Long ago, I saw a circa 1900 photograph of the interior of an opulent millinery salon on the Rue de la Paix in Paris, France.  It was a sight to behold and set my mind reeling.  I imagined myself as a wealthy American lady in 1901, visiting Paris to purchase my Spring toilette of gowns and hats from the best French Haute Couture showrooms.   My appointment was at 2 PM and I was a few minutes late.  Upon entering I was enveloped by the subtle aroma of fresh flowers and an uncanny quiet that kept my voice to a whisper.  Surrounded by lush carpeting, elegant furnishings, and gigantic urns of lilacs, my eyes quickly scanned the room for the elaborate hats perched on tall bronze stands and set upon marble tables.  All of the grandeur was reflected in huge mirrors that lined the walls.  Before I could focus, I was greeted by a young woman in a simple yet elegant black dress, who quickly ushered me to a side room where I sat upon a plush slipper chair.  On a table in front of me was set a silver tea service, fine china, buttery madelaine treats, and a crystal water pitcher in which floated several rose petals.  As I removed my gloves, my heart was giddy!

A few minutes passed and a dignified, well dressed woman with graying hair entered the room.  I knew then I was to be personally served by the Grand Madame herself.   After politely declining to join me for tea,  she guided me to the main showroom in which lay the finest chapeaux in the world.  Hat after exquisite hat was brought to me and placed upon my head, and the wealth of styles and trims to choose from astounded me. 
On these pages I will soon share more of this memory, as well as other imaginary and real journeys through the millinery parlors of Paris and America.
What else might you find here?  Perhaps a photo of an antique hat from my permanent collection, or a hat or trimming that was sold long ago but which still has a special place in my memory.  Perhaps I’ll impart an interesting tidbit of millinery history, or show an old snapshot of a humble millinery shop in a small city or town across the USA.  Maybe there will be a highlight on a famous milliner, or an unsung yet talented hat maker of the past.  Or a peek at a day in the life of a Victorian era ostrich farm!  There will always be a new treasure from the collections finding its way to these pages.
Is this a sort of millinery museum?  Well, not quite.  But hopefully, as it slowly evolves, a few other like minded ladies and gentleman will come to visit and to share, and this site will become a bit of a respite from the outside world.  A gentle, quite, sweet place where the history of the milliner’s art can be explored and lauded. 
Come and learn….. browse……… come and enjoy. 

Please step inside………..the tea is steeping in the back room for you!

Madame Babette
Proprietor, Rue de la Paix  
Please stop back in 2014 for a new installment, merci!

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