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Honey, I’m home.

Yes, we are finally back in Paris. I am excited for three reasons. First of all, my favorite restaurant, Verjus, will be open again after the summer holidays and I can finally have my fried chicken on a bed of spicy cabbage again. Secondly, my other favorite restaurant, Frenchie, will be open again and I can have my favorite New York style pastrami sandwich on rye with their special mustard and pickles. Thirdly, now I can order my favorite Japanese dumplings from Zen and have them delivered to the apartment with their special soy sauce that they mix with white vinegar. Too much healthy food at the lake. All I want now is something fatty, salty and crispy. I’m starving to death for chrissakes!

My cat, Frances, was sitting right at the front door when we got back last night. She had a look on her face like, “Where the hell have you been for the past two weeks, Mother! I was two minutes away from calling Child Protective Services. Oh, and by the way, I drank all of your alcohol.” Don’t worry, she had a babysitter but apparently she didn’t “like her.”

We have a big weekend planned. Saturday we are excited to go to the fancy-schmancy 27th Biennale des Antiquaries at the Grand Palais in Paris. I love looking at antiques that I can never afford. Jacques Granges is the artistic director and he designed the theme this year with a nod to the Royal Gardens of Versailles. This is a very posh big deal antique show and I am so excited I can barely breathe. I wish my friend Diandra Douglas were going with me because we live for this shit. Although, she would never say the word “shit.”

Sunday, I have plans to go to a local brocante in the 16th arrondissement first and then to the farmers market in the 15th arrondissement. My husband thinks this is the best farmers market in all of Paris for some reason. I’m looking forward to the shift of produce towards the fall season. There is a vendor at the farmers market that lures us in with the scent of crispy pork with rosemary and my husband’s favorite Moroccan sausage called merguez with spicy harissa. We buy so much food at these farmers markets that we have to take one of those old lady carts on wheels. My friend Heather of Habitually Chic blog refuses to be seen with one of these carts at the farmers market. My husband could not care less. We will be taking one of my favorite caregivers, Aminta, with us. She has been away for two months because she has been visiting her family in Mali, Africa. Don’t think that the thought that she might have contracted Ebola over the summer hasn’t crossed my mind. Wouldn’t it be funny if I didn’t die of ALS but I died of Ebola.

So, for today’s blog continuation of The Art of Entertaining, we have to talk about candles, candle sticks and candelabras. Lighting is important to women. We look better in candlelight. I know I look gorgeous in candlelight. :-) My husband has this obnoxious habit of turning on all the lights superbright for a party. I just want to kill him. He doesn’t need candlelight because he’s gorgeous in any lighting. Annoying. But the ladies need candlelight for God sake! Let’s start with the basics…

 Here are some of my favorite sources for candles. CireTrudon is the oldest wax manufacturer (founded in 1643) in France having been the official candle maker to the court of Louis XIV as well as the supplier of candles to the great churches of France. How about that! I like everything about this company. They have a great array of colors for the basic candlesticks, they have clever novelty candles shaped like Napoleon, they have thick pillar candles with cameos and they have the most exquisite scented candles. The scented candles are otherworldly with fragrances such as Pondichéry whose description makes life worth living. “Ginger with zests of lemon and vetiver, Pondichéry gives out a green and fresh touch where floats the exotic sweetness of patchouli and the warmness of musk. Dreams of Asia with its unforgettable colours, its silks and strange porcelain, this is the trip to Indian and Far-Eastern counters, the new fascination for exoticism.” There are brick and mortar shops around the world that make you feel like you have stepped back into time and you can also order online if you live in the middle of nowhere.

My other recommendation for candles is a company called Knorr. My favorite candles at this source are these black drippy candles. They are exquisite. This company also has great beige candles. My mother loves beige candles. We used to sell this line at our shop but to be honest most of them ended up at our house. My mother had a whole secret little closet under the staircase at her house. It was lined with shelves and it housed all of her vases, candlesticks, candelabras, hurricane lamps, votive holders, and stacks and stacks and stacks of boxes of these candles. These are very high quality beeswax candles.

photo by Wendy Jenson
photo by Wendy Jenson
My third recommendation for candles is a company called CreativeCandles. What I like about this company is their selection of colors and sizes. And by sizes, I mean that they offer candles the height of a toddler. 39 inches tall! How cool is that! And they drip really well. Gorgeous gorgeous gorgeous. Major drama.


My fourth recommendation might sound a little bit tacky, but they’re not if used properly. I love using candles in a bookcase but that can be a hint dangerous. Problem solved. Wax drippy battery operated pillar candles! They even flicker. My favorite come from a company called The Amazing Flameless Candle Company.

Okay, so now that we have the actual candle covered, what do you put it in? I have a slight obsession with candlesticks, sconces and candelabras. I am all over the map when it comes to my choices of candlesticks and candelabras. 17th century Chinese candlesticks, Danish modern candlesticks, antique Italian altar sticks, Murano glass candlesticks, horn candlesticks, porcelain, enamel, silver, gold, bronze, monkeys, elephants, birds, blackamoors! I think I have a great collection on my Pinterest board. Check it out HERE.


Stay tuned for the next installment of The Art of Entertaining. Hint: Sucre! Sucre! Sucre!
Bon week-end!

*I thought it would be fun if we knew a little bit more about each other so let’s do this… Every blog posting I will end with something that you don’t know about me and then you guys can let me know something about you. Here’s something you don’t know about me… I hate cherubs, angels and cupids in terms of modern day decorating. I don’t want to see an angel statue in someone’s stupid front yard, a cherub painted on a ceiling in someone’s faux Tuscan wine cellar, or a fat cupid in cheap gilt plaster on a mirror from Tuesday Morning. I will only tolerate angels cherubs or cupids if it was done pre-19th century. Voilà! We are getting to know each other!


  1. OH dear your candle recommendation is going to be dangerous for me!Especially that first one!Do they have a store in PARIS?I have life size BLACKAMOORS they came out of my AUNTS house in MONTECITO!I too canNOT stand the cherub craze that has hit the last 30 years?I may be guilty however, of having concrete statues in the jar din that are not pre 19th C!!!I hope you will still TOLERATE ME!XXXXX

  2. Ellie,
    I agree with you about the cupids and angels, though I do have a cast concrete angel in one of my birdbaths in my backyard. Don't judge, she's quite elegant and regal, so I assume she's modeled after a pre-19th century one.
    My big decor beef is the overuse of animal prints, particularly the leopard/cougar/jaguar variety, and the abundance of tacky colorizations and cheap knockoffs polluting the marketplace. Hasn't anyone heard the sacred words "Less Is More"?
    Also, I'm envious of your plans for 'le weekend', so I'm off to the farmer's market and an estate sale.
    Au revoir!

  3. Eleanor, please don't die of Ebola (or anything else). I just found you (thanks to Heather of HC), and I LOVE reading your posts...they're clever, biting, interesting and poignant. Something about me, I despise anything that's 'politically correct' which generally translates to 'not real'.
    xo, Nancy

  4. Another great one Ellie. I love all the things you love. And my cat's name is Frances too! Ok that's not my thing. My thing is if I see another 'I Married Adventure" laying around in another "eclectic" space online I'm going to gag. Yes, it's zebra. Enough already. Full disclosure; I have one.

  5. Ellie, I am so with you on the cupids and angels. As for me, I like linen in the summer and cashmere in the winter--when it comes to both fashion and interiors. And I have dozens of scarves!

  6. Plaids and stripes - not a fan of either. Love tone on tone, think Fortuny. I love animal prints, but absolutely agree can be overdone. Welcome back to Paris. About two years ago, I was sitting in a bar at Kennedy talking to a woman just back from France. She raved about Annecy. I put it on my bucket list. Your postings have moved to the top of my list. Thanks for your wonderful postings.

  7. Thanks again for your wonderful postings, something about me, I love murano glass, all the beautiful colors and I am obsessed with shoes! I also love candles and will now try all the ones that you recommended. Don't die of anything, I love your posts too much!

  8. Thank you Ellie for your pearls of wisdom.... I am currently living in Delhi, India and have come to loathe metallic thread and massive crystals that seem to run through and attached themselves to every piece of furniture fabric produced here. Picture a chesterfield with crystal studs and try not to be physically ill....

  9. Dear Ellie,
    I am with Nancy (above) I also found you from Heather and I just love you. So please stay around for a while. HC was my favorite blog for years and years but shhhh, now I think it is a tie! However you have given me more work to do in my daily life, not complaining, but now I have to share your blog with my friend Michelle because she says that she likes the comments I write and how you add to our already full "girls bucket list" of things to I have to get back to pressing my linens, I am with you paper is taboo. I think that I may the only one at the Giants opening game tomorrow tailgating with linens. So nice to have you in my life, wishing you all of the best. Sincerely, Lori

  10. My current decor pet peeves? Yes: Over-use of animal prints. Yes: I have had my fill of misplaced putti. My current 'why-do-they-do-that' is the overuse of the term 'Mid-Century'. Give it up! Just cause its angular, or round. Just cause it's topped in laminate doesn't make it precious. Ditto for the overuse of 'Art Deco': It's old, and grandma had it. Fine. Doesn't make it all precious and historically collectable and significant. Whew, I said it. Now I'm done.
    Ellie, I am one of your newest fans and a big promoter of your blog. I have sent out links to gobs of my friends. Love you writing, and love the stories of your life. I am an interior designer, and marketing/visual director/buyer for a posh linen store, The Dolphin, in Tulsa, OK.

  11. I am obsessed with Matchstrikes, especially ones from Nina Campbells shop in London. I also have 3 from Ralph Lauren but the strike pad on the bottom completely wore off rendering them useless so they are losers. I also love DOG paintings and painted glazed walls in vibrant colors.

  12. Ellie,
    Completely agree on the cupids, angels and cherubs. Love your writing, just recently discovered you via Heather Clawson, and now look forward to every post. You are simultaneously hilarious and insightful about the things that should and shouldn't matter.

    Loved the photo of Frances - she looks quite well-bred, and has a very French expression of elegant ennui. On the other hand my two cats, Twig & Sprout (along with their late predecessor, Stick) are always quite the opposite in their very American need for attention.

  13. Will be checking out those candle web sites, I only use bees wax, but haven't found black…yippee!!! Candles, yes! Cupids no! Agreed. Something you don't know about me…besides everything;)?! I love natural curiosities and collect them… snake skins, hummingbirds nest, feathers, skulls…macabre? Oh and when I come to see you in Paris;), can we find the best duck confit? xo

  14. I LOVE THAT CAT!!!

    That said, I don't like cheap Chinoiserie.

  15. Welcome back dear. You should demand that Diandra Douglas come visit for the antiques show. You understand better than most that life is short so buy the damned plane ticket (or the outrageously expensive eiderdown, or whatever). About me...I live in the middle of the desert and unlike your city, where fall is making itself known, it will be over 90 degrees today. Very frustrating, as I have soups and stews to make. The dogs are waiting to go to the park before it gets too warm, and then I have to go to the office. Oh, and I quit my job this week, after 11 years at the same place. I'm 40 years old, and I feel like I'm leaving home to go to college -- I can't stay, yet I can't bear to leave.

    It's so nice to read your thoughts again. My mouth waters at the thought of fried chicken.

  16. I love luxurious candles--thank you for the sources! My pet peeve: the 'manufactured' scents sold.....i.e, "Ocean Walk"...."Vanilla pudding"...."Burning leaves" know what company that is ::::shudder::: Also...don't all men prefer the 'burning your retinas out' wattage when it comes to lovely dinner lighting??!

  17. A slab of marble on an inexpensive (okay, cheap) table top can make it look like a real piece of furniture. I have marble slabs everywhere. Does that tell you something???

  18. I should be walking the dogs but here I am writing to you. I, too, love scented candles and good perfume and great meals cooking, life should smell good. One day I'm going to live in Paris, meanwhile thank you for sharing it all with me. It's nice to know I'll have a friend when I get there.
    Just bought a fabulous two inch thick Schiaparelli Pink french dictionary... it's my reminder to write my book faster in order to realize my dream.
    p.s. Hate rooms that look like a Ballard catalogue!

  19. I’m glad you described the Cire Trudon candle, I've been wanting one. There’s no brick and mortar close enough, so I appreciate your personal review. The Pondichery sounds perfect, as I love all things India. Oh yeah, the cherub faze! About twenty years ago, my stylish girlfriend was telling me about a pretty pink cherub she saw in the gift shop. I said, “Great! My mom just made a few in her ceramics class - I’ll send you one.” Fast forward ten years…I move to her city and she's giving me a tour of her new apartment. She's excited to show me her perfectly organized closet with all the pretty hat boxes, hand labeled in calligraphy, lining the top shelves. My heart sinks when I see the plain brown box labeled “Pink Elephant - Angel.” Ha! It was an "elephant in the room" moment. I guess she saw the end of the trend before moi. Speaking of moi, I loathe harsh lighting…it hurts my eyes. Every room in my house has dimmers.

  20. Ellie,
    LOVE you. LOVE your blog!
    Cire Trudon's Abd el Kader is my current obsession.
    I think glass bowls of potpourri are on my don't list.
    paula from SB

  21. I too dislike angels/cherubs and everything else the marketing experts get hold of and turn into cliches. I suppose they need a job but I much preferred the world when there was more individuality. Love fresh flowers. There are fabulous silk ones these days but don't even think of bringing them into my house. And I do love a girl with a mind of her own and a personality to match! You go, Girl!

  22. I love reading every one of your blogs. I was even a little mad at your husband when you said he thought you should cut down on the number per week for your health. But I guess he loves you and takes care of you and probably has your best interests in mind, so I got over it. :) In the vein of prefabbed cherubs... I think the worst decor item ever invented are fake books. To me, these boxes are like pretending to be interesting while having no soul. I can't find a reason why a book couldn't be acquired, but if it couldn't, I would rather see a cardboard box with BOX TO FILL SPACE written on it. Obviously, the color of the cardboard and the writing should be done in an artistic manner. :)

  23. I am most certainly candle-addicted. One of our apartments in Arles (we have moved a bit) was truly extraordinary. It occupied most of the RDC of the Hotel Truchet, which was built in the 17th century by a poet and literature lover. Our salon was pretty huge - over 50m2 - with gorgeous antiques dalles des pierres and a massive stone fireplace, wooden beams. The doorways were arches filled with security glass doors, one of which led onto a jardin de curé under the Eglise Freres Precheurs with gargoyles overhead. On a winter night, I would light 30 candles of different shapes and sizes in that room alone. And in summer the garden would be filled with them in lanterns, in the niches in the walls, we strung an iron chandelier up...I think that you are seeing that I mean it when I say that I am addicted. :) I will tell you more about that house another time...this is long enough already!...But I never take for granted living in such beautiful spaces here in France. As I have mentioned before, we are not wealthy but really, you don't have to be to find something special in this part of the world...
    I recently heard that I need to go buy these candles:
    Originally made by the monks at the Abbaye St. Frigolet, the recipe has stayed the same and the small atelier is sponsored by Souleiado in Tarascon, near where I live. If I go, I will report back. Promise.
    PS. Decorating pet peeve? Subway tile but that might be because I spent so many years in the NYC subway that I don't get the appeal...
    PPS. The fifth photo from the bottom was photographed at the Chateau de Moissac, a very special place indeed...

  24. why am I not there NOW! ha ha ha
    your cat looks like "the boss"…hilariously funny she is…..XO suzanna
    can only write thru anonymous

  25. Just found your blog and am power reading through. LOVE! Candles, yes. What I hate the words "pop" of color" and "great bones". Also "giclees.(sp)? It's a photo print people!. Oh and stylized fucking bookshelves and coffee tables.

  26. So much alternative style inspiration here, thanks for sharing!

  27. Gah, something you don't know about me - fake candles give me the heebie jeebies. I'd rather burn down the whole bookcase than see the flicker of an electric 'flame'. Love your blog!!