My top 10 must see hidden gems in Paris

I thought I’d collaborate my top 10 must see hidden gems in Paris as I’m now doing a lot of Photoshoots, Filming and Gift Wrapping Services for Clients there.  I fell in love with the French Capital when I first visited back in 1995, and have been returning there regularly since 2010 for work.

Jane Means gift wrapping

Julius Caesar conquered Paris in 52 B.C. It was then a fishing village, called Lutetia Parisiorum (the Parisii were a Gallic tribe), on the Île de la Cité. Under the Romans the town spread to the left bank and acquired considerable importance under the later emperors. The Renaissance reached Paris in the 16th century and at this time the Louvre was transformed from a fortress to a Renaissance palace. The city now remains the most visited one in the world ahead of London and New York.

I have been lucky to find some hidden gems during my spare time there and thought I’d collate my 10 favourite ‘must visits’ in Paris.

Gift Wrapping in Paris

 

Ribbons by Jane Means

The Eiffel Tower
This elegant and beautiful tower of wrought iron lattice work and rivets on the Champ de Mar is the most iconic symbol of the stunningly inspirational and stylish city that is Paris. Named after Alexandre Gustave Eiffel, the engineer who designed it, the tower was supposed to be a temporary addition to the Parisian skyline during the Paris Exposition of 1889 but, thankfully, it was saved from deconstruction in 1909 and lives on to be the most visited paid monument in the world. Walking beneath its four huge, weight-bearing legs gives you a real sense of the scale and intricately interlaced beauty of this structure and, whilst it is, admittedly, rather tiring climbing the 328 steps to the first floor, the Parisian air and atmosphere are wonderful and, after 2 lift rides to the top, the views are utterly breathtaking. After all, at almost 1000ft, it was the tallest structure in the world in 1889 and it still remains the tallest structure in Paris.

Notre Dame

Notre Dame
There are beautiful photographs to be taken all over Paris and it is nature, as well as architecture that impresses and inspires me so much.   The medieval cathedral of Notre Dame is a splendid example of Gothic architecture and can be seen from the relaxation of a cruise along the Seine or explored in more close up, awe-inspiring detail.  Her full name is Notre-Dame de Paris, our lady of Paris, and she is located on the ‘Ile de la cite’, in the heart of the city.

Thought to be the best example of French Gothic architecture in the world, Notre Dam is visited by around 13 million people each year.  It was interesting to note that Victor Hugo’s famous gothic novel, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, published in 1831, was written to increase interest in the cathedral he loved so much. I was lucky enough to see this amazing place during blossom season.

 

Paris gardens

Luxembourg Gardens
I personally have a love of topiary and within these magnificent gardens  belonging to the beautiful Luxembourg Palace there are some splendid, playful and sometimes surprising examples of skillfully and well-groomed topiary treats.  Walking the elegant and well maintained pathways of pristine precision and stunning shrubbery, I could not fail to be inspired by my creative surroundings

Petit palais

Petit Palais
This ‘small palace’ was built for the 1900 Universal Exposition, when it served to solidify France’s position as an artistic world leader and it now houses the City of Paris Museum of Fine Arts.  This is a very grand and elaborate building with a blend of traditional and modern architecture, which stands amidst other architectural gems on Winston Churchill Avenue.  One of its facades also faces the Seine and one faces the Champs Elysees.  It is an absolute pleasure to explore this delightful building, with its paintings, tapestries, sculptures and exquisite objects.  I could feel myself soaking up the centuries of creativity as I walked

Sacre Couer

Sacre Coeur & fairground
Well, yet another building that just omits magnificence.  The Basilica of the sacred heart of Paris is another of the most visited monuments of Paris and stands at the top of the hill of Montmartre.  It evokes thoughts of Indian temples and was built in the Romanesque-Byzantine style in the most wonderful Chateau-Landon stone which has been bleached by wet weather and now shines bright white against the skyline.

Montmarte pretty street

Walk the pretty streets of Montemarte
Surrounding the Sacre Coeur, the cobbled streets slope away and form a tempting network of streets and stepped pathways, absolutely bursting with creativity.  Historically, much like a village within the city, it is where the artists used to live but now, filled with tourists, it offers shops and cafes and is a place where many wonderful hours can be lost finding inspiration.

Paris Macaroons

Saint Germain Quarter
Here dwells, St-Germain-des-Pres, the oldest church in Paris.  The essence of the surrounding streets was once that of a café society full of poetry, art and literature but Lagerfeld, Dior and Armani now command the shop fronts and the scent is one of high fashion, opulence and prestigious addresses.  Picasso and Oscar Wilde once resided here and frequented the very famous cafes on the Saint Germain Boulevard. This is a neighbourhood for your Sunday best, for window shopping, art museums and languid lunches in bistros and brasseries, where observing Parisian society is always inspiring.

 

Trocadero

Trocadero
Another breathtaking location within Paris and the ideal place to get a picture-perfect view of the Eiffel Tower.  The Trocadero gardens feature beautiful sculptures and the famous Warsaw Fountains which offer impressive water displays.  This large area includes several museums, meaning more culture, creativity and inspiration and it is dominated by the Palais de Chaillot, a stunning building, designed to frame and compliment the view of the Eiffel Tower.

Pretty Paris Cafe

Enjoy the cafes
Whether you prefer to be surrounded by grand interiors, full of gleaming mirrors, columns, polished brass and sumptuous seating or if you prefer to sit outside, beneath a canopy, amidst scented shrubs in the sunshine as you watch Paris stroll by, there are an almost infinite number of cafes to choose from in Paris and I could spend more time than I care to admit to sampling the coffees and cakes at many of them.  Paris certainly takes café society seriously and does it exceptionally well.

By far my most favourite and ‘must see’ café experience within a city full of wonderful cafes, is the ‘Au Vieux Paris’, with its lilac blossomed, wisteria draped walls and its hot pink al-fresco dining, this place epitomized understated, exquisite, Parisian chic to me.  It was utterly delightful…

Paris shopping

Shopping
Need I say any more, with Galeries Lafayette, Printemps and the French Fashion Houses oozing glamour, you can’t resist a shopping trip whilst you are in Paris.  There are plenty of Flea markets and independent stores located all over the French capital.

Paris gift wrapping

Working for new clients in Paris has opened up a wonderful opportunity to really explore the finer, more elegant and exquisite cultural details that this unique city has to offer.

Soaking up the atmosphere and being surrounded by such impressive architecture and style, with its distinctly different formal greetings, dressed up personal presentation and social formalities illustrates the charm and individuality of Paris and Parisians themselves.  I certainly feel inspired to add a little Parisian chic to my own creations in the near future, and will be sharing all my travels and finds on my Instagram Page

 

Au Revoir!

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Check out our London Gift Wrapping Service throughout the year

Our London Gift Wrapping Service is now in full swing with the with the weeks numbered until Christmas.

Months have been spent sourcing beautiful embellishment from the New York, luxurious papers from Europe and every type of ribbon has been sourced around the globe. We believe that the wrapping of a gift is as important as the gift inside

 

London Gift Wrapping Service

Over the years we’ve had the honour of wrapping for brands and private clients in Monaco, Geneva, Singapore, Paris and Milan as well as throughout the UK

Many of our clients are well known and luxury brands, private families, time poor professional individuals, celebrities and royalty

Every job to us is special so there’s nothing more we love than to get the exact look you want.  With and myriad of papers and over 100,000 ribbons in stock you are spoilt for choice

Gift Wrapping Service london

If you can’t face the task of wrapping or simply haven’t got the time, get in touch with our professional gift wrapping team who have been personally trained and hand picked by the expert herself, Jane Means.

With so many choices and styles available, we tailor each job individually so you get exactly what you want. We can come to your home or workplace and do the gift wrapping service while you wait. Weddings and other occasions are also catered for, plus we work weekends and evenings right through until Christmas eve

black wedding favours

If you want your gift tags personally written with an ink calligraphy pen, we’ll do it

calligraphy tags

With expertise in high profile jobs, our experienced gift wrapping team are professional, dressed in a uniform and highly discreet. We are always looking for new recruits so if you love wrapping, come and join us

Gift wrapping staff London

For more information about our Gift Wrapping Services and a quote please contact our Head Office

Email info@janemeans.co.uk
Telephone +44 1522 522 544

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How I dealt with having my designs copied and copyright advice.

Creative industries in the UK annually bring in £71 billion pounds and this is growing by 10% each year. I am surrounded by creative people and designers, and one of the biggest concerns is copyright and IP issues (known as Intellectual Property),  so I’ve decided to dedicate a blog post sharing my own experience, with advice on how to deal with designs being copied.

I have always loved experimenting, designing and making my own things whether it be handmade cards, upholstery, calligraphy, textiles and crafts.  Having your designs copied when you’re in business can be a real time consuming and costly headache. As many of you will know, I have had several experiences of being copied and you dread the expense, legal fees, wasted man-hours and the huge effort to fight your case.

 

Author and designer Jane Means

Many small designers and businesses have shared similar experiences or asked for help. Even the big fashion houses who launch their new collections on the catwalk will have copycat designs out in days. This can sometimes be a positive thing, buyers may wish to try out the cheaper version, and may eventually buy the ‘real thing’.

 

So what do you do when you think your idea has been copied? Well in my case it was to talk it over with my family, friends and staff to see what their thoughts were incase I was over reacting. You will get an honest answer here, but I usually trust my own instincts. I would then seek some legal advice and look for help online.

Apple mac keyboard

Photo courtesy of tutsplus.com

 

My first experience of being copied was by a family friend. She had started her own gift wrapping service which I had no problem with (It’s a free world and I believe competition is healthy), however I was horrified to see the content of her website.  It had virtually been a copy and paste job directly from my own website.  I’ve also had experiences where photos of my work have appeared on competitors websites (I will talk to you about this later) and usually a short ‘to the point’ letter or phone call will rectify the situation.  Competition is healthy but copying isn’t.

Ribbon storage dispenser

I am a firm believer that those who work hard and put in the effort will get results.  As Theo Paphitis recently quoted at an awards event in Birmingham “You only get out what you put in”.  There is nothing like an original and when you see a copycat design, in my eyes it’s a second class product.

jan costantine

 

Photo courtesy of Jan Constantine

One classic case I regularly see is lookalike cushions from the Jan Constantine range.  Although her designs are very Union Jack (which you can’t copyright), they are unique in their own way and often copied. The company pretty much have a constant legal battle protecting their work.

 

Jane Means dogs and cats ribbon

My first legal case was with Berisfords Ribbons.  For years I had a really good relationship with them as one of their stockists.  I had designed a classic dog and cat ribbon for Liberty and decided to use Berisfords as my manufacturer. I gave them my artwork and had the range made.  Much to my horror, they produced their own designs a few months later.  They were so similar that it fooled most of the industry.  I took legal action and won my case.

Berisfords dog cat ribbon

Despite it being a costly and upsetting process, the main thing here for me was to hold my head up high, stay professional and keep designing.  We were inundated with emails and customer comments but for me it was the support of clients, customers and fellow ribbon competitors. My staff were also upset so it was crucial to stay calm and weather the storm. I am lucky to have a loyal following on Social Media who were very supportive, however I know of a company who had been copied and went to the extreme lengths of deactivating their social media accounts so their business activity could remain private, with competitors (and customers) being left in the dark.

 

I have worked in the gift industry for nearly 20 years and have heard so many stories with small designers finding their work copied and on the shelves of High Street stores.  I sat next to a buyer of a well known discount home store on a flight back from Hong Kong chatting away about my work.  Months later a customer got in touch congratulating me on stocking the chain, except that wasn’t the case.  This was a classic case of being copied.

Bookishly v marks-and-spencer

Louise Verity from Bookishly took on Marks and Spencers after seeing typographic arts prints similar to hers. After a series of lawyers letters, M&S claimed it was unfounded.  Rather than taking further action which would have been a financial nightmare, Louise used lawyers to highlight the experience on social media.  It got a lot of support from the public, press and the design community, but Marks & Spencer maintained their position. They said the product was a short print run and wouldn’t be reprinted. M+S eventually removed it from their website and sold through their stock.

Louise says “I’m not exactly happy with the situation, but I have come to accept that the best thing to do is to rise up and move on. Getting caught up in the unfairness of the situation isn’t going to get the creative juices going”.  I was mesmerised by Louise’s experience on the Folksy Blog and her feature has some great advice.

 

Jane Means and Dids Macdonald ACID

With my various experiences, It gave me food for thought so I decided to speak out and become an Anticopy campaigner helping other designers.  For this feature I have got together with a couple of top experts in this field.  Dids Macdonald (D) is the CEO of ACID and has had over 25 years experience in the design industry, and Niall Head Rapson (N) is a leading copyright lawyer for McDaniel and Co.  We filmed a feature together and here are some of the most common issues that designers can face.

 

How can designers protect their work if their budget is very small?

N: Most of the work that a designer creates does not require formal registration as it is automatically protected by Unregistered Design Right and Copyright You don’t have to pay any fees to protect your work.  What you must do though is make a thorough design history of your work and make sure the work is dated.  Ideally this should be by someone else.  A©ID, as part of their membership offer a Deposit Scheme where you send them your designs.  This is crucial to ensure you get an independent verification of a date before which the designs must have been created.

You can also registered your Designs and Brand names but these come at a cost.  A registered design will cost you a minimum of £60 and a trade mark a minimum of £200.

JM: As well as ACID, You will find lots of useful information on the UK Copyright Service website.

 

What do you do if someone asks to take a photograph of your work for exhibition stand?

 

N: Say no.  It is the easiest way for your designs to be published, sent around the world and copied.  If someone wants images of your products, ask them what they want them for.  If you think you want to send them some images then make sure you have all the details of the contact.  If they have your images and not theirs and you know who they are then you have more control over what they do with the images

 

D: Be very careful as designs can be the other side in seconds and on a production line in minutes so the word is caution.

 

JM: For me I would always ask for a business card.  Quiet often the photographer could be an admirer, blogger or journalist and it’s always a good idea to ask the permission before you snap away, whether you are on holiday or admiring someones work.

British ribbons wholesale

What can you do if you find your photograph on another website?

 

N: It is annoying especially if it is without your permission.  The first thing to do is to as the website to remove the image.  If they won’t do that, then you send what is called a “Take Down Notice” to the web host.  The web host will more often than not remove the offending web page.  This is because if they don’t they can be liable for the use of the photograph.

 

Is there an easy way you can track where your photographs are being used online?

 

N: There are some imaging software products available but ideally you need to make sure that you have a record of who you have given your images to, and more importantly told them what they can and cannot do with them.  If you can, make a secure area where someone needs a password to download images (such as Flickr) and have terms of use of the photograph

JM: There’s a great little app called Picnic that will easily find where your images are being used online. Photo sharing websites such as Pinterest will have a facility where you can report if your image is being used without your consent. A simple search on google images can soon pick out similar images as well as your own.

 

Deckchair stripe ribbons

 

When do you distinguish when something has been copied?

 

N: It is possible that someone has created something that is the same as yours but done so independently.  However, if the person who has the copy is someone you know or has seen your work because, for instance, they are a customer or they made an enquiry. then it is likely that they have copied your work.  In legal terms if they have had access to your design then it is for them to prove they did not copy your work

 

What is the first step to take once you realise that your design has been copied?

 

N: You need to write to them and let them know that you think they have copied your work.  Ideally this should come from a lawyer to make sure that you don’t make threats which you shouldn’t make.

 

D: First of all don’t panic, gather all your evidence for your design audit trail and try and buy a copy of the product, and obtain the receipt this is really important. You then need to get professional advice but you can do a lot yourself.

 

 

What is the process for taking legal action?

 

N: If they won’t stop or acknowledge you then you need to decide if you want to issue court proceedings.  You will need to have court papers drawn up which sets out your claim.

 

D: Normally a letter from your solicitor will do the trick highlighting the case. This can be sorted out of court with direct correspondence. Only a very very few cases actually go to the final court hearing

 

What type of costs are involved?

 

N: Well if it doesn’t involve Registered Designs or Patents you can use the IP Small Claims court which is cheaper.  It will also depend if you use a lawyer or not.  If you don’t use a lawyer it will cost up to £735 for the Court fee to start the claim.  If you use a lawyer then it can cost up to £10 000.  If you need to use the Intellectual Property Enterprise Court then the cost is up to £50k.

 

D: That really depends on how long the and the legal letters take to go backwards and forwards that’s why the first letter before action is really important so you got all the evidence is strong case and to put together side which can’t be legally challenged.

JM: The small claims court is the low-hassle way to take legal action for up to £10,000 against a firm or individual. You can represent yourself quite easily and the Citizens Advice Bureau can also offer additional support. I would strongly suggest that you use a solicitor to draft a strong letter at the start.  You will then appear serious with a legal team behind you.

goody bag ideas

Is it true there are seven points of difference?

 

N: No.  Each case is taken on the facts of the case.  What a Court looks for is if the essence of the design has been taken.  They look to find the intellectual skill and effort a designer has put into the design.  There can be one point of difference which defeats a claim or there can be 20 points of difference which make no difference to the Court.  Generally if you have a design that someone has set out to copy then you will have a strong case.  See the images in the Red Bus Case

 

What legislation is there to protect designers?

 

N: There are lots of Acts of Parliament and European Legislation which protects Designer interests.  Most of it is covered by the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988.  If you have registered trade marks or designs then these are covered by the Trade marks Act 1994 and the Registered designs Act 1949.  There was an Intellectual Property Act 2014 which brought in Criminal Sanctions for infringement of Registered Designs

 


brown paper gift wrapping

I am being followed on Pinterest and Twitter by my competitors should I block them?

 

N: It is up to you but if they copy you, then you will have proof that they have had access to your designs.  They will still be able to look at your designs on your web site, on any sites you sell on, or your stockists sites so blocking them isn’t going to stop them seeing your products, but it will make it easier to prove they know about you.

 

D: In one word yes

 

Are any rules or legislation coming into force to protect designer’s rights?

 

N: There is a lot out there already which covers you.  It would be nice if there were criminal sanctions for unregistered design right as there is for copyright.  There isn’t anything in the horizon at the moment that isn’t covered already

Can you insure yourself against copyright?

 

N: You can take out an insurance policy that will pay your legal fees if you are infringed.  A©ID have one of the best ones on the market for designers which pays out up to £100k to take legal action

 

D: Yes.  This is an exciting time because there is an insurance that’s just come in called  ACID IP Insured. We insure our cars, we insure our homes, we insure our possessions, so why not a business and future?

 

cat and dog ribbon

 

Everyone loves a story behind a product and for me when I am designing a new ribbon collection, I have usually been inspired by something I’ve seen or experienced.  The dogs and cats designs were from actual photos of pets belonging to my friends and family and made in to silhouettes.

 

Colours that I bring in to a collection can have a story too.  The fuschia designs were from a flower I’d photographed whilst on honeymoon in Tahiti, the vibrant dots and stripes from my favourite sweets, Liquorice Allsorts!

Jane Means Dotty Ribbons

 

Copying is often referred to as underlying form of flattery.  To me it is just lazy business behaviour, and I am really pleased to see that several High Street stores have signed up in support of the “Don’t copy it Campaign’ including John Lewis and Selfridges.

My biggest annoyance is participants who come on a gift wrapping workshop, and then turn around and start teaching that same course, with similar descriptions, price and content. They then start drifting on to the same websites and forums using identical keywords and hashtags. I have even had requests from people who want to ‘shadow’ a course for free before starting their own – unbelievable!

20 Years ago when my business was born there was no internet, It took me years of teacher training, researching the old fashioned way, course writing, long hours, unpaid work, sweat and tears to get the workshops off the ground.  I think it is now easier than ever to be copied and to be accused of copying in this digital age. Through the years I have kept a log of photos, notes, scrapbooks which not only bring back lots of great memories but acts as my IP proof.

On a final note, the best thing for me is that people fly from all over the world to come on the courses.  I am shortly starting my first creative classes in Singapore and the only way to carry on and strive ahead, is to be a leader, and not a follower.

 

 

Jane Means filming ACID feature

We’d love to hear any comments below.  For all other enquiries please email us directly at info@janemeans.co.uk

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