Discover Southern Europe, Issue 3, April 2019

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Southern Europe’s Top FOOD & WINE HOTSPOTS

Private International Schools




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Discover Southern Europe  |  Contents




SPECIAL THEMES 18 France’s Best International Private Schools France has some of the most renowned educational establishments in the world, from top universities to bilingual schools and outstanding animation schools. We take you on a tour of some of the best and most successful in the country.


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38 A Scenic Walk Along Menorca’s Horse Trail Known as ‘the green island’, Menorca has some of the most scenic countryside in the Balearic islands and there are few better ways to experience it than on the ‘Cami de Cavalls’ or ‘horses’ path’. The path winds around the island taking in secluded coves, cliffs and dunes, wetlands and farmlands as well as watchtowers and lighthouses, as writer Manuel Meyer discovers.

42 Southern Europe’s Top Food & Wine Hotspots From Venice, Florence and Rome to Barcelona and Bordeaux, we explore some of the best food and drink hotspots in Southern Europe. 54 Slow Tourism in the Somme With beguiling bays, sandy beaches and laidback waterways, there is much more to the Somme than reminders of the Great War: as we find out.


Southern European Style


Design Finds


Films & Books


Diary Dates Issue 3  |  April 2019  |  3

Discover Southern Europe  |  Editor’s note

Dear Reader, After the wilds of winter, there’s nothing like buds in bloom and the arrival of spring to put a dash of ‘va va voom’ and brio into the most plodding of steps. Discover Southern Europe Issue 3, April 2019

Print Uniprint

Anna Freeman Heidi Fuller Love Lisa Gerard Sharp Hannah Krolle Manuel Meyer Vicki Morrison Ingrid Opstad James Rampton Marina Spironetti Hannah Jane Thompson Katie Turner

Executive Editor Thomas Winther

Cover Photo Ekaterina Pokrovsky

Creative Director Mads E. Petersen

Sales & Key Account Managers Katia Sfihi Rafael Casaleiz Tiziana Balestri Mathilde Rineau

Published 04.2019 ISSN 2632-3397 Published by Scan Group

Editor Eddi Fiegel Copy-editor Karl Batterbee Graphic Designer Mercedes Moulia Contributors Anna Bonet Deborah Cicurel Kiki Deere

Publisher: Scan Group 15B Bell Yard Mews Bermondsey Street London SE1 3YT United Kingdom Phone: +44 207 407 1937

© All rights reserved. Material contained in this publication may not be reproduced, in whole or in part, without prior permission of Scan Group – a trading name of Scan Magazine Ltd. This magazine contains advertorials/promotional articles.

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April and Easter time are big celebration times in Southern Europe with everything from spectacular art and music festivals to elaborate Easter Parades (see our Diary Dates section for more details). This month, we’ll also be discovering why France’s international Private Schools have gained a world-class reputation and exploring some of Southern Europe’s top food and wine hotspots We take a look at slow tourism in Northern France’s Somme region. Yes, I know most people associate the Somme with World War I but the region is about so much more, from laid back waterways and canals, to walled hilltop towns and scenic marshlands. Not to mention exceptional food. We’ll go walking along Menorca’s scenic Cami de Cavalls bridle path taking in some of the best views on the island from the coast to the countryside and also checking out some superb arts centres and hotels. For the arts buffs, not least myself, we’ll see Rome through the eyes of some of Britain’s top architectural photographers whilst also checking out the best new film releases from our Southern European neighbours. It should be a varied and fascinating journey and I do hope you enjoy it as much as I have. Eddi Fiegel Editor

Discover Southern Europe  |  Southern European Style & Beauty

Beige is the new black As Fashion Week season comes to an end, there is no doubt that one shade stands out in my mind: the understated, oft-too-overlooked beige. Neutral tones are big right now, both on the high street and on the runway, and European brands have gone mad for the subtle hues of cinnamon, nude and coffee. If beige was once a lacklustre and dull shade unworthy of celebration, it is now front and centre in spring 2019’s consciousness. TEXT: ANNA FREEMAN  I  PRESS PHOTOS

It is hard to go wrong with a crisp shirt and a pair of jeans, and Portuguese menswear label La Paz knows how to create uncomplicated styles for men of all ages. Inspired by the Atlantic, its people and traditions, La Paz is focused on local manufacturers and the environment. You will find natural tones, and high-quality shirts, T-shirts, jeans, and outerwear, like this cinnamoncoloured adaptation of the classic Caribbean havanera shirt, which can be also worn as an overshirt. €63.75

Guys, suits do not have to be formal! Italian fashion powerhouse, MSGM, is famed for its out-there, often over-the-top looks for both men and women. But, who knew the luxury brand could dial it back and embrace the subtlety of beige? This twopiece khaki suit, white T-shirt and chunky trainers is a look the everyday man can pull off without being too bold or extra. Adding a dash of neon colour is another key trend of spring 2019, and the runway style pictured here demonstrates how it can be achieved without going too far. A splash of neon yellow on the model’s trainers and a statement belt does the trick. Trousers €230. Suit €490

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Spanish luxury fashion house, Loewe, is famous for its high-quality leather items. And this pair of tan rainbow rib trousers are taking the recent obsession with luxuriant tracksuits to the next level. Blending high fashion with streetwear, they are stylish, comfortable, and the rainbow detail adds a refreshing touch of colour to the otherwise neutral tone. €1,900

The utility trend is here to stay. Workwear jumpsuits, overalls and two-pieces in neutral and khaki shades are everywhere, from the catwalk right down to the high street. The Frankie Shop, from Paris, has embraced the idea that workwear is now the hot thing and offers a large range of utility-inspired pieces. Sophisticated, understated, and effortlessly elegant, this brand is the embodiment of leisurely Paris fashion. €225

When it comes to expertly-made and locally-crafted women’s footwear, Spanish label About Arianne is a key player, with a loyal following for its comfortable yet chic shoes. Using the best Spanish materials and leathers, as well as promising environmentallyresponsible products, About Arianne offers the best – but at a reasonable price. This pair of Mary Jane heeled shoes in taupe suede with vegetable lining and sole are typical of the brand’s signature style.. €240

This runway look is everything you could want from the spring 2019 beige obsession: stylish, effortless, breathable and flattering. Max Mara, an Italian up-market ready-towear fashion company, went all in for the beige trend while showcasing their Milan Fashion Week spring/summer collection. The range emphasised the power of simplicity, like this trench-coat skirt and sleeveless shirt with a belt. Worn with heels and statement earrings, you are ready for a party with Anna Wintour; dressed with a pair of pumps, multiple chain necklaces and a headband, meanwhile, and you can go seamlessly from the office to your favourite rooftop bar. €409

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Discover Southern Europe  |  Southern European Style & Beauty

Ethical products in a charming setting Buying beauty products is no longer a matter of walking into a shop and picking out a shade you like. Ethical and environmental considerations are more important than ever before, with consumers prepared to do their research to find eco-friendly products that do not only use sustainable materials and produce less waste, but that are never tested on animals. Step in La Licorne de Victorine, based in heart of the pretty city of Bayonne in southwestern France, a ten-minute drive from Biarritz. The charming, unicorn-themed boutique is stuffed exclusively with vegan, cruelty-free and zero waste goodies, from makeup and skincare to homeware products and even clothes. Every product is 100 per cent vegan

and ethically produced: both in the boutique and on the website, there is an abundance of vegan, cruelty-free and locally made products, as well as products from all over the world, and the brand ships all over Europe. The business was founded in 2017, after the sister of owner Magali Artiguebieille was diagnosed with breast cancer. “I realised that my sister couldn’t use any of her usual beauty products as they were full of dangerous chemicals,” says Magali. Artiguebieille went on the hunt for alternative natural brands that could be used by anyone, without harm either to one’s health or to the environment. She sought-out healthy products free from endocrine disruptors, controversial ingredients and chemical com-


ponents, and found a range of safe brands: every product stocked in the boutique is free of chemicals and entirely safe for the whole family to use. “Now is the perfect time to open a vegan boutique,” she says. “People are becoming more and more aware of the need for ethical, environmentally-conscious and animalfriendly products. “People want to adopt a different way of life, and live in a way that is more natural and respectful to the planet.”


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Discover Southern Europe  |  Design

Creating buildings for a changing world “The world around us is changing,” says acclaimed architect Cristina Beltrán, “and so it’s more important than ever that the buildings we create not only meet the needs of our clients, but are also designed for today’s world.” TEXT: EDDI FIEGEL  |  PHOTOS: CRISTINA BELTRÁN ARQUITECTOS

Since forming the Cristina Beltrán Arquitectos architectural studio in Madrid in 2015, Beltrán has worked with a wide range of both private and corporate clients in Spain, France and Canada on projects from family homes to offices, hotels, shops and restaurants and industrial and retail units. These include homes in Madrid’s smartest and hippest neighbourhoods, such as the leafy, affluent Salamanca, as well as more than 300 apartments and villas across Spain. Residential properties are one of the studio’s specialities and one area of particular expertise is in readapting buildings for change of use, whether it is from commercial to residential or vice versa. “There are two reasons for this,” explains Beltrán. “The first is that holidaymakers are

often looking for something different when it comes to holiday homes and villas; the second is the rapidly rising cost of residential property.” The studio also has extensive commercial experience including a hotel near the Retiro Park, a restaurant in the Tetuán neighbourhood and a sports retail unit near Madrid’s famous Bernabeu football stadium. Not to mention grand scale corporate projects such as the major overhaul of the Novosur building, also in the Spanish capital. Beltrán and her team of planners, engineers, interiors and landscape designers

work closely with their clients to make the entire process as smooth as possible from start to finish. “We bring our clients our professional expertise, using the latest technology and developments,” says Beltrán, “but we also bring them our enthusiasm, passion and dedication.” “Whatever the project, our goal is to bring our clients the best quality, to improve our environment and to enrich people’s quality of life.”

B U S I N E S S   |   D E S I G N   |   T R A V E L   |   E D U C A T I O N

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MARCH 2019


A Taste of Italy

A Taste of Southern Europe


Buy Your Dream Holiday Home in Portugal or Spain






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Discover Southern Europe is a unique English-language showcase for France, Spain, Italy and Portugal. It appeals to all those who have a relationship with or a connection to these countries – be it through family, business, tourism, migration or investment. Besides our growing readership of expats and valued business associates, this magazine is also for anyone around the world who simply loves or appreciates Southern Europe. Discover Southern Europe highlights the vibrant Southern European culture and lifestyle which flourishes abundantly all over the globe.




F R A N C E ,   S PA I N ,   I TA LY   &   P O R T U G A L F R A N C E ,   S PA I N ,   I TA LY   &   P O R T U G A L





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Discover Southern Europe  |  Design Finds

Design Finds Unique design pieces and creative, unusual items can help add personality and character to your home without having to change the interior too much. This month we have selected a few of our favourite distinctive designs with everything from a fascinating pendant lamp, a whimsical mirror to a creative way to display your wine bottles. TEXT: INGRID OPSTAD  I  PRESS PHOTOS

Looking for a creative and useful way to store your wine bottles? What about this highly original Winebowl designed by Cory Grosser for Mogg. Far more elegant than your average wine rack, you may even want to use it as a centerpiece on your dining table. The Winebowl can hold up to ten different bottles but it is up to you how many you want to store at a time and you can also change its character through your choice of bottles. MOGG, ‘Winebowl’ bottle holder, €284

We love this unique and sculptural lamp by French design studio Constance Guisset. With its ultra-light fiberglass structure, stretched with velvety polyurethane ribbons, this striking pendant lamp – a chic cross between an airplane propeller and a Colonial-style ceiling fan – circles and sways gently in the air. Constance Guisset Studio, large ‘Vertigo’ lamp, €885 Constance Guisset Studio, small ‘Vertigo’ lamp, €775

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Discover Southern Europe  |  Design Finds

Spanish brand Nomon creates high quality, handmade clocks with a contemporary feel. The minimal yet statement making Delmori is sure to become a classic and will add something special to wherever you decide to hang it. Nomon, ‘Delmori’ clock, €1,090

Italian brand BiCA-Good Morning Design have become known for timeless, elegant pieces with an understated yet quirky air. This large, hand-painted round mirror features an Art Deco-inspired female diver and digitally designed goldtoned latticing. Guaranteed to add a dash of personality to any room in your home. BiCA-Good Morning Design, ‘Grand pic. F’ mirror, €290

With its minimal style and strong graphic lines, the Grão #3 side table from Portuguese Galula Studio is a versatile and practical piece. The mix of natural cork with industrial steel gives it a distinctive character which is easy to integrate into any environment. The same design is also available in different colours and comes as both a centre table and a coffee table. Galula Studio, ‘Grão #3’ side table, €275

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Discover Southern Europe  |  Design

Mastering the art of versatility ‘A jack of all trades’ may not necessarily sound like a compliment when applied to a business, but these days, versatility is much valued in a world where the skills needed to succeed are rapidly evolving. In this digital age, flexibility and versatility are synonymous with a modern workforce. TEXT: KIKI DEERE  |  PHOTOS: STUDIO GORING & STRAJA


t architectural studio Goring and Straja (GaS Studio) in Milan, not having a core business is a plus. Versatility has been the firm’s hallmark since it was founded in 1997. “Creating versatile solutions allows our firm to be present in a number of spheres, from interiors and residential projects to urban planning and building renovation,” explains partner Lenka Lodo.

A brief history During its initial four years, GaS Studio specialised in interior design, offering services to a host of multinational clients. Along with a number of other projects, it took part in the design for major luxury brand Burberry, helping the British fashion house further position itself in the luxury market. GaS Studio quickly established itself as a leading interior design retail firm. 12  |  Issue 3  |  April 2019

The firm then moved into the property and real estate sector, working with both green field and brown field projects, before moving on to student housing projects. GaS Studio soon found itself working on anything and everything, from building shopping centres and cinemas to furnishing shops, offices and private residences.

“Over the years, we have built up expertise in a variety of domains,”continues Lodo. “Our strength is our ability to cater to a variety of clients with a wide array of projects, from designing a small jewellery cabinet at London’s Selfridges to building a vast office space in Milan. We deal with the most varied requests both in architecture and interior design. This versatile approach, coupled with our dynamic outlook, has established us as one of Italy’s leading architecture firms.”

Diversity in the workplace Even the team consists of a highly versatile group of professionals. Founding partner Andre Straja was born in Romania, brought up in Canada, worked in Texas and California for over a decade, before moving to France and eventually settling in Italy. Born to Italian parents, partner Lenka Lodo was raised in Paris but moved to Italy in her ’20s, while Sicilian born partner Giacomo Sicuro studied in Rome, lived in Milan and currently resides in Switzerland. “Our international life experiences lie at the heart of our firm, giving us a forward-

Discover Southern Europe  |  Design

Top left: TIM new concept store @ stefano Gusmeroli. Top middle: ING branch Milan Corso Sempione @ giulio oldrini. Top right: Green Place – Stam Europe – new Office building Leed Gold C&S – external garden @ stefano Gusmeroli. Bottom left: Axa Palace – Generali Properties – refurbishment – Office building Leed Gold C&S @ stefano Gusmeroli. Bottom right: HQ offices – refurbishment – Carlyle Group.

looking global outlook,” explains Straja. “With a dynamic and diverse team of staff, we embrace foreign cultures to create an inspiring fast-paced international environment. Our studio benefits from a diverse knowledge base with understanding of various cultures worldwide.” At GaS Studio, many employees and freelancers speak an average of three languages each.

A global outlook Creativity, innovation and versatility are all key in Milan, Italy’s economic driver and the headquarters of many of the country’s multinational corporations. GaS Studio is operative worldwide, with offices in Milan, Rome, Lugano and Berkeley, California. “I had the great pleasure of working with William Turnbull in San Francisco and it was at that time that I met our U.S. partner Jim Goring. With locations in Italy, Switzerland and the US, we want to reach out to clients across the globe, offering a 24 hour service,” continues Straja. The studio aims to create and design a variety of environments without using a specific style. “Each architectural project is

unique as it adapts to our clients’ needs and requirements, reflecting the architecture of each location and improving the relationship between people and place. We want our projects to reflect our global image while recalling local architectural features. Projects in Milan, Italy’s capital of fashion and design, have a strong metropolitan design focus, for example, while a hotel project in the wine-producing Langhe area will echo local architectural traditions,” says Lodo.

Turning ideas into reality In 2013, in addition to GaS, Giacomo Sicuro and his two partners founded OIL, a furniture and product design company based in Lugano. “The idea behind OIL is to convert our clients’ ideas into projects. We design furnishings based on clients’ needs and desires, helping them establish their individual style and identity.” The company works closely with clients to create new design concepts, providing bespoke support to creative brands wishing to reflect a coherent image while building credibility. Issue 3  |  April 2019  |  13

Discover Southern Europe  |  Films

Films & Books Our monthly pick of the best films and books either from Southern Europe or featuring Southern European locations.




omewhere deep in the suburbs of Paris, Francois, a small-time drug dealer, accepts one last job. The deal involves both a trip to Spain and a heck of a lot of cash, which he hopes will be his ticket to a normal, law-abiding life running the ice-cream business he has always dreamed of. So begins director Romain Gavras’ The World Is Yours, or Le Monde est a toi, as it is titled in France, which lands in UK cinemas this month. Bump into the meek lead Francois (Karim Leklou) on the street and I doubt you would suspect anything of him, but we quickly learn he has been born into a life of crime and it is no wonder he wants out. His overbearing mother, Danny, is a topclass con artist who can pull of a swindle in her sleep, played exceptionally by French star Isabelle Adjani. When things go wrong for Francois and his gang in the Benidorm resort where the deal takes place, Danny is called in to help pull off a heist. Chaos descends from all angles, and we are confronted with a kidnapping,


a hand-grenade and a karaoke rendition of Toto’s Africa. If you allow a little slack for plausibility (as befits the action genre), The World Is Yours is wildly entertaining. It comes complete with a brilliant soundtrack and spectacular visuals, and even some surprisingly tender moments. Just make sure you buckle in for the ride. The World is Yours.

On the other end of the spectrum, the new Italian release Happy As Lazzaro is quiet and dream-like, but no less beguiling. Written and directed by Alice Rohrwache, this won Best Screenplay when it premiered at the Cannes Film Festival last year and the award was undoubtedly deserved. Set on a tobacco farm in rural Italy where the air is hazy and the sound of crickets are a nighttime constant, Adriano Tardiolo plays a well-mannered, selfless (if a little naive) Lazzaro. He is one of around 50 peasant sharecroppers who never receive any pay from the noble landowners who convince them they are in continual debt. Completely cut off from the urban, outside world, they have no way of knowing that this agricultural power system has been outlawed since the 1980s. Lazzaro strikes up an unlikely friendship with the owners’ son, Tancredi (Luca Chikovani), and an element of magic realism comes into play in a turn of events you really do not see coming. Happy as Lazzaro feels very much like a pastoral parable, and looks set to become an instant classic.

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Discover Southern Europe  |  Books

Termini Station (archs. Eugenio Montuori, Leo Calini, Annibale Vitellozzi et al.), Vasari. Gelatine silver print, 1950. Photo: Architectural Press Archive / RIBA CollecFons



ome has long held a special place in the British imagination, from 19th-century grandees taking the Grand Tour, the history of Britain and the Romans that we learnt as children to the Dolce Vita-era films of Fellini and Visconti, or Rossellini’s Open City. Rome is a city of myths and dreams, but it is also much more. Whether we think of it as a top foodie destination or the perfect getaway for a city break, the city has always been as much about its lavish architectural heritage as anything else. Whatever your reason for visiting the city, its grandiose


monuments, like the Coliseum and the wedding cake pillars and layers of the Monument, to Victor Emmanuel II, make the city what it is. So much so, that photographers and architects alike have always been fascinated by the city. Although architectural photography did not yet exist as an identifiable discipline in the early days of photography, the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), founded in 1834, soon began assembling a collection of architectural photographs that today stands as one of the largest collections of its kind in the world.

Many of the images have now been brought together in a lavishly illustrated hardback,

Dome of St Peter’s Basilica, George Everard Kidder Smith. Gelatine silver print, 1954. Photo: Architectural Press Archive / RIBA CollecFons

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Discover Southern Europe  |  Books Colonnade, St Peter’s Square (arch. Gian Lorenzo Bernini). Gelatine silver print, 1961. Photo: Monica Pidgeon / RIBA CollecFons

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Discover Southern Europe  |  Books

St Peter’s Square. Gelatine silver print, 1961. Photo: Monica Pidgeon / RIBA CollecFons

Rome – Eternal City, In the Photographs Collection of the Royal Institute of British Architects, carefully compiled from the many thousands of images held at the Institute. Although some of the book’s most striking, Magnum-style black and white images date from the 1960s, there are also impressive colour photographs from the 1980s, by Richard Pare, and from the early 2000s, by British architectural photographer Richard Bryant. The images are not solely about architecture either. The buildings may take centre stage, but there are often reportage style photographs capturing ordinary Italians in different eras. Some were originally published in architectural magazines and journals but many, having no natural outlet, remained in the private collections of the photographers and have consequently rarely been seen before. As architectural expert and academic Gabriella Musto writes in one of the book’s fascinating introductory essays: “Rome has a thousand faces, reflected in the Tiber and the gold of its domes at sunset”.

Palazzo della Civiltá Italiana, EUR (archs. Giovanni Guerrini, Ernesto La Padula and Mario Romano) Gelatine silver print, 1976. Photo: Tim Benton / RIBA CollecFons

Rome – Eternal City, In the Photographs Collection of the Royal Institute of British Architects, is published by Skira Editore. £35

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Best private international schools in France From universities like the Sorbonne in Paris to internationally renowned ‘Grandes Écoles’ - aka business schools, France has some of the best educational establishments in the world. TEXT: EDDI FIEGEL

Toits depuis les Galeries Lafayette. Photo: © Studio TTG

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Discover Southern Europe  |  Private International Schools in France


o less than 34 French institutions are included in the Times Higher Education’s World University Rankings 2019: but a top French education is not just about universities and higher education. Both in Paris and throughout the country, France has superb schools covering the entire age spectrum from children as young as three through to secondary education and beyond. Over the coming pages, we will be discovering some of them. Many are based in Paris, such as the American University of Paris and the internationally renowned ESCP Europe Business School – the oldest business school in the world. Others are elsewhere in France, such as the Centre for Applied Linguistics (CLA) in the Franche Comté city of Besançon – one of the world’s leading schools for teaching

French as a foreign language, as well as other languages including Spanish, Russian and Arabic. Similarly, at the renowned Mougins School near Nice on the Côte d’Azur, students from all over the world, aged three to eighteen, have been receiving a quintessentially British education since 1964. France also has more than its share of top centres for producing tomorrow’s generation of creatives. These include the École Georges Méliès just outside Paris, which trains students in contemporary cinematic techniques such as 3D animating, special effects and video game technology. Meanwhile students from leading animation school Gobelins, which has campuses in both Paris and Annecy, also regularly go on to work at international studios such as Disney, Nickelodeon, Pixar, DreamWorks and Sony.

Sorbonne depuis le Jardin du Luxembourg. Photo: © Studio TTG

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Discover Southern Europe  |  Private International Schools in France

Photo: Arc de Triomphe

At the earlier stages of education, France is famous for its bilingual schools, which give children the opportunity to learn and gain a quality education in at least two languages. In Paris, Open Sky is a fully bilingual nursery, primary and secondary school, whilst in the Yvelines countryside, just outside the French capital, Saint-Louis Notre-Dame du Bel-Air teaches children aged six to fifteen in both French and English. So what is the key to the French education system’s success? There are various factors which come into play. The French are known for their no-nonsense approach to education, with an emphasis on classroom discipline and good handwriting from the outset. The importance of food in the national culture also informs schools’ policies on students’ meals going hand in hand with the belief that good eating habits and diet are essential to children’s upbringing. Trends in education may come and go, but whatever they are doing at these top French establishments, it is clearly working.

Old Town Nice France. Photo: Atout France

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Discover Southern Europe  |  Private International Schools in France

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Discover Southern Europe  |  Private International Schools in France

Summer in Paris Every summer, The American University of Paris (AUP) opens its doors to visiting students from around the world who come to spend a few weeks taking classes at AUP’s Summer Institutes in the heart of Paris. TEXT: HEIDI FULLER LOVE  |  PHOTOS: AMERICAN UNIVERSITY OF PARIS


hartered in 1962, AUP is renowned as an international centre of crosscultural and interdisciplinary teaching and learning. Just 15 minutes’ walk from the Eiffel tower, it is not just its enviable location that puts this world-renowned university in a class of its own. The university’s curriculum combines liberal arts inquiry with preparation for professional life, and student-centred, active learning. The university also offers small class sizes, which ensure that students benefit from their interactions with professors and fellow classmates. AUP’s multidisciplinary Summer Institutes combine intensive learning with fun, educational excursions, to make sure that students experience both the classroom setting and the cosmopolitan heart of the French capital.

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“Our summer institutes cover six thematic categories, with classes lasting from three to six weeks and sessions in June and July,” says Lisa Palazzolo, AUP’s Communications Coordinator. “As a fully-accredited universi-

ty, our summer courses are transferable for academic credit to the US university system. Students are also able to audit classes if they are not looking to earn credit and just want to take a class for fun,” she adds.

French Language Skills One of the most popular programmes for visiting students is the immersive French Language and Culture Institute. Students take a test and are placed in one of four levels of French study. The main aim is to improve grammar, vocabulary and pronunciation and standards are rigorous but there are also perks, such as the chance to start the day with fresh coffee and croissants before class. “It’s not just the classes themselves that are immersive – the entire course is immersive with plenty of cultural activities that take learning beyond the classroom: in the afternoons, our students can join walking tours through Paris’ cobbled streets and explore the historic quarters of the city,” Lisa explains.

Discover Southern Europe  |  Private International Schools in France

Apart from offering students the chance to learn French ‘a la Française’, the university’s other summer institutes include a Creative Writing Institute that gives students the opportunity to study, write and share poetry, fiction and creative non-fiction with professional writers. “It’s a wonderful chance for students to interact with some of the top people in their field – whether novelists, poets or essay writers,” says Lisa. “We get students of all ages who come to take classes over the summer, particularly in our Art History and Fine Art Institute, where students get to know Paris through its many wonderful museums, whilst refining their drawing and painting skills,” she adds. Other summer institutes include The Communications and Media Studies Institute and The International Business Institute, both of which allow students to engage in an in-depth exploration of these subjects through an international lens. “Students also get a chance to get up close and personal with local culture via a range of summer excursions offered by The American University of Paris Cultural Programmes: they can join a tour that will take them to admire the flowers and Japanese-inspired gardens of Impressionist painter Monet’s home in Giverny, or they can revisit the tragic history of World War II on the beaches of Normandy,” says Lisa. “There’s even a tour for students who want to learn about the history of Champagne, before tasting some of that famous fizz.”

Discovering Paris The University also helps students with accommodation and works in partnership with a reputable local housing agency. “No one will feel lost or alone here – we are based in this wonderful city and it is a fundamental part of our curriculum,” Lisa continues. “Our professors and teachers incorporate Paris into their teaching to create a continuous dialogue with the city – one that will help our students get to know the city famed for its gourmet cuisine, architectural landmarks, world-class museums and celebrated artists. We help them to really experience the life and soul of this fascinating, cosmopolitan city.” Issue 3  |  April 2019  |  23

Discover Southern Europe  |  Private International Schools in France

Open Sky International - this outward-looking school is expanding exponentially but not losing touch with its core values.

Studying — the sky is the limit The traditional view of French education is that it values academic and rote learning over self-expression and self-development. One bilingual school in Paris is challenging such beliefs, fearlessly following best international practice, borrowing from Britain, Singapore and Australia. Yet it also champions best French practice. Could Open Sky International be the model for schools of the future?

tuition in English and French. Most so-called bilingual schools in France really only do about four to five hours of the other language a week. There are only about three properly bilingual schools in the Paris area.”


Open Sky is a nursery, primary and secondary school, currently running to middle school, with Year eight available from autumn 2019, and Years nine to ten in 2020. This will be followed by Year 11 (GCSEs) and Years 12 to 13, the final academic years, devoted to school-leaving A-Levels or the Baccalauréat. It is a challenging environment, with around 40 per cent of pupils coming to the school with no knowledge of English or French, 40 per cent with notions of just one core language and 20 per cent speaking English and French.


he French educational system was once considered a world-leader but has fallen out of favour, overtaken by more supple systems. According

to Emmanuel Fayad, Head of Open Sky International, the future rests with the best French independent schools, such as his own: “For 40 years, the French State has been destroying the educational system, so the country has dropped down the world league tables.” As an internationallyminded school with a world-class curriculum, Open Sky seeks to redress the balance for its own students.

Parlez-vous francais?

“You have to be a good psychologist in my job, whether dealing with pupils, parents or teachers” (Head, Emmanuel Fayad).

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This co-educational Parisian day school promises a passport to a globally competitive education. Language skills are paramount: within two years, the school aims to make pupils functionally bilingual. As Fayad says: “We’re truly bilingual, with an equal amount of

After intensive language courses, the pupils are competent in the two languages within a year, and fluent in both languages within two years. In addition, catch-up clinics, held outside main classes, help students who are struggling with specific topics.

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practice on the planet. “As a fully independent school, we take the best methods from whichever system works for us,” confirms the Head. Throughout the school system, French, history, geography, art and sport are taught in French, while maths and science are taught in English. Language-learning embraces literacy and literature, not just language per se. At secondary level, science follows the English National Curriculum but is taught in both languages so pupils can pass exams in both systems.

Astonishingly, there is no selection system: “We are confident about giving pupils the tools they need to succeed,” asserts Fayad. “What’s more, our values are based on excellence, respect, hard work and fulfilling one’s potential, so we also accept SEN children.”

Academic excellence The school believes in excellence, with children reading very young, at the age of four. “Our pupils are a couple of years ahead of their rivals, whether it comes to learning multiplication or the simple past tense,” says Fayad, when discussing key aspects of the curriculum. As for mental arithmetic, “We want the pupils to use their brains, so no calculators are allowed in class until Year 11.” The curriculum is sacrosanct but hard to summarise as it is a pick-and-mix of the best

As for maths, the methods are particularly eclectic: “In reception class, we use Australian manuals and then move onto methods prescribed by the English National Curriculum, weaving in a touch of the Singaporean approach,” explains the Head. “Then, at secondary school level, we use a mix of the English and French systems. The British system is geared to results while the French system is more about reasoning and results.” For Fayad, it is also about harnessing the best of both systems.

More holistic than hothouse For all its academic excellence, Open Sky is not a pressure-cooker, unlike certain top British boarding schools. It is more holistic than hothouse, with time within the school day also devoted to drama, art, music and chess, along with sports such as tennis and golf. “We have five hours a week dedicated to activities, from sport to art,” adds the Head. The school also teaches soft skills, such as cultural awareness and communitymindedness. Apparently, cultural awareness comes easily, with up to 35 different nationalities in the school: “For instance, pupils will see that their Indian classmates are vegetarians for traditional or religious reasons, while in the west it is a personal, minority choice.” Open Sky is keen to avoid the pitfalls of many independent schools, including suggestions of snobbery: “We believe in excellence not elitism: excellence is open to everyone but elitism is open to very few.” The Head’s hopes for the school are sky-high: “We aim to become a world leader in English-French bilingual schools, within 15 years.” Issue 3  |  April 2019  |  25

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French foundations with an English edge Just 30 miles from the centre of Paris, in the Yvelines – an area of outstanding natural beauty, the Saint-Louis Notre-Dame du Bel-Air school is a school with a difference. TEXT: KATIE TURNER  |  PHOTOS: GROUPE SCOLAIRE SAINT-LOUIS NOTRE-DAME DU BEL-AIR

Not only do English-speaking students from age six to 15 receive the benefits of a French education, but they also take part in an English-language stream, studying bilingually. Headteacher Anna de Feydeau prides herself on the “Serene and homely environment” at the school, adding: “We are like a big family at the school, but also very open

to the world around us with many opportunities to exchange and engage.” With this in mind, the school arranges a broad range of international trips for students and, in the past, these have included visits to the United States, the UK, Spain, Germany, Lebanon and the Czech Republic. Extracurricular activities range from drama (in both English and French) and handball, to yoga and Chinese. Providing a rounded education means history and culture are held in extremely high regard with classes named after luminaries of French science and the arts. Originally home to an 18th-century chateau, the grand school buildings and grounds sit amidst a national park and the air of calm which throughout the school is very much an intrinsic part of the head’s vision. “The

classrooms are the students’ own space and it’s the teachers who move round between classes, rather than having the whole school constantly on the move,” explains Anna de Feydeau. Saint-Louis Notre-Dame du Bel-Air aims to make an initial landing in a new place that little bit softer, nurturing pupils and preparing them for an ever-changing world. De Feydeau says, “So many of our former students come back and see us. For me, that is the most positive review of the school we could have.” Route de Saint-Léger, 78490, Montfort-l’Amaury, France

A family-orientated school geared towards internationalism


“My father took over West Point School with a very international vision,” says co-executive director, Cindy Thomasset, the daughter of the man in charge of the Lyon school, Jean-Pierre Chabrier. “Speaking English has always been hugely important, but in the future, will it be enough?”

Thomasset with a smile. “We call it the West Point Family: teachers and students are all in this together.”

West Point, in the heart of Lyon, teaches a French curriculum but the children aged from two to ten spend half the day immersed in English. All teachers are native speakers, the anglophones drawn from as far as Australia and Canada. Mrs Thomasset points out: “We have more than 30 nationalities here and many children are already on their third language when they arrive.” However, on the question of whether English is enough, Mandarin has been added to the mix, with Mrs Thomasset launching an ambitious exchange programme with a sister school in Shanghai. “We want to foster a real sense of openness and exchange,” she says, “It’s as much about language as it is about culture and we now have a Mandarin teacher on staff.” 26  |  Issue 3  |  April 2019

The school has a similar programme set up in England, which includes training for teachers and exchange programmes for pupils who stay with host families. Sports and the arts are also an important part of life at school and there’s a weekly bilingual theatre class, as well as a chess club, “The non-academic elements allow us to discover who the children really are and what makes them tick,” explains Mrs Thomasset. Similarly, in a country where quality food is considered an essential part of life, rather than an optional extra, lunch is cooked on site every day from scratch by the school’s own cook, all of which helps the pupils get the most from the school. “The pupils are curious, full of energy and really look out for each other,” says

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Mastering French language and culture Every year, the Centre for Applied Linguistics (CLA) in the French city of Besançon near the Swiss border, welcomes 4,000 students of 110 nationalities. One of the world’s leading schools for teaching French as a foreign language, the Centre also offers intensive courses in other languages, including Spanish, Russian and Arabic.

ues Penilla. “Our pupils have the opportunity to gain work experience in one of the many companies located here. This allows them to be fully immersed in French culture while greatly improving their language skills and cultural knowledge.”



ith courses of varying lengths, from as little as one week to a year or more, pupils range from undergraduates to businessmen and diplomats wishing to develop their language skills. There is similarly a huge variety of optional lectures with subjects covering everything from Francophone cinema to 18th-century French history. The courses also offer an immersive language learning experience through cultural activities and excursions, from theatrical performances to museum visits and guided city tours. “Our cultural programmes allow pupils to experience and explore their surrounding social, economic and cultural environment,” explains Penilla. The location of the Centre is an additional attraction for many students. “Besançon is a vibrant university city with a rich cultural

www. and architectural heritage,” explains Frédérique Penilla, director of the CLA. A UNESCO World Heritage site, the city of Besançon itself became a centre for the clock making industry in the 18th century, and was the birthplace of Victor Hugo and the Lumière brothers.” With its rolling hills, fertile valleys and high plateaus, the Franche-Comté region is surrounded by the rugged Jura Mountains to the southeast, Switzerland to the east and Germany to the north. The area is probably best known for local specialities such as its creamy Comté cheese and quality wines but in recent years, the region has also gained a growing reputation as a high-tech hub, with start-ups and the headquarters of numerous digital companies. “We have an extremely close relationship with our region and its businesses,” continIssue 3  |  April 2019  |  27

Discover Southern Europe  |  Private International Schools in France

Two hundred years at the top Paris 1819. The industrial revolution is on the horizon and the latest innovations include sewers and streetlights. As the city’s population swells to accommodate workers, so too the entrepreneurs of the day need the skills to manage the fastevolving workplace. TEXT: KATIE TURNER  |  PHOTOS: ESCP EUROPE / DAN TSANTILIS


future but you’ll still need humans to do the management.”

Today, students from more than 100 countries study on campuses in Berlin, London, Madrid, Paris, Turin and Warsaw.

“By 2030 we won’t even be using the term ‘digital’,” he continues. “You don’t say ‘an electric vacuum cleaner’ do you? We all know what it is and how it works. It’s like anything new, it just takes time to get used to the idea.”

t was at this point that the first incarnation of ESCP Europe Business School opened its doors to students.

“Europe isn’t individual countries acting on their own anymore,” says Frank Bournois, the dean. “We act as one. We offer a European management model for the global marketplace.” Bournois has made a career of helping businesses identify and train their top management. So is he not worried most jobs will be done by machines by the time the tricentenary rolls around? “Not at all,” says Bournois, “Technology must be harnessed. AI and Big Data will really help decision-making in the 28  |  Issue 3  |  April 2019

The future is here for students at the school. ESCP Europe’s digital incubator, the ‘Blue Factory’, is already testing their innovations and ideas. “Given our six campuses, plus close relationships with partner schools in China and the US, we can test in an internal international market before putting products out there for real,” explains Bournois. The oldest business school in the world, ESCP is consistently rated among the very best. The Masters in Management and in

Finance are fifth and second respectively, in the current Financial Times global rankings. For school-leavers, the Bachelor in Management offers something unique: three years, on three campuses, in three languages. The course is also run in English for those coming from further afield. “It’s bold, but offers a really international approach,” says Bournois “And intake has doubled every year since the course was first offered in 2015.” 98 per cent of students are employed within three months of graduation. “Not many business schools can say they’ve been at the top of their game for 200 years – our strategy is working,” says Bournois.

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Little school, big vision Two schools in two very different settings: one in a remote part of Laos, with 232 children whose only chance this is at an education; another with 60 pupils starting school in Monaco. Neither group could hope for a better start.

has a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification. There is no plastic in the classrooms and all the food on site is organic.



he visionaries behind both projects are Aviv Pode and Stephanie Ayre – co-founders of La Petite École Monaco. Pode spent years volunteering in the humanitarian world before becoming a father and turning his hand to education. “To me, it’s all about helping people,” he says, “All the profits we make here are ploughed back into worthy causes, be it opening a new school or funding an animal shelter.” The staff are directed by Stephanie Ayre and inspired by the child-led Montessori method of education. "Our teachers are constantly aware of each child's mindset, and adapt the daily programme so that all academic and other activities are completed every day – but adjusted in order to accommodate the children and not break their desire to learn." says Ayre.

With children from all over the world attending, every class has an English teacher and a French teacher plus two teaching assistants. "It's remarkable to see the progress the kids make from day one in both languages, especially as for many, neither is a language they speak at home," notes Pode. The school's extra-curricular activities are all included and range from music, yoga and science, to sport, classical ballet and art. “Most of the children choose at least two after-school activities and that’s not forgetting birthdays,” says Pode, “Each child gets a school party, we are big on birthdays!”

With an advisory board drawn from as far afield as Hong Kong, Dubai and the UK, there is input on every possible element of a child’s education. “Of course it’s the best school in the world! I sent my own daughters there,” says Pode with a smile.

La Petite École Monaco is a school with a vision and the building was previously an art gallery. It is now completely kitted out with eco-friendly and sustainable materials and Issue 3  |  April 2019  |  29

Discover Southern Europe  |  Private International Schools in France

The Collège-Lycée Lafayette prides itself on offering a varied, rigorous and international education

Education without borders Travel is often about discovering different cultures and languages but the opportunity to experience this kind of variety in childhood is rare. Yet, this is exactly what international school the Collège-Lycée Lafayette in Nice, France, offers its students. TEXT: HANNAH JANE THOMPSON  |  PHOTOS: COLLÈGE-LYCÉE LAFAYETTE


elcoming pupils from across the globe – including Europe, Russia, Japan, and the USA – the school offers a world-class, international secondary education, as creative and accessible as it is rigorous Students are taught in French and English, studying for demanding qualifications including the International Baccalaureate and University of Cambridge examinations, recognised by 20,000 organisations across 150 countries worldwide. “We have many students who go on to study medicine, law or at French ‘grandes écoles’, such as the [global] EDHEC Business School,” explains headmaster Laurent Paulin. “They are great success stories.” 30  |  Issue 3  |  April 2019

Indeed, Lafayette pupils graduate with exceptional levels of bilingualism and academic ability, as classes borrow the best parts from both the French National Education programme and the English National Curriculum. For example, Mr Paulin explains, history lessons are in English, while French classes are likely to focus on great literature classics in the language of Molière. Students also benefit from a well-equipped music room, and are encouraged to take part in theatre, dance, and talent shows. And, despite the school’s private status, children from a variety of backgrounds are invited to apply. Mr Paulin explains: “My pupils are not all from privileged families. Our fees are deliber-

ately not excessive. We work with everyone to develop our awareness, our values, and to allow everyone to access this education. “Enabling so many young people to grow, and see them fly off towards their dreams – and then coming back to share their happiness with us – that’s what I am passionate about.”

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A British education on the Côte d’Azur In the heart of the Côte d’Azur, just northwest of Antibes and southwest of Nice, lies a small corner of France, which is very British indeed. Since it first opened in 1964, students from the ages of three to 18 have come to the Mougins School to receive the very best in British education. TEXT: EDDI FIEGEL  |  PHOTOS: MOUGINS SCHOOL


very year, some 500 students attend the custom-built campus close to the technology park of Sophia Antipolis. Students come from over 40 countries, but despite being a non-selective school with a high proportion of non-native English speaking students, examination results are well above the British national average. The majority of the school’s students subsequently go on to further education at the world’s most prestigious universities.

State of the art facilities for arts, sport and science “Academic excellence is a priority, of course, but we are also strongly committed to both sport and the arts and know how important they are in enabling students to reach their full potential,” says Brian Hickmore, headmaster. The school’s impressive facilities in-

clude a superb, fully-fitted gymnasium and a synthetic football pitch and high court. Budding musicians can take part in a wide range of instrument lessons from violin, guitar and flute to drums and piano, and Mougins also stages regular theatre, musical and concert productions in its professionally equipped performing arts hall. The art department, meanwhile, includes classes in fine art, photography and textiles, as well as the use of the school’s own printing press, and sciences are equally well catered for with custom-built laboratories for physics, biology and chemistry and fully equipped IT suites.

Learning in the wider world A wide programme of field trips include visiting Barcelona and Madrid whilst studying Spanish, cultivating artistic knowledge in

the galleries and museums of London and Paris, or studying history in Berlin, Belgium and northern France. Closer to home, weekly trips include visits to San Remo in Italy, local olive oil mills, perfume factories, cheese production, coastal studies, tackling rock and mountain climbing on France’s Via Ferrata, as well as various geography field trips.

Parental Involvement An active PTA supports many of the student activities and fund-raising, and organises a number of social activities for parents. These range from visits to local sites of interest, coffee mornings, a hiking club, specialist guest speakers and relaxed dinners where parents can socialise. Relocating can be a challenging experience for families and the school administration can help negotiate the pitfalls of settling into a new country, making the transition as smooth as possible. +33(0)4 93 90 15 47 Issue 3  |  April 2019  |  31

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The place where your favourite cartoons are brought to life Next time you turn on your TV to watch a cartoon, or head to the cinema to watch an animated film, pay attention to the credits: chances are there will be at least a few alumni from the world-famous animation department at French visual arts school Gobelins. TEXT: DEBORAH CICUREL  |  PHOTOS: GOBELINS


or over 50 years, Gobelins has stood at the forefront of image creation and is part of the Paris Ile-de-France Chamber of Commerce and Industry. One thousand students are enrolled every year, including 500 apprentices and many trainees in further education. The school offers courses in photography, printed communication and plurimedia, animation, graphic design, motion design, interactive design and game design. Gobelins, which has campuses in both Paris and Annecy, was at one time the only school in the world teaching animation. The animation department was set up in 1974, and teaches the subject intensively, covering everything from character design,

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production and storytelling to directing, film design and animation techniques, in a range of courses, from two-week summer programmes to four-year masters degrees. The school trains students rigorously for their future careers, teaching them creative, technical and professional skills. As well as learning the mechanics of animation in detail, the school trains people practically to get into the industry and places a strong emphasis on teamwork. Gobelins is extremely well-regarded when it comes to recruiting new character animators. Unlike film directors, story boarders and art directors, only one of whom is usually required for a project, the needs of

this particular industry require a crew of animators on the animation profile. “Many of the studios we speak to say that they get a lot of applicants for animation jobs, but that they simply don’t have the specific level of animation that Gobelins provides students, which is to be able to bring spirit and life to the characters,” says Moira Marguin, head of Gobelins’ animation department. “We make sure that all our students have an extremely high level when it comes to character animation.” The school has an international outlook, with students from all over the world – from Asia, North America and South America to the Middle East, Europe and Africa – competing for places on its highly-regarded programmes. Three years ago, Gobelins introduced animation classes on long-term programmes in both English and French, paving the way for international students without a grasp of French to apply for the courses. Prior to this, prospective Gobelins

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students had to learn French to be able to join the programme. Now 30 per cent of its 1,000 students are international. Both the long-term programmes and the shorter summer schools only accept students with drawing or 3D-software experience, and who are determined to become animators once they graduate, so if you are keen to dive into the world of animation but have no prior experience, there are also online courses in both English and French for beginners. This is also the second session of the school’s five-week Mooc Anima Podi programme, which enables students to learn the basics of animation for free online. Gobelins has close relationships with schools around the world, from the Animation Workshop in Viborg, Denmark to the Communication University of China in Beijing and Calarts in the US.

students. The two-week summer school is a great trial period for those who have never lived abroad and who don’t know if they will like living in Paris.” Students go on to be successful across the board, working with world-famous names like Disney, Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network, Pixar, DreamWorks, Bluesky, Laika and Sony. One alumnus, Kristof Serrand, is the head of animation at DreamWorks, while another, Pierre Coffin, co-directed the films in the Despicable Me franchise. A team of international Gobelins alumni, all from different countries, from Spain to India,

recently won the Best Student Film Award at the Annie Awards in Los Angeles – the equivalent of an Academy Award in the world of animation – for their graduation film entitled Best Friend, about a lonely man addicted to a product offering him virtual friends. “We have alumni working on high-profile projects all over the world, and today there is no animated feature film in Europe or around the world without at least one Gobelins alumnus in the credits,” says Moira Marguin.

“We have been asked to set up Gobelins schools around the world, but we would rather have a range of nationalities coming to study in France,” says Moira Marguin. “We currently have 18 nationalities in our masters programme, and we really want to share what’s happening in France with our international students: having a mix of nationalities is a good way to bring more creativity, new ideas and novel ways of telling stories for both our French and our foreign Issue 3  |  April 2019  |  33

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The super-modern Ecole Georges Méliès in Orly is named after the French cinematography pioneer, and aims to make its students “artisans of the moving image”.

Artisans of cinema Most French châteaux are remnants of the past, but one site near Orly – around 40 minutes’ drive from central Paris, in Ile-de-France – stands out as a beacon of the future. TEXT: HANNAH JANE THOMPSON  |  PHOTOS: ECOLE GEORGES MÉLIÈS


he clue is in the title: this is Château Georges Méliès, the final home of the pioneering, 20th-century French filmmaker of the same name, who died in 1938. Known as ‘the father of cinematography’, Méliès was one of the first to use a variety of mixed-media techniques to create some

of the most surprising examples of early science-fiction film, including A Trip to the Moon (1902) and The Impossible Voyage (1904). This trailblazing philosophy is at the centre of the Ecole George Méliès, a super-creative university that now thrives around the château itself. Initially founded in 1999 by director Franck Petitta, the school spans across a modern 3,000 square metre site – opened in 2014 – and welcomes students after they have achieved their Baccalauréat: the high-school diploma that secondary pupils receive at the end of their education in France. It has one goal: to create ‘artisans’ of the moving image. Students choose from a

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variety of pathways, including 3D digital animation, special effects, and video game technology: but, crucially, are also encouraged to take a one-year foundation course in ‘conventional’ art skills such as painting, drawing, sculpture, and anatomy. They work purposefully from the traditional to the cutting edge. “We say that cinema is the seventh art,” explains Petitta. “There are six other fundamentals that come before: architecture, sculpture, painting, literature, music, and theatre. That is what is so unique about our school; our students understand the entire process.” Indeed, the school is built – quite literally – around this idea (students can even live at the school’s own residence nearby, with 24/7 access). As well as traditional art studios, there is an ‘anatomy amphitheatre’, a ‘Disney-style’ 2D-animation room, a professional recording studio, and a full-size cinema.

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There is even a huge green-screen space allowing real-life motion capture, in the style pioneered by Andy Serkis and Peter Jackson at Weta Digital (Lord of The Rings (2001)). This multidisciplinary approach is key. Pettita explains: “When I was a student at the Beaux-Arts in Paris, I had friends working in the animation and film industries, who said they had not been taught digital skills. So, there were technology schools, teaching software; there were 2D-animation schools, and there were the Beaux-Arts academies, teaching the usual painting and sculpture. But no-one was talking to each other.” He continues: “My passion is in education, and I wanted everyone to work together. That is the magic of our school; combining the skills to enable a young person to reproduce the real, living world.” It is this understanding of how to meld artistic ability with super-modern digital techniques, that has established the school as a leader in its field.

Classes may be in French – so a good level of the language is required – but people from all over the world choose to study here, and the institute has a strongly outward-looking approach. Previous students have gone on to work across the globe and been recognised with international accolades, such as Guillaume Rocheron, who won a Visual Effects Academy Award (Oscar) in 2013 for the 2012 film

The Life of Pi; and Fabien Nowak, who won the 2017 Oscar in the same category for The Jungle Book (2016). Another former student, Audrey Ferrara, also supervised the special effects for The Jungle Book (2016), and the science-fiction hit Passengers (2016). Indeed, the school’s strong links to industry also mean that it is continually able to offer

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scholarships for less-privileged students, as well as to create projects such as developing short courses for the wider public. Similarly, the school’s teachers combine their jobs with other positions in the world of cinema, art, and animation; and it is this real-life experience that ensures that the school remains relevant. “Education is a personal gift of self,” says Petitta. “The teachers who come here have such a desire to teach; to give back. That is so important, when you’re in front of a young person.” Petitta explains that even Georges Méliès himself had a great teacher who gave him traditional artistic skills, allowing him to understand sculpture, painting, and drawing, as the foundation for his later cinematic creations. “This is the basis of all creative work,” explains Petitta. “To be inspired by life.” Although Petitta jokingly admits that this is “not the simplest, easiest curriculum to teach”, he adds: “Most schools try to mould students in one particular way, and we do not that.” It is not for nothing that the school hangs a whimsical, historical photo of its namesake founder in its bright, cavernous hallway. “This is about becoming a craftsman; each person finding their true path,” Pettita says. “It’s alchemy.” Photo: The Sealy Man

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Discover Southern Europe  |  Menorca’s Cami de Cavalls

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Discover Southern Europe  |  Menorca’s Cami de Cavalls

A scenic walk along Menorca’s horse trail It sounded like such a good idea – a coastal walk around the whole of Menorca. Ten days, 185 kilometres. But looking out of the window as the plane comes to land, the island’s landscape does not look all that special... TEXT: MANUEL MEYER, DPA  |  PHOTOS: WWW.MENORCA.ES

Issue 3  |  April 2019  |  39

Discover Southern Europe  |  Menorca’s Cami de Cavalls


hen you fly into Menorca, you don’t really get the impression that what you can see below you is a walker’s paradise,” says Ralf Freiheit, a German tour guide who has been living on the island since 1987 and knows it like the back of his hand. “Which makes it all the more surprising.” The trail GR-223 goes by the name ‘Cami de Cavalls’ (trail of the horses) and is well marked, with white signposts almost every 100 metres. The trail was opened in 2010. Nevertheless, it is good to have a guide like Ralf. “This [trail] is a historic patrol route along the coast, one that the nobility and large landowners rode with their horses to keep watch against pirates and attackers,” he explains. Starting in the island capital of Mahon on the south-eastern coast, the route leads in a counter-clockwise direction towards the north. Hikers are immediately rewarded with spectacular coastal views and cooled by fresh, salty breezes. Just before we reach the beach in the town of Es Grau, Ralf leads us off the marked trail and we encounter our first surprise – the S’Albufera Nature Park. There, a lagoon is teeming with mallard ducks, turtles, cormorants and herons. The trail turns into a labyrinth of dunes, fields of eelgrass, tiny islands and lagoons. “Back in the 1970s, investors planned to build a huge holiday resort here with a luxury

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hotel and golf course,” park director Marti Escudero says. “But luckily, residents’ protests prevented it.” The trail proceeds through olive groves and cool oak forests. A few kilometres further, the landscape abruptly changes at Cap de Favaritx, where a lighthouse sits at the tip of a narrow peninsula. The vegetation has been stunted by the strong winds – not a tree in sight. Bizarre-shaped shalestone cliffs dominate the landscape. From here, the trail leads through fields and pastures to the salty ponds of Mongrofa, where the sandy path is lined by pine forests and huge algarve cacti. Along the northern coast, the bays shelter former fishing villages such as Fornells. On the northernmost tip of the island, Cap de Cavelleria, cliffs tower as high as 50 metres above the coast. The decision of where to take a swimming break is not an easy one, given the choice between Cavalleria, Binimel-la and Pregonda Bay. Each bay is nicer than the one before it. But in summer, as you might expect, the beaches are crowded with people, which can come as a shock to hikers who have become used to the peace and quiet. Indeed, the Cami de Cavalls is a great way to stay away from the tourist spots and see another side of an island that still lived largely from the proceeds of cheese and shoe manufacturing up until the late 1970s. Menorca’s transformation into a tourist destination came much later, and so there are hardly any large hotel complexes such

as those on Majorca, the largest of the Balearic islands. After leaving Pregonda Bay, perhaps the wildest and most impressive coastal scenery awaits. But it is also strenuous hiking, with steep up-and-down stretches of trail. One moment you are at sea level, the next you have a climb of up to 120 metres. After all that, a day of rest is in order in the old historic city of Ciutadella on the western coast. Sitting high above the harbour, the city is a charming mixture of Spanish and Moorish architecture with walled fortifications and a cathedral dating back to the 13th century. From here, the trail along the southern coast offers a completely different landscape. It is flatter, with fields of grain and pastureland – and much more civilisation. Here, the trail eventually leads through holiday resorts and residential areas, but also offers pretty bays such as Turqueta, Macarella and Trebalugar, and white sandy beaches surrounded by pine forests.


Prosciutto Festival - Carra. Photo: Enit

Southern Europe’s top food and wine hotspots


From Milan to Rome and from Bordeaux to Barcelona, this month we head off on a food and wine trail to discover some of the best hotspots in Southern Europe.


n Milan, the historic Ristorante Savini in the city’s famously grand Galleria Vittorio Emanuele Galeria was once the haunt of luminaries from Maria Callas to Verdi, Puccini and Toscanini, and there is still more than a touch of old world elegance and glamour combined with the best in contemporary Italian cuisine.

Photo: Atout France Nathalie Baetens

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In Venice, we visit the similarly grand Ristorante Principessa, overlooking the lagoon, and also Trattoria Misericordia, in the wonderfully untouristy Cannaregio neighbourhood

Finally, in neighbouring Spain, we discover the simple but top-quality cuisine at Pur in Barcelona. Award-winning chef Nandu Jubany had previously worked at the legendary three-Michelin-starred Basque restaurants Arzak and Martin Berasategui and has now brought the skills and techniques he learnt to Pur, sourcing the finest produce from Catalonia and beyond.

In Florence, it is over to Ditta Artigianale – a micro coffee brewer and coffee shop in the heart of the city, whilst in Rome, we head to Il Tempio di Iside, one of the finest seafood restaurants in town. In France meanwhile, we look at the wines of the Chateau Bouscaut where they not only cultivate quality red and white wines with the prestigious and sought after ‘crus classés de Graves' classification, but also run wine workshops and a Gite overlooking the vineyards.

Photo: Turespaña

Discover Southern Europe  |  Top Food & Wine Hotspots

Tuna tartare.

Fresh sea urchins.

Ready to be baked, Roman style.

Fine dining.

Rome’s seafood temple Every morning, as local fisherman haul in their loads, Francesco Tripodi, the owner of Il Tempio di Iside, one of Rome’s finest seafood restaurants, eagerly waits for the daily fish auction to begin. Francesco ensures he walks away with only the highest quality fish and crustaceans: “My customers deserve the very best,” he says.


t the entrance to his restaurant, just a few feet from the Coliseum, cascades of Royal Red prawns and scampi on ice tempt diners as they arrive, as do tanks filled with live lobsters and the restaurant’s famous Alaskan king crabs. As diners make their way through their abundant courses, Francesco brings his charismatic warmth to the floor, welcoming guests in the two upstairs rooms, and in the atmospheric, medieval vault below. Meanwhile, his brother Giuseppe is passionately creating signature dishes like sea truffles,


gamberi (prawns with cherry tomatoes and pecorino cheese), as well as fresh fish of the day cooked to your choice; under salt, grilled, or in the oven with zucchini, olives and tomatoes, Roman style.

tuna tartare, stuffed cuttlefish or spaghetti with fish and capers. His philosophy is that the best food is fresh, simple and traditional, with their menu reflecting seasonal produce and the local catch of the day.

Il Tempio di Iside also has an equally fine selection of Italian and global wines, from a Tuscan Chianti Classico Doc to a Burgundy Pinot Noir Grand Cru or a Sauvignon premium from as far afield as New Zealand.

Antipasti can be eaten ‘crudi’, (raw) or ‘cotto’ (cooked), and served alongside dishes such as Carpaccio frutta di mare (marinated raw shrimp, sea urchin and oysters), calamari stuffed with artichokes, stuffed swordfish or fried mini squid, to name a few. Mains include handmade pasta with fresh seafood sauce, such as Fusilli con

Francesco’s wife, Rosely and Giuseppe’s wife, Cristina, take great pride in the running of this popular Roman restaurant. “All our family play a part in making our restaurant a success,” Rosely says. “We love it; it’s our life!” Issue 3  |  April 2019  |  43

Discover Southern Europe  |  Top Food & Wine Hotspots

Mastering the art of fine wines Stepping into the Château Bouscaut near Bordeaux is stepping into the history of wine. The owner, Sophie Lurton-Cogombles, has witnessed winemaking from close quarters since childhood. She is a member of the Lurton family, who have cultivated the vines in the region around Bordeaux for four generations.

“My father wanted to pass on, not just the estate, but also his knowledge of the production of the very finest vintages. That’s something we can, in turn, pass on to our visitors,” says Lurton-Cogombles, who now runs the Château Bouscaut estate with her agronomist husband Laurent (an expert in soil management and crop production). The château has an environmental classification and it is also one of the 16 'crus

classés de Graves', and one of only six to have this prestigious classification for both red and white wines. Their vast cellar was renovated in 2010 and a new barrel cellar built, which is open to the public, with tours in English as well as French and Spanish. There are several wine workshops on offer, including food pairing. But you can go even deeper at Château Bouscaut, with an opportunity to learn from a wine specialist how to identify the notes and flavours in the

Remaining true to Venice’s roots


glass: Or, be guided in the art that every winemaker must master – blending. The estate, just a 20-minute drive from Bordeaux, is a labour of love for Laurent and Sophie Cogombles, who travel extensively to meet buyers and promote their wine. Château Bouscaut also runs a gîte that sleeps ten – Château Valoux – overlooking the vineyards. Given the glorious surroundings, it is not difficult to imagine that many visitors would find that a wine-tasting workshop just is not enough, and end up booking themselves in for a week


Tucked away in Cannaregio, one of Venice’s prettiest and quietest ‘sestrieri’ (districts), well away from the city centre’s throngs of tourists, is Trattoria Misericordia, a canalside restaurant specialising in fish and seafood. Cannareggio is home to the city’s historic Jewish Ghetto, founded in the early 16th century, when the Jews of Venice were forced to live together in one area of the city. “Cannaregio is a largely residential area. Our restaurant offers customers a quiet corner to relax and enjoy a meal,” explains the owner of the trattoria. “We have remained true to our city and our country by offering

dishes based on the riches of the Venetian Lagoon and of the Mediterranean Sea”. Venice’s days as a port and merchant city have indeed left a long legacy on its cuisine. The menu at Trattoria Misericordia features ‘sarde in saor’, an ancient Venetian speciality consisting of fried sardines served with caramelised onions and vinegar. The history of the dish dates back centuries to a time when

Venetian sailors used onions and vinegar to preserve fish during long sea crossings. To this day, this much-loved Venetian staple is traditionally enjoyed on the Festa del Redentore, commemorating the end of the plague of 1576. Fish soup, grilled seafood, black-ink risotto, and spaghetti with clams are just some of the dishes on offer. Guests can dine al fresco in the leafy interior courtyard or soak in the atmosphere of this maritime city from one of the canalside tables.

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Discover Southern Europe  |  Top Food & Wine Hotspots

Coffee Culture


With new coffee trends constantly emerging, coffee shops have to quickly adapt by becoming more versatile with their recipes. Francesco Sanapo.

Coffee lies at the heart of Ditta Artigianale, a micro-roastery and coffee shop in the heart of Florence. “We only source premium coffees from small ethical producers,” explains founder and owner Francesco Sanapo. “The idea behind Ditta Artigianale is to bring out the best of Italian craftsmanship and expertise in the world of coffee.” Sanapo knows a thing or two about coffee. Three-time Italian barista champion, he

has been voted Best Italian Coffee Taster 2019, and will represent Italy at the upcoming Coffee World Championships in June. “We offer a huge variety of coffees, from simple espressos and filter coffees to flat whites and golden milk turmeric coffees. Our expert baristas have fun experimenting with coffee-based cocktails, such as our muchloved Negroni featuring a splash of coffee,” say Sanapo. During the warmer months of the year, customers sip on Ditta Artigianale’s popular cold brew, prepared with coffee grounds that have been steeped in water for 12 hours. Different flavours include a zesty orange-infused version and a tonic water blend. “I want to educate people on coffee,” continues Sanapo. “I don’t want people to simply think of coffee as a quick way to get a caffeine fix. Coffee is much, much more than that. I want coffee to be enjoyed and appreciated for what it truly is, not as a

medicine designed to wake us up. I’d really like to see people take five minutes to savour their coffee, pausing for a moment or two to fully enjoy its taste and aroma.” Photo: Sofie Delauw

The tradition of hospitality Imagine enjoying a meal in front of a breathtaking view of the Venetian Lagoon, with the silhouette of San Giorgio Maggiore island emerging slowly from the morning mist. Situated along the gondola-filled Riva degli Schiavoni, a stone’s throw from St Mark’s and the Bridge of Sighs, the Restaurant Principessa could not be more central. The restaurant sits inside the Hotel Savoia Jolanda – an elegant Venetian palazzo which has been a hotel for the last hundred years and run by the Famiglia Rado for almost 40. “We are like a big family,” says Alessia Davi, sales and marketing coordinator. “Most of our staff have been part of the team for quite some time.” Such is the case with chef Massimiliano Melis, who has served Italian and Venetian specialities to the clientele of the Restaurant Principessa for the past 20 years. Sitting on the outdoor terrace, basking in the sunshine, fish lovers can indulge in a tantalising selection of seafood Antipasto Principessa, before tucking into Spaghetti al Bragosso – a Venetian classic made up

of mussels, clams and shrimps, or Seppie in nero: Venetian cuttlefish in black ink with polenta. The restaurant’s in-house pastry chef, Giuseppe Molin, has also won fans with his freshly baked biscuits offered to hotel guests on arrival, as well as his breakfast buffet cakes. The restaurant is ideally situated for lunch or dinner whilst enjoying Venice, and the hotel’s recently renewed Lounge Bar is the perfect place for an ‘aperitivo’ with a view. (Not to mention that happy hour drinks are half price for hotel guests). As the Italians say − salute!


The façade of Hotel Savoia & Jolanda at night. Photo: Daniele Nalesso

‘Aperitivo con vista’ at the Lounge Bar. Photo: Roberto Rosa/R2 Foto Issue 3  |  April 2019  |  45

Discover Southern Europe  |  Top Food & Wine Hotspots

Where tradition meets innovation “With its 151 years of history, Savini Milano 1867 is a Milanese institution like the Duomo and La Scala Opera House,” says Sebastian Luca Gatto, CEO of Savini Group.

many furnishings are original and date back to the 19th century,” explains Sebastian.


The ground-floor bistro has a more laidback feel, offering customers the chance to enjoy an informal bite, an afternoon tea or an aperitivo in graceful surroundings. Milanese businessmen pop in to sip on a mid-morning cappuccino or for a quick lunch, while visitors passing through the Galleria stop by for a regenerating bite as they explore the city.


n the heart of Italy’s oldest shopping centre – the opulent Galleria Vittorio Emanuele – the restaurant has long been a favourite with the world-famous singers, performers and composers at the nearby La Scala Opera House. Legendary Italian soprano Maria Callas was a regular, along with composers Verdi, Puccini and Toscanini. In the early 20th century, Savini Milano 1867 was also a favourite meeting place for Milan’s intellectuals, writers and artists, including Italian poet Filippo Tommaso Marinetti – leader and founder of the group known as ‘the Futurists’. Inspired by the huge innovations happening at the time, from motor cars to aviation, the Futurists celebrated modernity, speed and technology and their historic Futurist Manifesto, signed at the restaurant, was published in French newspaper Le Figaro in 1909.

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Many of the restaurant’s famous patrons are referenced in the names of the various dining rooms. The first-floor Sala Toscanini, with its four arched windows has unparalleled views over the Galleria, houses the restaurant’s most intimate table. Tucked away in a secluded corner, Table Number 7 was a favourite of Callas, who would spend hours here after performing at La Scala Opera House. In the evenings, live piano entertainment creates a refined sophisticated atmosphere, where guests can experience the elegance of a bygone era. “Savini Milano 1867 is part of the Locali Storici d’Italia, an association comprising the country’s oldest and most prestigious restaurants, hotels and cafés. Original Belle Époque features have been preserved, while

Creativity in the Kitchen The cuisine at Savini Milano 1867 reflects the restaurant’s long heritage. Young Chef Giovanni Bon skilfully blends innovation and tradition while using modern techniques to prepare great Italian classics. He uses both low-temperature vacuum cooking and braising, a combination-cooking method that uses wet and dry heat. “Chef Bon uses a splash of creativity in his dishes with a clear nod to Milanese culinary traditions. He combines classic recipes with new techniques and ideas, enhancing and bringing out the true flavours of each ingredient,” says Sebastian.

Discover Southern Europe  |  Top Food & Wine Hotspots

Photo: Crisula Barbata

Chef Bon carefully selects high-quality ingredients from Italy and beyond, such as lobster and shrimp from Mazara del Vallo in Sicily, and juicy ‘camone’ from Sardinia, reddish-brown tomatoes with a sweet crunchy flavour that are exclusively picked by hand. The menu offers international dishes such as lamb and foie gras, alongside Milanese classics that are strictly prepared following traditional recipes. The city’s much-loved ‘costoletta alla milanese’ is made from the loin of milk-fed veal, coated in breadcrumbs and pan-fried in clarified butter for 11 minutes. Tradition dictates that costoletta must be ‘bone-in’, as it is served at Savini Milano 1867.

Food & Design Food, creativity and design are inextricably linked at Savini Milano 1867. “Our lamb

thigh terrine with pears in Barolo Chinato wine, Greek yoghurt sauce and coriander, perfectly epitomises our participation in the +Gusto al Design project that is part of this year’s Fuorisalone, a series of events and exhibitions that take place during the weeklong Salone del Mobile, Milan’s most important trade fair showcasing the latest in furniture and design. The idea behind the project is to promote the close relationship between food and design,” explains Sebastian. Beautifully presented with a thin pear wafer, the marinated lamb is served alongside two spoon-shaped candle holders made by young designers Jessica Russo and Kasia Nasilowska. “Savini Milano 1867 has stayed true to its Belle Époque roots, offering traditional Milanese

classics alongside more imaginative dishes that bring out the city’s famous creative and innovative spirit.” + Gusto al Design offers young designers the opportunity to showcase their creativity by exhibiting design objects from the world of food and beverages. The team behind the project comprises renowned architects from interior design studios from around the country, including Massimo Bertani, Professor of Economics at ISIA Florence, Claudia Paoluzzi, Marketing and Digital Communication Expert, Giuseppe Riccardi, CEO of Fondi & Sicav, and Tuorlo Design Studio, a graphic communication and product design studio.

Sebastian Luca Gatto, CEO of Savini Group.

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Discover Southern Europe  |  Top Food & Wine Hotspots

Hake cheeks.

Pure cooking Anyone with an eye on international foodie hotspots will know that Barcelona has for some years now had a growing reputation as a powerhouse. Pur, in the heart of the Catalan capital, is a case in point.


sister restaurant to the Michelinstarred Can Jubany, the emphasis is on simplicity with an uncluttered contemporary interior and a similarly uncluttered approach to food.

lishments such as the three-Michelin-starred Arzak and Martin Berasategui, “using fresh ingredients. Dishes are intentionally simple to bring out the true flavours, textures and aromas of the produce.”

“The entire design of the restaurant revolves around the open-plan kitchen,” explains award-winning Chef Nandu Jubany. “We want diners to be right in the thick of the action by giving them the chance to see exactly how their meals are prepared.”

Star dishes are the large grilled lobsters, Mediterranean tuna belly, and Cantabrian anchovies served on a bed of stracciatella cheese and candied almonds. But the focus is not only on fish. There is also bone marrow with caviar, grilled wagyu loin with fresh wasabi, and grilled foie gras served on roasted onions and drizzled with onion jus.

Simple materials such as wood, marble and leather create a warm natural-feeling environment, reflecting the philosophy that lies behind the cuisine: to use the freshest possible ingredients and bring out their intrinsic natural flavours. “Our cuisine is light and simply prepared,” says Jubany, whose illustrious career has included stints at world class Basque estab48  |  Issue 3  |  April 2019


Brava, foie gras from a small, family-run farm nearby, and red lobster from Cap de Greus near the French border. Lamb is from central Spain, while prime cuts of wagyu beef come from Japan. “We use three techniques in our cooking: charcoaled, griddled or boiled. Most dishes we cook are prepared this way. We do not use sauces or gravy as we feel they mask the true flavours of the ingredients. We want to bring out the natural flavour of food,” says Nandu. Pur also prides itself on a serious wine list, not to mention a choice of cocktails from Impur, the adjoining cocktail bar in the basement.

“We source the best available produce from Spain and beyond. We want to play around with high-quality ingredients to produce dishes bursting with flavour,” explains Nandu. Where possible, ingredients are sourced from the surrounding parts of Catalonia, including sea cucumbers from the Costa


Hotel Casa 1800 Granada.

Andalusian elegance Boutique hotels tend to be tucked away, well out of way of most city’s main tourist areas, but in Seville, just yards from the cathedral and its iconic Giralda tower, the Hotel Casa 1800 Sevilla could not be more central.


riginally home to the Mayor of Seville, this grand, glamorous but amazingly discreet hotel was built in 1864 and as you walk in, the trickling of water from the foyer fountain, the strains of soothing Spanish guitar and the soft scent of tigerlilies are a welcome respite from the chaos and cacophony of the many tourist trap tapas bars nearby. While the lofty ceilings, grand chandeliers and wall frescoes in the Andalusian style patio atrium may hark back to the building’s heritage, the décor in the 33 rooms gives the nod to the past but also feels contemporary and luxurious at the same time. There’s a feel of elegant opulence with buttermilk-toned damask bedding, Louis XIV style gilded sofas and parquet floors. Not to mention sleek bathrooms complete with Molton Brown products for an additional dash of luxury. Hot and cold breakfast dishes are served in the light-filled atrium and in the afternoon

there are also snacks, soft drinks and coffees from the Nespresso machines available free for guests. Inside the hotel, the heat and hubub of Seville’s Santa Cruz district may feel a million miles away, even though it is just yards from the hotel’s front door. However, the rooftop terrace, complete with swimming pool and sun loungers, has some of the best head-on views of the Giralda tower and the cathedral in the city. A superb location is likewise a feature of Casa 1800’s sister hotel – Hotel Casa 1800 Granada. In what was originally the palatial 16th-century headquarters of a local police force, the hotel is just a short walk from the Moorish arches, mosaics and fountains of Granada’s famed Alhambra palace. Inside, the décor shares the elegant glamour of its Seville neighbour, albeit on a more intimate scale with high ceilings, chandeliers, gilt rococo flourishes and four poster beds.


“Both the Hotel Casa 1800 in Seville and Granada are about preserving the grandeur of our Andalusian heritage and combining it with contemporary comfort and elegance. But what also makes them special is the attention clients receive from our team. Our guests often return to our hotels and, for me, that’s the ultimate proof of our success.”

Hotel Casa 1800 Sevilla.

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Discover Southern Europe  |  Hotels of the Month

The 18th-century château with a personal touch It was a case of love at first sight for the owners of the Château de la Ferrière B&B in Vaux-sur-Aure, Normandy. “Pietro, who is Italian, fell in love with the Château one weekend in 2013,” explains Geoffroy de Ville d’Avray, talking about his business partner and co-owner of the Château, Pietro Chiapponi. “We just decided to acquire it on the spot. The idea was to restore it and make it feel like a family home, so that’s what we’ve done.” TEXT: JAMES RAMPTON  |  PHOTOS: CHÂTEAU DE LA FERRIÈRE


t is not hard to understand why Pietro fell in love with the Château. Built in the 18th century, the beautiful house, just ten minutes’ drive from the historic town of Bayeux, with its world-famous Tapestry, and half an hour from the city of Caen and the Normandy Landings beaches, has an appealingly informal air and some 34 acres of tranquil parkland. Pietro and Geoffroy, however, had a task on their hands to restore the house to its former glory. The Château was in quite a dilapidated state, and they took great pains with their renovations, lovingly restoring the facades and porches, refurbishing the bed50  |  Issue 3  |  April 2019

rooms and installing en-suite bathrooms as well as meticulously replacing some 200 missing period tiles.

The pair also redesigned the garden, planting thousands of shrubs, perennial plants and roses and constructing an ornamental pond filled with koi carp in front of the terrace. In addition, Pietro and Geoffroy refurbished the three-acre American Garden which was planted in 2008 as a tribute to the American and Canadian soldiers who landed just three kilometres away from the Château on D-Day, 6 June 1944. The Château de la Ferrière now has five expansive and stylishly decorated bedrooms, each named after a different colour. Attention to detail is key for the owners, and alongside original period features including parquet flooring and vast casement windows overlooking the grounds, there are also extra touches of luxury, such as Hermès toiletries in the bathrooms. The drawing room, meanwhile, has exceptional views over the unspoiled Normandy

Discover Southern Europe  |  Hotels of the Month

landscape and is filled with furniture inherited from the owners’ families as well as treasures found in Italian or French flea markets. Breakfast is served in the Château’s spacious library with the emphasis on quality, local ingredients including organic eggs, fresh croissants and baguettes, homemade jams from a nearby farm and artisan Normandy cheeses.

History The Château was originally built in 1735 for one of Louis XV’s squires, and between

1760 and 1789, the celebrated botanist Moisson de Vaux created an exotic garden full of rare plants gathered from all over the world. De Vaux had introduced magnolia to France and plantanus to Normandy, and many of the trees he planted can still be seen in the Château’s extensive parklands today. In 1870, the Château was bought by Baron Issaverdens, the French representative of Khédive Ismael Pacha, King of Egypt, who was charged with the bizarre job of smuggling the Egyptian king into Paris incognito.

In the 20th century, the Château de la Ferrière was occupied first by German troops during World War II and later by a group of Benedictine Sisters whose convent in Caen had been destroyed by bombing. The nuns stayed in the Château until 1967, using part of the building as a chocolate factory. Since buying the Château in 2013, de Ville d’Avray and Pietro have been providing a warm welcome to the many guests who visit from all over the world.

Home from Home “At the château, we receive our guests as friends,” explains Geoffroy. “We welcome them every evening with an aperitif to talk about the region, to talk about their own lives and to tell them about the house. We tell them about the history of the Louis XV and Louis XVI antiques and the work we’ve done restoring things here. We want to make them feel as comfortable as possible and to feel involved and part of the Château.” Geoffroy sums up the appeal of the Château de la Ferrière. “We are the antithesis of a traditional and impersonal hotel. Our Château is a family home, with just five individually decorated rooms. This was once an aristocrat’s home, but it has also had a varied and fascinating history. We think it has a very special atmosphere, and we want our guests to feel part of that.”

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Discover Southern Europe  |  Hotels of the Month

Embracing l’art de vivre This historic, family-run hotel in Nice encourages guests to discover their artistic side.

“A cool glass of Provence rosé, of course,” says Odile Redolfi-Payen, granddaughter of the original owners of the WindsoR Hotel & Spa Nice – Chambres d’Artistes, when asked its most popular drink. Happily, the 32-bedroom boutique hotel on Rue Dalpozzo – just five minutes’ walk from the iconic Promenade des Anglais seafront – has been giving visitors an authentic taste of the Cote d’Azur capital for generations. Owned by the Rodolfi family since 1942, and a hotel since the early 1900s, the WindsoR was once favoured by English and Russian guests who came to

escape their countries’ harsh winters for up to six months at a time. Now, the place attracts a more international clientele, with loved-up couples among the most common guests. Largely because, while it has all the usual services one might expect from a good hotel – including a fashionable spa – its atmosphere is distinctly romantic. In the summer, guests eat in the tropicalstyle garden restaurant – choosing from a menu of organic Mediterranean dishes, including the signature seven-hour slowcooked leg of lamb – all illuminated by the gentle glow of a poolside art installation in the shape of the moon. Indeed, quirky art is at the heart of the WindsoR philosophy. Each of the colourful bedrooms has been designed or inspired by an artist, and original works from previous contemporary shows serve as reminders of the hotel’s long history. “We try to keep souvenirs of the exhibitions, and each piece has its own story,” explains

A home from home in Provence ‘Familiar and intimate’, are words often used to describe L’Hostellerie Le Beffroi (the bellfry) in Provence, and with very good reason. “I was born in this house,” says the current owner Yann Christiansen. “I grew up here and played in these very corridors. I know it like the back of my hand.” Spread across two listed buildings dating from the 16th and 17th centuries, the 22 room L’Hostellerie Le Beffroi lies between the mountains and the sea, on a rocky outcrop overlooking the medieval town of Vaison la Romaine in Provence. The town itself has been described as an open-air museum. You can amble through the streets taking in sites that date from Roman times, including a first century CE

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amphitheatre, which is still in use. "Given our incredible location, I have to tell you, there is a certain old world charm about getting here,” laughs with Christiansen, who runs the hotel with his wife Christine. “Although many years ago, a guest did manage to get a Rolls-Royce up here.” "A lot has changed of course, we've totally modernised everything,” he continues, “from the en suite bathrooms to the WiFi.


Redolfi-Payen. “We also host and organise art festivals.” “I love my city, and I’m continuing my family’s tradition,” says Redolfi-Payen. “I want to open a window onto the contemporary art world and take our guests on a journey within a journey.” Rooms at the Hotel WindsoR Nice are available from 92 euros per night.


But each bedroom retains a unique identity." Outside, the pool, terraces and lush gardens look out across the seven hills which surround the town and there are cycling and walking paths nearby, as well as paragliding. The hotel’s restaurant, La Fontaine, is open to guests and non-guests alike. “Our menu really focuses on local produce, showcasing dishes whose ingredients we source directly from suppliers across the region,” says Christiansen. “And given how rich the tradition of food and wine is around here, that’s obviously a good thing.”

Discover Southern Europe  |  Hotels of the Month

Fun, games and a hotel with a difference Most hotel owners would probably agree that they hope their guests will enjoy their stay at their hotels, but at the Auberge des VoyaJoueurs, fun, and indeed games, are an integral part of guests’ experience. TEXT: HEIDI FULLER LOVE  |  PHOTO: AUBERGE DES VOYAJOUEURS

The game-themed hotel sits in the heart of the Monteneuf heathlands region, just 20 minutes drive from the magical Brocéliande forest. “This is the forest of Arthurian legend – it’s said that legendary enchanter Merlin is buried there and you can even visit the site that’s known as ‘his tomb’,” says the hotel’s manager Michaela Soulaine. With two large indoor arenas, a vast outdoor area and more than 800 games to choose from, their is no shortage of entertainment. “We have games from every continent, ranging from billiards and giant Mikado, to board games and climbing frames,” says Michaela. “But with so many games to choose from it can get confusing which is why we have a specially trained team on site to help our guests get the best out of their time here.”

The Auberge, which is currently celebrating its tenth anniversary, was the brainchild of owner Anne-Sophie Hochet. “She loved games and she was passionate about tourism so she had this great idea to bring the two together,” Michaela explains. Although the hotel accepts public visitors between the hours of 2pm and 7pm, hotel guests can play from dawn ‘till dusk.

“When they are tired of playing, they can hike or bike along one of the hiking trails that start just outside our door,” says Michaela. With ten rooms and an apartment which can hold five guests, the Auberge also hosts groups and business seminars and was awarded first prize in a regional contest for sustainable tourism. “‘Disconnect to better reconnect’ is our motto.” Michaela laughs: “Whatever the weather, there’s always something fun to do at the Auberge des VoyaJoueurs.”

+33 3 8532 08 27 Issue 3  |  April 2019  |  53 120 route des Poccards (Entrance via Rue de la Brasse)

Sleep in style, whether in a turreted mansion or treehouse, a lock-keeper’s cottage or a gypsy caravan.

Slow tourism in the Somme Set on the Picardy Coast, within easy reach of Dieppe, the Somme estuary, the largest in Northern France, is a mosaic of marshes, pale sands and water meadows. The Somme flows seamlessly from Amiens, a painterly provincial backwater, to the beguiling bay and sandy beaches. It feels like the end of the world: one long nature ramble through haunting landscape. TEXT: LISA GERARD-SHARP  |  PHOTOS: SOMME TOURISME


he Baie de Somme evokes an earlier age, with chuffing steam trains, cutesy bathing huts and time-warp fishing villages. The untamed coastline is a patchwork of swirling marshes, chalky cliffs, washed-out skies and endless dunes. Born in the Somme and based in Amiens, Aurélie Wallet, the face of Somme tourism, has her roots in this watery region: “My parents lived near the battlefields but we also had a cottage on the coast so I feel at home on a boat or a bike, surrounded by this softly shifting landscape.”

Full steam ahead A steam train links coastal Saint-Valery-surSomme, Le Crotoy and Cayeux-sur-Mer and promises an old-fashioned fenland ride, past banks overhung by weeping willows. 54  |  Issue 3  |  April 2019

The train has been chuffing away since the days of the Belle Epoque when the coast began to attract bathers. The railway may have reached the coast in 1870 but the Baie de Somme still feels like a delightfully under-populated pocket of lost France. Wallet sees the bay as a place to recharge your batteries: “Maybe paddling a pirogue canoe in search of seals, or walking across the mud flats when the tide is out.” If not sailing across the bay, shrimp-fishing or cycling the towpaths, watch the wild horses and flocks of marsh sheep. You can ride a Henson, the sturdy, sand-coloured horses at home in the polders and dunes of the Marquenterre. As the largest dunes in Northern France, the reserve attracts migratory and marsh birds. Set between the estuary of two rivers, this is the

place to spot waders such as egrets, herons, storks and spoonbills.

Coastal backwaters Saint-Valery is a medieval outpost, with its crumbling ramparts and towers in the upper town. The flower-bedecked alleys of the fisherman’s district draw you in, as do the painted cottages. It was here that William the Conqueror mustered his troops for the 1066 Norman Conquest. Today, you are more likely to be mustered into a boat trip to see seals cavorting in the estuary or beached on the sandbanks. Once English, Le Crotoy is a pretty fishing harbour, home to shrimping boats. The sandy beaches are made for pottering and collecting marsh samphire along the shore. Cayeux, with its endless boardwalk and parade of beach huts, looks much as it did in its Belle Epoque heyday. There is also paddle-boarding and kitesurfing. The River Somme is the backbone of the region, connecting these fishing ports and fortified hilltop villages with both Amiens and

Discover Southern Europe  |  Slow Tourism in the Somme

the Great War battlefields. It is hard to believe that the Somme also means mine craters, memorials, cemeteries and razed villages, but this part of the area’s history is a different story. “The Somme has suffered a lot,” says Aurélie Wallet, “and been scarred by the Great War, but now that remembrance tourism has taken root, the locals have more ownership of their past. As a result, there’s a quiet sense of pride and belonging.”

Amiens, a floating city “Our capital, Amiens, is such a liveable town – lively, provincial and countrified in the best sense, and built on a human scale,” enthuses Wallet. The city is dominated by its mighty cathedral, the largest Gothic church in France and the setting for the town’s summer sound-and-light summer spectacle, a tribute to its soaring Gothic spirit. The coastline, which weaves amongst dunes and marshes, is deeply unspoilt and unbuilt up.

Steam trains have never gone out of fashion in the old-school Baie de Somme.

Amiens Cathedral.

Learn how this fragile landscape depends on supporting elements, from the fishermen to the grazing sheep.

There is also plenty to see and do in the surrounding areas. Tucked into the bends of the River Somme, lie a mosaic of island gardens best discovered on a flat-bottomed boat. Known as the Hortillonnages, these picturesque marshlands typify the countrified city. As Wallet says, “From misty views across the marshes to our floating market gardens, ours is a watery world, with boat trips a way of life. My son and I also love cycling along the Chemin du Halage towpaths which run from town to countryside, hugging the riverbanks all the way.” There is no shortage of characterful places to stay: from turreted mansions to treehouses, lockkeeper’s cottages or even gypsy caravans and, as in most parts of France, you are also never far from somewhere wonderful to eat in. The waterside bistros of the mellow Saint-Leu district, once the preserve of millers and weavers, pride themselves on some of the best food in the region. Freshly-fished shrimps and sole, lamb from marsh-grazed sheep, organic vegetables, honeyed almond biscuits and cider-coated cheeses are just some of the local specialities. “We’re more about fresh produce than showy gastronomy, with mussels and marsh samphire to the fore,” confirms Wallet. “And don’t forget to try our locally-brewed samphire beer.” Issue 3  |  April 2019  |  55

Discover Southern Europe  |  Art & Culture

Photo: C.Monfray

Gourmet chickens and local traditions in Eastern France Tucked away in a corner of northeastern France, close to the Swiss border, lies the town of Bourg-en-Bresse – a name synonymous to foodies and gastronomes the word over, with chicken. But not just any kind of chicken. TEXT: EDDI FIEGEL  |  PHOTOS: MUSÉE DE LA BRESSE-DOMAINE DES PLANONS


hen it comes to chickens, not all are born equal and the white chickens of Bresse are very much the Beluga Caviar of the chicken world, prized globally for their quality and delicacy and as renowned in French gastronomy as Chateau Latour in French wine. So what makes these chickens so special? The answer can be found at the Musée de la Bresse-Domaine des Planons, home to both an expansive museum exploring the history of this quintessentially French gourmet tradition as well as showcasing paintings, enamelwork, 19th-century jewellery and objets d’art created using traditional local

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techniques. There is also a farm where you can see the chickens roaming free amidst beautiful parkland countryside. “Our museum aims to highlight not only our region’s rich gastronomic tradition but also

our exceptional cultural heritage,” explains Aurélie Faivre, the Director of the Museum Housed on the site of a former farm, the Museum complex comprises two new buildings: one new and one listed building classified as a ‘Historical Monument’, with the new museum occupying a striking glass and aluminium structure flooded with light and views of the surrounding countryside. The main room is dedicated to the renowned ’volaille de Bresse’ – Bresse chicken, exploring what it is about the Bresse chickens that makes them so renowned and looking at the history of the gastronomic tradition in the region. The history itself is fascinating and includes numerous illuminating anecdotes illustrating not only the long-standing prestige of the birds but also the history of Bresse et l’Ain region.

Discover Southern Europe  |  Art & Culture

Photo: C.Monfray

15th century. The Maison Chauffure (aka ‘the warm house’) is the oldest, complete with original timber arches as well as a large Moorish fireplace. Visitors can wander through the various rooms – from the master bedroom to the maids’ rooms and the communal dining room with its long bench, oak table and cabinets, and the idea is to provide an insight into Bressan life in olden times.

cruise-liner dinners and Michelin starred restaurants, showing the prestige accorded to the legendary ’volaille de Bresse’.

Jewels, enamels, costumes and hurdy gurdys

“We want to offer visitors a window into the rich local customs and traditions here in Bresse,” says Aurélie Faivre, “and show people how the local country people lived. But we’re not just a museum. Yes, we have wonderful things to see but the Museum also makes for a wonderful day out. Children love seeing the chickens, and families can spend the day here picnicking in the countryside and learning something too.”

In addition to the culinary customs, part of the collection in the modern building likewise explores different aspects of local culture from chinaware and furniture to traditional Bressan costumes including headdresses and hats, be they simple hats or large elaborate, lace-adorned ‘chapeaux’.

One story relating to ’volaille de Bresse’ tells of how as far back as 1591, the citizens of nearby Bourg-en-Bresse offered a number of these much prized birds to a local Marquis of Treffort as a gesture of gratitude for his efforts in fending off marauding Savoyard soldiers.

Traditional country life Whilst the new museum building is very much a contemporary space, the original parts of the building date back to the late

An important collection of 19th-century jewellery takes in brooches, rings and necklaces reflecting French fashions of the time, whilst a separate and equally impressive collection of enamels illustrates the importance of the enamelling tradition in the region, with religious objects, belt buckles and jewels made by skilled local craftsmen.

Another show, meanwhile, showcases the importance of women – ’les mères’ aka the mothers, in developing and evolving local dishes and recipes, highlighting their role as the precursors for today’s celebrity chefs.

Exhibitions – Menus and Mothers As well as the permanent collection, the museum also holds temporary exhibitions and shows in 2019 include an impressive display of more than a thousand menus through the ages – many lavishly illustrated from suppers for local dignitaries to banquets for kings, presidents and shahs, to elaborate Issue 3  |  April 2019  |  57

Discover Southern Europe  |  Art & Culture

This collection by the little-known Norwegian-born painter Anna-Eva Bergman was inspired by her travels between Norway and southern Spain from 1962 to 1971.

Anna-Eva Bergman:

Interpreter of light For many who love travel, experiencing new places and new continents is about the hunt for new horizons, bright lights and undiscovered gems. Now, a new art display in Valencia on Spain’s eastern coast is showcasing an unusual and expansive mix of all three. TEXT: HANNAH JANE THOMPSON  |  PHOTOS: JABALI STUDIO


he Bombas Gens Centre d’Art on the Avenida de Burjassot, opened in July 2017 and promoted by Fundació Per Amor A L’Art, is home to more than 2,200 artworks from 200 artists. The Centre, which is just 20 minutes’ walk from the city’s central market, is also home to a social day centre, as well as a research and health centre. The striking building’s strong lines and vaulted ceilings hark back to its past as a hydraulic pump factory (the name ‘Bombas Gens’ translates as ‘hydraulic pump’). This might seem an odd place to host an exhibition focusing on light and travel, but a

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new show from 20th-century Norwegian artist Anna-Eva Bergman – called From North to South, Rhythms – does just that, occupying the bright space with ease. The largely unknown collection comprises paintings created between 1962 and 1971, inspired by a series of trips Bergman made between her birth country of Norway and – fittingly – southern Spain. It is clear: this work belongs here. This in itself is significant: one of the gallery’s main aims in hosting the event was to raise awareness of this underrated painter, whose art is largely unknown in Spain.

Indeed, Bergman remains a mysterious figure for many, despite having since been described as ‘one of the most important abstract artists of the twentieth century’, and even being compared to the giant of abstract art – Mark Rothko. This theme runs through many of the projects at Bombas Gens, with the parent foundation – the family-run Fundació Per Amor a l’Art – stating a clear intention to highlight artists who might not usually be seen elsewhere. Photo: Frank Gómez

Discover Southern Europe  |  Art & Culture

The gallery’s stark, clean halls (so different to the building’s rustic, historic exterior) help to further emphasise the expansive, geometric nature of Bergman’s work, and the 65 pieces are hung sparsely, appearing in crisp contrast to the bold colours, shapes, and brush strokes they display. Bergman was not content for her work to be described as simply ‘abstract’. As Christine Lamothe, Bergman expert and co-curator of the show, explains: “Anna-Eva Bergman started in figurative painting, but from the 1950s onwards, she invented a completely personal abstraction, which, rather than abstract art, she preferred to call ‘the art of abstraction’.” The exhibition continues until 5 May 2019, and offers a unique perspective on Spain – a country as southern European as Norway is northern – and decoding cross-country visual influences as an interpreter does with sound.

“The Per Amor a l’Art collection – which is exhibited at Bombas Gens – has a special interest in contributing to the dissemination and value of artists overlooked in the history of art,” explains general director Susana Lloret.

tion between nations, and Bergman’s international past: the event is partnered by the Fondation Hartung Bergman in France (as, despite her love of Spain, Bergman spent much of her life in Paris and Antibes).

As Nuria Enguita, co-curator of Bergman’s show, admits: “She is very little-known here, and unfairly so.”

Fondation president, Daniel Malingre, has said that this collaboration’s primary aim is to “disseminate and expand knowledge of Anna-Evan Bergman’s work”.

Yet, the Norwegian-born artist’s travels to Carboneras in Spain would significantly impact Bergman’s work for almost a decade.

“[Bergman] captured the essence of nature, and translated it into artworks that contain a symbolic language of personal and yet simple forms,” continues Lamothe. “This is not a traditional retrospective,” adds Enguita. “It focuses on a specific period... which posed a permanent dialogue between north and south, and a very different representation of colour and light.” Photo: Frank Gómez

Taking influences from the natural elements as she travelled, she consistently applied her distinctive style to landscape motifs between the two nations – including cliffs, fjords, mountains, stars, boats and the sea. Her work also reflected the stark difference in light between the two countries, employing varied thicknesses of paint – and even using materials such as metal foil, gold leaf, and copper – to play with the ever-changing nature of the horizon. It is this melding of inspiration that comes most alive in the Bombas Gens exhibition. Indeed, the show itself represents cooperaIssue 3  |  April 2019  |  59

Discover Southern Europe  |  Art & Culture

Donjon. Photo: B Derbord-Niort Agglo

Photo: B Derbord-Niort Agglo

Intérieur poitevin Donjon. Photo: Niort Agglo

A wealth of history and culture “It’s a treasure trove,” says Laurence Lamy, director of Niort’s museums. Born and raised in the city, just an hour and a half’s drive south of Nantes in western France, she moved away not imagining she would be back in such an important role one day. “It was one of those ‘That’s how life goes’ situations. I just thought ‘Why not?’. There’s so much to do here!”

space. “There are 700 paintings, numerous artifacts, musical instruments, the list goes on,” says Lamy. “We’re as at home here with art and history as we are with science and education.”


“We often have groups visiting where everyone wants to see a different thing, so they just split up and meet again in an hour,” Lamy laughs, “There’s really something for everyone.”


he is right. Between Niort’s 12th-century fortress, now the Musée du Donjon, and the collections in the Musée Bernard d’Agesci, visitors are spoilt for choice. In the Musée Bernard d’Agesci, you will find sculpture, natural history, scientific artifacts and art, including Islamic works, as part of an exhibit on education. Lamy is ready to welcome tourists from all over: “We have an interactive ‘tablet tour’ of the top exhibits in both museums, in English, for adults and children,” she explains. The Musée du Donjon dominates Niort with impressive views across the surrounding countryside. The building has become one of the town’s key landmarks and was built on the orders of England’s King Henry II whose kingdom stretched well into France. By the 18th century, it was a prison for British sailors who fell foul of the French off the coast of La Rochelle, just 40 miles away.

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The Musée Bernard d’Agesci is home to an impressive collection of both artworks and scientific exhibits and, in fact, comprises four smaller museums rehoused into the current building’s expansive, light-filled Salle Poisson. Photo: Niort Agglo

Discover Southern Europe  |  Getting Around

Solutions for a moving world Every trip is unique in its own way, bringing together different experiences that leave a lasting impression, often for years to come. Delivering a seamless experience lies at the core of Spanish car rental company Record go, which offers a range of transport solutions for all. “We want our clients to experience a smooth rental experience from start to finish, so that they can make the most of their trip,” comments Antonio C. Montes, the company’s director of marketing and digital services. Record go offers car hire in Spain’s major tourist destinations. Since 2005, the company has had pick-up locations in Mallorca, Alicante and Málaga, while 2016 saw the opening of Record go in Ibiza. A string of new openings are on the cards this year in Barcelona, Valencia and Sevilla. The company offers a fleet of modern vehicles, from small cars to luxury vehicles for those wanting to splash out. Serving over 400,000 clients a year, Record go is working towards making its online booking system simple to navigate. “Our website has to reflect the quality of service we want to offer our

customers: simple to use and packed with information to avoid any surprises later. The site details information on extras including accessories designed to improve the rental experience. “We also aim to be very transparent with the terms and conditions of our rentals,” explains Antonio C. Montes. With


just a few clicks, guests can easily book their vehicles online. Record go aims to stay at the forefront of technology, and this year has installed self-service check-in counters called ‘Just Go Box’, with the aim of improving travellers’ experiences by eliminating waiting times at counters. “Some of the best experiences and anecdotes come about as the result of a road trip,” continues Montes. “We want to make the entire car rental process as simple and enjoyable as possible.”

Issue 3  |  April 2019  |  61

Discover Southern Europe  |  Diary Dates

Joaquín Sorolla, Strolling along the Seashore, 1909. Oil on canvas, 205 × 200 cm Photo: © Fundación Museo Sorolla, Madrid

Diary Dates Our round-up of the best Southern European festivals, exhibitions, concerts and events happening in Italy, Spain, France, Portugal and Britain this month

Lille 3000 images Simulation, Alebrijes Rambla. Photo: Romain Greco

casing Portugal’s finest fish and seafood as well as a host of the country’s delicacies.


Ravello Festival, Villa Rufolo, Ravello, Italy 1 April – 1 November Ravello’s annual Music Festival must have one of the most spectacular festival settings in Europe. On the cliffs of the Amalfi Coast, venues for theatre, opera, dance and arts events include the 13th century, Moorishstyle Villa Rufolo which is said to have been the inspiration for Wagner’s Parsifal. Look out for free recitals of Beethoven, 62  |  Issue 3  |  April 2019

Mozart, Schumann, Chopin and Mendelssohn, as well as concerts by French jazz pianist and composer Claude Bolling.

Lisbon Fish & Flavours Festival, Lisboa 4 – 14 April Every spring, Lisbon’s top chefs get together for a series of tantalising tastings, workshops, talks and live demonstrations show-

International Kite Festival, Berck-surMer, Hauts de France 6 – 14 April Blue skies, strong winds and a beautiful beach – what more could you need for a perfect day of kite flying? Every year in April, over half a million people flock to the small coastal town of Berck-sur-Mer near Calais for the world-class kite flying shows from experts from around the world. These are not just any old kites either. Displays include everything from diamond-shaped kites from

Discover Southern Europe  |  Diary Dates

India to spiritual forms from Bali. Kite flyers of all levels – and indeed all ages, can take part and there are also workshops and exhibitions on the history of kite flying. Free admission.

The Origins of the Genius – Leonardo da Vinci, Museo Leonardiano, Vinci, Italy 15 April – 15 October Surrounded by centuries-old olive trees, Leonardo da Vinci’s birthplace has been the site of pilgrimages for devotees and fans of the celebrated polymath for centuries. To mark the 500th anniversary of his death, the Origins of the Genius exhibition focus-

Joaquín Sorolla, Another Marguerite!, 1892. Oil on canvas, 129.5 × 198.1 cm Photo: Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum, Washington University in St. Louis

Issue 3  |  April 2019  |  63

Discover Southern Europe  |  Diary Dates

Kite Festival, Berck sur Mer. Photo: Pas-de-Calais Tourisme

Kite Festival, Berck sur Mer. Photo: Pas-de-Calais Tourisme

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Discover Southern Europe  |  Diary Dates


Photo: Museo Leonardiano

es on his work as a painter and newly developed interactive technology allows visitors to explore masterpieces like The Last Supper and The Battle of Anghiari in previously unseen detail.

The Explosion of the Cart, Florence, Italy 21 April Easter Sunday is a big deal throughout most of Southern Europe and not least in Florence. In a tradition that dates back some 350 years, during the Easter Mass, the Archbishop of Florence ignites a rocket in the shape of a dove. The rocket then shoots along a wire from the altar to an elaborate cart, setting off a phenomenal display of fireworks. If the rocket heads back to the altar – which is the idea, a good year is supposedly guaranteed for all. If that was not enough, hundreds of people also follow a procession from Porta al Prato through the centre of Florence to the Piazza Duomo, complete with traditional costumes, musicians and flag-waving.

Chocolate Festival, Óbidos, Portugal 25 April – 5 May If you love chocolate, there is no better place to be at the end of April than the walled town of Obidos in central Portugal. The alleys of the medieval town are filled with outsized, giant chocolate figurines, chocolate houses and animals, and there

is no shortage of activities from chocolate cooking classes to a competition for ‘Chocolatier of the Year’ for budding young chocolate makers. There is also a ‘Kid’s Chocolate House’ with plenty of chocolate-related activities guaranteed to keep most children happy.

Chocolate Festival, Óbidos, Portugal. Photo:

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Discover Southern Europe  |  Diary Dates

Ravello Festival. Photo: Pino Izzo

Opening Parade for ‘Eldorado – Lille 3000’, Lille, France 27 April Every few years Lille stages a spectacular international art festival with shows by leading international artists in venues throughout the city, from the grand, 19th-century railway station to galleries of all sizes. The Lille 3000 art shows runs till December 2019 and, to kick it all off, there will be a spectacular parade through the city. In keeping with the festival’s ‘Eldorado’ theme, there will be Mexican-inspired floats and costumes and giant puppets, as well as music and dance based around the theme of the ‘Dia de los Muertos’ –- ‘Day of the Dead’. The last edition of the Lille art festival saw nearly 100,000 visitors pack the city’s streets, so get there early!

Estoril Open, Estoril, Portugal 27 April - 5 May This major event on the international sporting calendar brings together some of the world’s top tennis stars from the charismatic Italian, Fabio Fognini, to France’s Gael Monfils and Wimbledon runner-up Kevin Anderson. 66  |  Issue 3  |  April 2019

Sorolla: Spanish Master of Light, The National Gallery, London Until 7 July 19th-century Spanish impressionist Joaquín Sorolla may not be as well known as his French contemporaries, but this major retrospective at London’s National Gallery looks set to change that. Known as the ‘master of light’ for his iridescent canvases, the 58


works in the show span Sorolla’s career and range from vivid seascapes, garden views and the scenes of bathers for which he is best known, to portraits, landscapes and genre scenes of Spanish life. The show is the first UK exhibition of his work in over a century and a rare chance to see his paintings outside of Spain.

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