgonzola, parsley sandwich *faints* *My knowledge of the French language is practically non-existent. I can only hope that online translation service has not let me down... 'Et vous un good translation software?' ^If my ranting reads like a bad editorial, or my words like those of a person off with the fairies on a romanticised delusional night-flight over the Seine, I tip my wine to you.