France’s premier wine-making region produces some of the greatest vintages of all time, but it has historically not taken kindly to visitors—until now. From the city to the grand old châteaux beyond, Bordeaux is showing a fresh face to the world.
PARIS — When the Musée du Quai Branly opened here in 2006, there were outraged predictions that this $295 million project was doomed to fail.
Its mismatched structures, plunked down in a neighborhood of grand 19th-century apartment buildings on the Seine, a block from the Eiffel Tower, disturbed traditionalists who felt that the ideal of Parisian architectural elegance had been violated. It scooped up African, Oceanic, American and Asian works of art from the Musée de l’Homme and the Musée des Arts Africains et Oceaniens, drawing criticism from anthropologists for gutting two beloved institutions.
Elaine Sciolino is author of “Persian Mirrors: The Elusive Face of Iran.” Her most recent book, “The Only Street in Paris: Life on the rue des Martyrs,” will be published in paperback and in a French edition in November.
Anyone who hates the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran will love this book.
In “The Iran Wars,” Wall Street Journal chief foreign affairs correspondent Jay Solomon tells the story of Iran’s nuclear program and its projection of power in the region, and the American struggle to contain the country.
PARIS — For Dior, it is a revolution: a woman leading its creative side for the first time in the house’s 69-year history. On Friday, Maria Grazia Chiuri will unveil her first collection for the house to an audience (and clients) on the edge of their seats with anticipation. So it is fortuitous that this turning point coincides with the release of a glossy, eight-part television drama calculated to remind us how it all began.
“The Collection,” Amazon Prime’s first original British series, which debuted in Britain this month and will be aired in France starting in November, tells the story of two brothers — one a businessman, the other a designer — and their mission to build a great couture house that would reinstate Paris as the center of the fashion world after the end of the Nazi occupation.
People ask me, “Why did you write a whole book about a single street?” I tell them rue des Martyrs is not just any street. You won’t find it in most guidebooks, but believe me, it’s a half-mile of magic. About a mile north-east of Place de l’Opéra and half a mile south of the Sacré-Coeur basilica, rue des Martyrs cuts through the formerly working-class ninth and 18th arrondissements. It lacks the grandeur of the Champs-Élysées and the elegance of Boulevard Saint-Germain, but its activity is concentrated: it’s home to nearly 200 small shops and restaurants.
When the Ritz Paris closed for renovations in 2012, she was showing her age. The previous year, the French tourism ministry had left her off its list of French hotel “palaces.” On the day I visited, shortly before the doors shut, the hotel was clearly ready for a refresh: the gladiolas in the lobby were wilting and the tea sandwiches were soggy. Continue reading “Hotel Review: The Ritz is Once Again Paris’s Crown Jewel” »
PARIS — After record rainfall and near-historic flooding this spring, life along the Seine is returning to normal. Tourist boats are again cruising the river. The Louvre and the Musée d’Orsay have reopened. Riverside restaurants and nightclubs are back in business.
So this is a moment for Paris to celebrate the charms and secrets of the slow-moving waterway that both divides and unites the city.
On the same day early this month that the Seine rose to its highest level in Paris (20 feet above normal), an exhibition on the river’s islands opened at the Pavillon de l’Arsenal on the Right Bank.
PARIS — Les Bouquinistes has long been a favorite luxury restaurant of Paris visitors. Set on a quay along the Left Bank, founded by Guy Savoy, a three-Michelin-star chef, it offers a warm welcome, a contemporary setting, a creative menu, prices that are not stratospheric and drop-dead views of the Seine and Notre-Dame.
But on a recent Thursday evening, this 50-seat food emporium was empty except for one couple at a table in front and a small group celebrating a birthday in a back room.
“It is fear of terrorism,” said Cédric Jossot, Les Bouquinistes’s manager. “We rely on tourists — Americans, Japanese — and they are not coming.”
YAZD, Iran — This desert provincial capital in central Iran is known for its honesty, generosity, high clay walls, fine woven silk textiles, a pre-Islamic Zoroastrian fire temple and soaring wind towers that naturally cool rooms below.
The first time I sampled the sweets of Yazd was one winter evening in 1998. It was at the end of Eftar, the nightly ritual of breaking a 12-hour fast that Iranian Muslims observe during the holy month of Ramadan. I had been invited to dine with some of the women closest to Mohammad Khatami, who was president then: his mother, three of his sisters and a gaggle of cousins, grandchildren and family friends.
PARIS — I wanted to be like Ines de la Fressange the first time I laid eyes on her.
It was March 1978 and I had just arrived in Paris from Chicago as a foreign correspondent for Newsweek magazine. Covering the ready-to-wear fashion shows was my first assignment.