TRUTH IN TRAVEL
S C O T L A N D • RO M E • S H A N G H A I • P E RU • GA S C O N Y
Style, Design, and Culture Around the World
MARCH 201 7
F E AT U R E S
90 Coming into Focus
Andrea Gentl and Martin Hyers lead a travel photography workshop in the Peruvian Andes.
A Peruvian woman with traditional braids outside Chinchero.
David Coggins and two pals road-trip to Harris, Scotland, home of the iconic tweed.
Through the lens of the founders of Buly 1803, Pilar Guzmán gets rare insight into France’s last frontier.
Ground zero of China’s exploding contemporary art scene is worth seeing up close. By Jiayang Fan.
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Comme des Gascons
The Shanghai Show
The Cover Valentina Mirma, from Pacchanta, Peru, in a colorful skirt. Shot by Gentl and Hyers.
photograph by GENTL AND HYERS
W H E R E + W E A R (23)
WO R D O F M O U T H (37)
Singapore is having a style moment.
The Jakarta shortlist from a designer who knows; reimagined guesthouses in Kyoto; your new go-to hotel in the center of Paris.
Why your next winesoaked getaway should be in Sonoma.
The Upgrade Leave the statement necklace at home and take an oversized cuff.
New York’s Baccarat Hotel knows how to do a decadent morning meal.
What I Pack J.Crew president Jenna Lyons does a lot of denim on denim in Marfa.
Art & Design 32
The Bass museum reopens in Miami Beach, while the Marciano Art Foundation debuts in L.A.; Miami’s Surf Club makes its return.
Plane Clothes Joy Bryant on her love of Björk and Converse x Missoni sneakers.
Editor’s Letter 18
Editor’s Itinerary 100
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Black Book: Rome Nailing la dolce vita in the prime hoods of the Eternal City (and yes, that means plenty of gnocchi and Negronis). 60
Journey When Ondine Cohane and her husband opened the hotel of their dreams in Tuscany, she was ready for every challenge of the job, except one.
From top: Photographs courtesy Raffles Hotel Singapore; Dewey Nicks; courtesy Four Seasons; Ken Seet/courtesy Four Seasons; © Peter Marlow/Magnum Photos
Coming into Focus, p. 90
The Innkeeper’s Diaries, p. 60
Common Threads, p. 64
What dish would you travel for? I’d go to
What scent takes you right back? Santa Maria
Favorite travel ritual?
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central Sweden for breakfast at Fäviken Magasinet, which is a bit like stepping into a magical forest. A tea of wild herbs accompanies a moss nest of local duck eggs tucked beside a bowl of cured reindeer with acidgreen pine salt.
Novella pharmacy’s rosewater is my Room with a View moment— looking out over the Arno River in Florence, feeling nunnish, but sort of badass too.
My ﬁrst stop in Milan, before the fashion shows, even before I go to my hotel, is always the Autogrill en route from the airport. I’m talking about the truck stop right oﬀ the autostrada, where they make a ﬂawless ham and cheese on toast and a perfect cappuccino. It fortiﬁes me for a long day of presentations.
The airplane of my dreams would have. . .? Aesop products in the bathroom and a juice bar for gingerturmeric shots.
What do you do on a long layover? I go Bourdain style: throw my stuﬀ in a locker and head to the city for the ﬁrst restaurant on my list.
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Where have you been that’s unexpectedly stylish? San Pancho, on Mexico’s Riviera Nayarit. It is boho surfer chic without even trying.
Greatest airport for a layover? Singapore. It has the best duty-free shopping, playgrounds for kids, yummy restaurants, plus massages to die for.
The Right Stuff
We’re sharing travel style tips from editors and other continenthoppers, covering everything from Dopp kit strategies to the coziest scarves for in-ﬂight layering, on video.cntraveler.com.
Check our Instagram feed for more mountain streams, pom-pom’ed hats, and llamas from Andrea Gentl’s trips to Peru.
Airplane Confessions On cntraveler.com, actress Joy Bryant recounts that one time she practically ﬂew the plane to Bora Bora.
Best vintage score? A 1960s mint tuxedo at a church thrift store in Palm Beach. At 5'8" I’m not an oﬀ-the-hanger-ﬁt kind of guy, and this garment didn’t need a stitch of tailoring.
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From left: Photographs by Lula Hyers; Matteo Carassale; Jake Mueser; Gallery Stock
Dressing the Part I’m always amazed when I see the hordes of Spring Breakers pouring out of planes wearing cutoffs and ﬂip-ﬂops, as if the ﬂight were just a four-hour prelude to a day of swim-up-bar daiquiris and tanning. As much as I travel, I still feel an anachronistic sense of duty to dress for the plane. Which isn’t to say I wear pencil skirts and pantyhose. Come to think of it, I don’t even own a proper suit anymore. The deﬁnition of appropriate dress has evolved a lot since the dawn of commercial air travel, and these days the international uniform of a pair of fashion sneakers with a men’s-style trouser or nice jeans and a button-down shirt is a safe bet for both men and women. Clean and casual—but not too casual. Whether your fashion sensibility skews traditional, street, or ladylike (I do envy the dame of another era, boarding a ﬂight in a shift dress, carrying only a small structured handbag and a book), certain sartorial truisms transcend taste. Like, don’t pad onto the plane in pajama bottoms and slippers with a pillow, as though you just rolled out of your mother’s station wagon after a sleepover. (Unless, of course, it’s a silky pajama-style pant meant to be worn outside the house.) Short shorts on the plane, even to and from the Caribbean, are still a head scratcher. Beyond the impropriety of it, planes tend to be airborne tundras with a shortage of blankets; they’re also ﬁlthy, and scant clothing and open-toe footwear put skin in contact
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with too many unsavory surfaces. Not to sound like Andy Rooney, but don’t get me started on socks in the bathroom. I can picture my mother giving my sister and me the once-over before we left for the airport or the theater. While she always gave us free rein over our style choices (“It’s not what you wear, it’s how you carry yourself in it”), she would gently direct us with lines like, “I think we need to show respect,” or “Wear what you want, but you might feel underdressed.” Of course she was right: Nothing makes you rethink your wardrobe choice like the embarrassment of shaking hands with ﬁve people in suits while you’re wearing exercise pants. The same goes for the ﬂight crew. I remember the ﬁrst time I noticed that Southwest Airlines had done away with traditional uniforms and outﬁtted the attendants in khaki shorts and polo shirts. It struck me then that when Pan Am rolled out their ﬂeet of “ﬂying boats” and abandoned the World War II military pilot khaki pant and bomber jacket in favor of a naval officer–inspired uniform, they set a standard for in-ﬂight formality. By conferring authority and expertise on not just the pilot but the ﬂight attendants, the uniform was intended to make passengers feel secure. Something we’d do well to keep in mind today, when anxiety around air travel is at an all-time high (having nothing to do with statistics or the safety of airplanes). In an issue that celebrates style (as well as art and design) as a powerful signiﬁer of culture around the world—from an embroidered skirt in the Peruvian Andes (page 90) to Scotland’s Harris Tweed (page 64)—we have to be accountable for what our personal style says about us as individuals and as Americans out in the world.
Pilar Guzmán, Editor in Chief @pilar_guzman
Photograph by Lisa Larsen/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images
An off-duty American Airlines hostess; photo by Lisa Larsen for Life magazine, 1954.
E D IT O R ’ S IT I N E R A RY
Polo season in Buenos Aires kicks off in September.
ALSO KEEP IN MIND . . . The Cup Is Coming
Hitting BA Just Right I’m going to Argentina in September, because it will let me ease out of summer by heading into springtime warmth and score a ton of shoulder-season deals. My only dilemma: save $100 a night on a junior suite at the Belle Époque Alvear Palace Hotel, or book the glass-walled garden suite at the intimate Home Hotel? (Both made our RCA last year—plus Argentina did away with its 21 percent hotel tax for foreigners last fall.) And though there’s nothing wrong with going out for (phenomenal) steak and malbec every night, the city’s dining scene is exploding. Tomás Kalika’s nouvelleJewish Mishiguene offers pastrami and blintzes; Gastón Acurio’s cevicheria La Mar does chilcano de pisco better than his spot in Lima; and Proper, in an unmarked mechanic’s shop, is a must for grilled artichokes. But the biggest draw? Polo season kicks off this month, and I’m working with specialist Maita Barrenechea on getting tickets to the prestigious Jockey Club Championship (they can’t be bought abroad). Not sure where I’ll ﬁnd a hat, but I have time to ﬁgure it out. K A T H E R I N E L A G R A V E
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The world’s most famous yacht race— the America’s Cup—hits the waters around Bermuda from May 26 through June 27. The closer you stay to the ﬁnish line at the Royal Navy Dockyards, the better. At press time, the Fairmont Southampton still had availability.
Aspen in Springtime If you don’t mind mud, consider Colorado after the snow and before the heat hits. You can raft and hike as early as May, and in June our favorite spot, The Little Nell, will unveil rooms redone by designer Alexandra Champalimaud.
Last year my ﬁve-yearold’s Spring Break seemed to come out of nowhere, and a colleague who shares my affinity for cactus porn suggested Arizona. I booked a round-trip to Phoenix for $300 just two weeks out and got a room at the Boulders Resort & Spa, a casita-style hotel in the Sonoran Desert that was recently renovated and had cottontails hopping about, a huge spiritual-inﬂected spa (read: me time), and strong margaritas at its Mexican cantina, Spotted Donkey. Plus it was a short drive from Cave Creek Trail Rides, where my daughter rode her ﬁrst horse. Two days later, we headed to the Biltmore, in the city, built by a Frank Lloyd Wright protégé; Wright consulted on the property (fan tip: Taliesin West is just 30 minutes away). The one day I could pull her out of the pool—there are eight—we went to the zoo and petted stingrays. At night, we sat by the hotel’s ﬁre pits and I drank my “mom juice” while she fought to stay awake. CANDICE R AINEY
Photograph by Anders Overgaard/Trunk Archive
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Prop styling by David de Quevedo. Beauty Case, ghurka.com; Grace Trunk, markcross.com; Grace Trolley, matchesfashion.com
THE THINGS WE CAN’T L E AV E WITHOUT
from top: Ghurka Beauty Case ... $5,000 Mark Cross Grace Trunk and Grace Trolley........ $7,500 and $9,950
Pop the Trunk These bags channel the sophistication of a pedigreed steamer trunk but are made for a quick getaway.
photograph by CR ISTA LEONAR D
Condé Nast Traveler / 03.17
Bulgari MVSA necklace ...................... $23,100 Fendi top ......................... $950 Fendi skirt ... price on request Cartier Trinity de Cartier ring ................ $29,600 Stuart Weitzman NearlyNude sandals .... $398 Fendi sunglasses ........... $555 Bottega Veneta Parco PalladianoV..................... $295
Dover Street Market—the cult-worthy multi-label concept store founded by Comme des Garçons’ Rei Kawakubo— will open its fourth outpost later this year in Singapore’s Dempsey Hill area. Good news if you need something to wear to the new 37-room Warehouse Hotel in Robertson Quay, a neighborhood that was once a hotbed for gambling and opium and today is buzzing with some of the hottest restaurants and bars on the island, like Aburiya and Beast & Butterﬂies. And let’s not forget Raffles (above), the always glamorous Victorian-era stalwart where Somerset Maugham once held court, which is undergoing a major threephase reno. The face-lift won’t be complete until next year, but don’t worry— you can still slip into the iconic Bar & Billiard Room for that Singapore Sling. H O R A C I O S I LVA
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Photograph courtesy Raffles Hotel Singapore. Clockwise from bottom left: Still lifes by Josephine Schiele (3); Tom Gorman; Chris Gorman (2). Necklace, bulgari.com; top, skirt, and sunglasses, fendi.com; ring, cartier.com; sandals, stuartweitzman.com; fragrance, 800-845-6790
O N L O C AT I O N
SINGAPORE WHERE DRESSING FOR DINNER (AND BREAKFAST AND LUNCH) IS STILL A THING
THE UPGR ADE
Prop styling by David de Quevedo. Shoelace and Bastille, davidwebb.com; Trace, eddieborgo.com; No. 105, Verdura, N.Y.C.; Kashan, maniazamani.com
IT’S ALL IN THE WRIST FIERCE YET FEMININE CUFFS THAT WILL TAKE YOU ANYWHERE
from top: David Webb Shoelace ..................... $58,000 Eddie Borgo Trace ........ $330 David Webb Bastille ........................ $62,000 Verdura No. 105 ....... $48,500 Maniazamani Kashan ....................... $45,400
Condé Nast Traveler / 03.17
photograph by CR ISTA LEONAR D
Crangi; and friends actor Mark Ruffalo and his wife, Sunrise. During the day, everyone does their own thing, popping into candlemaking or tie-dying workshops (“Mark was obsessed with ﬁre drawing”) or the Chinati Foundation to see Donald Judd’s work. “It’s so not my daily life, but in Marfa it feels right.” Lyons wears a lot of denim on denim here and packs her pom-pom Gaia bag and turquoise jewelry. She leaves room in her custom yellow GlobeTrotter suitcase for souvenirs, like the huge quartz cluster she picked up at Moonlight Gemstones. “I swear,” she says with a laugh, “I’m not a hippie.” K A R I M O LVA R
Gaia for J.Crew Pom Pom bag ............................ $128 Giles & Brother Skinny Cortina cuff ..................... $130 Vintage Rolex Date ............. price on request
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Clockwise from top left: Photographs by Takahiro Ogawa; courtesy J.Crew; Tim Hout (3). Styled by Leigh Gill. Bag, jcrew.com; cuff, gilesandbrother.com; watch, similar styles at hqmilton.com
W H AT I PA C K
JENNA LYONS HOW A SELFPROFESSED URBANITE GOES OFF THE GRID
“Nothing about camping agrees with me,” says Jenna Lyons, the New York– based president and executive creative director of J.Crew. “I need a private bathroom—plus, I love the city and all its noise and concrete.” But since her friend, Austin-based hotelier Liz Lambert, convinced her to come camping (and to Texas) several years ago, Lyons spends four days every September in the Chihuahuan Desert outside Marfa, Texas, in a vintage Spartan Aircraft trailer. She goes for the annual Trans-Pecos Festival of Music & Love, an alt-Americana crafts fair and concert held at Lambert’s El Cosmico campground (Ben Kweller and Neko Case headlined last year). “It’s just magical out there, and there’s something Planes, Trains and Automobiles about getting there that I love.” She goes with a tribe: her son Beckett, ten; her partner, jewelry designer Courtney
PLA NE CLOTHES
“NEVER LOOK LIKE A TOURIST. ACT LIKE YOU KNOW WHERE YOU ARE.”
ACTRESS JOY BRYANT ON HER BJ RK SOUNDTRACK AND THAT TIME SHE FLEW A PLANE TO BORA BORA
Just about everything I’m wearing— except the Converse x Missoni sneakers—is from my line, Basic Terrain, that I design with my husband. It all started with these ﬁsherman pants: I bought a pair when I was in Cambodia with Oxfam, and we did our own version in a lightweight denim. You just fold and tie them at the waist—you can wear them in yoga class or on the red carpet. I’ve actually done both. I travel to New York a lot for work, and to Powder Mountain in Utah to go snowboarding, but I’m longing for an adventure in a place I’ve never been before. Maybe Zanzibar? I have friends who are going. Or Iceland. It’s been calling to me for years—I have this fantasy of walking along some desolate cliff rocking out to “Enjoy” by Björk.
I grew up in the South Bronx, and traveling to me at that point meant taking the subway into Manhattan to Greenwich Village. It really felt a world away. I learned early you don’t have to travel far to have an experience that could change your life. A N D R E A W H I T T L E
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photograph by DEWEY NICKS
Hair and makeup by Jamie Greenberg for NARS at The Wall Group
On a ﬂight to Bora Bora early on in my modeling career, there wasn’t a seat for me, so I sat in the cockpit with the pilots. This was the ’90s and things were loose—we were smoking cigarettes and drinking coffee. They let me ﬂy the plane for a bit—and I don’t even know how to drive a car.
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T H E T H I N G S W E C A N ’ T S T O P TA L K I N G A B O U T
A Newly Minted Icon in the Middle of Paris pg.
photograph by ADR IAN GAUT
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“I didn’t want to come to Indonesia and default to the teakwood, barefoot-luxury vibe,” says Alexandra Champalimaud, who oversaw the interiors of the new Four Seasons Hotel Jakarta. “I hoped to create something that reﬂected the open and social nature of the people in Jakarta,” she says. “They give the city its warm, wonderful energy.” That’s why the public spaces are the calling card of her 125-suite glass-andsteel hotel, which opened this summer in the central Jalan Gatot Subroto business district and draws just as many locals as out-of-towners. Walk into the Tiffany-blue patisserie in the hotel lobby on any afternoon and you’ll ﬁnd Jakartans and guests sipping java and treating themselves to exquisite handmade
Meet and Greet How a New York designer fell in love with Jakarta and made a hotel the new neighborhood go-to.
chocolates. In the gold-tiled, mahogany-paneled Library lounge, Malaysian and European suits unwind with pre-dinner drinks. And come nightfall, you’ll see plenty of deals being made over handshakes and single malts at the dimly lit, 32-banquette Nautilus Bar (not to mention well-heeled Indonesians knocking back clove-infused vodka cocktails). Of course, to get it right, Champalimaud traveled back and forth to Jakarta from her home base, New York, over three and a half years and dove deep into the markets, restaurants, and bars that buzz with the city’s day-to-day rhythms. Here’s where you’ll ﬁnd her if she’s in town (and all of those banquettes are already taken). E R I N F L O R I O
THE DESIGNER’S DOWNLOAD The Good-Energy Lunch Spot “Attarine is new, young, and fun, and decked out with lots of plants and an open kitchen with a wood-ﬁre oven banging out Indonesian farm-totable, like slow-cooked brisket with crispy onions.”
Dinner with an Epic View “The salmon would be the draw at Japanese restaurant Enmaru if the setting weren’t so spectacular. Come here for dinner and get a table by the window. It’s 46 stories up.”
Unlikely Shopping Destination “The packed little stalls at the city’s Rawa Belong Flower Market sell tight bundles of chrysanthemums, dahlias, and roses until lunchtime. It’s a funky place to spend the morning if you’re on the west side of the city.”
The Architecture Hit “Non-Muslims can visit the four-story Istiqlal Mosque. It was designed in the 1950s and has an interesting retro feel— it’s mostly marble but has aluminum ﬁnishes.”
“You can walk, but I always like to rent a bike and cycle around the old part of town known as Taman Fatahillah. It’s a beautiful tapestry of Portuguese and Dutch Colonial inﬂuences, with 400-year-old buildings and cobblestone streets.”
The patisserie at the Four Seasons Hotel Jakarta.
Condé Nast Traveler / 03.17
Photograph courtesy Four Seasons
The History Lesson
Euro Star A new stunner that belongs in the center of old Paris.
The much-anticipated unveiling of the renovated Ritz overshadowed just about every other hotel opening in Paris last year. But the Nolinski, in a converted Haussmannian office building on the Avenue de l’Opéra , hasn’t gone unnoticed by us. Only 45 rooms, it’s a small-scale affair by ﬁrst arrondissement hotel standards, and feels almost too cool (in a good way) for the touristy neighborhood. The interiors were done by Parisian designer Jean-Louis Deniot, who’s known for balancing a reﬁned (bordering on aristocratic) look with playful touches. Take the Grand Salon, which has a silver-leaf ceiling and polished-brass Deco-style tables and light ﬁxtures, but also an electricteal piano. Or the foyers of the subdued gray-andwhite-hued guest rooms painted hot pink or canary yellow. It doesn’t hurt that the hotel also has a subterranean swimming pool (hardly a given in Paris) surrounded by Louis XIV armchairs, and a little restaurant, Brasserie Réjane, that is quickly earning a reputation with Parisians for its traditional menu (steak with sauce béarnaise and boeuf bourguignon). And while Nolinski’s address may not necessarily be considered “hip,” there’s a lot to be said for being steps from the Louvre. You are in Paris, not Portland, after all. M A R Y W I N S T O N N I C K L I N
Right: The Nolinski’s entrance. Below: The courtyard at Moyashi House.
Going to Japan frequently involves choosing between two extremes: the (often too) polished new-build hotel and the traditional (usually rustic) ryokan. Yet in Kyoto, entrepreneurs have come up with a middle ground: renovated town houses known as machiya that have legit history but feel modern. During Japan’s Edo period (1603–1868), machiya were typical houses for craftsmen. The
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World Monuments Fund deemed them at risk in 2012, public interest surged, and banks began offering tailored restoration loans for these long, narrow homes. As a result, machiya as minimalist yet upscale guesthouses have been on the rise, like the two-bedroom Amber House Gion—you can sleep where geishas once entertained and look out on the gardens of Kennin-ji, the
city’s oldest Zen temple. Or the sleek Moyashi House, with its cypress soaking tub. If you want a tie to the artisans who once inhabited these homes, book Iori’s Nishijin Isa-Cho machiya, which grants access to an adjoining textile studio. Look for machiya in other forms, too, whether as an Hermès pop-up or the artisanal Doughnut Cafe Nicotto & Mam. K A T H E R I N E L A G R A V E
From top: Photographs by Adrian Gaut; Tess Kelly
Playing House In Kyoto
H OT E L B R E A K FA S T
Baccarat Hotel New York
With its pleated silk walls, plush ecru chairs, red roses, and of course crystal chandeliers and candelabras, the Baccarat Hotel’s Grand Salon will get you in the mood for a decadent breakfast. You wouldn’t be disappointed by blowing your carb allotment on the croissants here, but the off-menu ricotta pancakes—ethereally ﬂuffy with butter-crisped edges, dusted with powdered sugar and served with maple syrup and a quenelle of butter—is the order to beat. Counteract any trace of guilt with a green juice that makes no gesture to sweetness and bites with parsley and celery. And someone should get the custardy canelé, to be washed down with a strong espresso as the sunlight ﬁltering through the beveled-glass windows scatters rainbows across your table. R ACH EL K HONG
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photograph by ODDUR THOR ISSON
ART & DESIGN
Culture Creators Two major art institutions open this spring, one on each coast.
The Bass, Miami Beach Coming oﬀ a two-year reno, The Bass reopens in May with a hell of a lot more space, courtesy of architects David Gauld and Arata Isozaki—the latter designed L.A.’s MOCA and the Barcelona Olympic Stadium—and a mission to become the Southeast’s premier center for contemporary art.
Marciano Art Foundation, Los Angeles
The Comeback Miami’s Surf Club aims to reclaim its reputation as a playground for the cool and fabulous.
Tycoon Harvey Firestone opened The Surf Club in 1930, and it went on to be the center of everything glamorous in mid-century Miami Beach: Frank Sinatra and Ava Gardner vacationed there, and Winston Churchill kept an oceanfront cabana for painting seascapes, scotch in hand. In the decades that followed, though, the club began to lose its luster—membership dwindled, and the party moved farther south on Collins Avenue. This month, it’s back as the Four Seasons Hotel at The Surf Club, and looking to once again become the place to go in North Beach, which is far enough away from the South Beach crowds to feel like a proper getaway. The three glass towers that rise above the historic building were designed by Richard Meier—his ﬁrst project in Miami—to be used primarily as residences (condo prices range from $3.8 million to $35 million). For the reimagining of the original 77 guest rooms, they
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brought on Parisian architect and interior designer Joseph Dirand, who did stores for Givenchy and Balenciaga as well as the hotel L’Apogée Courchevel in the French Alps. At once classic and modern, Dirand’s mix of rattan furniture, terrazzo ﬂoors, and a palette of light blues, greens, and whites evokes the expanse of beach right outside. Thankfully, near-sacred elements like Peacock Alley, the arched loggia connecting the patios, courtyard, and dining room, were faithfully restored. And there’s more than just eye candy: Antonio Sersale, of Le Sirenuse in Positano, will run one of the two on-site restaurants, while Thomas Keller will helm the other. J O H N W O G A N
From top: One of the pools at the Four Seasons Hotel at The Surf Club; a twentiethcentury vase; Matisse’s “Vase of Flowers” (1924).
Matisse in the Studio The Museum of Fine Arts in Boston is showing Matisse’s paintings, cutouts, and bronzes alongside the very objects from his studios that inspired their creation. Many of them— a Haitian window screen, an Andalusian glass vase, an Egyptian tent curtain—were collected during his travels or bought in shops near where he worked in Nice (April 9–July 9). A N D R E A W H I T T L E
Clockwise from top left: Photographs by Christian Horan Photography/courtesy Four Seasons; © Museum of Fine Arts, Boston/© 2011 Succession H. Matisse, Paris/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York; François Fernandez/courtesy Musée Matisse/Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
The brothers behind the Guess clothing empire have found a home for their 1,500-piece private collection in a former Masonic Temple on Wilshire Boulevard. One of the debut exhibitions, “Unpacking: The Marciano Collection,” features works by Sterling Ruby, Paul McCarthy, and Louise Lawler. J.W.
Going Back to Cali Wine Country
Many think of Sonoma County as the relatively laid-back sibling of the more-polished Napa/St. Helena corridor. But Sonoma’s Healdsburg feels white-hot these days thanks to the December opening of SingleThread Farms, a restaurant/inn that quickly became as pilgrimage-worthy as any cult cabernet. Owners (and high-school sweethearts) Kyle and Katina Connaughton spent years cooking and farming in Hokkaido, Japan, and Berkshire, England, before returning to their native California with a vision for a property that would embrace the Japanese concept of omotenashi—the sort of thoughtful (and rigorous) approach to hospitality found in the best ryokans. In the dining room, they do an ever-evolving 11-course tasting menu that’s as much kaiseki as it is West Coast farm-to-table, with produce from their own ﬁelds. Upstairs are ﬁve AvroKO-designed loft-like rooms with wood-beam ceilings and exposed white brick walls (and Teforia tea infusers, housemade chamomile ice cream in the minibar, and ceramic vases with ﬂower arrangements by Katina). The room service breakfast (a spread of dishes like grilled trout, clay-pot rice, and umami-packed miso soup) might make you want to hole up here, but don’t: In a long weekend you can hike, sip, eat your face off, and still get plenty of breakfast-in-bed time. P A U L B R A D Y
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OUR SONOMA SHORTLIST
Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve, Guerneville Think of it as a mini Redwoods National Forest, with 805 acres of unbelievably massive, centuries-old trees and a variety of easy to sweat-it-outdiﬃcult hikes. Go in
the morning, before that impossibly atmospheric Paciﬁc fog burns oﬀ.
Campo Fina, Healdsburg This Italian joint has outdoor dining and a well-stocked bar, and the back patio gets packed in summer when the bocce picks up.
Clockwise from far left: Photographs by Kate Cunningham; George Rose/Getty Images; Kate Cunningham; courtesy Francis Ford Coppola Winery
With a new Japanese-inflected hotel-restaurant hybrid that even the locals are talking about, Sonoma is having a moment.
Francis Ford Coppola Winery, Geyserville
Jimtown Store, Alexander Valley
Of course you can do a tasting, but locals come for the swimming pool, open spring to fall (passes are $35); they’ve even got private cabines with lounge chairs that rent from $170 a day.
A casual carry-out making some of Sonoma’s best sandwiches—peanut butter, bacon, and pepper jam; hot pastrami Reuben— and killer biscuits for breakfast.
Geyserville Gun Club Bar & Lounge, Geyserville
Medlock Ames, Alexander Valley
They’ve traded the ﬁrearms for frosty Gibson cocktails and General Tso wings.
The winery’s low-key tasting room has pours of cabs, chardonnays, and pinots until 5 P.M., when the space turns into the Alexander Valley Bar, serving refreshing cocktails like the Medlock Mule, with house-made verjus and ginger beer.
Scopa, Healdsburg Hit this Italian spot for Winemaker Wednesdays, when local vintners like Kevin Rogers from Nico Wines and Eric Sussman from Radio-Coteau work the room, pouring their own reds and whites while sharing their backstories.
Scribe Winery, Sonoma Its “hacienda,” which opened in January, is a newly restored nineteenth-century
homestead that hosts reservation-only tastings and dinners paired with its estategrown chardonnay.
Shed, Healdsburg An all-in-one coﬀee shop, takeout café, and home-goods store stocked with kitchenwares like Laguiole knives and the Japanese clay pots known as donabe. They’ve also got what could be the country’s only “fermentation bar,” serving kombuchas and zippy vinegary shrubs.
Clockwise from far left: A suite at SingleThread Farms; rows of vines in Healdsburg; in-room Satsuma mandarins; the pool at the Coppola Winery.
Meanwhile in Napa Valley. . . When you’re thinking about a weekend of wine drinking/tasting, Napa may seem a little . . . expected. But the motherland of butter and oak has evolved with a wave of new openings. The 65-room Yabu Pushelberg– designed Las Alcobas is the ﬁrst-ever luxury property to open in downtown St. Helena, and its restaurant, Acacia House, has spit-roasted leg of lamb and chicken molé from chef Chris Cosentino of S.F.’s Cockscomb and Boccalone. Less than two miles away, Two Birds/One Stone opened last summer with oak- and grapevine-ﬁred yakitori from two chefs, Sang Yoon of really good burgersand-beers joint Father’s Office in Santa Monica and Douglas Keane of Healdsburg’s now-shuttered and still-missed Cyrus. Soon-to-open Charter Oak, a new, more casual restaurant from Christopher Kostow and Nathaniel Dorn, who won three Michelin stars for their sort of precious (but so exceptional) Restaurant at Meadowood in St. Helena, will further cement that town’s rep for food worth traveling across the country for. In Yountville, ten miles southeast on Highway 29, Protéa opened last spring with Latin American street food (mushroom and cheese empanadas, shrimp tacos with cabbage slaw) that’s a welcome alternative to Napa tasting menus. Even NorCal icon The French Laundry is making some changes. This spring, Thomas Keller’s ﬂagship will open a Snøhettadesigned kitchen and courtyard worth seeing even if you don’t have a reservation. P. B .
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B L AC K B O O K
We wouldn’t be the ﬁrst to call Rome the world’s greatest outdoor museum. And no matter how many times we go to the Eternal City, we stop dead in our tracks at the ﬁrst glimpse of the Pantheon as we turn into the Piazza della Rotonda. Ditto the Trevi
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Average number of espressos a Roman drinks per day.
Fountain, the Spanish Steps, and the Colosseum (all recently restored— grazie to Fendi, Bulgari, and Tod’s, respectively). But what we realize, especially if we’ve been to Rome more than once, is that the monuments themselves are not the
How to Get There Alitalia, American, and Delta fly direct from JFK; Alitalia, American, and United from O’Hare; and Alitalia from LAX.
destination. They are, rather brilliantly, the backdrop to a lifestyle we came here for. We are
Outdoor dining in the Piazza di Santa Maria in Trastevere.
When the Tourists Go 3.5M 2.5 1.5
talking about the Roman la dolce vita—the art of lingering over long lunches and carafes of house wine in villa-lined piazzas, strolling down impossibly narrow cobblestone vicoli with no particular destination in mind. (You’ll almost always end
What Is SPQR? The acronym that appears all over town stands for Senatus Populus Que Romanus, “the Senate and People of Rome.”
up at some gelateria or in another ivy-covered square.) Anyone who wants to know what really makes an authentic cacio e pepe or carbonara (starchy pasta water, not cream) knows it’s worth sacriﬁcing another day in the Vatican to join the locals in the trattorias of Testaccio and the Jewish Ghetto. If you’re still craving a culture ﬁx, head to the newer, lesser-known spots north of and around the Piazza del Popolo (but know where to grab your pizza afterward). What follows is how to get out of monument-checklist mode and live like a Roman, with tips from the native and transplanted designers, writers, and hoteliers who know best.
Photograph by Miles & Miles. Map by Peter Oumanski
Founded: 753 B . C . Soccer Hero: Francesco Totti Iconic Symbol: She-wolf Pasta Topper: Pecorino
B L AC K B O O K
WHERE WE ALWAYS TEND TO STAY
Where Romans Weekend
Then spend a couple of hours browsing the racks in the ateliers near the via del Boschetto (see our picks at bottom left) before sitting down to a long lunch of fettuccine with artichokes and lentils at L’Asino d’Oro. Walk it off on the via Urbana, perhaps our favorite street in the area for its ivy-draped cafés, and at boutiques like Moll Flanders, one of Monti’s excellent consignment shops, where you can pick up Ann Demeulemeester coats and Fiorentini & Baker boots.
IN MONTI, IT’S ALL ABOUT THE INDIE BOUTIQUES Ashanti Galleria Raﬀaele Cinzio sells his chunky brass and silver rings at the front of this boutique, and Italian oil paintings in the gallery attached at the back.
Le Gallinelle Monti’s fashion matriarch Wilma Silvestri launched her label here in 1989. Today, she still hand-sews her thick wool coats and skirts in the shop.
Le NoU Eugenia Barbari and Leila Testa’s silk handbags and felt jackets are worth getting an extra suitcase for.
Tina Sondergaard The Danish seamstress has a cult following who can’t get enough of her vintage-style mod pieces and tailored dresses.
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Then get to the via Panis_ perna for a Negroni at the Sacripante Art Gallery’s gorgeous old turn-of-thecentury bar before moving on to the wildly popular Ai Tre Scalini, which pairs killer stuffed pizzette with Tuscan reds for aperitivo. There’ll be a crowd to get in (Romans infamously do not form lines), but it moves fast.
A sitting room inside Villa Spalletti Trivelli.
My Perfect Day: Fashion Royalty Delfina Delettrez Fendi “I’ll start with . . . A strong coffee from my favorite place in Rome, the eighteenth-century Caffè Greco on the via Condotti. It’s where Goethe and Gogol used to sit and exchange ideas.” “Then I’ll head to . . . The Coppedè Quarter. Just north of the center, it’s a hidden gem—even to locals— and was completed by Gino Coppedè in the 1920s. The area fuses medieval, Art Deco, and Mannerist architecture and inspires so much of my design.” “Lunch is always at . . . Settimio al Pellegrino, in the Centro Storico, which feels like you’re eating at your grandparents’ house. I love the cacio e pepe. It’s close enough to my jewelry boutique on the via del Governo Vecchio, so I’ll check in there afterward.” “Late at Night . . . Is the best time to stop by the Trevi Fountain, when the water and stone shine in the moonlight. There is usually no one there, which feels magical.”
Rome’s original grande dame atop the Spanish Steps had been feeling a bit tired of late, but the sprucedup terrace rooms (request one with the old-world bathrooms) make us want to check in again. Plus, you can’t beat the gilded Hassler Bar for a spritz.
Hotel Eden When the renovation of this institution near the Villa Borghese is completed next month, it will have a Sonya Dakar and Oﬃcina Profumo Santa Maria Novella spa.
J.K. Place Roma This punchy spot in front of the Museo dell’Ara Pacis is perfectly situated for anywhere you need to go, and when you return at night the aperitivo scene at the J.K. Cafe is one of the buzziest in town.
Portrait Roma It’s Ferragamo-owned, so no surprise this intimate villa oﬀ the Spanish Steps nails the design: Seriously roomy suites have silk curtains and retro ’50s club chairs.
Villa Spalletti Trivelli We love this old palace near the Quirinale for its new rooftop terrace with daybeds, Jacuzzis, and complimentary bar.
Hundred Number of fountains with potable mineral water around town, a nod to the Empire, when running water meant wealth.
illustrations by DENISE NESTOR
Photograph by Oddur Thorisson
Monti skirts the ancient Forum, yet this effortlessly hip Roman enclave, with its ocher villas and cobblestone lanes, somehow still remains under the tourist radar. If you come in the morning, slices of ciambellone cake will still be warm from the oven at Paniﬁcio Monti (which is way better than the trendier-looking Zia Rosetta, nearby). Take your slice down to the Renaissance fountain in the Piazza della Madonna dei Monti to eat with the Colosseum at your back.
B L AC K B O O K
Want a Real Taste of Rome?
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you to take home.) Don’t ﬁll up too much on the salumi with your falanghina; you’ll want room for the stewed pajata (veal intestines with milk) from 60-year-old Agustarello, down the road. Or if you don’t quite have the, er, stomach for all that (we get it), do the no-fail carbonara at Flavio Al Velavevodetto, where the beaten eggs form a silky coating for the house-cut rigatoni.
Thousand Average amount thrown by tourists into the Trevi Fountain each week. The money is collected and donated to Caritas, a Catholic charity that feeds and cares for Rome’s poor.
A R O U N D P I A Z Z A N AV O N A
Da Francesco Trust us when we say, get the sausage pizza for your appetizer, then the amatriciana.
T H E N G E T YO U R GOODNIGHT C O C K TA I L F R O M . . .
Freni e Frizioni
We know—so many tourists, so many American accents. Doesn’t change the fact that this spread of hummus and pasta with your G&T in Trastevere is Rome’s best.
Cave-like walls, vintage sofas, and vermouth with Roman amaro shaken by (you guessed it) dudes in suspenders, in an old theater in the Centro Storico.
L’Arcangelo Do a lunch of gnocchi amatriciana here if you’re at the Vatican on Thursday (it’s gnocchi day in Rome). T E S TA C C I O
Checchino dal 1887 Come for the pots of tomatoey tripe and decent local wine list (rare in this area).
CAMPO DEI FIORI
Roscioli Expect stiff linens, lots of foreigners, and to reserve four weeks out for what is considered Rome’s greatest carbonara and cacio e pepe. JA N I CU LU M H I L L
ROME WILL NEVER BE A HEAVYDUTY DRINKING CITY B U T YO U H AV E TO D O A P E R I T I V O AT . . .
Here’s the ultimate Rome restaurant list—where we go back to again and again.
want, but get its namesake pasta regardless.
Da Cesare Even if you’re not interested in the views from the hill, come for this trattoria’s outstanding fritto misto. J EW I S H G H ET TO
Nonna Betta For our euro, the most perfectly fried carcioﬁ alla giudia—crisp petals, soft pulp—in town. Piperno It’s older than Italy (founded in 1860), and you’re here for seriously crunchy guanciale and the outdoor seating.
Piatto Romano The sweet and salty baked cod is even tastier than the sautéed anchovies. Perilli You’ll get yolk-colored carbonaras, carafes of house wine, and absolutely no English. TRASTEVERE
Da Enzo The creamy burrata and ﬂuffy tiramisu are worth the half-hour wait. Ivo Sit between students and old-timers as you demolish a whole pizza (we’re partial to the prosciutto bianca).
P R AT I
The Barber Shop
Sip Negronis and munch on bruschetta and savory rustici in the palm-studded courtyard alongside glamorous locals, right oﬀ the Piazza del Popolo.
This speakeasy-style bar in Monti opens at 11 P.M. on Fridays and Saturdays, late for Rome, and serves gins and single malts till 5 A.M.
Salotto42 The place for reﬁned Montepulcianos, Castelvetrano olives, and Norcia salumi, a few steps east of the Pantheon.
Litro This Monteverde vineria is heavy on mezcal thanks to a team including Maurizio Bistocchi, a key ﬁgure behind Caﬀè Propaganda, near the Colosseum.
Cacio e Pepe Eye the hand-scribbled menu at this no-frills spot if you
Cacio e pepe and pasta alla gricia at Roscioli.
Street Food à la Romana It’s famously good all over town (now even in Roma Termini station, where the new food hall has Gabriele Bonci’s legendary potato pizza). Here, what—and where—to grab and go.
Pizza al Taglio Rome’s cut-to-order pizza slice (by 100 grams, called etto ). Get the zucchini at Forno in the Campo dei Fiori.
Photograph by Oddur Thorisson
Then you head to Testaccio, home to the city’s share of salt-of-the-earth, offal-centric trattorias manned by graying waiters who’ve been there since boyhood. But before we sit down, we always start at the Mercato di Testaccio, a food market where the stalls begin closing around 1:30 P.M. Head to Mordi e Vai (stall 15), helmed by the sure-to-make-you-smile Sergio Esposito. Try the picchiapò, a Roman specialty of shredded beef cooked in tomatoes and onions, spooned onto a not-quitedense-enough roll (ask for extra napkins), and cross the road to MACRO Testaccio, a modern art museum in a former abattoir where this month you’ll see Rafael Y. Herman’s nature-inspired installations. That odd hill you’ll notice upon leaving the museum is Monte Testaccio, formed around 2,000 years ago from a heap of 53 million olive oil jugs discarded during the Roman Empire. Past the hill, you’ll ﬁnd Volpetti, Rome’s famous 44-year-old salumeria, whose sleek charcuterie bar, Taverna Volpetti, launched last year right next door. (The salumeria vacuum-packs cheeses and meats for
If All You Really Want to Know Is Where to Eat
Don’t Be a Tourist in the Centro The best way to guarantee a leisurely stroll down the Spanish Steps, past the Trevi Fountain, and through the Piazza Navona with Audrey Hepburn–esque abandon is to do it all before 9 A.M., when the crowds are still seriously thin (we’ve had the piazza to ourselves at 7:30 A.M. in July, and it was epic). Then spend the rest of the day in a lesser-known
ITALIAN-FOOD WRITER ELIZABETH MINCHILLI ON THE AREA AROUND THE PANTHEON
Trapizzini Wedges of baked pizza dough with fillings like chicken stew. The best (and the original) come from Trapizzino in Testaccio.
Supplì Rome’s version of Sicily’s arancini is available at any pizza joint, but we like the ones with meat and mozzarella at Zizzi Pizza in Monti.
Pizza con la Mortazza Antico Forno Roscioli, by Largo di Torre Argentina, is where to pick up this mortadella and focaccia sandwich.
“While most tourists head straight for the Pantheon, make sure you visit the area around it as well. Rome’s most under-appreciated church, Santa Maria Sopra Minerva, is next door (as are the three brilliant Caravaggios in San Luigi dei Francesi). Then do Fiocco di Neve for aﬀogato with zabaione gelato, or Moriondo e Gariglio, Rome’s oldest chocolate shop, where the owners sit out front hand-wrapping bonbons in gold foil. Armando al Pantheon is a beloved family-run trattoria—one of the last places in the center for well-made Roman food like fettuccine with chicken livers and gizzards.”
pocket nearby. Our favorite is the Piazza del Fico, which opens from the tangle of streets behind Navona, near the now-shuttered, stillbeloved Bar della Pace (R.I.P.). It’s a microcosm of Roman street scenes: old men sitting at chess tables (ask to play, but they’ll likely shoot you the infamous Roman eye), Vespas buzzing in and around, and Romans sipping espresso and wine at outdoor tables all day (do Bar del Fico for the former and Etablì for the latter). Or if you’ve had lunch in the Jewish Ghetto (remember, it’s largely shut on Saturdays), slip through the Via della Reginella to admire the quirky Fontana delle Tartarughe in the Piazza Mattei, which is lined with palaces from the seventeenth century.
What to Bring Home with You A Wallet to Last for Years Federico Polidori handmakes chic leather goods in his workshop by the Pantheon. A Bit of Bling Paolo Giacomelli crafts bronze necklaces at Iosselliani, behind the Spanish Steps. Pick Up Bespoke Shirts Atelier Caleffi hand-cuts and -sews menswear west of the Trevi Fountain.
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B L AC K B O O K
Fill a Day Around The Vatican
If You Want a Museum, the Best Are to the North
. . . AND WHEN YOU NEED TO REFUEL AFTERWARD
Ara Pacis Museum Richard Meier’s sun-ﬂooded glass-and-travertine building frames Augustus’s ﬁrst-century B.C. altar.
Start off early, south of Prati, at the underrated sixteenth-century Villa Farnesina. Unlike at the Vatican Museums, you won’t have to battle any crowds while admiring Raphael’s frescoes here, and tours are offered in English on Saturdays at 10 A.M. Then walk up to Prati, where you should grab a trapizzino, some prosciutto, and a glass of red for lunch at café Il Sorpasso, before waiting in the inevitable line for St. Peter’s and the Sistine Chapel. If it isn’t aperitivo hour by the time you’re ﬁnished at the Vatican, pop into the nearly 2,000year-old Castel Sant’Angelo, and then hit the salumi and slices of pecorino during happy hour at the Art Deco Chorus Café, next door (it’s famous for its dry martinis). Don’t rush back across the Tiber for dinner: Solo Crudo is a vegetableforward spot doing impossibly delicious cacio e pepe zucchini spaghetti.
Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna Just outside the Villa Borghese, this modern art sanctuary has oil paintings by Cézanne, Klimt, and other masters. MAXXI and Auditorium Parco della Musica It’s easy to do Zaha Hadid’s twenty-ﬁrst-century-art museum, with its international exhibitions, and Renzo Piano’s spaceship-like trio of concert halls in the same afternoon. They’re just ten minutes apart.
Three minutes from the Ara Pacis, it has salads, burgers, and ﬂutes of Franciacorta.
Caffè delle Arti The Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna’s excellent café in the west wing serves spritzes and coﬀee on its shrub-lined terrace.
Mostò Have natural reds from Friuli with silky buﬀalo mozzarella at this wine bar ten minutes from MAXXI.
Trust Us, Pack These Shoes Even with the third subway line (ﬁnally) opening last year, Rome is a walking town—you can get from Prati to Monti on foot, easy. We love these unisex Common Projects sneakers ($410), which are comfy on cobblestones yet chic enough for dinner.
Treebar The thin pizzas (lunch menu only) are made with housemilled ﬂour at this breezy café near the Villa Giulia (we like the ﬁori e alici).
An outdoor theater at Renzo Piano’s Parco della Musica.
“Bomba, a tailor behind the Piazza del Popolo on the via dell’Oca, has been around since 1980 and sells everything from silk kimonos in vintage fabrics to knitted men’s ties. It is a dream.” Marie-Louise Scio, of Tuscany’s Il Pellicano Hotel, on where to shop for souvenirs
Museo Nazionale Etrusco di Villa Giulia Five minutes from the Villa Borghese, it has the country’s prime collection of Etruscan-era artifacts.
Aperitivo Worth Traveling For Apartment Bar, San Lorenzo • Hotel That’ll Feel Like Home DOM • Surprising Architecture Mussolini’s Fascist EUR buildings • Street for Browsing Via del Governo Vecchio • Coolest Hood Pigneto • Best Gelato Gelateria del Teatro • Bridge to Stroll Ponte Sant’A ngelo R E P O R T E D B Y O N D I N E C O H A N E , M A R K E L LW O O D , E R I N F L O R I O , K AT I E PA R L A
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Photograph by Andrea Wyner
Million Number of visitors to the Auditorium Parco della Musica in 2014, making it the second-mostvisited music hall in the world after Lincoln Center.
The Innkeeper’s Diaries My husband and I are dressed for a photo shoot: he in a crisp linen shirt and jacket, me in a pink Michael Kors shift. His face is tanned from summer weddings, my makeup professionally done. He pours me an Aperol spritz while the photo crew congregate by the ﬁre pit in front of us, Tuscany’s rolling hills in shades of gold and brown falling away below. A writer interviews us about living our Italian dream, the New York couple who uprooted their lives and left their jobs to open one, and then two, hotels. As we take turns sharing our story, my hands tremble slightly and we can’t quite hold each other’s gaze. Fifteen years earlier, we had spent a few weeks in Italy searching for a wedding venue. We saw lots of villas and resorts, but none quite captured the formula we wanted: a speciﬁc mix of luxury and informality (in-room bathtubs, for instance);
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excellent service with the ease of being at home; great design that celebrates local materials. One night, my soon-to-be husband suggested, over a bottle of Brunello, that we should open the kind of hotel we loved. When we ﬁrst saw the crumbling stone farmhouse that we hoped to transform into a boutique hotel, there were three cows hanging out in what would one day become an open-plan living room with yellow Venetian plaster walls. A herd of sheep bleated plaintively from the duo of ground-ﬂoor bedrooms, and in one future suite, a family of pigs snorted at us as we discussed how a kitchen, private pergola, and garden would make it the property’s best rather than a pissoir for farm animals. I wavered between believing in our dream and being completely terriﬁed by what we were undertaking as
Photograph © Peter Marlow/Magnum Photos
When Ondine Cohane and her husband opened a hotel in the Tuscan countryside, everyone said they were living the dream—only it wasn’t really hers.
two people with successful careers in media who had no clue about opening a hotel—apart from what we liked in those we had visited ourselves, mostly on corporate expense accounts. We were lucky. Somehow we found a knowledgeable team— including an incredibly generous investor, an inspired architect couple, and loyal builders—who helped us translate ideas from a bulging ﬁle of magazine clippings into a real renovation plan. There were setbacks, including the discovery that the property wasn’t technically available to buy for a few more years, necessitating a million-dollar insurance policy to prevent either party from opting out. But we did better in crisis than even we expected.
blond son loose in the Tuscan hills and long boozy lunches with new friends in picturesque piazzas, alternating with threemonth holidays during the winter off-season in Southeast Asia and Mexico, vistas idyllically at odds with the schlep on the subway and Times Square offices we had left behind. That is what we heard the most: “You are living the dream.” But cracks had started to form. I’d gotten pregnant immediately after we opened the ﬁrst hotel, only to miscarry 20 weeks later following an amniocentesis; that loss and then continuing to try for a baby for a year and a half left me vulnerable. When our ﬁrst child turned three and I wanted a second baby, I thought my husband seemed more eager to open a second hotel. Then 2008 happened, and we didn’t get the loan we e opened in June 2007, hosting a yoga retreat from were hoping for. I blamed my husband for the ﬁnancial insemy favorite New York studio. We were still cleancurity around us, and for the growing feeling that I was no loning bedrooms an hour before the group’s arrival, ger the priority in his life. I feared that he saw me as just one since the property had been deluged with mud more person in a long line of people asking for things all day. from the constant spring rain, but we managed to smooth over With the second hotel, we accrued a larger staff and lots these setbacks with a few discounts and free wine. The day of new guests, and as more people became part of our lives, after the group left, the sun came out. I jumped I felt strangely lonely. Being innkeepers meant sharing our lives into our inﬁnity pool and, with my hair still wet, lay down in the wheat ﬁeld by the hotel. With the for the most part with people we rays on my face, I felt that nothing could go truly encountered only for a weekend, while integrating into a close-knit wrong in this place, and I imagined that decades from now we would be the happy old couple community of Italians who had I FANTASIZED having an aperitivo every evening in the perfect pretty much known one another THAT I WAS since birth. We were transients and Renaissance town that was now our home. A DIFFERENT My husband and I were in agreement from the residents, strangers yet friends with start that he would manage the day-to-day (I still everyone. When my husband and I KIND OF had my writing career), so I became a voyeur of were close none of that mattered, INNKEEPER’S but now that we were drifting apart, sorts. It was like The Grand Budapest Hotel, only WIFE . . .WHO I struggled with both isolation and set in Italy and full of Latin passion. The events DARED TO seemed staged for cinematic effect: the divorced the lack of privacy. SAY THE THINGS ladies who in the course of a day got wasted, left At times, I fantasized that I was a I COULDN’T their car stuck in a ﬁeld, and slept with police offidifferent kind of innkeeper’s wife, cers from a local town—one of them to be disa glamorous and unﬂappable hotel covered half-dressed on the sofa by the cleaning owner based on one I had actulady the next morning (oh, what she has seen!); ally met when we were moving to the second wife whose husband’s ﬁrst family Italy—a gorgeous former actress banned her from staying in the hotel, and who who changed outﬁts three times a passed out on the marble living room ﬂoor before the aperiday, fenced and practiced yoga, and seemed not to care at all tivo was even served at her stepdaughter’s wedding; the couwhat guests thought as long as she was happy. ple who said they knew how to drive stick shift but managed My innkeeper’s wife alter ego dressed in Wellingtons and to let their car reverse into the neighboring sheep pond while ﬂimsy cover-ups more appropriate for Sophia Loren in a blurry they were taking a photo of the ﬂock; the intense chemistry seduction scene. She would loiter about with a lit cigarette in one hand and a glass of pinot grigio in the other. Her makeup that seemed to spring up every season between members of the staff, a telenovela-worthy stable of affairs so profound was a bit smudged; she exchanged smoldering gazes with that sleep was lost, love made (sometimes in laundry rooms sexy men around town. And she never questioned whether or steam rooms), and hearts broken . . . much like the arc of the she belonged. season itself. Couples married, children were conceived, close Aside from a louche glamour, one excellent quality of my friendships were forged, and lives fell apart. alter ego was that she always dared to say the things I couldn’t: Our social media presence offered a constant stream of our “Darling, if you tell me one more detail about your rental car,
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or lost bags, or delayed ﬂight, I will quite simply die of boredom.” Or, “Chianciano Terme for a day-trip—really? What a shithole.” Or, “You are honestly asking if this is a proﬁtable business? Want to show me your tax return?” Over the last 18 months, she might have said, “Yes, I am living the dream, but are you ready to hear about my nightmare?” wonder how my alter ego would have reacted when the telenovela’s plot became about my husband and a local woman. I think she might have thrown everything into a Fiat 500 convertible and ﬂoored it out of town, with just the strong scent of her perfume left behind and Beyoncé’s Sorry blaring as the stunned townspeople looked on. Instead, I stayed. I cried, raged, sat stone-faced, gave him a black eye; fell into despair and denial alternating with a strange kind of mania; found solace in cigarettes, vermentino, long-distance runs, confessions to close friends (and perhaps not always the right guest or local). I also experienced profound moments of freedom and happiness at the thought of what could come next. During much of the breakup, I held out hope that we could resuscitate our marriage because of our son and the stability I had found in our 20-year relationship. After a time, though, it became obvious that our love story with our hotels, with each other, and even with our neighbors had fundamentally changed. I know the town’s roughly 2,000 residents by face if not by name. We talk about soccer, death, and the weather; I hear all kinds of stories about other people. Part of the greatest humiliation for me was when my husband and I became just another story, one which I didn’t have the nerve to mention to the magazine writer who interviewed us that day last fall. Over these last few months, though, while reckoning with what was projection and what was real, I have rediscovered this place that we fell in love with a decade earlier. I am trying to ﬁnd new routines. I run in olive groves and eat homemade pici with locals. I’m writing more. My son is the constant, the link between what was and what will be. I remain proud of what my husband and I built, so I still drop by the hotels every day to visit with a few returning guests whom I feel I actually know, and love, in their complexities. My alter ego, meanwhile, has given me license to speak my mind, ﬂirt a little, and care a bit less about making people happy. In the summer, families congregate—children, teenagers, parents, grandparents—in the central square. Kids whirl around and around the piazza; bedtimes and next-day responsibilities are forgotten. We chat and drink wine under the stars, and sometimes they tell me how hard it is for their businesses to make ends meet, or how sick they are of their spouse. Most of the time, though, we just enjoy the beauty of the square bathed in moonlight, our kids free to explore. And for now, that’s enough.
THREE MENSWEAROBSESSED FRIENDS ROAD-TRIP TO SCOTLANDâ€™S OUTER HEBRIDES IN SEARCH OF WHISKY, WILD LANDSCAPES, AND HARRIS TWEED
“I don’t like the sound of that,” I called from the back of our Range Rover as a rhythmic rubber slapping started up beneath my seat. The three of us were driving on a narrow, indifferently maintained road along the northern edge of Loch Ness, my friend Matt Hranek at the wheel, doing his best to keep to the left while our pal Jake Mueser, in the passenger seat, navigated with his phone through a thick mist that obscured the late-afternoon sky above the Scottish Highlands. We’d all been chatting easily, as you do when you let your guard down after hours in a car together, about our shared passion—some might call it a pathology—for classic menswear. Jake, who owns a successful tailor, J. Mueser, in Manhattan’s West Village, claimed to have lost track of how many shoes he owned after he passed 60 pairs (we’re talking proper leather bench-made shoes, and, at any rate, many more than his wife has). Matt, photographer
and Upstate New York boy turned tailoring obsessive, refers to his extensive Barbour coat collection as an “archive,” while I am a men’s style writer whose tiny Manhattan apartment can barely contain my accumulation of knit ties. Our conversation was cut short when our car cratered into a pothole, which was followed by the inexorable drumbeat of a ﬂat. Matt pulled over just beyond some orange road-construction markers. “Well, boys,” he said, after he’d walked to the back of the car and shot us a tense yet still somehow bemused look. “I believe this is what they call a character builder.” A lingering construction worker in an iridescent-green vest strolled over to assess our plight. “Having a bit of a problem there, are ya?” he asked between drags on a cigarette while sizing up the three men before him in tweed jackets and leather shoes—one of whom (I won’t say which) was in suede loafers, with no socks. “There’s a town about 20 minutes up ahead,” he offered, and wandered off. Jake was already calling garages. “We are on the north edge of Loch Ness!” he hollered through spotty cell reception. “The overdressed men at the side of the road—you can’t miss us!” Matt, meanwhile, had taken our duffels and garment bags out of the trunk, where he uncovered a full-size spare. Ten minutes of aggressive lug-nut-twisting later, he successfully changed the tire— just as the sky darkened and the mist turned to rain. We’d been driving for a day, but only now did it feel as if our road trip had begun. Ostensibly we had come to accompany Jake on one of his buying trips, but the object of our journey was not just any cloth. Harris Tweed, made on
Pour Us A Few
which gathers force in the Highlands and becomes a gently winding expanse before emptying into the North Sea, is legendary for salmon and sea trout. Its water also mellows out the Scotch produced in the region’s world-class distilleries. On the road from Inverness, you pass sign after sign for these storied labels— Glenlivet, Glenﬁddich, Macallan—and I was reminded of the ﬁrst time I walked down Savile Row, admiring the names of the legendary tailors in gold on the windows: Henry Poole, Anderson & Sheppard, H. Huntsman & Sons. Like the tailors, many of the distilleries are tucked behind unassuming signs, as if there is a certain authority in not having to announce yourself grandly. We pulled up to The Balvenie, a compound of old stone and stucco buildings. As with heritage tweed, the charm of whisky is in its transformation; a single-malted barley becomes a glorious drink, what Kingsley Amis (himself a Macallan man) called “quite possibly the best thing you can put in a glass.” The Balvenie is one of the last distilleries to handle every part of
the Isles of Lewis and Harris in the Outer Hebrides, is revered globally for its durability and warmth, but its production is a local endeavor. The wool is dyed and spun in mills, then woven in islanders’ homes in a 150-year-old tradition; once certiﬁed by the Harris Tweed Authority, the fabric is stamped with the iconic logo of a red cross atop an orb. A good Harris jacket of classic herringbone or houndstooth is nearly indestructible, and is a very good thing to have passed down from your grandfather. (The local looms have long supplied tweed to one particular family, the British royal one.) Those without an inheritance scour thrift stores and eBay in search of the Harris holy grail. Matt, Jake, and I are fellow contrarians who relish a certain kind of archaic and analogue craftsmanship. We thrill at the idea of leaﬁng through books of fabric swatches and analyzing whether a tweed contains more shades of wheat than an everyday coat requires. Not surprisingly, men who care about their tailors also tend to care about their whisky. Fortunately, the Scottish Highlands are also the source of some of the world’s ﬁnest single-malt scotches, made from centuries-old methods. It went without saying that we needed tweed coats for our trip. Jake’s ﬁrm made each of us a jacket in his house style: unstructured with a light canvas lining for a relaxed ﬁt, but with a high, substantial lapel consistent with British tradition. We hoped we wouldn’t look like aging members of a boy band; still, anyone we encountered would know we were a tribe. We ﬂew to the tiny airport of Inverness and picked up our vehicle with a simple plan: visit a whisky distillery (or three); eat well on the scenic Isle of Skye, in the Highlands; then take a ferry northwest to the Outer Hebrides and the Isle of Lewis, where a 20-minute drive would bring us to the Isle of Harris. There was some discussion along the way that Matt would shoot a stag—it was hunting season—but it was unclear how seriously we were taking that.
THE RIVER SPEY,
Previous page, from left: View from the rental house near Harris; a stack of dyed wool that’s been warped. This page, from left: The Talisker whisky distillery; steamed langoustines at the Oyster Shed; Mitch the gillie.
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the process itself. The barley is grown and malted, then raked across the ﬂoor every four hours for ﬁve days to germinate. In one large building, the malt is ground and then boiled in large pots of liquid mash; after yeast is added, the mixture is ﬂowed into towering copper stills shaped like huge tagines and boiled again. At this point the new spirit is clear and highly alcoholic, but it gains its magic when it moves to barrels—Balvenie has its own cooperage—where it will sit for eight years or more, taking on the character of the oak cask. That character is, of course, the signature of each distillery. Our guide, Charlie, led us to one of the property’s aging rooms, lined like a catacomb with barrels, each one stenciled with its lot number and year. He uncorked one, dipped a copper cylinder into the opening, then poured the amber liquid into our cupped hands. As we drank the whisky from our palms, you could smell honey and vanilla mixed with the lingering earthiness of the mash. It had a little bite as it went down, as it hadn’t been diluted with water, but there was something so elemental about tasting the spirit straight out of the barrel that Matt and I instinctively patted the musky last drops onto our cheeks like a cologne. We tried two more casks, each whisky reﬂecting its age and barrel: Some of them had previously held sherry, others Kentucky bourbon. Charlie poured our favorites into little glass ﬂasks, which we hand-labeled with the date and cask number.
And Now We Eat
turned out to be a pretty extreme thing to do given the narrowness of the roads, so we were relieved to break up the trip with a taste of Scottish hospitality at one of the country’s great traditional lodges. Kinloch Lodge is a small country manor set on a hilly outcropping on the Isle of Skye. Owned and run by the MacDonald family, the landed gentry who ﬁrst built on the property in the 1600s, the manor has common rooms with marble ﬁreplaces, chesterﬁeld couches, and papered walls hung with ancestral paintings, giving it the feel of a friendly country home. We spent most of our time in the bar room, which had a constantly roaring ﬁre. The Brazilian-Scottish chef, Marcello Tully, an alum of Le Gavroche and a couple of other top London restaurants, draws a stream of international visitors who come for the ﬁnely turned-out dishes, incredibly good wine and whisky lists, deferential service, and other trappings you’d expect of a restaurant that’s been awarded a Michelin star. Everything tasted as if it had just been foraged, caught, or shot. So it wasn’t surprising to see Marcello walking toward the kitchen holding a piece of venison that had just been delivered by a gillie (the Scottish term for a hunting or ﬁshing guide, a cross between a caddie and a life coach), which Marcello seared and served with a little wine reduction. It being hind (or female deer) season, Matt was determined to shoot one himself. While the rest of us slept in, he got up at 4 A.M. to meet Mitch the gillie for a half day of stalking. In his sporting camouﬂage—tweed jacket, britches, and tattersall shirt and tie—Mitch didn’t resemble any hunting guide I’d ever seen. But he was as knowledgeable as they come, and he’ll take you out with a hiking stick and binoculars if you don’t want to shoot. They returned at noon, windblown and in good spirits—but empty-handed. Mitch advised us to go for lunch at the Oyster Shed, in a large metal warehouse up the hill from the Talisker distillery. There are no waiters or liquor license, just a list of seafood written on a chalkboard. You order oysters, boiled langoustines, pickled herring, steamed mussels, smoked salmon, or chowder from a young woman in oilskins and rubber boots. The outﬁt is not for show: She’s going to shuck whatever you order, which you eat on paper plates at a picnic table overlooking the narrow harbor. It’s instantly your favorite restaurant; eating the seafood overlooking its source made the brininess of the oysters more pronounced, and the wildness of the salmon stronger. We were all wishing we’d brought a bottle of ﬂinty white Burgundy, but they do serve some strong tea as a defense against the wind. DRIVING TO LEWIS
From left: Mixing color into wool; the port town of Ullapool, where you catch the ferry to Lewis; dyed-wool samples.
Bring On The Tweed AS WE DROVE northwest toward Ullapool to catch
the ferry to Lewis, the hills grew steeper, the bare landscape practically lunar. This is the land of Macbeth, with long waterfalls plunging from craggy mountains. They say Scotland gives you four seasons in a day; we saw that shift during a single hour, from sunshine pouring through clouds to rain to hail and back again. In these parts, people are the exception. There are countless sheep dotting the landscape (though Harris tweed isnâ€™t woven from their wool; itâ€™s from other Scottish and U.K. Cheviot and Blackface sheep) and mournful-looking redhaired cows with wide-set horns and long bangs covering their eyes. Groups of deer would scatter as we approached, vanishing into the hills. After a two-hour ferry ride, we arrived at Stornoway on Lewis and drove an hour down
From left: Houndstooth tweed on the loom of Norman MacKenzie; detail of a ďŹ eld in the Highlands.
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Map by Peter Oumanski
a one-lane road to Harris. Scattered across the hills were small houses, one of which was the neat and modestly renovated cottage we had rented. When we woke up, the mountains behind us were dusted with snow. Tweed-making on Harris is a meticulous, tightly controlled process. A ﬁnishing house gets bales of wool from contracted suppliers, then spins it and dyes it. That yarn is passed to a weaver, typically an older man who works a loom in a shed next to his home, along with a ticket specifying the pattern. A few days later, after pedaling the yarn through his loom and tying about 1,600 knots, he’s produced a 50-yard bolt of fabric. The bolt is picked up by the mill and washed, then examined by the Harris Tweed Authority. Of the three ﬁnishing houses on Lewis, the Kenneth Mackenzie Mill—in a series of unremarkable low-lying buildings—is the oldest. The mill manager brought us into a big unheated room, ﬁlled at one end with canvas sacks overﬂowing with bales of raw white wool and at the other, giant metal spinners. Nearby, immense cauldrons of dye tint the wool. In the ﬁnishing room, Jake was primed and ready to act, noting the fabric code of each bolt
he wanted shipped to him in New York. Meanwhile, Matt and I were paging hungrily through huge books of archival tweed swatches, some dating back to the 1940s and ’50s. Each page contained a pattern series—say, a halfdozen Prince of Wales checks in pale coffee to heather to slate—with a small sticker bearing a handwritten number on each swatch. The fact that these fabrics had been ﬁnished half a century before in the very place where we were standing left me appreciating the continuity of it all. Driving away, we passed a small painted sign at the side of the road that read “Carloway Harris Tweeds, Norman Mackenzie.” “This looks promising,” Matt said, and turned onto a poorly paved road that led to a few small stone buildings. Out ran a pair of small black-and-white sheepdogs, followed by a white-haired, ruddy-faced man who seemed happy to receive visitors. Norman introduced himself as the weaver and brought us into his shed, which contained his pedal-driven loom and shelves scattered with tools. He showed us about 20 bolts of tweed that he had woven. Much of the fabric was the very mix of russet browns, moss greens, and golds of the landscape
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outside the window, giving the impression of a kind of inevitability to the colors, the way Campari feels at home on the Italian coast. We admired bolder patterns—there was a deep brown and cream houndstooth—and more daring hues (pale violet). Norman, who said he’d learned to weave from his uncle, would examine a fabric and say, “Well, that is a nice one, isn’t it?” We each settled on one, mine a discreet gray and green houndstooth, Matt’s a traditional brown hunting tweed. Since Norman didn’t return the bolts to a ﬁnishing house, it wouldn’t receive the official Harris Tweed seal. But that didn’t matter. We helped him roll out the bolts across a table as he measured the length for a sport coat with a yardstick and cut it in the patient, precise way of people who do careful work with their hands. He seemed mildly amused that we would come so far for the purpose of tweed, but it was obvious he took a quiet pride in his work. When we said good-bye, I sensed in his rough grip a kind of unspoken pact. Tweed is a foundational part of the town’s legacy—and we were the ones wearing it.
From left: A view of the valley near Harris; ﬁnished plaid tweed coming off a loom; casks in the aging room at the Balvenie distillery.
WHERE YOU’LL SLEEP Just outside Inverness, Boath House makes a great ﬁrst stop—a Georgian manor with a modern Scottish menu and a curious collection of local art. It also has a top-notch Scottish breakfast worth lingering for (homemade scones, smoked haddock, poached eggs from their hens, fresh salmon). Dowans Hotel, in Aberlour, is not the closest hotel to the Speyside distilleries, but it might be the best. This 16-room turreted gray-stone pile has the most comprehensive whisky library of any place we visited. Its bar, The Still, has over 400 bottles, including a rare Linkwood 12-year and a GlenDronach 15-year.
WHISKY AND TWEED, FROM THE HIGHLANDS TO HARRIS
THE BEST TIME TO GO Although we took our trip in November, ideally you’ll want to do Scotland in spring or summer to take advantage of the incredibly long days. In winter, the sun sets by 4 P.M.
GETTING ON THE ROAD Inverness is your gateway to the Scottish Highlands; its small, one-carousel airport makes it easy to grab your bags and start driving. There’s an Avis and an Enterprise; both have plenty of automatics, so you don’t have to deal with a left-handed stick.
On the Isle of Skye, Kinloch Lodge is a dining destination in its own right. It’s also located near good ﬂy-ﬁshing for brown trout and salmon. In summer, you’ll get over your jet lag by ﬁshing after midnight. Kinloch’s guests frequently head out to ﬁsh— or just to forage and hike—with Mitch Partridge of Skye Gillie. He can also guide you if you’re looking to hunt in November, when your day starts at around 5 A.M. and ends with a ﬁreside whisky 12 hours later.
On the Isle of Lewis we rented a farmhouse from LovetoEscape that had received a smart, modern renovation. Or you can book a traditional stoneand-thatch “blackhouse” from the town site, gearrannan.com.
THE SCOTCH SITUATION The Balvenie offers twice-daily twohour tours, for which you’ll need a reservation. For true believers there’s a private house on the property where you can spend the night and enjoy some rare bottles. There are several other distilleries around the Spey, from Glenﬁddich to Glenlivet, which run tours throughout the day. On the Isle of Skye, you can drop in for a look at the Talisker distillery almost any day.
CHASING TWEED The only ﬁnishing house on Lewis with tours twice a week is Carloway Mill. The houses mainly deal in wholesale but will sell you leftover fabric, which you can bring to a tailor. Still, there are many shops in Harris and nearby that sell tweed pieces— hats and scarves are some of the better choices. D . C .
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photographs by Oddur
WITH ITS PRISTINE MEDIEVAL VILLAGES AND PRESERVED CHURCHES, ARMAGNAC DISTILLERIES AND DUCK MARKETS, GASCONY IS THE PERFECT SPOT FOR ONE PERIPATETIC COUPLE TO FINALLY SLOW DOWN
“Oh là là, look at the Pyrenees!” Ramdane Touhami gasps, with one hand on the wheel of his Range Rover Sport and the other holding on to his fuzzy hotpink skullcap. The snowcapped mountain range suddenly comes into view with a biblical ray of light as we tear down an empty two-lane road near the village of Labéjan in Gascony. “Time really stopped here,” says the eccentric 42-year-old French-Moroccan designer and entrepreneur about a region whose swells of electric-green farmland and dense forests are interrupted only by thirteenth-century steeples. Here in this remote corner of southwestern France, ducks are said to outnumber humans 28 to one. It is the land of foie gras and duck conﬁt, of ancient Armagnac distilleries and the real d’Artagnan of Dumas’s Three Musketeers. With its 2,000 hours a year of sunshine, Gascony is known as the country’s “harvest basket,” drawing chefs like the three-Michelin-starred Michel Guérard, who opened the acclaimed La Bastide here in 2011. Still overshadowed by the marquee wine areas of Bordeaux to the northwest and the Rhône Valley to the northeast, Gascony might also be France’s best-kept secret. My 12-year-old son and I, as well as creative director Yolanda Edwards and her family, are here as guests of Touhami and his wife and business partner, Victoire de Taillac. Her turreted twelfth-century ancestral castle sits at the end of a long cypress-lined road about a mile outside Auch in Luxeube, like an engraving in a children’s fable. Yolanda ﬁrst met the couple in Paris when
she stumbled on their culty perfumery, Buly 1803, on the rue Bonaparte in St-Germain shortly after it opened in 2014. The store is known for its sumptuous water-based perfumes and soaps and fanciful packaging; everything is made by hand from both heritage and natural ingredients and painstakingly sourced from around the world. “My friend used to call me César Birotteau,” says Touhami, referring to the peasant-turned-perfumer antihero of Balzac’s Rise and Fall of César Birotteau. More intriguing to Touhami than the ﬁctional character was the real-life early-nineteenth-century celebrity perfumer Jean-Vincent Bully, on whom the character was modeled. When Touhami and de Taillac discovered that the atelier was still producing a single product, they decided to “develop the legacy of L’Officine Universelle Buly” (the second “l” was dropped), much as they’d done with Cire Trudon, the seventeenth-century candlemaker. The store itself is an artful interpretation of an archaic apothecary outﬁtted with a custom burled walnut and oak cabinet of curiosities and hand-laid blue and cream Etruscan-style ﬂoor tiles. You could likely match the signature fragrances, like the Scottish Lichen, Damask Rose, Makassar, and Mexican Tuberose, to stamps in the couple’s passports: In their 18 years together, they have lived in Tangier, Jaipur, Brooklyn, Paris, and now Tokyo with their three children, ages 13, 11, and 8. But when you spend time at their family home in Gascony, where nothing changes, Buly’s mission to revive “the grand classical beauty store of the nineteenth century in both service
Previous page: A view of Lavardens, near Auch. This page, left: Produce markets in nearly every town are a colorful way to spend a couple of hours— Saturdays in central Auch, the Monday duck (or foie gras) market in Samatan, Wednesdays in Condom (pop into the Cathédrale St-Pierre). Right: Victoire de Taillac and Ramdane Touhami in Luxeube. Below: A trip to the Famille Pérès foie gras farm in St-Michel will take care of all edible souvenirs.
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Left: Armagnac, a French brandy, is made in distilleries across Gascony—book a tasting at the thirteenthcentury Château de Larressingle. Right: The Cathédrale Ste-Marie in Auch.
and decorum” starts to make sense. “My family has been in Gascony from the ﬁfteenth century,” says de Taillac, a descendant of one of Dumas’s royal guardsmen whose grandfather Guy and Scottish grandmother Jane bought the château in the 1920s. “Not a joke, but we lost our original family place during the Revolution.” Loosely circumscribed by the Pyrenees to the south, the Garonne River to the east, and the Atlantic to the west, Gascony (a large swath of which is officially called Gers) is made up of pristine medieval villages like Agen, Montréal, Condom, Larressingle, and Auch, which ﬁrst emerged as rest stops for pilgrims en route to Santiago de Compostela, some 500 miles away in Spain’s northwestern Galicia. Even the French call Gascony (from the same root as the word Basque) “God’s country”—unspoiled as it is in part by the absence of big-name vineyards or attractions. It’s also been dubbed “the Tuscany of France,” only most Americans have never heard of it, which of course makes all the difference. There’s a centuries-old foie gras market every Monday morning in Samatan, a handful of Armagnac distilleries that may or may not open their doors for you unless you call ahead, and hundreds of preserved churches—from twelfth-century Romanesque to seventeenth-century late Gothic, often within a single structure. Despite the couple’s peripatetic existence, de Taillac decamps here for summers and holidays and slips into her simple country life of food shopping, cooking, gardening, and hosting friends without missing a beat. To experience Gascony, we soon discover, is to give into the quotidian, to stroll
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through the markets, to duck into churches—like the Cathédrale Ste-Marie in Auch, with its 113 carved oak choir stalls—on the way to a typical hearty Gascon lunch of cassoulet or magret de canard. If you stay in the perfectly distressed bed-and-breakfast Le Consulat, in Auch, with its threadbare Persian rugs, crisp linens, and simple baguette breakfast served at a communal farm table, you will wake up to church bells and imagine what it might have been like to travel through Europe 50 years ago. Early on Saturday morning, we trail de Taillac and Touhami through the farmers’ market in Auch, where plump artichokes and purple gem lettuces spill out of wooden crates. The whole scene, including the slate boards with names and prices in loopy Catholic-school script and the cast of gruff elderly vendors, also looks as it probably did half a century ago. Wearing a knee-length cotton skirt, chunky frayed sweater, and ﬂats, de Taillac collects ingredients for an early-spring lunch, poule au pot for 15 or maybe 20 people (“because you never know who will come”), without a shopping list. Fresh-faced and gamine with a scarf tied around her head, she is an anachronistic foil to her restless partner in his decidedly urban suspenders and bright cap. “She is elegant, she doesn’t have to show it, it’s natural, deeply in her,” Touhami, who seems to pace even when he’s standing still, says of their creative and personal partnership. “I’m more aggressive, a new way, less polite, but in time I’m becoming more polite. She taught me codes.” Whereas de Taillac would happily return to Gascony every month, Touhami, the son of Muslim-Moroccan apple pickers who grew up in the countryside 60 miles east in Toulouse, travels every two weeks. Recently, he relocated the family from Paris to Tokyo to open a Buly outpost there. “He likes to open every book in the family library, talk politics and family history with my mother, play football with our son,” she says of her husband’s abbreviated visits to Gascony, “but he grew up in the countryside and he gets bored after a few days and needs to move.” De Taillac, meanwhile, is a poised seventh arrondissement aristocrat who crosses herself reﬂexively when we enter the cathedral in Auch. Yet sitting on a couch with her head on Touhami’s shoulder, she seems to let down her patrician guard a bit, as she must when making a home in foreign cultures. “I guess I have very good genes to adapt myself in any country, ﬁnding what we like, making us feel at home,” says de Taillac, who was born in Lebanon and whose mother’s side of the family is spread out all over the world. “For us, moving to a new country is the best way to travel.” The constant push-pull of heritage and creative license, of tradition and disruption, seem to be the driving forces for the couple’s professional
PLACES TO STAY Le Consulat, near the center of Auch, is basic yet charming in that Europe-40-yearsago kind of way. Hôtel Lous Grits is a slightly more sanitized, upscale French country option. Hôtel de Bastard, in Lectoure, has a solid restaurant with multi-course menus. And Gascony Secret is a reliable house rental agency for larger parties.
Left: The entry hall at Le Consulat in Auch comes by its unwitting steam punk aesthetic honestly. Right: The Touhami kids—Adam (11), Scherazade (13), and Noor (8).
and personal lives. This tension, rooted partly in class, culture, and character, has given rise to a singular lifestyle and aesthetic, as seen in the Buly 1803 stores now open in London, Taipei, and soon Tokyo and New York City, as well as in their homes. Even their courtship—which began in the late ’90s when de Taillac, then the publicist for Colette, had to run interference on Touhami’s cheeky T-shirt line Polette (a send-up of the iconic concept store)—was sparked by playful opposition. In their division of labor, he does all the design and she chooses the textiles for the stores, as well as the clays and oils, and tests all of the products. At home, he designs the common areas while she does the bedrooms. Of their personal natures, he quips, “I talk ﬁrst and think after. She is the opposite.” Between the two, our families are given the ultimate insider’s—and slight outsider’s—perspective on Gascony. “Everything old is for sale, people want new houses with a swimming pool,” says Touhami. He is momentarily distracted while driving by the town of Mirande and the new campaign headquarters for the rising Right-wing National Front Party, which stands out in this otherwise Leftist enclave. “The people here have nothing, zero. You have more people who don’t work than who do”—a sign of stagnation in a region whose main industry is traditional farming and distilling. It occurs to me that despite driving for hours, we haven’t seen a single big-box store or even a supermarket. As we consider the sweeping expanse of green ﬁelds and forests dense with pine, oak, and birch, it’s easy to imagine the region as a safe zone for the French Resistance. Its historic impermeability to invasion—not only by the Nazis but by the British and the Huguenots before them—and therefore to change is undoubtedly part of the romance of the place. This, coupled with its relative remoteness (the nearest airport is in Toulouse), has made Gascony an unwitting epicenter of slow tourism—save for the private planes of those noble families lucky enough to drop in on weekends. By the time we get back to the house, it’s nearly cocktail hour, and a collection of family and friends are sitting by the ﬁre in the grand yet unheated living room, drinking Champagne out of century-old coupes in a half-circle of centuries-worn antique chairs. From a surprisingly modest kitchen, in which the newest appliance might date to the 1960s, comes a tray of foie gras–slathered toast points, delivered by de Taillac’s elegant silver-haired mother as casually as one would offer chips and salsa. When I look back at the dark foyer, I see the glow of Touhami’s face behind a laptop as he taps away to ﬁnd a return ﬂight to Paris the next day.
WHERE TO EAT
Hotels in the region are relatively scarce, which means no major chains and few tourists. A handful of these are gems that are attached to pilgrimage-worthy restaurants— a godsend after a multicourse meal and a bottle of wine. The major towns (Auch, Agen, Montréal) are all within roughly an hour of one another; rent a car at the Toulouse airport (if you’re ﬂying) and use meals and markets, which are open only on certain days of the week, to bookend your days. The rest is all about looking out your car window and ducking into churches in these movie set–like medieval villages.
Baptiste Ramouneda runs family-founded Le Florida, in Castéra-Verduzan, serving classic Gascon cuisine. La Bastide, about 45 minutes from Auch toward Bordeaux, is an outpost of chef Michel Guérard’s. (You can also spend the night in one of the hotel’s 25 bright if unremarkable rooms.) La Table des Cordeliers, in Condom, is known for its inventive seasonal menus from Michelin-star chef Eric Sampietro, while La Halle, in Jegun, serves hearty Gascon classics.
OTHER STUFF TO DO The towns of CastéraVerduzan, Lectoure, and Barbotan-les-Thermes are known for their thermal baths and spas. Armagnactasting in the Château de Larressingle is highly picturesque, while the Armagnac distillery De Montal is a more industrial operation. Un Coin du Passé, in Castéra-Verduzan, is the kind of antiques store where you might ﬁnd a stack of perfect vintage tea towels for $30. P. G .
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THE CITY THATâ€™S ALWAYS REINVENTING ITSELF HAS A NEW CLAIM: THE PLACE TO BE FOR CONTEMPORARY ART
HANGHAI photographs by Adrian
MY UBER pulled up to a hulking gray factory building with a towering chimney. “This is a museum?” my driver asked wryly, articulating my own unspoken curiosity. The choice of the Power Station of Art, China’s ﬁrst state-run contemporary art museum, for Shanghai’s eleventh Biennale—with 92 international artists, 26 of Chinese origin—seemed ﬁtting, though. The converted plant, which opened ﬁve years ago in a spot on the Huangpu River that had previously been kitted out for the 2010 World Expo, says a lot about the growing importance of art in China—and of Chinese art to the world. On this rainy day last November, the museum was ﬁlled with smartly turned-out Chinese and foreigners, many of them in snaking lines for one of the most talked-about installations, The Great Chain of Being—Planet Trilogy. Visitors enter through a fuselage of an abandoned space shuttle and walk through a series of moonscape-like chambers that narrate a story about extraterrestrial discovery. One might say that this elaborate space odyssey, devised by theater director MouSen and inspired by the Chinese sci-ﬁ writer Liu Cixin’s cult classic The Three-Body Problem, is all about the new freedoms in artistic exploration. But dwelling too long on the metaphor would distract from an experience so wildly transporting that a young boy visiting with his mother actually asked whether we had landed on a new planet. In a way, though, we had. I ﬂashed back to my own landing in a very different Shanghai, in 1992, when my mother and I stepped off the boat from our sleepy inland city of Chongqing after receiving visas to emigrate to the United States. At seven I was familiar with the city’s contours thanks to the popular TV drama series The Bund, after Shanghai’s most iconic landmark—a river promenade lined with European banks and trading houses built in a vivid parade of neoclassical, Baroque, and Gothic styles. To walk along the Bund is to experience the most glamorous city in China the way European merchants and the Chinese upper crust must have done in generations prior. It is to glimpse the Paris of the East, as the city was known, the way Noël Coward did in 1929 as he penned Private Lives in his suite at the Cathay Hotel, or Charlie Chaplin as he peered into its horizon while waltzing past the velvet curtains in the Astor House Hotel. Such was the allure of Shanghai and my perception of its yang qi, a Chinese term that means “Western-ness” but is inﬂected with a complicated sense of Euro-American superiority. To see Shanghai today, however, is to witness a swift evolution in urban identity. Two decades ago, caught in a frenetic bout of industrialization and urbanization that left resources for little else, the city had few museums and no art market to speak of. But China’s meteoric economic rise, along with the major optics of the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics and the 2010 Expo, signaled a new phase in the country’s renewed quest for cultural prominence. Shanghai—the city of assimilation and innovation, in contrast to Beijing, which is constrained by political conservatism—is a logical place for this to be playing out. Because China is still nominally a Socialist state, it has been particularly generous with land subsidies for cultural enterprises. As a result, the West Bund, a strip of land along the Huangpu River that half a century earlier was an industrial wasteland of processing factories and aircraft manufacturing, has become a new cultural corridor, like Manhattan’s Museum Mile. The three-year-old Long Museum West Bund, which houses part of China’s largest private art collection, sits amid a repurposed coal
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silo and was co-founded by cabbie turned billionaire Liu Yiqian, who made global headlines in 2015 with his purchase of the world’s priciest Modigliani (for a cool $170 million). A mile downriver, the Yuz Museum was also built in 2014 by the Indonesian-Chinese billionaire Budi Tek in an old airplane hangar and distinguishes itself as aggressively international, counting Alberto Giacometti and Warhol as subjects of some of its recent exhibitions. Yet the art scene here is not just the province of mega-wealthy entrepreneurs. One evening I took a walk with Lorenz Helbling, the Swiss founder of ShanghART, one of China’s oldest galleries. It has shown some of the country’s best-known artists like expressionistic painter Zeng Fanzhi and Wang Guangyi, who’s known for appropriating images of Mao-era propaganda to lampoon the Communist Party’s stranglehold. Back in 1996, Helbling, who moved to China as a student,
Previous page, from left: Art dealer and curator Leo Xu; Xu Zhenâ€™s MadeIn Gallery; the China Art Museum, Shanghai, inspired by traditional roofs of interlocking brackets; Qiao Space; the Long Museum West Bund. This page, from left: a view of the Bund from the Fairmont Peace Hotel; a fountain in Jingâ€™an Sculpture Park; West Bund Art Center.
opened his gallery with just a chair, a table, and a phone. Last year, ShanghART relocated to a new building whose exterior resembles the rows of stacked shipping containers that once lined the river piers. Even if the symbolism harks back to China’s past, the brisk pace of construction says something about China’s effort to break new ground literally and ﬁguratively, ﬁnding a creative identity distinctly its own. After climbing some concrete, spiraling stairs, I emerged on the gallery’s rooftop and gazed out at the glittering expanse of the Bund at dusk. The view brought to mind iconic old portraits of Shanghai as a ﬁshing village on the muddy banks of the Huangpu, then as a strategic trading hub for European merchants from the 1850s through the Republican era, and, from the early 1980s, the Chinese epicenter of banking and ﬁnancial power. On a previous trip, I’d visited Liu Heung Shing, one of the ﬁrst photographers to capture post-Mao-era China on ﬁlm and who runs the new Shanghai Center of Photography. “When you think about the earliest photos of Shanghai, and China, they were taken by Westerners using this very strange piece of imported technology called the camera,” Liu said. “But the Chinese gradually acquired the technology and have used it to capture their vision of the world.” Kelly Ying, a stylish Chinese collector in her mid-thirties and a co-founder with her husband, David Chau, of the annual art fair ART021, is among those helping to facilitate the world’s introduction to China’s home-bred talent. Ying, who previously worked for Vogue China, has found the transition from fashion to contemporary art a seamless one: “Fifteen years ago, the rich ﬂocked to luxury goods, especially designer brands, to announce themselves. Nowadays, the elite have art. If you are someone who’s anyone, you are an art collector.” ART021 cultivates and presents young Chinese artists like new media installationist Wang Xin and the Beijing-based painter Peng Wei, whose work has fetched nearly $250,000. This past year, both Wendi Deng (the ex–Mrs. Rupert Murdoch) and actor and art enthusiast Adrien Brody turned up. In Ying’s words, “If
you are looking to the future, you probably have your eyes on Chinese artists.” The intersection between art and consumerism has not escaped Adrian Cheng, the 37-year-old scion of a Hong Kong real estate empire and long-standing art patron. In 2013, Cheng founded the K11 Art Mall, which is located on the seven lowest ﬂoors of a skyscraper: The top ﬂoors are devoted to stores like Burberry and Max Mara; one basement level is a museum exhibiting contemporary Chinese art. “The point is to build a seamless ecosystem between art and retail,” Cheng told me. “In China, where people love luxury commodities but there isn’t yet a well-established history of museum-going, they can peruse art and their favorite brands in the same place.” After all, it was only 40 years ago that self-expression, however tenuous,
was permitted again in the aftermath of Mao’s Cultural Revolution. At that time, Chinese artists began to incorporate Western inﬂuences and conduct their own creative inquiry. Today, rich collectors like Liu and patrons like Cheng have fed a worldwide market explosion as a new generation of artists, reared in the post-revolutionary era of economic reform and globalization, are ﬁnding their place in the changed world order. Xu Zhen, a 40-year-old Shanghai native and arguably the most prominent artist of his generation, co-curated Helbling’s inaugural exhibition on the West Bund and runs his own gallery a few blocks from ShangART. Since 2009, Xu has subsumed his artistic identity under an “art-creation company” named MadeIn, which functions in a way like Warhol’s Factory. As the CEO, Xu is similarly preoccupied with themes of consumerism, and brands everything with his name, as if he were a product of his own corporation. “Is it a store? A gallery? You don’t know, and that’s the point,” said one of Xu’s fashionably attired staff as I entered the MadeIn Gallery, which, with its sleek minimalist decor, could be a Marni ﬂagship decked out with art. Inside, everything resists easy categorization, starting with the halfdozen rainbow-colored statues of bodhisattvas lodged in a wall of black Styrofoam. English-language graffiti consumes an adjacent wall and reveals itself to be thought bubbles harvested from Western political cartoons.
Not everything is meant to provoke discussion, though; at one end, racks of patterned silk pajamas and cotton sweatshirts imprinted with the Xu Zhen logo sell briskly for around $150 apiece. In his office, Xu explained that he is interested in investigating clichéd stereotypes the West harbors about the East. “When we utilize Western economic structures, do we necessarily become Westernized in all other aspects? Art and culture are not like KFCs and McDonald’s,” Xu said. “They can’t be universalized and standardized. There’s a special energy in China as we explore new possibilities and ﬁnd our orientation that isn’t a neat carbon copy of Europe and America.” A few days later, I grabbed a shaved ice with Qiu Anxiong, a Sichuanese video artist and painter in his forties whose work has been shown at New York’s Metropolitan Museum. Like most artists of his post-’70s generation, he has a thoroughly international outlook but is also keenly aware of the Chinese aesthetic tradition. In a 2006 video animation called New Classic of Mountains and Seas I, Qiu riffed on the Shan Hai Jing, an ancient Chinese compendium of mythic geography, which he drew as a skyscraper-strewn landscape full of nightmarish creatures, using a style that echoes Chinese ink paintings. “I wanted to see modern China through the eyes of our ancient forebears,” Qiu said, “how weird modernization must strike them, and in some respects, how frighteningly beastly.” I mentioned my tour of the Biennale to Leo Xu, a Shanghai native and gallerist. We met at the newly opened Miss Ali café in the former French Concession, a neighborhood of Tudorfacade villas once inhabited by foreign nationals that has recently morphed, with its underground rave spots, specialty coffee shops, and butchers, into the city’s trendiest turf. Over cumincovered lamb kebabs reminiscent of northern Chinese cooking, I asked about his birthplace. “It’s where the yang from yang qi started,”
From left: The chimney at the Power Station of Art; the reception area at K11 Art Mall; art collector Kelly Ying; ShanghART gallery.
LOOK OVER HERE A STRATEGY FOR NAVIGATING SHANGHAI’S ART SCENE
Xu told me with a smile, using the same word my seven-year-old self had so admiringly associated with the city. “But over the years, Shanghai has also assimilated so much of what has been poured into it from all over the world. In that sense, it’s growing conﬁdence and independence. It doesn’t aspire to emulate the West anymore. It doesn’t want to be Paris or New York. It wants to be Shanghai.” I tried to walk off my meal by going on foot to Xintiandi, a former residential district of alleys and redbrick lane houses within the French Concession, which has been redeveloped into a maze of chic shops, cafés, and galleries; the area bustles with families of international and Chinese tourists, who amble along pedestrian corridors snapping selﬁes and sipping Starbucks lattes. While wandering down one of its smaller passageways, I saw a barrel-chested Australian examine an intricately carved shikumen, a town house with a private courtyard, a feature introduced by Western inhabitants in the 1850s. Xintiandi is sleek, imperfect, vexed as a space of overzealous gentriﬁcation and commercialized imagination. Ninety-six years ago, it was the site of the First National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party and where wealthy merchants lived. Then in 1949, after the Communist takeover, the shikumen dwellings were allocated to the working class, and dozens of families jostled together in a single house. Today, Xintiandi is a prime tourist destination and has the priciest real estate in the country. As I reﬂected on the city’s new contours, my eyes seized on something else. Displayed in a clear case of a bakery were rows of glass milk jars that I hadn’t seen since I was a child. “Sour milk,” the beverage was called, cinched with manila paper that fanned out like a tiny skirt. When I was small, these full-fat yogurts were the kind of treats a child saved up pocket change to buy, at one yuan per jar. I paid 15 yuan for the self-billed “old-timey” indulgence, and the sales associate told me, smiling, to “savor the past.” It occurred to me that Shanghai, which in 1935 Fortune called “the megalopolis of continental Asia, inheritor of ancient Baghdad, of pre-war Constantinople, of nineteenth-century London, of twentieth-century Manhattan,” has long been a palimpsest of its many pasts. Its willingness to embrace and assimilate change has deﬁned it. It has also rendered the city itself a marvelous work of art.
Museums and galleries are spread around the city in art districts to the south (West Bund) and to the north (Moganshan 50, or M50). Other art venues are clustered in the Bund and in the former French Concession. You can easily get to all sites by taxi or Didi Chuxing (the Chinese Uber), but you can also use the excellent subway system. To avoid art fatigue, give yourself at least three days to make the rounds.
WEST BUND CULTURAL CORRIDOR Work your way along the waterfront, Shanghai’s newest art strip. Start at the Power Station of Art, China’s ﬁrst state-run museum for contemporary art and home to the Shanghai Biennale. Farther down the river is the Long Museum West Bund, opened by husband-and-wife collecting duo Liu Yiqian and Wang Wei. While it’s held exhibitions for major artists like Olafur Eliasson, the museum has an impressive collection of art from the Cultural Revolution, including comics by Yang Yongqing depicting the model Revolutionary citizen. A 20-minute walk over the bridge and down the boardwalk lands you at the new Edouard Malingue Gallery, Shanghai, the Hong Kong dealer’s ﬁrst Mainland space. In the same complex, the MadeIn Gallery and concept store was founded by a
key Shanghai art scene player, artist Xu Zhen. Next door is the Yuz Museum, a private gallery opened by Indonesian-Chinese collector Budi Tek and home to works by Western masters like Fred Sandback and Maurizio Cattelan as well as major Chinese names like Huang Yong Ping, a Paris-based installation artist who co-founded the Xiamen Dada group in 1986. (Its café serves excellent Indonesian home-style cooking.) Down the road is the West Bund Art Center, which hosts West Bund Art & Design (usually in November), run by Zhou Tiehai, an early contemporary painter known for his satirical portraits of Joe Camel superimposed on Da Vinci and Goya paintings. Nearby, you’ll also ﬁnd ShanghART— whose Swiss owner, Lorenz Helbling, represents notable contemporary Chinese artists Zhou Tiehai and video art pioneer Zhu Jia—and AikeDellarco, run by longtime local denizen Roberto Ceresia. The Shanghai Center of Photography is the country’s ﬁrst such museum-quality venue, and ﬁnally there’s Qiao Space, with eclectic exhibits from wealthy karaoke club impresario Qiao Zhibing.
Map by Peter Oumanski
THE BUND & XINTIANDI Once the British- and Americanoccupied International Settlement, the area approaching the Bund is ﬁlled with large stone and brick buildings in late-nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century architectural styles. In one of them is the Rockbund Art Museum, a cornerstone of Shanghai’s art scene. The curatorial team has worked with major Chinese artists like Zhang Huan and the estate of the late Chen Zhen, whose artworks responded to the cultural whiplash of living between Paris and Shanghai. Before or after, stop for dim sum at Hakkasan Shanghai or for lunch at the Fairmont Peace Hotel’s historic Cathay Room. In central Shanghai, near Xintiandi, a shopping district with renovated shikumens (stone lane houses), Adrian Cheng’s K11 Art Mall is a one-stop shop for lines like Chloé and Dolce & Gabbana as well as contemporary art exhibitions.
M50 & THE FORMER FRENCH CONCESSION (FFC) One of China’s ﬁrst “creative industry clusters,” M50 opened in a former cotton mill after artists started working in the spaces circa 2000. Chronus Art Center is China’s ﬁrst nonproﬁt dedicated to media art and is overseen by curator Zhang Ga. Simon Wang’s Antenna Space buoys the M50 scene with politically charged exhibits. The airy secondﬂoor gallery represents some of China’s most subversive young artists, like Guan Xiao, whose sculptural installations and video works nod to a techno-futuristic world. Cc Foundation is a newish space run by David Chau, a co-founder of Shanghai’s ART021 Contemporary Art Fair. On your way to the FFC, refuel with fusion tapas at Commune Social. The former French Concession is ﬁlled with quaint tree-lined streets and myriad shops, bars, and
From left: A Wang Yi exhibition at Aike-Dellarco gallery; Cathay Theatre, an Art Deco cinema renovated in 2003, a landmark in the former French Concession.
cafés retroﬁtted into mid-nineteenthcentury French homes. Start on Wuyuan Lu at Meta Project Space, a small but innovative independent art space and reading room run by Yajing Yuan. One street over is Bank, where owner and New York transplant Mathieu Borysevicz works with artists like the provocative Chen Tianzhuo, whose use of subculture imagery and sound evokes tribal ritual. Across the street from Bank, Enrico Polato recently opened Capsule in a renovated garden house with an inaugural group show of Chinese and Western artists. Started six years ago by the Shanghai native curator and dealer, Leo Xu Projects is great for playful exhibitions including solos by Taiwanese artist Michael Lin and Chinese photographer Chen Wei.
WHERE TO STAY The elegant PuLi Hotel and Spa, in Jing’an District, is a quick taxi ride from M50 and puts you within walking distance of the FFC galleries. To be closer to the Bund, and a short cab ride from the West Bund and Xintiandi, stay at The Peninsula Shanghai, with its Art Deco–style facade and interiors (sundowner cocktails at the rooftop bar, Sir Elly’s Terrace, are a must for the skyline view), or the Fairmont Peace Hotel, a Deco landmark and backdrop to 46 ﬁlms since its opening in 1929.
BEFORE YOU GO For help assembling an art-focused itinerary and tickets to in-demand shows, contact the specialists at WildChina. Visit in April or May or from September through November to avoid Shanghai’s oppressive humidity; in early November, when the Shanghai Art Fair is held, the weather is crisp. United ﬂies direct from LAX and Newark Liberty to Pudong International Airport. Don’t forget you’ll need a visa—you can apply through Chinese consulates in U.S. cities. Z A N D I E B R O C K E T T
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IN A REMOTE CORNER OF PERU, PHOTOGRAPHER TEAM GENTL AND HYERS LEAD A GROUP TO LIVE WITH AND DOCUMENT THE COUNTRYâ€™S LAST-REMAINING INCAS
W When Deborah Williamson, owner of the Brooklyn restaurant James and a novice photographer, found herself in a Peruvian outdoor market teeming with apple-green cherimoya, roasted and ready-to-eat guinea pigs, cinnamon sticks the size of her arm, and vendors with sun-etched faces, she didn’t do what most of us would—that is, raise her camera to her eye to look for the best shot. Instead, she lowered her Fujiﬁlm XT1 to her hip, prayed for the best, and started snapping. Shooting from the hip (literally) is one of the many lessons Williamson learned in Andrea Gentl and Martin Hyers’s intensive photography workshop in the Peruvian Andes last spring. The New York City–based husband-and-wife team have spent more than two decades as commercial and editorial photographers, and their singular ability to light and compose shots, creating almost painterly vignettes, has helped shape the look of many lifestyle, food, and travel magazines. Their photos play particularly well on Instagram (Gentl has upwards of 60,000 followers), perhaps because of their zeitgeist-y subject matter—far-ﬂung destinations, food and ﬂowers, foraged and collected objets—but more likely on account of their craft. The team have become digital den leaders of sorts, giving feedback and professional advice to a growing band of aspiring photographers, stylists, and content creators who use social media as a professional calling card. Looking to up their mentoring in the analogue world, Gentl and Hyers started This Is the Wanderlust, a travel photography program that, not surprisingly, most participants ﬁnd through Instagram. They are part of a wave of creative entrepreneurs—in the design, food, and maker worlds—who are leveraging the social media platform to tap into communities of like-minded people and launch real-life skill immersions in distant places (see sidebar, page 99). But Gentl and Hyers’s foray into photography tourism is not for the fainthearted. The more foreign the place, the better—they count India, Burma, and Bhutan as a few of their favorites. With this workshop they hoped to show participants, in a hands-on way, that if you’re willing to, say, get on the ground to capture the image of sandaled feet scurrying by, or climb on top of a car to snap a pigeon’s-eye view of a cobblestoned streetscape, you’ll be rewarded with not only better pictures but also new life perspectives. How the couple landed on the remote Andes as the location for their inaugural workshop can also be traced to, yes, Instagram, where Gentl ﬁrst encountered Hannah Rae Porst and her arresting images of the Q’eros Nation, the roughly 2,000 Incas living in the isolated, high-altitude Andes. Porst
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Previous page: Looking down at the Hachakalla River; Gloria, the ďŹ rst Qâ€™eros woman to graduate from high school and go to college. This page: The Palccapampa River.
is the founder of Willka Yachay, an NGO focused on improving education, living conditions, and economic opportunity for the Q’eros; a lunch IRL sealed their partnership. And so in April of last year, ten participants in their photography boot camp ﬂew to Lima and then boarded another plane to the historic Peruvian city of Cusco, which sits at about 11,000 feet. Over nine days, the students, representing a range of photography levels, ascended thousands of feet higher—by foot, horse, and Sprinter van—all while acclimating to the thin mountain air and mastering camera and editing skills. “It’s important to learn that true travel photography is really hard,” Gentl says. The participants started their days around 5 A.M. (to catch ﬁrst light). After shooting for an hour, they’d gather for breakfast, shoot for several more hours before lunch, and then again until sundown. “Every day we tackled different subjects,” recalls Aran Goyoaga, cookbook author and founder of the food blog Cannelle et Vanille. “One day it was photographing a whole alpaca-shearing story—from the ceremonial shearing to the yarn spinning and plant dyeing.” Evenings ended with communal dinners, after which some wandered off to bed, exhausted, others gathered in the schoolhouse to edit photos and swap stories of the day, and the most adventurous made their way to the local healer’s hut. If Wanderlust’s mission is to teach visual storytelling, you couldn’t ask for a better subject. “The Q’eros people are known as the wisdom-keepers of the Andes,” Porst says; they follow the Q’eros traditions of farming, herding,
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Previous page, clockwise from top left: Portraits of indigenous Peruvians (Roberto, mayor of Qochamoqo village; Matias; Valentina, community matriarch; Gloria; Irica, the Wanderlust group’s constant companion; and Maria). This page, from left: Matias shearing sheep; trout lunch; herding llamas.
music, and spirituality. Homestays with indigenous families brought more intimate storytelling. “We slept in these little huts, on blankets and llama pelts on the dirt ﬂoor,” says Williamson. “It was a profound moment when we had to say good-bye.” (Gentl and Hyers haven’t left altogether; they are sponsoring two Q’eros girls, starting an alpaca herd for one, and buying a computer for another for college.) With the sometimes treacherous travel conditions and the isolation of life in the clouds, it was inevitable that group members would bond. Which, in fact, is the lasting draw of these and similar workshops: a tight-knit network of friends with a shared interest. “During a campout, we hiked to a river valley where the Q’eros men ﬁshed with nets for the most luscious pink-speckled river trout,” recalls Gentl, adding how the group gathered wild mint and sorrel and used lemons and garlic and Peruvian pink salt to make a salsa verde for the ﬁsh. “The ease with which we all worked together is the very essence of what we hope to create with these workshops,” she adds. “We are forging a community through photography and experience.”
THE NEW “SOLO” TRAVEL
Travel workshops are sort of like study abroad for grown-ups. Learn a skill and ﬁnd your creative soul mates on one of these trips led by lifestyle inﬂuencers.
BE A MAKER
This page, from left: An offering of herbs and ﬂowers to the goddess Pachamama; saddled and ready to make the trek into the mountainous Q’eros land.
The School (@theschoolinstagram), in Sydney, was founded by stylist Megan Morton for those of us who, simply put, want to create beauty. In addition to classes like ceramics and candle making, it offers multiday creativity-sparking trips. Try the School Excursion to India, a ﬁveday R and R retreat in Jaipur that focuses on jewelry designing, bookbinding, and, during an optional Pushkar add-on, perfume making (October 2017; theschool.com.au).
BECOME A FOOD CREATIVE Imen McDonnell and Cliodhna Prendergast, both cooks and writers, founded Lens & Larder (@lensand larder) to teach visual storytelling through the lens of Ireland’s artisanal food scene. They secure memorable locations (a boutique hotel, a bucolic farmstead) and partner with topnotch photographers, stylists, and writers. If you don’t mind the short lead time, the four-day Capturing a Connemara Travel & Food Story workshop in Ireland, with photographer Ditte Isager and travel and food writer David Prior, happens this month. Check the website for future workshops (lensandlarder.com).
BE A BON VIVANT
ATTEMPT TO SLOW DOWN
The three-day workshops led by cookbook author Mimi Thorisson (@mimithor) in her home in France’s Médoc are big on food, wine, and joie de vivre. In the Early Summer Workshop, you’ll “meet in the mornings, cook lunch, have it together, drink a little too much, then start again for dinner,” says Thorisson (May 2017; mimithorisson.com).
Brainchild of Beth Kirby (of lifestyle blog Local Milk) and her husband, Matt Ludwikowski (a coffee entrepreneur and writer), L|M Retreats (@local_milk) gives travelers a chance to shift to a slower pace, sample authentic regional dishes, connect with local creatives—and learn photography and styling skills. The nine-day Onsens & Post Towns: A Wabi Sabi Escape to rural Japan this November is wait list only, but additional retreats to the Faroe Islands and Spain’s Formentera are in the works (localmilkretreats.com).
LEARN FLORAL DESIGN You’ll create ﬂower arrangements from seasonal heirloom blooms at three-day workshops by Floret (@ﬂoretﬂower) in Mount Vernon, Washington, as well as get tips on how to operate a ﬂower farm. Workshops, like this spring’s Flower Farming Intensive, sell out quickly. Check the website for summer and fall options (ﬂoretﬂowers.com).
HONE YOUR KNIFE SKILLS If your call to create is a bit more primal, go to Meat Camp, hosted by sustainable-meat company Belcampo (@belcampomeatco). During a threeday Pro workshop at its farm in the foothills of Northern California’s Mount Shasta, you’ll sleep in luxury tents and learn open-ﬁre cooking, sausage making, and butchery (August 2017; belcampo.com). F.W.
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O U R T R AV E L TIPS, TRICKS, AND MISCELLANY
A GUIDE T O T R AV E L I N G B E T T E R THIS MONTH
GOOD NEWS If you’re thinking about a long weekend in London, you’re in luck: This spring, the low-cost carrier Norwegian is adding ﬂights to London Gatwick from Fort Lauderdale, L.A., Oakland, and Orlando, with fares as low as a couple of hundred bucks each way. And while the airline charges extra for seat assignments, snacks, and checked baggage, we still found an April round-trip for just $555. Here’s hoping the competition follows suit.
How You Should Really Do Cuba Don’t fall victim to the island’s notoriously bad hotels. Instead, snag a balcony suite (and maybe even swing by Belize) on one of these cruises.
THE FINE PRINT
Norwegian Cruise Line
The Norwegian Sky is the line’s ﬁrst ship going to Havana, with ﬁve trips scheduled in May.
Unlike many cruises, it will spend two days— not just one—in the city.
Suites with verandas cost twice what ocean-view cabins do, but the extra space is worth it.
Regent Seven Seas Cruises
The 700-passenger Seven Seas Mariner will hit Havana in April.
You’ll get two days in the Cuban capital and then continue on to Belize and Mexico.
No nickel-and-diming here: Regent includes booze, shore excursions, and even Wi-Fi in fares.
Keep a close eye on your cash in India: Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently banned existing 500 and 1,000 rupee bills (worth about $7 and $15) to combat counterfeiting. Locals had to trade in now-worthless 500 rupee notes for new gray bills showing Delhi’s Red Fort; the 1,000 rupee was discontinued and 2,000 rupee bills were introduced in magenta with a picture of Mangalyaan, India’s ﬁrst Mars orbiter.
THE SELLING POINT
The Marina will be its ﬁrst ship to call in Cuba, during a twoweek sailing this March.
Some of the best food at sea: Jacques Pépin is Oceania’s executive culinary director.
People usually book lengthy itineraries like this one months or even a year in advance.
These charter-sail pros have just launched weeklong trips by 58-foot catamaran.
With a max of ten passengers, it’s the next best thing to taking your own boat.
You won’t anchor in idyllic bays: Nights are spent at busy marinas in Havana and Varadero.
BAD NEWS You missed the boat on cruising to Alaska this year. “Many people are choosing to sail there instead of in the Mediterranean because they think it’s safer,” says travel specialist Linda Allen. Which means that now’s the time to start planning for next summer. “Those who book the farthest out get the best price and cabin selection,” Allen says. “I’m already working on cruises for next year’s Spring Break as well as summer trips for families.”
THAT’S HOW LONG IT’S BEEN SINCE THE DOLLAR AND THE EURO WERE ESSENTIALLY EQUAL IN VALUE. IT’S GREAT NEWS FOR U.S. TRAVELERS: A €500 HOTEL ROOM THAT WOULD’VE COST $600 TWO YEARS AGO IS NOW JUST $530.
The Panorama is now in its third year of sailing around the island’s western half.
You’ll hit less-visited (and less-touristy) ports like Cienfuegos and Juventud Island.
There are only 24 passenger cabins, so plan at least three months out.
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The one way you can’t see Cuba by cruise? With Fathom, the Carnival cruise line whose Adonia started serving the island in 2016 but will cease trips there in June because of soft demand.
NEW FLIGHTS ARE OPENING ICELAND’S NORTHERN FRONTIER Before February, if you wanted to visit Iceland’s second city of Akureyri—the jumping-oﬀ point for outdoor enthusiasts—you had to drive 45 minutes from Keﬂavik International, where ﬂights north were scarce, to Reykjavík’s domestic airport. Now, new year-round Air Iceland ﬂights seamlessly connect with international arrivals at Keﬂavik, and are making Iceland’s rugged north accessible in less than an hour. Once there, you can climb the Hverfjall volcano; explore the arches and pillars of the Dimmuborgir lava ﬁeld; take a dip in hot springs like the Mývatn Nature Baths; watch blue whales breach in the bay at Húsavík, a village ﬁrst settled in A.D. 870; and marvel at Goðafoss, one of the most spectacular waterfalls in a country full of them, says Chris Gordon of Icepedition, our go-to ﬁxer in the country.
illustrations by CHR ISTOPHER DELOR ENZO
94,421 Miles Logged in the Last Year Pedro Gadanho, director of Lisbon’s new Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology, on why he’d never skip a ﬂea market.
I ALWAYS BRING HOME a toy car. I started collecting them years ago and now have about 300—made from Coke cans from Mozambique, Soviet-era models from a Vienna flea, 1950s racers from outside Detroit. They’re my way into a city, since you can usually only get them at markets or vintage shops, the types of places that hold a city’s memories.
MY GO-TO ROOM SERVICE ORDER IS nothing! If I want to eat in, I’ll pick up the phone and call a Thai or Vietnamese restaurant for delivery. I spent a month in Southeast Asia 15 years ago and have been hooked on the food ever since. You still can’t get a decent bowl of noodles in Portugal, so that’s what I want on the road—even in places like Paris or Vienna.
ON A FLIGHT I write articles for architectural journals. It feels like the only chance I have to do so these days! I’m a Star Alliance member, and I love their lounges, particularly Lufthansa’s in Frankfurt, where they serve this Thai soup I can never get enough of.
CONDÉ NAST TRAVELER IS A REGISTERED TRADEMARK OF ADVANCE MAGAZINE PUBLISHERS INC. COPYRIGHT © 2017 CONDÉ NAST. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. PRINTED IN THE U.S.A. VOLUME 52, NO. 3, CONDÉ NAST TRAVELER (ISSN 08939683) is published monthly (except for a combined issue in June/July) by Condé Nast, which is a division of Advance Magazine Publishers Inc. PRINCIPAL OFFICE: Condé Nast, One World Trade Center, New York, NY 10007. S.I. Newhouse, Jr., Chairman Emeritus; Robert A. Sauerberg, Jr., President & Chief Executive Officer; David E. Geithner, Chief Financial Officer. Periodicals postage paid at New York, New York, and at additional mailing offices. Canadian Goods and Services Tax Registration No. 123242885-RT0001.
KEEPING UP WITH THE PARISIANS
“The website Caviar is like Seamless but with better restaurants. My friends just used it in New York City instead of ordering room service: They tried Hanjan (amazing Korean) and Motorino (cult-favorite pizza). It’s in Boston, L.A., and San Francisco, too.” Creative Director Yolanda Edwards on her fave food-delivery app
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PEDAL POWER Calgary’s international terminal has North America’s ﬁrst in-airport stationarybike charging station. The more you pedal, the more juice you’ll add to your phone or iPad. Amsterdam Schiphol and Brussels have similar systems, but there’s nothing like it in domestic airports yet. Long Beach and Flagstaff plan to add the bikes soon.
The New Paris (Abrams Books), by Condé Nast Traveler contributor Lindsey Tramuta, is part guidebook, part collection of proﬁles. It focuses on the Parisians behind the coolest new spots in town: the best fashion boutiques (like Atelier Couronnes, for brass jewelry and handmade leather clutches), pioneering restaurants (La Bourse et La Vie, for the city’s best steak frites), cocktail bars (hit Dersou for inventive drinks like the one with vodka, blue poppy seeds, and sherry), and hotels (like Molitor, with its spectacular pools and rooftop bar).
HOW TO BEAT THE AIRPORT SHAKE SHACK LINE Ever almost miss your ﬂight because you were waiting for a ShackBurger at JFK’s Terminal 4? Us too. Then we learned that the secret is to bypass the crazy-busy Shake Shack just after security, near Gate B23, for the one near Gate B37, which gets about half as much foot traffic, according to Foursquare. Lines at the Gate B37 outpost are particularly short in the morning, when they’re serving up those killer sausage, egg, and cheese sandwiches. (Fun fact: The only airport Shacks that serve breakfast are at JFK and in Dubai and Kuwait.)
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Condé Nast Traveler / 03.17
Condé Nast Traveler
If you were a traveler around 1910, you had some time to kill. After all, it took ﬁve days to cross the ocean on even the fastest ships, a full day by rail from New York to Chicago. A young American on the Grand Tour or a Londoner headed to the States would have carried stationery in a leather pouch to write letters en route. The one pictured here came from Frank Smythson’s shop in London and cost 32 shillings, about $2 now. It was smaller than you’d think, an easy-tocarry nine by seven inches. The paper inside was folded like a birthday card, and little loops held your pen. When the case was opened, you had an instant leather-lined mini desk that was much sturdier than the seat back of a bumpy turn-of-the-century train.
Now that mindless iPhone time is practically necessitated by our brain’s pleasure center, letterwriting isn’t exactly our go-to in-ﬂight entertainment. But it’s not entirely extinct, and Smythson’s new Grosvenor A5 Lippiatt writing folder continues to push this tradition, and deﬁnitely does not cost $2 anymore. (It’s $675—gilded pencil sold separately.) You can see it at the company’s shop on New Bond Street, about 100 feet from Frank Smythson’s original. Who knows, it may make you close that laptop and pick up your pen on the way home. CHR ISTOPHER BONA NOS
photograph by STEPHEN LEWIS