Feast between the Lines

By Rory Winston “I had not understood Parisians until crossing the Pont-Neuf’, wrote Benjamin Franklin. Of course, he failed to mention that to really understand Pont-Neuf would demand an understanding of four hundred years of cultural history. As for trying to understand Les Bouquinistes, the little French restaurant draped alongside the Pont Neuf, well, I…

Mount to Mount Resuscitation

By Rory Winston

Apex, summit, zenith… it’s difficult to avoid allusions to altitude when referring to outstanding events. Whether it’s the ‘highpoint’ of a journey or the ‘peak’ of one’s career, excellence is something that hangs perpetually overhead. We scale grand heights, live with our heads in the clouds, and – after a lifetime of climbing our way up from one kind of gutter or another – find solace in having a few dear friends gushing over our, supposed, ‘towering achievements’. It should come as little surprise then that we get such a high from ascending mountains. Likewise, is it any wonder that we’ve found a way to complement this nature-induced euphoria by skiing down them? After all, when going up takes no exertion and coming down is so exhilarating… well, it’s hard to imagine anything better. That is of course, unless we are experiencing the aforementioned epiphany from within the apogee of comfort, the pinnacle of sophistication …okay, I’ll give the jutting superlatives a rest and just come out and say it: Club Med's Valmorel ski resort is up there with the best.

A Sleeper Hit

By Rory Winston

Without warning, the baritone voice had gone off in my head:

"From the People who brought you Cannes Jury Prize winner, Queen Margot, and the Academy Award winner A Man and a Woman, comes an all new rollicking adventure for cinephiles and travelers alike: Sebastopol 123. With a cast of thousands, this inspired romance is guaranteed to be the sleeper hit of the decade; literally. With music by Ennio Morricone and sets by Philippe Maidenberg, Sebastopol 123 is Paris like you’ve never seen her."

Bubbles Set in Stone

By Rory Winston

"Come meet me in the sky", sings Lily Allen in her recent hit single Air Balloon – an escapist anthem that asks us to enter an alternate universe in which ‘monkeys run off from zoos’ and ‘ceilings turn into floors’. Reveling in a host of exotic images, the song entreats us to partake in an elevated experience by simply stepping through a door. What door? Where? Getting directions for a place that exists solely in someone’s imagination can be quite a challenge.

Nell’s Bells

6

By Rory Winston

‘Luxurious?’ Not in that typically gauche way. ‘Opulent?’ –Wrong track; nothing vainglorious. ‘Posh?’ Well, for a five star hotel with the finest design and amenities it’s actually more friendly than snobby. Elite…? Yes, certainly; but not in that trying-hard-to-make-an-impression kind of way - nothing parvenu about it.

A History of Hedonism

Entrée déco Noël

By Rory Winston

Ensconced within a muted realm of marble busts and ivory floors, one can still hear the faint sound of muffled tittering and languid sighs. Perhaps, Philippe the First is at it again – still wandering down a nearby corridor in a lady’s dress while watching Antoine Coypel redecorate his palace; or, perhaps, it was only Karl Lagerfeld being hissed at by Choupette after spending too much time with a new male model. No matter; the walls are soundproof but the echo of history is unmistakable. As chartreuse, ecru and lavender spill from gauzed walls, each room is bathed in a smoky glow. Here, reality is no more than a penumbra; and we are soon lost between the subtle and elegant tones of today and the deliciously sensuous hues of an effusive past. This is the world of the Grand Hôtel du Palais Royal, a boutique property whose domain is several centuries in length and multiple aesthetic tiers in breadth.