Henri Cole, a poet from Boston who loves Paris

Famous writer James Lord drawn by Balthus

Henri Cole lives in Boston and teaches in Southern California, but he was born in Japan from an Armenian-French mother and an American military father and he writes poetry in Paris. He has just published a charming book, “Orphic Paris” about “his” Paris which anyone who comes and visits should read first at home, then a second time, while walking along the Seine. He loves all the same monuments and atmospheres as I do and follows Rilke and Rodin in their secret places. Paris has nourished his imagination and his writing.Read More

Domaine du Muy, an enchanted sculpture kingdom in Provence

Sol LeWitt, 1-2-3 Tower, 1993

 

Three years ago, a series of flattering articles in the French and American press alerted me to the success of Jean Gabriel Mitterrand’s sculpture park in le Muy, a  little town, an hour north of St Tropez and west of Cannes. There was some mystery around his project and I never got around to visiting it until Anne Laure Gillet de Osma, the wife of a prominent Madrid art dealer and art historian, took me there last month. It was an enchanting visit at 6 pm, in the golden light of Massif des Esterelles and its red rocks. A few miles away, Bernar Venet, the well known French sculptor who is still based in New York, has opened his Foundation with a spectacular warehouse full of  monumental works and a large park of sculptures.Read More

Last chance to see “Fukami” at Hotel Salomon de Rothschild

Lee Ufan, Relatum Dwelling,(2), 2018, slate

The show discreetly opened on Bastille day and is closing on August 21! Fukami, “a plunge into Japanese aesthetics” could not have been more discreet and I heard about it on France Culture radio one morning. If you miss it, don’t worry, but if you are in Paris you’ll notice that while all the streets are empty, the beautiful Hôtel particulier which used to belong to the great art collector Adèle de Rothschild, is attracting idle families and “aoûtiens” as we call the people who stay in town in August. There are two installations that are worth the trip, Korean artist Lee Ufan who spent most of his life in Japan and used slate in the main living room and Kohei Nawa who sculpts foam.Read More

Two museums in Cornwall, one is trendy, the other delightful

Nanjizal beach is a mile from Land’s end

I have been going to Land’s End in West Cornwall for twenty years and I discover new delights every time. This year, I rushed to visit the new addition to the Tate gallery St Ives and see the late Patrick Heron exhibition but what really charmed my heart was the show of S.J. Lamorna Birch’ Cornish paintings at the Penlee House in Penzance. Am I becoming conservative? No I am just in love with the Cornish countryside.Read More

Lunch at Le Lutetia

Le Salon Saint Germain where we had lunch is very pretty

Le Lutetia has become, over the years, the place to meet for writers and publishers but also to give interviews for actresses and producers. It is conveniently located at corner of Bd Raspail and rue de Sèvres, one block from the Bon Marché and Hermès, and it is the only five star hotel in the Latin quarter. So as soon as it reopened I rushed to test the food and the ambiance. The Brasserie is not open yet so I went for the upscale “Salon Saint Germain”, where the menu is not as successful as Jean Michel Wilmotte‘s decor.Read More

From Provins to Joigny, a fun balade near Paris

In Joigny, Le Rive Gauche serves Poached eggs with mussels and a chablis sauce on a terrace overlooking l’Yonne

The first week end in August is dreaded by all French drivers who fear les “bouchons”, traffic jams, created by millions of vacationers, but if you decide to take small roads to go south, it’s a dream. I spent a week end between Provins, a medieval town 90 mins south east of Paris and was invited to lunch in Joigny, a rich commercial center since Roman times, which developed in the Middle Ages thanks to its bridge and its proximity to Champagne. It was on the trade road between the Flanders and Italy. It has a two star restaurant, La Côte Saint Jacques,  and a more modest one, Le Rive Gauche, where we ate. It was delightful.Read More

In Orléans, a museum’s serious facelift!

Guido Reni, David holding Goliath’s head, 1600 – 1624, Orléans, Musée des Beaux-Arts © Christophe Camus

I have passed the town of Orléans a million times on my way to the West but I have to admit, I never stopped. It’s only when seeing large ads in the Paris metro on the new lifting of Musée des Beaux Arts d’Orléans that I had the idea of driving there one morning. And this was the most exhilarating surprise of the month. The collections are overwhelming and the director, Olivia Voisin, has at 36,  done a job that many top decorators could not have achieved in revamping the rooms. Read More

Summer treats in Paris

Chef Jean François Rouquette relaxes on the terrace of Park Hyatt Vendôme

Paris can become pretty dreary in August when everything closes down but there are also special summer treats to be found. I went to the “Palazzo“, the terrace in front of Palais de la Porte dorée which features a great exhibition of photographs of gipsies (until August 26) and on Wednesday nights you get a free drink and a guided tour with the museum ticket.Read More