Tag Archives: France

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.

BUYER INFORMATION
Property: CHÂTEAU DU LAUNAY

Highlights

  • Bedrooms/bathrooms:  11 double rooms en-suite
    Sq. Ft.: 13,670
    4 cottages for 8 people each
    Heated swimming pool
    Spa
    Fitness center
    Gallery of modern arts
    Library
    Stables
  • 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
French ski lodge La Bouitte in the French Alps © La Bouitte, Relais & Chateaux

Relais & Chateaux Welcomes 21 Newcomers

Relais & Chateaux touts itself as the standard-bearer for the hotel and restaurant industry, much like the Michelin label. Another 21 properties and restaurants will be able to hang the coveted fleur de lys symbol, designating membership to the group.

The shortlisted properties are all independent and must adhere to distinct criterias characterized as “the soul of the innkeeper,” “celebration of the senses”, and “the art of living”.

The newcomers to the Relais & Chateaux club hail from the US, Colombia, France, Denmark, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Italy, Greece, China, Japan and New Zealand.

Eric Ripert, chef and co-owner of Le Bernardin in New York City at his restaurant in New York May 16, 2016. © TIMOTHY A. CLARY / AFP

Eric Ripert, chef and co-owner of Le Bernardin in New York City at his restaurant in New York May 16, 2016.
© TIMOTHY A. CLARY / AFP

 

The latest New York addition, Chef Eric Ripert’s restaurant Le Bernardin, extended its acclaim beyond the three Michelin star it holds. The upscale restaurant regularly tops New York’s best eats lists for its seafood and is one of the hottest tables in town for both locals and tourists alike.

Bread Crusted Red Snapper Saffron “Fideos” Chorizo in Smoked Sweet Paprika Sauce at Le Bernardin © Shimon & Tammar

Bread Crusted Red Snapper Saffron “Fideos” Chorizo in Smoked Sweet Paprika Sauce at Le Bernardin
© Shimon & Tammar

 

Over in France, an alpine ski lodge located in the heart of the Trois Vallees, is the latest chalet to gain admittance into the group. Boasting three Michelin stars, the Hotel Restaurant La Bouitte in the French Alps is a luxury ski lodge designed to reflect its surroundings, with luxurious furnishings set off against rustic wood beams and flooring.

Father and son duo Rene and Maxime Meilleur have also made the country inn one of France’s premier dining destinations for dishes like “veal à la Savoyarde” with cheese polenta and creamy sauce.

Wharekauhau Lodge and Country Estate, New Zealand © Courtesy of Wharekauhau

Wharekauhau Lodge and Country Estate, New Zealand
© Courtesy of Wharekauhau

 

In New Zealand, The Wharekauhau Lodge & Country Estate, a property set on a sheep farm, was given its membership card for offering guests an indulgent stay in a bucolic setting with forests, lakes and rivers.

And over in Japan, travelers looking to stay at an authentic ‘ryokan’ or traditional Japanese inn may want to consider Nishimuraya Honkan in Hyogo which also received Relais & Chateaux’s stamp of approval. With a heritage that stretches back 150 years and seven generations, the inn offers a peaceful retreat amongst bamboo forests and hot springs.

The ryokan also serves traditional kaiseki, a Japanese tasting menu made up of several small plates.

For more Relais & Chateaux properties visit https://www.relaischateaux.com.

US Overtakes France as Top Ski Destination

US Overtakes France as Top Ski Destination

The United States overtook France to become the world’s top destination during the northern hemisphere winter ski season, thanks to a spate of bad weather, a French ski body has said.

Over the winter, France suffered a three percent fall in visitors, compared with a year earlier, putting it in second place behind the United States, while Austria took third place.

“We remain top in Europe,” insisted Laurent Reynaud of Domaines Skiables de France (DSF), a professional body which groups 238 ski lift operators across the country.

For several years, France and the United States have been vying for the top spot, which has been determined by levels of snowfall in the two countries.

Since the winter of 2008-2009, France has taken the top spot four times.

But during the winter season, its ranking slipped as a result of “a very difficult start (to the season) due to a lack of snow at low and medium altitudes, followed by changeable weather which disrupted operating conditions,” DSF said.

At the same time, visitor numbers jumped on the US West coast when compared with the previous winter when conditions had been very dry.

In France, tourist numbers have fallen across the board in recent months, notably in the wake of a wave of deadly Islamist attacks. Official figures show that in the first six months of 2016, the number of tourists visiting France fell by seven percent.

Parc du Cap: Riviera Apartments

Set on the Cap d’Antibes and ideally located for Juan les Pins, Parc du Cap boasts an enviable setting upon the Riviera coastline. Situated 15.6 km from Nice International Airport, and easily accessible by road, rail and plane, Parc du Cap residence will deliver a new level of quality, elegance and exclusivity in Cap d’Antibes. Parc du Cap is comprised of two five-storey buildings providing 88 apartments ranging from one bedroom to duplex and penthouses with roof top pools.

3227_a32_living

The development is situated in beautiful landscaped gardens with a tennis court and a spectacular pool, spa and gym area. There’s also private underground car parking together with a gated security entrance.

3227_parc-du-cap-terrace_final

This article was first published in Palace.

Nobu Hotel Miami Beach

6 Luxury Hotels Opening 2016

With numerous hotels set to welcome guests as we venture into the tail end of 2016, we thought we would bring you up to date with a round up of six establishments everyone is anticipating, starting with the most obvious of course.

Trump International HotelTrump International Hotel, Washington DC

The Republican presidential candidate opened his latest hotel earlier this week in Washington DC. The Trump International Hotel sits on what was the Old Post Office Pavilion that is considered a historical landmark. The $200 million hotel is located on Pennsylvania Avenue, which is connected to the White House and the United States Capitol. While the hotel was originally slated to be completed in 2018, it seems that developers have been pushing the project ahead to be ready in time for the US election in November.

Nobu Hotel at Eden Roc Miami Beach

With actor Robert De Niro as his partner, chef Nobu Matsuhisa will open the doors to his third hotel later this week. Located at the Eden Roc Miami Beach Resort, the hotel was designed by David Rockwell of the Rockwell Group. Boasting 206 guest rooms and suites, the interior design was inspired by natural materials that bring to mind a Japanese beach house in the middle of Miami. Nobu Hospitality also operates Nobu Hotel at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas and Nobu Hotel City of Dreams in Manila, Philippines.

Four Seasons Hotel New York DowntownGuest room at the Four Seasons New York Downtown

This will be the second Four Seasons hotel in the Tribeca district and is dubbed the little sister to the flagship New York property in Midtown. The hotel will open in the Tribeca district, a short stroll from the new World Trade Center, Wall Street and the Soho neighborhood and serve as a dual residential and hotel property. The 185 rooms are designed by Yabu Pushelberg. Dinner will be served by Wolfgang Puck and his CUT steakhouse restaurant and bar.

L’Hotel Barrière Les Neiges Courchevel

The French hotel group is set to open a five-star ski chalet in the French Alps. Featuring 42 alpine-inspired rooms that are made of wood and stone, the accommodation promises luxury. Located in the heart of the Trois Vallées, the largest ski domain in the world, the hotel will also feature a cinema, spa and Fouquet’s brasserie, modeled after the iconic restaurant on the Champs-Elysees in Paris. Fouquet’s is also part of the Barrière group.

Four Seasons Private Island Maldives at VoavahFour Seasons Private Island Maldives

Located on a UNESCO-designated biosphere reserve in Baa Atoll, Maldives, this luxury hotel and resort is one for those who prefer an ultra-secluded and exclusive private island getaway. The reserve is home to one of the largest groups of coral reefs in the Indian Ocean and to a globally significant biodiversity. The property, which opens at the end of this year, spans five acres and can accommodate just 22 people in the seven-bedroom beach house. It also comes with a dive center, spa and 62-foot superyacht.

Hilton Bali Resort

Bali is set to get a new sprawling luxury resort destination under the Hilton brand. Perched on a 40-meter high cliff overlooking the Indian Ocean, the Hilton Bali Resort will feature 408 suites and villas, a secluded beach with designated surf area, spa and nail salon, seven restaurants including Japanese, Balinese and Italian cuisines, indoor tennis courts, and open-air amphitheater, gardens, conference centers and chapel for destination weddings.

Plymouth-Fury-chistine

Paris Motor Show Exhibits Iconic Screen Cars

If the cars on the silver screen and telly have captured your attention more that the protagonists themselves, then this is one exhibition you need to include to your Paris itinerary. Happening from October 1 – 16, the “Moteur! L’automobile fait son cinéma” (“Action! Cars from the movies”) exhibition is held in tandem with the Paris Motor Show, and will stage some of the most iconic cars audiences have seen.

chevrolet-camaro-transformers

The Chevrolet Camaro from “Transformers”
© FFVE

These include the Jeep Wrangler from Jurassic Park, Chevrolet Camaro from Transformers, Plymouth Fury from Christine (main image and a tasty classic treat) and the Alfa Spider Duetto from The Graduate. And if James Bond’s exclusively manufactured Aston Martin DB10 took your breath away in Spectre, we’re certain seeing it in the flesh (or metal) will leave you in awe.

citroen-ds-the-mentalist

The Citroën DS from “The Mentalist”

The Citroën DS 21 from The Mentalist will also go on show. The classic car – heralded with the nickname “Goddess” – was widely known for being technically superior for its time and highly distinctive with its inimitable curves.

aston-martin-db-10-spectre

James Bond’s Aston Martin DB10 from “Spectre”
© Aston Martin

Happening at Hall 8 of the Paris Expo Porte de Versailles exhibition center, the retrospective event is the brainchild of many dedicated organizations – British carmaker Aston Martin, together with French film and TV studio distributor Canal+, the French federation of cinema stunt doubles (Fédération des cascadeurs français du cinéma – FCFC), the French federation of historical vehicles (Fédération française des véhicules d’époque – FFVE) and France’s national audiovisual institute (Institut national de l’audiovisuel – INA), which holds French radio and TV archives. If you’re visiting the Paris Motor Show anyway, this is a worthy side attraction.

jeep-wrangler-jurassic park

The Jeep Wrangler Sahara from “Jurassic Park”
© FFVE

Paul Cezanne painting

Paris Auction Workers Steal from Dead

A group of Paris auction workers realized an essential truth: the dead don’t miss their belongings and they tell no tales. Some 35 porters at leading auction house Hotel Drouot were convicted in a French court of pilfering thousands of valuable items from the estates of the deceased. To add insult to injury, they had been doing so for years and were hardly low-key about it. Not to worry though, they’ll get the chance to think on their crimes while in prison, which is where some are going.

The BBC reports that the porters saw grave-robbing as an occupational perk and were aided and abetted in their twisted ways by three auctioneers, who received suspended jail terms. The defence team called the thefts “salvaging” during the trial. Hotel Drouot itself pleaded ignorance and supported the prosecution. Amazingly, the AFP reports that even though one of the porters owned a Porsche 911 this only aroused suspicion, not action. It took an anonymous tip for authorities to catch one of the porters in possession of a missing painting by 19th century French artist Gustave Courbet. It was curtains for the rest of the crew shortly after.

How did the porters manage these thefts? It was reported at the trial that they took advantage of their roles in clearing out the homes of the dead and transporting items to Hotel Drouot. They sold the items much later.

Peterhof-Grand-Palace-St. Petersburg-Russia

St. Petersburg Named Europe’s Leading Destination

Go just about anywhere in Europe and you’ll find yourself immersed in a plethora of cultures and breathtaking scenery. To decide the best destination then, is no easy task, but the World Travel Awards have gathered the opinions of travel experts, tourism leaders and the general public to award St. Petersburg the accolade.

Built from scratch by the westward-looking Peter the Great, the former Russian imperial capital exudes an elegance and old world charm that is unique to Europe with regal baroque palaces and an intricate web of canals and bridges. The City of Tsars was chosen over strong rivals such as Barcelona, Berlin, Dubrovnik, Lisbon, London, Paris and Rome.

With a multitude of exceptional museums and stellar gastronomic fare, Lyon also took the title of Europe’s leading city break destination, surpassing Berlin, Bordeaux, Venice and Dublin. The bustling city in France is not only steeped with culinary history, but is also developing a name for itself as an electronic music hub. The Nuit Sonores, a music festival that gathers some of the best local and international DJs is testament to this.

The-Peninsula-Paris

The Peninsula Paris

The European edition of the World Travel awards also sees the Ritz Paris being crowned the continent’s leading city break hotel. The historic 1898 five-star hotel recently reopened after a $450 million renovation after four years, and is reputed for its unrivaled service and bars that once hosted many a literary figure, such as Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald. The title of leading luxury hotel went to the ultra-glamorous Peninsula Paris.

Ciragan Palace Kempinski Istanbul

Ciragan Palace Kempinski Istanbul
© Ciragan Palace Kempinski Istanbul

Meanwhile, Lufthansa continues to dominate in the leading airline category, snagging Europe’s leading airline for the seventh year in a row, while the Ciragan Palace Kempinski in Istanbul was named leading hotel for the fifth consecutive year.

Check out the full list of winners at World Travel Awards now.

Duval-Leroy Champagne Estate Welcomes Visitors

Duval-Leroy Champagne Estate Welcomes Visitors

France’s Duval-Leroy champagne house is celebrating the upcoming grape harvest with day-long immersion experiences offering wine-tasting and a look behind the scenes of this key stage in the wine-making process.

Known for the refined, elegant nature of its wines, the champagne house located in Vertus, France, is a heavyweight of the official champagne-growing region. More than 250 Michelin-starred restaurants serve one of the house’s tipples, such as the emblematic “Femme de Champagne” vintage.

For the first time, the family has accepted to open the doors of its estate to wine lovers during the upcoming grape harvest – a crucial time for any wine grower. Duval-Leroy has developed a special tour for anyone curious to discover a typical day in the life of a grape picker, without having to sign up for a whole season’s work. During the upcoming harvest, wine lovers are invited to grab a pair of secateurs and follow the instructions of the full-time harvesters. A lunch – an important moment that traditionally brings together all the seasonal workers – will then be served in the vineyard. In the afternoon, “students” will visit the estate and sample the house’s “vins clairs,” the base wines used to make Champagne. This is a rare opportunity for fans of the bubbly stuff to discover the wines used in champagne’s “assemblage” process, before it gets its fizz. The tour costs €50 (approx. $56) per person.

For those with more cash to splash (€300 or approx. $336 per person), a second “immersion” experience concludes the same program of events with a gastronomic dinner, cooked by the Duval-Leroy in-house chef. This champagne-steeped meal promises to tantalize taste buds with stuffed macaroni, black truffles, asparagus and foie gras. Participants can also enjoy a wine-tasting lesson from the cellar master in person. The estate’s “vins clairs” feature on the agenda, along with the chance to sample one of the estate’s most prestigious vintages.

The grape harvest in France’s champagne region is expected to take pace in mid-September. The country’s most northerly wine-growing region experienced challenging weather conditions at the beginning of the year. Almost a quarter of the area in the official champagne-producing region was hit by frost at the end of April. Hail and rain in the springtime brought further damage. The Comité Interprofessionnel du Vin de Champagne (CIVC), which represents growers and producers, reported this summer that certain sectors saw twice the average rainfall seen over the last 20 years.

Duval-Leroy Champagne Estate Welcomes Visitors

The Duval-Leroy estate in Vertus, France