I saw Fontevraud L’Hotel featured in an architectural design magazine a couple of years ago and I placed a sticky note on it as a reminder that I should visit it one day. Fast forward and here I am at Fontevraud L’Hotel which forms part of the Fontevraud Abbaye Royale – and it definitely did not disappoint. The setting is idyllic and in a sense, spiritual. Service was warm, the rooms were simple and modern, and it is the common areas and the grounds that make it extra special. I usually stay in the 6th…
Paris en Hiver
Third year in a row I have been coming to Paris in the winter, and it was a cold one this year – with some snow. Musée Jacquemart-André is set in a 19th century mansion – relatively reasonable in size but offers a lot with its magnificent art and decorative objects. The impressive collection include pieces from Tiepolo, Bellini, Botticelli, David, to Rembrandt and Frans Hals. Musée Rodin is one of my favourites in Paris – I call it my “happy place”! I would be well content to be…
Studed with fairytale châteaux and storybook villages, Loire Valley is known as the “Garden of France” and needless to say, its various vineyards. The area has become a showplace of the pleasure castles that take on different architectural styles. The Chateau of Villandry is the last of the great châteaux of the Loire built during the Renaissance of the Loire Valley. The elegance of its architecture combined with its expansive gardens make this one of the jewels of the world heritage. Chateau D’Usse is known as the inspiration for Charles Perrault for his tale of Sleeping Beauty. This…
Fontevraud Royal Abbey
The main reason for my trip to France this year : to visit the Royal Abbey of Our Lady of Fontevraud in the Loire Valley. Formerly a monastery in the village of Fontevraud-l’Abbaye, near Chinon, it was founded in 1101 and became the center of a monastic Order. It is one of the largest surviving monastic cities from the Middle Ages, until 1792 when the last abbess was evicted following the French Revolution. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the complex of monastic buildings was transformed into a high security prison by order of Napoleon Bonaparte housing up to 2,000 prisioners…
Au Revoir, Paris. Until the next time. I promised to try new restaurants and patisseries during this visit to Paris. While walking, I came across a tiny cafe that serves excellent espresso – Terres de Cafe. One restaurant I really enjoyed both the meal and the vibe is Cafe Trama in the Saint Placide area. Traditional french cuisine in a casual but modern style, with a good wine selection. A couple of blocks away from the hotel I stayed at is Patisserie Thevenin, where I would…
Palais Garnier is an extravagant example of Second Empire architecture in Paris. This opera / ballet house was designed by the architect Charles Garnier, who won the competition launched by Napoleon III. The Palais was inaugurated in 1875 with a beautiful ceiling in the auditorium painted by Marc Chagall in 1964.
Retour à Paris
Now, it’s “Back in Paris“! It’s been twelve months since I was last in this inspiring city. I continue to be in trance every time I am here. No matter how often I visit – this elegant and enthralling city still has something new to show. I am planning to see new sights, visit new restaurants and try out new patisseries.
Just walking through the streets of Paris can be as rewarding because every corner brings delight to the eyes. I also had the chance to do my “obligatory” walk through one of my favourite gardens — Jardin du Luxembourg. It could be the time of the year – but restaurants in Paris were less crowded this time – there were no lines and it was not a challenge to get a reservation. I am not complaining. I was able to go back to a few of the amazing restaurants I tried during my previous visits (and some new ones) and I was not disappointed….
Fondation Louis Vuitton
One of the reasons I spent a few days in Paris is to visit the recently opened Fondation Louis Vuitton. Designed by architect Frank Gehry, this private cultural initiative’s mandate is to promote the contemporary arts. For those seeking to find leather products from this fashion house on display – you will be disappointed. Currently on exhibit until the end of August 2016 is a selection of works by famous contemporary Chinese artists from the Fondation’s collection. The restaurant located on the ground floor is called Le Frank and it serves wonderful French-inspired cuisine, with hints of dishes from other countries whose works are currently on exhibit….
Only an hour and a half away by Thalys high speed train from Brussels – how could I resist swinging by Paris for a few days? It’s been three years since I was last here and there’s a new gallery I have been wanting to see (at the same time, visit again two of my favourites) and of course, the food! One of my favourites is the Musee Picasso. It’s been more than ten years since I was last here. The other Museum I will never forget was the Musee Rodin. I was extremely contented just being able to walk through the gardens and did not…