Gustave Eiffel, the Michelin brothers, the Peugeot family– they were all educated by one of the oldest, most prestigious universities in France– which no longer exists. In its heyday, this ‘Harvard of Paris’ was housed in an extraordinary 17th century Parisian mansion, one that if you’ve been to Paris, you’re most likely very well-acquainted with. You see, I happened upon an album of photographs in the archives of the French National Library, which allows us a glimpse through the windows of perhaps the grandest école in French history. I’d never heard of this École Centrale des Arts et Manufactures, but as I began looking closer at the architecture, I realised I’d been here before!… Read the rest
The village of Gordes in Provence is one of the most beautiful & charming in a part of France that’s teeming with small towns that are … well, beautiful and charming. Perched high on the slopes of the Monts de Vaucluse, Gordes is a treasure trove of narrow, winding cobbled streets, crammed with old homes that cling to the mountainside, and lead up to an old medieval castle. But in one corner of this magical village overlooking the Calavon Valley is a tiny bar that’s one of the last of its kind in France– the Cercle Republicain! The what now?… Read the rest
I‘m just a little bit mesmerised by these photographs of Parisian ladies showing off their best French lace at the races. The Hippodrome de Lonchamps was the place to be seen in the 19th and early 20th century, a pre-Paris Fashion Week catwalk of sorts in the spring. The very latest modes were on parade, as modelled by these statuesque racegoers in proud possession of some of the most luxurious and intricate lace designs I’ve ever seen. I know what I’ll be digging for this weekend at the antiques market…
Well that’s it for me. I’ll never stay in a normal hotel in Amsterdam again now that 28 of the city’s bridge houses have been transformed into charming little hotel rooms. For over a century, these canalside gate houses accommodated the storied bridge keepers whose task it was to conduct the city’s water traffic and allow boats to pass.… Read the rest
Can you believe these photographs are over one hundred years old? I go through a lot of historical archives– I think I’ve lost count– but I don’t think I’ve ever looked at a photograph from the past and felt its subjects come alive so vividly, as if they’ve almost just blinked at me, as if it were just yesterday.
In 1948, the Library of Congress purchased this collection of over 2,000 images from the sons of Sergey Mikhaylovich Prokudin-Gorsky, a Russian chemist and photographer whose pioneering work in colour photography captured early 20th-century Russia like no one else could.
His photographs offer a vivid portrait of a lost world—the Russian Empire between 1905 and 1915, on the eve of World War I and the … Read the rest
“Don’t touch. And don’t eat what you touch unless you want to die” are the first words you’ll hear upon entering Lotusland, the exotic, 37-acre kingdom of plants tucked away in the quiet town of Montecito, California. Its roots run three owners and 135 years deep, but it’s the touch of its final, failed opera singer patroness, Madame Ganna Walska, that makes the legacy behind its pink walls so magical…div id="attachment_109898" style="width:… Read the rest
I stood looking up at the gates, hands on my hips, wondering what forgotten chateau I’d stumbled upon this time. We’d taken a detour to avoid the traffic back into Paris and suddenly pulled over into the ditch by the side of the road at my absolute insistence. What I didn’t know then, peeping through the iron bars, was that I was standing at the back entrance of the largest and most luxurious 19th-century château in France.… Read the rest
There was something strange about the collection of Paris photographs I stumbled upon in the archives of the Read the rest
If you ever find yourself in Oxford, England in search of a bed for the night, you might consider booking a room at the student dorm accommodation of Christ Church College, University of Oxford for a real-life Harry Potter experience. The university not only provides accommodation over the summer months, but your stay comes with an all access pass to wander the campus, halls and gardens out of hours. Largely empty in summer, several parts of the campus feature in the Harry Potter films, including the famous dining hall, and the college even served as an inspiration to Alice in Wonderland.… Read the rest