Tag Archives: France

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.

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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.

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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

Cannes Yachting Festival 2016

As the summer months get into full swing, the yachting world heads to the South of France for the Cannes Yachting Festival. September 6 to 11 will see more than 50,000 visitors descend on Vieux Port and Port Pierre Canto, where they can expect to see 100 world premieres and as many as 600 boats displayed both on land and in the water. The Cannes Yachting Festival is also one of the few shows where prospective buyers can conduct sea trials by testing the vessels in the surrounding waters.

The Vieux Port will be the home of many special exhibitions including the Palais des Festival. This space will include the latest water toys and tenders alongside the beach, as well as many banks, interior designers, architects and shipyards. New for this year is La Terrasse, a special area for the luxury industry stakeholders. It will include automobiles, watches, jewellery, private aviation, prestigious property, gastronomy, tableware, couture houses, leather and saddles, furniture & design, art & photography, hotel, high-tech products, perfume & beauty, premium services as well as luxury yachts.

The Jetee hosts the engine manufacturers, service exhibitors and the world’s largest shipyards. There’s the Super Yachts Extension which will feature motor and sailing yachts above 25m. Some will be as large as 55m. A tender area is also located here. A further four areas can be found at Vieux Port including the Catamarans area, the Pantiero displaying smaller high-end motor boats, the Quai Saint-Pierre with boats in the 12 to 25m range and the Quai Max Laubeuf where the festival started and where over 160 vessels will be on display. Port Pierre Canto will have on display around 50 second-hand yachts in the 22m to 50m range.

Making their premiere at the show will be the Oceanis Yacht 62 from Beneteau, the Prestige Yachts 630, two sailboats from Sirena Marine, the Azuree 41’ and Euphoria 68’ and the Numarine 78HT. The Numarine 60 Flybridge will also make its European debut. Canados will be using the show to launch the Oceanic 76’ GT, while giving a preview of the Gladiator 42’, Gladiator 76’ and Canados 971 Coliseum which will be arriving in 2017. Not to be outdone, Sanlorenzo will have the world premiere for their SL78 (pictured top). A 25m, made to order fiberglass motor yacht, with a planing hull.

On the catamaran front, Sunreef will be debuting three yachts. The Supreme 68 Power Catamaran will make her world debut and the Supreme 68 Sailing Catamaran Midori and the Sunreef 74 19th Hole will make their European debuts. Also for 2016, the Concours d’Elegance competition is back after a successful debut in 2015. This event allows owners to enter boats sized 12m or less. No more than 20 boats can compete. There will be two categories: boats manufactured before 1980 and after 1980.

This article was first published in Yacht Style Magazine.

Bad Weather Hurts French Wine Output

Bad Weather Hurts French Wine Output

Lovers of fine champagne take note as vintage 2016 looks like it will be in short supply. Fierce storms that hit France in April will help to push wine production down almost 10 percent this year on 2015 output, the ministry of agriculture announced last week.

Unseasonably cool weather through the spring and into the summer will drag overall production down to 42.9 million hectoliters from 47.8 million a year ago, a seven percent fall on a five-year basis, according to the ministry’s statistical service Agreste.

In revising down its outlook, Agreste blamed “the spring freeze that hit certain winegrowing areas, recurring winds made worse by drought around the Mediterranean and damage stemming from frost.”

Champagne was one of the worst hit regions after several bouts of spring frost and hailstorms which are forecast to drag output down by as much as one third, leading to harvesting being already a week behind schedule based on a 10-yearly average.

The inclement weather means France, which has also had to battle outbreaks of rot and mildew, will likely remain behind Italy, which last year claimed the crown as the world’s biggest wine producer.

Normandy Camembert won the coveted AOP, or Protected Designation of Origin 33 years ago. © poplasen / Istock.com

Making Real Camembert Cheese: Endangered Tradition

One may think that France the holy land of cheese, with all due respect to the Italians, Swiss, English and Germans. Even so, globalization has triggered a culinary battle between industrial producers and traditional producers of cheese. Take the world-famous Camembert cheese for example. Only one traditional fromagerie still stands today, producing the authentic Camembert cheese that the region is renowned for: the Durand family.

Dairy producers “are really in dire straits,” said Nicolas Durand, 43, owner of the Heronniere farm in the northwestern French region of Normandy where Europe’s biggest dairy group Lactalis has bought out numerous farms like his.

Today, Durand’s seven employees turn 90 percent of the milk from his 90 cows into 700 to 800 cheeses a day, up from 600 in the year 2000. But still, a small producer like him can only rely on direct distribution. Lactalis, the biggest mass-produced Camembert maker today, distributes to supermarkets in France and abroad.

If one would ask someone at a Heronniere farm how a “Durand” differs from a factory-produced Camembert, they will laugh, saying even the question is an “insult”. Durand claims that his cheese is not only AOP (Protected Designation of Origin) labeled, but also has a “fermier” texture. It is also entirely made with milk from cows in their own farm, which preserves the taste and quality. A cheese seller from the Normandy port of Caen commented that Durand’s Camembert “has a stronger, richer scent.” It couldn’t be compared with Lactalis’ Camembert, which was made from pasteurized milk rather than raw milk.

However, industrial versions will always be the cheaper option. Durand Camembert fetches 4.40 euros (about $5) on the farm and 5.60 euros (about $7) at the Caen merchant’s store. The production process of the Camembert cheese is certainly complex (due to its artisanal culinary heritage) and time-consuming. While Durand’s supply is necessarily limited, demand is strong and the farm is already attracting some 10,000 visitors a year.

He is working with partners to develop his marketing strategy and to gain more interest from tourists.

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Bottled Luxury: Les Parfums Louis Vuitton

You might know Louis Vuitton for its timeless leather accessories and sturdy travel trunks, but now, the French luxury brand is also delving into the world of fragrances. As the first series in almost a century, it’s safe to say that the Maison is going all out in achieving the perfect scents for the collection, entitled Les Parfums Louis Vuitton.

The seven scents – Rose des Vents, Turbulences, Dans la Peau, Apogee, Contre Moi, Matiere Noire and Mille Feux – were exclusively designed by master perfumer Jacques Cavallier Belletrud using special extraction techniques, so you can expect the purest of floral and leather – no surprises there – accents within.

The fragrances are set to be released in 100- and 200-ml sizes, and cost $240 and $350 respectively.

Find out more about Les Parfums Louis Vuitton at L’Officiel.com now.

Great Barrier Reef

Round the World Itineraries: Global Traveler

Those bitten by the travel bug will be happy to know that the gruelling task of finalising an itinerary for a holiday has been well and truly taken care of. Catering to various travel needs, Star Alliance has teamed up with its 28 member carriers for several themed holidays.

Lovers of cuisine high and Low have the option of visiting countries such as Lyon in France for the signature Lyonnaise sausages, Seoul for the delicious beef ribs and galbi or even New York to sample the wonderful melting pot of cuisines. To reconnect with Mother Nature, travelers will be able to venture to the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, the Sugarloaf mountains of Rio de Janeiro and the Northern Lights of Norway.

If a romantic getaway is what you are looking for, then Star Alliance has a selection of destinations as well. From gondolas rides in Venice, to island getaways in the Maldives, Santorini and Phuket or a trip to the Eiffel Tower in Paris, the romance themed itinerary is sure to send sparks flying. Customizing ones itinerary is fairly simple: select the closest airport as the starting point and then choose from the destinations included in the package.

Getting to your destination of choice is just as simple, as Star Alliance counts the likes of Air Canada, United, Singapore Airlines, Lufthansa and All Nippon Airways as some of its members. Rival alliance One World also offers round-the-world fares with member carriers such as British Airways, American Airlines and Cathay Pacific. Other companies that have ventured into the world of well planned holidays include the Four Seasons, with The Four Seasons Private Jet Journeys on board their new fleet of private jets. Starting from $106,000 the package includes culinary and cultural packages.

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Attend These: 6 Design Exhibitions, Paris

You might already be familiar with big-name shows such as Maison & Objet (from September 2 – 6) and Paris Design Week (September 3 – 10), but there are a number of smaller, off-beat gems in every corner of the French capital to check out too. Here are six design exhibitions even the most critical of design fans would love.

Muji Pop-Up Exhibition, September 2 – 25 2016; Rue des Blancs Manteaux
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The Muji pop up exhibition will focus on the brand’s visual identity. © Muji

Founded in Japan in 1980, Muji’s “no-brand” branding ironically made it a household name with its focus on product quality above all else. It is easy to see how one of its founders, Ikko Tanaka – an integral Japanese designer in the 20th century – conveyed the Muji spirit to everything, including the poster designs; a selection of these will be on display at the pop-up exhibition next month.

“Roger Tallon, Design in Motion”, September 8, 2016 – January 8, 2017; Musée des Arts Décoratifs
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Roger Tallon and his models for the TGV 001, TGV Duplex, and TGV Atlantique trains.
© Les Arts Décoratifs, Paris / A.D.A.G.P. 2016

Highly regarded as one of France’s pioneering industrial designer, Roger Tallon might have passed away in 2011 but his remarkable work lives on. He was responsible for the design of many trains, such as the TGV Duplex, the Eurostar and the Montmartre funicular railway. Throughout his 60-year career, the prolific designer also had the route maps for the RER (Paris’ suburban rail network), Wimpy chair M400 spiral staircase, 3T tableware and Teleavia portable TV to his name. Now, many of his lesser-known works in the form of drawings, photos, documents and models – which he donated to the museum in 2008 – will finally be on display to public.

“The Spirit of Bauhaus”, October 19, 2016 – February 26, 2017; Musée des Arts Décoratifs
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Poster for the 1923 Bauhaus Exhibition in Weimar.
© Bauhaus-Archiv Berlin

Marcel Breur, creator of tubular furniture, and photographer Florence Henri (student of Paul Klee and Vassily Kandinsky) both had one thing in common: they both attended the Bauhaus art school in Weimar, Dessau and Berlin from 1919 to 1933. The institution, famous for producing many influential artists and designers brought about a new approach to daily living by bridging the gap between all disciplines of art, including music, photography, architecture and even engineering. The Musée des Arts Décoratifs pays homage to this artistic movement by not only displaying original Bauhaus pieces, but also via the historical periods and their art forms which fueled the school’s spirit.

Exhibition of Jean Nouvel furniture, October 27 – February 12, 2017; Musée des Arts Décoratifs
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Triptychs, 2014, walnut and colored mirrors (Gagosian Gallery and Galerie Patrick Segui).
© Aline Coquelle

You might know Jean Nouvel for his architectural work but his furniture designs are mostly unknown pleasures. From 1987 to present day, the French architect has more than a hundred designs to his name. These will be displayed in various parts of the museum together with their advertising campaigns, of which he also designed in 1998.

“1976-2016: 40 Years of Magis Dreams”, August 31 – October 3, 2016; Pompidou Centre store (main image)

Italian furniture company Magis celebrates its 40th anniversary this year with a retrospective of its history and most recent collections. The mini exhibition, which coincides with Paris Design Week, will also feature Magis’ symbolic cast iron mule, which was specially designed by the brand’s 76-year-old founder, Eugenio Perazza.

AD Interiors exhibition dedicated to collections, September 3 – 18 2016; Monnaie de Paris
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The Ora-Ito-designed kitchen for the 2016 AD Interiors exhibition which this year is dedicated to collections.
© Ora-ïto / “AD Intérieurs 2016, Univers de collectionneurs”

Six years ago, Architectural Digest magazine celebrated its 10th anniversary with its first AD Interiors exhibition, where 10 handpicked designers and interior decorators had to design a room using their style and expertise. For this year’s iteration, participants –including Ora-Ïto, Tristan Auer and Fabrice Ausset – have to create décor for a room based on the theme of the collections.