Tag Archives: France

Dior Granville Candy Colored Jewelry

From peridots, green beryls, aquamarines, tanzanites, tourmalines and rubellites come together in this 12-piece collection and draw inspiration from Christian Dior’s childhood home, Granville. Named after the home he spent his time in as a child, which is now a museum, the candy-colored gems that make up the collection are the brainchild of Victoire de Castellane.

The brand’s fine jewelry creative director explained that the pieces were created “as if putting stickers together spontaneously, without any preconceived constraints”. Although inspired by childhood joie de vivre, the pieces have been meticulously crafted with creativity and exceptional skill in Dior’s Parisian high-jewelry workshops.

A pink gold watch in the "D de Dior Granville" collection, with brilliant cut yellow sapphires on the bezel, a diamond studded crown, turquoise dial and pale pink patent leather bracelet.

A pink gold watch in the “D de Dior Granville” collection, with brilliant cut yellow sapphires on the bezel, a diamond studded crown, turquoise dial and pale pink patent leather bracelet.

Christian Dior’s Normandy childhood is channeled in rings, earrings and bracelets that pop with color. The collection is accompanied by a range of nine watches, crafted from white, yellow and rose gold, evoking the festive and colorful ambiance of the Granville carnival.

Flagship pieces in the “D de Dior Granville” collection include a pink gold watch with a bezel set with brilliant-cut yellow sapphires and a diamond-studded crown. This fresh bouquet of springtime color is topped with a turquoise dial and a pale pink patent leather bracelet.

5 Top Chefs Who Started in France

In its second year running, French cuisine will be celebrated the world over. It will bring over 1,500 chefs from five continents as they whip up some of France’s best cuisine while showcasing its gastronomic traditions. The chefs will be dishing up a traditional French menu with courses such as aperitif, starter, main course, cheese and dessert, accompanied by fine French wines. Before we join in the celebrations with the rest of the world on March 21, we thought we would take a look at five of the world’s top chefs who picked up the tools of the trade in France.

David Bouley

A big name in New York City’s French food scene, American chef Bouley is on of the most respected chefs in the city’s French food scene. Inspired by his visits to France and Europe, the chef has fashioned his own take on contemporary French food. His flagship restaurant Bouley, in the hip TriBeCa neighborhood of New York City (USA), has even been crowned with a Michelin star. The chef studied at the Sorbonne in Paris, and worked alongside legendary masters of French cuisine like Paul Bocuse and Gaston Lenôtre.

Gordon Ramsay

The Scottish chef and media personality has united age-old rivals Britain and France in his own culinary entente cordiale. It’s certainly no coincidence that the charismatic chef heads up some of the finest restaurants in the land of frogs’ legs and snails (the Trianon Palace in Versailles, Le Pressoir d’Argent in Bordeaux). After giving up an early career as a footballer, Gordon Ramsay set about learning the secrets of French cuisine under industry heavyweight Albert Roux at Le Gavroche in London. The Scottish chef then completed his training in France, working with Guy Savoy and Joël Robuchon.

Chef Gordon Ramsey

Chef Gordon Ramsey

Thomas Keller

This American chef has always been a Francophile foodie. He serves up fine fare at his flagship restaurant in California, called The French Laundry, and his New York restaurant Per Se is recognized as one of the best in the world, coming second in “La Liste,” the French Foreign Ministry’s response to the London-based “World’s 50 Best Restaurants” list, unveiled last December. He’s the only American chef to hold three-star Michelin ratings for different restaurants simultaneously, placing him in the same league as Alain Ducasse and Joël Robuchon. Keller went to work in France in 1983, learning his trade in various high-end establishments, including Guy Savoy and Taillevent. The chef was even awarded France’s Legion of Honor (Chevalier de la Légion d’honneur) and was chief consultant on Pixar’s animated movie “Ratatouille.”

Chef Thomas Keller

Chef Thomas Keller


André Chiang

This Taiwanese chef is on his way to becoming a global restauranteur, building the foundations of an international gastronomic empire. He has a particularly close relationship with France after learning his skills under the Pourcel twins – Jacques and Laurent – at their Michelin-starred Montpellier restaurant Le Jardin des Sens. André Chiang first learned to cook alongside his mother before heading to France to discover the secrets of the country’s cuisine. He ended up staying for 15 years, with stints working under Pierre Gagnaire and Joël Robuchon. Today, he’s considered one of the best chefs in the world, particularly for his André restaurant in Singapore.

Chef André Chiang

Chef André Chiang

Shuzo Kishida
Shuzo Kishida is one of a new generation of Japanese chefs learning their trade in France and keeping close ties with the country. Born in the region of Chubu, on the south coast of Honshu island, the chef learned the basics of French cuisine in 1993, working in French restaurant La Mer in a Japanese hotel. Before heading to France, he also did a stint at KM in Tokyo’s famous Shibuya district. After moving 10,000km away from his native Japan, Shuzo Kishida racked up experience in one Michelin-starred restaurant after another, before settling down to a longer spell at L’Astrance under Pascal Barbot. By 2004, he had worked his way up to sous-chef — the second in command — at the triple Michelin-starred establishment. In November 2005, he returned to Japan, maintaining the culinary skills and traditions picked up at L’Astrance to open Quintessence, a restaurant that would take him even further along the road to success with his own three-star Michelin rating.

Chef Shuzo Kishida

Chef Shuzo Kishida

The full list of restaurants participating in Goût de France/Good France on March 21 is available at www.goodfrance.com. To take part in the event, food lovers can simply make a booking directly at the restaurant of their choice.

Johnny Depp French village

Johnny Depp is selling his private village in France

Johnny Depp French village

Johnny Depp is putting his estate in the South of France – a former village with more than a dozen buildings – on the market for $26 million.

The sale includes Mr. Depp’s furniture, books, DVDs, art and many of the actor’s other personal belongings, according to The WSJ.

Johnny Depp swimming pool

Near the village of Plan-de-la-Tour, the tiny hamlet that now comprises Mr. Depp’s estate had been largely deserted for decades.

When Mr. Depp purchased the roughly 37-acre parcel in 2001, “it was in a pretty rough state,” said Alexander Kraft, chairman and CEO of Sotheby’s International Realty France.

Johnny Depp French home bedroom

Mr. Depp spent about $10 million restoring and updating the structures, which were likely constructed in the early 1800s from natural stone and wooden beams, with terra-cotta roofs.

The estate centers around a village square, with a church that Mr. Depp converted into a guest house; a former confessional is now a wardrobe.

Johnny Depp French Estate church

There’s also a restaurant with a full professional kitchen, which Mr. Depp used as “basically the dining room.” Other buildings in the square include a laundry building and a garage, all made to look like local businesses.

Johnny Depp French Estate

Mr. Depp did much of the decorating himself rather than hiring a designer, Mr. Kraft said. A wine cave in the main house has a “Pirates of the Caribbean” motif, with skulls and brightly colored scarves.

Johnny Depp wine cave

The main house is a rambling structure of about 4,300 square feet, with five bedrooms, 3½ bathrooms and an art studio where Mr. Depp painted. There are also several cottages that are used for guests, as well as a covered wagon that Mr. Depp outfitted with a bathroom and kitchen.

Johnny Depp French home

There are two swimming pools, as well as a gym and a skate park with a halfpipe that Mr. Depp built for his son.

Johnny Depp luxury home

Via WSJ – Côte d’Azur Sotheby’s International Realty has this listing.


France tourism campaign asks citizens to be nicer


The French government is about to launch a publicity campaign asking the French to be nicer to tourists as part of a major tourism scheme aimed at boosting visitor numbers.

Improving the welcome extended to tourists must become a “national priority,” said foreign affairs and international development minister Laurent Fabius at a meeting of the Tourism Promotion Council this week.

And while part of that priority may include everything from improving the issuance of visas and streamlining VAT reimbursement procedures, a big part of the initiative will also include the launch of a “humorous” public awareness campaign asking the French to help scrub their reputation for being surly and rude to tourists.

It’s not the first time the French government has appealed to its own citizens to be more hospitable towards tourists.

Tourists pose for a picture in the Carrousel du Louvre in Paris

Last year Fabius and Fleur Pellerin, speaking then as the Secretary of State for foreign trade and tourism, jointly acknowledged the need to improve customer service and help repair the country’s flagging international reputation following well-publicized attacks on groups of Chinese tourists.

This year, the new tourism measures were outlined at the close of the Tourism Promotion Council, after hearing from a panel of 250 tourism professionals and government representatives.

The country’s goal is to attract 100 million tourists in 2020 and maintain its stronghold as one of the top tourist destinations in the world.

Other priorities for the country include improving foreign-language skills and quality service among the people who work the front lines with tourists.

Likewise, the French capital also published its own six-page etiquette manual last year offering mini cultural sensitivity lessons on how to relate to British, American, Chinese and Brazilian visitors.

The manual was distributed to restaurants, taxi drivers and sales staff.

instant luxe

Second-hand luxury goods market booms in France

A decade ago, French lovers of high-end fashion would not have dreamed of buying a pre-owned luxury fashion accessory. Now the second-hand market for luxury goods is booming, thanks to the internet.

The global second-hand luxury market is worth an estimated 3 billion euros (and that’s a lot of bags! Even when they’re Chanel).


Hotel De Matignon

French Prime Minister Sells Wine Cellar

Hotel De Matignon

After a path-breaking wine auction by the French presidential palace of some of the best bottles from its cellar, the prime minister will follow suit in December, the Drouot auction house said Friday.

A total of 1,400 bottles from the prime minister’s official Matignon residence in Paris will go under the hammer on December 6.

“These bottles are estimated between 15 euros and 5,500 euros,” Drouot said. Top-end offers include Chateau Mouton Rothschild Pauillac 2000, a Romani Conti 2004 and a La Tache 1990.

In May, 1,200 bottles, including some of the world’s most prestigious labels,were auctioned by the Elysee presidential palace. Officially, the purpose of the auction was to liberate funds to rejuvenate the presidential collection but officials have also said proceeds will be invested in more modest replacements and any surplus will be ploughed back into government coffers.

The conspicuous cost-cutting is in keeping with the tone of Socialist President Francois Hollande’s presidency, which has been clouded by a gloomy economic backdrop.

But it has not gone down well with Michel-Jack Chasseuil, one of France’s most prominent wine collectors who wrote to Hollande complaining that he was selling off national heritage.

Tour de France

How to score VIP access to the Tour de France

tour de france champs elysees

A handful of spots are still available for VIP, front-row seats to the greatest cycling sport event in the world. Though the 100th edition of the Tour de France kicked off over the weekend, official tour operators for the event have a few empty spots for select legs of the race.

Trek Travel, one of six official outfits for the Tour de France, still has availability for July 11-17, when the cyclists make their way through Ventoux and Provence.

Those keen on being a part of history also have the option of a Paris Finishing Package, a four-day itinerary that includes sweeping aerial views of the convoy as cyclists make their way along the Champs-Elysées and Place de la Concorde from the balconies of the Automobile Club de France.

Instead of bumping shoulder-to-shoulder with thousands of fans in the July heat, guests will sip on champagne and cocktails and watch the arrival of the first-ever nighttime peloton.

Similarly, Thomson Bike Tours still has spots remaining for both hard-core biking enthusiasts and non-riders alike.

Segments that roll through the Pyrenees, Mont Ventoux, and the Alpes d’Huez are designed to give riders a taste of the course. Rides range from 30 to 80 km daily and include access to VIP viewing areas throughout the race and the chance to ride the last few kilometers of a Tour de France stage escorted by the Official TDF Car.

Non-riders can purchase spectator packages that include exclusive VIP access to the finish line, guided visits of technical areas, media centers and team zones and meetings with Tour de France celebrities.

For more last-minute tickets and VIP access to the Tour de France, visit www.letour.fr/le-tour/2013/.

Le Royal Monceau Raffles Paris receives Palace rating

Le Royal Monceau Raffles Paris

Le Royal Monceau is the latest top-end Paris hotel to receive the prestigious Palace rating — one step higher than five stars — from Atout France, the French Agency for Tourism Development.

Le Royal Monceau La Cuisine

Located on Avenue Hoche, it has 149 rooms and suites. Its two restaurants, La Cuisine and Il Carpaccio, received Michelin stars earlier this year. It re-opened in 2010 after a two year transformation by Philippe Starck, revealing brilliant, witty contemporary interiors infused with artistic flair.

Le Royal Monceau Carpaccio

The vibrancy of les Années Folles of the late 1920s, when the hotel first opened, peopled by a cast of artists, intellectuals and adventurers, had been successfully recreated.

Le Royal Monceau Presidentielle Suite

Le Royal Monceau is the sixth Paris hotel to receive the rating, the others being the Four Seasons George V, the Park Hyatt Paris Vendôme, the Plaza Athénée, Le Meurice and Le Bristol.

Le Royal Monceau spaLe Royal Monceau Terrace

Miraval rose wine

First Jolie-Pitt rose wine vintage sells out within hours

Miraval rose wine

The first 6,000 bottles of Miraval rose wine from a French vineyard owned by Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt sold out Thursday within hours of going on general sale.

“Selling started at 9:00 am (0800 GMT) and everything was sold by 2:00 pm” during the online sale, said Vitabella, a public relations firm representing the vineyard.

The couple teamed up with the French winemaking Perrin family to develop the “Miraval Cotes de Provence” label, named after their Chateau Miraval estate in the south of France.

The 2012 vintage was priced at 105 euros ($138) per case of six bottles for the Internet sale. Another 100,000 bottles have been sold to wine merchants and restaurants.

Jolie and Pitt acquired the 500-hectare (1,200-acre) estate in 2008 and have used it as a summer residence. The estate includes around 50 to 60 acres of vines.

Marc Perrin said that the couple were involved in the production process and wanted to do more than “just put their name” on the label. “They want to be proud of the wine on their property. They are really looking for excellence,” he said.

High Heels

Paris women finally allowed to wear trousers

High Heels

Women in Paris can finally wear trousers without fear of criminal prosecution after the government said a more than 200-year-old ban no longer had any legal effect.

Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, France’s minister of women’s rights, said in a statement that the ban, imposed on November 17, 1800, was incompatible with modern French values and laws.

The municipal order required women to seek permission from local police if they wanted to “dress like a man” by wearing trousers. It was modified in 1892 & 1909 to allow women to wear trousers if they were holding a bicycle handlebar or the reins of a horse” but had officially remained on the books.

Parisian women had demanded the right to wear trousers during the French Revolution when working-class revolutionaries were known as “sans-culottes” for wearing trousers instead of the silk-knee breeches favoured by the bourgeoisie.

Women’s dress continues to stir political passions in France, with Cecile Duflot, the Green housing minister, criticised last May for wearing jeans to the first cabinet meeting of Socialist President Francois Hollande’s new government. She was later subjected to jeers and wolf-whistles while wearing a floral summer dress in the National Assembly.

A number of women also broke parliamentary protocol by wearing jeans during an extended debate at the weekend over France’s planned legalisation of gay marriage.

Saint-Cirq-Lapopie France

Tourists Flock to ‘France’s Favorite Village’

Saint-Cirq-Lapopie France

The medieval village of Saint-Cirq-Lapopie is set to receive an influx of visitors after the historic settlement was voted “France’s Favorite Village” by a TV show in June.

Originally established in the 13th century, Saint-Cirq-Lapopie has survived several wars and invasions over the years, and attracts more than 400,000 visitors annually.

Many international tourists travel to France to tour the village, which lies on a rocky outcropping overlooking the Lot River in the southwest.
Continue reading

Pierre Herme cookbook Pastries

Pierre Hermé’s New Cookbook ‘Pastries’

Pierre Herme cookbook Pastries

French pastry chef Pierre Hermé is set to release a cookbook filled with some of the recipes and pastries that have made his name a powerful brand around the world.

Pierre Hermé gives readers a hundred recipes that reinvent classic French cakes and desserts into innovative new flavor combinations, like croissants filled with rose-scented almond paste and a raspberry and lychee compote.

The Saint Honoré cake is reinvented with green tea, chestnuts and passionfruit, while a ‘foie gras’ crème brûlée is adorned with caramelized mango.
Continue reading

Nicolas sarkozy Anna wintour

Anna Wintour receives the Legion of Honor

Nicolas sarkozy Anna wintour

Anna Wintour, Editor of U.S. Vogue Anna Wintour was awarded a Legion d’Honneur award by French President Nicolas Sarkozy in Paris on July 6

Wearing brand-new Chanel Couture that had walked the night before, Anna accepted her pin in front of a crowd that included Bernard Arnault, Karl Lagerfeld, Stefano Pilati, Donatella Versace, Tommy Hilfiger, Alber Elbaz, Franca Sozzani, and Riccardo Tisci.

Wintour was awarded a Chevalier (Knight) of the Order, which was established by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1802 and signifies the highest order of decoration in France.
Continue reading

Belle dOpium ad

French houses honored at French fragrance awards

Belle dOpium ad

The French fragrance foundation awarded its annual prizes exclusively to local brands last week.

Its main awards for best fragrance of the year went to Yves Saint Laurent’s Belle d’Opium, in women’s perfumes and Bleu de Chanel in the men’s category.

All other winning brands, including Lancôme, Hermès, or Biotherm, also hail from France.
Continue reading


Paris’s ‘palace’ hotels – the winners and losers


The French government announced the eight recipients of its new ‘palace’ hotel rating May 5, dealing a blow to some of Paris’s most famous hotels.

The ‘palace’ rating is an official designation above five stars awarded by the French tourism authorities — it’s designed to help travelers identify the cream of the country’s many swanky hotels.

A total of four Paris properties were given the award — the Bristol, the Meurice, the Park Hyatt and the Plaza Athenee.
Continue reading

Grand Prix de la baguette 2011

Paris names best baguette maker in the city

Grand Prix de la baguette 2011

After smelling, crackling, tasting, and scrupulously examining an interminably long row of baguettes, a panel of judges whittled down a list of 174 contenders, all vying for the Grand Prize for best baguette in Paris, to just one.

Tuesday’s competition crowned Pascal Barillon the best baguette maker in Paris this year, a competition that turns humble bakers into instant celebrities and attracts snaking lines of customers outside their bakery every day.

The edible icon of Paris is an institution not just for tourists, but for the French who also rhapsodize about the best baguettes in the city.
Continue reading

michelin france 2011

New French Michelin guide gets makeover

michelin france 2011

In an effort to distance itself from accusations of being elitist, this year’s Michelin Guide France 2011 has revamped itself to cater to the mainstream diner.

This year’s edition, to be released March 3, has expanded its “Bib Gourmand” section with a listing of 601 restaurants offering a complete prix fixe (fixed price) menu for less than 35 euros in France –the largest selection in its history.

Bib listings are considered restaurants that offer “good food at moderate prices.”
Continue reading