Tag Archives: France

Jean-Marc Nattier's 'Tsar Peter I', painted in 1717, is one of the exhibiting paintings. The show parallels a slew of others this year that are loosely or closely connected to the centenary of the Russian Revolution. Image courtesy of Musée de l'Ermitage, Saint-Petersbourg, 2017

Grand Trianon Palace, Versailles hosts exhibition celebrating 300th anniversary of Russian Tsar Peter the Great’s visit

Jean-Marc Nattier, 'Tsar Peter I', 1717. Image courtesy of Musée de l'Ermitage, Saint-Petersbourg, 2017

Jean-Marc Nattier’s ‘Tsar Peter I’, painted in 1717, is one of the exhibiting paintings. The show parallels a slew of others this year that are loosely or closely connected to the centenary of the Russian Revolution. Image courtesy of Musée de l’Ermitage, Saint-Petersbourg, 2017

From May 30 to September 24, 2017, the Grand Trianon Palace in Versailles will commemorate the tercentenary of the Russian ruler Peter the Great’s visit to France, which was a major diplomatic and cultural event of the time.

2017 has seen a growing number of exhibitions marking the centenary of the Russian Revolution at New York’s MOMA, London’s Tate Modern and Royal Academy, and the Hermitage Amsterdam. Now, the Grand Trianon palace in Versailles is celebrating the 300th anniversary of the Russian Tsar Peter the Great’s visit to France.

Louis Hersent, 'Louis XV visiting Peter the Great at the Hotel de Lesdiguières, May 10, 1717', 1838. Image courtesy of Château de Versailles, Christophe Fouin

Louis Hersent, ‘Louis XV visiting Peter the Great at the Hotel de Lesdiguières, May 10, 1717’, 1838. Image courtesy of Château de Versailles, Christophe Fouin

This new exhibition, ‘Peter the Great, a Tsar in France. 1717’, is a collaborative undertaking by the Château de Versailles and Russia’s famous State Hermitage Museum. Around 150 pieces will be on display, including paintings, sculptures, items of decorative art, medals, maps, books, manuscripts and scientific instruments.

Visitors will be taken step by step through the Russian ruler’s visit from April 21 to June 21, 1717. The son of Tsar Alexis Mikhaïlovitch stayed at the Grand Trianon palace during his time in France. The trip had political and economic objectives, but it was also a source of inspiration for the Tsar who had been introducing modernising reforms in Saint Petersburg since 1703. He intended to take the best aspects of the French kingdom and adapt them to his own empire.

Leather, parchment, bronze, glass and wood items from the State Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg. Image courtesy of Musée de l'Ermitage, Saint-Petersbourg, 2017

Leather, parchment, bronze, glass and wood items from the State Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg. Image courtesy of Musée de l’Ermitage, Saint-Petersbourg, 2017

‘Peter the Great, a Tsar in France. 1717’ will cover Peter the Great’s visit to a young Louis XV and the Regent Philippe d’Orléans. Visitors will discover the Tsar’s interest in French science and techniques, as well as local painters such as Louis Caravaque and Jean-Baptiste Oudry.

The exhibition will also cover the Russian leader’s interest in the gardens at Marly and the Grand Trianon.

Artists from Northern Ireland: Claire Morgan holds first solo exhibitions America and France

Claire Morgan, Gone With the Wind, 2008, wild flower seeds, kittiwake gull (taxidermy), nylon, lead, acrylic; 220 x 200 x 1100 centimetres in height, width and depth

Claire Morgan, Gone With the Wind, 2008, wild flower seeds, kittiwake gull (taxidermy), nylon, lead, acrylic; 220 x 200 x 1100 centimetres in height, width and depth

Visually arresting, Claire Morgan’s installation and paper works achieve their resonance by tapping into a sense of the uncanny. Bringing into question our perceived notions of organic life and movement, the animals in Morgan’s works are lifeless shells preserved through her skill as a professional taxidermist. Different species of animals suspended in motion move through spaces constrained by geometric pattern and regularity.

Morgan’s hanging installations are assemblages of organic and non-organic material brought into a meticulous and calculating order that serves to emphasise themes surrounding the human relationship to our environment, and the ceaseless ebb and flow of death and the regeneration of life. “Exploring the physicality of animals, death, and illusions of permanence in the work is my way of trying to come to terms with these things myself,” she says.

The artist was trained in sculpture at Northumbria University in England, and born in Belfast, Northern Ireland, in 1980. Having exhibited at the Palais de Tokyo in France in 2009, Morgan went on to present to great acclaim, a solo exhibition titled ‘Life.Blood.’ at Galerie Karsten Greve, also in Paris. Since then, Morgan’s has participated in international shows across Europe, the United States and Australia.

There is a stillness to Morgan’s works that acts as a poetic juxtaposition to the active postures that many of her animal subjects possess. The environments they are situated within are immersive, densely overwhelming, and composed of delicate and painstakingly mounted materials that range from individual seeds to scraps of polyethylene and cellophane. Morgan acknowledges then, the fragility of these rigidly imposed spaces. Nevertheless, her subjects remain trapped wild animals caged in a perpetual quietude.

Claire Morgan, 'The Beauty and the Beast', 2012, watercolour, pencil on paper, 40.6 x 30.5 centimetres in height and width

Claire Morgan, ‘The Beauty and the Beast’, 2012, watercolour, pencil on paper, 40.6 x 30.5 centimetres in height and width

Morgan is also known for her “blood drawings”, works on paper that depict the conceptual process leading towards a completed sculpture or installation. Passionately gestural, the works on paper capture pathways of motion and energy that run through the final works, often alongside detailed renderings of the built environments that will eventually come to confine them.

Seen in relation to the completed sculptures, the paper works draw attention to the intentional construction of a mechanical order of straight lines and grids that is intercut by the order of nature. The organic lines of nature represented through flowing lines and animal forms gently but surely disrupt the linear composition of their surroundings. As we enter a period of global uncertainty, Morgan’s works inspire deep introspection within the increasingly relevant conversation of the human impact on environmental degradation and change.

Claire Morgan, 'My God-shaped Hole', 2016, residues of taxidermy process, salt, graphite, and mixed media, on paper on canvas, 100 x 100 centimetres in height and width

Claire Morgan, ‘My God-shaped Hole’, 2016, residues of taxidermy process, salt, graphite, and mixed media, on paper on canvas, 100 x 100 centimetres in height and width

Her first solo show in the United States, ‘Stop Me Feeling’ runs at Frist Centre for Visual Arts in Nashville, Tennessee, from February 10 to May 7, 2017. Fondation Francès in Senlis, France, will display a solo show, ‘Resurgence My God-Shaped Hole’ from March to December 2017. In Autumn 2017, Paris-based Galerie Karsten Greve, will also present a solo exhibition of new works.

This article is written by Teo Hui Min and was originally published in Art Republik 14.

Expansion of International Gastronomy Centre in Dijon, France will include hotel and cooking classes

The Cité internationale de la gastronomie et du vin in Dijon, France. Image courtesy of Cité internationale de la gastronomie et du vin de Dijon

The Cité internationale de la gastronomie et du vin in Dijon, France. Image courtesy of Cité internationale de la gastronomie et du vin de Dijon

The French city of Dijon is set to become an international hub for French wine and gastronomy thanks to a vast development opening in 2019. The site will be home to exhibition spaces, a four-star hotel and an education centre, with cookery courses from the renowned Ecole Ferrandi school.

After its initial announcement in February 2016, the Cité internationale de la gastronomie et du vin or International Gastronomy Exhibition Centre in the Eastern city of Dijon is starting to take shape, with key features of the development outlined March 21. The centre hopes to become a major focus of local life and will be fully integrated into its surroundings, thanks to a 540-home eco-neighbourhood and a 13-screen movie theatre also planned for the complex. A 4,500 square metres mall area will feature wine bars and four restaurants, as well as boutiques selling cookery, kitchenware and tableware items.

The development, located on the site of the city’s former General Hospital, hopes to provide a high-quality showcase for France’s renowned culinary culture. The project is reminiscent of the recently opened Cité du vin wine museum and cultural centre in Bordeaux, destined to become an international hot spot for wine lovers.

As the capital of the Bourgogne-Franche-Comté region, Dijon is an ideally situated stop-off point for visitors touring the vineyards of Burgundy. French wine and gastronomy will be celebrated in various ways at this multifaceted complex. For example, the Bureau interprofessionnel des vins de Bourgogne (BIVB) wine school is due to run wine-related courses in the centre, and the renowned Parisian cookery school Ecole Ferrandi will be teaching cooking and pastry-making courses. Students will follow a five-month program, taught in English. Developers expect to welcome 110 international students per year in a specially designed 750 square metres training space.

The Cité internationale de la gastronomie et du vin in Dijon, France. Image courtesy of Cité internationale de la gastronomie et du vin de Dijon

The Cité internationale de la gastronomie et du vin in Dijon, France. Image courtesy of Cité internationale de la gastronomie et du vin de Dijon

Accessible by high-speed TGV train and by freeway, Dijon hopes to become a major tourist destination. To anticipate demand, the development integrates a 125-room four-star hotel located in historic buildings dating from the hospital’s extension in the 17th and 18th centuries. The hotel will have a restaurant, a spa and an outdoor pool.

Visitors will be able to explore French gastronomic culture via to a 1,700 square metres exhibition space hosting permanent and temporary exhibitions that celebrate “the gastronomic meal of the French”, as enshrined in UNESCO‘s cultural heritage. Local Burgundy wines will enjoy their own specific showcase in the former hospital chapel, where visitors can find out more about the characteristic wine-growing plots or ‘climats’ of the region’s vineyards.

The first sections of Dijon’s Cité de la gastronomie et du vin is scheduled for completion in 2019. One million visitors are expected each year.

Art exhibitions in Singapore: Intersections Gallery presents ‘Burning Landscapes’ and ‘Beyond the Surface’

Hanibal Srouji, 'Dusk', 2016, fire, acrylic, canvas, 75 centimetres. Image courtesy of Intersections Gallery

Hanibal Srouji, ‘Dusk’, 2016, fire, acrylic, canvas, 75 centimetres. Image courtesy of Intersections Gallery

Since 2012, Intersections Gallery has been quietly building a growing repertoire of quality art and a deep commitment to nurturing artists. The Gallery’s upcoming shows ‘Burning Landscapes’ from March 17 to April 30, and ‘Beyond The Surface’ from May 3 to June 18, showcase collaborations that create a dialogue among Chinese ink, Western painting, video, installations and ceramics.

Burning Landscapes

Often seen as an unforgiving, destructive force, the artworks in ‘Burning Landscapes’ transmute fire into a life-giving force that has an aesthetic element of beauty, a creative medium that balances yin and yang, and an expression of serenity and positivity. The exhibition showcases artistic statements of freedom by two French Lebanese artists, Tania Nasr and Hanibal Srouji. Both Nasr and Srouji were forced to flee Lebanon’s Civil War, which lasted from 1975 to 1990, and Nasr’s ceramic works, with Srouji’s paintings and installation, speak of remembered and discovered geographies together with intimate emotional landscapes.

French Lebanese artist Tania Nasr. Image courtesy of Intersections Gallery

French Lebanese artist Tania Nasr. Image courtesy of Intersections Gallery

When they met in 2014, both artists instantly saw a synergy between their creative processes and the role of art as beyond mere self-expression and as an articulation of a larger, global vision of art and art making.

United by fire, the painter’s circular form in Srouji’s ‘Tondos’ series responds to the form and intention of Nasr’s spherical ceramic works. Srouji sees the circular forms as “openings of the soul from which we can look beyond” and begin to dream and hope again. It is with this shared vision of artworks that convey peace and optimism that their collaboration flowed harmoniously. Each artist intuitively echoed the other in exchanges that went beyond language; how a colour directly applied on canvas echoed the sensuality of hands working on clay.

French Lebanese artist Hanibal Srouji. Image courtesy of Intersections Gallery

French Lebanese artist Hanibal Srouji. Image courtesy of Intersections Gallery

They both express, through their respective mediums, a means to transcend the swift brutality of fire’s destruction, taking their time to coax a sublime expression of creation and resilience. Where fire births Nasr’s ceramics with form and colour, Srouji marks the canvas with a trail of fire from a blowtorch. If fire can be seen as pure energy, then its potential to build or annihilate lies in the choices that mankind makes.

The free-floating strips of canvas that comprise Srouji’s ‘Healing Bands’ series and Nasr’s ceramics have a “horizontal flow” as the pieces work together as one; an allegory of humankind’s strength in unity. Both Nasr and Srouji remind us how art can celebrate light and offer us a meditative space to heal and elevate our existence.

Tania Nasr, 'By the sea', 2015, mix clay, clear glaze, cobalt blue, 18 x 15 x 117 centimetres. Image courtesy of Intersections Gallery

Tania Nasr, ‘By the sea’, 2015, mix clay, clear glaze, cobalt blue, 18 x 15 x 117 centimetres. Image courtesy of Intersections Gallery

Beyond The Surface

Exploring the human body as a repository of memories, ‘Beyond the Surface’ employs Chinese ink paintings, video, sculpture and installation and conceptual art to delve into the subconscious. This new series by Hélène Le Chatelier illustrates the internal landscapes that emerge when we sink into our body’s wisdom; revealing the multiplicity of our frailties and strengths, ego and fear, and love and shadows. Questioning the intimacies of our time, her artworks hold space for introspection, so that each person can experience the vastness of their secret inner selves. Here, Le Chatelier observes our sense of oneness vis-à-vis the metamorphosis of our inwardness and relationship with our bodies.

Hélène Le Chatelier, 'Internal Landscape 13', 2017. Image courtesy of Intersections Gallery

Hélène Le Chatelier, ‘Internal Landscape 13’, 2017. Image courtesy of Intersections Gallery

To reflect the blurring of boundaries between skin and screen in the social media age, this exhibition marks the first time that Le Chatelier will feature video as part of an installation. She explains, “Each medium allows me to explore a different aspect of a single concept. It’s like pulling different strings from the same ball of wool”. Collaborating with Butoh dancer Syv Bruzeau, the video calls for us to listen to the darkness and nuances of our bodies. Le Chatelier also collaborated with Virgile Viasnoff, a scientist and researcher, to include images of cells reacting to their environment. In the face of social media’s overexposure, the video brings people back to the space in their inner worlds.

The complexity of the self is a composite of personal experiences and is personified by the sculpture Le Chatelier created for this exhibition. Outer layers of newspaper representing daily events are coated in layers of ink, mirroring our social facades, while the heart is a hidden message and inner core of clay. Le Chatelier likens this to love being an acceptance of the unknown in our deepest relations.

French artist Hélène Le Chatelier. Image courtesy of Intersections Gallery

French artist Hélène Le Chatelier. Image courtesy of Intersections Gallery

Le Chatelier’s show questions the dichotomy between the freedom of data and debatable intimacy, as well as the volatility of human bonds and the connection with self. The human condition might seem enduring, when it is actually constantly transforming and therefore transitional and ephemeral.

This article is written by Pamela Ng and was originally published in Art Republik 14.

Luxury property in the Mediterranean: Le Domaine De Calvi in Corsica offers contemporary villas

This is a new luxury development of six contemporary villas set within a private gated domain of 5.6 hectares, each with its own swimming pool. Overlooking the Bay of Calvi, each villa offers panoramic views over the Citadelle of Calvi and the sea.

Architecture and design combine to ensure the development complements the surrounding natural landscape of which Corsica is so famous for. Each villa offers approximately 3,229 square feet. of living space, with a landscaped garden from 26,909 square feet. to 30,139 square feet, and approximately 3,229 square feet of terraces.

This exclusive property is ideally situated five minutes from the beaches and only 10 minutes from Calvi International Airport.

This article was first published in Palace 18.

Luxury property in France: Villa Du Pinet in Saint Tropez offers beachside views and lush greenery

This charming Bastide is ideally located from the centre of Saint Tropez and just 400 metres from Tahiti beach, one of the most beautiful and well-known beaches in the area.

Set within a hectare of beautifully landscaped gardens, with rose beds and Mediterranean plants, this stylish property has an extensive terrace affording views over the pool and the garden. There’s also plenty of parking space available.

At its entrance is an imposing central atrium, which leads to a reception room with a fireplace. Inside, you will also find an immaculate dining room, fitted kitchen and professional kitchen, an office, five bedrooms, four baths or shower rooms and a separated en-suite bedroom. A real haven of peace and privacy.

Price on Application

This article was first published in Palace 18.

Famous paintings by Leonardo Da Vinci: Researchers decode Mona Lisa’s smile as happy

Leonardo da Vinci's "Mona Lisa" at the Louvre museum in Paris.

Renaissance painter’s Leonardo da Vinci’s “Mona Lisa” at the Louvre museum in Paris.

The subject of centuries of scrutiny and debate, Mona Lisa‘s famous smile is routinely described as ambiguous. But is it really that hard to read? Apparently not.

According to an unusual trial, close to 100 percent of people described her expression as unequivocally “happy“, researchers revealed on Friday. “We really were astonished,” neuroscientist Juergen Kornmeier of the University of Freiburg in Germany, who co-authored the study, told AFP.

Kornmeier and a team used what is arguably the most famous artwork in the world in a study of factors that influence how humans judge visual cues such as facial expressions. Known as La Gioconda in Italian, the Mona Lisa is often held up as a symbol of emotional enigma. The portrait appears to many to be smiling sweetly at first, only to adopt a mocking sneer or sad stare the longer you look.

Using a black and white copy of the early 16th century masterpiece by Leonardo da Vinci, a team manipulated the model’s mouth corners slightly up and down to create eight altered images four marginally but progressively “happier” and four “sadder” Mona Lisas.

A block of nine images were shown to 12 trial participants 30 times. In every showing, for which the pictures were randomly reshuffled, participants had to describe each of the nine images as happy or sad.

“Given the descriptions from art and art history, we thought that the original would be the most ambiguous,” Kornmeier said. Instead, to their great astonishment, they found that Da Vinci‘s original was perceived as happy in 97 percent of cases.

A second phase of the experiment involved the original Mona Lisa with eight “sadder” versions, with even more nuanced differences in the lip tilt. In this test, the original was still described as happy, but participants’ reading of the other images changed. “They were perceived a little sadder” than in the first experiment, said Kornmeier.

The findings confirm that “we [do not] have an absolute fixed scale of happiness and sadness in our brain” and that a lot depends on context, the researcher explained. “Our brain manages to very, very quickly scan the field. We notice the total range, and then we adapt our estimates” using our memory of previous sensory experiences, he said.

Understanding this process may be useful in the study of psychiatric disorders, said Kornmeier. Affected people can have hallucinations, seeing things that others do not, which may be the result of a misalignment between the brain’s processing of sensory input, and perceptual memory. A next step will be to do the same experiment with psychiatric patients.

Another interesting discovery was that people were quicker to identify happier Mona Lisas than sad ones. This suggested “there may be a slight preference… in human beings for happiness, said Kornmeier.

As for the masterpiece itself, the team believe their work has finally settled a centuries-old question. “There may be some ambiguity in another aspect,” said Kornmeier, but “not ambiguity in the sense of happy versus sad.”

Design events in Singapore: Art de Vivre à la Française 2017 will see the best of French heritage and decor over 3 days

L’art De Vivre is the art of living, and what better way to do that than to celebrate both art and living in an amalgamation of both facets. Singapore will welcome the inaugural Art De Vivre à la Française design event, to be held from March 8 to 10. Highlighting a growing interest in French design, the event will feature a spread of French cultural heritage and the opulent concept of French Living Art through luxury furniture, décor and lighting. The event is led by Business France, a national agency dedicated to harnessing export and import relations and the international progress of the French economy.

Art De Vivre à la Française will bring to the table French cultural heritage with 13 unique brands on display, each specialising in furniture, décor or tableware. One of these brands is Ulgador, a specialist in decór that uses out of the ordinary techniques to produce signature pieces.  Eight of these brands have attained the Enterprise du Patrimoine Vivant label (EPV) for their exquisite eye for design. Spread over two floors of the Inverturrent House on Gallop Road, the classic scenography will be created by French-born Singapore-based designer Isabelle Miaja. The Inverturrent House —once the former residence of French ambassadors from 1939 to 1999—places the show in a heritage site, maintaining the theme of the event.

Wallpaper from Ulgador

Having already had a successful international run in spunky Shanghai under their belt, the organisers searched for a fresh location to expand their reach. Singapore was unanimously surmised as the next stop in their voyage. The vibrancy and contemporariness of the city were some of the key points that tipped the scale in the Garden City’s favour.

“Singapore is an attractive and vibrant lifestyle hub in Southeast Asia with many Singaporeans eager for design trends and new experiences”, commented HE M. Marc Abensour, Ambassador of France to Singapore. “The Little Red Dot is destined to be the next design capital of Asia thanks to its unique exposure to the various cultures and its increasing curiosity in discovering innovative and exciting parallels.”

Art de Vivre Singapore 2017 will be held from March 8 to 10 at The Inverturret House at 7 Gallop Road, 258965 Singapore.


Enter your name and email below for your chance to win a pair of invitations to Art de Vivre Singapore 2017’s cocktail party and the main event. We have five pairs up for grabs! Submissions close on Monday, 6 March 2017, at noon. Winners will be notified via email on 6 March.

Please note: By providing your email address and entering this competition you agree to receive relevant email communications from LUXUO including news, events, offers and competitions.

New restaruant opening in Paris, France: Interview with Chef Gérald Passédat on his new venture at Villa La Coste

Renowned Chef Gérald Passédat is known for his ability to produce stunning, and delicious gastronomic masterpieces. Lauded as the King of Mediterranean cuisine, the chef has embarked on a new project at Villa La Coste. Boasting 3 Michelin stars under his belt, the french cookery connoisseur tells us about his inspiration and passion.

The Mediterranean has always been a source inspiration for you. This is your first move outside of Marseille. Does it represent a new challenge in your career?

It is a magnificent project, and I couldn’t pass up on such a setting. Having said that, Aix-en-Provence is not that far from Marseille. I’m a native of Provence, so it doesn’t feel strange to divide my time between the Villa La Coste and the Petit Nice.

How is the restaurant service structured?

We are in charge of the “Louison Gérald Passédat” signature restaurant [editor’s note: named after Louise Bourgeois, whose works are exhibited in the vineyard]. Then there is also Villa La Coste restaurant, which is a more casual venue which prepares generous dishes throughout the day. And then there is the room service for the 28 villa suites. We also have to come up with “detox” dishes for the future spa. It is a real ocean liner of a project, bigger than the one I manage in Marseille. It has been nothing short of an adventure, and I was very impatient for it to open. It is immensely satisfying to have worked on a project from the very beginning.

How did you come to work with Villa La Coste?

The owner, whom I didn’t know, came to have lunch at the Petit Nice. When he had finished eating, he asked if we could talk for a few minutes. He explained that they were building the hotel and asked if I’d be interested in working on the project. The first time I visited the La Coste domain, I was absolutely amazed by the setting.

Château La Coste is remarkable for the series of contemporary artworks that are exposed in its vineyards. Were you attracted by this artistic connection?

By the art and also by the wine. The way the domain is managed is one of the main reasons why I agreed to work here [editor’s note: Château La Coste has 200 hectares under organic and biodynamic cultivation].

From a culinary point of view, is this a new departure given that you are in the heart of Provence and no longer on the Mediterranean?

It is a new dimension. But just because we are located in Provence does not mean that there will not be a connection between the region and the Mediterranean. We are only three-quarters of an hour from the sea. So I will still be working with my fishermen. I am also looking forward to working with produce from the vegetable garden and with local meat ingredients, whether it be lamb or poultry.

Do you think this project will provide you with a new source of inspiration?

It is a bit like writing a book. You are always trying to outdo yourself. And when you get to the last line, you always think ‘I could have done better.’ It is a healthy and positive way of making progress, and it is good to be open to new approaches and to take into account new criticism.

We noticed that the menu features a “turbot carpaccio with grated truffles and caviar,” which is very reminiscent of one of the more famous dishes served at the Petit Nice. Is this a reference to the family business?

It is a reference, but if we are preparing it in Provence we won’t be making it in Marseille. It’s good to draw on past inspiration when you are opening a new venue. But having said that, when I open a new restaurant I want the menu to be different.

Are you aiming for Michelin stars?

Yes, but no date has been set for that. We prepare the cuisine that we want to make, which fortunately or unfortunately is also the type of cuisine that can be awarded stars.

This interview was conducted by AFP Relaxnews.

Luxury spirits: Record French alcohol sales in 2016, led by Cognac

According to the French Federation of Exporters (FEVS), France can thank alcohol for the 1.2 percent increase in export revenue last year. Valued at 11.9 billion euros, a third of the amount is attributed to the sale of spirits while Cognac hit an all-time export high.

The figures showed that while the amount of wine sold declined — France fell behind Italy as the world’s biggest wine producer two years ago — the product that was sold was of higher quality than in previous years and hence sold for a higher price. Alcohol is now France’s second biggest export sector after the aerospace industry.

Cognac was the star product in 2016, showing a 5.5 percent rise in sales, with drinkers in the United States happy to pay premium prices and Chinese customers rediscovering their taste for luxury, too. Wine sales dropped 1.8 percent, continuing a downward trend in terms of volume, and in value. The post-Brexit vote drop in the value of the pound hit the important British market, with a sharp 10-percent drop in wine sales.

However, France’s main market, the United States, was strong and accounted for 2.8 billion euros of business, equivalent to one-quarter of the overall sales, “mainly thanks to a euro-dollar parity that was favourable to our exports”, said FEVS president Christophe Navarre.

China returned with a bang after a lean few years, with a 12.7 percent rise in sales, but French wine producers said they feared the key Chinese market was fragile. “Our competitors such as Chile have agreements with China, where they no longer pay any customs taxes, while we still pay quite high taxes,” said Philippe Casteja, a Saint-Emilion-based producer, who was speaking on behalf of Bordeaux wines.

Paris investment properties luxury homes

Invest in Paris, France: Luxury homes in the City of Love

With a stride in its step, the French capital is coming out of the doldrums. Incentives for property buyers mean that foreign investors can afford a café au lait and croissant from the terrace of their new downtown apartments.

One of the biggest metropolises in Western Europe, Paris has always held an immense amount of appeal on the international luxury real estate scene. While one of London’s main draws has always been its claim as a European capital of finance, Paris has retained its pull as one of the world’s leading tourist destinations, despite being hit by the 2007 financial crisis and the recent terrorist attacks. The City of Light continues its legacy of being a home to some of the world’s best restaurants, architectural landmarks, cultural institutions, fashion, shopping, food and wine and beacons luxury property buyers with its undeniable charm steeped in history and heritage.

“Paris is unique from many other capital cities in that it is not full of high rise buildings and has kept its 19th century cityscape largely intact”, says Roger Willoughby, Partner at Prestige Property Group.  “It is a friendly city with a comprehensive public transport system, but if you prefer to walk, there is nothing better than to walk from one Parisian district to another on a sunny afternoon”.

With the price of an average home seeing drops of 2.5% to 3% in 2014 and 2015 respectively, the strong performance of Sterling against the Euro and the Dollar at its 12-year high, the Paris residential property market is alive with opportunities for international buyers. In 2016, Paris, once again, is a buyer’s market with house prices recovering from the lull and overseas clients returning to Paris for residential property investment opportunities.

“Between 2002 and 2012 prices increased almost 200% and demand has continued to push up prices”, says Marie-Hélène Lundgreen, Director, Belles Demeures de France, International Department of Daniel Feau, exclusive affiliate of Christie’s International Real Estate. “French buyers are back and in July we sold 80 homes – around three a day. Low levels of interest rates are motivating buyers to complete purchases, but France’s economic recovery is also having a positive effect on the real estate market”. In a similar tone, Lundgreen’s projections forecast a 2.5% and a 5% return on investment in residential and commercial property markets respectively.

An additional recent incentive for international buyers that is making property investments in Paris all the more lucrative is this year’s EU court ruling that reduced the capital gains tax for non-residents from 34.5% to 19%. Overseas buyers no longer have to pay the additional “social charges” tax of up to 15.5% on the gain, making the tax conditions in Paris all the more favourable.  

Demonstrating an appreciation for antiquity and culture, properties in key areas of Paris have retained their value: the Golden Triangle in the 8th Arrondissement with its inimitable historic Haussmanian and Art Deco architecture, the 6th  and 7th Arrondissements, Saint Germain des Prés, Invalides and Champ de Mars with Eiffel Tower and 18th century mansions and buildings remained steadily popular with wealthy buyers. “Paris is and will always be a scarcity market, as they do not build anymore in the centre of Paris”, says Lundgreen. “Those with an appreciation for antiquity have the opportunity to purchase a home with striking architecture steeped in history”.

As for new opportunities for savvy investors, lucrative possibilities are emerging all around Paris this year. There are new trendy areas budding in the centre of Paris, with the 1st, 2nd, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th and 18th arrondissements arising as the prime spots of interest that can offer better value. Concludes Lundgeen, “These areas are a bit cheaper but still boast boutique cafes and shops popular with younger people”.

On the market

Ecole-Militaire, Christie’s International Real Estate

Located on the seventh floor of a historic 1914 building, with close-up views of the Eiffel Tower, the 130 square metre apartment is a true gem in Paris’ desirable 7th arrondissement, situated close to several government ministries and headquarters. This top floor apartment boasts sky-high, six metre ceilings and a tilted skylight, offering a truly unique view of the iconic Eiffel Tower. The spacious apartment also includes three bedrooms with en-suite bathrooms, a master suite, a mezzanine study, fitted dressing rooms and a spacious kitchen with dining facilities.

Price: EUR 3,690,000 (approx. USD 4.15 million) available on christiesrealestate.com

Paris investment properties luxury homes

Ecole-Militaire Interior

Place de L’etoile, 16TH Arrondissement, Paris, France

On the top floor of a beautiful building of late 19th century (Haussmann), this spacious apartment spans 2,529 sq. ft. with a beautiful view of the Arc de Triomphe and the avenue Foch. The entrance-way features a large reception room and study facing south with views of Place de l’Etoile.

This three-bedroom home includes a master suite with en-suite bathroom and includes a spacious dressing room and two further en-suite bedrooms. The kitchen opens up onto the dining room and guest toilets. A service room is connected to the flat. Parking can be available in the courtyard of the building.

Price On Application, available on www.greff-international.com / www.greff-immobilier.com /  www.greff-eurasie.com

Paris investment properties luxury homes

Place De L’etoile interior with a beautiful view of Arc de Triomphe

Text by Olha Romaniuk 

This article was first published in Palace Magazine

cannes yachting festival 2016

Luxury Yachts: Cannes Yachting Festival 2016 breaks new records

The sun was upon us again at this year’s Cannes Yachting Festival, the largest in-water show in Europe. The French city welcomed more than 51,000 festival-bound visitors over the six days. This included 530 exhibitors, and 630 boats, which filled the Vieux Port and Port Pierre Canto.

With an impressive 191 new models on display, all the big names in the world of yachting were there. The Italian Ferretti Group launched a number of new models; the Ferretti Yachts 450 and 850, the Pershing 5X, Rivamare and 76’ Bahama, Custom Line Navetta 37 and the Itama 62. For Arcadia Yachts, their 85S and 100 made their world debuts, while the Sherpa made its in-water debut. All three yachts feature a semi-displacement fiberglass hull, an NPL type selected for optimum efficiency and performance. Benetti also had the official premiere of their Mediterraneo 116, a massive superyacht featuring an 80sqm sun deck, and a cruising range of up to 3,000nm. Beneteau showed off its new Sense 57 and Oceanis Yacht 62, while Azimut displayed 17 models representing its entire range.

cannes yachting festival 2016

The Numarine78HT Evolution had its world debut, while the Turkish shipyard’s sporty 60Fly made its European debut at the event. Sirena Marine unveiled its Azuree 41’ and Euphoria 68’, along with the other big news that they are returning to powerboating with a new line.

The American shipyard Sea Ray was also prominent, and debuted its L590 to the European market.

The British shipyard Princess Yachts was represented with a showcase of 10 yachts. Its Princess 30M and 75MY made their Cannes debuts, and were joined by the 35M, and making her first world appearance, the 49, a craft designed to be a breeze to manoeuver with her advanced twin Volvo IPS-550 pod drive system.

World Yachts Trophies were given out for boats and individuals. Some of the notable ones included Sanlorenzo, who won Best Interior of the Year for its SL78 in the 24 to 38m range, and its Chairman-CEO Massimo Perotti, who was named Personality of the Year. Prestige Yachts’ designer Vittorio Garroni was awarded Designer of the Year, while the Sunreef Supreme 68 took home an award for its layout in the category of yachts ranging between 15 and 24m in length.

The Concours d’Elegance 2016 Competition was held alongside the show’s luxurious festivities. Exclusively open to owners, collectors, and exhibitors of boats measuring 12m or less, the boats of course, had to have an elegant design and contain a maximum crew of 4 people, including at least one woman. Judges evaluated each boat based on the following factors: the quality of restoration, the history and rarity of the model, as well as the style and grace of the crew among other influences. For boats manufactured before 1980, Lady Bambi won first place. A stunning Riva Bertram built in 1974 also became the Jury’s favourite boat. In the manufactured after 1980 category, Violetta 2004 won the gold. Finally, to top things off, the Feminine elegance first place prize went to the Intrepid 327 Cuddy, built in 2015.

The event’s official sponsor, Porsche, also had a number of new models on display, from the latest 911 to the 718 Boxster. With a prominent position next to the sea, the German cars certainly

added to the allure of the luxury lifestyle event that is the Cannes Yachting Festival.
Cannes Yachting Festival, 6-11 September at  The Vieux Port and the Port Pierre Canto   

La Villa Rocabella

Luxury villa for sale: La Villa Rocabella, Côte d’Azur, France

On the shore of the French Riviera stands the large and proud Villa Rocabella. This magnificent Belle Époque mansion, surrounded by about three-hectares (6 acres) of park with its private beach, was built at the turn of the 20th century. Typical of the Napoleon III style, it is one of the mansions designed by the famous architect H.G.Tersling of Monte-Carlo, the favourite architect of Empress Eugénie.La Villa Rocabella

Villa Rocabella overlooks the sea and offers gorgeous views of the Riviera. The finely composed garden exudes Victorian luxuriance and greatness with its majestic palms, scented pines, and many flower beds. The elegant combination between the mansion, the garden and the dazzling scenery contributes to an incredible sense of peace and luxury.La Villa Rocabella

A beautiful path winding through the gardens leads to a private beach where a rocky cave provides comfortable shelter. The very peacefulness of this shore is all that is needed to enjoy the pleasures of the sea.La Villa Rocabella

The excellent location of the Villa Rocabella; off the highways and entirely fenced, not only makes it an outstanding place where lavish receptions can indeed be held, but where quietness and privacy can also be totally preserved.

For more info, contact Arnaud Fontaneau

Compagnie Immobiliere Du Patrimoine
27, Avenue De L’Opera 75001 Paris
Tel: +33 612 04 01 74

This article was first published in Palace.

formula one french grand prix

French Formula One Returning In 2018

After a decade of absence, the French Grand Prix is finally making a come-back. Created in 1968, and having held no less than 68 races, it had been canceled in 2008, due to financial issues and conflicts with various venues. It took 10 years to find a venue and raise sufficient funds to bring back Formula One to France.

Announced by Christian Estrosi, president of the PACA region during a press conference at the Automobile Club de France, the race will take place at Le Castellet’s Paul Ricard circuit, build in 2002 near Marseille. A venue that is, according to Estrosi, “both recognized and appreciated” – it has indeed held 14 F1 races between 1971 and 1990, before the race was moved to Magny-Cours.

Bringing back the Formula One has a price, though: the project is predicted to cost 30 million euros – half of it coming from the local authorities and the balance from direct revenue. Estrosi is expecting a 65m euros impact on the local economy, based on an audit into the project conducted by Deloitte.

5 Best Castles Europe

Invest in These: 5 Top Castles, Europe 2016

There is no better place than Europe to admire some of the most majestic castles in the world. Once theaters of war and conflict, houses of the powerful, those medieval palaces are -for the most part- still standing and ready to reveal their oldest secrets. Palace Magazine selected five of the most beautiful castles currently for sale across the continent so you can start writing your own fairytale now.

1) Italy: Medieval Castle Near Siena – $31.13 million (above)

This castle dates back to the 12th century and despite multiple alterations and extensions it retains the appearance of a true fortress. Set on 360 hectares, the estate includes restored farmhouses, olive groves, vineyards and views stretching all the way to Siena. The 40,000 sq. ft. main castle has 10 bedrooms and 10 bathrooms, original frescoes and fireplaces. Available through Sotheby’s Realty.

2) Ireland: Glin Castle – $7.27 millionGlin Castle

This plush castle near Limerick has been in the FitzGerald family, hereditary Knights of Glin, for over 700 years. The property features 21 bedrooms and superb interiors with decorative plasterwork and notable collections of Irish furniture and paintings. Set on the waterfront and within 23 acres of gardens that seamlessly link to the wider parkland estate and woodlands. Available through Christie’s International Real Estate.

3) Spain: 13th Century Castle – $16.27 million13th Century Castle

Located in western Spain near the border to Portugal, this impressive castle includes over 1,000 acres of land and hunting grounds for wild boar and deer. The property was built in 1275, but has been fully refurbished and includes six bedrooms, nine reception rooms and a small museum. Available through Moulin International Real Estate.

4) Scotland: Earlshall Castle – $6.48 millionEarlshall Castle

Located in Leuchars, Fife, near St. Andrews, this stately 16th century castle features 10 bedrooms, eight reception rooms, a grand dining room, several outbuildings and a five-car garage. The property is set on 34 acres and has a celebrated walled garden designed by Sir Robert Lorimer. A number of renowned golf courses are located nearby. Available through Savills.

5) France: Castle Uzes – Price Upon RequestCastle Uzes

This picturesque 12th century castle in the south of France boasts over 8,600 sq. ft. of living space with 31 rooms, inner and outer courtyards, a roof garden and a swimming pool. The property has been fully restored, but retains original features like a Louis XIV fireplace, 17th century frescoes and coffered ceilings. Available through Sotheby’s Realty.

This article was first published in Palace Magazine.

5 Unique Private Homes

Created by some of the most storied names in architecture – and rising stars as well – these five homes are in no danger of resembling any other structure, anywhere on earth. We commend the visionaries who commissioned these homes for their courage, and for opening their private residences up to the world. We can only hope for more such forward-thinking property owners!

1) Fallingwater, Pennsylvania, U.S.A (above)

Originally tasked to design a home with views of the Bear Run waterfalls, American architect Frank Lloyd Wright chose instead to integrate his vision with nature by placing the home on top of the rushing falls. This 5,330 sq. ft. masterpiece comprises three levels, each marked by cantilevers extended asymmetrically across the waters. With the sound of the falls quietly reverberating through the space, and corner windows opening out into the vast outdoors, the home epitomizes the harmonious beauty of Man and Nature.

2) Maison Bordeaux, Francehero-1

This innovative private residence was designed by Rem Koolhaas of OMA to accommodate a paraplegic client and his family. Eschewing a simple and straightforward design, Koolhaas proposed a complex yet functional home comprising three houses stacked together, each with its own distinctive space. Traversing the various floors is an ingenious 3×3.5 meter elevator platform serving as an office without walls, allowing its user to become a part of the living space or kitchen without moving from the desk.

3) Tower House, New York, U.S.Agluck_tower-house_warchol_02

Sustainability and environmental awareness are two issues at the forefront of this steel and glass vacation home in upstate New York. Resembling a miniature skyscraper, bisected with a cantilevered volume on the fourth floor, this Gluck+ creation minimizes its forest impact by stacking bedrooms and bathrooms and lifting its living space above ground, creating a footprint of only 430.5 sq. ft. The tower structure facilitates natural cooling and heating and provides uninterrupted views of the nearby Catskill Park.

4) Fish House, Sentosa, Singaporefish-house-hero-image-1

Located in the exclusive residential enclave of Sentosa Cove, this 5,800 sq. ft. bungalow by acclaimed Singapore-based design firm Guz and Architects brings island living to a new paradisiacal standard. The home features open spaces seemingly stretching out to sea, and a 25,000-liter saltwater swimming pool weaving through the interior and exterior of the home. It’s pièce de résistance lies in its unique subterranean media room with acrylic windows, offering an aquarium-like view of the pool.

5) Cave Cay, Exumas, Bahamascave-cay-overview

Surrounded by sapphire-blue waters and white-sand beaches, this private island located in the exotic Exumas, Bahamas, is a rare gem. Featuring a private deep-water harbor and marina with 35 dock slips, as well as a 2,800-foot private airstrip, the 222-acre island comes totally self-sufficient with water and power supplied by diesel generators. With plans for 38 buildings, the island is approved for commercial operations, but can also be converted to private use. Full of endless possibilities, the property is available through Christie’s.

This article was first published in Palace Magazine.

Hunting Fraudsters in French Wine Heartland

Hunting Fraudsters in French Wine Heartland

Crafty winemakers throughout the ages have sought sneaky ways to pass off low-grade plonk as top vintages, and the jailing this month of a French wine baron shows the practice is still alive and well.

Francois-Marie Marret was given a two-year sentence for fraud for blending poor quality wine with high-end Saint-Emilions, Lalande-de-Pomerols and Listrac-Medocs to sell to major supermarkets under prestigious labels.

The 800,000-liter (211,000-gallon) “moon wine” fraud, so called because the cheap wine was spirited to his operation by night, was uncovered thanks to the diligent work of French customs inspectors.

They carefully track the wine produced by France’s tens of thousands of vineyards to protect the country’s multi-billion euro (dollar) industry – and to make sure drinkers are getting what they are paying for.

Around the Bordeaux region, home to some of France’s most prestigious – and expensive – wines, the eagle-eyed customs officials check vats, barrels, pallets, bottles and vines.

They draw up a meticulous inventory of stocks to ferret out both minor rule-bending and larger-scale fraud – detected once or twice a year on average, according to customs inspectors.

“Customs service, we’ve come to do a stock inspection,” declares Bertrand Bernard, head of the customs’ five-person wine service in the Libourne area, as he arrives at the Cave de Lugon cooperative.

Lugon, a village on the right bank of the Dordogne river, lies around 25 kilometers (15 miles) northeast of Bordeaux city.

Jean-Marie Esteve, who has been a “maitre de chai” or master winemaker since 1984, is happy to cooperate.

“It doesn’t make me particularly nervous,” Esteve tells AFP. “There’s always a difference between what is declared and what is measured. But over the 40,000 to 45,000 hectoliters we have, it’s never more than a few hectoliters” – well within the permitted limits.

Jean-Luc Caboy, the head of the cooperative, which includes 110 winemakers working around 750 hectares (1,800 acres) of vines, says they check in with customs officials regularly “to make sure we are okay in terms of the regulations”.

Swill, sniff, pour away

The inspection begins with the imposing concrete vats that date back to the creation of the cooperative in 1937, where heady aromas float in the air.

Opening a small tap, Esteve pours a little red wine into a glass and hands it to Christian Lafon, the main customs inspector.

He checks the color, swills and then sniffs the wine, before pouring it into a bucket, satisfied.

“We’re checking to see that it is really wine from the last vintage and not a blend… If there is any doubt we take a sample away for analysis,” he says. But at Lugon all is well.

The inspection continues on the upper floor, where Lafon, torch in hand, looks under the cover of each vat.

“That’s full, no problem,” he tells his two colleagues, who are scrupulously noting the volume of wine measured in each vat, one on computer, one on paper.

In a warehouse next door, he counts barrels of wine, knocking on each one to make sure it is full, before moving on to count bottles stored on pallets, almost one by one — because every liter counts in the customs inventory.

“We compare the volumes declared by the cave with what we find when we do the inventory. We subtract what has been taken out and see what remains. If it’s under, it’s often due to losses during the winemaking process (evaporation, decanting, etc). If it’s over, it could be a miscounting during the harvest,” Lafon said.

“There can be a few differences, often mistakes. Beyond that, it can reveal a system of organised fraud.”

‘Moon wine’ fraud

It was this careful accounting that revealed the “moon wine fraud”, which also saw winemaker Marret hit with a fine of eight million euros ($8.9 million).

More than a dozen others were convicted along with Marret, including a wine merchant, two brokers and three other producers.

“It all started with inconsistencies between the stocks checked on the ground and the documents filed by the chateaus,” says Jeff Omari, regional deputy director of customs in Bordeaux.

Customs officers then dissected the movement of wine around the vineyards in question and analysed samples “to work up through the chain of fraud and all the players involved: winemakers, brokers, transporters, and so on – nearly two years of investigation in total,” Omari said.

France is the world’s biggest wine exporter by value, accounting for 29 percent of the market at 8.2 billion euros in 2015, and top Bordeaux labels such as Chateau Petrus sell for upwards of 1,000 euros a bottle.

But the country has been hit by several fraud scandals in recent years.

In 2010, 12 French winemakers and dealers were convicted of selling millions of bottles of fake Pinot Noir to the US firm E&J Gallo.

Before that, in 2006 legendary Beaujolais winemaker Georges Duboeuf was fined more than 30,000 euros for blending grapes from different vineyards to disguise the poor quality of certain prized vintages.

Château du Launay

Review: Château du Launay, Brittany

The heart of Brittany is the scene of Merlin, King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, it inspires the heartbeats of artists too. You will understand this by discovering the interior, a land of wonders, of fresh running waters that have forged many rivers, lakes that are in the heart of spectacular scenery. The Argoat, enthralling, mysterious and rustling with legends, offers various landscapes that have multiple tonalities that follow the seasons.Château du Launay

The lands of the Launay, a preserved place where emotions are to be experienced naturally, is a place to rejuvenate. The land is rich and ideal to manage woodlands, develop biodynamic agriculture, organic farming and cooking culture. With 80 hectares of land converted to organic farming in the neighborhood, fresh food is at your doorstep, and you have the chance to taste and learn more about our environment, while participating in its equilibrium. The owner will also have priority in being supplied with the freshest organic food produced from the neighboring land.Château du Launay

No need to go to the ends of the earth to seek out marvels, here, everything is at reach. The richness is at your feet, and you just have to take the time to look and discover unknown places which are appropriate to present-day preoccupations: the search for authenticity with comfort and refinement.Château du Launay

Set in the midst of this rich farmland, and surrounded by Stone Age and Celtic monuments in absolute natural beauty, the 18th century Château du Launay has been completely restored and offers perfect modern comfort. We can trace back signs of a fortified castle on these grounds to the 8th century. Some documents mentioning it in 1422 are found under the name, Vieux Launay. The castle was passed on to various counts in the 20th century: from Comte Monti de Rézé to Comte de Maingard. It has also hosted the prestigious Opéra de Paris.Château du Launay

It is one of the most remarkable properties in the region in terms of size and quality of work. The current owners are very much aware of the environment and have invested in a wood-chip heating system with wood supplied from the neighboring forest, making it rank the lowest on the CO2 emission scale.Château du Launay

With a majestic entrance, a suite of sunny reception halls, and spacious bedrooms with 4-meter high ceilings, each room of the Château provides a sense of well-being. The stone outbuildings have not been forgotten in the restoration either. A chapel, independent studio apartments, a fitness center, and a heated swimming pool with integrated sound system, all form part of the property. It is a place where details collaborate and contribute to one’s overall well-being, with very light and bright finishes. Whether it is the beauty of the ornaments on the buildings themselves or the specific quality of the organic farmland and forests around, each detail comes together to make this place special.Château du Launay

The library, like everything in the Launay, is where past and present harmoniously mingle for exclusive moments, magical experiences, and enchanting interludes. Remarkable stables and equestrian equipment can also cater for up to 40 horses. This is a place where long distance running horses are trained to compete in world championships.

The property is sold with furniture, on its domain of 40 hectares and has a well organized staff that can be made available to the future owners. Extremely rare.



  • Bedrooms/bathrooms:  11 double rooms en-suite
    Sq. Ft.: 13,670
    4 cottages for 8 people each
    Heated swimming pool
    Fitness center
    Gallery of modern arts
  • Price: On Application

For more information, contact Kristalyne Wealth Care.

This article first appeared in Palace Magazine.

Invest in These: 4 Most Expensive Homes

Forget those expensive cars that would turn heads on the road. The Palace team picks out four of the most expensive homes from around the world that you can add to your property portfolio. We’re be adding a little more depth to each item here now that we are no longer constrained by print pages.

Le Palais Bulles, France $456 million (Main Picture)
Located in Théoule-sur-Mer, South-eastern France, this ‘Bubble Palace’ by Hungarian architect Antti Lovag features a 13,000 sq. ft. main residence with 10 bedroom suites, three swimming pools, a 500-seat auditorium, and views of the Mediterranean. If you must ask, even after taking a good long look at the place, the bubble palace is like a tribute to round shapes and is owned by Pierre Cardin. Fashion legend Cardin is of course famous for the bubble dress so there is a correlation to his choice of design for his home, and indeed his choice of architect in Lovag. A man who famously believed that the straight line was “an aggression against nature,” Lovag was just to guy to hire if you wanted a home or building that was mainly round. Built in 1979 and owned by Cardin since then, this six-level property has hosted many star-studded events, including the 2016 Dior Resort Show, and is available through Christie’s.

Sky Penthouse, Monaco $400 millionSky Penthouse, Monaco

Providing stunning views of the Mediterranean, this massive 35,500 sq. ft. Sky Penthouse crowns the Tour Odéon, a 170-meter twin-skyscraper residence that is the first high-rise to be built in Monaco since the 1980s. High-rises were deemed architecturally undesirable in the 1980s and this new effort has encountered some of the same obstacles. Nevertheless, Prince Albert appears quite prepared to see it through so it will indeed become a major landmark in the famously land-scarce city-state. The Tour Odéon or Odeon Tower will be the tallest building in Monaco and the second highest on the Mediterranean. Located near the Place du Casino, Hôtel de Paris and Hôtel Hermitage, the home includes a cinema, library, gym and a infinity pool with a waterslide. Scheduled for 2018 completion, the home – the Daily Mail called it the world’s most expensive apartment – is available through Knight Frank.

Great Island, U.S.A $175 million001_greatisland

Tucked in the affluent Darien suburb of the Long Island Sound, this 63-acre estate, owned by the family of industrialist William Ziegler, is one of the most expensive properties in the US. In fact, according to the Wall Street Journal, if sold for its list price of $175 million, it will officially be the most expensive home sold in the USA. This stunning opportunity is apparently now available for the first time in more than a century. Built in the 1900s, the property includes a main residence with six bedrooms, staff and guest quarters, a private beach and dock, small waterfront cottages, and equestrian facilities. An hour from Manhattan, the property provides superb waterfront views and is available through Christie’s.

Palazzo di Amore, U.S.A $149 millionpalazzo-di-amore

Designed by developer Mohamed Hadid (father of supermodel Gigi Hadid), this 25-acre property in Beverly Hills features a 35,000 sq. ft. main residence and a guest home. This one was originally listed for $195 million in 2014 by current owner, real estate investor Jeff Greene so the current price might be considered a steal. The main residence features 12 bedrooms – including the 5,000 sqf master – and a whopping 23 bathrooms. The estate also includes a 15,000 sq. ft. entertainment complex with a ballroom, revolving dance floor, a 50-seat theatre, and a bowling alley. There is also a 27-car garage, a working vineyard producing six types of wine, and even an organic farm. Available through Coldwell Banker Previews International.

This article first appeared in Palace Magazine.

World’s Top Urban Destination 2017 is…

Lonely Planet has selected the French city of Bordeaux as the hottest urban destination for 2017 but it has long been on our list of excellent places to visit. The city has the largest number of preserved historical buildings in France, outside of Paris, and it plays host to that Dionysian spectacle called Vinexpo. Bordeaux is also home to some of the biggest names in French wine such as Château Lafite Rothschild, Château Latour and Château Mouton-Rothschild.

Anyway, the famous travel guide has dubbed Bordeaux as “A sleeping beauty [that] has awoken,” clearly a reference to the city’s nickname, La Belle Endormie. A high-speed rail line is currently being built to link the aforementioned city to Paris, which will definitely boost tourism appeal of Bordeaux. The city also houses the Cité du Vin wine museum, where visitors can savor the culinary specialties of the region. Tourists will be able to enjoy the urban, cultural space that overlooks the Garonne river.

Cape Town of South Africa ranks second in the best cities category, followed by Los Angeles at number three. The list also features lesser-known travel gems of Ohrid in Macedonia (fifth) and Pistoia in Italy (sixth), which we honestly know nothing about!

Ohrid in Macedonia is one of Lonely Planet's top destinations for 2017. © Lonely Planet Lonely Planet

Ohrid in Macedonia is one of Lonely Planet’s top destinations for 2017.
© Lonely Planet

On to the less city-specific lists, it seems like the 2017 trend will be Pacific destinations. Who hasn’t dreamed of dipping into the turquoise waters of the world’s largest ocean, anyway? Seriously, there’s enough room in the Pacific to fit all the landmasses of the world… Taranaki, New Zealand leads the pack as the first runner-up of the 2017 best regions to visit list. South Australia ranks fifth, and the Tuamotu Archipelago in French Polynesia ranks seventh. As for countires, Lonely Planet named Canada in the top spot for 2017, followed by Colombia and Finland for second and third place, respectively.

A roundup of all Lonely Planet’s hottest destinations for the coming year will be compiled in its “Best Of 2017” guidebook, due out October 27.

Lonely Planet’s full list of best destinations for 2017

By country

  • 1. Canada
  • 2. Colombia
  • 3. Finland
  • 4. Dominica
  • 5. Nepal
  • 6. Bermuda
  • 7. Mongolia
  • 8. Oman
  • 9. Myanmar (Burma)
  • 10. Ethiopia

By region

  • 1. Choquequirao, Peru
  • 2. Taranaki, New Zealand
  • 3. Açores, Portugal
  • 4. North Wales, UK
  • 5. South Australia
  • 6. Aysén, Chile
  • 7. Tuamotu Islands, French Polynesia
  • 8. The Georgia coast, USA
  • 9. Perak, Malaysia
  • 10. Skellig Ring, Iceland

By city

  • 1. Bordeaux, France
  • 2. Cape Town, South Africa
  • 3. Los Angeles, USA
  • 4. Mérida, Mexico
  • 5. Ohrid, Macedonia
  • 6. Pistoia, Italy 
  • 7. Seoul, South Korea
  • 8. Lisbon, Portugal
  • 9. Moscow, Russia
  • 10. Portland, USA