Paris est toujours une bonne idée. Paris is always a good idea, they say. The line is often attributed to Audrey Hepburn in the movie Sabrina. Joining the ranks of a long list of [American] expatriates who have stayed in the City of Light, Sabrina goes to Paris to find herself. She succeeds and returns home a confident, elegant woman. But Sabrina, the chauffeur’s daughter, never forgets the French capital, or her time there, and longs to return.
Paris is always a good idea. For many, these words ring true, for few cities in the world have the power to inspire and seduce as much as Paris does. Who would not jump at the opportunity to fly there, even if only for a few days?
Paris is always a good idea. The line sells well, as a visit to a favorite website of mine, etsy.com, reveals. Last night, I spent some time browsing, and had a hard time selecting a few favorite items. There were pages of them. Paris is always a good idea. For creative types at least, it would appear to be so. I wondered if Audrey, too, would have liked some of them.
I spotted a pretty decal for my Mac.
Audrey loved Paris, and the Eiffel Tower. She would have approved.
How about a shabby chic pillow?
Another good choice for Audrey…
This reminded me that even if the following item may seem tempting…
We don’t all look as good as Audrey did while wearing one…
What writer (or blogger) would resist these adorable pencils?
Not me, and by the look of it, not Audrey…
I was tempted by this delicate locket…
Audrey had such an elegant neck she did not need to adorn it…
When she did wear jewelry, she enjoyed glamorous statement pieces.
If Paris is a good idea, why not make Paris part of your home decor?
Again, Audrey would assent.
But sometimes, a more discreet statement is best.
Even if Audrey occasionally had breakfast on-the-go…
… she also knew when to sit down and enjoy tea, or coffee, with the finest china and silverware.
For all the beautiful things I saw last night, there were many I would not have ordered. They looked like this…
Audrey Hepburn may have thought Paris was always a good idea, but as Sabrina, in the iconic Billy Wilder movie, she never actually said it. You don’t believe me? Watch the movie again and pay close attention.
If you want to hear the actual line, you have to watch the 1995 Sidney Pollack remake of Sabrina, with Julia Ormond and Harrison Ford. If the movie failed to enthrall audiences as much as its predecessor, it is thoroughly enjoyable. Beautiful Julia Ormond puts a modern spin on Sabrina Fairchild. She, too, brings elegance, and charm to the part. She is the one who declares, at the end of the movie, “Paris is always a good idea.“
Listen to her rhapsodize about her time in Paris, like another Sabrina (Audrey Hepburn,) before her.
Audrey, Julia… They are both Sabrina. And they would both agree, as I do, Paris is always a good idea. What about you?
Sabrina (1995) – Trailer is here.
Oh, Veronique, we disagree for the very first time! Julia is not Sabrina and the remake was sacrilegious. 😉
But what a brilliant post! Reiterating 6 little words that have had significance for billions.
Yes, yes, yes, yes, and yes! Paris is ALWAYS a good idea! As is the greatly beloved angel, Audrey.
You’re so brilliant!!
Merci Suzanne. I see you are an Audrey fan. Who wouldn’t be? I would not quite call the remake sacrilegious. It was a pleasant romantic comedy if nothing else, and without it, as I explained in the post, none of us would be commenting about the infamous line! 😉
I’m a hard core francophile. Have been to France about 15 times. Love your posts.
Bonjour Brenda. I am lucky to count many francophiles among the readers and followers of French Girl in Seattle. It’s always wonderful to hear from them. Thank you for your support.
My sister’s best friend works for etsy.com…just a side comment. It’s a small world.
Bonjour Betty. Yes, it is a small world. I purchased most of my Christmas presents on etsy.com this year. I love that everything is quality (and handmade) in the US, and it’s always a good idea to support small businesses, in my humble opinion.
Bien sur, Paris is always a good idea! It is just in a class all its own. Thank you for the trailers of the movie, I will plan to see Sabrina.
You’re welcome Cherie. Yes, do give the Sabrina remake a try. Just don’t compare with the original, and you will be fine. 🙂
I love that pillow!!! Yup! Paris is always a good idea..and if you can’t get there right away, you can always listen to some good Jacques Dutronc! Gotta say though, the original Sabrina was much, much better than the remake. That being said,tomorrow I’ll be able to wake up and say “Four more month’s till Paris”!
Great, great post! I love all the pics! Thank you:)
Of course the original was better than the remake. Isn’t that usually the case? I’ve got to say that it’s really interesting to watch both versions back to back, and realize how society’s expectations of women have changed. Both “Sabrinas” are changed by their time in Paris, but their definition of personal accomplishments are widely different. I got a kick out of that. And yes, Jacques Dutronc is always a good idea, too (I see your Frenchman has taught you well :-))
I love both versions of Sabrina and this reminder of them is a treat indeed. Audrey Hepburn IS Paris to me. Elegant, poised, charismatic, and beautiful. Merci.
So glad you enjoyed this post, Holly. Merci de votre visite !
Et un Dernier Tango à Paris, c’est aussi une bonne idée ?
Peut-être, mais alors là, on change de catégorie, Alain !
Hello Veronique – what a lovely post. You always work so hard on each of your posts and the effort surely shows! I discovered ETSY in 2014 and I too love the individual products you can find there. I found the most beautiful customized birthday and Christmas cards from a local UK seller who is very talented. You have motivated me to try my hand at blogger again.
All the best. Craig
Merci beaucoup, Craig. That is very nice of you to say 🙂 I like nice stationery too! I always buy pretty cards when I see some I like. So you are starting a new blog? I will have to come and visit. Bonne chance !
Hello Veronique: http://thehesitantscotsman.blogspot.co.uk/
Loved both versions Veronique.. it’s been a while since I’ve seen ether, will have to do something about that bientôt 🙂
Just watched the original Sabrina last night – LOVE Audrey – thank you for the recommendation. I’ll watch the 1995 version this weekend. Just disappointed there wasn’t more time in Paris in the movie – but still thoroughly enjoyed it!
Thank you for stopping by. It’s a good idea to watch the movies back to back, and to see the changes brought to the character. Let me know how you like it!
YES INDEED- PARIS IS ALWAYS A GREAT IDEA-without hesitation-SIMPLY A GREAT IDEA!
Great minds think alike, g.
I’ve just watched the remake and then Googled the phrase.
I don’t quite understand. If it was never in the original movie then all this material (pillows, pendants, notepaper and a hundred other things) and the widespread familiarity of the phrase, is only since the ’95 movie? There is so much false attribution of this quote to “Audrey Hepburn” (meaning playing Sabrina Fairchild) it seems incongruous. Anyway I also came across an online note by publisher/travel writer BARRIE KERPER on WEDNESDAY, JULY 9, 2014 who says that she watched the 1954 movie twice thru in a single sitting and that the famous maxim is definitely not spoken.
If it was a deliberate attempt by the screenwriters of the ’95 remake to create a memorable line like Casablanca’s “We’ll always have Paris” then it certainly seems to have worked (and fooled half the world that Hepburn said it!).
I wonder if it might have been in the original Broadway stage show Sabrina Fair written by Samuel Taylor? (And I only this instant “got” the wordplay on Sabrina Fair-child!)
The remake is very watchable, and Julia Ormond would have received great praise if only she wasn’t competing with Audrey or everyone’s perceived memory. There is one way in which the remake is unarguably superior: it contains plenty of actual shots (in colour) in Paris while the original (black & white) used feeble mock-up sets in Hollywood! The final scene is of Sabrina and Linus embracing and kissing on the Pont des Arts (not a hint of any lovelocks). This famous pedestrian bridge had its central section damaged by a river barge (peniche) and was reconstructed and reopened the year I first lived in Paris, 1984. It is UNESCO listed and I think there must be a law that states it must feature in any movie set in Paris!
I also note that the love interest (Louis) in Paris was played by Patrick Bruel who could be a doppleganger of Patrick Demsey! In his prime Bruel was dreamier than Dr Dreamy himself. Bruel was a singer-turned-actor and when I lived in Paris there were women (French & Anglo) who swooned over him. On this delicate matter one also has to be realistic and comment that, without denigrating any of the actors, the modern version with Harrison Ford as the older Larrabee was more convincing than Bogart, and really I think Greg Kinnear might be better than William Holden (of whom I have always been ambivalent). It is also claimed that Audrey and Humph disliked each other during the shoot; Cary Grant was offered but declined the role and one would have to say that made better sense (especially when you see them together in Charade).
I am a great fan of Billy Wilder but there was a fair touch of hokiness to the 1954 version–it was the prime era for knockabout comedies, without Audrey it would have stunk–whereas Sydney Pollack’s version is rather more sophisticated. It may simply represent the 4 decades of progress but the remake is certainly much more carefully put together and the cinematography is a quantum leap. If “Paris is always a good idea” then at least it delivers with those scenes around the Stravinsky fountain, the Ecouté sculpture (both close to Les Halles), the Solei de la Butte in Montmartre and the aforementioned Ponts des Arts. In fact as a urbanist with a special obsession with Paris I love Sabrina’s comment:
“Along the Seine there is a walk along the river that goes from Ile St Germain to the Pont d’Austerlitz. Takes you past all the bridges of Paris. Twenty-three of them. And you find one that you love and you go there every day with your coffee and your journal. And you listen to the river.”
The supporting cast of the remake is quite fabulous too: Angie Dickinson, Richard Crenna, Lauren Holly, John Wood (Mr Fairchild) and even a Paul Giamatti cameo; not to mention Fanny Ardant (Paris Vogue editor, Sabrina’s mentor) and probably other French talent I am neglecting.
At any rate I am a great supporter of remaking every movie ever set in Paris.
Great comment! I agree with most of it. Funny you mentioned women swooning over Patrick Bruel. I have always been a fan and was thrilled to see he had a very successful, sold-out tour this year and remains a favorite in France 🙂
In 1978 a lovely French girl named Nathalie came to live with us as an exchange student. Her family lived in Vincennes but later moved to Saint Germaine-en-Laye. That is where we all visited her many times. Five times for me as her Mum. Her favorite bridge was Pont Neuf. I loved them all but thought the Napoleon bridge to be quite sumptuous! Last November when Paris was attacked, one of my daughters had just visited our friend five days before the attack. We were all concerned for Naty’s safety. When we called, she said it was very frightening and they stayed locked in their apartment. It was so good to see her when she visited us for Memorial day this year, 2016. She comes to see us whenever she is in New York on business. She always brings us all beautiful gifts. Besides Paris, I love Normandy. Not because of the cemetery with the 9,000 crosses of American soldiers who lost their lives, but because of the people of the area. They were wonderful to us when we last visited in 2007. They will always remember 6 Juin 1944. It is on all the awnings of the shops and cafes. 15 years ago my husband and I were headed for Paris on our way to Italy. We were set to leave on September 14th, 2001. Of course our plane never came and our trip had to be cancelled. Have been to Paris since then and Scotland, but never tried for Italy again. Feel like it was not meant to be. I was to travel to Rionero where both my parents were born. Nathalie is still waiting for us to come to Paris again this year, but I am afraid. I have survived many disasters in my 76 years and I think maybe I should be content with all the trips and memories I have!
Bonjour Lydia. Thank you for your wonderful testimony. What a wonderful friendship you enjoy with Nathalie – and France. Please do not be afraid. Statistically, your chances of encountering tragedy during your travels are limited. You are only 76 years young: I say go to Paris, and enjoy Nathalie and la Belle France once again. Bon voyage !
I concur. Not just that the statistical likelihood of being a victim of terrorism in Paris (probably a bigger risk taking the taxi to and from the airport at both ends). But also I feel it is a test of a true Francophile! I lived for ten years in Paris (you can guess where from my nom-de-blog!) and these events have struck at my heart. I somehow feel slightly ashamed not to be there to lend moral support. I lived there during the bombings in the early 90s; True, those were considerably smaller scale than recent incidents but still traumatic.
Recently the author Marie Darrieussecq was on a tv current affairs program (she was in Australia for the Sydney Writers Festival, May 2016) and she explained how, after some 20 years continuous residency in Paris she was feeling a little weary and was actually thinking of seeking fresh fields. But when these incidents occurred she said it has made her feel even more Parisian, and has somehow reinvigorated her mindset. She stepped into the void left at Charlie Hebdo to be a contributor.
Any Paris resident knows what she means about the weariness as I am sure it happens in cycles for any inhabitant of such a big city, and with those pushy assertive Parisians (almost as bad as New Yorkers or Tokyo-ites, or … ). She had enunciated exactly how I felt, even if it has been 20 years since my residency there. I find it ludicrous how some commentators are writing off Paris because of these incidents but it is the opposite as it will possibly change Paris for the better, or in any case add to the patina of history any serious city accumulates. And if it means, among the 45 million visitors, fewer of the scaredy-cat Americans with their TopTen lists, then no loss. I am quite sure Lydia is not one of those.
These are from the national broadcaster (ABC) and are open-access in Australia but possibly are blocked in some foreign territories (because they are part of some international cable deals):
Incidentally, while I know it is not comparing apples-for-apples, this past week has seen a landmark record of 500 killings in Chicago so far this year (already surpassing all of 2015), including many children and other by-standers. This is more than twice the total number of terrorist deaths over the past 2 years in all of France. A single American city that is less than half the size of Paris.
Bienvenue, Aussie-on-Ile-St-Louis. What a comment! Thank you for stopping by, and for your input. Being a Charlie Hebdo fan, I particularly enjoyed your comments about Marie Darrieussecq and how recent terror attacks had “rejuvenated her mindset” (and yours, as I understand it.) I can tell you that the past 18 months have made me feel truly sorry I live so far away from Paris, where most of my family lives, and reinforced my intention to move back to Europe over the next few years if I can make it happen. Nothing against the US, where I have enjoyed a good life for the last 20 years, but at some point, you have to ask yourself what country – and lifestyle – make you the happiest. Incidentally, you may be interested in the two articles I wrote after the Charlie Hebdo terror attacks last year. You can look them up on the blog in the January 2015 archives. Merci, et à bientôt. FGIS.
Yes, I felt more “homesick” for Paris than I have ever felt for my actual “homeland”. Hemingway was quite correct (“If you have lived in Paris as a young man ….”). I too, intend to return to live once again in Paris but as a non-French and non-EU citizen I have some things to resolve. As it happens those incidents in the 90s had an effect on this issue because I was due to get permanent residency (automatic after ten years at that time) but the incidents brought a xenophobic kneejerk response from government (it was probably election time and the FN was making their usual trouble) and they suddenly made it more difficult to get residency. The French consulate staff were very apologetic and explained it was very unfortunate but they were under political instructions to find any excuse to reduce immigrant numbers. I was in the process of moving my whole lab to Oxford and that was enough. The Oxford move was a career thing and I did not intend to stay (and didn’t) but when I look back it influenced my decision not to return to Paris… such is how one’s life direction is nudged along a different path.
Though you are diplomatic about your adopted home of the US, I feel the Anglosphere (I have lived/worked in UK, USA and Australia) has taken a horribly wrong turn over the past 20 years and still feel, despite its perceived problems that France actually has its priorities better than most countries.
I will check out those Charlie Hebdo blogs. I just read the markets/Lyon article: fabulous. Lyon is a terrific city (and so much more affordable than Paris; if only I wasn’t so smitten with the latter! And really I am not sure I can live again in 18sqm even if on Ile St Louis!)
I love the remake, especially the first 30 minutes as I am a huge Patrick Bruel fan (movies, music and on stage). When it came out I also liked Harrison Ford (not so much theses days). Often, if it is on Sky I will just watch till she leaves Paris!
I enjoyed the remake as well. I always felt sorry poor Audrey Hepburn was always paired off with much older men on the silver screen, even if they were talented actors (Humphrey Bogart, Fred Astaire, Cary Grant.) I found the Julia Ormond/Harrison Ford couple more believable in the remake of “Sabrina.” — Not to mention the great peek at a young Patrick Bruel, of course.
I love this post. I love anything (not quite) that can show my love for this amazing city. I felt as many do that Paris is home. I wonder if in a past life it was my home.
Maybe it was, Bree. Maybe it was…
Hello! I don’t know if you’ll receive this, as this post is several years old, but I’ll give it a try.
In the remake, what is the English translation of French dialog spoken at Vogue by the young woman who is “torturing” Sabrina? Some of it is discernible by the context, but she keeps saying a phrase that I don’t understand. Phonetically it sounds like: “lu-pu-tan an mon-a-lo”. At one point, she emphasizes to Sabrina that this phrase she says is “most important” and repeats it.
I wasn’t sure even how to spell it, so I’ve been unable to look it up online for translation (I was attempting to when I stumbled upon your blog).
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