Tag Archives: France


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.
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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.
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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.”
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gondola venice

Head to Italy for Valentine’s romance

gondola venice

If you’re planning on whisking a loved one away this Valentine’s Day (February 14), Italy is the place to go according a new poll.

The survey, conducted by Skyscanner, revealed that a full third of the 1000 respondents questioned believed Italy was the world’s most romantic destination.

France, the more traditional getaway for the world’s romantics, took second place with 19 percent of the votes and the Caribbean took third place with nine percent.
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MINI Cooper Matt Edition

MINI Cooper Matt Edition

MINI Cooper Matt Edition

MINI has announced plans to offer in France a limited edition Cooper Hatch, called the Mat Edition.

The car features a matt black exterior wrap, checked mirror covers, unique side vents, and an individually-numbered key ring.

Production will be limited to 250 units. The €2800 package will be available to order as a MINI Cooper, Cooper D, Cooper S and John Cooper Works.

HWY 101 California

US overtakes France as best place to live

HWY 101 California

International Living has just published its annual Quality of Life Index for 2011. Topping the Index this year is the United States of America.

In the influential publication’s 2011 Quality of Life index, last year’s winner France slipped to fourth place out of the 192 countries surveyed.

It is the first time in five years that France, described last year as a place where “life is savored,” hasn’t held top spot.
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Château de Versailles Orangerie

France’s Versailles palace to host luxury hotel

Versailles palace Orangerie

The Palace of Versailles is to transform one of its satellite buildings into a luxury hotel, paving the way for a series of French projects aimed at exploiting the economic potential of listed buildings while securing their renovation.

The Hotel du Grand Controle is to be converted into a “luxury hotel,” Jean-Jacques Aillagon, president of the Chateau de Versailles, said Tuesday.

The opening of the 23-bedroom establishment, in which some rooms will look out onto the “Orangerie”, the chateau’s elaborate greenhouse, is planned for late 2011.
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Picasso treasure trove surfaces in France

Hundreds of unknown Pablo Picasso works worth tens of millions of euros have surfaced in France in the hands of a 71-year-old retired electrician who says they were gifts from the master.

Dating from the first third of the 20th century — considered Picasso’s most fertile period — the 271 pieces are valued by experts at more than 60 million euros.

And the new-found drawings, paintings and studies are now at the heart of a legal tug-of-war between the electrician, Pierre Le Guennec, and the artist’s heirs who believe they must have been stolen and have filed for charges.
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Marc Veyrat

French cuisine eyes UNESCO heritage spot

When it comes to meal time, the French do it differently. That is the argument being put to UNESCO as it decides this week whether French cuisine deserves a spot on its intangible heritage list.

“The gastronomic meal of the French” is seen as a strong contender as the UN agency meets in Nairobi from Monday to Friday to consider new submissions for the list, set up in 2003 to safeguard cultural traditions, rituals and crafts.

France’s submission to the list centres around the ritual of the festive meal in a country where food is a key part of social life.
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Saudi royalty buys Paris’s Crillon hotel

Paris’ world-famous luxury Crillon hotel has been sold to Saudi investors linked to the royal family for around 250 million euros ($446 million).

US-based Starwood Capital is in the final stages of the sale which does not include a reportedly 100-million-euro programme needed to modernise one of the world’s oldest luxury hotels, according to the daily Le Figaro.

The Kempinski Hotels group is to manage the Crillon, the paper said, but the new acquisition would be its first in France.

The Crillon, built in the 18th century on what would become the Place de la Concorde, has 147 rooms and suites and employs around 360 people.
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Takashi Murakami at Versailles

Japanese artist Takashi Murakami‘s outlandish manga visions overwhelm the Chateau of Versailles, and not everyone is happy.

Unbelievably, his metal, fibreglass and acrylic sculptures manage to dominate the vast chambers of Versailles, with their marbled walls, gold leaf capitals and celestial ceiling frescoes.

But while French monarchists have denounced as “illegal” the exhibition, the artist himself says that he is quite used to what he calls “Murakami-bashing.”
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Protesters decry Murakami show at Versailles

Protesters decry takashi Murakami show at Versailles

A show of outlandish sculptures by a Japanese artist in the Chateau of Versailles near Paris has enraged traditionalists who say it dishonours France’s past.

From September 14 to December 12, visitors to Versailles will see eye-grabbing multicoloured statues in silver, fibreglass and metal by Takashi Murakami alongside the chateau’s ornate murals and chandeliers.

“The Chateau de Versailles is one of the greatest symbols of Western history,” Murakami said in a statement on the museum’s website.
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Madonna on Roman Abramovich’s yacht

Madonna has borrowed Roman Abramovich’s brand new yacht “Luna” while filming W.E., the new Duke of WIndsor movie she’s directing in the South of France.

The luxurious yacht provides convenient accommodation for Madonna as she films the movie’s beach scenes, London’s Daily Mail reports.

With a swimming pool, sunbathing deck, gaming area and two helipads, the 115 metre boat is the largest expedition yacht in the world.
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French president Sarkozy orders €176 million plane

French President Nicolas Sarkozy ‘s dream of having a presidential jet to rival Air Force One of the United States is about to come true.

“Air Sarko One,” a $241-million Airbus A330-200, has made its first test flight in Bordeaux, southwestern France.

Although not quite as big as the Boeing 747-200 that is Air Force One, the French A330-200 will be at least ten metres longer and two metres higher that the aircraft used by other European leaders.
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LVMH Chief Bernard Arnault Is France’s Richest Man

LVMH CEO Bernard Arnault, the man behind some of the world’s top luxury labels, has been officially named France’s richest man.

Arnault’s fortune is estimated at 22.7 billion euros, ($28.6 billion) following a 55% increase in his net worth weekly magazine Challenges reported.

Arnault took over the top slot from Gerard Mulliez and family, the owners of the Auchan supermarket chain. Mulliez was still in second place with a fortune estimated at 19 billion euros.
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The girls from the pearl at Chanel

A monumental lion, teeth bared and one front paw resting proprietorially on a giant pearl, held centre stage, its golden coat caught in the setting sun under the glass dome of the Grand Palais.

Karl Lagerfeld is a past master at dreaming up attention-grabbing scenarios for his Chanel shows, and Tuesday night’s was no exception.

It looked like an allusion to Jean Cocteau’s Surreal masterpiece “Beauty and the Beast” when the traditional bride at the end was accompanied by a groom wearing a lion’s head over his wedding suit.

However Lagerfeld told AFP it had been inspired by a small bronze lion found in Coco Chanel’s apartment.
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Louis Vuitton Revamps St. Tropez Store

Louis Vuitton unveiled its revamped luxury Saint-Tropez store on 18-June 2010 and launched an exclusive beach bag to celebrate.

The store has been doubled in size with the integration of an adjoining space–a former house of pottery–on rue Georges Clemenceau.

It features interiors inspired by classic Mediterranean glamour: wooden displays, stone floors and sunlight flooding in through large windows that open onto a private garden paved with Provencal briquettes and Mediterranean plants.
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Karl Lagerfeld: Editor-in-Chief at Libération

Libération – the iconic left wing French newspaper – has invited Karl Lagerfeld to be editor-in-chief for the day.

The entire issue bears his mark, from illustrations to comments, to special interviews of him, and an opinion page about the designer.

His illustrations include a self-portrait for the cover of today’s edition, which is 14 by 22 inches — twice as large as it usually is.
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Second life for Lacroix creations

The exuberant creations of Christian Lacroix, who lost his prestigious house last year, are to get a second life as part of France’s national heritage.

The French culture ministry said Tuesday that the owners of the label had confirmed a donation of 11 outfits for the country’s Decorative Arts Museum.

A further 3,000 haute couture models dating from the creation of the label in 1987 to its demise in 2009 would be lent to national museums when necessary.
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