Starting the year in beautiful Umbria

A view from my window on New Year's day in Poreta…

A view from my window on New Year’s day in Poreta…

I could not have started the year better than at Villa della Genga, built in  1673 in the medieval village of Poreta, half way between Assisi, Perugia and Spoleto. The olive trees and lentil agricultural estate owned by Alessandra and Paolo Montani, was once inhabited by Pope Leon XII and it now houses a small “village hotel”, entirely renovated twelve years ago with old stones and local materials. Run by their dashing son Filippo Montani,  it is the best escape from city life one can find and I want to return next summer, for the Spoleto music festival with my 45 best friends.

The interior decoration of the hotel is cosy and chic

The interior decoration of the hotel is cosy and chic

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An Iksel decor is rejuvenating!

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Qianlong garden from 1790

At the beginning of the year, one is always full of good intentions, like going swimming twice a week, cleaning one’s car thoroughly or entirely revamping the flat. Thanks to a very creative website dedicated to made-to-order decorative wall papers, you can change the decor of your daily life and turn your house into an Oriental garden or a French 19 th century landscape, an Indian or an Iznik design, or go for Pompei or Chinese gardens. With their inventive “papiers peints” created from archives, Mehmet and Dimonah Iksel will advise you on what is best.Read More

Louis XIV dies again in Versailles

Pier Luigi Pizzi's model of the Saint Denis ceremonies

Pier Luigi Pizzi’s model of the Saint Denis ceremonies

It is an extraordinary exhibition that Béatrix Saule, the curator, and Pier Luigi Pizzi, the scenographer, offer us in Versailles to celebrate Louis XIV th’ 300th death anniversary, “Le roi est mort”. The ceremonial of the death, which lasted from August 25 (the feast of Saint Louis) to September 2, 1715, the autopsy, (heart, body and entrails were separated) and the funeral in Saint Denis 40 days later, make for a very dark (literally) and beautiful show with music and candles.Read More

The last good tip of the year!

Defense lawyer James Donovan (Tom Hanks) meets his new client, Soviet spy Rudolf Abel played by Mark Ryance.

Defense lawyer James Donovan (Tom Hanks) meets his new client, Soviet spy Rudolf Abel (Mark Ryance).

Some of you have seen it already but in Paris, the film has gone unnoticed since it came out in early December. Bridge of spies is fabulous, it is the real story of a swap between Francis Gary Powers, a young dashing pilot in the cold war, and Mark Ryance, a soviet spy who paints in Brooklyn.

Tom Hanks becomes a national heroe and the future adviser to Kennedy for the Cuban release of the Bay of Pigs prisoners

Tom Hanks becomes a national heroe and the future adviser to Kennedy for the Cuban release of the Bay of Pigs prisoners

The script by the Coen brothers and Matt Charman, the direction by Steven Spielberg and Tom Hank’s very extraordinary acting, make this East Berlin cold war story a must! Do not miss it.

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In 2016, I can’t wait for…

Atys, Brooklyn Academy of Music, 2011 © BAM

Atys, Brooklyn Academy of Music, 2011 © BAM: the costumes are among 150 pieces exhibited at  Barockissimo

If you remember the luxurious costumes of Atys by Lully created by Sir William Christie at Opéra Comique in 1987 or at BAM in New York in 2011, you will enjoy the costume exhibition, “Barockissimo” at Centre National du Costume de Scène, in Moulins, from April 9 to September 18. For its 10 th anniversary, this very original museum in the center of France, will show baroque costumes from Les Art Florissants’ productions. The curator is Martine Kahane, founder of the museum, who is also President of William Christie’s company. What a wonderful way to celebrate the genius baroque musician and a great lady of opera.Read More

Happy New Year to you all!

Happy New Year from my window where the mimosa is already in bloom!

Happy New Year from my window where the mimosa is already in bloom!

The end of the year was very dramatic in Paris, but with so many signs of friendship and love from all our foreign friends, we are soon recuperating. The Champs Elysées are swarmed with crowds in the very mild weather. Tourists have never been so well treated, good food has never been so important, and we are all waiting for your visit in the New Year.

The Madeleine church blinks to the National Assembly across the Seine

The Madeleine church on rue Royale blinks to the National Assembly across the Seine

Paris is ready othave fun again with its big wheel side to side with the Obelisk on place de la Concorde

Paris is ready to have fun again with its big wheel side to side with the Obelisk on place de la Concorde

Parisdiary wishes you a very Happy New Year 2016. Thank you for being such faithful readers.

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Musée de l’homme, a fascinating renovation

Galerie de l'Homme, Hunting scene,©-Patrick Tourneboeuf

Galerie de l’Homme, Hunting scene with forgotten animals, ©-Patrick Tourneboeuf

After a six year renovation, fabulous Musée de l’Homme, located in Palais de Chaillot, has recently reopened for the great joy of children and parents. To see « Lucy » or whatever is left of her is undeniably a special emotion and to enter a world of warriors from 15 000 years ago and discover what they painted in caves and sculpted on mamouth ivory, is just as moving. My first visit on a Wednesday night (less crowded than during the day) with Gilles Nicolas, one of the artists involved in the many exhibition windows, was very pleasant.

A video piece on human evolution by artist Patrice Mugnier

A video piece on human evolution by artist Patrice Mugnier

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Renzo Piano is full of steam

Fondation Jérôme Seydoux- Pathé, in Paris is a private center for cinema.

Fondation Jérôme Seydoux- Pathé, in Paris is a private center and a library for cinema, Ph: Michel Denancé

California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco,

California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco, 2000-2008, Ph : Tim Griffith

I will admit it straight away : Renzo Piano is one of my favorite acrchitects and Fondation Beyeler in Basel, the idea I have of a perfect art gallery. So when I learned that Cité de l’architecture et du Patrimoine at Trocadero, was holding an exhibit of the Italian master, I rushed. And was happily relieved to enter the quiet space, with mostly professionals discussing attentively each building and material he uses. It was the same atmosphere as in his museums.Read More