LE HAVRE SHOWS THE WORLD THAT CONCRETE CAN BE BEAUTIFUL

Pourquoi ne pas découvrir Le Have cet été? Why not discover Le Havre this summer?

With its post-war and communist-style architecture, Le Havre is usually not on most people’s list of places to visit, but this summer the Norman resort is all the craze.

…and it is not because its mayor, Edouard Philippe, has recently been named France’s new Prime Minister.

Founded by King Francis I in 1517, the city is celebrating its half millennium with a 6-month long calendar of events, un été au Havre (a summer in Le Havre) that kicked off on the 27th of May with a massive street party, and runs until the 5th of November. A good occasion to show the world how the city has managed to reinvent itself after being severely bombed at the end of the Second World War, thanks to the incredible work of visionary architect Auguste Perret.

« Facing the seas, we will recreate the waterfront. People will savour the view from the open sea, before getting off the ships » – Auguste Perret

Because the city was one of France’s most important maritime ports, its reconstruction became a national priority, and Perret decided to rebuild the devastated city centre in concrete, to give both stability and uniformity to the various structures. Each city block was designed to provide maximum sunlight, balconies often running the length of the buildings, and open residential blocks were created.

If Le Havre’s city centre was very controversial and misunderstood, this all changed in 2015 when it was classified a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Since then, the city has become a diverse and vibrant hub for artists, hosting biannual modern art exhibitions, as well as a destination for foodies and sport lovers, thanks in part to its renovated waterfront.

Among the many events planned for this summer, there will be some free shows by the Nantes-based Royal de Luxe street theatre company and their giant puppets in July, as well as the display at the André Malraux Modern Art Museum (MuMa) of Claude Monet’s masterpiece “Impression, Sunrise”, which was created from a scene in the port of Le Havre, while, in August, 40 of the world’s largest heritage ships will be stopping over.

CLASSICAL CHARITY CONCERT AT OPÉRA DE NICE

Un concert pour une bonne cause demain à Nice. A concert for a good cause tomorrow in Nice

concert-lyrique-may-2017

A charity concert to raise money for Cancer Research is being held at Opera de Nice this coming Friday, a great occasion to support a good cause while enjoying a wonderful night out!

Organized by the local association l’Art pour la Vie, this prestigious event will be conducted by Frédéric Deloche and will feature famous arias and duets from MacBeth, Attila, Nabucco, Manon Lescaut and La Trouvère, performed by Svelte Vassileva, soprano, Irakli Kakhidze, tenor, and Giuseppe Altomare, baritone. The Orchestre Philharmonique and  the choirs of the opera will also be on hand for the occasion.

L’Art pour la Vie has been raising funds to help move medical research forward in a variety of different fields, from cystic fibrosis to lung cancer, through the staging of concerts featuring world-renowned lyrical singers. It probably helps that its president, Melcha Coder, is herself no stranger to classical music, and is also at the helm of a yearly operetta festival designed to discover local young talent. Trained as an opera singer, Coder launched l’Art pour la Vie in 1998, alongside her late-husband, a former radiologist.

The concerts are organised each May and have so far managed to raise more than €20,000 for local hospitals, including the acquisition of medical devices for the pediatric services of L’Archet 2 hospital.

This time around, all the proceeds will go to the Centre Antoine Lacassagne in Nice, one of 20 cancer centres in France, in order to help acquire a radiotherapy apparatus capable of realizing a preoperative radiation in just three minutes.

The concert takes place at 8 pm on Friday the 19th of May. Tickets cost between €10 and €35 and may be purchased directly at the Opera or ordered by telephone.

CONTACT DETAILS
Opéra Nice Côte d’Azur
4-6, rue Saint-François de Paule
06300 Nice

Tel: + 33 4 92 17 40 79

LAGERFELD’S FORMER MONEGASQUE VILLA HOSTS NOMAD DESIGN FAIR

Une des plus belles villas de la Côte d’Azur. One of the most beautiful villas on the French Riviera.

la-vigie

The inaugural Nomad Design Fair, which ran from the 27th to the 30th of April, provided the visitor with a unique opportunity to discover what is widely considered as one of the most beautiful properties on the French Riviera – La Vigie.

Built in 1902 for Sir William Ingram, the villa boasts magnificent panoramic views of the Mediterranean, the Principality, and the bay of Roquebrune-Cap-Martin. At the time of its construction, the gardens were full of rare animals, tropical birds and predators, including eagles and condors, and served as the perfect location for the owner’s extravagant parties.

The atmosphere, however, changed dramatically during World War II when the villa became an observation post for the occupying German forces, who did not think twice about turning the gardens into trenches covered with barbed wire and mine fields.

Thankfully, the grounds were restored to their former glory in the 1950’s and the villa became home to the Grimaldi family. Later on during the 1990’s, it was the residence of one of the world’s most famous fashion designers, Karl Lagerfeld.

These days, La Vigie is an exclusive hotel catering to high society guests, and can be rented on a weekly or monthly basis.

With its monumental entrance hall, impressive staircase, high ceilings, its many columns and fireplaces, large terrace, tree-covered park and private road, the property definitely provides for a chic and trendy getaway.

nomad-web

As for Nomad, it will now live up to its name, travelling to different destinations each year in order to offer art aficionados an original experience, and create “an event that is bespoke, intimate and that presents work in a radically new context”. Nonetheless, with their choice of La Vigie this year, the organizers have well and truly set the bar very high for future venues to follow!

 

All images courtesy Nomad Monaco

THE FRENCH RIVIERA TO CELEBRATE CENTENARY OF JFK’S BIRTH

JFK aurait eu 100 ans cette année. JFK would have turned 100 this year.

jfk-100

To celebrate the centenary of the birth of JFK, famed writer and producer Frédéric Lecomte-Dieu will be curating a one-off photo exhibition “John F. Kennedy 1917 – 2017” in Roquebrune-Cap-Martin.

The exhibition runs from the 15th to the 30th of May at the Mairie in Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, one of the Kennedys’ favourite holiday destinations, and will shed light on the life and career of the most popular American president in history. Just one of the many events that will be organized in 2017 on the French Riviera in honour of JFK!

In parallel to the main exhibition, 100 captioned pictures will be available for 24 hours only on the centenary website. This temporary display will take place on the 29th of May, the actual birthday of the late president.

On the 21st of July, Lecomte-Dieu will present his one-man show, “Dallas ! On a tiré sur le président Kennedy” at the Palais de l’Europe in Menton. For an hour and a half, he will give a voice to some 10 characters, including Lyndon Baines Johnson, Robert Kennedy, J.Edgar Hoover, Martin Luther King, Pierre Salinger, and Richard Nixon, as they pay their respects to the 35th president as his coffin lies in repose in the East Room of the White House.

Lecomte-Dieu has been working as a biographer of the famous clan since 1995, in collaboration with the U.S. National Archives and the John F. Kennedy Library in Boston. His extraordinary work has earned him praise from the highest levels of American government, notably during the 1998 exhibition, “Kennedy – The American Dream”. Since then he has continued to show his extensive collection of pictures throughout the world. The “Generation Kennedy” exhibition in 2001 at the Métropole Shopping Centre in Monte-Carlo attracted nearly 300,000 visitors. He is also regularly invited to speak at conferences, and is usually the first port of call for the French-speaking media each time there is some breaking news concerning the Kennedys.

PHILIP KERR AND THE DARK SIDE OF THE FRENCH RIVIERA

Une idée de lecture pour l’été! A good read for this summer!

English novelist and playwright W. Somerset Maugham used to describe the French Riviera as “a sunny place for shady people.” And he knew what he was talking about since he called it home for more than 30 years.

Philipp Kerr

Now, decades later, New York Times-bestselling author Philip Kerr is paying tribute to both Maugham and the South of France by placing both in the middle of his new novel, the 11th volume of his highly successful mystery series featuring ex-Berlin-policeman-turned-cynical-anti-fascist-detective, Bernie Gunther.

Once an unwilling Nazi during World-War II, Gunther now works under the pseudonym of Walter Wolf as a concierge in the luxurious Grand Hotel in Saint-Jean Cap Ferrat. It is 1956 and he is looking forward to a more peaceful existence, even though the job bores him. But of course, nothing goes according to plan as our hero becomes attracted to a middle-aged American woman, Anne French, a journalist working on a biography of Somerset Maugham. To help her get some inside information, he accepts an invitation to join Maugham’s bridge group, which meets at the magnificent Villa Mauresque. When he discovers that Gunther was previously a homicide detective, the famed author confides to him that he is being blackmailed over some old photos taken in 1937 at his swimming pool with a group of naked men, one of whom is the infamous spy, Guy Burgess, whom, along with Donald Maclean, has recently defected to Moscow.

The blackmailer is Harold Hennig, a former captain in the Nazi security service, responsible for the death of thousands of people, including a woman Gunther once loved.

As often, Kerr likes to run two timelines with linked or similar cases, which allow him to explore Bernie’s exploits in a non-linear manner and help his readers understand how the hideous events the hero suffered or witnessed have had an effect on his psyche.

The Other Side of Silence was released last year in the U.K. and the U.S., but has just been translated into French as Les Pièges de l’Exil. However, English-speaking fans can now discover the latest adventures of Bernie Gunther with Prussian Blue, which has just been published, once again using the French Riviera as its backdrop.