Photos – Costume “Bal des Favorites”

As followup to my video post of the costume ball:

The vibrant colors, rich textures, and varied styles of costumes were stunningly beautiful and a sight to behold!  Some of the attendees were ‘pros’ at these kind of events and had even made their own dresses and menswear !

So, that got me thinking, although I haven’t sewn in a very long time, maybe I could make a gown for myself.  I would have to use a borrowed sewing machine, and I’m not sure I can really do this, but if so, what color brocade fabric would you suggest ?

A 1680 -1780 Costume “Bal des Favorites”

Le Bal:

Held in the Hotel de France (l’ancien hôtel de Jean Baptiste Colbert, Marquis de Saint Pouange et de Villacerf) in their “Galerie des Glaces” reception room, the period costume ball began with each person/couple’s entrance into the ballroom being announced by an “aboyeur,” then walking under an archway of swords into the room.

The music playing was period music by Lully for the evening’s festivities, accompanied by a dance instructor giving verbal instructions on how to do the various period dances, including the farandole. We even did the line dance “Madison” (equivalent to the Electric Slide) to period music, but with more graceful foot movements, of course.  There were period dance demonstrations and a sword fight presentation to entertain the 100 or so attendees (age range was 20’s to 70’s).

It truly felt like a Cinderella moment, as I was transported back in time and history – via dress, manners, dance, and etiquette – I didn’t want the evening to ever end.  Starting at midnight, the music changed to modern (Prince, Marvin Gaye, Robin Thicke), and it was fun, but somewhat strange, to dance in costume to rock/techno beats – and of course, Cinderella had to eventually leave the ball.

The following day, about 28 of the attendees (all in costume) visited the Conciergerie, then walked by the Louvre pyramid on our way to have lunch. Walking through Paris in costume was also a wonderful experience, as passersby and drivers looked and commented. This time, I felt like a star being ‘chased’ by paparazzi, as 15-20 photo takers at a time clicked away when we posed as a group every 5 minutes. Everywhere we went, people had a big smile as we approached, some commenting and/or asking questions, and of course, also posing with us for photos.

(3 dance videos & 1 sword fight video)

(Costume photo gallery to follow in a separate post)

“Le Beaujolais Nouveau est arrivé!”

2012 BeaujolaisOddly enough, I happened to be in Paris for the November 15, 2012 release of “Beaujolais Nouveau” & was again in Paris this year on the legally regulated release day/time: the third Thursday of November at midnight.  The event is a world-wide celebration of a red wine from Beaujolais, located in the Burgundy region of France. By law, the annual release of Beaujolais Nouveau is on the third Thursday of November at 12:01 AM.

Reportedly, in the 1950s the makers of the wine were keen to increase the sales of this young vintage – there wasn’t a huge demand due to ageing process of wines.

Beaujolais Nouveau wine isn’t really nouveau/new, since it’s been around since the 19th century.  Targeting Paris to carry the first bottles released in cafés and restaurants, as a marketing tactic, made this event an annual success since then, with the largest importers being Japan, Germany and the U.S.

Which promotional poster do you prefer?

November 21, 2013:

Beaujolais nouveau 2013

Skipping off to Paris

A relevant post, since I’m ‘skipping’ off to Paris, and will be ‘skipping’ through the city to savor it’s beauty and ambiance with child-like wonder.

I am planning to eat at Le Grand Colbert (they also have delicious, authentic chocolat chaud), to enjoy an apero at Le Meurice (original plan was Plaza Athenée, but it is closed for renovation), and bien sûr, to try this year’s Beaujolais Nouveau, after its official release tonight at one minute past midnight (the fourth jeudi (Thursday) in November).

So, here’s to being young at heart…….especially in the ‘City of Light!’ (city of lightS is commonly used, but is not correct)

Do you know why Paris is named the city of light?  Answer/guess in the comment section.

Top Destinations For Romantic Getaways On The French Riviera

The following is a guest blog article about four of the many lovely places to visit on the French Riviera – BIENVENUE!

“Cote d’Azur, quite popularly known as the French Rivera in the English-speaking world is the beautiful coastline of southeast France that overlooks the Mediterranean. Whether you are searching the internet for a romantic weekend, a lifetime vacation or honeymoon you can find the most enticing experience in the French Riviera. We have listed below some of the best places that inspire romance in the French Riviera

Grasse

What could be more romantic than the perfume capital of the world? The rural hideaway is the best place to surprise your loved one with the best smelling gifts. The French perfumery took shape in this little town since the first settlers made it their home back in 1400. You could also find several perfume stores about, where you will be able to make a custom blend of perfume based on your preferences. Some of the hotels in these parts also have some of the world’s finest wines locked away in their century old cellars. If you ever visit Grasse, you should also travel to the old town of Cannes which is just 15 kilometers to the south of Grasse, where you will be able to relish in the finest pebble beaches the French Riviera has to offer. For adventures couples there are a couple of hillocks surrounded by serene forest nearby, where they can go on hiking and have the whole place to themselves.

Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat

The Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat is probably the best place to blend romance and luxury. The placidity and legendary hotels around the peninsula was the main reason it had been one of the most favored destinations of the European aristocracy. It is still a favorite holiday destination for a lot of millionaires around the globe. The picture-perfect peninsula will surely live up to your expectations of a romantic getaway. Take a stroll along the promenade Maurice Rouvier during the evenings past the pleasing villas towards the small fishing harbor. There are three popular beaches in the peninsula. Cro de Peï Pin, the biggest beach in the locality is also the most crowded. For couples who prefer privacy, there is the Paloma beach on the foot of a small cliff on the north. The beach is just 10 minutes walk from the fishing harbor. To the north of the main peninsula is the Passable beach past the Office de Tourisme which is also moderately crowded during the sunny days.

Old Town of Antibes

There is no best time of the year to visit the town of Antibes. It is one of the biggest pleasure ports in the French Riviera. The main attraction of Antibes is the majestically built Fort Carré. Walk along the ramparts of the old fort to get a stunning view of the ocean and the waves crashing against the rocks down below. There is also the Musée Picasso where you will be able to witness some of the best works of the veteran artist.

Nice

A nice city (pun intended) located in the heart of the French Riviera is Nice. The large and lively city might not be the best place to go if you need privacy, but there is a lot of exiting thing to do in the ancient city, which is very lively. The flea market which is open from Tuesdays to Saturdays located in the main square attracts a lot of tourists. It’s a true delight to your eyes with all the bright vibrant colors and your nose with enticing scent of flowers and fruits sold in the stalls. Some of the places one shouldn’t fail to visit around Nice are, Chapelle de la Miséricorde, the famous Castle Hill, and the ornate Opera.”

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Author Bio: Aiden Korr is a vivid traveler and loves to visit different places around the world. He specifically recommends Quintessentially Concierge.

Nice is nice & Dublin is doublin’ nice!

In leaving the Indian summer temperatures in Nice for Dublin, I was expecting to land in cold, very rainy weather – not so, as it was abnormally warm with only two days of intermittent drizzle – maybe it was the exemplary “luck of the Irish” at hand!

IMG_0004I was attending my first travel bloggers conference, Travel Bloggers Exchange (TBEX), and didn’t really know what to expect – other than morning and afternoon workshops and, of course, evenings featuring tasting the famously, iconic Guinness and Irish Whiskey!

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I was stunned by the beauty of the city, the friendliness of everyone I met, and the professional and organized conference: everything ran as smooth as silk, with transitions affected like a ballet: keynote speeches, workshops, hospitality and up-to-date technology & information.  The evening events were equally top notch and  a great venue for meeting people and networking, not to mention enjoying the variety of entertainment and music.

May the road rise to meet you, as well, in Dublin!

TBEX photos:

Dublin photos:

Louie, Louie, Oh, oh – Louis, Louis, Oh, la, la !

My favorite place to be is the Chateau de Versailles, with its opulent Baroque decor and grandeur.  So, not surprising that I recently spent some time there during my trip to Paris.  This time, however, I did a “visite-conférence” – a one-and-a-half hour guided visit, which included access to the private apartments of Louis XV and Louis XVI, the Royal Opera, and the Royal Chapel – areas  not permitted to visit with the general admission.  You can reserve the “visite-conférence” online (recommended) for the guided visit in English or in French.

My favorite “Louis” is the XIV, and with the chateau being his signature piece, his visual presence is seen everywhere.  I love the dress and music of that period (video below).  As the “Sun King,” he was golden and the gold-leaf decor equally resonates throughout the chateau. Vive le Roi –  “My Louis”!

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Marquis de Sade & Ice Cream in Lacoste

My visit to the town of Lacoste, home to the former castle of the Marquis de Sade, was indeed flavorful!  One of many perched villages in the Luberon: Gordes, Menerbes, and Roussillon, Lacoste is small, with a population of only about 400 habitants.  But don’t let that fool you – this town is host to the Savannah College of Art & Design, which offers classes in fine arts, architecture, design, fashion, film, photography, sculpture, and theater.  This town is also home to the fashion designer, Pierre Cardin, who bought the chateau and surrounding area.

There are art studios and cafés, one being the Café de Sade where I ate lunch.  IMG_0017What I first noticed was the art-sy placemat and the great selection of menu items – wait, is that lavender ice cream?!   Lunch was delicious, but I ws looking forward to tasting this flavor of dessert.  It was very creamy and full of lavender flavor – not even Fennochio in Nice compares (which I tried after returning home).  It was absolutely the best flavor of ice cream I have ever tasted (my opinion)!

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Egalières in Provence

I recently took a long weekend to spend time with an American girlfriend and her husband, who had rented a six-bedroom house in Egalières, for themselves and 8 others (family & friends) – located about 45 minutes from Avignon in Provence. So, there we were – 11 of us – old friends, family members, and new acquaintances alike:  sitting by the pool, taking day trips together to local markets, and trying out new restaurants as a fun-loving (and yes, loud) partying group!

We ladies took an in-house cooking class, learning how to filet a fish and knife cutting skills to cut julien style veggies for a great lunch – harder than it looks!  That evening, the chef cooked and served a luscious dinner to all of us staying in the house – wine flowed, songs were sung, and rugs were rolled up for after-dinner dancing of fox-trot and cha-cha.

Another evening, we went to a local restaurant called “Gilles,” where Jolie-Pitt’s “Pink Floyd” wine from Château Miraval was on the menu – I only had a sip of this “famous” rosé, which was going for 18€ a bottle (see slideshow photos) – a sweet wine at a sweet price!

All in all, it was a great time in a great area of Provence!

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Isle-sur-La Sorgue

During my recent trip to Egalières, I took a side trip to one of the largest and most well-known markets for antiques, the town of Isle-sur-La Sorgue. Famous also for its large, moss-covered water wheels, this town is a must see, with its crystal clear river running through the town’s center and the beautiful building of the Caisse d’Epargne bank.  So, what did I buy?  Well, I almost bought a beautiful, oval, gold, baroque-style mirror (no photos allowed and there was an employee staged there), but even with a small discount, it was pricey.  That being said, I still see the mirror and hope it will go out of my mind soon!

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une roux a eau couverte de mousse

une roux a eau couverte de mousse

la lavande

la lavande

marche

le marche

campanile

le campanile

vendeur

un vendeur

des produits provencals

des produits provencals

savon

des savons

des fruits

des fruits

des friandises

des friandises

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paquet cadeau

un paquet cadeau

des confitures

des confitures

mouton artistique

un mouton artistique