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VIVE LA FRANCE N0 2 2013

le magazine

TOUR DE FRANCE

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liFeSTYle i gOURmeT i aCCOmmODaTiOn i DeSTinaTiOn i PORTRaiT |


‘LA VIE EN ROSE’ ThE fILm AT dIOR.cOm


facebook.com/champagne.g.h.mumm Please enjoy G.H.MUMM responsibly.


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Atout France Team in Sydney.

CYCLING TAKES A LEAD POSITION IN THIS ISSUE OF RENDEZ-VOUS EN FRANCE WITH OUR

I

FOCUS ON

’m an accidental cycling enthusiast – my first bike was an unexpected gift

THE 100TH

20 years ago, and I haven’t stopped pedalling since. Of course, my weekend

ANNIVERSARY

circuit in Sydney ends with coffee rather than cardio crunches, and the fanciest gear I own is one pair of lycra pants.

OF THE TOUR

But the Tour de France is a thrilling event I obsess over year-round.

Whether crammed in among fans by the roadside in France, or nodding

DE FRANCE,

off trying to watch it after midnight (you must tune in to French cable, where

AND TOP NEW

25-year veteran journalists pour forth witty insights about every landmark along the way), the race is epic.

SPOTS FOR

As we go to press, cycling enthusiasts around the world are gathered in a frenzy of speculation as to the feats, heroism and intrigue that will unfold in 2013.

CYCLING.

After all, that is what’s characterised the race since its inception and this year – the 100th Tour – will be no different. In this issue of Rendez-vous en France, we explore the Tour’s history, strategic challenges and scenic highlights, pairing our story with an exclusive selection of photos from an upcoming exhibition in Sydney and Melbourne celebrating 100 years of the Tour de France. We hope you’ll feel inspired to cycle in France on your next trip. As always, the magazine bursts with new flavours in fashion, food, design, wine and more. We showcase the radical new waterfront precinct and cultural programme of Marseille in 2013, innovative dining spots in Aquitaine, and the style revolution happening in Paris’s 10th and 11th arrondissements. Happy reading – and bonne chance with your cycling adventures!

Patrick Benhamou Director Atout France France Tourism Development Agency, Australia and New Zealand patrick.benhamou@atout-france.fr TONS RECOMMANDÉS (3)

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RENDEZVOUS EN FRANCE 2013 DIRECTOR OF PUBLICATIONS Christian Mantei EDITOR Stephanie Oley ART DIRECTOR Yolanda Koning PROOFREADER Rebecca Haddad COVER PHOTOGRAPHY Getty Images

CONTRIBUTORS Kala Barba-Court, Ruby Boukabou, Mark Coultan, Vanessa Couchman, Dana Levy, Ella Lombardi, Ute Junker, Andrew Marshall, Paul Marshall, Persephone Nicholas Printed in China ATOUT FRANCE AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND France Tourism Development Agency Editorial, Production and Sales Team: Sophie Almin, Claire Kaletka-Neil, Johanna Mayr, Aurore Vannier, Alexia Brusselle. L13, 25 Bligh Street Sydney NSW 2000 Australia T: +61 2 9231 5243 F:+ 61 2 9221 8682 www.rendezvousenfrance.com

Become our Facebook fan www.facebook.com/ FrenchTouristBureauInAustralia Follow us on Twitter www.twitter.com/franceOfficial Watch new content on YouTube www.youtube.com/user/frenchtouristoffice

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Camilla Arvor is a welcome guest on EY451/EY31 every two months. Ask her why and she’ll enthuse about the miraculous effects of the complimentary cold-stone eye revive treatment, offered at the Six Senses Spa in our lounges at Abu Dhabi. At Etihad, we’re inspired by the best the world has to offer, and treat everyone as our guest.


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Kissed by the SUN DESERVEDLY ONE OF FRANCE’S BEST-KNOWN GOURMET AND WINE DESTINATIONS, THE DELECTABLE REGION OF AQUITAINE HAS A REPUTATION FOR ARTISAN CUISINE. IT ALSO HOSTS A STUNNING NEW CYCLE PATH, THE VELODYSSEY.

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The magnificent Château Beynac in the Dordogne, built into cliffs in the 12th century by the barons of Beynac. (Photo: CRTA/ Laurent Reiz.)


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DOWNLOAD OUR APPS!

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or serious wine drinkers, Aquitaine is practically synonymous with its genteel capital, Bordeaux. The region is known worldwide for its famous appellation-controlled (AOC) wines: the reds of Médoc, Saint Émilion and Bordeaux; and the whites of Bergerac and Entre-Deux-Mers. Upholding the heritage of fine wines are centuries-old châteaux and vineyards, where the visitor is immersed in unforgettable sights and scents. But none of this would exist if not for Aquitaine’s superb environs. Its 250 kilometres of Atlantic coastline, with white sandy beaches,

Scan the QR code shown, and you’ll be taken to a wide menu of Aquitaine apps and the countless pure rivers that course down its mountainsides, inspired Roman settlers more than 2000 years ago to name the region Aquitania – ‘blessed with water’. Present-day visitors to Aquitaine are still attracted by the unsullied environment, with four out of five residents living in cities that occupy just 17 per cent of land area. Highlights include the world-class châteaux and vineyards outside Bordeaux; prehistoric caves of Lascaux near Sarlat; the beaches and spas of Biarritz along the Basque coast; oysters and sand dunes near the Bay of Arcachon; and the area’s many bastides or medieval castles and villages.

available to download via our website. There are apps dedicated to different regions, such as the Basque coast or Biarritz, along with wine, food and history apps.

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Clockwise from top right: Fusion-style cabillaud (cod) dish at Bistrot du Gabriel (photo: Restaurant Le Gabriel); the so-called Miroir d’Eau effect of vapour rising at Place de la Bourse (photo: CRTA/Alain Bèguerie); vineyards at Château Cos d’Estournel (photo: CRTA/Laurent Reiz).

CYCLE ODYSSEY Thanks to a spate of cycling fever in the last 10 years, France’s major cities and towns now offer a swathe of options for cyclists, including urban bike rental hubs, bicycle paths and cycling holiday packages. New on the scene is Velodyssey (www. cycling-aquitaine.com), a 1200-kilometre cycle track that links France’s entire west coast with England in the north, and Spain in the south. Eighty per cent of Velodyssey is off-road, making it attractive to cyclists of all abilities, and the concept doesn’t just end with infrastructure. Velodyssey boasts the “Accueil Vélo” label, which means that four categories of traveller amenities always lie within 5 kilometres of the track: dining and accommodation (including luggage transfers); bike hire and repair services; tourist information; and leisure attractions. While the average visiting cyclist covers 65 to 90 kilometres per day, there’s nothing to stop

you going further – or taking it real easy during your cycling tour of Aquitaine. Factor in a swim at Lacanau, Mimizan or Biarritz; climb Europe’s highest sand dune at the Bay of Arcachon; breathe in pine forest scents in the Landes; and sample the fine local flavours just about anywhere. Oysters and foie gras are just two choice specialities.

GOURMET FIX IN BORDEAUX Bordeaux is an architectural masterpiece, thanks to the wealthy wine merchants who established their grand structures here in the 1600s and to visionary mayor Alain Juppe, who took drastic steps to preserve the city’s heritage in 1996. A suite of restoration works, and the conversion of several traffic-choked streets into breezy pedestrian-only thoroughfares, makes Bordeaux a city for people-watching,

strolling, cycling and feasting. There are always some new dining hotspots here. The Gabriel (www.bordeaux-gabriel.fr), one acclaimed recent opening, is set inside the UNESCO heritage-listed Place de la Bourse building in central Bordeaux. Here, chef François Adamski has earned rave reviews (and a Michelin star) for his imaginative, modern taken on French cuisine. Less formal and equally impressive is the Bistrot du Gabriel upstairs, open for lunch, tea and dinner. Several fine-dining spots offer guest accommodations. Historic Hotel de Sèze (www.hotelde-seze.com), completely refurbished in 2012, has a classic yet contemporary French restaurant and offers 55 elegant guestrooms and suites. The style is uncluttered yet warm, with natural hues and antique-style furnishings. Several rooms offer romantic district views across the 18th-century rooftops of Bordeaux. Another must for foodies is Chez Dupont (www.chez-dupont.com) near the River Garonne,

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Citadines Apart’hotel offers a unique stay concept in the heart of major cities supported with a wide choice of personalised hotel-style services. Staying with Citadines offers you flexibility and independence. Want to cook your favourite meal? Stay for a night? A month? It’s your choice. Experience independent city living in more than 60 Citadines properties in the world, including 30 properties in France (16 in Paris). Upgrade to a Citadines Prestige experience: increased personalised service, comfort and fantastic locations.

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Citadines Apart’hotel is managed by The Ascott Limited, a member of CapitaLand. It is the largest international serviced residence owner-operator with more than 200 properties in over 70 cities spanning more than 20 countries across Asia Pacific, Europe and the Gulf region. It operates three awardwinning brands Ascott, Citadines and Somerset. MAGAZINE


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Clockwise from top right: Village square at Saint Emilion (photo: CRTA/Laurent Reiz); wine barrels at the magical Château Soutard (photo: ©Château Soutard); cycling in the Basque village of Saint Jean de Luz on the Aquitaine leg of Velodyssee (photo: © La Vélodyssèe/J Damase/CRA-CRTA)

known for its vibrant, produce-centric menu. Chez Dupont now offers four striking guestrooms, newly renovated in 2012. The design lines of each room are soothing and neoclassical, offset with rich textures and colours such as hewn-stone walls and jewel-coloured feature furnishings. On the must-stay list for design hotel aficionados is Mama Shelter (www.mamashelter. com), known for its funky interiors and affordable rates. The group is expanding beyond Paris and Marseille to open in Bordeaux in July 2013, having secured an Art Deco building and given it an artful makeover by design icon Philippe Starck and Bordeaux architects, King Kong. As always, guestrooms are intimately tailored to the modern traveller, with office nooks, wi-fi and even a microwave oven in each. Recommended.

REGIONAL FLAVOURS Outside Aquitaine, delectable flavours abound – whether it’s at a Michelin-starred restaurant, a top winegrowing estate or a family-run B&B. Closest to Bordeaux and intricately bound with Aquitaine’s appeal are several winegrowing areas, including Médoc and Saint Émilion.

Château Loudenne in the Médoc (www.lafragette. com) and Château Soutard (www.chateau-soutard.com) in Saint Émilion are two winegrowing establishments with centuries of history, and a bent for making wine tasting enjoyable and educational. Château Loudenne also offers several charming guestrooms. Further west is the Dordogne region, characterised by its craggy limestone cliffs and castles, meandering rivers and intimate villages. It’s not far from the famous UNESCO heritage-listed caves of Lascaux, harbouring an astounding 2000-plus rock paintings depicting life in the Paleolithic era. A romantic place to stay or dine is the Hôtel les Jardins de Brantôme (lesjardinsdebrantome. com), an intimate farmhouse-style establishment in the town of Brantôme. Guestrooms are scattered around a central garden courtyard, and feature rustic chestnut floorboards, wrought-iron trims and linen or sisal furnishings. Owners Florence and Christophe take much pride in their restaurant, too, with a carefully considered menu incorporating produce from their garden, served in the country-style dining room. In south-west Aquitaine is the waterwaystudded Lot-et-Garonne region. At Villeneuve-sur-

Lot, guests can stay in one of just five farmhousestyle guest suites overlooking the intimate garden and terrace of boutique hotel Le Clos du Mûrier (www.leclosdumurier.fr). A feature is the flavoursome cuisine, prepared using produce grown on site. Cooking lessons are available on demand. In the far south of Aquitaine is the chic resort area of the Basque coast, sought after as much by surfers as it is by spa-doyennes. Boutique hotel Antzika (www.antzika.com) near Biarritz is an ode to the simple life, being the result of some 10 years of painstaking restoration by craftsman Daniel Housset. It offers five cleverly reimagined guest suites and is a short stroll to the beach. Biarritz itself has many options to wine and dine, including Café Jean (cafejean-biarritz.com) near the market downtown. With flavours such as jamon and gazpacho on the evening tapas menu, it offers a distinctly south-of-the-border experience.

›› FURTHER INFORMATION Tourism Aquitaine www.tourism-aquitaine.com Aquitaine by bike www.cycling-aquitaine.com

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What we’re READING EXPERIENCE FRENCH ART DE VIVRE VICARIOUSLY THROUGH THESE WONDERFUL NEW-RELEASE TOMES.

J’aime Paris, Alain Ducasse (Hardie Grant Books, RRP $59.95) Super chef Alain Ducasse takes you on a gourmet guide to Paris, stopping at his favourite Parisian markets, specialty shops, restaurants, pâtisseries and more. The journey is replete with lavish photography, and the chef’s engaging sense of humour and passion for good living.

All Good Things, Sarah Turnbull (Harper Collins, RRP $29.99) For many people, finding the love of your life and moving to Paris would be close to having it all. But for author Sarah Turnbull and her husband Frédéric, of Almost French fame, another adventure was awaiting. This memoir chronicles their post-Paris stint in tropical Tahiti.

Lessons from Madame Chic, Jennifer L Scott (Harper Collins, RRP $24.99) An intriguing compilation of the secrets behind French style and joie de vivre, revealing valuable lessons the author learned while living behind Famille Chic’s doors in Paris. The book includes a handy checklist on how you can adopt the effortless style of the fabulous Madame Chic.

How to Sound Like a Champagne Expert, Fritz Gubler and Danielle Viera (Arbon Publishing, RRP $19.99) Can you choose and enjoy the right champagne for the right occasion? This paperback, featuring 50 luxe colour images, includes a helpful aide-memoire with salient details about this tantalising tipple, plus a complete glossary of champagne-related terms. Released August.

Burned, Persephone Nicholas (Random House, ebook, RRP $19.95) Ardent Francophile and Rendez-vous en France contributor, Persephone Nicholas, says travelling in France inspires her. Her award-winning debut novel is a haunting story of loss, love and renewal in which four people are brought together by one horrifying event that will burn them forever.

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JEWEL of the Riviera EMBRACING ITS WELL-DESERVED REPUTATION AS ONE OF EUROPE’S MOST COSMOPOLITAN CITIES, NICE REMAINS THE UNDISPUTED DARLING OF THE RIVIERA. ELLA LOMBARDI GOES EXPLORING.

Illuminated artwork ‘Conversation in Nice’, by Jaume Plensa, in Nice’s Place Masséna (photo: VDN). 28

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RIVIERA PASS This all-inclusive card gives visitors free access to the French Riviera’s major sites, and exclusive advantages at recommended restaurants, boutiques, leisure facilities, artists’ studios and more. Purchase yours at the tourism department’s website, below.

Clockwise from top: Provençal dining outdoors (photo: VDN/P Fallon); hotel breakfast beside the Bay of Angels (photo: J. Kelagopian); colourful boats at the Port de Nice (photo: A. Issock).

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nce a winter retreat for Czarist aristocrats and British royals, Nice is enjoying a new wave of appreciation. The city’s contemporary art and design, haute cuisine and sleek new night-life rival that of its swanky coastal neighbours, Cannes and Saint Tropez. But Nice’s sparkling reinvigoration balances its historical heart, including well-maintained traditions, beautiful Belle Epoque architecture and centuries-old monuments. Curving its way around the Bay of Angels, Nice has a balmy climate that draws crowds

of sun worshippers in the warmer months, to sip cocktails on parasol-topped lounges and admire the French Riveria’s famous 7-kilometre Promenade des Anglais. But France’s fifth largest city boasts more than just fun in the sun. Former artists-in-residence including Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse and Marc Chagall have given the city a legacy of artistic history. This year, Nice celebrates two art milestones, with the National Marc Chagall Museum’s 40th anniversary, and the now 50-year-old Matisse Museum celebrating Henri Matisse’s life through his work. Some 1500 works of art make up Chagall’s permanent collection – the world’s largest. This year the museum has added a new work, ‘Cranberry Lake’, the double portrait of Chagall and his beloved wife Bella. But the city also boasts modern houses of art and design, including the Musée d’Art Moderne et d’Art Contemporain and the Musée des Beaux-Arts. Visitors can also enjoy 14 works of contemporary art along the Nice-Côte d’Azur tramway. Continue savouring historic Nice in the pedestrian-only laneways of romantic Vieux Nice (Old Town), before stopping at Place Rossetti, close to the glorious Cours Saleya, a daily flower and produce market. It’s time for lunch and you’re in the right place, with no less than seven Michelin-starred restaurants nearby.

Chef David Vaque’s le Bistro Gourmand (www.lebistrogourmand.fr) is the latest to join the Michelin ranks in Nice, with a recent onestar rating. But it’s Le Chantecler (www.hotel-negresco-nice.com) in the majestic historical Hotel Le Negresco that stands out as the city’s only twostar dining destination. Here, chef Jean-Denis Rieubland delivers a seductive take on Provençal flavours. For casual dining, Cours Saleya brims with chic boltholes and family-style French bistros. Don’t forget to try Nice’s famous Salade Niçoise. Nice enjoys the comforts of more than 20 luxury hotels offering pit stops for fashion lovers, who come for the big-name fashion boutiques along rue Paradis and rue de Suede, and even more choices on avenue Jean Medecin. When the sun goes down, Nice’s urban energy lights up the city with buzzing watering holes and bars in backstreets. Music-lovers descend on the city each year when it plays host to some of the biggest world festivals, including the Nice Jazz Festival, when more than 500 musicians perform in some 75 concerts around the city. But undoubtedly the biggest highlight of the social calendar is the Nice Carnival, a 15-day extravaganza bringing together more than 1000 musicians and dancers from around the world. The next Nice Carnival will run from 14 February to 4 March, 2014.

›› FURTHER INFORMATION Convention and Visitors Bureau of Nice www.nicetourisme.com

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View from the BOARDWALK A LONG-TIME FAVOURITE DESTINATION FOR HOLIDAYMAKERS, DEAUVILLE IN NORMANDY EXUDES THE GRACE OF BYGONE TIMES AND ITS CASINO, HORSES AND PROMENADES REMAIN ENDURING ATTRACTIONS.

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ith its sweeping beaches and uncluttered skies, the Channel-facing town of Deauville has attracted a roll call of famous creatives over the years. Painters Raoul Dufy and Eugène Boudin, photographer Robert Capa and others have all depicted its untamed seascapes; filmmaker Claude Lelouch wrote the script for hit romance Une Homme et une Femme after watching a woman on the beach here. Deauville’s rise to glamour began as far back as 1858, when the ambitious and well-connected businessman Duke de Morny (half-brother of

Napoleon III) created the city’s racetracks, casino and a rail link to Paris. A 653-metre-long boardwalk followed in 1923, and the gentry were soon flocking in droves to experience Deauville’s salt air and good living.

SEA CHANGE The beachfront of Deauville is wide and flat enough to allow for more than a lazy jaunt along the shore. Horseback riding and sand yachting along the water’s edge are popular, while the elegant boardwalk calls for people-watching and leisurely strolls alike.

The first racecouse, which opened in 1865, proved so popular that another followed in 1928. Deauville is now host to a year-round calendar of equestrian events, from polo to horse jumping and horseracing (photo: © Patrice Le Brice).

Colourful canvas beach huts and umbrellas dot the sands, as ambient as they are photogenic. Celebrities including Francis Ford Coppola, Chow Yun-Fat and Rita Hayworth are just a few celebrities to have their names engraved on Deauville’s sea cabins. Thanks to the city’s annual American Film Festival and Asian Film Festival, famous faces are not uncommon here. Yachties visit year-round, to participate in regattas including the international dragon-class competition among others, and to compare tinnies in the harbour’s two marinas, which can accommodate 1250 yachts combined. A new district along the port, currently under construction, is due to open in 2015 on the La Touques peninsula. Along the beach you’ll also find seawater baths, a seawater Olympic swimming pool, thalassotherapy spa, mini golf courses and much more.

CULTURED TO THE CORE Deauville’s associations with culture have left a lasting legacy, including grand 1920s architecture, a firmly entrenched equestrian scene and a swathe of options for staying and dining. The five-star Hôtel Normandy Barrière (www.lucienbarriere.com) is an ode to AngloNorman grandeur. Apart from 253 guest rooms and three courtyards overlooking the sea, the town and the casino, the hotel offers multiple pampering services, a massive garden filled with apple trees, and a golf club just 2 kilometres away. A little more low-key and modern is the country retreat of Les Manoirs de Tourgéville (www.lesmanoirsdetourgeville.com), just a few kilometres from the Deauville boardwalk. The four-star hotel has been conceived as a series of villas and a restaurant, dotted throughout its lush garden. Dining out in Deauville should mean lashings of seafood, cheeses, cream, beef and apples, and that is just what’s on offer at Le Drakkar (www.restaurant-le-drakkar.com).

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Deauville is a magnet for sailing enthusiasts throughout the year (photo: © Patrice Le Brice).

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The city’s architecture includes several ornate 19th and 20th century manors, with their distinctive provincial timber frames. The Villa Strassburger, below, is a registered historic site now open to visitors (photo: © Jean Francoise Lange).

DAYTRIPS FROM DEAUVILLE Deauville lies just an hour away from some of the most important D-Day sites of Normandy, and from the lovely regional capitals Caen and Rouen. The seaside resort is also two hours from other iconic Normandy attractions, including Mont SaintMichel and Cherbourg.

It’s a firm favourite among the many horse owners, trainers, polo players and celebrities who visit Deauville year-round. Over at L’Essentiel (www.lessentieldeauville.com), the fare is more international, thanks to a fusion of culinary influences from Frenchman Charles Thuillant and his South Korean-born wife, Mira. The pan-Asian mood extends to the subtle, minimal interior as well.

›› FURTHER INFORMATION Deauville Tourisme www.deauville.org/en

Deauville’s famous boardwalk of azobé timber, flanked by beach huts embellished with film industry names (photo: ACM).

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Feel L I Flike E S T Ythe L E Emperor S Tthis O R Y elegant R M E T with C C O M M O D Aviews. T IO N I C O V E R at I G O U hotel I A five-star Located a stone’s throw from the Arc de Triomphe, in the heart of Paris... the Hôtel Napoléon

Le Napoléon Hotel is one of the last independent hotels in Paris. With Empire-style armchairs, flat screen TVs, tester beds, WiFi and iPod connections, multimedia platforms and colourful fabrics, which smoothly complement the 18th Century, newly renovated, Le Napoléon Hotel.

Paris next to the CBD, tourist sites and the most famous places for shopping in Paris, such as the Champs-Elysées.

It offers 102 spacious rooms and suites with L’Occitane welcome amenities. The rooms on the upper floors have splendid views of the Eiffel Tower and the Arc de Triomphe.

The Salons de l’Etoile have recently been completely renovated with flexible fittings, combining comfort with modern technology. The privileged position of the Napoléon Paris gives its guests immediate access to the business district, the tourist sites and the most famous places for fashion and luxury.

The unique position of Le Napoléon gives guests the benefits of being in the heart of

Le Napoléon Hotel Paris provides eight meeting rooms fully equipped for press conferences or smaller meetings.

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40 avenue de Friedland -75008 Paris - France Tél : (+33) 1 56 68 43 21 napoleon@hotelnapoléon.com www.hotelnapoleon.com


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Clockwise from top left: Public outdoor performance at entertainment space Wanderlust (photo: Intramuros); from the Yiqing Yin autumn-winter 2012 collection (photo: Laurence Laborie); shoppers at PGL by Pigalle’s fashion capsule.

LEFT of centre THE REGENERATION OF AN INDUSTRIAL WASTELAND ON THE LEFT BANK OF THE RIVER SEINE HAS CREATED A REVOLUTIONARY NEW CREATIVE HUB IN PARIS, DISCOVERS ELLA LOMBARDI.

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n days gone by, Parisians and international visitors could enjoy contemporary art in places such as the Centre Pompidou, the Palais de Tokyo and the La Gaïté Lyrique. But there was never an all-encompassing home of fashion and design. Until now. Take a short drive across the river from Bastille to the Left Bank and you’ll find Les Docks, the former Parisian port area near the Gare d’Austerlitz that’s now the Cité de la Mode et du Design (www.paris-docks-en-sene. fr), a fusion of fashion boutiques, galleries and

workshop spaces. Fashion and art aren’t the only drawcards though; Les Docks also plays host to chic bars, cafés and restaurants, including the first rooftop nightclub in Paris, perched on the River Seine with unrivalled views across the city. Inspired by the ebb and flow of the Seine, architects Dominique Jakob and Brenda MacFarlane transformed the main historic 1907 warehouse with the addition of an eye-popping lime green, caterpillar-like structure that appears to float upon the river at night.

While Les Docks has become the hip hangout for students of the prestigious fashion college, l’Institut Français de la Mode (the area’s first new tenant), exclusive boutiques and spaces are devoted to – and curated by – fashion’s emerging and established stars. These include up-andcoming haute couture talent Yiqing Yin (www. yiquing yin.com) and PGL by Pigalle (www.pigalleparis.fr), which has a pop-up space dedicated to upcoming fashion labels. There’s also the Silvera Outdoor designer furniture store that sits alongside two galleries known simply as M1 and M3.

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One of a kind Le Bristol Paris The ultimate French palace

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Top: Exhibition at La Gaïté Lyrique, one of Paris’ most established contemporary art venues (photo: © Paris Tourist Office/Amélie Dupont).

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Exhibition of White Drama collection by Comme des Garçons, held at Les Docks with Galleria (photo: © Pierre Antoine).

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At the cultural heart of Les Docks is Wanderlust (www.wanderlustparis.com), an ambitious entertainment venture by the creators of Le Social Club and Silencio (the David Lynchdesigned rue Montmartre nightclub that opened in 2011). Boasting a bar, restaurant and club over a vast 2000 square-metre ground floor space, Wanderlust sets the cultural agenda. An everchanging program of events might include yoga or Brazilian martial arts classes on a Sunday morning, as well as petanque, table tennis, debates, films at the outdoor cinema, vintage accessories markets and even kids-only workshops. A perfect spot for Sunday lunch is at rising French chef Benjamin Darnaud’s restaurant, but when the sun goes down, the buzz grows more expectant as people fuel up for the tantalising after-dark scene that is seriously shaking up Parisian nightlife. Les Docks’ crowning glory is the stylish open-air Moon Roof. This 1100 square-metre space boasts a permanent restaurant and lounge bar boasting a bustling 24-hour roster of artist performances, live music, stand-up comedy, DJ sessions and fashion shows. Dance the night away under the stars and, when the sun makes its dawn appearance, simply slip off to Café Praline’s for a vitamin shot of freshly squeezed juice or a strong Italian coffee. You’ll need it.

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WELCOME DESK - TOURIST TAX REFUND - FASHION SHOWS PRIVILEGED WELCOME & VIP SERVICE - GOURMET STORE & RESTAURANTS 40, BD HAUSSMANN 75009 PARIS. METRO: CHAUSSÉE D’ANTIN-LA FAYETTE Open Monday through Saturday from 9.30 AM to 8 PM - Late opening every Thursday until 9 PM. TEL.: +33 (0) 1 42 82 36 40 - galerieslafayette.com


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Left: preferences have changed for younger, more complex scents (photo: iStockphoto). Right: petals ready for pressing (photo: © Atout France/Emmanuel Valentin).

SCENT of change BEHIND THE LUXE PACKAGING AND CELEBRITY AFFILIATIONS, MODERN PERFUMES ARE MORE COMPLEX THAN EVER IN CONSTRUCTION. UTE JUNKER NAVIGATES THE NEW WORLD OF FRENCH FRAGRANCES.

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here’s a scent of change in the air. Talk to anyone in the industry, and they’ll tell you the world of perfume is changing, from who’s wearing it – fragrance buyers are getting younger – to who’s selling it, with celebrities from Beyoncé to Lady Gaga launching their own perfumes. Even how we wear perfume has changed. Very few people have a signature scent anymore. They wear something for a season; one fragrance during the day and something different in the evenings.

Perfume companies are adapting to these trends. Today’s scents are girlier, quirkier and sweeter, to appeal to younger buyers. For example, Thierry Mugler’s Angel Eau de Star is a lighter version of the classic patchouli and vanilla scent. Fragrances are also getting more complex, evolving from the simple categories of floral or musk. With more synthetic aromas available, perfumers can create scents that contain contrasting elements, such as fruity and oriental. The perfumer can even control how long each element lasts and create more rounded

scents. Lancôme’s latest, La Vie Est Belle, blends floral notes such as iris, jasmine and orange blossom absolute with deeper fragrances such as patchouli. To heed consumer demand for different scents for different moods and occasions, companies are creating families of scents around their classic perfumes. Dior’s Addict collection includes an Eau Fraîche – a flirty blend of citrus top notes with heart notes of tuberose and gardenia over a woody, musk base – and an Eau Sensuelle, which shares the same base, but has a

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CABARET S U O M A THE F ÉLYSÉES: S P M A H OF C on stage, 70 artistes es, us costum o tu p m u s . 600 ental sets.. m u n o m 23

DINNER & SHOW CHAMPAGNE & SHOW 116 bis avenue des Champs - Élysées 75 008 Paris - Tel. : +33 (0)1 40 76 56 49 - E-mail : tourisme@lido.fr


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Clockwise from left: crafting perfumes from essential oils (photo: iStockphoto); Eau Delice from the Dior Addict collection; Alien by Thierry Mugler, La Vie Est Belle by Lancôme.

A FRAGRANT FEAST Get the latest news and views from these perfume blogs. www.boisdejasmin.com www.perfumeposse.com www.indieperfumes.blogspot.com www.fragrantica.com

top note of jasmine and Rose de Mai absolute at its heart. The Eau de Parfum, by contrast, features more oriental notes such as silk blossom and mandarin wood, deepening into Queen of the Night and vanilla. Niche companies are taking a very different approach. Smaller companies, which can take more risks, are exercising their creativity. They are being more adventurous with the types of ingredients they use, incorporating scents such as leather and tobacco to create unusual aromas. Annick Goutal, for instance, works exclusively with natural scents, creating fragrances that cross gender divisions. Nuit Étoilée is one such example, which blends citrus and peppermint notes with Siberian pine and fir balsam.

Serge Lutens is one of today’s master perfumers and is revered for his ability to push fragrance boundaries. His new perfume, La Fille de Berlin, is clearly rose, but it’s a very cold rose. This very modern fragrance was inspired by Berlin in the 1920s. Although the city was famous for its hedonism and its expressionism, was also the time the Nazis were rising as a force – a dual mood is expressed in the perfume. Another new Lutens fragrance, Une Voix Noir, is inspired by singer Billie Holiday. It’s heavy with gardenia – Holiday’s signature flower – but has an unusual musky, dirty note. It is classic Lutens – delivering the unexpected.

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Château and 18th flagstick at Golf de Troyes-la Cordelière, Champagne.

NO MATTER WHERE YOU GOLF IN FRANCE, THERE’S BOUND TO BE A STUNNING CHÂTEAU AND LASHINGS OF GOURMET CHOICES CLOSE BY. ANDREW MARSHALL TEES OFF AT THE CHOICEST GREENS OF CHAMPAGNE-ARDENNE, AQUITAINE AND NORMANDY. PHOTOS BY PAUL MARSHALL

CHAMPAGNE-ARDENNE: SHEER INTOXICATION Lying some 176 kilometres east of Paris is the historical province of Champagne-Ardenne, best known for its production of the world’s most famous sparkling wine. But it’s not just the grape that reigns supreme here – there are also some terrific golf courses and elegant châteaux to stay in. Tee off first at Golf de Reims Champagne, 11 kilometres west of town in the middle of

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the famous vineyards. This picturesque 18-hole layout founded in 1928 is an attractive mix of tree-lined fairways and expansive greens in the beautiful surroundings of the 15th-century moatencircled Château des Dames de France, and a perfect setting for a post-round flute of bubbly. Ninety kilometres north-east of Reims, on the outskirts of Fagnon village, is Golf de l’Abbaye de Sept Fontaines, another wonderful 18-hole layout sympathetically built around a historic château. The front nine is parkland with superb views of the château, and it would be impolite

not to indulge in some delicious French cuisine in the excellent restaurant before playing the more open back nine. Another recommended course in the region’s south, on the edge of the forest of Aumont, is Golf de Troyes la Cordelière, featuring an intoxicating mix of gently undulating fairways and 18 holes, accented with water features and ancient trees. Away from the green, there are plenty of offcourse activities including the Route Touristique du Champagne – nearly 400 kilometres of signposted roads that meander through the princi-


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Above: The Château d’Etoges is set within its own moat and features stunning gardens and guest facilities. Right: On the Champagne Route near Urville in the Côte des Bar Champagne region.

pal wine-growing areas and main champagne centres of Épernay and Reims. Épernay is home to famous champagne houses such as Moët & Chandon and Mercier, and many offer informative tours and tastings. Also worth a visit is the cool cellar-and-bar C Commes, where you can sample champagnes from independent winemakers. It’s only a 6-kilometre drive north of Épernay to the picture-perfect village of Hautvillers, where champagne was first created three centuries ago by Dom Pérignon, cellar master at the Hautville Abbey. In the village square you’ll find the tourist office where, for a few euros, you can enjoy a walking tour with an explanation of Pérignon’s life. North-east of Hautvillers, in the wooded hills around Verzy, is Perching Bar – the world’s first champagne bar in the trees. To complement the golf and champagne experience, stay at one of Champagne-Ardenne’s many historic châteaux. A classic example is Château d’Etoges, situated 25 kilometres south of Épernay and surrounded by vineyards. This impeccable 17th-century château overlooks a moat and boasts 20 individually appointed bedrooms furnished with antiques. The château of choice for playing Golf de Reims is Domaine Les Crayères, a two Michelinstarred gourmet retreat nestled in the heart of the champagne city. Northeast of Reims and close to Golf de l’Abbaye de Sept Fontaines is Château de Montaubois, run by likeable husband-and-wife team Jean-François and Elizabeth Monteil, who have spent three decades restoring the château to its former glory.

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Clockwise from top left: Barman Laurent Mallet serves a calvados inside Le Green Bar, Hôtel du Golf Barriére, Deauville; wooden sign depicting apple picking; golfing beside the iconic white chalk cliffs of Normandy (photo: © Atout France/Jean François Lefebvre)

NORMANDY: CIDER HOUSE RULES The Pays d’Auge region of Normandy is a picturesque landscape of small towns, rolling meadows, russet-coloured apple orchards and half-timbered farmsteads. The good news for golfers is there’s ample opportunity to play some fine courses and sample delicious local produce afterwards. Start your tour at the luxurious Hôtel du Golf Barrière near the coastal town of Deauville. Many famous guests have enjoyed the hotel’s old-world charms since it opened its doors in 1929, including Errol Flynn and Yves Saint Laurent. Today, these personalities smile across from their autographed photos inside the foyer, just opposite the cool Le Green bar with its extensive selection of calvados, an apple brandy. Only a long putt from the hotel – and rated among France’s top 20 prettiest layouts – you’ll find Barrière Deauville. Golf Course’s three loops of nine holes. All are in excellent condition with beautifully manicured fairways and greens. The original 18 holes, built by Tom Simpson in 1929, is parkland with sea views, while the other ninebear a more wooded character.

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Clockwise from top: Château du Breuil’s master blender admires a glass of fine Calvados (photo: Château du Breuil); Barrels of calvados age inside the cellar at the Manoir d’Apreval; classic half-timbered architecture at the Golf Barriére de Deauville.

Another challenging 27 holes wind through lush Normandy pastureland 15 kilometres south of Deauville at Pont L’Évêque, famous for the Normandy cheese of the same name. The signature holes of the main 18-hole layout are nine and 18, both par-fours, where you must play your second shots over water to reach heavily bunkered greens, with the marvellous châteaustyle clubhouse as a backdrop. Completing the trio of 27-hole courses close to Deauville is Golf Amirauté, a championship course designed by Bill Baker. A magical site studded with lakes, it features huge fairways, large greens, plenty of water and a novel hazard: contemporary sculptures. In addition to golf, there’s quality regional

produce to sample – in particular the prized calvados. Enjoy a tour at Domaine d’Apreval, a family-owned estate in the coastal village of Pennedepie (10 kilometres east of Deauville) that makes a line of fine calvados and cider. Inland from Deauville, the slate-roofed Château du Breuil has been completely restored by new owners who have been distilling highly respected spirits for three generations. A Normandy cheese is the perfect partner for a calvados or cider, with much of it being produced around the small towns of Livarot, Pont l’Évêque and Camembert. With its golden-yellow centre and creamy-white rind, the circular Camembert is the quintessential Normandy

cheese. Lesser-known cheeses include Pont l’Évêque, an uncooked, un-pressed cow’s milk cheese that is square in shape, and Livarot, a washed-rind cheese that has been produced in the region for more than 700 years. For a closer insight into cheese making, visit Fromagerie E Graindorge, a producer in Livarot that offers free tours. Observe the various stages of cheesemaking: working the curd, salting, drying, and washing the rind. Before leaving, it’s mandatory to sample some cheeses, beautifully displayed in colourful boxes inside the shop. Keep an eye out for Le Grain d’Orge au Calvados, a delicious cheese that combines two of region’s most celebrated products.

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A JEWEL AT THE HEART OF PARIS AN ESCAPE OUT OF TIME…

7, rue de Berri - Champs-Élysées - 75008 Paris Tél. : +33 (0) 1 40 76 40 76 - Fax : +33 (0) 1 40 76 40 00 concierge@hotel-lancaster.fr • reservations@hotel-lancaster.fr www.hotel-lancaster.com 46

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Top: Elegant greens on the site of the upcoming Ryder Cup 2018 (photo: ©Le Golf National); Left: Vineyards at Château Lafite Rothschild, Mèdoc, in Aquitaine (photo: JJ Brochard/CRTA).

AQUITAINE: VARIETY IS THE SPICE OF LIFE Aquitaine is home to some of the loveliest golf courses in France and Europe, with more than 50 courses to choose from, and a choice of six airports offering easy access to the region. Starting in the Bordeaux-Médoc area, Golf du Médoc boasts two top-class layouts including the Châteaux – venue for the 1999 French Open, and regularly ranked in France’s top 10 and world 100 lists. The forested course of Golf de Lacanau is just a few minutes from Lacanau Océan’s famous surfing spots, and picturesque Golf de Margaux on the Gironde Estuary offers great views. Venturing further south, and a 40-minute drive from Biarritz, the Robert von Haggedesigned Golf de Seignosse course is a must-play

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Above: Town in the Pyrénées Atlantiques region of Aquitaine (photo: CRTA/Laurent Reiz).

and winds through majestic pines and oaks. For golfers seeking a bit of history, the Pau Golf Club established in 1856 is located 120 kilometres east of Biarritz. The Biarritz Golf Pass lets visitors play four of the most prestigious golf courses on the Basque Coast, including Moliets, Seignosse, Arcangues, Biarritz Le Phare, Makila Golf Club, Bayonne-Bassussary and Ilbarritz.

THE RYDER CUP 2018 Exciting news for golfers worldwide is that the Ryder Cup (www.theryder.com) is coming to France in 2018. It will be the first staging of this classic biennial event in continental Europe since Seve Ballesteros captained Europe to victory at Valderrama Golf Club, Sotogrande in his native Spain in 1997. Situated just 38 kilo-

metres south-west of Paris, at Guyancourt near the Château de Versailles (once home to Louis X1V), is Le Golf National, the venue for the 2018 Cup. This outstanding course has staged 18 of the last 20 French Opens on the European Tour and will be a popular choice, given all the history that has unfolded over its challenging closing stretch. The spectator viewing experience at Le National will be excellent, supported by transportation, logistical and infrastructure plans of the highest quality. Golf is a popular sport in France, and the country’s many enthusiasts – along with professional golfers who have left their mark on the game, such as Jean van de Velde, Grégory Bourdy and Thomas Levet – will join millions of fans worldwide in experiencing the excitement and drama of the 2018 Ryder Cup. Let the countdown begin.

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Yes we can CAN! CABARET REMAINS AN IRREFUTABLY FRENCH EXPERIENCE. BUT ARE THE BIG-NAME ESTABLISHMENTS JUST MUSEUMS TO A BYGONE ERA, OR ARE THEY KICKING UP THEIR HEELS TO THE TUNE OF THE TIMES? BY RUBY BOUKABOU

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nce a bustling dance hall where bohemians, intellectuals and aristocrats flocked to mingle and see its radical floor show, the cancan, the Moulin Rouge is arguably the most famous cabaret in Paris and the world. Its timeless dinner-and-show revue features a large cast of well-trained, long-legged dancers (many of them Australian), along with magnificent costumes and impressive sets. Consciously camp choreographies are intertwined with sharp tableaux and modern dance influences, including jazz, hip-hop and oriental dance. The nightly routines are punctuated by dazzling acrobatic displays, circus acts and comedy sketches. It’s light, tight entertainment, with the added polish of impressive fashion and modern lighting and stage effects. At Paris’ other famous cabaret, the Lido on the Champs-Élysées, punters can enjoy a mix of French and international cabaret. The renowned Bluebell Girls (and their impossibly high feather headdresses) perform extravagant routines that celebrate the cabaret’s classical roots and modern influences, such as music videos, film and fashion. Lido performances often feature ethnic tributes such as African, Greek or – in the case of the current revue, Bonheur – Indian, so cultural referencing is taken very seriously here. Last year, three Bluebell Girls visited Papua New Guinea to witness male dance performances first hand. But, rather than attempt to wholly export the Papuan dance to France, artistic director Pierre Rambert sought simply

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Poster art from the Mugler Follies cabaret. Photo: © Mugler Follies


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Clockwise from main image: Classic French cabaret at the Moulin Rouge (photo: © Moulin Rouge/Sandie Bertrand); a French Lido performer and Papua New Guinean dancer share a moment (photo: © Lido); sultry dancers pose at the Crazy Horse (photo: V Krassilnikova).

to borrow its spirit. “I wanted to give some kind of patterning and design to the bold and vibrant steps of the male dancers,” he says. Classical influences aside, the French cabaret scene also offers avant-garde and saucy interpretations – especially if we’re talking about Crazy Horse. Founded in 1951 by Alain Bernardin, the club has hosted specialty acts including burlesque star Dita Von Teese and ex-Riverdancers Suzanne Cleary and Peter Harding of Up & Over It, known for their comic, percussive delirium. Seeking something more offbeat? Circusstyle acts have enjoyed increasing popularity over the past decade, and one venue with a highly original cabaret-meets-circus show is the intimate Zèbre de Belleville. Here, contemporary dance meets the circus against the stylised background of a giant zebra in mid-leap above the stage. If you prefer a show where you can stay late, dance, and get right among it with the locals, pay a visit to Juliette Dragon’s Le Cabaret des Filles de Joie. This collective offers affordable cabaret and new-burlesque shows in various venues across Paris (such as La Bellevilloise in the 20th arrondissement and Le Klub in the first), and runs the Paris Burlesque Festival every October. Also on the edgy side is newcomer Mugler Follies, sparkling, sensory and erotic in approach. The revue also features an original score and impressive light shows. If you have the time and the budget, make cabaret the theme of your trip and experience them all.

FURTHER INFORMATION Moulin Rouge www.moulinrouge.fr Lido www.lido.fr Crazy Horse www.lecrazyhorseparis.com Le Zèbre de Belleville www.lezebre.com Le Cabaret des Filles de Joie de Juliette Dragon www.lebison.com Mugler Follies muglerfollies.com/en

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Left: Blogger Garance Dore in Paris (photo: Scott Schuman). Right: boutique shopping (photo: © Atout France/Jean François Tripelon−Jarry).

little BLACK book

WHERE DO THE WORLD’S MOST DISCERNING FASHION WRITERS SHOP WHEN IN PARIS? A COMBINATION OF CLASSIC FAVOURITES, AS BLOGGER GARANCE DORE TELLS ELLA LOMBARDI.

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hen Garance Dore was starting out as a young fashion illustrator, a cutting criticism from one of Paris’ top agents left her reeling. Admittedly, she was wearing a rather wholesome-looking winter parka. And a decade on, with a wildly successful fashion blog to her credit, Garance can look back and laugh at the put-down of: “You’ll never make it, you don’t have the right look.” “Was she tactless? Yes. Was she correct? Absolutely,” says the Corsican-born fashionista. Her ability to laugh at herself, combined with a quirky Parisian sensibility, was exactly what the fashion followers wanted when Garance posted her first blog entry in June 2006, and her blog has attracted a cult following ever since. “Parisians do casual chic well because they aren’t overly concerned with trends,” said the New

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York-based Garance. “They are great at figuring out what suits their bodies and working with that.” We caught up with Garance to find out what her top fashion pit stops are when she returns to Paris. Colette “There is nothing better in the world to me than this crazy concept store,” Garance enthuses. It’s a mad mix of eclectic and edgy fashion, electronics, design, books, music and beauty products. You’ll spot celebrities in here alongside young fashionistas. The fashion department features a serious selection of the latest looks from bigname designers to the up-and-coming kids. www.colette.fr 213 Rue St Honore, Paris 75001 Palais Royal Under the beautiful arches of the grand Palais Royal is where some of the city’s finest boutiques are tucked away. Long-term tenants

specialising in vintage coins and medals sit alongside fashion-forward boutiques such as Stella McCartney, Acme, Rick Owens, Marc Jacobs, a Pierre Hardy shoe boutique and galleries for haute art, objects and jewellery. Stop to swoon over Didier Ludot’s vintage couture with Dior and Chanel gowns from the 1920s and 40s. en.parisinfo.com/museum-monuments Jardins du Palais-Royal, 75001 Paris Le Marais It should be on everyone’s must-visit list, because Le Marais is still one of the cutest places to wander and shop in Paris. Formidable French brands including A.P.C., Vanessa Bruno, Christophe Lemaire, Isabel Marant are all here. If you need a break, drop by one of the tiny public gardens dotted about and watch the world go by. “I always end a shopping trip with a treat and tea from the Rose Bakery,” Garance adds. Le Marais, 75003 Paris Cont’d p70 >>>


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NOW BEING SERVED Bistro Thierry, Melbourne | Sofitel, Sydney & Melbourne | Metro St. James, Sydney | Pullman Hotels, Nationally | Gerard’s Bistro, Brisbane For Trade Enquiries – red+white 1300 780 074

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The garden estate of Château du Clos Lucé is the setting for year-round performances, unusual plantings and scientific displays inspired by the great thinker (photo: © Léonard de Serres).

News

Passport OUR PICK OF FRENCH TRAVEL TIPS IN 2013.

Admire the medieval ramparts of Carcassonne, apéritif in hand, at the Bar Terrace of the exclusive Hôtel de la Cité.

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Choose from a range of stately surrounds such as this one, Villa La Calaverie in Provence, from the Eden Luxury Homes portfolio in southern France.

Geared towards transporting guests safely, comfortably and with all requests catered for, Cab will organise simple airport-hotel transfers in a luxury vehicle, and arrange deluxe sightseeing experiences as well. Discover Paris at night, or visit nearby destinations

Brush up your Franglais! French Tuesdays is coming to town, with monthly themed nights and cultural happenings galore.

Combining the best elements of a private limousine and bespoke tour service, Cab Service Prestige caters to a range of travel transport needs.

such as the Loire Valley, Chantilly Castle and D-Day beaches of Normandy in a chauffeur-driven luxury vehicle with a guide. Visit the website for more information. www.cabservice-prestige.com

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GRITTING HIS TEETH ON A GRUELLING PYRÉNÉES ASCENT, JOURNALIST MARK COULTAN DOUBLES HIS RESPECT FOR TOUR DE FRANCE CYCLISTS – AND APPLAUDS THE STUNNING SCENES IT TAKES IN.

Cham pions on the road with

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he first year the Pyrénées were included in the Tour de France route, the eventual winner Octave Lapize screamed, “Assassins!” at the organiser’s car while at the top of the Col d’Aubisque. That was in 1910, but, more than 100 years later, when I reach the summit, I feel the same way. A cool and overcast day at the bottom of the mountain has turned into mist and, by the time I reach the top, rain and thick fog. It is also freezing. Lapize, riding a heavy steel bike without gears on a road which was little more than a dirt track, walked his bike up parts of the slope. I haven’t had to do that, but a broken spoke means that my rear wheel is out of shape, and the rear brakes must be loosened so it can turn.

The competitors pass fields of sunflowers in southern France (photo: ASO/B Bade).

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Map of the route in 2013 with Corsica, included for the first time in the history of the race (image: © Tour de France).

Unlike the Tour de France, there is no car following me with a roof full of spare bikes. There are just thousands of other cyclists, none of whom have a spare rear wheel. This is like the early years of the Tour de France, when outside help was prohibited. In 1913 Eugène Christophe broke the fork of his bike in an accident on a descent in the Pyrénées. He walked 14 kilometres, found a blacksmith’s forge and repaired it himself. Unfortunately a boy who worked there helped him pump the bellows, so Christophe was penalised! I’m riding in the L’Étape du Tour, the most famous cyclosportive in Europe. Cyclosportives are one-day, long-distance, mass-participation cycling events, held throughout the European summer. The L’Étape gains its fame from its route, which each year is the same as a one-day stage of the Tour de France. At the top of the Col d’Aubisque, which is categorised as hors catégorie (beyond classification), I’m already extremely tired. And there are more than 140 kilometres to go, including a climb up Col du Tourmalet, the highest road in the Pyrénées. The route is known as the ‘circle of death’

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On flat ground, the veloton travels at a speedy 40 kilometres per hour on average (photo: ASO/B Bade)

and, by the end of the day, I know why. L’Étape is an event by the organisers of the Tour de France proper. It’s a chance for thousands of (mostly middle-aged) amateurs to live their fantasies of being professional cyclists. The race is held under similar conditions to the pros: closed roads, with feeding stations and medical assistance, which I try to avoid needing by gingerly descending a wet mountain road with a wobbly wheel and only one brake. Almost 12 hours later – just within the time limit - I finish the course, with a broken bike and a body in worse shape. But there’s exhilaration, too. I have a new appreciation for the professionals who completed the course in less than half the time I took, though they are half my age. As a sporting event, the Tour de France has few parallels. It attracts phenomenal spectator numbers. In July, bars and cafes around the country – and the world – have their televisions tuned to it. It’s an annual ritual showcasing the extraordinary beauty of France, although for competitors, it’s different. Australian rider and 2011 winner Cadel Evans says he only sees the The author during his epic tackling of the L’Étape du Tour (photo: Maindru Photo)

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LOWDOWN ON THE 2013 ROUTE This year’s event starts on the island of Corsica, which will host the first three stages. The competitors will then travel to Nice, where there will be a 25-kilometre team time trial. The course then follows the Mediterranean coast westwards with stops at Marseille, the university town of Montpellier and the UNESCOlisted Albi. Then, the cyclists will head into the Pyrénées, starting at Castres (famed for its Goya museum). When the Tour heads north riders will visit the walled port city of Saint Malo and then participate in a spectacular time trial from Avranches, ending at the legendary island monastery of Mont Saint-Michel. The 2013 course also features two of the most feared and famous climbs, Mont Ventoux and Alpe d’Huez. Mont Ventoux, known as the giant of Provence, is dreaded for its relentless nature and barren, moon-like landscape. In 1967 British rider Tom Simpson fell from his bike and could not be revived. It was not the first, and certainly not the last, time drama would feature in La Grande Boucle. A monument, just short of the

EXPERIENCING THE TOUR DE FRANCE: TOP 5 TIPS • Plan well ahead – If you’re creating your own itinerary, book well in

scenery in photographs and can’t believe how beautiful it is. While riding the Tour du France is every cyclist’s dream, a word of caution: amateur events such as the L’Étape du Tour should not be taken lightly. They require months of training. If competitive cycling is not your thing, there are numerous tour operators who organise trips each year that combine sightseeing with shorter bouts of cycling through some of the most famous parts of the Tour route. And for those who prefer to spectate, the fun is not just sporting. Tour cyclists are traditionally preceded by a caravan of sponsors’ floats, who shower the spectators with their goods while they wait for the race. This year marks the 100th race. The Tour de France began in 1903 (it was not held during the war years) as a circulation booster for a newspaper called L’Auto. Today, the Tour is still run by a company which publishes a newspaper, the leading French sports journal L’Équipe. And it still sells lots of copies.

advance. Accommodation fills up quickly along the route. • Travel by campervan – This option frees your movements and saves on accommodation costs. But be organised – the best camping and parking spots fill up days ahead. • Look for helicopters – You’ll know

From top: the barren 1912-metre peak of Mont Ventoux in Provence (photo: Atout France/R Cast); spectators camped roadside toast the veloton (photo: ASO/B Bade).

the peloton is approaching when a fleet of camera-wielding helicopters gets closer. • Respect competitors’ space – With no barriers between spectators and competitors, riders have been knocked off their bikes. You don’t want to be the one responsible. • Practice speed photography – The cyclists whizz by in barely 60 seconds, so practise on cars if you want to get some quality shots.

summit, marks the spot today. Alpe d’Huez is probably the most famous climb of the tour. Each of its 21 hairpin turns has signs celebrating past winners. This year, for the first time in the Tour de France, the riders will climb it twice in one stage. Keeping with tradition, the race will finish on the Champs-Élysées in Paris. However, for the first time, the finish will be staged at night, allowing Paris to live up to its name as the City of Lights.

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Sheer Grit TO CELEBRATE THE 100TH ANNIVERSARY OF EPIC CYCLING RACE TOUR DE FRANCE, SOFITEL HOTELS WILL STAGE A MEMORABLE PHOTOGRAPHIC EXHIBITION.

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Clockwise from left: Dramatic start from the Château de Chambord in the Loire Valley, 2005 (photo: © Pascal Rondeau/ L’Equipe). David Moncoutie’s career-ending downhill fall on the Col du Grand Cucheron, 2012 (photo: Jérôme Prévost/L’Equipe). Against the clock, five-time race winner Jacques Anquetil passes in front of the Saint-Ferieux basilica in Besancon, 1963 (photo: L’Equipe).

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WHAT To celebrate the 100th staging of the Tour de France, Sofitel Hotels has curated an exclusive exhibition of 40 vintage photographs. Some are faded; many are in black-and-white; all speak volumes of the highs and lows experienced throughout the history of this grueling event. Don’t miss it!

WHERE • Sofitel Sydney Wentworth 1 May – 10 July, 2013 02 9230 0700 sofitelsydney.com.au • Sofitel Melbourne on Collins 15 July– 31 August , 2013 03 9653 0000 www.sofitel-melbourne.com Admission is free.

From top: Participants swarm over the bridge of Cubzac-les-Ponts in the Dordogne, 2003 (photo: © Bernard Papon/L’Equipe). Cyclists pass Mont Saint-Michel, 2011 (photo: © Stéphane Mantey/L’Equipe).

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Clockwise from top left: Crowds in the Parisian suburb of Saint-Cloud anticipate the cyclists’ arrival, 1923 (photo: © L’Equipe). Supporters of Louison Bobet, winner of three consecutive Tour de France titles starting with this one in 1953 (photo: © L’Equipe). Crossing a bridge at OloronSainte-Marie, PyrénéesAtlantiques, 1922 (photo: © L’Equipe ). The Dognon Bridge over the Taurion River at Saint-Laurentles-Églises, 2009 (photo: © Stéphane Mantey/L’Equipe). Cycling past windmills in PoitouCharentes, 1994 (photo: Michel Deschamps/L’Equipe).

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The vineyards of Beaune have their own AOC appellation (photo: © M Joly)

the road less TRAVELLED CELEBRATED FOR ITS CULTURE, WINE AND CUISINE, BEAUNE HAS A CHARACTER ALL OF ITS OWN. BY VANESSA COUCHMAN.

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his medieval gem surrounded by the world-famous vineyards of Burgundy is a city of art and culture, and a gastronome’s paradise. As you walk its cobbled pedestrian streets and flowered squares, the city reveals its cultural heritage at every turn. Beaune’s most famous monument is the perfectly preserved 15th-century Hôtel-Dieu (www.hospices-de-beaune.com), with its multi-coloured roofs. A few steps away, another must-see landmark is La Moutarderie Fallot (www.fallot.com), the family-run mustard mill. Established in 1840, Fallot is famous worldwide for its flavoured mustards. And for fine dining, Beaune has some of the best addresses in the region. Special new activities are on offer, too.

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TUTORING IN TOP VINTAGES

CONVIVIAL CUISINE

Burgundy boasts a dazzling array of renowned vintages. Now you can hire the services of a wine coach to develop your knowledge and appreciation of them. Cristina Otel has impeccable credentials in the world of wine. She has created a new wine experience to share her passion – Taste Burgundy Wine School (www.tasteburgundywineschool. org). Her private programmes for sophisticated travellers provide inside information on winegrowing, making and tasting. You’ll learn how the unique blend of landscape, climate and soil gives Burgundy its outstanding quality. Of course, sampling top drops from the region’s most renowned vineyards and estates is a necessary part of the tour, too.

If you’re passionate about French cuisine, The Cook’s Atelier in Beaune (www.thecooksatelier.com) is for you. Marjorie Taylor and her daughter Kendall share their enthusiasm for real food, skilfully created from scratch. In a convivial atmosphere, they unveil the secrets of shopping and cooking as the French do. You’ll tour local markets and artisan food producers to select top ingredients, and even source some choice products from their vegetable garden. Then, you create delectable dishes in a hands-on cooking class, learning classic culinary techniques. And they tutor you in the wines to match with your dishes. Afterwards, it’s bon appétit as you sit down to the mouth-watering five-course lunch you have prepared.


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Left: Modern interior at the La Moutarderie Fallot store (photo: Philippe Heist).

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Above: Sweeping entrance to Hotel Resort La Cueillette in Mersault, which offers a fruititherapy spa and rooms overlooking the vineyard (photo: La Cueillette)

BEAUNE BY BIKE Take to two wheels to explore the gently rolling landscape and vineyards surrounding the city. Pedal along dedicated cycle routes through villages with legendary names like Pommard, Volnay and Meursault. Detours in France (www.detoursin-france.com) offer short breaks that include cellar tours and tastings, while the Beaune Tourist Office (www.beaunetourism.com) offers a gamut of circuits and short breaks that include cellar tours and tastings.

THE RELAXATION ZONE For complete relaxation in a historic setting, luxury spa-hotel La Cueillette (www.lacueillette. com) has it all. Burgundians Jean and Corinne Garnier have restored the ancient Château de Cîteaux, one of the oldest sites in Meursault. The 12th-century Cistercian vaults house the hotel’s extensive wine cellar. La Cueillette offers 19 stylish bedrooms overlooking parkland and vineyards, sumptuous food and a range of spa treatments. Burgundy’s red fruits, including grapes, blackcurrants and raspberries, have long been famous for their health-giving properties. La Cueillette’s specialists have designed a fresh and unique concept – fruititherapy – based on these natural products, to enhance health and beauty.

The Hôtel-Dieu museum, formerly a hospital for the needy, is famous for its magnificent architecture (photo: Francis Vauban).

For other ideas on what to do, look to Beaune’s annual calendar for year-round events in homage to Bacchus and Saint Vincent, patron saint of winegrowers. Also on the menu are music festivals for all tastes, antiques fairs, and art exhibitions. The Hôtel-Dieu offers an incomparable setting for concerts of Baroque

music during the celebrated Festival de Beaune (www.festivalbeaune.com) every July.

›› FURTHER INFORMATION Beaune Tourist Office www.beaune-tourism.com

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One stop to over In Europe, the Middle

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65 destinations. East and North Africa.

Together connecting the globe. qantas.com | emirates.com | visit your travel agent | subject to government and regulatory approvals

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IMPORTANT INFORMATION: As at 22 March, 2013, Qantas flights QF1/QF2/QF9/QF10 via Dubai from 31 March 2013, along with the Qantas-Emirates partnership (including Qantas codeshares on Emirates services) are subject to government and regulatory approvals.


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Left: Alain Ducasse with Prince Albert II and Princess Charlene of Monaco (photo: © Stephane Danna/realis).

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Below: Ducasse’s 240 guest chefs form the number 25 outside Le Louis XV (photo: © Christian de Brosses/ Le BeauKal.fr)

master chefs in MONACO FOR THE 25TH ANNIVERSARY OF HIS ACCLAIMED LOUIS XV RESTAURANT IN MONACO, CULINARY ICON ALAIN DUCASSE HOSTED A GASTRONOMIC FESTIVAL LIKE NO OTHER. BY DANA LEVY

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ince its launch in 1987, Le Louis XV restaurant in Monte Carlo’s Hôtel de Paris has become the food equivalent of a fireworks extravaganza: spectacular, triumphant and with a resonating cultural impact. It was Prince Rainier III of Monaco who first issued the challenge to a young Alain Ducasse, then aged 30, to create the principality’s first three Michelin-star restaurant. The catch? He wanted that rating achieved in less than four years. Ducasse chose the glorious Hôtel de Paris as his site and achieved the prince’s challenge with just three months to spare. Twenty-five years later, in an unprecedented assembly, 240 chefs from 25 countries responded to the invitation from ‘M. Ducasse’ to gather at

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the hotel for a weekend of gastronomic delights. Three Australian chefs numbered among the guests: Tetsuya Wakuda, Guillaume Brahimi and Serge Dansereau. All have a very close affinity with Ducasse. “I have known Alain for 30 years. I have always admired his respect for local produce,” said Dansereau, who hosted Australia’s first Ducasse event at his Bathers Pavillion, Sydney in 2003. It’s a sentiment shared by Tetsuya. “He is simple. His food is simple. Exquisite, but simple,” he said. Guillaume added that it is also a personal celebration for a man who is more than a former colleague or mentor. “First and foremost, Alain is a friend.” The Mediterranean market kicked proceedings off and was a highlight of the weekend.

Guests were invited to browse 25 stalls showcasing 100 types of produce from the region, which included game birds and soft goats’ milk cheeses not found on Australian shores. The fruit and vegetables were an explosion of colours: every variety of lettuce in what seemed like 50 shades of green, wild miniature strawberries, vine-ripened tomatoes and luscious olives, all for the taking and tasting. The food fest also included live cooking demonstrations from 14 acclaimed chefs. Fellow chefs clamoured to taste American chef Daniel Patterson’s white truffle baby spelt, while French pâtissier Pierre Hermé enthralled a small crowd by demonstrating how to prepare his lemon macarons. As Ducasse noted, it was a “tasting event without borders”.


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Clockwise from left: Strawberries being prepared at Ducasse’s Mediterranean market (photo: Pierre Monetta); cooking demonstration at the Mediterranean market (photo: Pierre Monetta); interior of Le Louis XV (photo: B. Touillon).

Ducasse saved the best for last, with a gala dinner at Le Louis XV. The restaurant’s interiors reflect the grandeur of the hotel itself, with its marble pillars, crystal chandeliers and gilt ceilings transporting its well-heeled guests to La Belle Époque. Equally top-notch table service operated like a fluid ballet, delivering each course of the gala’s sumptuous yet simple menu. Highlights included the San Remo gamberoni in a delicate caviar jelly and a game torte with truffled salad and salmis sauce. Each dish was matched by a prizewinning wine, including Château Cheval Blanc 2004, Saint-Émilion’s Premier Grand Cru Classé A and the show-stopping Château d’Yquem 1988 Sauternes Premier Cru Supérieur. With such majestic offerings, it seemed fitting that Prince Albert II of Monaco was a special guest. The Prince headed the table of honour along with his wife, Princess Charlene, sister Princess Caroline and none other than Wakuda, Australia’s prince of culinary perfection.

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Above: Master chocolatier, Nicolas Berger, has selected the chocolates for their purity – and their personality (photo: © Pierre Monetta).

Sweet SENSATION

Celebrated chef Alain Ducasse describes his chocolate workshop as an exercise “in depth, in truth” (photo: © Mikael Vojinovic).

CELEBRATED CHEF ALAIN DUCASSE YIELDS AT LAST TO HIS LIFETIME OBSESSION WITH CHOCOLATE, WITH A STUNNING NEW CHOCOLATERIE IN PARIS’ UP-AND-COMING 11TH ARRONDISSEMENT.

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nter Alain Ducasse’s latest venture, named Manufacture du Chocolat Alain Ducasse, at the back of a small cobbled courtyard, and the scents of single-source chocolates plucked from exclusive plantations around the world are intoxicating. Tart, wooded and caramelised aromas permeate the air; a beguiling line-up of creations fills the display case in the sombre bank vaultturned-chocolaterie. Choose from chocolate squares, ganaches, pralines, truffles and bars (their shape created by graphic designer Pierre Tachon, no less), all crafted to draw out the flavour of their origins. Java, Madagascar, Peru, Venezuela and Trinidad beans are all on the menu, their subtle flavour differences drawn out by the

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finest almond slivers, caramelised dried fruit, spices and more. Behind the counter, a fleet of artisan machines knead, roast, mix, grind and crush the beans, and visitors can see much of the chocolate-making process. Ducasse took almost three years to secure the perfect location for his venture, and to restore, reconfigure and install the vintage machines. These were sourced – like the beans – from multiple locations, and brought back to their former glory by a team of old-timers. The machines create chocolates in 250-kilogram batches, rather than the five tonnes of modern chocolate factories, ensuring meticulous attention to detail at every stage. Of his latest culinary foray, Ducasse waxes lyrical: “Chocolate is a promise of bliss, to

which we voluptuously relinquish ourselves. It bewitches me to an ineffable point.” The confection almost claimed his career. Among three other apprenticeships, he has trained with chef and pâtissier Gaston Lenôtre, and has not lost his fascination for chocolate over the 30 years since. For this venture, Ducasse has teamed with artisan pâtissier Nicolas Berger, who hails from a family of confectioners and has worked with top establishments including Hévin and Ladurée in Paris. Berger has worked with Ducasse since 2000, most recently as head pastry chef at the Plaza Athenée. Beautifully showcased here at 40 de la Roquette, Ducasse’s fantastical chocolate creations are certain to claim at least part of your Paris spend.


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Below: Some of the chocolates are smoother; others have a rustic and sustained texture (photo: © Pierre Monetta). Bottom: The chocolate factory exposes all the secrets and workings of the chocolate-making process (photo: © Pierre Monetta).

FURTHER INFORMATION Manufacture du Chocolat Alain Ducasse +33 1 48 05 82 86 www.lechocolat-alainducasse.com

The bars are available in varying degrees of cocoa content, from a mild 35 per cent to a bittersweet 75 per cent (photo: © Pierre Monetta)

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<<< Continued from p50

Clockwise from top: Christmas store display (photo: Amélie Dupont); Garance visits Paris fashion week each year (photo: © Atout France/Eric Larrayadieu); glimpses from various fashion windows (photo: (© Atout France/Nathalie Baetens).

Les Puces de Montreuil Just on the outskirts of Paris in the 20th arrondissement is Montreuil’s flea market, still host to fashion bargains aplenty. “I really don’t have a vintage-style body and my feet are too big for women’s vintage shoes, but I love to dig out some great menswear – some old pants or great coats – to mix things up,” Garance says. Bargains abound. “I still have a favourite men’s coat that I bought for €5, and you can also find 1940s light fittings, furniture and antique glassware, toys and old cutlery.” Porte de Montreuil, 75020 Paris Rue des Saints-Peres St-Germain-des-Pres is one of the prettiest – and most popular –neighbourhoods in Paris. “On Rue des Saints-Peres you’ll find my favourite French jewellery designer, Aurelie Bidermann. The weathered patina of many pieces means it doesn’t look too perfect, which is very French,” notes Garance. And what better way to finish a day’s shopping than to enjoy a glass of champagne at Café de Flore? Take a seat inside with the locals. Rue des Saints-Peres, 75006 Paris

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The light aluminium experience.

LAMY AL-star The Lamy AL-star makes writing so easy, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s actually a pure joy to use. Made of light-weight, robust aluminium. Available in various writing systems and in various finishes. www.lamypensaustralia.com.au MAGAZINE

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Maison de BUBBLY JUST 45 MINUTES BY TRAIN FROM PARIS, CHAMPAGNE-ARDENNE IS A COMPELLING LIFESTYLE DESTINATION. DESCEND INTO THE FAMED CHAMPAGNE CAVES OF REIMS, SHOP FOR DESIGNER FASHIONS IN TROYES, AND SAVOUR ART DE VIVRE AT EVERY STEP.

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ith its wide boulevards and imposing champagne houses, Reims, the present-day cultural centre of Champagne, is a gracious city that oozes centuries of French history.

THE RISE OF REIMS The city’s associations with grandeur began in the 5th century, with the baptism here of King Clovis. But it was the construction

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of the Reims Cathedral, which began in 1211, which really cemented Reims’ association with royalty, and the site has witnessed the coronation of 33 French kings up until 1825. The massive cathedral is a UNESCO-listed heritage building, famous for its 13th century stained-glass windows, intricate façade and expressive stone statues. Much of this history was almost obliterated during World War I, when the city emerged 80 per cent destroyed. Reims was rebuilt extensively between 1920 and 1930, with the

community enlisting the help of 325 architectural firms to redesign the town. Outstanding works from this time include the Carnegie library, and the façade of the Opéra cinema. The city was nearly destroyed a second time, in World War II. The rebirth of Villa Demoiselle Reims is a commercial centre of the champagne industry, and the caves (cellars) of its leading champagne houses remain a compelling attraction. Mumm is right in the city centre; its


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ECO VINEYARD SOJOURNS Take an eco-friendly vineyard tour with Aÿ Eco Visite (www.ay-eco-visite.com), a company that organises vineyard tours and tastings in an open-topped electric car. LeaOpposite: Caves at Champagne Boizel in Epernay (photo: photo Mon nuage). Centre: Place de la Libération in Troyes (photo: OT Troyes/D. Le Néve). Above: The very French Place Royale in Reims, coronation city (photo: G. Raskin).

ving from Epernay, the two-hour tours take in idyllic scenery, champagne tastings and a picnic among the vines (professionally catered, of course, and served on comfy

labyrinthine underground caves house 25 million bottles of the world-famous sparkling wine. Taittinger and Pommery are 2 kilometres to the southeast of the city centre. Pommery, a castle-like estate that comprises 18 kilometres of underground cellars, also houses some impressive historical displays. Just next door is Villa Demoiselle (www. vrankenpommery.fr), originally built for the Pommery family in 1902 and an extravagant

statement in Art Nouveau. It fell into disrepair after the 1970s and was briefly slated for demolition before being rescued by PaulFrancois and Nathalie Vranken of Vranken Champagnes, who purchased the site in 2004 and renovated it extensively. Vranken Champagnes (which holds an impressive portfolio, including Pommery and Heidsieck) reopened Villa Demoiselle in 2009 as a showcase for the company’s collection of

little tables and chairs). The tours run three times daily, and include a scenic stop overlooking Reims Mountain Natural Park.

vintage 20th-century champagnes. A portion of the villa also houses a museum collection of antique artefacts in gold.

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Clockwise from top left: Warm vibes at Le Jardin Les Crayères (photo: Les Crayères); hot-air balloon ride over the vineyards (photo: Greg Oxley); champagne flutes (photo: Jupiter); terrace seating at Les Crayères (photo: Les Crayères).

A fresh take on casual dining All this world-class champagne tasting calls for fine dining to match. Reims has just received a boost to its dining choices, thanks to the energetic and visionary chef Philippe Mille, who opened the two-Michelin star restaurant Le Parc at Château Les Crayères in 2010. Mille has taken another step to deliver a rewarding experience to foodies here. He has opened Brasserie Le Jardin (www. lescrayeres.com) on the same property, giving it a modern décor that incorporates warm shades of stone, brick and steel. Mille’s focus, as ever, is on high-quality locally grown ingredients – but served in a simple, fast style. Think duck filet marinated in orange, or beef sirloin with a shallot and Reims-vinegar dressing, compared with the artistic Escoffierreferenced creations over at Le Parc. Mille is earning rave reviews for his expressive riffs on the fast, joyous flavours of his childhood. Paired with the food is a varied wine menu, including some 20 wines by the glass. On warm days, Le Jardin’s terrace opens, allowing diners to take in the sights and scents of the property’s 7-hectare formal gardens, and pretend that they’re staying forever.

MORE THAN MEDIEVAL IN TROYES

Jupiter Images

VINEYARD BY BALLOON With its twisting rivers, huddled villages and sprawling vineyards, Champagne is spectacular when viewed from above. The scenery around Reims unfolds slowly and wondrously during a balloon flight by Air Magic (www.air-magic.com), with most flights lasting about an hour. The flight is a 30-kilometre trip that leaves from the outskirts of Reims before touching down near the Mountain of Reims. Passengers return to Reims by private minibus.

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In direct contrast to Reims, Troyes – Champagne’s historic capital – was not damaged during either of the 20th century’s world wars and retains an intimate, old-world atmosphere as a result. Like Reims, Troyes has foundations dating back to Gallo-Roman times, but its prosperity grew from the strategic trading importance of its location. The city lies at the confluence of the River Seine and the Via Agrippa trading route, and it flourished when the Counts of Champagne made it their capital in the late 9th century. During the late 12th and 13th centuries, Troyes became known for its large annual fairs, Foires de Champagne, and the many merchants’ homes that sprang up subsequently. The half-timbered façades of Troyes’s 16th-century structures are emblematic of the city today. Troyes brims with historic sites, including 10 churches dotted around the city centre, adorned with exceptional stained glass windows. The cathedral is a particularly fine example. Nearby, the Museum of Modern Art houses a collection of French art dating from the mid19th century to the 1960s.

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But there’s another famous drawcard at Troyes: its fashion scene. Parisians flock to Troyes’ clothing factory outlets, arguably the biggest in Europe. Look for established local brands such as Lacoste and Petit Bateau, and shopping centres such as McArthur Glen, presenting the world’s most popular brands: from Kookäi and Kenzo to Swarovski and Samsonite, along with all the big-name casual and jeans brands. Drink and dine in Troyes Part of Troyes’ magic is that its evocative half-timbered houses aren’t just for show – they are living, functional structures. La Maison de Rhodes (www.maisonderhodes.com), a marvellous 11-room hotel that was extensively restored in 1998, offers an intimate experience in the town centre. Each room is different, nestled into the building’s asymmetric and intricate envelope dating back to the 8th century, and all are fitted with contemporary luxuries such as kingsize beds, flat-screen television and free wi-fi. In-house services include concierge, babysitting, massage and bicycle rental.

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Rue Emile Zola in Troyes (photo: OT Troyes/D. Le Néve).

The building encircles a medieval-era garden and courtyard with snatched glimpses of Troyes Cathedral. On the menu at its candlelit restaurant are modern twists on local dishes, all featuring regional produce. Close by and incomparably modern is Troyes’ newest champagne bar, Au Coeur du Bouchon (www.aucoeurdubouchon.com). Choose from a selection of fine bubbly with vintages dating back to 1964, or drop by one of their special events, such as a recent electro-swing lounge night. Ask about their champagne tasting packages, too.

›› FURTHER INFORMATION Champagne-Ardenne Tourist Board www.tourisme-champagne-ardenne.com

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Turning TABLES FORGET THE UPMARKET AREAS OF PARIS WHEN IT COMES TO AVANT-GARDE DINING. ELLA LOMBARDI DISCOVERS A NEW WAVE OF CULINARY CREATIVITY IN NEIGHBOURHOODS NOT YET ON THE TOURIST TRAIL. PHOTOS BY KALA BARBA-COURT

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t’s not often you walk into a restaurant to see pigs’ heads hanging upside down. But this butcher shop-cum-wine bar-cum-restaurant, known as Boucherie des Provinces and run by butcher Christophe Dru and his wife Stephanie, is part of the new Parisian dining revolution snaking its way through the lesser-known parts of Paris. The former working-class neighbourhoods of the 10th, 11th and 12th arrondissements have become home to a new generation of young chefs, shrugging off the higher rents of singledigit arrondissements (along with traditional French fare) and opting for a more casual, creative approach. This area has become a home away from home for chefs on their days off. Our bubbly guide for the day, Wendy Lyn of The Paris Kitchen, is more often than not with them. A resident of Paris for more than 24 years – after a three-day stay turned into a lifetime consulting gig – Lyn is Paris’ go-to girl for local cuisine, her little black book bursting with the contact details of prominent French chefs and hidden culinary gems.

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At des Provinces, diners sit on cowhidecovered butcher’s blocks while waiting for their charcuterie to be served. The bread comes from nearby baker Fabrice le Bourdat at Blé Sucré, practically world-famous for his freshly baked madeleines. Next, Lyn takes us to Le 6 Paul Bert, a modern take on the Parisian corner bistro, with an old zinc-plated bar and light fittings made from antique carafes. Here, chef Louis-Philippe delivers seasonal contemporary tasting plates with aplomb. Over in the 10th again, Pierre Jancou’s Vivant Cave bumps up against his fun and funky Vivant Table. The narrow wine bar is bustling after dark with locals sampling tasting plates (that change daily) and drops from an impressive wall of Jancou’s all-natural, sulphite-free wines. “Who wants sterilised wine?” Jancou scoffs. “I want my wines to be alive.” Lunch hour hits, so we scamper over to the spanking-new La Régalade Conservatoire in the 9th, the third of chef Bruno Doucet’s establishments. Portions here are exceedingly generous, and we promise to come back for one of the

A GOURMET INSIDER’S GUIDE TO PARIS Wendy Lyn dines with the best chefs and sommeliers across France, and is unrivalled in her knowledge of and passion for local cuisine. Contact her to eat, drink and live like a Parisian during your next visit by logging onto www.thepariskitchen.com. souffles that keep parading by our table. Time is running out, so we take a peek into the hole-in-the-wall that is Chez Aline, which is attracting luminaries such as France’s most renowned chef and restaurateur, Alain Ducasse. And with that we’re off, unable to resist a sweet, final flourish at Ducasse’s just-opened Manufacture du Chocolat (see story p68). Buy a box of chocolates (at an eye-watering €30 for a box of 20), or watch them being made through a glass partition, sparking Willy Wonka-style fantasies.. I think I have to leave before I turn into an Oompa Loompa myself.


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NEW DINING ADVENTURES Frenchman Fred Pouillot’s new gastro adventure, Le Foodist (www.lefoodist.com), offers a fun and informative dose of French culture through five-course seasonal feasts and matching wines. English-speaking guests are taken on a foodie adventure, learning about the history and origins of classic French dishes and wines. Seats 15.

ADDRESS BOOK > Restaurant Boucheries Les Provinces 20, rue d’Aligre > Vivant Table and Vivant Cave 43, rue des Petites Ecuries > CheZ Aline 85, rue de la Roquette > Le 6 Paul Bert 6, rue Paul Bert > La Regelade Conservatoire 7-9, rue Conservatoire Clockwise from top left: Bistro Paul Bert offers contemporary flavours and an utterly Parisian setting; menu at Vivant Table, a tiny wine bar reworked from a former birdseller’s store; storytelling with Fred Pouillot of Le Foodist, a deliciously educational dinner experience (photo: © Le Foodist); bread basket at La Regalade Conservatoire.

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Clockwise from right: Dramatic timber and stone detailing at the three-bedroom Peony apartment, on Île Saint Louis; view towards the Louvre from the four-bedroom Windows on Paris property in Saint Germain des Prés; romantic bedroom and view at Anemone, a luxurious one-bedder on the Île Saint Louis.

Windows on PARIS WITH MORE THAN 50 STYLISH ADDRESSES TO CHOOSE FROM, GUEST APARTMENT SERVICES PROPOSES A UNIQUE OFFERING FOR VISITORS CONSIDERING AN EXTENDED STAY IN PARIS

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magine waking up in your own Paris apartment, and looking out over the River Seine, Notre Dame Cathedral or the Eiffel Tower before heading downstairs to buy fresh croissants for breakfast. Or perhaps hosting an intimate soiree at your own dining table, or settling at a sprawling desk for some serious French studies. Christophe Chastel and Philippe Pee, owners of Guest Apartment Services, understand that their guests want to experience the dream of Paris from the moment they arrive. They have spent the past 15 years refining their service offering, which gives guests an unrival-

led degree of personal freedom combined with concierge-like services. Choose from over 50 carefully selected apartments, with the décor as classical or as contemporary as you want it to be. Many apartments feature an outdoor terrace for al fresco dining, and even those furnished in period style are fitted with contemporary kitchens and bathrooms. Sizes range from studios to one-, two- and three-bedroom layouts, as well as townhouses. Customer service is a point of pride, and includes 24-hour emergency access, airport limousine transfers, and concierge reserva-

tions for sought-after restaurants and shows. Some 50 per cent of guests are repeat visitors – perhaps the most eloquent indicator of client satisfaction at Guest Apartment Services. Even if you haven’t booked for this trip, you’re welcome to drop by Christophe and Philippe’s intimate office on Ile Saint-Louis to inspect their facilities, while enjoying a freshly brewed coffee or a flute of chilled champagne.

›› FURTHER INFORMATION Guest Apartment Services www.guestapartment.com

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Clockwise from above: Intimate mood at Bar 228 (photo: © Guillaume de Laubier); private terrace dining with Paris views at the Royal Belle Etoile suite (photo: © Guillaume de Laubier); the hotel’s grand façade.

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A STAR DORCHESTER COLLECTION PROPERTY, LE MEURICE PARIS OFFERS ELEGANCE AND ENJOYMENT IN EQUAL DOSES. he fabled Le Meurice Paris has the distinction of being one of Paris’ five palace hotels, a prized ranking that says much about its style – and pedigree. Located in the chic and richly historic 1st arrondissement, Le Meurice sits opposite the Tuileries Garden and is just a short stroll from the Louvre, Musée d’Orsay and Opera Garnier, in a cultured quarter of Paris. The grandeur continues inside, with 160 rooms and suites appointed with Louis XVIstyle furniture, oversized marble bathrooms and private entrance foyers, plus deluxe furnishings and amenities, including a twice-daily maid service. Many rooms have views of Paris’ most iconic sights.

The Meurice has two acclaimed restaurants – Le Dalí, with its furniture inspired by Salvador Dalí and a ceiling painting by Ara Starck, and the three Michelin-star rated Restaurant Le Meurice, all gilt-edged and chandelier-decked. Both are renowned for their refined and inventive cuisine. At Bar 228, an intimate nook, head sommelier Estelle Touzet offers monthly winetasting events, and has guests sipping the best wines from the world over. Several cultural events are slated for this northern winter. The Meurice Prize for contemporary art, held in October, draws the cream of emerging French artists who compete for the €20,000 prize. In January 2014 is the Le Meurice Galette des Reines, a now-annual culinary event held

in appreciation of the hotel’s many glamorous women guests. Purchase a galette pastry and inside you will find a limited-edition charm created by our jewellery partner of the year. In February, the Meurice hosts its 6th children’s carnival to date – an afternoon of activities including dance, magic shows, face painting, a parade and much more.

›› FURTHER INFORMATION Le Meurice Paris 228 rue de Rivoli 75001 Paris + 33 1 44 58 10 10 lemeurice.com reservations.lmp@dorchestercollection.com

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One MORE night DOWNTOWN PARIS OR UPTOWN? BUSTLING CENTRE OR PARK-LIKE FRINGE? CITY WEEKENDER OR COUNTRY WEEKENDER? WHATEVER YOUR PREFERENCE, THERE ARE COUNTLESS COMPELLING STAYS IN AND AROUND PARIS.

HÔTEL BLC DESIGN, RELAIS DE PARIS Paris’ République district brims with hip little bars, so it’s only fitting that there’s now a resolutely contemporary design hotel here to suit the urbane traveler. Close to the stylish boutiques of rue de Charonne, the BLC Design Hotel announces itself with a startling whiteand-glass foyer window on an otherwise typically Parisian street, and set within an otherwise typically Parisian townhouse.

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Step inside and there’s more impeccable styling, from the snowy white reception area with its cool white fittings, to the equally slick guestrooms, all the work of interior designer Carole Picard. Belying the building’s 19th-century exterior, there is not an antique in sight: all rooms are styled in modern finishes including oversized graphic art above each bed, white tiles on the floors and blinds for the windows, while drawers under each bed help to maximise floor space.

Apart from the contemporary furniture and chic new bathrooms, each guestroom is fitted with air-conditioning, flat-screen TVs and free wi-fi connection. The tariff includes a generous breakfast, served at the bar from 7am to 10am daily. Flip through a magazine, browse your iPad and organise your day out in local Paris. In the evenings relax with friends at the bar, tasting red wines from various regions in France, or head to one of the many local bars and raise a glass to the capital’s trendiest quarter.


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HÔTEL BLC DESIGN RELAIS DE PARIS 4 rue Richard Lenoir, 75011 Paris +33 1 40 09 60 16 www.lesrelaisdeparis.fr/fr/blc-design/

SAINT JAMES PARIS 43 avenue Bugeaud, 75115 Paris +33 1 44 05 81 81 www.saint-james-paris.com

Left: Sleek white hues and oversized wall art at the BLC Design Hotel. Above: Lounge area at Pavillon d’Amour, a romantic new addition to the Saint-James Paris.

PAVILLON D’AMOUR, SAINT JAMES PARIS One of Paris’ most charming new châteauhotels, the Saint James Paris (extensively refurbished in 2011), now offers two exclusive garden pavilions for guests in need of a little more intimacy and indulgence. The Pavillon d’Amour (Love Pavilion) is the honeymooners’ ultimate retreat, boasting a private spa with two massage tables and a steam room, as well as a kitchen, living room and bedroom spread over a generous 80 square

metres. As for the rest of the hotel, the décor is romantic – with a touch of the eccentric. Over in the main building, each of the hotel’s 48 rooms and suites has a unique décor, the work of eccentric Paris-raised interior designer, Bambi Sloan. She has stayed true to the building’s 1892 heritage, with Napoleon III-style furnishings, herringbone parquetry and lashings of antiques throughout, but has injected a contemporary mood too, with bursts of bold colour and patterning. The hotel’s approach to customer service is a blend of château-hotel exclusivity with privatehome intimacy: discreet yet attentive. Enjoy the

inspired setting of your room – each suite is inspired by historic or fictional characters including Eliza Doolittle and René Magritte – or take in the hotel’s many facilities, including the chandelierdecked visual chaos of the lobby, hot air-balloons in the garden and a library that also serves as an intimate bar. At the restaurant, enjoy generous French cuisine by renowned chef Virginie Basselot; the tasting menu is worth splashing out on. There’s also an intimate bar, a Gemology Spa, private function rooms, and tailored services from the concierge.

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This page: Suite and Arc de Triomphe views at the eminently artsy Hôtel Napoléon Paris.

HOTEL NAPOLEON PARIS With its Arc de Triomphe views and 8th arrondissement address, the Hôtel Napoléon Paris is the epitome of staying in central Paris. Built in the 1920s, the hotel has received a steady stream of high-society guests over the years, including Errol Flynn, Josephine Baker and Ernest Hemingway. This has contributed to its richly artistic décor even as the hotel has been impeccably maintained over the years. Each of the 102 guestrooms (including 47 suites) has been refurbished recently, and feature air-conditioning, flat-screen TVs with a huge choice of channels, internet access, a mini bar

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and other amenities. Bathrooms are luxuriously appointed in mahogany and marble, and feature a spacious bathtub – a fitting complement to the Napoleonic furnishings that distinguish this hotel. The yesteryear theme continues over at the hotel’s Bivouac Café, with its dark timber panelling, deep upholstery and brass fittings. Nestle at the bar, or soak up the sunlight in the indoor courtyard. On the menu is a rich choice of flavours, with dishes updated throughout the seasons. Just 10 minutes from the business district of La Défense, the hotel caters to business travellers, offering banquet facilities and catering, and eight business meeting spaces for up to 200 people.

-WEEKEND ESCAPELE CESAR HÔTEL, PROVINS Just one hour out of Paris in the medieval city of Provins – once a seat of the counts of Champagne – is the newly refurbished Le Cesar, a design hotel that’s intimate and original. Le Cesar offers superb value within its three-star service rating. First off, the design of this luxurious converted townhouse is sleek and inviting; interior architect Laurent Magoust has worked modern finishes cleverly into an antique building envelope. All 27 guestrooms are bright and inviting, with wood, glass, mirrors and white or grey finishes all


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Above: Exterior of the Le Cesar Hotel in charming historic Provins. Inset: Cesar Tower at the UNESCO heritage listed town of Provins, Seine-et-Marne (photo: N.RevelliBeaumont/Sipapress/CRT IDF).

HOTEL NAPOLEON PARIS 40 avenue de Friedland, 75008 Paris - France +33 1 56 68 43 21 www.hotelnapoleon.com

LE CESAR HĂ&#x201D;TEL PROVINS 13 rue de Sainte Croix, 77160 Provins +33 1 60 520 520 lecesarhotel.com/en

flooding the spaces with soft light. Each room is fitted with individually controlled air conditioning, shower-style bathrooms and flat-screen TVs with French and international channels. As a city, Provins is an untouched gem with so many valuable sites the whole city has a UNESCO heritage rating. Gaze out of your window and admire district views dotted with spectacular landmarks, including the 12th-century Saint Croix church, the imposing Cesar Tower and the Sainte Quiriace Basilica, some of Provinsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; most picturesque attractions.

Heritage-conscious design features are a hallmark of the hotel, with corridor wall art inspired by medieval tapestries, and a cobblestone courtyard where guests can sit back and relax in warmer weather. The breakfast room has a modern indoor garden built vertically up one wall, while images of medieval knights and princesses gaze down from the other. Adjacent to this breezy space is the warm and inviting Buzz Bar, open to the general public. Le Cesar also offers a fitness centre, wellness centre and conference space.

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A golden view of HILLS

Above: The hotel’s main infinity pool has dreamy views over the Provençal scene. All photos: © Terre Blanche

TAKING ITS STYLE AND SERVICE CUES FROM THE WORLD’S MOST IMPECCABLE STAYS, TERRE BLANCHE – HOTEL, SPA AND GOLF DESTINATION WRAPPED IN ONE SLEEK PACKAGE – IS THE ULTIMATE ESCAPE.

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ranquillity, luxury and a dreamy setting in sundrenched Provence – that’s the premise of Terre Blanche Hotel Spa Golf Resort, a 300-hectare luxury resort set in an authentic slice of Var countryside in southern France. Replete with guest villas, four restaurants, a massive spa, kids’ club and a generous choice of course options for keen golfers, Terre Blanche caters to guests of all ages and inclinations seeking an escape from hectic everyday life. Originally conceived by a group of golf enthusiasts, the five-star Terre Blanche opened in 2004, having been brought to fruition by visio-

nary entrepreneur Dietmar Hopp – a passionate golfer himself. The resort’s architectural concept is a respectful nod to traditional Provençal village style, embellished with a good dash of luxury. The 115 guest suites and villas are characterised by their ochre walls and terracotta tiles, and cluster along an undulating landscape dotted with oak trees and fragrant brushwood. Features of each suite and villa include a large bedroom with a king-size bed or two queen-size beds, sofa bed, private terrace, spacious bathroom, flat-screen TVs, internet access and more. Several villas have their own private


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Gourmet restaurant Le Faventia offers panoramic views over the nearby villages and stellar Provençal cuisine.

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Traditional on the outside and modern within: the spa’s indoor pool.

Left: Contemporary sculpture in the lobby. Below: The golf course has been designed around the existing landscape and plantings, minimising environmental impact.

pool, although guests shouldn’t miss a dip in the hotel’s main infinity-style pool, nestled sensuously at the edge of a picture-perfect view over the valley below.

ALL TEED UP But the main drawcard here is, arguably, golf so let’s see what’s on offer. Terre Blanche offers two 18-hole courses designed by Dave Thomas: the magnificent and demanding Le Château at 6616 metres, and the hillside Le Riou course, a 6005-metre course with strategic challenges. Also on the site is the recently opened Albatros Golf Performance Centre, which – with its sweeping views, high-tech analysis tools and ultramodern facilities – elevates the concept of the driving range to an art form. The inclusions are as luxurious as one might expect, too: electric golf carts fitted out with GPS units, bottled water, tees, towels and access to the Albatros centre. Golfers can sign up for intensive training courses of various durations at the Leadbetter Golf Academy. Relaxing afterwards at the drinks cart, bar or restaurant is a nice way to toast new achievements and discuss techniques for the next round.

SPOILED FOR CHOICE What with the lavender and rosemaryscented hills all around, it’s only fitting that Terre Blanche has its own spa as well. This immense, ochre-coloured villa, fringed by cypress trees, spans 3200 square meters of treatment rooms and features a jacuzzi, sauna, hammam, indoor and outdoor pool, fitness room, meditation studio and more. Many treatments incorporate the beneficial effects of local natural products, using brands such as Sodashi, Ivo Pitanguy and Carita. Terre Blanche also offers a tennis club, a vividly imagined kids’ club, an array of concierge services, and function spaces that hold up to 200 guests indoors. Various package deals are available: golf, spa, short stay, long stay, romantic stays and more. Visit the website or download the brochure for full details.

›› FURTHER INFORMATION Terre Blanche Hotel Spa Golf Resort +33 (0) 04 94 39 36 00 reservations.hotel@terreblanchehotelspa.com www.terre-blanche.com

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Vibrant lighting display at the Lille 3000 parade (photo: © Nordmag).

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Beyond the BATTLEFIELDS

AS THE CENTENARY OF THE GREAT WAR APPROACHES, HISTORIC NORTHERN FRANCE IS A MUST-VISIT DESTINATION FOR HISTORY BUFFS AND CULTURE AFICIONADOS ALIKE. BY PERSEPHONE NICHOLAS

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ith the centenary of the Great War just months away, the eyes of the world are on Northern France. Preparations to mark this momentous occasion are gathering pace and people from all over the world are planning to visit the terrain that was the stage for some of the bloodiest battles in modern history. Beyond these battlefields lie several elegant cities, and a rich cultural scene.

CENTENARY CALENDAR HIGHLIGHTS If you’re planning to visit Northern France in 2014-2015, consider including some of these events and exhibitions to your itinerary: • The inauguration of the international memorial at the Notre-Dame-de-Lorette French National War Cemetery on 11

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November 2014. This monument will bear the names of the 590,000 soldiers who died in Northern France during World War 1. • A new exhibition at the Louvre-Lens, ‘Ravages’ (June – October 2014), will bring together a diverse range of artworks from the Paris Louvre’s collection on the theme of battle throughout the ages. • A new archeological exhibition in Arras (March – September 2015). This exhibition has been designed to explore the practicalities of the Great War and will reveal, for example, how soldiers lived in the trenches, how they coped with death on the battlefield and more.

›› FURTHER INFORMATION Nord Pas de Calais Regional Tourism Board www.northernfrance-tourism.com

THE NEW REGION OF MUSEUMS While Northern France is best known for its role in 20th-century history, the region is becoming famous as a cultural hub. It is home to the new Louvre-Lens (www. louvrelens.fr); the LAM Museum of Contemporary Art at Villeneuve d’Ascq, (www.musee-lam.fr); The Beaux Arts Museum in Lille (www.palaisdesbeauxarts. fr); La Piscine in Roubaix, the Museum of Art and Industry (www.roubaix-lapiscine. com); and The Arras Museum of Fine Arts. Here, visitors can look forward to five major exhibitions in the next 10 years organised in partnership with the Palace of Versailles (www.versaillesarras.com).


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In the FOOTSTEPS of the diggers DISCOVER THE REGION’S PRISTINE SCENERY AND LIVELY ARTS SCENE, OR HEAD TO SOME OF THE MOST POIGNANT SITES OF REMEMBRANCE IN THE SOMME.

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he Somme will always be remembered for the battles of 1916; around 1,200,000 men were killed, wounded or lost in action here. Almost 100 years later the battle-scarred landscapes are at peace, but those who fought here are not forgotten. The Picardy Coast extends 60 kilometres from the Bresle Valley in the south to the Authie Bay in the north. Between them lies the Somme Bay. Its open waters, undulating dunes and fertile marshes are home to many species including harbour seals and Henson horses. The region’s seaside resorts are delightful. Make the most of the Somme and base yourself in Amiens, Picardy’s capital. It has much to offer including the largest cathedral in France and its famous hortillonnages (floating market gardens). Amiens is also known for its Old Town and architecture, particularly the Notre Dame Cathedral, which features a plaque dedicated to the bravery of Australian diggers, as Australian ANZAC troops are often known. Built upon the banks of the Somme River, Amiens is a sophisticated city of parks, gardens, museums and waterways. For keen shoppers, 400 boutiques beckon in the town centre. Amiens is also home to the Maison de Jules Verne, where the author lived for 18 years while writing many of his famous stories. Known as the ‘house with the tower,’ the site is a monument to his memory. –P.N.

›› FURTHER INFORMATION Somme Tourisme www.visit-somme.com

From top: Light projections by Creation Skertzo at Amiens Cathedral (photo: © Somme Tourisme); the famous hortillonnages (floating gardens) of Amiens, a network of island gardens crisscrossed by 65 kilometres of canals (photo: © Somme Tourisme)

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TRAVELLERS WITH A PASSION FOR MODERN HISTORY HAVE MUCH TO SEE ON THE AUSTRALIAN REMEMBRANCE TRAIL IN NORTHERN FRANCE.

Memorial showing the names of fallen diggers (photo: Baie Attitude).

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omprising different unique itineraries, the Western Front trails, the Remembrance Trails of the Great War in Northern France (www. remembrancetrails-northernfrance.com) and the Circuit of Remembrance on the Somme battlefields (www.somme-battlefields.com) acknowledge the deep losses suffered by many nations in northern France. Australians will find one section particularly poignant. The Australian Remembrance Trail, initiated by the Australian Department for Veteran Affairs, recognises and remembers the service and sacrifice of our countrymen (some 48,000 were killed here). The trail follows much of the region where the Australian diggers served, and links some of the most important sites in our history. Its cache of significant sites in Northern France includes the newly upgraded Museum Jean and Denise Letaille-Bullecourt 1917, and a new museum that will open at Fromelles in autumn to mark the 97th anniversary of the Battle of Fromelles. This was the first battle along the Western Front, in which Australian forces sustained more than 5500 casualties.


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Not far from Fromelles is the Australian Memorial Park, site of the sculpture ‘Cobber’ by Peter Corlett. This sculpture depicts Sergeant Simon Fraser of 57th Battalion, a 40-year-old Victorian farmer turned soldier, who rescued many men from the battlefield and was himself among the 10,000 Australians killed at Bullecourt in 1917. Several key sites on the Australian Remembrance Trail lie in the Somme, where four Australian military divisions accomplished some of the finest feats of arms in 1916 and 1918. At Villers-Bretonneux (affectionately known as ‘VB’), the Franco Australian Museum, commemorating the crucial battle fought there by Australians in April 1918, is being overhauled in time for its role as the principal Australian site during next year’s centenary events in Europe. To plan your visit, see Australians on the Western Front (www.ww1westernfront.gov. au) or Somme Battlefields (www.somme-battlefields.com). The Australian National Memorial, where the Anzac Day dawn service takes place, is also located here (www.anzac-france.com). Visitors to Pozières and nearby Mouquet Farm can see the sites of remembrance where three Australian divisions sustained 23,000 casualties in just over six weeks in 1916 – losses similar in scale to those at Gallipoli in 1915. The site, where the remains of the Gibraltar blockhouse can be found, has been enhanced in time for the centenary, with an observation platform, parking and more. The area has several other noteworthy relics including the Windmill site, described by the nation’s official historian, Charles Bean, as ‘a ridge more densely sown with Australian sacrifice than any other place on earth.’ At Mont Saint Quentin and Péronne, visitors can tour several more Australian war sites and learn more about the part Australian diggers played in the battle, which contributed to the final defeat of the Germans on the Western Front. The Historial (Museum of the Great War in Péronne, www.historial.org) features a new room dedicated to the capture of Mont Saint Quentin and the liberation of Péronne. The Trail also includes the Australian Corps Memorial at Le Hamel commemorating the Corps’ victory under the leadership of General John Monash in the battle of 4 July 1918. This iconic conquest became the model for future Allied operations on the Western Front. –P.N.

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From top: Anzac Day dawn service at the Australian National Memorial (photo: Baie Attitude); statue of the Cobber of Fromelles at the Australian Memorial Park (photo: Sophie Flament).

FURTHER INFORMATION: Australians on the Western Front www.ww1westernfront.gov.au

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NEW: THE GREAT WAR MUSEUM History buffs should head for the impressive Great War Museum (www.museedelagrandeguerre.eu), which opened in 2011 on the site of the first battle of the Marne. Here, some 20,000 objects and 30,000 documents provide moving accounts of World War I.

Above: La Vallée Village has more than 100 designer outlets, 20 of them new (photo: © La Vallée Village).

Portrait of a CHÂTEAU town THE HOME OF DISNEYLAND® PARIS, SEINE-ET-MARNE IS ALSO A DREAMY GREEN ESCAPE THAT OFFERS DIVERSE CULTURAL ATTRACTIONS OF UNIMAGINABLE CALIBRE.

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t’s hard to believe such a peaceful idyll exists so close to fast-paced Paris. Seineet-Marne, so named for the main rivers that flank its borders, is a garden state that brims with waterways, cycle paths and parklands. A smattering of historic sites, including two that are UNESCO heritage listed, hint at the area’s rich past. One of these is the palace of Fontainebleau, the holiday residence for some 34 generations

of French sovereigns since medieval times. Its magnificent grounds lie just outside the regal township of the same name. So struck were the 19th-century Impressionist painters – including Monet, Renoir and Sisley – by this enchanting locale that they visited frequently from Paris. Their output will be recognised at various exhibitions during 2013, the Year of Impressionism in Paris-Île de France. With 18 suggested cycling itineraries in Seine-et-Marne, visitors can cover a lot of ground between the region’s many châteaux, medieval villages and slow-moving rivers. Visit the tourism department’s website to download brochures on each route. Seine-et-Marne has its fair share of urban attractions, too. Fashionistas can indulge at La

Top: Built on the historic site of the first Battle of the Marne, the Great War Museum is a 40-minute train trip from Paris (photo: ©D Pazery). Above: The stately Vaux le Vicomte is one of France’s most beautiful private châteaux (photo: ©SMT77).

Vallée Village, a shopping outlet with over 100 French and international luxury stores. Highlights of Seine-et-Marne’s calendar include the many events at Vaux-le-Vicomte, the annual Django Reinhardt festival (June), and the program of medieval shows in historic Provins (Easter through November). And you haven’t even set foot inside Disneyland® yet.

›› FURTHER INFORMATION Seine-et-Marne Tourisme www.tourisme77.fr www.paris-whatelse.com smt@tourisme77.fr

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GOURMETS AND WINE-LOVERS ARE SPOILT FOR CHOICE IN DIJON, AND CONNOISSEURS OF CULTURE WILL FIND PLENTY TO FEAST ON IN THIS ANCIENT CITY. BY VANESSA COUCHMAN

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Tasting the region’s world famous reds (photo: Michel Joly).

RECIPE for relaxation

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ormer capital of the Dukes of Burgundy, Dijon effortlessly combines chic with historic. Its compact centre is packed with ornate, halftimbered medieval houses sporting multi-coloured tiles. Follow the marked Owl’s Trail around 22 remarkable sights – the owl is Dijon’s mascot. If you’re feeling energetic, climb the 316 steps of Philippe le Bon’s soaring 15thcentury tower, symbol of the dukes’ power, for an owl’s eye view of the rooftops and spires. Dijon also offers the ideal base for exploring the world-renowned Côte de Nuits vineyards. Take a guided tour along the Burgundy wine routes through legendary names like NuitsSaint-Georges, Gevrey Chambertin and Clos de Vougeot, tasting as you go.

Place de la Libération, in the historic centre in front of the Palace of the Dukes (photo: Atelier Démoulin).


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TWO-WHEELED TOURING Give your feet a rest and go by pedal power. This cycle-friendly city offers marked biking circuits around the town centre. Venture by bike into the enchanting countryside, and spin through the vineyards or freewheel along the Burgundy Canal. Or discover Dijon on a Segway, an original and fun way to travel, either alone or with your group, led by one of our guides.

BE DIJONNAIS FOR A DAY – OR A NIGHT Throughout the year, the local tourist office (www.visitdijon.com/en) arranges wonderful themed tours – from flavours and spices to Dijon’s medieval and market attractions. The tourist office also offers great value package deals, from one and two-night esSampling mustard at the town’s flagship Maille store and factory (photo: Michel Joly).

A BOOST FOR FINE ARTS The Musée des Beaux-Arts (www.mba.dijon. fr) is among the oldest in France and occupies one of the most imposing buildings. The former ducal palace is itself a work of art. Recent renovations provide a sumptuous backdrop to the exceptional collections, dating from Egyptian to contemporary times. The Salle des Gardes (Guards’ Room) is the pièce de résistance. This monumental room contains the tombs of two dukes and two intricate carved Gothic altarpieces. Masterpieces of medieval sculpture, the alabaster mourners, were temporarily removed for the renovations and have once again regained their rightful places by the sepulchres.

Just outside Dijon lies a rich patchwork of vineyards, which produce some 100 appellation-controlled wines (photo: Atelier Démoulin).

The museum possesses important collections of 15th-century Burgundian and 18th-century art. It has a fine selection of works by Flemish, Swiss and German Primitives. You’ll also find naturalistic sculptures by Dijon-born artist François Rude. The modern and contemporary galleries boast works by Manet and Monet, and sculptures by Matisse and Rodin. Statues by local sculptor François Rude, of Arc de Triomphe fame, also feature. Don’t miss the Pompon Room, which houses delightful stylised animal sculptures by Burgundy artist François Pompon.

MAKE YOUR SHOPPING LIST For gifts or fine foods to take home, Dijon is second to none. The city is world-famous for its

capes to more leisurely stays. Each package includes a 60€ voucher per person off TGV express train travel (offer valid 6 September 2013 to 6 September 2014).

mustard, gingerbread, Crème de Cassis (blackcurrant cordial) and fine cheeses – not to mention its wines. So it’s no surprise that the shop fronts read like a gourmet shopping list. A visit to the mustard factory-shop Maille (www.maille. fr) in the rue de la Liberté is a must. The rue du Bossuet and rue du Bourg also offer tastebudtickling gourmet food shops and eye-catching fashion boutiques.

›› BOOKINGS AND INFORMATION Dijon Tourist Office www.visitdijon.com/en/

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To book see your local Travel Agent. For more information visit www.cosmostours.com.au Terms and Conditions: Prices shown correct as of 1/3/13. Deposit of $250 per person/per tour required within 14 days of reservation. Save 2.5% requires payment of $250 per person deposit at the time of booking and full payment a minimum of 4 months prior to 2013 departure date.96 Discount based on tour including extra night accommodations, extensions and transfers. Save 5%: must be a Journeys Club member at the time of booking and present member number at time of booking to receive 5% discount on the land-only portion MAGAZIN E Cosmos core tour, and on twin share price, not including extra night accommodations, extensions, taxes/fees, tips and supplements/reductions. Second Tour Discount: multiple tours must travel within the same calendar year and must be booked at the same time. Additional conditions may apply. Full terms and conditions see 2013 Cosmos Europe brochure or visit www.cosmotours.com.au License 2TA000637


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Left: Entrance gates to the imposing Pommery Estate in Reims. Right: Descent via the legendary 116-step staircase to the underground galleries, housing 20 million bottles in 18 kilometres of tunnels. Below: Classic Pommery collection.

A sparkling

CULTURAL legacy

THE POMMERY ESTATE IN REIMS, CHAMPAGNE, IS NOT JUST THE LARGEST CHAMPAGNE ESTATE IN THE REGION – IT’S ALSO AMONG THE MOST FASCINATING.

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ome 177 years in the making, Pommery remains an intriguing champagne label with a rich story. It has a strong connection with the feminine, thanks to the pioneering Madame Pommery. She inherited the fledgling luxury brand as a young widow in 1858, and propelled its image and reputation into the style stratosphere. The Pommery Estate in Reims is a testimony to her vision. Set within 50 hectares, comprising the English-style buildings that Madame Pommery commissioned and some 18 kilometres of underground caves, the estate also harbours 25 hectares of vines and manicured gardens.

The prized champagnes themselves are made here, and it’s a dab hand of talents that has overseen their creation. Their innovations over the years include delaying the harvest for riper fruit, and launching a drier drinking style (by Madame Pommery, no less) back when sweet wines were de rigeur. Pommery’s top label, Cuvée Louise, is crafted from the estate’s three finest Grands Crus and perfected over 18 painstaking steps, including bottling and fermenting the champagnes for at least seven years. Visitors to the estate in Reims can view many of these processes up close. It’s also worth visiting the estate for its Pommery Experiences, a cultural series

that has included contemporary art installations and light displays in its 10 years to date. You can also experience art on many of Pommery’s bottles – this year’s new limited edition POP series will feature the work of Australian Aboriginal artist, Sarrita King.

›› FURTHER INFORMATION Vranken-Pommery Australia For tours, event information, tasting notes and much more, contact Vranken-Pommery at their dedicated Australian offices. www.vrankenpommery.com.au (+61) 03 9813 0122

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Above left: Etretat, flanked by dramatic cliffs that inspired the Impressionist painters (photo © Claude Coquilleau/Fotolia.com). Right: The harbour town of Honfleur sits at the opening of the Seine River (photo: © Pierre Janson). Opposite: The UNESCO heritage-listed Mont Saint Michel (photo: © Thierry Seni).

A lasting IMPRESSION A LONGTIME FONT OF INSPIRATION FOR WRITERS AND ARTISTS, NORMANDY IS THE HOME OF MONT SAINT MICHEL, APPLE CIDER, IMPRESSIONIST ART AND MUCH MORE. BY ELLA LOMBARDI

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ormandy is where rolling green fields meet chalky white cliffs high above the wild seas below. Fill your lungs with sea air or mix it with the high rollers of debonair Deauville. Shop at the fish markets at Trouville, or experience a somber side of modern history at the D-Day beaches. The sight of Mont Saint Michel rising from the ocean will stop you in your tracks; the scent of apple blossoms will intoxicate as you follow the Seine past medieval cities and castles. Normandy is the dairy heart of France. Camembert was created here. But its coastal location also makes sumptuous seafood a must. Pair the two and you get the classic moules a la crème Normande (Normandy-style mussels with cream), best served with the world-famous cider. Chic boutiques sit alongside half-timbered houses and the Gothic cathedral in Rouen, and the centre of Caen is a short drive from the historic cobblestones of Bayeux.

MONT SAINT MICHEL Twice featured in UNESCO’s list of world heritage sites, the medieval village and 1100-year-

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old abbey Mont Saint Michel is visited by 3.2 million people each year. The relentless onslaught of visitors, along with sediment buildup and encroaching salt marshes, had threatened to landlock the island. In 2005, however, an ambitious 10-year project was begun to restore Mont Saint Michel’s unparalleled marine setting. Next year, the long-awaited completion of a footbridge leading to Mont Saint Michel will allow the tides to flow unhindered once again, returning this wonder of the western world to its former glory.

EN PLEIN AIR Normandy is almost synonymous with Impressionism, such is its connection with the genre. It was in 1872 that Claude Monet painted ‘Impression, Sunrise’, depicting early morning fog in Normandy’s Le Havre. Defying classical art structure with scenes of daily life and landscapes, Monet and his contemporaries launched the Impressionism painting movement. Now the region has a festival dedicated to the genre, and the Impressionist Festival of Normandy (www.normandie-impressioniste.eu)

is being held for the second time (April 27 – September 29, 2013). Look forward to five major exhibitions, to take place in Rouen, Giverny, Le Havre and Caen. This year’s theme is water, and more than 600 exhibitions, concerts and other events will be staged across the region.

70 YEARS SINCE D-DAY Visit any stretch of the Norman coast with beaches that have code names such as Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno and Sword, and it’s impossible not to be moved by the memory of the men who gave their lives here in 1944. Next year, June 6 marks the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings on this 100-kilometre stretch of coast. Thousands of residents, veterans and their families will gather throughout the region around this date to pay their respects to the 156,000 Allied soldiers who landed here.

›› FURTHER INFORMATION Normandy Tourist Board www.normandy-tourism.org


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ACTIVE BREAKS A recently completed bicycle route between two of Franceâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s biggest attractions, Paris and Mont Saint Michel, is fast gaining a reputation as the countryâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s most popular. Spanning 442 kilometres, La Veloscenie cuts across three regional parks, and has been designed specifically to take in sights of cultural and historical significance. Starting with the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, the route ends at the mystical Mont Saint Michel on the Normandy coast.

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Rooftop of the Hotel Metropole, known for its timeless glamour and now flourishing a sleek revamp. (photo: Marcel Jolibois)

Paved with GOLD IN BETWEEN THE GLEAMING BOULEVARDS AND FERRARI-JAMMED COASTAL ROADS, ELLA LOMBARDI DISCOVERS THAT MONACO’S MONTE CARLO DISTRICT IS ADDING SOME SERIOUS MODERN STYLING TO ITS IMPRESSIVE HERITAGE.

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beautiful pocket of exclusivity and extravagance nestled into a magnificent cobalt blue bay, there’s nothing quite like Monaco. Ever since the enchanting Grace Kelly put the country on the map when she married the debonair Prince Rainier III in 1956, the country’s star-pulling power has been second to none. Monaco – and its most famous district, Monte Carlo – plays host to a global style set, from the superstars and squillionaires who line up in lavish yachts in summer, to the Formula One fans whose passion for fast cars is fuelled every May. But glitz and glamour aside, the pretty principality is having a resurgence of another kind.

YACHT CLUB SAILS AGAIN As sleek as a luxury liner, Monaco’s newlook Yacht Club’s reopening is the country’s most hotly anticipated event since Prince Albert II’s

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wedding to Charlene Wittstock in 2011. Positioned on the waterfront of Port Hercule, the iconic club’s façade was revealed last June. In complete star style, the final unveiling will be just in time for the arrival of the billionaire superyachts that sail in from around the world for their ritzy summers on the Med. The new-look club is designed by Pritzker prize-winning architect Lord Norman Foster, in collaboration with the Monegasque architect Alexandre Giraldi. The Yacht Club (www.yacht-club-monaco. mc) sports a series of deck-styled viewing balconies curving along the harbour, providing views of yacht races and the Formula 1 Grand Prix circuit.

HOTEL HERMITAGE REFURBISHED Tucked behind the Casino de Monte-Carlo in an exclusive enclave awash with designer boutiques, The Hotel Hermitage remains an elegant Madame of the highest order.

Asparagus dish at the celebrated Louis XV restaurant (photo: Pierre Monetta).


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The hotel has been a style oasis for well-heeled guests since its opening in 1900, with aristocrats, royalty and celebrities all fans of its oldworld glamour. With 325 rooms and suites and eight apartments, the Hotel Hermitage’s recent refurbishment has added another layer of luxe. Guests stepping into the Salle Belle Époque will be mesmerised by the crystal chandeliers. The winter garden, topped with a Gustave Eiffeldesigned glass-and-steel dome, provides a glamorous meeting place. Guests can also sip fine wines at Crystal Bar – on the terrace in summer; by the fireplace in winter – and enjoy impeccable dining at le Vistamar. A sought-after spot for dinner, Le Vistamar promises immaculate service and gastronomic perfection.

HOTEL METROPOLE MAKEOVER The palatial Hotel Metropole (www.metropole.com) has been privy to a host of celebrity guests since opening in 1886. Now, Chanel’s creative director, fashion guru and celebrity designer, Karl Lagerfeld, has waved his style wand over parts of Monte Carlo’s iconic five-star hotel in a design collaboration which will be revealed in March. Lagerfeld’s creative transformation spans sections of the Belle Époque-style exterior, including the pool, terrace and garden. A new restaurant, also conceived by Lagerfeld, will be the hotel’s third restaurant by one of France’s most famous chefs, Joel Robuchon (the other two both hold Michelin stars). His work incorporates much input from the hotel’s stalwart style team, including interior designer Jacques Garcia. The Hotel Metropole is tipped to become the hottest new playground for the see-and-beseen crowd.

NEW FACE FOR MONACO OPERA Designed by the architect behind Paris’ Opera Garnier, Monaco’s Opera House (www. opera.mc) has hosted operatic greats including Melba, Caruso, Chaliapine, Garden and Schipa. Thanks to a recent $34 million renovation, the spectacle of opera season in Monte Carlo has scaled new heights. Over 80,000 gold leaves were applied to paintings and moldings, and the windows overlooking the Mediterranean have been opened for the first time. It’s now the world’s only opera house to feature exterior views from within the concert space. The room’s almost square dimensions give guests the impression of being part of the performance.

›› FURTHER INFORMATION Monaco Tourism www.visitmonaco.com www.facebook.com/visitmonacoaustralia

Lobby at Hotel Hermitage, one of the most elegant hotels in Monaco (photo: SBM Hotel Hermitage)

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Immersion in southern LUXE

Above: Terrace restaurant at a luxury hotel overlooking the majestic ramparts of Carcassonne.

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THE DELECTABLE SOUTHERN FRENCH REGION OF LANGUEDOC-ROUSSILLON IS A MICROCOSM OF THE BEST FRANCE HAS TO OFFER – VINEYARDS, CHÂTEAUX, MOUNTAINS, SEA AND MORE CULTURE THAN YOU COULD IMAGINE. BY RUBY BOUKABOU

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rom coastlines to canals and châteaux to cosmopolitan hubs, Languedoc-Roussillon has it all. The region, in the southwest of France, comprises five departments: in the mountains and higher grounds are the spectacular Pyrénées Orientales and Lozère departments, while Aude, Gard and Hérault sweep down to the Mediterranean. Fishing villages, Roman amphitheatres, vineyards and canals are just some of the features ideal for a French holiday romance or family adventure. For foodies, the vastness of LanguedocRoussillon ensures a smorgasbord of fresh produce and traditional delights from mountain to sea. And to top it off, capital Montpellier is one of France’s favourite cities, with its blend of culture and a climate almost too good to be true.

Left: Fountain in the modern Antigone district of Montpellier (photo: Cécil Mathieu).

THE QUALITY LABEL: QUALITÉ SUD DE FRANCE Sun, sea, fine food and wine – coupled with warm, professional hospitality – are the traits of the region. To ensure the most rewarding visit possible, Languedoc-Roussillon’s ‘Qualité Sud de France’ is a scheme to assure that you are in the trusting hands of tested local establishments. Keep an eye out for the plaque at places you visit, or go to: en.sunfrance.com/book_online/qualite_sud_de_france

Above: Panoramic mountain views from a hotel swimming pool in Languedoc-Roussillon.

EATS AND STAYS TO DREAM OF Whether you’d like to camp, stay at a cheap and cheerful B&B, settle into a family-friendly cottage or kick up your heels in a château, there are many accommodation possibilities in Languedoc-Roussillon. For the buzz of a city with the relaxed flavours of the south, visit Montpellier, Nîmes, Perpignan, Carcassonne, Béziers, Narbonne or Mende. For beachy retreats, head to Sète, le Cap d’Agde, Collioure, Argelès, Carnon, Saint Cyprien or La Grande Motte. Enjoy long beach days, followed by dinners of crisp white wines and Mediterranean seafood, antipasto and salads. Some beachside cafés even have power outlets so you can settle in and work, inspired by the lounge music and sea air, before taking a dip for a break. A trip to Languedoc-Roussillon is not complete without some serious dining and wine-tasting. Over two dozen Michelin-rated restaurants and literally thousands of other high quality eateries boast fresh local produce, discerning chefs and fine wines that match each dish.

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Above: Roman-era amphitheatre at Nîmes (photo: B Liegeois); the Norman Foster-designed Carré d’Art contemporary art museum and library, in Nîmes (photo: OT Nîmes).

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as you wish. Book a short trip around the canal’s Mediterranean side, enjoying the coastal lagoons and beaches, or simply book for dinner aboard a floating restaurant. Further inland, the canal offers picturesque cycling routes if you’re looking to build up an appetite or ride off last night’s fromage. Pedal at your own pace, or sign up for a six-day guided bike tour that includes accommodation, meals and much insight into local history and culture. For details, visit the tourism office website (below).

INSIGHTS ON ART AND DESIGN

Above: Private cruise on the Canal du Midi. Left: Fine dining with sunny, southern French flavours.

THE PRESTIGE CLUB & BUSINESS CLUB Care to awake in the charm of a château after an evening of fine dining? Or wander through a wine estate brimming with medieval monuments? Prefer to head out, after a leisurely breakfast, for a game of golf or a morning shopping? Go online to browse the Prestige Club, a selection of the region’s finest establishments. Work to be done? The business club offers comfortable conference centres – and a host of business services to make it enjoyable. Visit en.sunfrance.com/prestige.

Each area has its specialties, but make sure to try the oysters if in Bouzigues, Leucate or Gruissan; anchovies in Collioure (PyrénéesOrientales); and anything with olives or olive oil in Gard or Aude. Ask advice from the locals when choosing cheeses – made from sheep’s, goat’s or cow’s milk. As for wine tasting, you just happen to be in the largest region for wine in the world, with 27 centuries of winemaking history.

GLIDING DOWN THE CANAL DU MIDI Fancy a floating tour through the region? The Canal du Midi, classed as a World Heritage of Humanity site by UNESCO, is a snaking network of canals flowing east from Toulouse on the Mediterranean, to Sete on the Atlantic. Hire a barge to enjoy the 300 kilometres of waterways, passing through some of the quaintest towns and prettiest countryside of the region. Hop on and off for picnics, village tours and leisurely strolls. Visit the vineyards and enjoy a drop of fine local wine back on the barge, under the stars. Your canal sojourn can be as long or short

The diversity and natural beauty of Languedoc-Roussillon has long inspired visual artists from all over. The regional Centre d’Art Contemporain in Sète (crac.languedocroussillon. fr) has exhibitions of photography, paintings and installations all year round. For a sensual immersion in colour, visit the Marcher dans la couleur (‘walk in colour’) exposition until 28 October at the Musée Régional d’Art Contemporain Languedoc-Roussillon (mrac.languedocroussillon.fr) in Sérignan. International artists participating include Daniel Buren, Ann Veronica Janssens and Felice Varini, but there are many more. Other centres include Carré d’Art in Nîmes, (www.carre-dart.fr) and the much-loved Musée Fabre in Montpellier.

FESTIVALS IN THE REGION Summer in France is all about enjoying the good weather at festivals in the south. Plan your itinerary accordingly. Headline acts at this year’s Nîmes festival (www.festivaldenimes.com), between 29 June and 18 July, include Depeche Mode, Green Day and Neil Young. From 13 June to 19 August, the stunning festival of Carcassonne (www.festivaldecarcassonne.fr) will host a huge roll call of events in theatre, classical music, dance, circus and music. The star-studded international line-up includes Patti Smith and David Guetta, and theatre highlights include The Diary of Anne Frank along with children’s shows. Of course, throughout the region, villages have their own festivals, all very family-friendly and a wonderful way to experience local specialities, traditions and culture.

›› FURTHER INFORMATION Tourisme Languedoc-Roussillon Sud de France en.sunfrance.com

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STYLE city BREEZY, FRESH AND STYLISH, MONTPELLIER HAS BECOME A TOP DESTINATION FOR FASHIONABLE LIVING. WITH ITS MEDITERRANEAN CLIMATE, INVITING STREETSCAPES AND EASE OF GETTING AROUND, IT’S EASY TO SEE WHY. BY RUBY BOUKABOU

Day or night, Place de la Comédie is a hub of energy in the city’s centre (photo: © Anatome/Marc Ginot).

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s France’s eighth-largest city, Montpellier is urban, historic and intimate all at once. It’s a pleasure to navigate by public transport, with chic city trams sporting sleek interiors designed by the likes of fashion icon Christian Lacroix.

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It’s also a great city to explore by bike, with over 50 public rental bike stations around town. Get into the spirit of the Tour de France and try the new bike path along the Lez River and vineyards to the beach. And if your dates can coincide, visit in early July to catch the cyclists on their stop between the Alps and the Pyrénées.

NEW IN TOWN Want to be up with the latest in town? Just opened in June 2013 is La Panacée (www. montpellier.fr/3215-panacee-centre-art-contemporain.htm), a contemporary art and culture hub with gallery spaces, gardens, cafés, restaurants, and artist workshops.


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DOWNLOAD OUR MONTPELLIER ARCHITECTURE APP! Keen to know more about the city’s impressive architecture? Our English-language architecture app includes three suggested architecture itineraries, commentary and interviews with architects. www.ot-montpellier.fr/en/app-contemporary-montpellier

Above: The RBC Design Centre, designed by Jean Nouvel, is the ultimate design concept store (photo: © Marie Caroline Lucat). Right: Montpellier is France’s fastest growing city and students make up nearly a quarter of the population (photo: KFH-Beatriz Azorin).

entrees; confit de canard or pan fried salmon mains and dizzying desserts like the famous mille feuilles. Inspired to try a bit of cooking yourself? With the current global cooking craze, book in for some tips on classic French and regional dishes by Montpellier’s top chefs at Atelier de Valérie (www.atelier-valerie.com) or Jardin des Sens (www.jardindessens.com/en/a-cookerylesson-invitation-29.html).

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Lunch at the hotelier school, Lycée Georges Frêche (www.lyceehoteliergeorgesfreche.fr), set within an impressively designed structure by architect Massimiliano Fuksas. The school recently opened its restaurants to the public. The menu varies, but you can expect French cuisine classics such as salads or saucy mushroom

Montpellier’s centre is also a haven for boutiques and bars housed in gorgeous medieval and renaissance buildings. You’ll find all the big labels as well as a diverse range of jewellery shops, design galleries, trendy second-hand shops and fine wine and food stores. If shopping on Tuesday or Saturday morning, dip down to the local market beneath the Arceaux aqueduct for fresh fruit, flowers and fine local produce. With all this walking, pedalling and shopping, you would have built up a thirst. All the better, as Montpellier’s historic centre is brimming with new restaurants and wine bars. Spanish, French and Italian wines are on the menu, but make sure to try a local Gres de Montpellier. Other drops from the region include Coteaux du Languedoc, St Chinian and Pic St Loup.

EVENT HIGHLIGHTS FOR 2013 • Festival Radio France et Montpellier Languedoc-Roussillon, July 11 – 25 An eclectic and original musical festival featuring more than 200 events. With a focus on classical, the festival now spans opera, jazz and electronic music, along with talks, master classes and more – many of them free. • Festival Radio France Signac: The Colours of Water, July 13- October 27 Water, sky and light exploration by NeoImpressionist Paul Signac (1863-1935), at the Musée Fabre. Works include oils, watercolour and ink wash. • Les Estivales, June – September Every Friday night rom 6pm to 11:30pm at the Place de la Comédie, enjoy local wines, international foods, concerts, street shows and a night market. For details, visit the tourism office website and go to the annual ‘events’ or ‘what’s on’ sections.

›› FURTHER INFORMATION Office de Tourisme de Montpellier + 33 4 67 60 60 60 contact@ot-montpellier.fr www.resamontpellier.com

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Art of the MATTER THE PORT CITY OF MARSEILLE HAS SHED ITS PATINA OF AGE TO REVEAL A SWATHE OF NEW MUSEUMS, PROMENADES AND MORE – JUST IN TIME FOR ITS YEAR AS A EUROPEAN CAPITAL OF CULTURE, WRITES RUBY BOUKABOU.

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s France’s largest port and secondlargest city, dynamic Marseille has an unrivalled urban energy. With its spectacular multimilliondollar makeover and status as European Capital of Culture 2013, this is certainly an exciting year to visit. The city has been transformed into a smart cosmopolitan hub, thanks to urban planning collaborations with some of the world’s leading contemporary architects. Projects unveiled this year include museums, waterfront renovations, designer hotels and cultural centres. Make the most of the Mediterranean

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climate by starting your day with a coffee and croissant at one of hundreds of street cafés. Then get pedalling on a Vélo (public bike scheme), to explore the new face of the city.

BIG-PICTURE OPENINGS FOR 2013 To get your historical bearings, start at the MuCEM (Museum of Civilisations from Europe and the Mediterranean, www.mucem.org). Designed by Rudy Ricciotti, the museum has had a major overhaul with an extension of an exhibition venue, 400-seat auditorium, shops, and a café and restaurant.

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Left: Performance of Trois Sirenes: Memoires in Marseille by H20 (photo: Agnès Mellon).

Cruise the esplanade and admire the Regional Centre for the Mediterranean (CRM), a new multi-functional site in the shape of a C that is partly submerged in water. Enter to browse the many shops, enjoy a snack with water views and browse the documentation centre. Nearby, the Quai d’Arenc silo has been transformed by local architect Eric Castaldi into a 2000-seat auditorium; the Euromed Center is a new cultural centre designed by Massimilian Fuksas with a multiplex; and architect Zaha Hadid has designed the 147-metre glass CMA CGM Tower.

NEW OUTLOOK ON HISTORIC CHARMS But, does this new shiny outlook destroy the old city charm? Mais non. Rather, it encourages an appreciation of Marseille’s heritage, as seen best in the renovation of its docks. The project, led by architect Norman Foster, revitalises the area, reduces traffic and facilitates

access without destroying the historic qualities of the 2600-year-old port. Here, the J1, an enormous hangar-turned-cultural space, reopens to the public from 10 October. Catch some rays, schedule in some performances or exhibitions, watch the boats or just rub shoulders with the locals at the cafés. As the 2013 European Capital of Culture, Marseille and Provence is playing host to literally hundreds of artistic and cultural events. There’s a travelling Pompidou gallery, a weekend graffiti event, fusion music festivals, cuisine and streetfood fairs, and a floating festival you can enjoy from your vantage point on the shoreline.

›› FURTHER INFORMATION Tourisme Marseille www.marseille.fr Marseille Provence 2013 official website http://www.marseille.fr

EVENT HIGHLIGHTS FOR AUTUMN 2013 >>>New Orders: Arts collective Une saison du Cartel. Le Cartel presents three exhibitions, a fair, art in public spaces, debates, films, concerts and performances focusing on new art in France. From 6 July to 31 December, Friche la Belle de Mai (www.lafriche. org/content/new-orders). >>>METAMORPHOSES: Playing with the city In this initiative by Pierre Sauvageot, director of the national creation centre Lieux Publics, artists from 15 European countries have been invited to play with public space Above: Opening weekend of Marseille: European Capital of Culture 2013 (photo: Ville de Marseille). Left: Glimpse of the Old Port through the lasercut façade of Marseille’s stunning new history museum, MuCEM (photo: Lisa Ricciotti).

– and by doing so, challenge our interactions with the city. From 20 September to 6 October, various locations.

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Below: Aerial view of Rangiroa, the largest atoll island in Tahiti (photo: © Philippe Bacchet).

In SEARCH of paradise SUN-KISSED BEACHES, WARM TURQUOISE WATERS TEEMING WITH JEWEL-HUED MARINE LIFE, STUNNING SUNSETS AND SUMPTUOUS HOTELS AND RESORTS – TAHITI AND HER ISLANDS HAVE ALL OF THIS AND MORE. BY PERSEPHONE NICHOLAS

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eloved of honeymooners and sought after by the scuba set, Tahiti – or French Polynesia, as it is more properly known – is truly a heavenly holiday haven. Those in search of paradise will find it here – shimmering aquamarine lagoons, powder-like sands and spectacular sunsets are daily delights. Lovers of marine life are spoilt. Tahiti is renowned for its stunning snorkeling and dive sites, with bottlenose dolphins and green sea turtles frequently spotted in the warm Pacific waters. On land, volcanic mountains, exuberant blowholes and lush landscapes combine to create some of the most spectacular scenery on the planet – and there’s a wealth of activities including horseriding, cycling and 4x4 safaris to ensure you experience it to the fullest. Ready for a more urban adventure? Papeete,

the capital of Tahiti, has diversions aplenty. There are museums and markets, galleries and gardens, culture and cuisine all waiting to be discovered. When the day is done, Tahiti’s new and upgraded hotels and resorts take luxury to a new level – so take a seat at the water’s edge, order your favourite cocktail, kick back and relax…

FIRST PORT OF CALL, PAPEETE Papeete is where most international visitors arrive. It’s often the starting point for an island experience but has plenty of attractions of its own. Look for bargains in the colourful market, take in the art galleries and museums, explore the botanical and flower gardens, or join the lively nightlife around the ferry dock. Experience the local culture through displays and shows such as the traditional Heiva,

a vibrant combination of folklore, dancing and singing. Papeete is also a great place to browse and shop for the local pearls. Usually described simply as ‘black,’ these cultured beauties come in a surprising range of sizes, shapes and hues.

THE BEAUTIFUL GAME There is a new addition to the Tahitian sporting calendar this year; 2013 will see a FIFA senior tournament held by the crystal waters of French Polynesia for the very first time. The seventh FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup (www.beachsoccer.com) will take place at the Tahua Toata stadium in Papeete from September 18 – 28.

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Clockwise from left: Spectators afloat at the 2010 Billabong Pro (photo: Steeve Dickinson); a glassy barrel wave at the legendary Teahupo’o reef break (photo: B Love); the newly refurbished Hotel Kia Ora, nestled on a white sand shore fringed by coconut trees.

SPECTACULAR SURFING THE JEWEL IN THE CROWN: RANGIROA Seen from the sky, Rangiroa, the largest atoll in French Polynesia, looks like a shimmering necklace afloat in azure waters. The necklace is made up of a chain of 240 tiny islets set in the bluest of lagoons. Visitors to Rangiroa in search of an indulgent Tahitian experience should head for the Hotel Kia Ora Resort and Spa (eu.hotelkiaora. com). Located in an idyllic coconut grove fringed with white sands and softly lapping waters, the resort was fully renovated in 2011 and now comprises 60 elegant villas and bungalows, a pool with Jacuzzi plus fitness facilities, a spa and two waterfront restaurants. The hotel’s main restaurant, Te Rairoa, enjoys stunning vistas over the pool and lagoon.

The menu combines the best of Polynesian and European flavours, from coconut-infused seafood and vegetable dishes to fresh foie gras with duck confit. A large wine menu completes the offering. Those looking for a more Robinson Crusoestyle experience will love the hotel’s private island, just an hour’s boat-ride away. This desert island escape accommodates a maximum of 10 guests in five traditional style bungalows – and offers all the pleasures of paradise. Rangiroa is famous for its world-class dive sites. Hotel Kia Ora has its own dive centre with options ranging from introductory dives for beginners (an opportunity to explore the coral gardens and marine life within the lagoon) to more challenging routes for experienced divers. These include excursions around the atoll’s outer

Teahupo’o, on the southwest coast of Tahiti, is famous for its incredible surf; waves up to 7 metres high are common. Its challenging breaks attract international surfing legends to the annual Billabong Pro Tahiti surf competition www.billabongpro.com/tahiti13.) This year’s contest will take place from August 19 – 25 and is sure to be spectacular.

reef, where divers may see species including gray reef sharks, tuna, manta rays, turtles, groupers, dolphins and humphead wrasses. There are also themed itineraries, such as the shark cave dive, that give more expert enthusiasts the chance to come face to face with several species of sharks including the hammerhead.

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Top: Jagged peaks rise above lush jungles on Bora Bora; below: private spa at the St Regis.

LIGHTS, CAMERAS, ACTION The Pacific international documentary film festival, FiFo, (en.fifo-tahiti.com) takes place in Tahiti every February. The competition is open to anyone who has produced a documentary in Oceania during the past three years and celebrates its 10th anniversary this year. Check the website for information on the 2014 programme.

IN THE LAP OF LUXURY Often described as ‘the pearl of Polynesia,’ Bora Bora is synonymous with luxurious island life. The St Regis Bora Bora Resort (www.stregisborabora.com) has long been considered a chic vacation destination, but since the 2009 movie Couples Retreat, starring Vince Vaughn, was filmed here, its popularity has reach new heights. This resort offers some of the most exclusive accommodation in Polynesia and is known for its dazzling setting, elegantly appointed overwater villas and flawless signature service. Ideal for keen snorkelers, the resort has its own saltwater lagoon, teeming with brightly coloured native fish and rays. Other on-site activities include sailing, waterskiing, fishing and yoga. Helicopter sightseeing tours are also available nearby. Set in scenic 18-hectare gardens, the St. Regis Bora Bora also features a huge (nearly 4000 square metre) world-class spa and Technogym fitness center, located on its own private island in the lagoon. The new Miri Miri Spa – a muchawaited Clarins spa – boasts a comprehensive menu of bliss-inducing therapies and treatments, using mostly Clarins products and a handful of French Polynesian touches. Some of the local herbs and extracts include the coffee volcanic foot scrub, or mono’i oil massage. Dining here is fabulous, too. The resort’s signature restaurant, Lagoon by Jean Georges, features a fine French and Asian-inspired menu created by celebrated chef, Jean-Georges Vongerichten. It offers the freshest local seafood and produce in a stunning setting overlooking Mount Otemanu and the crystal clear waters of the lagoon.

›› FURTHER INFORMATION Tahiti Now

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tahitinow.com.au

FIND OUT MORE Scan our QR code to access up-to-the-minute information online.


OBA ! 50 30 30 - Photos : © SPM

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Above: Kanak wood carvings take the form of totem poles, masks, door stops and more. Main: New Caledonia is a diverse ethnic mix, with indigenous Kanaks living alongside European descendants and newer Asia-Pacific arrivals (photo: © Stéphane Ducandas/Ethnotracks).

Secrets of the BLUE lagoon AN EMERALD SLIVER IN THE PACIFIC OCEAN, NEW CALEDONIA AND HER OUTLYING ISLANDS OFFER A TROPICAL EXPERIENCE WITH A WILD, RUGGED TWIST – AND A PROFOUND FUSION OF KANAK, PACIFIC AND FRENCH CULTURAL INFLUENCES.

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ringed by the world’s second-largest barrier reef, the picture-perfect archipelago of New Caledonia brims with surprises. Arrive in the capital, Nouméa, and you’ll be struck by the cosmopolitan cityscape, French fusion dining spots and gleaming yacht harbours, conjuring a Riviera-like mood in the Pacific. But set a foot inland on Grande Terre, the main island, and you could encounter any mood whatsoever. On the west coast, sweeping plains are host to livestock farms and the pioneering spirit of the broussards (‘bush cowboys’); on the east coast, lush valleys and crystalline waterfalls await. In the far north, an arid landscape not unlike parts of Australia harbours rich nickel deposits, contributing much to New Caledonia’s

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comfortable standard of wealth. Or go island-hopping and experience indigenous Kanak culture in the Loyalty Islands and Isle of Pines. Sit down to a bougna feast – fish, yams, shellfish and lobster marinaded in coconut milk, and simmered for hours in banana leaves, on the hot stones of the Kanak oven. Throw yourself into any water sport imaginable – kiteboarding, sailing, scuba diving and fishing included – or hike through unsullied forests. An astounding 9372 marine species flit through New Caledonia’s reefs and seas and 2535 species inhabit its forests and shores, several of them native to the islands. Look for the striking roussette (a flying fox up to 80 centimeters in length), green pigeon and cagou – the bird that barks.

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NOUMÉA: WEALTH OF PLEASURES Relaxed Nouméa offers visitors attractive contemporary facilities and a vibrant mix of activities. Dine on French, pan-Asian and Kanak flavours at one of 120 restaurants, a culinary reminder of the many European, islander and even Caribbean, Japanese and Indian people who have settled here. Out of town, at an impressive waterside setting on the Tina Peninsula, visit the astounding Renzo Piano-designed Tjibaou Cultural Centre (www.adck.nc), its world-class displays of Kanak art including many items returned from Paris’ Musée du Quai Branly. Swim, snorkel or stroll the beaches of L’Anse Vata or Baie des Citrons. Experience Nouméa’s magical waters with a cruise on Grand Lagon Sud – the largest lagoon in the world – or a trip to nearby Amedee lighthouse. Built in 1872 to warn sailors of the reef that guards the lagoon, the lighthouse is a wonderful spot for snorkeling and other water sports, or simply relaxing on pristine white-sand beaches.

Below: Blocks of coral reefs, in the Loyalty Islands, raised above sea level over millions of years (photo: © Stéphane Ducandas/NCTPS). Bottom: Anse Vata beach in Nouméa.

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Main: Moindou reef and lagoon, near the province of La Foa (photo: © Martial Dosdane province Sud). Right: French bread is just one of the many flavours found in the local cuisine (photo: © Stéphane Ducandas/NCTPS).

A SUITE OF NEW STAYS New Caledonia’s accommodations range from the budget-friendly to the five-star, with a recent spate of holiday apartments giving visitors every option possible. The Starwood group offers two properties – in Nouméa and the Isle of Pines. In December, the group opens its much-awaited Sheraton Deva Golf Resort and Spa in the rugged and beautiful Bourail district, two hours from Nouméa (www.starwood. com). Sustainably developed and overlooking the UNESCO heritage-listed lagoon and reefs, the property will have 60 bungalows, 120 rooms and suites, and an 18-hole golf course designed by Dye. In July, GLP Hôtel group’s Residence La Promenade will be rebranded the Hilton Nouméa La Promenade Residence. The near-new property, which opened in 2008, will notch up in the style stakes and guests will soon enjoy the Hilton group’s hallmark international-level service in its 154 luxurious holiday apartments (www.glphotels. nc). The residence’s three buildings form an artful semicircle around a central garden, with ocean views from every apartment.

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Above: The famous Heart of Voh, a naturally heartshaped outline in the mangroves on the west coast of New Caledonia (photo: © GIE Tourisme Province Nord/S Ducandas). Left: New Caledonia remains an enduringly popular destination for honeymoons.

GETTING THERE Nouméa’s airport has recently received a long-awaited upgrade, with gangways and generous spaces ensuring a comfortable arrival and departure. Domestic airline Aircaledonie links Grand Terre, the Isle of Pines and the Loyalty Islands, and cruising options abound. On Grand Terre, car rental is the best way to explore the vast and varied northern part of the island. International airline, Aircalin, flies to 10 Asia-Pacific destinations each week including Sydney and Brisbane.

›› FURTHER INFORMATION New Caledonia Tourism www.visitnewcaledonia.com

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Above: Thomas Benhamou, Guillaume Brahimi and Phillip Corne.

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Above: Guests at the event included eight Commandeurs, garbed here in the Commanderie’s distinctive velvet robes. Below: Wivina and Pierre Chanelière. Bottom: Les Schirato raises a glass.

Right: JeanMarie Simart, Maxime Elgue and Guy Meslin.

The Commanderie of Bordeaux WHAT: A CEREMONIAL ‘KNIGHTING’ OF BORDEAUX WINE CONNOISSEURS, IN AN EXCLUSIVE BORDEAUX WINE INDUSTRY EVENT ORIGINALLY INSPIRED BY THE MEDIEVAL ASSEMBLY KNOWN AS A GRAND CONSEIL (COUNCIL OF WISE CITIZENS).

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he Grande Commanderie de Bordeaux was founded in 1952 and currently has 4500 members. In June 2012, Australia became the 26th country to host a chapter of the Commanderie. Where: Guillaume at Bennelong, Sydney Opera House. Who: Les Schirato of Vittoria Coffee, Guillaume Brahimi of the eponymous restaurant, Phillip Corne of Louis Vuitton Australia, Jean-

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Marie Simart of Vintec and some 30 other highly knowledgeable wine collectors and enthusiasts. Highlights: Apart from Guillaume’s magnificent summer feast and a balmy December evening, the event featured the MC talents of Jean-Marie Simart, inaugural Grand Master of the Australian chapter. After sampling the beautiful Château Yquem, the diners were treated to a selection of French handcrafted teas from La Maison du Thé.


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Jasmine AWARDS Above: Tom Reeves, Natarsha Belling and Patrick Benhamou. Right: Mette Engell addresses the audience.

WHAT: NOW IN ITS 10TH YEAR, THE JASMINE AWARDS, SPONSORED BY AIR FRANCE AND ATOUT FRANCE, IS A PRESTIGIOUS CEREMONY THAT AWARDS JOURNALISTIC EFFORTS DEDICATED TO PERFUME.

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n her opening speech, the event host Mette Engell, Vice President of the Fragrance Foundation, summed up the industry’s growth with some astounding facts, including that 1200 fragrances had been released in the year to 2012 alone. Where: Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney. Who: Australia’s most glamorous beauty journalists, including Alex Noonan of Marie-Claire, Katrina Lawrence of Madison and Sigourney Cantelo of Vogue magazine. The event was hosted and opened by Channel Ten presenter, Natarsha Belling. Highlights: The event was held at the MCA’s brand-new function room on the building’s fifth floor, with its sweeping views of the harbour.

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Above: Tom Reeves and Andrew McEvoy. Right: Clive Scott, Christelle Taillardat, Laurence Prevot, Claude Maniscalco, Renae Ayris (Miss Universe Australia 2012), Thomas Lignier, Véronique Diaz and Patrick Benhamou.

CHAMPAGNERENDEZVOUS WHAT: ATOUT FRANCE’S ANNUAL GALA DINNER, SPONSORED BY AIR FRANCE, QANTAS AND THE CHAMPAGNE-ARDENNE REGION, FEATURED BUBBLY PROMINENTLY ON ITS MENU. THE ICONIC G.H. MUMM WAS SERVED THROUGHOUT THE THREE-COURSE DINNER, CREATED BY MICHELIN-STARRED CHEF, PHILIPPE MILLE.

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Where: Sofitel Wentworth, Sydney; Sofitel Melbourne on Collins, Melbourne. Who: More than 600 guests representing French companies, the travel trade, media luxury brands and more. The event welcomed media personality Catriona Rowntree, French Ambassador Stéphane Romatet, Tom Reeves of Air France, Peter Collins of Qantas Airways and Andrew McEvoy of Tourism Australia, to name a few. Highlights: Several guests were invited on stage to perform sabrage – the flamboyant removal of a champagne cork with one swift upward movement using a saber. Philippe Mille, the celebrated head chef of Château Les Crayères near Reims, was flown out from France to create the

superb meal, incorporating delicate local seafood and other top ingredients. Guests were also regaled with a Lido acrobat performance by Pierre Marchand, and a couple of belted-out French tunes by sultry chanteuse, Caroline Nin. After holding the event in Sydney, the entire spectacle was reproduced one day later for an equally dazzling night in Melbourne.


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Clockwise from top left: Jean-Marie Simart and Véronique Diaz; Atout France Team – Lea Granado, Marie Boyer, Emilie Hess, Justine Wagner, Charlotte Guilloteau, Claire Grimond and Sophie Almin; Patrick Benhamou with Catriona Rowntree; Renae Ayris (Miss Universe 2012); Matt Preston and Thomas Lignier; Bill Gillespin, Auriane Bourdin, Robin De Michelena.

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Above: Waitress serving cocktails made with Ricard. Right: Cycletastic Dance Crew.

TOUR DE FORCE by Atout France WHAT: : ATOUT FRANCE’S CELEBRITY-STUDDED OPENING NIGHT FOR THEIR EXHIBITION CELEBRATING THE 100TH EDITION OF TOUR DE FRANCE, BEING HELD FROM MAY UNTIL AUGUST IN SYDNEY AND MELBOURNE (SEE PP 58–61). CO-HOSTED BY THE CÔTE D’AZUR CITY OF NICE, THE EVENT WAS SUPPORTED BY CORPORATE PARTNERS BIOTHERM HOMME, AIR FRANCE, SKODA, NESPRESSO, RICARD AND SBS. Where: Sofitel Sydney Wentworth. Who: The 300-plus guests included Tour de France race director, Christian Prudhomme; professional cyclists Kate Bates, Ben Kersten, Scott McGrory and Henk Vogels; and longstanding Atout France partners and friends including Catriona Rowntree, Guillaume Brahimi and Mark Baulderstone.

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Highlights: Much pre-Tour de France merriment characterised the evening, with one turbo studio cycle challenge involving special guests and another featuring four pro cyclists. Guests also enjoyed a meadow-inspired venue décor, generous prize draws and a hip tap performance by Cycletastic Dance Crew. Prudhomme spoke of

his lifelong fascination with the race, today so popular it attracts dense crowds at every stage. “It’s 3500 kilometres of smiling faces,” Prudhomme enthused. With 6.4 million Australian viewers tuned in at last count, the 100th edition of the Tour de France is set to eclipse all expectations.


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Clockwise from top left: Agnes Espagne, Christian Prudhomme and Alison Rodgers; young cyclists and Patrick Benhamou; stage setting with studio cycle and giant R (for ‘Ricard’); Johanna Mayr and Christian Prudhomme; Guillaume Brahimi, Catriona Rowntree and Mark Baulderstone; Denis Zanon, Sandra Sully, Catriona Rowntree and Stephane Romatet.

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Things I LOVE ABOUT FRANCE BORN IN PARIS, GUILLAUME BRAHIMI IS THE MUCH LAUDED AND MULTI AWARD-WINNING FOUNDER AND HEAD CHEF OF GUILLAUME AT BENNELONG, AT SYDNEY’S FAMED OPERA HOUSE. HERE ARE SOME OF HIS TOP TIPS FOR ENJOYING CULINARY FRANCE.

Photo: © Tefal

Photo: © Stéphane de Bourgies

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Best activity to do as a family – “Start the day with a wonderful breakfast; stroll the streets of Paris; enjoy a lazy lunch. Visit one of the city’s many museums.”

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Photo: © Atout France/Phovoir

Favourite restaurant outside Paris – “Ducasse’s Louis XV in Monaco. It is the ultimate in dining, from the moment you walk in through to every part of the menu.”

Favourite new Paris restaurant – “Restaurant JeanFrançois Piège, which seats just 20 people. The food is classic in its ingredients and techniques, but with a modern, light twist.”

Most exciting dining trend in France – “Bistronomy, where young chefs fuse high dining with a bistro approach. They’ll have simple spaces, inexpensive yet radical dishes, and unusual or biodynamic wines. Two good examples are Le Comptoir, by my friend Yves Camdebordes, and Le Chateauxbriand.”

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Most innovative hotel – “Hotel Montalembert in SaintGermain-des-Prés. Everything they do is sensational; I love the way they treat guests.”

French destination you’d revisit in a flash – ‘Hotel Belle Rive in Juan-les-Pins. The Art Deco interior is sensational and so is the service. Relax on the beach, then enjoy a late lunch.’

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Best place to source ingredients in Paris – “Any fresh food market in Paris – you can buy the best cheeses, seafood and seasonal produce. The French are very lucky.” Photo:© OT Biarritz

8 9 10 Sports you follow in France, and where – “Rugby, especially the Biarritz team.”

Most valuable professional memory of France – “Working with Joel Robuchon for four years, which gave me a respect for produce and a love of good work.”

What you’re looking forward to now ¬ “A relaxing Christmas with my family. On the table is always homemade ice cream, fresh seafood and loads of summer fruit.”


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Rendezvous en France 2013  

The official magazine of the French Tourist Bureau in Australia. From the grit and excitement of the Tour de France to the glamour of its ma...

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