Marcia DeSanctis’s new book, 100 Places in France Every Woman Should Go is a great holiday gift for the Francophile in your life. Marcia takes readers on a wonderful adventure from Colette’s Palais Royale to M.F.K. Fisher’s Aix-en-Provence and Zelda and F. Scott Fitzgerald’s favorite Plage de La Garoupe in Antibes. She also makes perfume in Grasse, introduces the sisterhood of wine makers in Bordeaux and provides a short cut through the Musée D’Orsay by way of the ten best paintings featuring women and a short explanation of each. I love this book.
In a previous post about collecting I mentioned the idea of collectors and their ability to “go there,” meaning to hone in on an idea or an aesthetic and then to take it beyond any imagined limits. If you want to see an exhilarating example of this idea, go see Matisse: The Cut-Outs at MoMA. The pieces are simply beautiful and the choreography of the exhibit is thrilling–beginning with the artist’s small maquettes which he created while working out composition for bigger projects and finishing with giant scrolls of color and form dancing across gallery walls. It’s interesting to note that in 1942 Matisse wrote to his friend the writer Louis Aragon that he had “an unconscious belief in a future life…some paradise where I shall paint frescoes.” And, several years later, in 1947 Matisse talked about the “greater space” of Islamic art. This show expresses the confluence of Matisse’s aesthetic and his intuition and vision of that greater space, a realm that will lift you with its pure expression of joy and freedom. You cannot help but smile and skip on your way out.
My friend Bob Morris emailed from Girona, Spain the other day to say he was looking for restaurant recs in the area (he had just consumed a 20-course meal at the Celler Can Roca–aka, the best restaurant in the world). How do you top that? Easy. I told him about Compartir in Cadaqués, owned by three chefs who all worked in Ferran Adrià’s kitchen at El Bulli. Two summers ago my husband and I traveled to Cadaqués for a story I was writing on the Costa Brava region. We fell in love with the delicious food at this unpretentious spot (the beet salad pictured above is out of this world). Cadaqués, as you may know, is where Salvador Dalì lived for many years. It’s a remote, white-washed Mediterranean fishing town, surrounded by mountains and stretching right down to the turquoise sea. I could go back there in a heartbeat. Read more here: Travel+Leisure.
Ever since I subscribed to the info-packed, stylish newsletter A Hotel Life, I’ve been impressed by the ground they cover and the choice of contributors. Every time it pops up in my inbox I cannot wait to read their latest recommendation (they usually have three or four–one quirkier than the next). They also post useful information about the destination alongside each hotel review–neighboring towns or sites of interest, where to eat locally. The most recent installment got me thinking of Puglia, Italy–a place I’ve dreamed of going for a while now.
It doesn’t take much to lure me into a blog about Paris, but Carin Olsson’s blog, Paris in Four Months features photos of Paris that are so intimate and evocative of a a city that I know and love. Olsson is from Stockholm and moved to Paris in 2012 for four months. She loved it so much she decided to stay. Looking at her photos of Parisian street scenes or details transports me right back to that great city on the Seine.