BEN L’ONCLE SOUL BRINGS SINATRA TO NICE

Septembre à Nice promet d’être soul! September in Nice promises to be soul!

Often described as the French Amy Winehouse, soul sensation Ben l’Oncle Soul is back with a third album, ‘Under My Skin’, a tribute to the legendary crooner, Frank Sinatra.

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Ben l’Oncle Soul will be in Nice this autumn for what should be a concert full of life! A great opportunity to see live an artist who has been making a big splash the world over in the last few years, with his eclectic brand of sound and his original look based on hats, bow ties and colourful jackets!

With a stage name that pays tribute to the fictitious elderly gent who serves as the brand image of Uncle Ben’s Rice, and music that is clearly influenced by American music of the 50’s and the 60’s, from the likes of Otis Redding and Ray Charles to Sam Cooke and Al Green, the young artist is as French as can be. Born Benjamin Duterde in 1984 in Tours in the Loire valley, he fell into soul music at a very young age, thanks to his mother who was immersed in that universe.

After graduating from art school, Ben, as he was then known to his friends, joined a gospel choir, the Fitiavana Gospel choir, which released an album in 2009 entitled ‘I Have a Dream’, featuring covers of soul classics such as ‘Killing me Softly‘.

Soon thereafter, the young man was signed by the French division of Motown Records and for his debut album, the eponymous Ben l’Oncle Soul, he chose to sing in both English and French. The album was a mix of original material and some covers, including his major hit, the soul version of the White Stripes’ ‘Seven Nation Army’,while his second offering, “A coup de rêves’, saw him team up with San Francisco-based psychedelic soul band Monophonics.

For his latest effort, which was released in late 2016, the French singer has reworked some of the greatest standards popularised by Ol’ Blue Eyes with a touch of reggae, soul, jazz and blues. With the help of both Matthieu Joly (Neïmo) and Benjamin ‘Waxx’ Heikimian (Naosol & The Waxx Blend) and thanks to his powerful voice, he has managed to give a new life to an extremely polished repertoire.

The thing which touched me most in Sinatra’s work, is the lyrics”, the soul artist says. “I wanted to give these jewels a new jewellery box, to create bridges between genres and periods.”

Ben l’Oncle Soul plays at the Théâtre Lino Ventura in Nice on Thursday, the 21st of September, 2017 at 8:30 pm. Tickets cost from €15,80 to €20,80 and can be bought at all the usual outlets or reserved online.

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SPIRIT OF DIOR VERY MUCH ALIVE IN GRASSE THIS SUMMER

L’expo à ne pas manquer cet été à Grasse. The not-to-be missed exhibition this summer in Grasse.

The International Perfume Museum in Grasse is celebrating the fashion designer’s love for the South of France with a summer exhibition entitled “Esprit de Parfums”.

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Just a year after the renovation of the Château de la Colle Noire, the provencal holiday residence of Christian Dior, “Esprit de Parfums” is an exhibition that highlights the artist’s life, but also his most famous olfactory creations.

Located near Grasse, the splendid property, set on several hundred hectares, is where the French couturier found the inspiration to craft some of his most famous fragrances.

Close to the land, a stone’s throw away from my vineyards and jasmine, I always feel comforted”. – Christian Dior

But Dior’s love affair with the French Riviera started well before his purchase of the 12,900 square foot château in 1950, his “haven of peace”. As early as 1934, his recently widowed father decided to leave Granville, in Normandy, and move with his daughter Catherine and governess to Callian, in the Var. The young Christian who was already living in Paris at the time, regularly went to stay with them, even taking refuge in the family home in the early 1940’s. After the war, he often visited his sister who had become a flower trader, working as an intermediary selling flowers grown in the South of France to the rest of the country.

It was thus natural that the designer chose to base his first fragrance, Miss Dior, on rose and jasmine. That was in 1947, and the perfume became an immediate success. But the fascination for the region did not stop there. Following in the footsteps of Paul Vacher, Dior worked with a string of Grasse’s perfumers to concoct some of his best fragrances. These included the self-styled ‘perfumer/composer’ Edmond Roudnitska, who created Diorama, Eau Fraîche, Diorissimo and Eau Sauvage, and Edouard Fléchier, the man behind Poison. The region has always been central to Christian Dior scents – even nowadays,  the official perfumer and fragrance designer for the Maison Dior is Grasse-born François Demachy, who has held the position since 2006.

The exhibition, which runs until the 1st of October 2017, serves as an opportunity to display the museum’s large collection of bottles and posters, as well as some masterpieces belonging to the Maison Dior, and pieces on loan from both public institutions and private establishments. Meanwhile, videos and interactive terminals provide an historical context which call on all the five senses.

The Musée International de la Parfumerie is open every day from 10 am to 7 pm, and the entrance fee is €6

CONTACT DETAILS
Musée International de la Parfumerie
2, boulevard du Jeu de Ballon
06130 Grasse

Tel: +33 4 97 05 58 00

 

BEAUTIFUL BRATISLAVA MAKES FOR THE PERFECT WEEKEND GETAWAY

Oubliez Prague, Bratislava est la nouvelle destination pour un week-end parfait en Europe. Forget Prague, Bratislava is the new destination for a perfect weekend in Europe.

Castle

Sandwiched between Budapest and Vienna, and just a stone’s throw from Prague, it is very easy to overlook Bratislava, capital of Slovakia.

Since the dissolution of Czechoslovakia in 1993 which saw the country split into the Czech Republic and Slovakia, it seems like the former has received the lion’s share of world attention and tourism. But the Slovakian capital of Bratislava definitely possesses both an old-fashioned charm and an interesting history that makes it the perfect destination for a weekend getaway.

Spanning both banks of the Danube, the city which was once known as Pressburg, boasts a long and complex past, marked by the likes of the Hapsburgs, Napoléon, the Nazis, and the Communists.

One of the best examples of this is probably Bratislava Castle, a massive monument sitting atop a hill, overlooking the entire city (see lead image). Built in the 9th century, it became the formal seat of the kings of Royal Hungary in the mid 16th century. Restored many times over its 1,000+ years of existence, it has four corner towers that make it look like an upturned table. And according to legend, the internal stairs are very wide and shallow as Hapsburg Empress Maria Theresa was too heavy to climb them herself, and insisted instead on riding her horse up and down. The castle is now home to the Slovak National museum and its beautiful grounds provide for some great photo opportunities.

A walk through the narrow cobbled streets of the Old Town is like stepping back in time. The buildings date from various architectural periods, and the main square, Hlavné Námestie, full of cafés and kiosks selling handcrafts, bustles with life.

From the terraces of both Michael’s Gate, the only preserved gate of Bratislava’s fortifications, and the Old Town Hall’s Yellow Tower, one can enjoy a fantastic panoramic view of the surroundings. The three-nave Gothic St. Martin’s Cathedral with its gilded replica of the coronation crown atop is a reminder of the city’s glorious past, while the many whimsical statutes that are dotted around the Old Town are a nod to a quirkier side, like Schöne Náci, the jovial chap in tails with cane, who doffs his top hat to the curious Čumil popping out of a manhole (pictured below).

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Just outside the walls of the Old Town, St. Elizabeth’s church, built in the Art Nouveau style at the beginning of the 20th century, is a not-to-be-missed attraction with it blue-coloured façade and dome. A little further outside the city, the ruins of Devin Castle, a fortress built on a high rock towering above the confluence of the Danube and Morava Rivers, offer enchanting natural scenery.

Blue church

There is no direct flight from Nice to Bratislava, but the city is easily accessible by train or bus from both Vienna and Budapest.

BONNARD AND VUILLARD REUNITED IN LE CANNET THIS SUMMER

L’expo de l’été à ne pas manquer au Cannet. The not-to-be missed summer exhibition in Le Cannet!

Pierre Bonnard would have turned 150 this year, and the museum that bears his name in Le Cannet is celebrating this milestone with a special summer-long exhibition.

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This exhibition, ‘BONNARD/VUILLARD La collection Zeïneb et Jean-Pierre Marcie-Rivière’,is centered around masterpieces on loan from the Musée d’Orsay. In total, 25 of Bonnard’s paintings and 94 of his drawings, as well as 24 paintings, 3 pastels and 2 drawings by Édouard Vuillard, taken from the collection of Zeïneb and Jean-Pierre Marcie-Rivière that was generously donated to the Parisian museum, are on display, showing the friendship and close artistic bond that existed between the two artists at the time of the Nabi Movement.

The two met at the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris, and remained friends until the death of Vuillard in 1940, which devastated Bonnard. As Vuillard wrote in his last letter to his friend on the 4th May of that year: “If I wrote to you every time I think about you, our past, painting, etc., you would have enough letters to fill a library”.

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Throughout the years, they shared their discoveries and experimentations, but also friends and exhibitions. In the 1890’s, they had both taken an interest in the same subjects, with a preference for intimate scenes representing their daily surroundings, with furniture and accessories playing the most important role. They also both adopted a very similar, evocative style, favouring small formats, mysterious compositions, and images from the avant-garde symbolist theatre and the music of Wagner.

The exhibition clearly demonstrates the affinities between the two men and the similarities in their artistic approach, by creating a link between the various artworks. But it also shows their differences. For instance, where Bonnard’s radiant nudes were usually bathed in light, Vuillard, who observed his models from a distance in the privacy of their homes, preferred instead to represent them as ghost-like figures.

The exhibit, “BONNARD/VUILLARD La collection Zeïneb et Jean-Pierre Marcie-Rivière” runs until the 17th of September at the Musée Bonnard in Le Cannet.

CONTACT DETAILS
Musée Bonnard
16, boulevard Sadi Carnot
06110 Le Cannet

Tel: +33 4 93 94 06 06

Open from Tuesday to Sunday, 10am to 6pm

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

KENSINGTON PALACE PAYS TRIBUTE TO ULTIMATE STYLE ICON THAT WAS PRINCESS DIANA

Une expo qui vaut le détour si vous êtes à Londres. An exhibition that is worth a detour if you are in London.

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One of the most photographed women in the world, she inspired millions of women and designers the world over with her impeccable red carpet looks.

Now, nearly 20 years since her death in Paris in a car accident (on the 31st of August, 1997), Princess Diana is being celebrated as the fashion icon she was in a beautiful exhibition held in the place she called home for over 15 years, Kensington Palace. A great occasion to witness the late Royal’s evolution from a shy debutante with a country girl style to a daring fashionista who communicated through her clothes.

The exhibitionDiana: Her Fashion Story” starts with the Emanuel pale pink chiffon blouse she wore during her first official portrait in 1981 captured by Lord Snowdon and follows with the Bill Pashley brown tweet suit the princess famously wore on her honeymoon in Balmoral in 1981. As time went by, Diana clearly grew more confident, even making comments on the sketches that were sent to her for approval, and in the latter years of her life, thanks in part to her supermodel figure that made any dress she wore look fantastic, it was obvious that Diana no longer followed trends but instead set them. From the sleeveless above the knee outfit she wore to a Christies Auction Gala in New York in 1997, to the green silk velvet evening gown with diamond buttons she wore for a 1997 Vanity Fair photo shoot by Mario Testino, both dresses Catherine Walker creations, she was by then in full control of her image and definitely helped put British fashion designers on the map.

The 25 dresses on display have been lent back by private owners who had acquired them during the famous aforementioned auction where the princess put 79 of her gowns up for auction for charity.

This exhibition is just one of the many events that are going to be organized this year to commemorate the life of Princess Diana. Already, some 12,000 of her favourite flowers, including narcissi, tulips and roses, have recently burst into life thanks to the early spring weather. Created by the gardeners at Kensington Palace, this temporary White Garden was inspired by Diana’s white “Elvis” Catherine Walker dress that is on display, and also includes a few touches of colour in tribute to the Princess’s sense of fun and spirit.

CONTACT DETAILS
Kensington Palace
Kensington Gardens
London W8 4PX
United Kingdom