Louis Vuitton Travel Books

Louis Vuitton travel book

There are few things I love more than travel and fashion so it’s probably no surprise that when I first heard about the new Louis Vuitton travel books featuring LondonParisNew York and (randomly) Easter Island, I was counting down the days to get my hands on one of these. Not only do the travel books look unbelievably stylish, with a subtle nod to the designer label, they are also part of a beautiful project in which four talented individuals in the sectors of art, design and photography, each depict a city they are totally unfamiliar with through mediums from paint, illustration, manga, comic and photography.

Living in the French capital, I went for the obvious choice and picked up the Paris edition (I’ll be heading back for the London book soon for sure) and immediately settled down on the couch to flick through the large A4 pages of drawings and comic-strip style speech bubbles which added a touch of humour in the cliche situations so familiar to Parisians and residents of the city!

Louis Vuitton travel book

Illustrated by Congolese artist Chéri Samba, we follow his journey through the most iconic landscapes of the city with occasional anecdotes and narrations in the form of occasional appearances of the artist himself within the illustrations – a panic situation with a taxi on arrival, a nasty comment on the metro at Denfert-Rochereau, a brief encounter at Chatelet and even a moment of reflection in Montmartre, all perfectly illustrated against a arm, clear sky in neon pinks and shades of blue (if only the sky really were so romantic!).

Louis Vuitton Paris travel book

The Parisian atmosphere is so beautifully captured in the busy crowds seen from high above to the entwined couples in love that even as a native Parisian, it seems to throw a new light on the city which many, including myself, so often take for granted. Now to get my hands on the next book in the collection…. London!

Louis Vuitton Travel Book

Find the Louis Vuitton travel books in selected Louis Vuitton boutiques and online at louisvuitton.com as well as in certain bookstores in France including FNAC online for 45 euros (£38).

The Biggest Drive In Cinema Ever Organised in a Capital City

cinema paradiso grand palais

As soon as the news broke that the Grand Palais was going to host a complete drive in cinema, right in the heart of Paris, I was frantically writing out post-it notes and mobile reminders to be in with a chance of snagging some tickets to this highly anticipated event.  Once I’d succeeded in my mission, I waited impatiently for the night to arrive…

It has to be mentioned that any event in the Grand Palais is likely to be a success. The venue itself is stunning with its magnificent glass roof in the huge open space with majestic staircases and mezzanines overlooking the room. Add to that a drive in cinema, an all-American diner, vintage arcade center and roller disco and you’ve got yourself a winner!

On arrival in the space, it was hard to know where to look first. At first my eyes were drawn in by stands of the American junk f0od we all seem to obsess about here in Europe; Froot Loops next to Reese’s Pieces, bars of Hershey’s chocolate and M&Ms in flavours which one could never even imagine combining together! This pop-up store was partnered with Parisian concept boutique Colette where specially designed souvenirs were displayed from t-shirts and candles to lip balms and other small trinkets… Mostly over-priced but a fun gift for a hard-core fan.

diner cinema paradiso grand palais

Next on the journey through the open space was the American diner, placed right in the middle of the venue. Here once could queue up for fast food and snacks such as the classic cheeseburgers and chips (watch out Brits, these are in fact American ‘chips’ and not ‘fries’ so you may find yourself disappointed upon receiving your meal of burger and crips!). The burger is small but tasty and a meal here is definitely a crucial part of the evening.

arcade jeux grand palais

Barbie was a key presence throughout the event with curious artwork of large glass sweeties filled with Barbie accessories and an amusing Barbie foosball table! More interesting, however, were the beautiful Barbie interpretations of classic film characters including Elizabeth TaylorGrace Kelly and Audrey Hepburn in their various roles…

barbie exhibition grand palais ParisElizabeth Taylor in her role of Cleopatra in the film of the same title (1963) and Melanie Daniels as Tippi Hedren in Alfred Hitchcock‘s The Birds (1963).

barbie exhibition grand palais paris

Rex Harrison and Audrey Hepburn in the 1964 film My Fair Lady.

Olivia Newton John Barbie

Olivia Newton-John as Sandy Olsen in the 1978 musical film Grease (before and after her dramatic style make-over!).

arcade in paris

The retro arcade with video games from 1975 onwards with all the childhood favourites from Mario to Pacman!

roller disco in Paris

Roller disco in the impressive open space of the Grand Palais with stairs leading to the mezzanine where diners of more expensive taste could choose a 3-course menu created by 2-star Michelin Chef Jean-François Piège. The set-menu costs £130 and the miniature restaurant only caters for two tables of four guests, three times a day.

l'arbre de vies

A display of artwork punctuates the bare corridors, this piece called Arbre de Vies (Tree of Lives) was created by artist Arthur Simony.

Soapland art

My favourite work of art in the exhibition was this old looking shower which upon closer inspection seems to be home to a small island of nudists! Soapland created by Atsunobu Kohira.

cinema drive in le grand palais

Finally, the drive in cinema itself which was one of the main attractions. Viewers can choose to watch a film in the little Fiat 500 cars placed at the back of the room (a car for two people with a glass of Moet & Chandon each is £70) or simply to enjoy the environment in either the seated areas or mattresses and loungers at the front. Films available included musical classics like Grease and Dirty Dancing to more dramatic movies such as Jaws and E.T.

The Cinema Paradiso exhibition is running until the 21st of June this year and tickets for basic entry into the event are £10 online at FNAC or £12 at the door and once inside most attractions are totally free aside from the cinema and any food or drink. A cheeseburger menu will cost you £14. If you happen to be in or around the French capital for the next week or so, a visit here is definitely not to be missed!

Le Grand Palais, 3 Avenue du Général Eisenhower, 75008 (Metro Champs-Elysées – Clemenceau)

Christian Dior Pop Up Restaurant

Dior Restaurant

Last summer whilst on vacation in Saint Tropez I happened upon a chic courtyard restaurant within the beautiful Christian Dior resort flagship store, a three-story 18th century residence presiding over its tranquile garden along the Place des Lices. Not quite sure whether this was an exclusive event, I boldly wandered in and discovered that this was in fact a pop-up restaurant, open to all, during the spring/summer months! Without hesitation, I made plans to return the following evening…

Open from morning to evening, the relaxing ambiance is accompanied by live jazz musicians and perfectly groomed waiters who seem to glide from table to table with all the grace of a Christian Dior catwalk model. And then there’s the food… a wonderfully gourmet summer menu created by 3-star Michelin chef Yannick Alléno.

Dior des Lices

I chose the Penne with basil, country ham and parmesan shavings with a large glass of white wine whilst my dinner date delighted in a tagliatelle main course and to finish on a sweet note, we chose a selection of the D’Choux, a variety of tiny puff pastries filled with flavoured crème pâtissière, which arrive as a selection of four each with its own gold-leaf letter spelling out DIOR… the little choux were fluffy and airy, definitely the most perfect way to end a wonderful evening and I was thrilled to learn these miniature Dior treats are also available to take away!

Christian Dior restaurant

Opening again this year, the Restaurant Dior des Lices is open daily from 9.30am to 11pm – find out all the details in my review for Bravo Your City!

A Weekend in Amsterdam

Amsterdam market

This weekend I was on a mission to do a little research in the Netherlands for a fashion feature which I am currently working on so I left Paris behind and prepared myself for tulips, canals and red lights… and something a little less cliche! I didn’t pick the best weekend in terms of the weather as it was absolutely freezing and the snow was falling heavily but despite the less than favourable conditions, I had a perfect time and loved the bright colours and incredibly welcoming and friendly locals of Amsterdam.

The hotel I was staying in, Hotel Okura Amsterdam, was slightly outside the city centre but with a tramway stop located less than 2 minutes away, it was an ideal spot.  Its 5 stars are truly merited as everything about the reception, 23rd floor bar and my ‘superior room’ was absolute perfection. I enjoyed the most comfortable double bed (there was even a ‘pillow menu’ should I prefer a softer or firmer pillow) and my 14th floor room allowed for views over the city… the Sunday morning breakfast was also to die for but I’ll let the pictures do the talking…

am8

The lobby leading to the reception area at the Hotel Okura Amsterdam

Hotel Okura Amsterdam

My ‘Chambre Superieure’ at the Hotel Okura Amsterdam with a blind which  opened onto the bathroom at the click of a button meaning I could enjoy a hot bubble bath with views straight out onto the city… heavenly!

Hotel Okura Amsterdam

Breakfast was simply delicious and the choice of food endless… Fresh  mango juice was an unexpected treat and the warm croissants were the perfect wake-up treat!

Amsterdam market

I decided to check out the local flea market and especially loved all the bright colours of shoes, bags, cosmetics, textiles…

Amsterdam market

… even smoothies and fresh juices were available in all colours!

Rijksmuseum Amsterdam

I may have been researching fashion but there was no way I was going to miss visiting the Rijksmuseum… I highly recommend paying the additional 2,50 euros for the audio guide which was fascinating and I discovered a new passion for 17th century Baroque artists.

Amsterdam

Claudia Strater, a higher end Dutch womenswear brand similar to Maje and Sandro in Paris.

Amsterdam

The internationally renowned Dutch fashion label Vero Moda.

Hofje Van Wijs

Despite heading to the recommended district for bars and restaurants, I was not overly keen on the grotty looking pubs or clinic-like modern restaurants but finding this discreet, almost hidden little restaurants was a wonderful surprise.

Hofje Van Wijs

Very much looking forward to my ‘Emmental, Gouda and Truffle cheese fondue’ at Hofje Van Wijs which seemed to be filled with locals and not another tourist in sight.

Hofje Van Wijs

My yummy Emmental, Gouda and Truffle fondue was total perfection accompanied by a glass of Prosecco!

Hofje Van Wijs

I also loved being surrounded by the antique items which made up the unusual decor of Hofje Van Wijs…

Amsterdam Red Light District

A quick trip to the heart of the infamous Red Light District was a must although I can’t say I was a fan of seeing groups of leering men and boys all commenting on the physique of semi-naked prostitutes… quite a surreal environment.

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