Discover Southern Europe, Issue 5, June 2019

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I S S U E 5 | J U N E 2 019


Magical hotels and wine


Audrey Brisson



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

L’ A B U S D ’ A L C O O L E S T D A N G E R E U X P O U R L A S A N T É , À C O N S O M M E R A V E C M O D É R A T I O N

Discover Southern Europe  |  Contents



J UNE 2 0 1 9


20 A Weekend in Siena Although it has never reached the dizzy heights of fame of neighbouring Florence, for those in the know, Siena is one of Tuscany’s – and indeed Italy’s – most captivating cities. From glorious churches to tantalising local trattorias, we spend a weekend savouring the sights.

48 An Interview with Audrey Brisson, Star of Amélie – The Musical Audrey Brisson talks all things Amélie, from why she loved Jean Pierre Jeunet’s original film to why she believes she was perfect for the role in the musical. 52 Top Ten Beaches in Portugal From family-friendly Blue Flag beaches to secluded coves and surfers’ haunts, there’s something for everyone in our pick of Portugal’s top ten beaches.

27 Magical Hotels and Wine in Bordeaux The French region of Bordeaux, just north of Paris, has been synonymous with wine for years, but in our special feature we look at not only the region’s famous wines but also some of the top places to stay. 34 Hip Hotels in Spain Design fans have long recognised that Spain has some of the hippest hotels in Europe. From Ibiza to Mallorca and Madrid, we discover some of the most exciting.


Southern European Style


Design Finds


Films & Books

57 Business 62

Diary Dates


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Discover Southern Europe  |  Editor’s note

Dear Reader,

Discover Southern Europe Issue 5, June 2019 Published 06.2019 ISSN 2632-3397 Published by Scan Group Print Uniprint

Kiki Deere Esme Fox Heidi Fuller Love Lisa Gerard Sharp Kate Harvey Hannah Jane Thompson Ingrid Opstad Katie Turner Claire Webb Cover Photo

Executive Editor Thomas Winther Creative Director Mads E. Petersen Editor Eddi Fiegel

Sales & Key Account Managers Katia Sfihi Rafael Casaleiz Nancy Tapia Mathilde Rineau Carlos Borras

Graphic Designer Mercedes Moulia

Publisher: Scan Group 15B Bell Yard Mews Bermondsey Street London SE1 3YT United Kingdom

Contributors Kathleen Bondar Nicola Rachel Colyer

Phone: +44 207 407 1937

Copy-editor Karl Batterbee

Just on the cusp of summer, June has long been celebrated across Southern Europe with spectacular street parties and festivals, from bonfires in Alicante and wine fights in La Rioja to horse racing in Ferrara and sail boats in Rouen and Bordeaux. (See our Diary Dates on page 62 for more details.) Bordeaux is also the focus of our theme exploring some of the region’s hottest places to stay: from luxury city hotels to rural châteaux, as well as, of course, its world famous wine. In our culture section, meanwhile, we visit some of Paris’ most iconic museums: from the landmark Pompidou Centre to the newer, but no less striking, Musée du quai Branly – Jacques Chirac. We also travel further afield across France to take in some of the country’s smaller, but equally fascinating museums, as well as one of its longest-running music festivals. We talk all things French with Audrey Brisson, star of Amélie – the Musical, and find out why the part of Amélie struck a chord with her personally and how she thinks Amélie’s vision and message is important to everyone. Over in Italy, we spend a weekend in stunning Siena. The city may be Tuscany’s second city, often lying in the shadow of its more famous neighbour, Florence, but, as we discover, Siena can easily give Florence a run for its money when it comes to spectacular palazzos, piazzas, art, architecture and, of course, food. Heading south-east across Europe, we check out Portugal’s top ten beaches, whilst elsewhere we’ve got our monthly feast of regular features, exploring the best in new fashion, design, films and books, as well as business, from Southern Europe. Eddi Fiegel Editor

© 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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Un art de la gastronomie Musée de la Bresse Domaine des Planons

L’agence privée 2018

1er mars 15 novembre 2019

Musée de la Bresse-Domaine des Planons 987 chemin des Seiglière 01380 SAINT CYR SUR MENTHON Tél. 03 85 36 31 22

Discover Southern Europe  |  Southern European Style & Beauty

Prints perfect


Make a statement this summer in the season’s most attention-grabbing trend. From classic florals to logo mania, prints are taking on a new look with a ‘more is more’ approach. Pile them on abundantly, clashing or co-ordinating as you please; it’s time to have some fun.

While there are no rules to pairing up your prints this season, there are a couple of tricks that can help to pull your final look together. Contrasting scales are an easy way to pair two prints together and this shirt from Italian menswear brand Ganesh does just that with a subtle contrast when the sleeves are rolled up. Choose a colour from the shirt to inspire the rest of your outfit to keep things easy on the eye. €120 (available at

This paint-splattered T-shirt from French brand A.P.C is a fun and unexpected way to do prints. It will quite literally add a splash of colour to your trusted basics but try layering it underneath a floral shirt or pairing with statement shorts to really embody the over-the-top spirit of the trend. €90

In the world of print, stripes can be treated as a neutral, as they help to ground even the busiest of patterns – so you can’t go wrong with these slip-on trainers, no matter what you’re wearing. From classic looks to statement styles, they’ll be your go-to all summer long. €29.95

Take a walk on the wild side with this tiger-emblazoned backpack. For the print-shy, accessories are an effortless way to dabble in the trend and will instantly elevate the most understated of looks. For the brave among you, the bold design is the perfect accompaniment for a full-scale printed get-up. €245

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Discover Southern Europe  |  Southern European Style & Beauty

Investing in a few pieces that can be easily layered is the key to working the print-on-print look. The slim fit, high neck and long sleeves on this top from French brand Maje mean that it will fit seamlessly underneath a shirt or dress, while the semi-sheer fabric will stop it from looking bulky. €85

A classic printed scarf will stand the test of time and is guaranteed to be a wardrobe staple for years to come. For now though, we love this logo offering from Spanish luxury brand Loewe, as a final flourish to a print-laden look. Tie it in your hair, around your neck or on your bag; the white background and varied colours mean it will go with almost anything. €250

Castañer may be best known for their classic Spanish espadrilles, but these colourful wedges will soon have pride of place in your wardrobe. The woven finish will hold its own against a patterned look but for those who prefer a more pared-back approach, they will instantly brighten up your favourite jeans and tee. €295

Ease yourself in with a dress that does the hard work for you. The multiple patterns in this busy print from hip Spanish label Uterqüe are a readymade way to tap into the trend, making it the perfect option to see you through every social event on your calendar this summer. Style it with white sandals for an elegant approach or go all-in with clashing bag and shoes for maximum impact. €150

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Discover Southern Europe  |  Design

Design Finds


With levels of sunshine that most Northern Europeans can only dream of, outdoor living is obviously a big part of the Southern European lifestyle. Come June, however, it’s hopefully time for us all to lounge around outside in style too. Get ready for summer with our picks of some of the most luxurious and stylish design pieces for your garden, terrace or balcony from our favourite Southern European brands. La vita è bella!

Portuguese brand GlammFire creates exclusive outdoor fireplaces with a difference. The stunning, highly contemporary Stravaganza fire pit has the ‘wow factor’ in spades, and although it falls firmly into the ‘investment piece’ category, is sure to become the focal point of your outdoor space. It’s also available in a choice of rusted cortex steel, lacquered carbon steel, cortex varnished steel or golden leaf dressed finishes. GlammFire, ‘Stravaganza’ fire pit, €9,390

This clever modular sofa from innovative Italian brand Nardi has a fibreglass resin frame on which you can personalise your own sofa and easily rejig and reconfigure the padded cushions on all sides. You just need to choose the colour. Nardi, ‘Komodo 5’ modular sofa, from €1,800 to €2,200 (depending on the type of cushions).

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Discover Southern Europe  |  Design

The Fila outdoor floor lamp, designed by Michel Charlot for Spanish brand Kettal, may look like a simple wire sculpture, but come sunset, the textile lampshade lights up to create a colourful shadow-play in the night. Choose from three sizes and seven colour combinations to fit your own outdoor space. Kettal, ‘Fila’ floor lamp, £POA

If you’re looking for a statement piece, look no further than this elegant 356 lounger from Spanish brand Diabla. Made from 100 per cent recyclable polyethylene, its sleek, aerodynamic lines were inspired by the first Porsche 356 cars from the 1950s, and consequently, it’s as ergonomic, comfortable and durable as you might expect. Go for pink or red to really stand out from the crowd. Diabla, ‘356’ Chaiselongue, €590

This stylish but fun children’s picnic hut by French outdoor furniture brand Fermob is perfect as a den and manages to feel both open and secluded at the same time. Guaranteed to keep little ones busy with their own adventures, they can eat and play all summer long whilst still being protected from the sun or rain. Add the matching Adada rocking horse chair for extra fun. Fermob, children’s picnic hut, €1,055 Fermob, ‘Adada’ rocking horse chair, €227

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Discover Southern Europe  |  Films

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




hroughout June and July, the Barbican Centre in London is hosting a series of films, After the Wave: Young French Cinema in the 1970s. Sometimes affronting, at times tender, these films from young French directors on the brink of their careers are less stylistic than their celebrated New Wave predecessors such as Jean-Luc Godard and Francois Truffaut, but no less fascinating. Including a raft of films from women directors (Chantal Akerman’s Je, Tu, Il, Elle, Catherine Breillat’s A Real Young Girl and Diane Kury’s Peppermint Soda), the ‘70s produced sometimes raw and frank films exploring themes such as coming-of-age, female sexuality and working-class life in France. The films were also, in some cases, a launching pad for actors who would go on to become major cinematic names, such as the young Gérard Depardieu. Loulou, directed by Maurice Pialat, is a case in point, featuring the young Depardieu

Vincent van Gogh, Almond Blossom, February 1890, Photo: Van Gogh Museum

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With mesmerising cinematography to complement Van Gogh’s paintings, Van Gogh & Japan is a discovery of how the Dutch master viewed the French landscape through the prism of ‘Japonisme’, a craze for all things Japanese sweeping France in the 1880s.

Loulou, After the Wave.

years before he went on to find international fame in films such as Jean de Florette, Cyrano de Bergerac and the English language Green Card with Andie McDowell. In Loulou, he stars as a feckless stud with a minor criminal conviction alongside another actor who would subsequently become a major name in French cinema – Isabelle Huppert (star of Madame Bovary and recently Greta, amongst many others) as an aimless accountant’s wife. Nelly (Huppert) abandons her failing marriage and embarks on a hedonistic relationship with the promiscuous Loulou (Depardieu) which, after wear and tear, crashes into resigned despondency. The young actors steal the screen, natural in appearance and performance, and without any airbrushing or sentimentality. Unbridled ‘70s chauvinism aside, Loulou is remarkable as a fly-on-the-wall drama which embraces the moral revolution of its time. In contrast, the cinematic documentary Van Gogh & Japan, directed by David Bickerstaff, traces the period from Van Gogh’s hectic time on the Paris art scene and his subsequent retreat to Provence, to his untimely death in Auvers-sur-Oise in Paris’ northwestern suburbs.

In Paris, brimming with inspiration from the popular Japanese woodblock prints (‘ukiyo-e’), Van Gogh employed similar techniques within his own Impressionist style, producing the Montmartre paintings and Portrait of Pere Tanguy. At the peak of Van Gogh’s Japanese influence, he was in Arles and Les SaintesMaries-de-la-Mer and you can see the impact of Japanese winter landscapes in paintings he created such as Snowy Landscape with Arles in the Background and The Pink Peach Tree depicting silhouettes of bark and delicate blossoms. Also featured in the film is one of Van Gogh’s most famous and beautiful works: Almond Blossom, painted after a stint in the asylum at Saint Rémy in Provence, a perfect example of both his interest in ‘L’Art Japonais’ and his enduring love of the Provençal countryside. After the Wave: Young French Cinema in the 1970s is at the Barbican from 6 June to 25 July 2019 series/afterthewave

Van Gogh & Japan will be on release at 250 cinemas across the UK from 4 June. Facebook: exhibitiononscreen Instagram: @exhibitiononscreen Twitter: @artonscreen

Discover Southern Europe  |  Books

Enrique Vila-Matas. Photo: Elena Blanco



ike its rebellious hero, the French novel The Last Adventure of Napoleon Sunshine is a breath of fresh air: a jaunty, poignant tale about an octogenarian who refuses to grow old and conform to society’s expectations. At the tender age of 85, Monsieur Sunshine divorces his bewildered wife, adopts a dog and hatches a plan to kidnap his favourite radio host. Written by Pascal Ruter, the Parisian author best known for his successful novels for younger readers, The Last Adventure is his first work of adult fiction. Translated into English by Simon Pare, the book is set in the suburbs of Paris and narrated by Napoleon’s partner in crime: his wimpy 10-year-old grandson. Young Leonard idolises his indomitable grandfather – an ex-boxer who loves to play pranks on his straitlaced banker son, hates being called grandpa, and says what he thinks – “unlike a lot of other grown-ups who went round in circles without really getting to the point”.


Their misadventures are punctuated by frank letters from Leonard’s long-suffering grandma, who moves to the south of France and reluctantly starts dating. “It’s like when you want to buy a car, you never know whether to get the basic model that’s reliable and never breaks down, or the model with lots of extras which is more tricky”, she muses. At Christmas, she guzzles too much fizz and finally lets rip, spewing expletives at her gobsmacked son.

Napoleon Sunshine end. During a scorching summer, newly unemployed Mac decides to start a diary and sets about chronicling his daily walks in Barcelona. After bumping into a successful author, he becomes obsessed with one of his books and begins to confuse fiction with reality.

At the heart of the story is the touching relationship between grandson and grandad and – as Napoleon gets into more serious scrapes – both of them eventually have to face up to reality: the former boxing champion is no longer invincible. With his first foray into fiction for adults, Ruter does a wonderful job of capturing the emotional rollercoaster of dementia, as seen through a child’s eyes.

Vila-Matas is one of Spain’s most original contemporary novelists and likes to stuff his books with literary references. In lesser hands, that could get dull, but this diary-cum-novel skips along thanks to his hapless, half-drunk protagonist. Mac may have an encyclopedic knowledge of fiction, but he’s hopelessly lacking in self-awareness and incapable of holding a civil conversation with his exasperated wife. Beautifully translated by Margaret Jull Costa and Sophie Hughes, Mac and His Problem is a dazzling, dizzying meditation on the art of storytelling.

Spanish author Enrique Vila-Matas’ latest novel, Mac and His Problem, is about a grandfather who decides to embark on a writing career without consulting his wife, but that’s where the similarities with

The Last Adventure of Napoleon Sunshine, by Pascal Ruter, is published by Abacus on 6 June (£13.99). Mac and His Problem, by Enrique Vila-Matas, is published by Harvill Secker on 6 June (£14.99). Issue 5  |  June 2019  |  11


Photo: Luc Boegly

A cultural landmark in Paris As arguably one of the most beautiful cities in the world, Paris is not short of iconic monuments. Topping the list, of course, is the Eiffel Tower, closely followed by the Arc de Triomphe. However, in recent years, a relatively new building, the Musée du quai Branly – Jacques Chirac, just a stone’s throw from the Eiffel Tower itself, has become a strong contender for inclusion in Paris’ list of top Instagrammable buildings. It also happens to be one of the city’s most fascinating new museums and the fourth most-visited in France, with between 1.3 and 1.5 million visitors a year. TEXT: EDDI FIEGEL  |  PHOTOS: © MUSÉE DU QUAI BRANLY - JACQUES CHIRAC


he Musée du quai Branly – Jacques Chirac, is dedicated to the art and civilisations of Africa, Asia, Oceania and the Americas. The idea behind the museum, which opened in 2006, was to take a fresh, stimulating and modern look at these cultures, celebrating their diversity and originality. The other key concept behind the museum was to establish a ‘dialogue between cultures’, creating openness between different countries from all parts of the world. Within the permanent collection you’ll find some 343,000 artworks including photographs, statues, textiles, costumes, head12  |  Issue 5  |  June 2019

Photo: Tim Franco

dresses and masks from the civilisations of the different regions. These span thousands of years from the Neolithic era and ancient antiquity through the 16th and 17th centuries to the master explorers and ethnographers of the 20th century. Many of the works are considered to be masterpieces of their respective cultures and there

Discover Southern Europe  |  Culture Special - France

tions have been held over the last ten years and the museum is also home to both its own theatre and cinema with a lively programme of concerts, performances and film screenings, as well as talks by artists, scientists and leading cultural personalities.

Eye-catching architecture amidst an urban oasis The building itself is as much of a draw to visitors as its contents. Spread over four parallel but separate buildings, the Musée du quai Branly – Jacques Chirac was designed by internationally renowned French architect Jean Nouvel.

Photo: Tim Franco

striking, featuring large, brightly-coloured rectangles of red, brown and yellow. With nearly 170 trees and various plant species, the garden has become not only a cultural landmark but an urban oasis for the millions of visitors who enjoy the space every year. The Musée du quai Branly – Jacques Chirac has become one of Paris’ top attractions. Visitors come to spend the day at the museum, not only exploring its collections and exhibitions, but also enjoying concerts and performances in the lush urban oasis of the gardens.

The principal Museum building, which houses the main permanent collection, stands out amidst Paris' historic buildings with an eye-catching, living-wall style façade on one side covered in huge swathes of foliage. The wall was created by botanist Patrick Blanc and includes 15,000 plants of 150 species.

Unlike many of the great world museums of previous centuries, the Musée du quai Branly – Jacques Chirac was purpose built for the 21st century, giving visitors a memorable, stimulating and vibrant experience of different world cultures and civilisations.

All four buildings sit on stilts above an expansive garden designed by landscape architect Gilles Clément, and the rear façade is no less Facebook: museeduquaibranlyjacqueschirac Instagram: @quaibranly

is also a collection of some 10,000 musical instruments, as well as over 700,000 photographs in the museum’s research centre. The collections are exhibited in a highly contemporary, non-linear manner so as to juxtapose works from different eras and cultures in a thought-provoking and stimulating fashion. There are also guided visits, storytelling tours, workshops and audio guides which help give visitors an additional insight into the exhibits. Widely renowned as both a cultural centre and a major resource for international research, the Museum is also family-friendly with a wide programme of activities for children of all ages from three upwards, including storytelling, interactive workshops and workbooks. But the Museum is not just about its permanent collections. Major temporary exhibitions are held each year on subjects of all eras, often demonstrating the influence of the works of earlier civilisations on contemporary pieces. More than a hundred exhibi-

Photo: Patrick Tourneboeuf

Issue 5  |  June 2019  |  13

Discover Southern Europe  |  Culture Special - France

Dora Maar, Mannequin-étoile © Adagp, Paris, 2019. Left: Set in the Châtelet - Les Halles area, the Centre Pompidou is an icon of 20th-century architecture. Right: The Centre Pompidou stages first-class temporary exhibitions, such as one featuring photographer-painter Dora Maar (until 29 July 2019), which then moves to the Tate Modern in London.

Pioneering Paris Set in the heart of Paris, the Centre Pompidou is itself a beating heart of contemporary culture, even beyond French borders. An iconic, inside-out building houses Europe’s largest collection of modern and contemporary art. The Centre, dedicated to all forms of visual culture, celebrates art, design, architecture, photography and cinema and you’ll inevitably find yourself admiring its pioneering spirit, must-see exhibitions and increasing international swagger.

interior space has been freed up for exhibitions and events. The huge range of events strays into the fields of music, dance, theatre and performance art, along with regular conference series. Films, meanwhile, delve into the cultural overlap between different disciplines and the visual arts.



verything you can imagine is real,” declared Picasso – an edict the Centre Pompidou would seem to endorse in this palace of dreams. This radical, high-tech, all-exposed building looks just as cutting-edge as when it was created, back in 1977, by superstar architects Richard Rogers and Renzo Piano. This Parisian landmark is famous for its colour-coded symbolism, with yellow translating as circulating electricity, green for water, and blue for air conditioning. Such daring verve is written into the DNA of the building and colours its collections, its multidisciplinary approach and its desire to reach diverse audiences.

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Where all art forms meet The public spaces in front of this bold building attract performance artists and crowds of onlookers: all part of the inclusive appeal of Centre Pompidou. If the building is playful, pioneering and futuristic, then the Pompidou philosophy infuses the spirit of the building. A multidisciplinary remit means that the mission is to educate, enlighten and entertain, mostly with a light touch. With its vast central lobby, rooftop restaurant, design bookshop and library, visitors can see an exhibition, browse for books, catch a concert, or make a beeline for a bird’s eye view of Paris. Despite the significance of the permanent collections, much

The Pompidou can cater to all ages and tastes and family activities provide endless ways to explore modern art and contemporary culture. Progressive, accessible, democratic and unintimidating, the Centre

Joan Miro, Peinture © Succession Miro/Adagp, Paris 2019 Philadelphia Museum of Art, A.E. Gallatin Collection

Discover Southern Europe  |  Culture Special - France

Pompidou draws visitors from a huge variety of cultures and walks of life, but not by dumbing down.

Cultural powerhouse Exhibitions aim for excellence and live up to France’s reputation for intellectual rigour in the visual arts. As home to the National Museum of Modern Art, the Pompidou is renowned for its rich 20th- and 21st-century art collections. Presented chronologically, from 1905 onwards, the museum traces pioneering art movements, ranging from Fauvism, Cubism and Surrealism to Pop Art. The core collections include masterpieces by such luminaries as Picasso, Matisse, Modigliani, Braque, Chagall, Miró and Kandinsky. The contemporary period, from 1960 to the present day, meanwhile, covers greats such as Francis Bacon, Mark Rothko, Andy Warhol, Niki de Saint Phalle, Yves Klein and Anish Kapoor. Enriched by private donations, the museum is still at the cutting edge of contemporary art. Underlining the depth and eclecticism of the Pompidou are the additional collections, which appeal to differing tastes. The graphic art collection, with works by Chagall, Matisse and Miró, vies with the photographic collection, featuring masterpieces by Man Ray and Henri Cartier-Bresson. Design fans might prefer the design section, with creations by Eileen Gray, Ettore Sottsass and Philippe Starck, while film buffs head to the cinema collection, which runs from cinematic history to film installations.

Robert Delaunay, Manège de cochons © Bertrand Prévost, Centre Pompidou, MNAM-CCI /Dist. RMN-GP

La Vénus d’Amiens, Bertrand Lavier © Bertrand Lavier,   Adagp – Paris

Anthropométrie-ANT 84, Yves Klein © Succession Yves Klein c/o Adagp, Paris 2019 Photo: Muriel Anssens / Ville de Nice

free-spirited poster girl for the 1930s, Dora Maar deserves her place in art history, as does the Pompidou itself. Conceived of as a national institution for culture and the arts, the Centre Pompidou still

cultivates global ambitions. As the inspiration for a new generation of museums and multi-tasking cultural hubs, the Pompidou continues to attract new fans. The Parisian powerhouse now boasts cultural outposts outside Paris, from Metz to Malaga, with a new outpost due soon in Shanghai – the museum’s first foray outside Europe.

In addition to the permanent collections, regular blockbuster exhibitions bring extra novelty to visiting art-lovers. This summer, Prehistory, a Modern Enigma, delves deep into the mythology we have created around this murky period, lost in the mists of time. Seen through the haunted eyes of artists such as Picasso, Cézanne and Louise Bourgeois, Prehistory reveals primeval fears around our origins.

The Centre Pompidou is a cultural beacon for our times, quintessentially Parisian yet with an increasingly global vision. Curiously, one of the most provocative buildings of the 20th century remains at the heart of Parisian life in the 21st century. Art fans can take in an exhibition, head to the rooftop and, with a cocktail in hand, watch the light dance over the Eiffel Tower and the Sacré Coeur. This could only be Paris, timeless yet in touch with its times, much like the Centre Pompidou itself.

Exploring an entirely different area, an exhibition on Dora Maar (1907-97) is the biggest ever French retrospective of this French photographer-painter’s work. Often sidelined as Picasso’s muse or treated as the Facebook: Twitter: @CentrePompidou Instagram: @centrepompidou WeChat: @centrepompidou

Tempting temporary exhibitions

Bleu de ciel, Vassily Kandinsky © Centre Pompidou, MNAM-CCI /Dist. RMN-GP

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Discover Southern Europe  |  Culture Special - France

A treasure trove of tools in Troyes “A tool is only beautiful if it’s good. But a tool, if good, isn’t necessarily beautiful”. Wise words from Paul Feller – the man who started the incredible collection of everyday objects on display at the Maison de l’Outil et de la Pensée Ouvrière (The Museum of Tools and the Philosophy of Labour) in Troyes, south-east of Paris. TEXT: KATIE TURNER  |  PHOTOS: MAISON DE L’OUTIL ET DE LA PENSÉE OUVRIÈRE


ith these ideas in mind, Feller travelled to every corner of France building his collection of 12,000 tools, all of which are displayed, so apprentices could understand the history of their trade and perhaps improve on that knowledge in the future.

display in one case, the display is as much a work of art as a museum piece. “It’s a real ‘wow’ moment for most of our visitors,” she says. “They take a look and see what they want to see behind the glass, beyond the trowels, or at least that’s the intention.”

Feller may no longer be with us himself, but his philosophy is still going strong. “I learn something every day,” says Agathe Colombié, the museum’s communications manager. “I’ve been here two years and I don’t think I’ve taken it all in!”

Housed in one of the most distinctive buildings in Troyes, the 16th-century listed building resonates with the collection itself. Originally an orphanage, the children who passed through were given a trade so they could improve their lives when they eventually moved out.

The oldest tool on display is a hand plane dating from 1650, and who knows what stories it might tell? “The world is obviously changing,” says Colombi., “Clog-makers and wheelwrights are workers of the past and extremely rare nowadays, but it’s important that those jobs are remembered as they were a significant part of our history.” A special mention also goes to the exhibit of the humble trowel. With about 300 on 16  |  Issue 5  |  June 2019

France’s second-largest technical library is also on the site. Among the 32,000 books, there are 35 volumes of the first edition of Diderot as well as d’Alembert’s Encyclopédie, dating from the mid-1700s. The museum chronicles manual work through the ages, asking visitors, “Who uses this tool?” and “Who are these people?”. Sometimes those questions will be

answered by a live demonstration from a real-life craftsperson. Colombié sums it up perfectly: “Looking closely at these tools is a way of getting to know how the person using them worked, but also perhaps how they loved the jobs they were doing.” Facebook: maisondeloutiletdelapenseeouvriere Instagram: @mopotroyes

Discover Southern Europe  |  Culture Special - France

Museum of the Battle of Fromelles Opened in 2014, almost a century after the tragic battle that it was built to commemorate, the Museum of the Battle of Fromelles is a must-see for anyone interested in the history of the First World War. A British and Australian military operation which took place on the Western Front on the 19 to 20 July 1916, near the Belgium border town of Lille, the Fromelles battle could be considered one of the most tragic events in Australia’s history. “It was a manoeuvre to keep the German army busy during the Allied offensive on The Somme, but it was a terrible failure,” explains Gautier Jacmaire, the museum’s assistant director. The troops were decimated during the battle and many of the bodies remained missing. Then, in 2009, researchers discovered a communal grave near Fromelles in an area known as Pheasant Wood and the fallen soldiers were reburied in a purposebuilt cemetery. Housed in a purpose-built, intentionally sober concrete building, the Museum of

the Battle of Fromelles, which also has a well-stocked book shop and a small cafeteria, tells visitors the full story of the battle. “There’s a large map that shows how the battle unfolded and there are reconstructions showing life in the trenches,”

Finding hope in darkness

the museum’s assistant director explains. “Through the use of DNA tests, 166 of the soldiers have been identified so far - for me, the most fascinating area of the gallery is the wall covered in photos of these soldiers,” he adds. Guided tours can combine both a visit to the museum and the cemetery.


You’re in a huge quarry in north-east France, and hundreds of people are acting right in front of you. Sounds and music come from 11 different angles, and 100-metre-high projections light up the space. This is no ordinary play. This is a new-andimproved version of Des Flammes à la Lumière, an immersive spectacle telling the story of WWI and the infamously deadly 1916 Battle of Verdun – including the lead-up, the hellish duration, and recovery. Created by cultural association la Connaissance de la Meuse (CM), this is history rendered vital and impassioned, for people who might never set foot in a museum (over 509,000 people have seen the show since its first creation in 1996). “We can reach so many people this way,” explains co-writer, director and CM President, Jean-Luc Demandre. “We demonstrate that war was not inevitable, and that even in the worst horrors, humans can endure and overcome hatred.” Created entirely by volunteers, the 250-actor performance is also a testament to cross-cultural co-operation,


with participants of all ages from France, Belgium and Germany. And, far from an irrelevant nod to the past, the creators are well aware that today’s political climate makes the show more relevant than ever. The final scene plays an extract of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony – part of which is the European anthem, Ode to Joy – while performers shake hands and the European flag is projected onto the quarry’s sloping walls. Far from a controversial political statement, the scene is a heartfelt acknowledgement of the power of unity in the wake of a

historical human tragedy. “Say what you like about Europe,” says Demandre, “but it has allowed us to live for 75 years in peace. Peace is not only the absence of war, it is something we must all maintain everyday. Ours is a message of hope.” Facebook: Connaissance de la Meuse

The show takes place 21, 22, 28 and 29 June, and 5, 6, 12, 13, 19, 20, 26 and 27 July 2019. Tickets are available online. Spectators can ask for free headsets, to listen in a variety of languages, including English, as well as options for the blind or deaf.

Issue 5  |  June 2019  |  17

Discover Southern Europe  |  Culture Special - France

Music amidst the pines and vines For the director of the Reggae Sun Ska Festival near Bordeaux, Fred Lachaize, creating the festival has been almost a life’s work. Featuring some of the biggest names in the reggae world, including Buju Banton, Ziggy Marley and The Skatalites (featuring Stranger Cole), Reggae Sun Ska is the longest running and most important reggae festival in France and was started by Lachaize some 22 years ago, when he was just 20 years old. TEXT: EDDI FIEGEL  |  PHOTOS: REGGAE SUN SKA


wanted to introduce reggae music to a wider audience in France,” says Lachaize, “but I was also influenced by Californian surf culture and that way of enjoying the sunshine and an outdoor life. So it was that as well as a French sense of wellbeing and joie de vivre that I wanted to bring to the festival, so that people could come here and enjoy the music amidst beautiful surroundings with their friends and family.”

Situated just an hour and a half’s drive north of Bordeaux amidst the lush vineyards, pine forests and oaks of the Médoc, the festival features three main stages as well as two other spaces for sound systems and dub, and the wide range of acts include not only reggae stars, but also hip-hop, electronic, world music, electronic and dub artists. But it’s not just about music either: a wide range of food stalls offer an array of different cuisines and there’s also plenty to do, from ‘pétanque’ (boules) competitions to group yoga classes and massages. There’s also a chill-out area and the festival is supremely family-friendly, too. In the ‘Kids’ Area’, there are special performances for kids and child-sized bathroom facilities, as well as noise-reducing headphones which can be bought or rented for younger children.

18  |  Issue 5  |  June 2019

“Whether you’re visiting with friends, as a couple or as a family, Reggae Sun Ska is about forgetting your everyday life.” says Lachaize. “It’s a place to leave your problems behind and spend three days living well, eating well and enjoying time with friends or family. It’s about enjoying music, but most of all, it’s about enjoying life.” Tickets for Reggae Sun Ska are 95 euros for a three-day pass, bought in advance (or 110 euros at the gates), or 40 euros for a oneday pass (or 47 euros on the day). Facebook: Reggae Sun Ska Festival Official Instagram: @reggaesunska Twitter: @reggaesunska


Le Boutique Hotels Collection places luxury accommodation at the heart of its concept. Le Boutique Hotels Collection places luxury accommodation at the heart of its concept. Offering you, the guest, a truly unique experience to cherish in the moment and in memory. Offering you, the guest, a truly unique experience to cherish in the moment and in memory. Each Each Boutique hotel, luxury villavilla andand exclusive apartment been handpicked handpickedfor foritsitsprivileged privileged location, Boutique hotel, luxury exclusive apartmentwithin withinthe thecollection collection has has been location, architectural Le Boutique Hotelshistorical Collection places luxuryand accommodation the heart of its concept. historicalimportance importance and architecturalatbeauty. beauty. Offering you, the guest, a truly unique experience to cherish in the moment in The The essence of Le Boutique Hotels Collection is the artful juxta-positioning ofand contemporary design essence of Le Boutique Hotels Collection is the artful juxta-positioning of contemporary Each Boutique hotel, luxury villa and exclusive apartment within the collection has been handpicked for its privileged location, with beautifully restored historic properties, giving a new meaning and soul to each location. with beautifully restored historic properties, giving a new meaning and soul to each location.

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20  |  Issue 5  |  June 2019

Discover Southern Europe  |  A Weekend in Siena

A weekend in Siena:

Journey back to medieval Italy in Tuscany’s ‘second’ city You may think of it as that ‘other’ city in Tuscany – the one that’s not Florence. You may plan to visit ‘if’ you have time, once you’ve trod through the museums of Florence, traipsed through the ruins of Rome and plied the canals of Venice by gondola. But a weekend, or even longer, in Siena – the city in Tuscany that isn’t Florence – reveals a compact, manageable city with a glorious medieval centre, winding narrow streets and alleys, and a fascinating history. In Siena, more so than in bigger, bolder Florence, it’s much easier to scratch beneath the surface of brick, marble and wood beam, and discover the heart of one of Italy’s most beautiful and interesting small cities. TEXT: ELIZABETH HEATH  |  PHOTOS: MUNICIPALITY OF SIENA


nce divided by a bitter, bloody rivalry, Siena and Florence are today separated by only 43 odd miles, and a few centuries. While Florence won the war and wore the crown of the Italian Renaissance, Siena saw its fortunes peak earlier, in the 1200s to 1300s, when it was a centre of banking, trade, learning and the arts. After the Black Plague decimated the population of the Republic of Siena in 1348, the clocks seem to have almost stopped here, to the point that were a Sienese of the 14th century transported to modern Siena, he would still recognise its piazzas, streets and churches and, very likely, be able to find his way home. That’s how little has changed in Tuscany’s ‘second city’, and that’s what enchants first-time and returning visitors.

flaky, filled cornetti, or croissants, and wash it down with the contents of your tiny cup. You’re just one block off Piazza del Campo, most often just referred to as Campo, Siena’s shell-shaped main square. While it’s wise to resist the urge to dine in one of the overpriced restaurants set right on Campo, we’d allow for an overpriced drink or gelato here, if only just to sit and gaze at daily life

go past in one of Europe’s grandest public living rooms. At the bottom of the slanted piazza, you’ll find the imposing Palazzo Pubblico and Torre del Mangia, both worth a visit (www.comune. Museo-Civico). The palazzo has functioned as Siena’s town hall since the 1200s, and its civic museum houses a fresco cycle you may recognize from art history class: Ambrogio Lorenzetti’s Allegory and Effects of Good and Bad Government. Fascinating not just for their look at medieval city and country life, the frescoes represent an important moment in medieval history – the recognition that a responsible, well-functioning government was essential for a healthy, peaceful, productive populace. Those with hearty lungs and knees should make the climb to the top of the Torre del

Day One: Major sights and a saint’s head Start a solid day of sightseeing with a proper Italian coffee at Caffè Fiorella (www., which brews what is widely regarded as the city’s best espresso. If you need a second breakfast, which Italians typically take around 10am, grab one of their

Santa Maria Della Scala.

Issue 5  |  June 2019  |  21

Discover Southern Europe  |  A Weekend in Siena

Duomo of Siena.

Mangia, to be rewarded with spectacular views of the Sienese countryside, as well as a bird’s eye view of the layout of the ‘centro storico’, or historic centre. Take your leave of the Campo for now and wind your way up to blocky, gothic Basilica Cateriniana San Domenico (, famous as a veneration site for Saint Catherine of Siena, a nun and mystic of the Dominican Order. Though most of St. Catherine is buried in Rome, where she died in 1380, the possessive Sienese sought to bring at least part of their favourite daughter back to the city of her birth, and smuggled her severed head out of Rome a few years after her death. The mummified head now has its own altar in San Domenico. Now that you’re away from touristy Campo, find a rustic tavern or ‘enogastronimia’ – a fancy word for a place that sells wine and charcuterie to eat in or to go – and settle in for an easy lunch of local cheeses, cured meats and bread. We like Toscana Golosa ( – which translates as ‘the greedy Tuscan’ – but there are a number of good, reasonably priced places to eat in this area. Spend the afternoon on a scavenger hunt of sorts, by counting how many ‘contrade’ 22  |  Issue 5  |  June 2019

you pass through. Contrade are Siena’s ancient wards, and ten of the city’s 17 contrade send a horse and rider to the famous Palio bareback horse race on the Campo. Each ward has its own symbol, most frequently an animal, and a fun way to see which contrade you’re in is to look for the fanciful street lamps depicting that ward’s colours, flag and symbol. Make your first dinner in Siena a special one, by reserving in advance at La Taverna di San Giuseppe (, a very highly rated restaurant that lives up to its hype. You will spend a lot of money to dine here, so go for the full monty of antipasto, pasta course (primo piatto), meat course (secondo) and dessert (dolce), and enjoy a meal and experience you’ll be talking about for years to come.

Day Two: The Duomo and medieval medicine Reserve in advance for a timed entry to the Duomo of Siena (www.operaduomo.siena. it), with its stunning rose marble façade and structure of stripes of green and white striped marble. A combined ticket, called an OPA SI Pass, allows access to all parts of the cathedral interior, including the crypt and baptistery. The cathedral itself is dizzy-

ingly beautiful, a riot of marble, mosaic and sculpture. Amazingly intricate inlaid marble floors once told the stories of the Bible to an illiterate public. Though most are covered up to protect them, at least a few are always on display. After a few hours exploring every nook and cranny of the Duomo, head across the piazza, OPA SI Pass in hand, to Santa Maria della Scala (www.santamariadellascala. com), one of Europe’s first hospitals, likely built for pilgrims passing through Siena on their way to Rome. Now a museum, the former hospital contains fascinating displays on the history of early medicine, as well as archaeological collections, religious relics and a 14th-century fresco cycle of the life of the Virgin Mary. Before your Siena sojourn winds down, be sure to sample ‘ricciarelli’, soft almond cookies dusted in powdered sugar. Try them freshly made at Il Magnifico (, a few blocks off Campo.

Need to know British Airways offers non-stop flights (a little more than two hours) from London airports to either Pisa (PSA) or Florence (FLR), both with easy train connections to Siena. Both

Discover Southern Europe  |  A Weekend in Siena

EasyJet and Ryanair fly into Pisa from a number of UK cities. Siena is easily reachable by train from anywhere in Italy. The train station is about two kilometres downhill from Siena’s centre, so not really walkable for anyone with luggage. Frequent buses connect the station to the ‘centro’, or you can take a taxi directly to your hotel. If you have a car, ask your hotel in advance where you can park it for the duration of your stay in pedestrian-only Siena. For a budget stay, Hotel Antica Torre (www. offers comfortable rooms in a converted 16th-century tower. Hotel Palazzo Ravizza ( is less than ten minutes’ walk from Piazza del Campo and has a garden with wonderful countryside views. For a splurge, the palatial Grand Hotel Continental (www. grand-hotel-continental-siena/) is Siena’s only five-star property and is rich with every imaginable Old World luxury.

Piazza del Campo.

Museo Civico.

Issue 5  |  June 2019  |  23


The embattled Citadelle de Bitche, a landmark military fortress in the high peaks of the Northern Vosges, also features a Peace Garden at the foot of the castle ramparts. Photo: ©Gilles Pecqueur & Pays de Bitche

Castles, crystal and countryside in the borderlands The Pays de Bitche are beguiling borderlands in the Northern Vosges, sandwiched between Alsace and Germany. Set in Lorraine, these lands have long been a cultural crossroads and a pawn in the politics of the great powers. Framed by forested mountain peaks, with ruined castles, military forts and wild wooded landscapes, this region is made for history buffs and hikers in search of ‘the real France’. TEXT: LISA GERARD-SHARP  |  PHOTOS: PAYS DE BITCHE


inning down this mysterious landscape is part of the magic. Le Pays de Bitche lies in the Moselle ‘département’ of the merged mega-region dubbed Le Grand Est. These borderlands are bound by Alsace to the south and to the German Rhineland-Palatinate and Saarland to the north. “We’re recognised in UNESCO's World Network of Biosphere reserves,” explains Delphine Descourvières, who represents tourism in the region, “and we can offer not just special wildlife but walks through amazing scenery, with fortress-topped forests and castles that have helped shape European history.”

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UNESCO-listed scenery

cliffs. The nature reserve preserves the forestry belt, the habitat of peregrine falcons and lynxes, along with a sustainable, eco-friendly, rural way of life beyond the big urban centres. The landscape, running from wetlands to uplands, also provides a home to grey herons, kingfishers, tawny owls and storks, along with highland cattle, and even a bison ranch, where North American bison roam.

Hugging the Franco-German border, the UNESCO-listed Northern Vosges is celebrated for its dense forests, sandstone outcrops and myriad streams and lakes. It might feel gloriously remote yet it’s also a stepping-stone to Alsace and Germany, with the renowned vineyards of Moselle and Alsace on its doorstep, along with sophisticated Strasbourg and Metz. The Pays de Bitche is also made for exploring on foot, with over 400 miles of marked border trails.

One steep hike takes in four strongholds, including the Château du Falkenstein, the picturesque medieval ruins of a pink sandstone fortress. You can even borrow a top-quality hiking kit free of charge from the tourist office. For keen cyclists, the 28-mile-loop known as Mills without Borders is a cycling path that reaches the German frontier. While once war-torn paths have become peace trails, the border castles are a reminder of the region’s earlier history on the military frontline.

The cross-border Northern Vosges National Park is filled with dense forests, heathlands, peatlands, rocky outcrops and sandstone

Castle country Castle country peaks in Bitche, one of the biggest strongholds in the Vosges, and one

Discover Southern Europe  |  Pays de Bitche

of the last Moselle towns liberated in 1945. Set on a rocky spur, the Citadelle de Bitche is a red sandstone fort looming over the town. Remodelled by renowned French military engineer Vauban on Louis XIV’s orders, but only finished in 1754, it was built to buttress the power of the French kings. Cross the great drawbridge to vertiginous views of the Northern Vosges and you’ll see why these borderlands were irresistible to invaders. The most recent battleground was the Maginot Line, with the French forts built as a bulwark against German might in the 1930s. Exploring fearsome Fort Simserhof or the underground barracks of Fort Casso gives a fascinating insight into military life on the frontline. Built on a rocky spur, the medieval Château de Waldeck was dismantled during the Thirty Years War and never rebuilt. It makes for a romantic view from many hiking trails. Photo: ©Lezbroz

Fort Simserhof, meanwhile, faces the German border and, as a major fortification on the Maginot Line, was thought invincible. A visit to the Fort these days includes a journey through the munitions area of the museum-site on armoured trucks so you can relive the 1940 Blietzkrieg through the haunting memories of the valiant French troops garrisoned here.

All that glitters The area also has a long-standing tradition of glass-making with both sparkling glass and crystal crafted here for centuries – a nod to the vibrant, sophisticated side of life in the Vosges. These forests have long held all the essential elements for glassmaking, from plentiful water and wood to silica and potassium. The Meisenthal Glass Museum originally

began as a glassworks where the pioneering, world-renowned master-designer Emile Gallé started out, making Meisenthal the cradle of Art Nouveau glassware. Today you can watch glass blowers at work before exploring a superb collection of vintage glass, including Gallé creations, etched with plant patterns. In 1781, the Cristallerie de Saint-Louis introduced lead, the crucial ingredient in crystal, and became the first company in continental Europe to perfect the crystal-making process. This illustrious crystal-maker was boosted by French royal patronage but is now royally run by Hermès. Admire flawless crystal, prized for its brilliant, multi-faceted effect, before being tempted to toast the region in Moselle wine. As Descourvières says: “Most trails swiftly turn into cultural explorations of castles or crafts centres, a reminder that glassmaking and crystal-working are still cultivated here. Ours might seem a low-key landscape, but it’s also a glittering one.” Twitter: @tourismepaysdebitche @regiongrandest Top, left: Musée du Cristal Saint-Louis: When tapped, lead crystal makes a ringing sound, unlike ordinary glass.   Photo: ©Cristallerie Saint-Louis Middle, left: Meisenthal: Meisenthal Glass Museum is a showcase for Art Nouveau glassware, while the Glass Hall is used for events. Photo:© G. Rebmeister Bottom, left and right: Hike into the UNESCO World Heritage landscape of Le Pays de Bitche, framed by forested peaks, carpeted by heathlands, and dotted with wetlands and lakes suitable for swimming.

Photo: ©Lezbroz

Issue 5  |  June 2019  |  25

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Savouring the French art de vivre among the vines “The family loved staying here so much, they bought it!” says Benjamin Robic, the director of the Grand Barrail Château Hotel. “You don’t get much higher praise than that.” The family in question is the Guillard family, who were regular guests at the hotel until the beginning of 2019, when they became the new owners. TEXT: KATIE TURNER  |  PHOTOS: GRAND BARRAIL CHÂTEAU HOTEL


he Guillard family already owned the neighbouring Fonroque vineyard which produces one of Saint-Emilion’s famed ‘grand crus’, as well as the first organic and biodynamic Bordeaux. Whilst overseeing the renovation of Fonroque estate, they fell in love with Hotel Grand Barail. “We want to put the region’s finest vintages at the forefront of what we do, but in the right environment,” says Robic. “We very much wanted to keep the identity of this historic château, showcasing the way we enjoy the finer things in life in France, like food and, of course, wine.” The Grand Barrail, which is part of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World group, has a colourful history. Built by brewer René Bouchart in 1902 in the typical Bordeaux style, it was originally intended as a gift for his wife-to-be, but ended up as a house for his mistress. It

restaurant focuses on quality local cuisine, accompanied by some of the world’s finest wines. You can also relax at the spa, which includes a hammam, sauna and hot tub, as well as a range of ‘Cinq Mondes’ treatments. If you fancy working out, there’s a fitness centre or a heated outdoor pool. The château is surrounded by vineyards on all sides, “In some bedrooms, you can pick grapes right off the vine from your window if you like,” Robic smiles. “And if you’re missing a little hustle and bustle, we’re just five minutes from the centre of beautiful Saint-Emilion.”

was then converted from a family home to a hotel in 1992. The hotel aims to make guests feel welcomed with thoughtful touches which make them feel truly at home. “When you stay, I am your host,” explains Robic, “Guests should be able to put a face to the hotel they’re in. You can travel to the ends of the earth, but if you have no sense of warmth or real human contact, what’s the point?” Facebook: HotelGrandBarrail Instagram: @grandbarrail

There is also an emphasis on savouring the French art de vivre and the Grand Barrail’s Issue 5  |  June 2019  |  27

Discover Southern Europe  |  Magical Hotels and Wine in Bordeaux

This historic yet chic haven offers guests true five-star luxury in the heart of the wine city of Bordeaux

A luxury getaway in France’s city of wine Bordeaux may be best known for its expansive vineyards, but once guests arrive at this five-star city hotel, they could be forgiven for wanting the region’s famous wine to come to them.

links with the ancient city. The hotel’s own architecture likewise echoes the city’s history with the interior courtyard design spanning centuries of Bordeaux’s architectural tradition.



e Palais Gallien Bordeaux, a 27bedroom haven – of which five are expansive suites – in the heart of the city, champions the art of relaxation. In fact, its current guest packages are titled ‘cocooning’, and include a romantic dinner; a bottle of Champagne; and a couples’ massage, as well as memorable touches like rose petals artfully sprinkled across your bed.

Bedrooms vary from a boutique 25 square metres to a positively palatial 60 square metres and, depending on the room and level, include private terraces, Jacuzzis, and free-standing baths. The decor is varied, modern and eye-catching, meshing monochrome chic with vintage touches and edgy, contemporary design. The idea 28  |  Issue 5  |  June 2019

is to wrap guests up in luxury as soon as they set foot inside. Part of the Le Boutique Hotels Collection group, the site is named after the nearby Roman ruins which include a third-century amphitheatre often billed as one of the last

Each of the hotel’s buildings echoes the culture of a different century, including what it calls the '3 M's': the famous French writers and philosophers Montaigne (16th century), Montesquieu (18th to 19th century) and Mauriac (19th to 20th century).

La Table de Montaigne The 25-seat gastronomic restaurant is likewise named La Table de Montaigne – after the French philosopher – and serves creative interpretations of traditional French cuisine, under the passionate eye of chef Younesse Bouakkaoui, whose training includes stints with modern-day culinary legends, restaurateurs Thierry Marx and JeanLuc Rocha. The colourful, seasonal dishes include simple yet luxurious choices, such as artichokes

Discover Southern Europe  |  Magical Hotels and Wine in Bordeaux

with oysters and champagne; confit of local turbot in olive oil and spelt sourdough; or roast lobster with marjoram butter, all paired with exceptional local wine (as one might rightly expect for Bordeaux). In another, lyrical nod to the work of Montaigne, the menu is presented in the form of ‘chapters’ and is very much indicative of the hotel’s ethos. A world away from the quick texts and short attention spans of the modern world, the hotel wants guests to remember that this is an experience to be cherished; a culinary book to be read, savoured, and thoughtfully considered. But while the hotel’s style is unmistakably classic, its approach to its guests features a highly contemporary eye for detail and personal attention. In the recently-opened Cocktail Bar, an intimately stylish lounge overlooking the garden, the head barman serves personalised drinks tailored to each guest. Here, again, the hotel combines a respect for heritage with modern creativity: from the Monsieur Mauriac cocktail with bitter liquorice; the Montaigne Old Fashioned with smoked tonka and spiced cranberry; the Montesquieu with lychee, Chambord and Tequila; or the Alienor d’Aquitaine, with blueberry-infused vodka. Those wishing for something lighter may opt for the Greenflower’s mix of gin, elderflower, cucumber and kiwi, while the non-alcoholic

8ème Jour offers a floral blend of Jasmine tea and hibiscus tonic.

Time to Relax As a respite from the southern French heat, guests can also relax on chic loungers or daybeds on the hotel’s glamorous roof terrace alongside the brand-new, streamlined outdoor pool. Guests can likewise order spa treatments directly to their room, and again, this is no time to rush: a wide selection of professional massages – including Thai, Californian or Shiatsu – are delivered in slots of between 60 to 90 minutes. Those with tired feet from a day’s winery touring might choose a foot reflexology session, while anyone suffering from a touch of culinary overindulgence might opt for the lymphatic drainage, which promises to ‘release toxins, reduce fat deposits, and revitalise the skin’. Anyone looking for something a little more energetic can also choose to work with an on-site personal trainer, who can offer inroom sessions or poolside coaching. Le Palais Gallien’s aim is to create a haven for guests where they can leave the stresses of the outside world behind and enjoy the best of Bordeaux’s famous food and wine. Facebook: lepalaisgallienbordeaux Instagram: @lepalaisgallienbordeaux

Issue 5  |  June 2019  |  29

Discover Southern Europe  |  Magical Hotels and Wine in Bordeaux

A winemaker combining vision with tradition The vision of Château Tour Saint Christophe’s owner, Peter Kwok, is clear. Drawing inspiration from from an archive photo of the rolling landscape surrounding the winery, he wants to return the estate to its 19th-century roots. His aim is to return to the traditional – and best – way of producing some of the most important wines the Bordeaux region has to offer. TEXT: KATIE TURNER  |  PHOTOS: CHÂTEAU TOUR SAINT CHRISTOPHE


is painstaking restoration of Château Tour Saint Christophe’s vineyards has earned the respect of the region’s locals. In keeping with the history of the terroir (land) and hand-built by a specialist team from Valencia in Spain, the unique terraces maximise the rich clay-limestone soil. A richness which eventually ends up bottled as a full-bodied Saint-Emilion Grand Cru.

and the barrels filled. In the cellars, you’ll find vast state-of-the-art storage facilities. Then, in the final stage of the process, renowned wine consultant Michel Rolland works his magic on the blending before bottles are exported across the globe.

Mr Kwok is a frequent visitor to the estate and has nurtured world-class wine for more than two decades from his base in Hong Kong. He’s put in place a team of the most knowledgeable people in the industry who are on site daily, preparing for the perfect timing of the grape harvest.

If you’re looking for wine-tasting, foodpairing or even creating your own blend, the on-site team can help. They’ll give you a tour of the estate and talk you through their vintages among the rolling vines. For those wanting the full Château Tour Saint Christophe experience, there’s also an apartment for six people available inside the château itself. With glorious views across the 49.5 acre estate, it can be rented year-round.

In September and October, the serenity and harmony of the estate gives way to speed and efficiency, as the grapes are harvested

Wine-making is very much a family concern with Mr Kwok’s three children, Karen, Elaine and Howard, all fluent in French and involved

30  |  Issue 5  |  June 2019

not only in the running of Château Tour Saint Christophe, but also several other wineries in the area. As a result of one man’s passion, with careful and painstaking restoration, the future of this timeless vineyard has been assured.

Discover Southern Europe  |  Magical Hotels and Wine in Bordeaux

Exploring the five senses in the Médoc Spending a night in a French château may be the stuff of childhood dreams, but a stay at the Michelin Guide-recommended Les Cinq Sens du Château Mayne Lalande is a truly grown-up escape. TEXT: HANNAH JANE THOMPSON  |  PHOTOS: LES CINQ SENS DU CHÂTEAU MAYNE LALANDE

Quality wine is at the heart of this 19th-century maison d’hôtes (guest-house), located deep in the vineyards of Listrac- Médoc, less than one hour’s drive from Bordeaux, France. The signature package is the Grands Cru, which includes two nights in the largest of the bright bedrooms (five bedrooms, five senses), and a winery tour by owner and passionate winemaker Bernard Lartigue. This includes an explanation of the entire process – including cold maceration at eight degrees Celsius in 60 hectolitre stills, and cask maturation for 12 to 15 months. The tour ends with a tasting session, of both the pre-harvest grapes and the wine itself, in the 420-barrel cellar. Each choice is selected personally, for what Lartigue calls an “oenological trip around the Médoc”. “My priority is to open the region to the

outside, and to make great wine,” explains Lartigue. “That keeps me going.” There’s more: guests are given the key to the cellar, and are free to taste whatever they like from the impressive 7,000-bottle collection. This might mean savouring a glass of wine around the outdoor pool, or a selection of wines paired with dishes made by on-site private chef Albert. Well-known in France, he cooks to order, and brings years of training in Michelin-star restaurants to an ever-changing

menu of fresh and local ingredients. Guests also have access to a heated Jacuzzi and sauna, and can book a massage for an added literal touch of luxury. “We aim to wake up all five senses,” explains Lartigue, in reference to the site’s evocative name; and it’s clear: with wine, gastronomy, luxury, and stunning countryside, this peaceful haven does just that. SAS Les Cinq Sens du Château Mayne Lalande, 7 route du Mayne 33480 Listrac, Medoc T: 0033 (0)556.58.27.63 F: 0033 (0)556.58.22.41 Email:

Issue 5  |  June 2019  |  31

Discover Southern Europe  |  Magical Hotels and Wine in Bordeaux

Mixing business with pleasure in Bordeaux Bordeaux’s central business district has recently been radically transformed and at its heart is a bold new addition: the Golden Tulip Euratlantique. The hotel’s mission statement is ‘Playtime, Anytime’ - and that means even when you’re working. The aim is to take some of the pressure out of that business trip you’re on.

co-working area, which is the perfect spot for a bit of networking. You’re likewise unlikely to find better facilities in the area for staff away days or training.


The idea is simple: a way to make doing business in Bordeaux a pleasure.


ogistics really couldn’t be simpler: the Golden Tulip Euratlantique is seconds on foot from Bordeaux’s main St Jean station, which means you can be in the heart of Paris in a little over two hours on the TGV.

There are 111 modern and spacious rooms, all with en-suite bathrooms, flatscreen TVs and mini fridges. In terms of the food, in a region famous for its wines you’d expect the food to be good too and so it is. Food is locally-sourced and seasonal. The restaurant has a terrace to soak up some sun when the weather allows, while inside there’s a relaxing lounge area. Whether you want to be alone or meet up with others, they’ve got it covered. The hotel is also working hard to appeal to a new generation of business travellers; their aim is to make things less formal and time-consuming. Guests are more mobile and more savvy about the places they stay than ever before. Need to grab food on-thego? The hotel’s food truck is a perfect pitstop. Simply order and take away. There’s also a large ‘Creativity Space’ for collaborative working in larger groups and a

32  |  Issue 5  |  June 2019 Facebook: Golden Tulip Bordeaux Euratlantique Instagram: @goldentulip_bordeaux

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White Isle wonder This zero-stress beachfront hotel manages to combine sumptuous seclusion with an unparalleled, accessible location near as many bars, clubs and beaches as you could desire. TEXT: HANNAH JANE THOMPSON  |  PHOTOS: FERGUS STYLE BAHAMAS - IBIZA


biza may be known as a mecca for high-end superclubs, but the Fergus Style Bahamas – Ibiza offers a world of relaxed bliss as well as beats. With natural materials and airy room interiors looking out across the turquoise waters of the Playa d’en Bossa beach, the hotel offers the magic of a beachfront paradise, in a convenient, central location. One of 12 Mediterranean properties operated by the Fergus Hotels Group across Spain and the Balearics – including Ibiza, Mallorca, and Cádíz – this four-star bolthole offers guests a straightforward yet exclusive, super-easy option for a stay in the sun.

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Indeed, at less than five minutes’ drive from Ibiza Airport, yet still as close to the sandy coast as you could want, this couldn’t be more accessible for guests wanting to minimise stress or logistical concerns. Put simply – it’s all here, waiting. With a variety of modern rooms, each decorated in crisp white with splashes of Mediterranean-bright colours such as blue and violet – complemented only by the soaring views outside – the hotel offers a safe, village feel, and has everything you might need on your doorstep, including its own restaurants, gym, and pool – just metres from the beach.

Creature Comforts Three types of room, from double to a suite, ensure that all budgets and party sizes are accommodated comfortably. Even the entry level double rooms offer private terrac-

Discover Southern Europe  |  Hip Hotels in Spain

es, and include free WiFi, while the most upscale Suites comprise a separate bedroom and lounge, and include generous extras such as large secluded terraces, Nespresso coffee machine and private Jacuzzi. Suite guests also receive extra touches such as monogrammed bathrobes and a minibar.

mous nightclubs that draw so many visitors to this ‘White Island’, the main town is less than three miles away, but if you just want to relax, you’re also far enough removed that families and couples looking for a quieter retreat can luxuriate in peace and tranquillity too.

Beyond the rooms, a vast array of communal and outside spaces offer a chance to chill out and relax at every turn throughout the hotel. Decor focused on natural themes such as pale wood, sandy floors, soft lighting, pastel fabrics and the dappled shade of the surrounding palm trees make the outdoor areas of the hotel an ideal option to enjoy hot summer days and warm, breezy nights.

Yet, despite the quieter location, the hotel is not lacking in liveliness, and even kids bursting with energy are unlikely to be bored. Indeed, the Pongus Miniclub concept – which the company calls “a universe of fun and a world of fantasy waiting to be discovered” – ensures that little ones are looked after as much as the adults, including a range of dedicated pool and game areas, plus activities created especially for them.

Family Fun

The idea here is to relax, spread out, breathe and enjoy, happy in the knowledge that everything – from beach to pool to restaurant and beyond – is taken care of and no further than a short walk away.

The air-conditioned gym is open too, including fitness machines, free weights and mats, enabling guests to work out however and whenever they choose.

There is even a bright meeting room that can be set up in a variety of ways, should any guest wish to take care of business as well as leisure. If you want to enjoy the fa-

Because, as one might expect for such a beachy location, the emphasis here is on the casual and the easy. Dining-wise, guests are offered a wide variety of choice

for breakfast, lunch and dinner. There is a sleek, simple buffet restaurant; a relaxed terrace lounge; and two themed restaurants, offering a comprehensive selection of salads, pasta, desserts and other fresh, classic Mediterranean favourites. Everything is designed so that families can ensure there is something for even the pickiest eater among them, while lounging couples or friends who have long since lost track of time can refuel whenever the mood arises. There is even an outdoors bar with a snack corner, enabling guests to order food and drinks without ever needing to venture away from the pool area. As the Fergus Hotels motto goes, ‘We Love Having You Back’, – and it’s clear that this hotel deftly manages to combine all the markers of a relaxing holiday with the energy of the island’s world-class clubs. The Fergus Style Bahamas Ibiza prides itself on being ‘more than a hotel’, styling itself as a ‘White Island paradise’ where worries evaporate and time stands still.

Issue 5  |  June 2019  |  35

Discover Southern Europe  |  Hip Hotels in Spain

A new hotel concept in Madrid Situated in the heart of Madrid, CoolRooms Atocha is a new type of hotel concept in the city – an urban oasis combining architecture and gastronomy with activities and innovative tours. TEXT: ESME FOX  |  PHOTOS: ©COOLROOMS


he hotel is in the Barrio de las Letras literary quarter, where some of Madrid’s greatest writers and authors have lived, and lies just a short walk from the city’s Golden Triangle – the celebrated art museums of the Prado, the Reina Sofia and the Thyssen-Bornemisza. Housed in a historic palace dating back to 1852, it features just 35 rooms, giving guests an intimate and luxurious experience. Recently renovated, the building has been sensitively restored, with stylish interior design and soft, poetic lighting. “This complementary fusion results in a hotel with soul and personality, creating something which is both comforting and stimulating. It is the hotel that Madrid lacked,” says communications manager, Lydia Pérez. The hotel oozes old-world elegance and charm, from the striking Noble Hall to the impressive staircase, guarded by a statue of the god Hermes. Through the grand old

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carriage pass, guests will discover the heart of this urban oasis – its secret garden and pool area, the perfect relaxing spot to retire to after a busy day wandering the streets. Each of the rooms vary in size, but offer generous proportions of between 34 and 110 square metres, resulting in some of the most spacious rooms in the city. Individually decorated, each palatial style room features soft, natural colours, polished wood flooring, designer furniture handmade in Galicia, and modern chandeliers. Pair this with huge marble bathrooms and roll-top baths, and you have the perfect formula for seductive and stylish accommodation, fit for royalty. At the hotel’s Terrace-Restaurant, Michelinstarred, award-winning chef Joseba Guijarro creates avant-garde dishes with traditional Spanish roots, while at El 34, he brings his winning ‘pintxos’ (the Basque equivalent of tapas) concept from Casa Lita restaurant in Santander.

More than just a place to stay and dine, CoolRooms Atocha also offers guests a range of unique experiences and workshops. These include a tour around Madrid on a Harley Davidson; a unique photography course to capture the essence of the city and the most photogenic parts of the hotel; relaxing yoga and mindfulness sessions on the breezy terrace; and champagne and oyster tastings in the living room. “The pleasure of a trip,” says Pérez, “is no longer only in the comfort of a hotel suite, but simply – and above all – in fulfilling dreams.” Facebook: COOLROOMS Instagram: @coolroomshotels


Reserve with the Code: DISCOVER and you will get special conditions Santiago,31. 41003 Sevilla · Reservas: 954 502 063 · ·

Discover Southern Europe  |  Hip Hotels in Spain

A taste of the real Majorca


To stay at the Rural Hotel Predi Son Jaumell is to stay in the real Majorca. Located on the far-east coast of the Balearic island – just over an hour’s drive from the airport – it is a deliberate world away from the bustle of the capital city of Palma, and prides itself on offering a peaceful, rural escape, without requiring guests to sacrifice comfort, luxury, modernity, or style. Set within a 17th-century farmhouse on 3,000 square metres of rustic countryside near the tiny village of Capdepera, each of the 24 rooms features understated but highend decor sourced from local craftspeople, highlighting the region’s creative heritage (including the traditional technique of ‘llata’ palm leaf weaving) in natural colours of white, yellow and blue. “Our guests want to discover the real Majorca,” explains hotel director Susanne Turowski. “We want them to feel surrounded by authenticity.” Everything is designed to be easy: the hotel can arrange trips to the village museum, market, and tapas bars; bike hire; Nordic walking sticks and hiking

maps; and entry to nearby golf courses. Alternatively, guests can lounge by the pool or wander the on-site vineyard, fig tree orchards, olive groves and vegetable patch. Food is also a star attraction and there are two restaurants, one of which has held a Michelin star since 2014. Overseen by celebrated young head chef Andreu Genestra, it is currently offering the ‘Mediterrani Extrem: a gastronomic experience along the Mediterranean coast’, and aims to champion local produce, including freshly-caught fish and gambas rojas (red prawns).

The restaurant prides itself on using the hotel’s own olive oil, wine, gin, Vermouth, vegetables and herbs – giving guests a real insight into the unique taste of this quiet island retreat. “We give guests the real essence of Majorca, with high standards,” explains Turowski. “From the moment they arrive, guests feel authenticity and peace. They can switch off from all outside obligations, and feel free.” Facebook: hotelsonjaumell Instagram: @hotelsonjaumell

unforgettable experiences Hotel Casa 1800 Sevilla C/ Rodrigo Caro, 6, 41004 Sevilla (Spain) Tel.:+34 18 005  |  June 2019 38 954|  56Issue

Hotel Casa 1800 Granada

C/ Benalua, 11, 18010 Granada (Spain) Tel.:+34 958 21 07 00

Discover Southern Europe  |  Hip Hotels in Spain

History and luxury in Salamanca This luxurious 15th-century palace hotel mixes old and new in the heart of Salamanca to provide a masterclass in chic. TEXT: HANNAH JANE THOMPSON  |  PHOTOS: GRAND HOTEL DON GREGORIO


s the location of one of Spain’s oldest universities, Salamanca is steeped in history – and it therefore comes as no surprise that the Grand Hotel Don Gregorio evokes this deep sense of culture too. Set in the city centre, within a 15th-century palace built with the region’s signature honey-coloured sandstone, the hotel prides itself on offering a luxurious retreat within the busy town. Evident throughout is the original architecture of the site acquired by the eponymous Gregorio Diego Curto in the 18th century – from the detailed tiling underfoot to the authentic tapestries on the walls. From the moment guests walk into the double-height inner courtyard, there’s an unmistakable sense of class and style. “We want our guests to escape from the outside world and enjoy the unforgettable ‘magic’

of the hotel,” explains Beatriz Bernal, hotel manager and director. Indeed, each of the 17 bedrooms – all named after members of the original owner family – has been restored with this contrast in mind: how to maintain the original character without forgoing modern comforts. The rooms consequently combine fabrics and furniture in golden hues, reminiscent of the sun-kissed brickwork outside, with contemporary services including free WiFi, a Nespresso coffee machine and high-end toiletries in spacious bathrooms.

banquets of up to 150 people. The menu is simple, and uses fresh ingredients to create traditional dishes from Castile and Leon, such as the classic staples: ‘jamon iberico’, Morucha (the local beef breed speciality) tenderloin, or the classic confit suckling pig. Proud of its past, Hotel Don Gregorio fits seamlessly into this classic university town, and offers a real education in hospitality, luxury and chic.

Guests weary from a day on the cobblestones can even book a massage service at the in-house spa. The hotel is also happy to accommodate larger groups. It offers conference and event rooms, and can even open the intimate in-house restaurant for Issue 5  |  June 2019  |  39

Discover Europe  |  Restaurant of the Month in Spain SPAIN   |   Southern RESTAURANT OF THE MONTH

A personalised dining experience in the heart of Barcelona Recognised by experts in this year’s Restaurant and Bar Awards 2019, Pau Claris 190 – a rustic, Mediterranean-style restaurant in the Catalan capital – focuses firmly on organic produce.

Raphael accredits his broad tastes to the influences of his childhood: his mother often travelled to India and her cooking was inspired by her travels.



he eclectic neighbourhood of Eixample in Barcelona is characterised by a grid structure of leafy boulevards, with streets featuring a wonderful array of ornate buildings in the Modernista style – the Catalan answer to Art Nouveau. At number 190 along the street of Pau Claris, the restaurant is named after the pivotal Catalonian politician, after whom the street is also named. 40  |  Issue 5  |  June 2019

The family-run restaurant is the brainchild of Raphael Warda and Lizbeth Brophy, who have brought their own influences to the expertly selected dishes. Raphael, who is originally from Germany, has spent years immersing himself in the traditions of various Mediterranean cuisines, as well as classic French technique, and the menu reflects the influences of both, alongside more than a dash of self-taught flair.

Raphael’s menu similarly reflects these wide-ranging influences and varies weekly depending on what can be freshly sourced and what is in season. Dishes include wild fish, fresh from the Catalan coastline, freshly selected meat and organic, local vegetables rich in aroma and flavour. You’ll also find Galician Celtic pork with chocolate and passion fruit sauce, tender dryaged duck breast with coffee and orange re-

Discover Southern Europe  |  Restaurant of the Month in Spain

duction, Heura steak with beetroot ketchup, hummus and avocado cream, grilled scallops with rocket, mandarin dressing and, for pudding, crispy macadamia nuts – with fried pistachio ice cream breaded with almonds and a white balsamic reduction to finish. Co-owner Lizbeth, who is half-Italian, halfIrish, is also the in-house sommelier and has created an extensive cellar with a bespoke selection of locally sourced and organically grown wines, as well as Lizbeth’s handpicked collection of rare vintages. Lizbeth is also the point of contact for guests and believes firmly in giving guests a personal welcome. “Every customer is unique,” she explains, “and as such, they receive personalised service.” Lizbeth herself is well versed in the world of gastronomy. She previously worked in her family’s restaurant near Venice, and for the last 18 years has been honing her craft in Barcelona. Housed in a former florist’s, Pau Claris 190’s interior still retains its garden-like natural light, which combined with stylish wood and

brick decor, provides an atmosphere which is as elegant and original as the cuisine. Standards for hospitality are high in Barcelona, and Pau Claris 190 is no exception. “We are currently enjoying one of the most important moments for Pau Claris 190,” says Lizbeth, “as we have perfected

our ‘savoir-faire’. We have worked hard to get here, and each day we intend to improve to ensure that our customers enjoy the whole experience.” Book a table by calling +34932807766 directly, or email

Issue 5  |  June 2019  |  41

Discover Southern Europe  |  Hip Hotels PLACES in Spain |   SPECIAL ITALY & FRANCE  TO STAY

Relaxing open-air spaces and contemporary design in Venice With its overpriced accommodation and pricey dining locales, it’s all too easy to fall into a tourist trap in Venice. Located between the lagoon and the mainland only 20 minutes from the tourist sites, Four Points Venice Mestre is an affordable option, offering modern interiors and contemporary Italian décor. TEXT: KIKI DEERE  |  PHOTOS: FOUR POINTS VENICE MESTRE


ith its floor-to-ceiling glass windows and simple, clean design, Four Points Venice Mestre was entirely renovated in 2017, using natural materials including glass and wood. Its leafy garden provides a welcome respite from the hubbub of nearby Venice. Buzzing at all times of day, the garden-patio truly comes to life at aperitivo time, when an extensive cocktail list and food menu attracts both hotel and non-hotel clients alike.

Spedicato, who builds dishes upon basic yet flavoursome ingredients, mainly sourced from the area. Artichokes are from Sant’Erasmo, an island in the lagoon lying northeast of Venice proper, while buffalo mozzarella is mostly sourced from top-quality producers in the region. “We do our best to source ingredients from the Veneto, using simple cooking techniques to bring out the true flavours of each ingredient used,” Alberto explains.

“We have a very well thought-out selection of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks,” explains general manager Alberto Pasinato, “including a superb choice of local craft beers” Throughout the summer months on Wednesday evenings, the bar also hosts lively beer and food pairings. “It’s a very popular event,” Pasinato continues. “The taste of the dishes beautifully complements the flavour profile of the beers.”

The menu is largely designed for an international clientele, with sourdough pizzas, entrecôte and Caesar salad. “There’s also an ample selection of Venetian dishes of the day, prepared with local seasonal ingredients. Our spaghetti alle vongole is a must. Delicate and balanced, the dish is a Venetian speciality, with clams sourced directly from the Venetian lagoon,” continues Alberto.

Al fresco lunches and dinners are served here too. Overseeing the menus is young chef Luca

Restaurant aside, the hotel offers all the comforts guests would expect from a four-

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star hotel, with a 24-hour gym and a topfloor wellness area with sauna and steam room currently under construction. Spread out over eight floors, the contemporary rooms are flooded with natural light. “We like to call our décor ‘uncomplicated’”, explains Alberto, “that is, simple and uncluttered, yet welcoming and stylish.” The modern interiors attract an urban clientele looking for a comfortable base whilst also taking care of their bank balance. “We are able to offer competitive rates,” says Alberton, “only a 20 minute bus or train ride away from the centre of Venice.” vcevm-four-points-venice-mestre Facebook: FourPointsVenice Instagram: @fourpointsvenice

Discover Southern Europe  |  Hip Hotels in Spain



Open Air

Open Air

ogni mercoledì dalle 19:00 alle 23:00

The winning formula of Point Restaurant is summed up in just a few words: ogni mercoledì SET a selection of local favourites prepared with skill andDJ a modern touch. dalle 19:00 alle 23:00 Don’t miss Wednesday tastings of the best wines of the territory, cocktails and excellent beers of the Best Brews program. During the warm season, you may also have lunch and dinner in the garden.

Venice Mestre

Venice Mestre






Point Restaurant PointPeron, Restaurant Via Don Luigi 4 Venezia Via Don 041 3140585 Luigi Peron, 4 Venezia 041 3140585 B V

Discover Southern Europe  |  Special Places to Stay

Holidaying ‘en famille’ in beautiful Brittany In 1977, after four generations of working the land, the Houitte de La Chesnais family quit farming and set up a small campsite. Two generations later, Les Ormes Domaine and Resort is a thriving holiday destination run by brother and sisters Arnaud, Sonia and Séverine.

tackling the climbing wall, trying an obstacle course high up in the trees, taking a pedalo out on the water, wakeboarding, zip-lining or even a spot of fishing.


Alternatively, you’ve got the option of taking a dip in one of the five pools. This summer, the brand new indoor ‘Dome’ complex, with wave machine and slides, will keep guests at a balmy 29 degrees whatever the weather.


t was a real risk back then, local people were pretty shocked,” says Anne-Sophie Bruneval, head of communications and marketing, “But they had 60 pitches and a real vision for keeping guests entertained while they were here.” That vision eventually led to the 18-hole golf course being landscaped and the first pool being built. Today, wherever you like to lay your head on a family holiday, you’ll find options aplenty at Les Ormes. You can camp in your own tent, glamp in one of theirs, take a thatched cottage that sleeps up to eight with all mod-cons, or, for something a lit-

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tle bit different, there’s also a treehouse. “Our first treehouse was actually a gift from Arnaud to Sonia on her wedding day,” says Bruneval. “It was such a success, we now have more than 30 up there!” You’ll definitely be needing a place to rest given the incredible range of activities available on the 200 hectare estate. All of them can be done at any level, from beginner to master. For example, you might want to try your hand at horse-riding in the equestrian centre. Or, if golf is your thing, there’s the full-size course, or all the family can enjoy a round of minigolf. Other options include

With beautiful Brittany right on your doorstep, why not hire a bike and head for the beach? Or, if you’re feeling adventurous, pack a picnic and take a day trip to the Mont St-Michel or St-Malo. “It’s really very straightforward at Les Ormes,” says Bruneval. “We are family-run and family-focused, there’s something here for everyone.” Facebook: Domaine.des.Ormes

Discover Southern Europe  |  Special Places to Stay

A room with a view


With its cloudless blue skies and radiant light, the French coastal town of Collioure, just north of the Spanish border, may be most famous for inspiring painters like Matisse: but just down the road, a luxurious spa hotel on the beach is creating a reputation of its own. Sitting on the wild coastline’s silky sand beaches near Saint Cyprien, just half an hour’s drive north of Collioure and the same distance south of Perpignan, Les Bulles de Mer looks directly out onto the shores of the Mediterranean. Originally opened in 2018, the hotel has recently undergone a major refurbishment, with 50 rooms featuring new interiors in a

chic mix of nautical royal blue, white and natural tones, by designer Annabelle Fesquet. The rooms, which all feature terraces facing either directly out to sea or to the lagoon and nearby Mount Canigou, have been designed as ‘intimate cocoons’ where you can let the cares of daily life drift away during the day and fall asleep to the sound of the lapping waves by night. At the hotel restaurant – Les Ganivelles, chef Pierre Bacle has made a name for himself creating locally sourced, healthy dishes which reflect the Mediterranean surroundings. Relaxation is high on the agenda throughout and with a heated pool, the hotel makes the most of the area’s year-long sunshine, hot summers and gentle winters. The hotel’s ‘Sand Spa’, meanwhile, features vast picture windows with spectacular

Summertime shadows Facebook: lesbullesdemer Instagram: @lesbullesdemer


The central, seaside hotel bringing history and relaxation to the bustle and heat of Biarritz In the heart of Biarritz, just 40 minutes’ drive from the Spanish border and two hours from Bordeaux, the Hôtel de Silhouette offers a tranquil oasis in the centre of this busy coastal town. Housed in a 17th-century building, the heart of the hotel is the calm, leafy garden, which hosts a cocktail bar – the summertime favourite is the zesty classic, Aperol Spritz. Visitors can gather in the shade of the trees, as the south of France sun draws evening shadows on the grass. “Our location is unique,” says general manager Sophie Zudaire. “We are in the middle of Biarritz, with all its activity, but here it is very calm.” The hotel prides itself on its history and is named after an earlier owner, Étienne de Silhouette, finance minister for King Louis XV: and although the 21 bedrooms have been updated with modern, chic décor, there is still

panoramic views of the beach. Alongside the hammam and Jacuzzi, a wide range of luxurious massages, facials, body and beauty treatments for both men and women are available, using Thalasso marine algae products as well as luxury products from Thalgo and Décleor. Elsewhere, the hotel organises Hatha yoga classes on the beach, pilates and padel. There are also two new conference and function rooms, holding up to 80 people.

an air of its classically elegant charm throughout. This creative flair is key, and the hotel hosts regular exhibitions of local artists. “We change them every month,” explains Zudaire. “It adds to the boutique feel of our hotel, and also adds an interesting dynamic and inspiration for our guests.” There is also a casual restaurant, open during the summer. A relaxed menu offers regional, seasonal options, and dishes are served outside, where live jazz is played by

local musicians three nights a week. Likewise, there is a sizeable meeting and business area, which allows local businesses to hold seminars and workshops all year round. While de Silhouette’s reign as finance minister may have been famously shortlived – indeed, the word ‘silhouette’ entered the French language as a nod to his ministry, which, like a shadow, lasted only a moment – this hotel’s peaceful appeal is without doubt far more enduring. Facebook: hotelsilhouettebiarritz

Issue 5  |  June 2019  |  45

Discover Southern Europe  |  Special Places to Stay

Sundial at Mourgues du Grès

François and Anne Collard

Authenticity and conviviality in Costières de Nîmes Fresh and fruity are words that not only describe the wines of Château Mourgues du Grès, but also the estate they are produced on. As well as the vines, you’ll find olive groves from which the château produces its own extra virgin olive oil. TEXT: KATIE TURNER  |  PHOTOS: CHÂTEAU MOURGUES DU GRÈS


he wines – red, white and rose – are low-sulphur and organic. “They are a reflection of everything about this landscape and this land,” says owner Anne Collard, who runs the winery with her husband François. “The stony soil is unique to this part of the Rhône Valley and gives it a wonderful mineral quality. We’re also not far from the sea, which gives a freshness to the wines, and we’re blessed with good weather, which helps ripen the grapes so you get a real burst of fruit.” The couple took on the 160-acre estate in 1990 and it’s now a paradise for day-trippers.

Perfectly balanced wines

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Wine lovers, of course, get to taste the numerous wines produced here. But Anne’s background in urban planning has seen an estate, which could have continued merely promoting its rich history, move firmly into the future. The winery has its own app, MourguesdugresConnect, which allows visitors to connect and follow a trail across the estate. As you walk, you get in-depth information about the vineyards and countryside, as well as the flora and fauna. “I wanted to bring the place alive,” explains Anne, “and every bottle of wine we produce has a story. The environment here is really important, not just for growing grapes, and on the app you can track the local birds, for example, to find out what they look and sound like.” “We’ve created a family atmosphere,” she continues, “and visitors can park up and roam, on foot or by bike. Or if you call ahead, we’ll prepare you a picnic,” she adds. “You can eat it out among the vines, or if the weather’s cooler, under our majestic 16th-century vaulted ceiling inside.” The

food is all locally-sourced and in season, and fruit is from the estate itself. The winery is a picture-perfect location and one that’s within easy reach of Nimes, Marseille and Montpellier airports, as well as the historic sites of Avignon, Arles and the Pont-du-Gard. “I want our guests to really understand the joy of wine,” says Anne. “It’s not something made up of a single element – there’s much more to it than that and I want to share our passion with the world.” Facebook: mourguesdugres Instagram: @mourguesdugres App available on Apple and Android: MourguesdugresConnect

The château's own app: MourguesdugresConnect

Discover Southern Europe  |  Vineyard of the Month

The world’s new favourite fizz Established in 1898, Veuve Ambal is Burgundy’s premier producer of Crémant de Bourgogne. Made using the traditional method and governed under the Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée (AOC), Crémant de Bourgogne has become an elegant, more affordable alternative to Champagne in recent years. “A family-run company like ours remains faithful to its history, values and terroir (land),” explains Aurélien Piffaut, who represents Veuve Ambal’s sixth generation. “Our domains are located in six different terroirs of the Burgundy region. Soil biodiversity and different climates allow us to bring aromatic complexity to our wines,” he continues.

Produced in the best terroirs of the Burgundy region, the company’s wines follow sustainable methods and wine-growing traditions that provide exceptional quality as well as being environmentally friendly. “We are committed to respecting nature and the surrounding landscape,” says Aurélien. Burgundy’s four renowned grape varieties – Aligoté, Gamay, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir – are harvested manually, and all Veuve Ambal’s wines are produced from grapes that are made into wine, aged and bottled on the estate. Classic blends, organic and Blanc de Blancs are among the


wines produced and exported to over 40 countries worldwide. Veuve Ambal is open to the public throughout the year, with interactive guided tours taking in the ageing cellars, workshops and automatons that shed light on the company’s production processes. Visitors can try a range of award-winning Crémants, including white, rosé, brut, sec, demi sec and vintage. “This is an exciting time for Crémants de Bourgogne,” says Aurélien, “and we are thrilled to see more and more people from around the world enjoying our Burgundy grapes”. Facebook: veuveambal Instagram: @veuveambal

Eric and Aurelien

Issue 5  |  June 2019  |  47


Photo: © Michael Wharley

48  |  Issue 5  |  June 2019

Discover Southern Europe  |  Editorial Feature

Audrey Brisson, star of Amélie – the Musical, talks life, loneliness and Audrey Tatou Every once in a while, a film comes out which really captures people’s imaginations. French film director Jean Pierre Jeunet’s 2001 Amélie did exactly that and the film quickly became one of the most successful French films of all time, and the most successful in America. It was also nominated for no less than five Oscars, as well as receiving numerous other international prizes. TEXT: EDDI FIEGEL  |  PHOTOS: PAMELA RAITH PHOTOGRAPHY


he film’s quirky, whimsical story centres on Amélie Poulain – a somewhat neglected child who grows up to be a young Parisian waitress, memorably played by French actor Audrey Tatou, The lonely Amélie lives in a world of her own imagination but also sees the loneliness of those around her and she eventually decides to try and solve her friends’ problems through a series of quirky acts of kindness, which in turn, impact on her own circumstances.

wanted to play the role of Amélie for some time – since 2015 when the musical version had first been staged in America, and had asked her agent to put her forward. “I really loved the poetry of the film,” Brisson tells me. “It was visually so beautiful with this

perfect mix of reality and imagination. It just left you with a breath of fresh air. I loved her quirkiness, her beauty and her capacity for such a huge imagination and the way that she sees the world. The way that she is able to turn something that is essentially grey and drab into a beautiful world full of possibilities. At least for other people. She’s not really doing it for herself and she struggles to find connections and love in her own life, yet she manages to really meddle in other people’s lives. I think that’s really interesting – that contradiction between the way she can’t do things for herself but she’s developed a great talent for doing it for others.”

18 years after its original release, Amélie has been given a new lease of life in the form of the stage musical: Amélie – the Musical, currently touring the UK and starring FrenchCanadian actor Audrey Brisson in the title role. Brisson had previously starred in Pinocchio at the National Theatre as well as the UK tours of La Strada and The Flying Lovers of Vitebsk. She had also played minor film roles including the Madonna-directed W.E and Clint Eastwood’s Hereafter. She had in fact Issue 5  |  June 2019  |  49

Discover Southern Europe  |  Editorial Feature

“There’s this idea that everyone is stuck in this bubble of loneliness,” she continues, “in this routine and this lonely life that we all create for ourselves and sometimes think that we’re alone in. But actually, if you just look up, you’ll see all these different individual bubbles floating around and it’s the same for everyone. Everyone has that same need and desire to connect and is struggling a little bit and that’s what I think is true, not just for the characters in the film but also in our society as well.” Brisson identified with Amélie on a personal level too. “I can sometimes be a little quirky and aloof, and also, like Amelie, I love raspberries!” Back in 2015, it turned out the Amélie role in the musical had already been cast, but fast forward a few years and British director Michael Fentiman was looking for someone to play her in the British production. Fentiman had previously directed Brisson in a production of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe in Kensington Gardens in 2012 and she must have seemed like an obvious choice, as she herself points out. “I have the same first name as the actress in the film (Audrey),” she says. “I speak French and I’ve got big black eyes like she has so there are a few things that could bring me to the part. But I hope it’s a little bit because I’m talented too!” she laughs. Whilst Brisson may bear a certain physical

50  |  Issue 5  |  June 2019

resemblance to Audrey Tatou, she also very much brings her own qualities and identity to the role, not least in a strong singing voice. Reviewers have also commented on the physicality and ‘circus quality’ to Brisson’s performance. This is no coincidence, as she grew up touring with French-Canadian performance troupe Cirque du Soleil. Her father was a composer for them and she performed with them internationally for many years, first as a four-year-old child – sitting alongside 16 others atop a bicycle, and then for five years, starring in their production Quidam from the age of 16. Amélie – the Musical, meanwhile, is in fact quite different from the film on which it is based, in many respects. Obviously, the constraints of a stage show necessitated certain differences, but Madeleine Girling’s innovative and striking set design, as well as the cabaret-style, sepia-toned lighting, bring the Parisian locations, including the Metro and the bar where Amélie works, very much to life. The show also features new music by Daniel Messé of American band Hem, taking a different approach to Yann Tiersen’s famous, piano-driven theme to its filmic forbear. More traditionally French in style, there are accordions, flutes, violins and double basses, all performed by the staff

and customers at the bar where Amélie works, who double-up as French folk musicians. “I’m enjoying every second of it,” Brisson tells me. “Amélie is such a fascinating character to play and I love telling a story, so I have been fortunate in my very short career to have worked with such fantastic directors and theatre companies that have the same desire to focus on the storytelling.” “I hope that I get to keep having the same luck and these massive opportunities to create new pieces and when people say ‘What do you see yourself doing in the future?’, I always say ‘I don’t know’, because I hope that the next part hasn’t been created yet! I hope to have the opportunity to create these fantastic new parts and to keep theatre alive, especially in times like now where people are demoralised by what’s happening in the world. I just want to keep reminding myself and everyone in the world that we’re all in this together.”

Amelie: The Musical is on tour throughout the UK until late September 2019 For full tour details, see

Discover Southern Europe  |  Editorial Feature

Photo: © Michael Wharley

Issue 5  |  June 2019  |  51

Portugal’s top ten beaches Portugal may be famous for its wonderful cities and countryside but it also has some of the best beaches in Europe. From family-friendly resorts with broad sweeps of golden sand and sparkling clean waters to romantic, secluded coves with spectacular sunsets, there’s something for everyone. These are our top ten: TEXT: EDDI FIEGEL

Lagoa Benagil beach. Photo: CDuarte - AT Alagrve

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Discover Southern Europe  |  Portugal’s Top Ten Beaches


Praia da Marinha

On the south-facing, western Algarve coast between Armação de Pêra and Centianes, this is undoubtedly one of Portugal’s most beautiful beaches and also one of its least touristy. Bookended by rugged, sandy-coloured cliffs, its crystal waters are perfect for snorkelling. Look out for sea anemones, prawns and starfish.


Praia de Benagil

The next bay along the coast from Praia da Marinha, this small fishing village is home to another lovely beach, complete with super-soft, golden sand. It’s also famous for the Benagil caves, formed by centuries of erosion to the surrounding sandstone cliffs. The result is some of the most striking, almost cathedral-like caves you’re likely to find. However, the caves can only be reached by water, so you’ll either need to swim there from the beach or rent a kayak.

Tavira Barril beach. Photo: AT Alagrve

Issue 5  |  June 2019  |  53

Discover Southern Europe  |  Portugal’s Top Ten Beaches Tavira Barril beach. Photo: AT Alagrve

has 200 steps winding down from the amber cliffs to the beach’s rear. The cliffs provide a wonderful natural shelter from the winds, making the golden sands and clear waters perfect for luxuriating in.


Praia do Guincho

On the Estorial coast, between the Sintra mountains and Cascais, the strong winds here make Praia de Guincho a favourite with surfers of all levels, as well as kite surfers. If you’re new to surfing, look no further than one of the nearby surfing schools, where you can also hire wetsuits.



With more than three and a half miles of golden sand, this is one of the longest beaches in Portugal. It’s also another of the most family-friendly, with soft sand and clear, crystalline waters. Backed by cliffs and pine trees, this vast swathe of sand is near to a good selection of restaurants and bars, and it’s also, unlike many other beaches, easily accessible by public transport.

7 Praia do Camilo, Lagos, Algarve. Photo: John Copland


Praia da Rocha

Long considered one of Portugal’s best family-friendly beaches, Praia de Rocha has pretty much everything you could want when travelling with children: a vast, broad stretch of soft, golden sand, clean, shallow waters and plenty of facilities, with shops, restaurants and bars close at hand. You can hire deck chairs, loungers and par54  |  Issue 5  |  June 2019

asols, and during the peak summer months there are lifeguards on the beach too.


Praia do Camilo

Just half an hour’s stroll from the busy town of Lagos, you could easily call this the quintessential Portuguese beach. With the wooden steps so typical of many beaches around these parts, this one

Arrabida National Park

This is the kind of magical landscape that holiday brochures are made of, with impeccable white sands, azure waters and rugged cliffs, not to mention some 40 miles of lush green countryside. Come here to laze on the beach or, if you’re feeling more energetic, you can go horse-riding, or follow the walking trails.


Praia do Amado

The large waves on Portugal’s wonderfully wild Western Atlantic coast, make this another favourite with surfers, who come from all over Europe. Two surfing schools on the beach offer a wide range of classes and courses for children and adults alike, from beginners to seasoned pros.

Discover Southern Europe  |  Portugal’s Top Ten Beaches

Galapinhos beach, Arrabida Natural Park. Photo: CM Setubal

Portimao. Photo: CDuarte - AT Alagrve

Issue 5  |  June 2019  |  55

Discover Southern Europe  |  Portugal’s Top Ten Beaches

Guincho beach. Photo: Turismo Cascais

Lagoa Pontal beach. Photo: AT Alagrve



On a small island in the Ria Formosa National Park in the Eastern Algarve, this is one of Portugal’s wildest beaches. With nearly seven miles of silky white sand and nary a building in sight, this is perfect for getting away from it all. Otherwise, explore the surrounding sand dunes and marshlands or take a stroll along the pine-edged footpath.


Zambujeira do Mar

On the lesser-known Alentejjo coast, in the Costa Vicentina and Suoeste National Park, this idyllic beach sits below a sleepy coastal village on the high cliffs above. With the usual clear waters and soft sands, it’s also a Blue Flag beach, popular with both families and surfers alike. If you happen to be here in August, don’t miss the Festa do Sudoeste – one of Portugal’s biggest music festivals, with major names from around the world performing.

56  |  Issue 5  |  June 2019


From workplace learning to a learning society


What goes on in your head when you are learning? It might seem a tricky question, but you should give it some thought, because understanding learning and a resolve to go on learning are becoming increasingly important in the 21stcentury job market. This is because not only unskilled jobs are being lost to machines. Even highly qualified professionals are becoming threatened with obsolescence. Lifelong learning is now an economic imperative as we learn to reinvent ourselves on a regular basis to meet the demands of a rapidly changing work environment. Indeed, a recent report on learning in The Economist argues that it is the skills that machines are not so good at, such as creativity, empathy and problem-solving, that will give people a better chance of staying in work in the future. Ironically, all this coincides with a drop in the amount of money companies spend on training, partly because they fear that bettertrained personnel will leave. In fact, the oppo-

site holds: good training should lead to lower churn and lower replacement costs. Lifelong learning brings not just career benefits and higher productivity. For lowskilled adults in particular, there are also big personal pluses in terms of health, and increased self-esteem and self-confidence. That is why union learning schemes in the UK – a country where 20 per cent of the adult workforce is functionally illiterate – deserve all the support they can get. They bring back into education and training countless workers who dropped out of learning long before they even left school. In my ideal world of learning, companies pay training levies to provide universal access to Massive Open Online Courses

(MOOCs), nanodegrees and other modern learning opportunities. Individuals have their learning credits topped up regularly throughout their lifetimes; vocational and academic programmes integrate seamlessly. The result is a learning society peopled by more discriminating, creative, curious individuals enriched by the joys of learning. Steve Flinders is a freelance trainer, writer and coach, based in Malta, who helps people develop their communication and leadership skills for working internationally:

Do you want to learn or improve your Spanish? Why not do so whilst surrounding yourself with Spanish culture? - Intensive language Spanish courses in Salamanca and Santander, Spain - Courses include Spanish language classes, activities, accommodation, transfers and a uniquely Spanish experience Discover Spanish with Spanish Courses Unamuno

Spanish Courses Unamuno, accredited centre by the Cervantes Issue 5  Institute |  June 2019  |  57

Discover Southern Europe  |  Business

Paola Vitali

Gabriele Giambrone

An international law practice making waves in Spain and Italy Finding the right law firm or lawyer can be a difficult business wherever you are in the world, whether you’re an individual or a company. Especially if you happen to be living or doing business in another country. You need professional expertise and know-how, but you also want to deal with people you can trust and communicate with easily. TEXT: EDDI FIEGEL  |  PHOTOS: GIAMBRONE LAW


e believe it’s really important to speak our clients’ language, in every sense,” says Gabriele Giambrone, Managing Partner at multi-award-winning Giambrone Law, an international law firm with highly successful offices in Italy (Palermo, Rome, Milan and Sardinia) and Spain (Barcelona), as well as London, Glasgow, Monaco and Tunis. The multilingual team of lawyers speak Italian, English, Spanish, French and Arabic and offer their clients a skilled and creative approach where they can advise them as to the best solutions for every situation. The practice is adept at handling both private clients – from inheritance law and legacies to family law, property law and immigration, and corporate clients, covering every aspect of company law from business operations,

58  |  Issue 5  |  June 2019

company takeovers and legal advice when it comes to expansion into different territories, to customs, tax and employment law. The firm can also, where necessary, assist with judicial proceedings, as well as international mediations and arbitrations. All of the highly qualified lawyers in the practice are specialists in their respective areas, both in terms of their field and geographic location. “One of our main priorities is our relationship with our clients,” says Paola Vitali, Partner at the Barcelona offices of the firm. “Treating them each as individuals and really listening to them, and tailoring our services to their specific needs. We look after our clients throughout the entire process and provide a fully integrated service. We also have a specially designed platform through which clients can communicate with us easily.’

In the 12 years since the practice started, Giambrone Law has gained an international reputation for providing successful results smoothly and efficiently. The firm has won numerous prizes including Law Firm of the Year – International Corporate and Commercial Law in Spain in the Premios de Ley (Law Prizes) 2018 and Best Italian and International Law Firm in the Italian Top Legal prizes in 2018. There are currently plans to open further offices in Madrid, the Canary Islands and the Balearics.

Giambrone & Partners SLP Calle Balmes 28, Pral 2º, 08007 Barcelona, Spain Tel. + 34 932201627 Mail: Giambrone & Partners, Studio Legale Associato Via Della Libertà 37/I, 90139 Palermo, Italy Tel. +39 091 743 4778 Mail:

Discover Southern Europe  |  Business

Shaking up the high-end car industry Primerent sets itself apart from other luxury car hire companies, with fast and efficient delivery and pick-up at any destination of choice in Southern Europe. “Our fleet comprises some of the most luxurious and technologically-advanced car models in the world,” explains Mina Crescenza, the company’s marketing & communications manager. “All of our vehicles are carefully selected for their performance and style.” With a fleet of just over 200, Primerent offers sports cars, high performing luxury SUVs, convertibles and sedans from some of the world’s most prestigious brands, including Jaguar, Ferrari, Lamborghini, Mercedes-Benz, Land Rover, Audi, BMW and Porsche. From the first quote onwards, clients are assigned a personal assistant to handle all their needs throughout the rental period. “That way, there is no need for the client to go through the hassle of contacting a call centre where he or she will deal with different people every time the phone rings,” continues Mina. “We aim to provide a bespoke, efficient

and highly professional service to satisfy the needs of the most discerning clients.” The company’s geographical location allows it to be exceptionally competitive in the European luxury rental market. With fleets of cars in Rome, Milan and Florence, Primerent can reach most destinations in Southern Europe, from the French Riviera to Barcelona, within only a few hours of receiving a booking. “A reservation may come through in the late morning and by lunchtime, the client will


already have received his or her chosen vehicle,” explains Mina. “We have delivered cars to a wide variety of locations, from private landing strips to exclusive villas in the Tuscan countryside,” continues Mina. “Our exceptional service and bespoke delivery and drop-off service really set us apart, making us Europe’s leading car hire company.” Facebook: PRIMERENT Instagram: @primerent_car LinkedIn: primerent



Discover Southern Europe  |  Business

An international education in the Spanish capital


Increasingly, students from across Europe are looking to leave their home countries to study at foreign universities or spend a term or year abroad to explore different languages and cultures.


he Comillas Pontifical University, just north of the city centre in Madrid, offers students the chance to experience life in one of Europe’s most cosmopolitan and vibrant cities, paired with excellent educational programmes. The university also regularly ranks highly in the Times Higher Education lists, and has one of the highest rankings of any university in Europe. Comillas has the highest ratio of international exchange students in Spain and has agreements with more than 600 universities worldwide. Students attend from some 41 different countries, including a high proportion from the United States, France, the United Kingdom, Australia and Germany. Students don’t need to be fluent in Spanish either. More than 500 subjects are taught in English, while 114 are taught in French. However, the university also offers excellent language training, and has connections with foreign universities through exchange programmes. 60  |  Issue 5  |  June 2019

“We offer courses that best respond to the interests of the students, and aim to internationalise our degrees through training and preparing them for working life in a globalised context,” says Antonio Obregón, vice chancellor of Academic Organisation and Teaching Staff of the Universidad Pontificia Comillas. A private, Catholic university, Comillas offers Bachelor’s Degrees, Master’s programmes and research courses in a variety of subjects, from law and business to engineering and theology. It is also part of the CFA University Affiliation Program – a global investment qualification. Benefitting from 25 agreements with law schools across the United States, it is also the first university in Spain to sign an agreement with the prestigious Columbia University in New York. Not only are the students and courses international, but the staff are too. “The university’s professors also teach terms abroad. For example, several of our profes-

sors teach at MIT every year,” says Mariano Ventosa, vice chancellor for Research and Internationalisation. As well as the usual lecture theatres and libraries, the university has a range of topnotch facilities to aid learning, including workshops and robotics, mock hospital rooms and engine rooms. Comillas aims to offer its international students the perfect combination of academic excellence with a broad range of social programmes and facilities. Facebook: upcomillas.ICAI.ICADE Instagram: @ucomillas Twitter: @UCOMILLAS

Web: Facebook: ilnutino Borgo S. Lorenzo, 39R, 50123 Firenze FI

Web: www. Facebook: cappellemedicee Via del Canto dei Nelli, 30, 50123 Firenze FI

Rouen Armada. Photo: Armada de la LibertĂŠ

Discover Southern Europe  |  Diary Dates

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 TEXT: EDDI FIEGEL

Festival de Fleuve. Photo: © Guillaume Bonnaud

The Palio of Ferrara, Ferrara, Emilia-Romagna, Italy 2 June Come summer time, Italian cities, towns and villages vie with each other to see who can hold the most splendid ‘palio’ – the centuries-old tradition of festivals built around horse races. Dating back to 1279, the Palio of Ferrara is the oldest in Italy and throughout June, you’ll find lavish parades, celebrations and races galore.

Primavera Sound, Porto, Portugal 6 - 8 June Often considered the younger sister to the Barcelona indie festival of the same name,

the eclectic alternative music festival takes place in the lush setting of Portugal’s largest city park. This year’s line-up includes major names, from Jarvis Cocker, Stereolab, Erykah Badu and Neneh Cherry to younger acts both Portuguese and international.

seven million visitors expected, 25 pleasure and sightseeing boats on the waters and more than 7,000 sailors from around the world, this should be quite a party. This year, they’re also celebrating the 75th anniversary of the Allied Normandy landings during WWII.

Rouen Armada, Rouen, Normandy, France 6 - 16 June Every five years, the city of Rouen in Normandy holds a spectacular ‘Armada’ with 50 classic sailing ships docking in Rouen port as well as a ten-day-long party with parades, fireworks, exhibitions and activities around the quays and along the Seine. With some

An Enquiring Mind: Manolo Blahnik at the Wallace Collection, London 10 June to 1 September Featuring a personally selected choice of shoes from legendary Spanish designer and contemporary fashion icon Manolo Blahnik’s private archives, the shoes are displayed amongst the paintings, sculptures and furniture masterpieces of the Wallace Collection. Issue 5  |  June 2019  |  63

Discover Southern Europe  |  Diary Dates

Ferrara, Piazza Municipale. Photo: Emilia Romagna Tourist Board

Blahnik has long been fascinated with the museum’s collection and each room explores a different theme from the theatre and spectacle of the Commedia dell’arte, the fashions inspired by Blahnik’s native Spain, 18th-century Rococo style, as well as his own personal interpretation of Englishness. Free Admission.

Italiani, overlooking the shores of Lake Garda on the Gardone Riviera, this year’s monthlong festival features an impressive line-up including Garbage, Diana Krall, James Morrison, Billy Corgan of the Smashing Pumpkins and Johnny Marr.

Bordeaux River Festival 20 - 23 June With a huge stage with free concerts on the Esplanade des Quinconces and ‘tall ship’ sailboats docking alongside the river, Bordeaux’s river festival is quite an event. Expect illuminations, sound and light Las Hogueras de San Juan. Photo: © Alicante Tourism

Bonfires of San Juan, Alicante, Spain 19 - 24 June Not dissimilar to the better-known ‘fallas’ in Valencia, Alicante has its own fire festival, albeit on a slightly smaller scale. Thousands of people fill the streets for concerts, parades and processions featuring dance troupes from all over the world and locals in traditional costumes. Head into one of the special marquees for food, drink and dancing before a grand firework display culminates in bonfires being lit throughout the city amidst more singing, dancing and general merriment.

Festival del Vittoriale, Lake Garda, Italy 20 June to 26 July Set in an amphitheatre, spectacularly located on the historic hillside estate of Vittoriale degli 64  |  Issue 5  |  June 2019

Discover Southern Europe  |  Diary Dates Las Hogueras de San Juan. Photo: © Alicante Tourism

Issue 5  |  June 2019  |  65

Discover Southern Europe  |  Diary Dates

shows, sculptures and art exhibitions, as well as a food village.

St John’s Festivities, Porto, Portugal 23 - 24 June Dating back to the 14th century and Pagan in origin, this epic street festival sees thousands celebrate the summer solstice with lavish fireworks on the River Douro. The whole town is decked out in bunting and large paper balloons while dancers fill the streets and locals feast on barbecued sardines, lamb and roasted pepper salad or ‘caldo verde’ (a thin green cabbage stock), and not to mention a hearty glass of the local port.

Batalla del Vino (Wine Fight), Haro, La Rioja, Spain 29 June Every year, just outside the small winemaking town of Haro, in the heart of La Rioja, thousands of locals and tourists alike head to

Manolo Blahnik exhibition at the Wallace Collection. Olvida. Photo: Manolo Blahnik

the hills for what must surely be the world’s largest wine fight. If you want to join in the fun, you’ll need to wear white (all the better to show off the dark pink hues of a wine-

drenching) and a red neckerchief. And most important of all, don’t forget to take a plastic bottle, bucket or jug to fill with wine.

Batalla del Vino, Haro, La Rioja. Photo: © La Rioja Tourism

66  |  Issue 5  |  June 2019


Producteurs et distillateurs depuis 1890 engagés pour une agriculture éco-responsable à 1100m d’altitude pour une lavande rare et précieuse. Fondateur du Musée de la Lavande en 1991 au coeur du Luberon. Véritable conservatoire du patrimoine Lavandicole & Savoir-faire des lavandiculteurs du XVIe siècle à nos jours. Pionniers dans les soins à la lavande de Haute Provence. Nouveautés 2019 visites thématiques et ateliers Programme des animations et évènements Dive straight into Provence Lavender Family-owned company since 1890 and Founder of the Lavender Museum in 1991, with the largest collection of genuine lavender stills. Tours with specialized guides and activities all year long. High-end organic cosmetic brand 100% pure and natural, PDO fine lavender essential oil Musée & boutique

ouverts 7/7 du 1er février au 31 décembre.

Museum & Boutique

open 7 days a week from 1st february to 31st december


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