Tag Archives: places

Chateau la Coste – art & architecture &…wine

As summer is kicking in (finally) it makes me think of the beautiful places we went the last couple of summers…and makes me want to go back since some are only a stone’s throw away, like le Chateau la Coste.

Chateau

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Every year my parents spend a couple of weeks in the south of France, in La Ciotat, a little seaport not far from Marseille. Besides the time at the beach we always do some trips in the close area around and one of my favorite places we’ve visited lately  was probably Chateau la Coste which we discovered two years ago thanks to my love. (Since Jean Nouvel happens to be the architect who designed the wine cuverie he knows the place and it’s owner quite well.)

La Coste is a little bijou in the Provence, close to Aix-en-Provence. It’s a wonderful mix of unique art and architecture set in this beautiful provencian landscape surrounded by good wine.

Some ten years ago the irish property developer and art collector Patrick McKillen has decided to transform his vineyard by completing it with a contemporary art center sculpture park.
He has invited numerous world-famous artists and architects and let them, inspired by this beautiful place, let their creativity run wild.
The result is a stunning encounter of Richard SERRA,  Andy GOLDSWORTHY, Louise BOURGEOIS, Tom SHANNON.. Tadao ANDO, Frank O. GEHRY and Jean NOUVEL .. to name only a few.

You start your visit at the art center designed by Tadao Ando..

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and then you continue your walk through the hills and fields of wine.. passing by a little chapel designed by Tadao Ando..

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.. a pavilion by Frank Gehry..

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…or a piece by Tom Shannon, which reflects the surrounding landscape ..

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….the wine cuverie by Jean Nouvel..

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..and so on and so on… The accumulation and density of artistic treasures is really impressive – just like their setting.

…in the end you can rest and have a bite and a drink at the café at Tadao’s art center building with a great few of the surrounding area and more art..

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..like one of the spiders by Louise Bourgeoise

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It’s really an amazing and unique place. Go and have a look if you’re en Provence. It’s evolving all the time since new pieces of art arrive every now and then.  I’m quite impatient to go back this summer.

…and we’ll probably look like this again – which was two years ago .. 🙂

 

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A weekend in Essaouira, Marocco

The other week we took two days off, left Maxou with his grandparents and went for a long weekend to Essaouira, Morocco -as a last kidsfree vacation for probably quite a while and it was gorgeous!

It was a little bit like 3 days in paradise. In the middle of an oasis in Morocco, hot sunshine and blue sky, great food, lying at the pool, having a massage or one of  their other spoilings that our beautiful little hotel Jardin des Douars offered … perfect. The beautiful guest ksar (palace) how they call it, a little palace in traditional Moroccan style, is located in the heart of the Essaouira hills a couple of kilometres from the city. The rooms are spread all over the beautiful garden. It’s so calm and quiet and the friendliness of the people is just stunning (especially if you come right from Paris).

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We started the day with a delicious breakfast at this terrace….

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….and then either hang around the pool…

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…had a facial, massage, hammam or whatever in their beautiful spa

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..went to the city…

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Essaouira is a rather small town in the west of Morocco at the atlantic coast. Its medina, historic center,  with its little streets full of beautiful things    is a Unesco word culture heritage. The region is known for its cultivation of Argantrees -they are basically everywhere you put your eye and their oil is used it for everything. Soaps, cremes, lotions but also for preparing their dishes. All the beauty treatments at our hotel were done with it. Of course I covered myself with a few bottles 🙂 I love it, it makes your skin and hair all smooth.

 

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A beautiful place that I can highly recommend if you’re looking like us for some chill days in a beautiful, warm place to pamper yourself a little bit .)

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Beautiful (more or less) abandoned places II

This abandoned outdoor movie theater in the Desert of Sinai looks just stunning…so surreal

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All this thanks to a crazy frenchman..and thinking that no single movie was ever screened at the End of the World Cinema…

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The Estonian photographer Kaupo Kikkas made those beautiful shots of this isolated place.

And those striking beautiful pictures by Andrew Newey of honey hunters in Nepal.
The Gurung honey hunters risk they life every year to gather honey from the world’s largest honeybee, an ancient tradition that goes back to hundreds of years.

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Aren’t they just breathtaking?

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A weekend in Cadaqués

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Last weekend we had a great (probably last) taste of summer for this year. A friend of ours was celebrating her birthday in Cadaqués, Catalonia in Spain. It’s a beautiful little town in a bay of the Costa Brava. But unlike other little bay towns that we know so well Cadaques is well hidden in the bay by the mountains that surround it which make the access not that easy and obvious. (I get sick every time we go there due to the serpentine street that leads there- but it’s worth it 🙂

Apart from being a beautiful place for spending some days in the summer it is also known as the town of Dali who had a home in a bay right next to the town.  Today it accommodates a Dali museum that you can visit.
The only B flat minor for those who love the beach: the beaches in Cadaques are little and pebbly but still beautiful and the water is crystal clear.

Our friends live in Barcelona, which is only a 2h drive from Cadaqués and often go there, like many Barcelonians, for the weekend. We’ve already spent some beautiful weekends with them but this one was quite unforgettable.
They’ve rented this gorgeous ‘mansion’ at a peninsula at only 10 minutes walk from the center of the village. You felt like in a dream every single moment. It was that harbor of peace and tranquility from where you watch the boats sail by and the rest of the world seems just so so far away…

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…and imagine there are people who actually live like that every single day!

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Merci Steph et Damien!

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London’s ‘Walkie Talkie’ skyscraper is putting the street on fire

London Walkie Talkie building melts car

You might already have heard of it, as I have read about it several times today already. The new skyscraper in London (still under construction) nicknamed ‘walkie talkie’ or now ‘walkie scorchie’ .) is literally putting the street on fire. His glass facade is reflecting the sunlight and bouncing heat from the sun on to buildings and everything else that is on the street across. A reporter measured 92 degrees celsius in a spot of the street! Can you imagine? Apparently it’s melting parts of cars, causing tiles to smash and paintwork to blister and makes it possible to fry eggs in the street! Hot!

see for yourself here

Architects….!

picture above from theguardian

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Summer time

September approaches in big steps and you can smell it in the air – the end is close. The end of those warm and sunny t-shirt & short days.

We had a great summer,  like always I would say  .) Only too short, like always.

We spent some beautiful days with friends at their family country house close to Aix-en-Provence. A beautiful 200years old mansion with a big garden with a pool, magnificent old sycamore trees and a great terrace where we drank litres and litres of delicious rosé wine and ate tons of the most delicious tomatoes that came just from the neighbor’s’ garden ! Merci Nathalie & Jerôme!

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Bringnoles4 Delicious – I had forgotten what tomatoes really tasted like.

And then we went off for a family vacation just the three of us, two weeks in a little house lost in the Roussillon, close to Perpignan.

LanguedocRoussillon is a beautiful region in the south of France, right at the border to Spain. It is very preserved and except for the vineyards and the fruit trees in the valley it has kept its savage landscape quite well .  A lot of green, beautiful old little villages and farms and pretty much nothing else in the countryside…

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We spent most of the time on our terrace reading, relaxing, enyoing the view..

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IMG_3017…or at the pool

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Love you so much, my little man!

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..and drinking the wine that we were gazing at during the day and again savoring our breathtaking view..

(more to come)

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Summer break Paris #2

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While the streets of Paris in August are empty as at no other time during the year the beaches are quite populated.
Since about 10 years the city of Paris organizes an event called Paris Plages during the months of July and August. One of the traffic lanes along the river Seine (la voie sur berge rive droite de la Seine) is closed and covered with tones of sand in order to create an artificial beach in the center of Paris offering various activities for young.. and ‘older’ kids.
And though I agree that it’s a nice idea for all those who (have to) stay in Paris during vacation time I must admit that I’m not a big fan of the beach along the Seine. I don’t know why.. maybe because the city is too palpable (it’s still the center of Paris)

But this year we made a nice discovery while taking a walk at the bassin de la Villette in the 19th arrondissement. There is another part of Paris Plages, less known as less central and therefore much more charming and pleasant, to my eyes.
And even though Maxou is still too small to enjoy any of the activities we always have a good time only watching the others…

pedal..

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BMXing..

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..struggle on water (my personal favorite! Looks so much fun)

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..get wet and cool off

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.. dance (or learn how to do so 🙂

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..play pétanque (of course!)

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..or just built some castles and chill on the beach

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.. and lots of other stuff. So if you’re in Paris during summer (with kids or without) it’s a cool place to pass a pleasant afternoon ‘away’ from the city. (until the 18th of August)

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