The history of Parisian tea rooms is intimately tied to the history of the Ladurée family. It all began in 1862, when Louis Ernest Ladurée, a man from France’s southwest, created a bakery in Paris at 16 rue Royale.
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The same year, the first stone of the Garnier Opera House was laid, and the area surrounding the Madeleine was rapidly developing into one of the capital’s most important and elegant business districts. The most prestigious names in French luxury had already taken up residence in this neighborhood.
In 1871, while Baron Haussmann was giving Paris a “new face”, a fire at the bakery opened up the possibility of transforming it into a pastry shop. The decoration of the shop was entrusted to Jules Cheret, a famous turn-of-the-century painter and poster artist. Mr. Cheret sought inspiration from the painting techniques used for the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel and the Garnier Opera House. By integrating them into his work, he added depth and relief to the ceilings decorated with chubby cherubs, notably the “Pastry Angel” who later inspired the House’s graphic identity.
Under the Second Empire, cafés developed and became more and more luxurious. They attracted Parisian high society. Along with the chic restaurants around the Madeleine, they became the showcases of the capital. The beginning of this century found Paris wrapped up in a frenzy of entertainment and going out on the town. Parisians flocked to the Universal Exposition. Women were also changing. They wanted to make new acquaintances, but literary salons and literature circles were outmoded.
Louis Ernest Ladurée’s wife, Jeanne Souchard, had the idea of mixing styles: The Parisian café and pastry shop gave birth to one of the first tea rooms in town. The ”salon de thé” had a definite advantage over the cafés: women could gather in complete freedom.
The story of the Ladurée macaron starts in the middle of the 19th century with Pierre Desfontaines, who first thought of taking two macaron shells and joining them with a delicious ganache filling. The recipe has not changed since.
Ladurée is a veritable celebration of sweets and pastry innovation. Every moment of creation is an intense experience. Twice a year, like fashion designers, Ladurée imagines news desserts such as the Rose Religieuse, the Rose- Raspberry Saint-Honoré, the Liquorice Millefeuille and the Blackcurrant-Violet Macaron
Ladurée has a wide range of unique seasonal and classic macaron flavors. Always gluten free and always delicious. The Ladurée vault contains over 100 secret recipes with various flavor combinations tested to perfection. The Ladurée macaron is often called 'the supermodel of the food industry'... chic, timeless, and beautiful.
Ladurée’s refined atmosphere, laden with history, caught the attention of David Holder and his father Francis Holder, founder of the Holder Group.
In 1993, with his father’s help, David Holder bought the mythical Ladurée tea room on rue Royale, waking the sleeping beauty from her long slumber. Four years later, encouraged by the success of the rue Royale store, the Ladurée tea room and boutique on the Champs-Elysées, decorated by Jacques Garcia, opened its doors in a blaze of glory.
Openings in other prestigious locations came to follow: in 2002, the rue Bonaparte won over the Rive Gauche, in the old gallery of one of the post-war era’s “great ladies” of interior design, Madeleine Castaing. In 2005, a store in London’s Harrods marked the start of an international adventure. David Holder’s knack for finding the spots best suited to the spirit of Ladurée, along with an inestimable flair for launching new ventures, has led to the inauguration of over one hundred sales points across the world.
In 2008, the first store launched in Japan, in parallel with the opening of the first Ladurée Bar in Paris on rue Lincoln ; a fresh venue that backs on to the Champs-Elysées store, but tells a whole new story. The fairy tale of Versailles came next, with a store opening in the castle’s Royal Court the following year.
The first stateside boutique and tea salon opened in 2011 on New York’s Madison Avenue, followed by the US’s first full restaurant and garden in New York’s trendy Soho neighborhood. Ladurée now has 8 locations across the United States, in Los Angeles, Washington D.C., Miami, New York, and over 100 stores worldwide.
The Ladurée life: dreams, little pleasures enjoyed here and there, fantasy, rainbows and marshmallows.
It’s what we wish to share: The Ladurée Dream.
In the jewellery world, there’s only one brand out there that causes everyone to say ‘oooh’ when they hear its name; Cartier! Although luxury watches is what this jewellery house is best known for, there’s plenty more to it than meets the eye…
Simply put, Cartier is the king of jewellery. The company was founded in Paris in 1847 by Louis Francois Cartier, after he took over the jewellery workshop of his master, Adolphe Picard. Louis Francois had trained as a goldsmith and this was the focus of his workshop. It was situated on Rue Montogueil right in the heart of the city and a short walk from the Louvre, so there was never any shortage of inspiration.
Cartier inherited the upstanding reputation of his old master’s workshop and quickly built on it, creating top notch jewellery for Paris’ most esteemed residents.In 1856, Princess Mathilde (niece of Napoleon I and cousin to the Emperor Napoleon III) became a customer, and in late 19th century France you couldn’t get much more upmarket than that. 3 years later, Louis moved the premises to the nearby Rue des Italiens and welcomed the Emperor Napoleon’s wife, Empress Eugenie, as a client. Not bad for 12 years in business!
Alfred Cartier, son of Louis-Francois, took over the business in 1874 and set his sights on expanding it. Determined to keep it as a family-run affair, he and his three sons Louis, Pierre and Jacques all helped to establish it as a world wide, top quality jewellery brand. Louis in particular was passionate about watchmaking, so it was no accident that Cartier created the first ladies bracelet-watch in 1888.
A few years later in 1904, Louis’ friend (and aviation pioneer) Alfred Santos-Dumont complained to him about the impracticality of keeping a pocket watch when flying. Louis had a light-bulb moment and created a new watch design for men; a flat wristwatch with an eye-catching square bezel. Albert loved it, and so did everyone else. The Cartier Santos Watch was born.
In the early 1900s Cartier expanded to the cities of London, Moscow and New York, Louis remained in charge of the Paris arm and worked on some of the company’s most famous designs. Including their trademark wristwatches, ‘mystery clocks’ (with a hidden mechanism) and exotic, high-fashion Art Deco pieces that were in vogue at the time.
In 1907, Edward Jaegar joined the team to exclusively supply all the movements for Cartier watches. It proved to be a match made in heaven, with more iconic designs like the Baignoire and Tortue created and cementing Cartier’s worldwide reputation as the ‘king of jewellery and the jeweller of kings’. Their clientele included the biggest celebrities in the world, several royal families (including Britain, Spain, Thailand, Serbia and Romania) and plenty of the richest members of societies all over Europe and the United States.
Cartier’s expertise expands far beyond watches however; the company was behind some of the most significant pieces and trends in the 20th century jewellery world. In 1924, they created the three band, three metal design of rose, yellow and white gold (which Audrey Hepburn later popularised), calling it the Trinity ring and bracelet. In 1956, they designed an engagement ring for none other than Grace Kelly when she announced her marriage to Prince Rainier of Monaco. In 1969, Cartier’s parent company sold what would come to be known as the Taylor-Burton Diamond to Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor – all 69.42 carats of it. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg!
So, what about Cartier engagement rings?
Well, they don’t come cheap for a start. Cartier have been making engagement rings since the beginning of the company in 1847 – long before they ever made wristwatches. They were one of the first jewellers to use platinum in engagement rings (all the way back in the early 1900s) to reflect the true brilliance of the diamonds. And speaking of diamonds, they use only those graded as colourless and internally flawless. So, start saving.
The minimum size of Cartier diamond – for engagement rings, that is – is 0.5 carats. They prioritise style equally as much as quality however, so by comparison to some other brands Cartier engagement rings may be considered ‘small’. Remember you won’t find better design, style or quality of construction however. Bigger isn’t always better!
One unique aspect of a Cartier engagement ring is that they are specifically designed so the diamond looks best from any angle – even upside down! It’s all accounted for in the design, which usually means that incredible detailing and thought has gone into each piece. Wedding rings, eternity rings, and bridesmaid and groomsmen gifts are all part of their wider bridal collection, too. So if your budget has no limits whatsoever, there’s no reason why you can’t splash out (although we will envy you. A lot.).