Tag Archives: Off-Beat & Little Known

The Disappearing Membership Cafés of Provence

The Disappearing Membership Cafés of Provence

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

The Diva Who Grew Her Own Exotic Kingdom

The Diva Who Grew Her Own Exotic Kingdom

Madame Ganna Walska

“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…

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Lunch at the Forgotten Rothschild Party Palace

Lunch at the Forgotten Rothschild Party Palace

© MessyNessyChic

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

Overnight at Harry Potter University

Overnight at Harry Potter University

© Jodie Taylor

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

You Can Blow a Kiss to the Real St. Valentine

You Can Blow a Kiss to the Real St. Valentine

The relics of Saint Valentine.

 That’s right, there really was a flesh-and-blood Italian behind the kitsch holiday we’ve got today, and he went by the name of Saint Valentine. Unfortunately for Valentine, however, the day-turned-holiday marked his tragic end, as the martyr was clubbed to death in Rome on February 14th, 269 AD.… Read the rest

New York’s Oldest Dim Sum Restaurant and the Secrets of Chinatown

New York’s Oldest Dim Sum Restaurant and the Secrets of Chinatown

©wikicommons

Secreted away in the heart of Manhattan’s Chinatown is a small, peculiar street. Whilst most of the city is laid out in a uniform grid system, this tiny, one block long street is unusual in that it has a sharp, angled bend in the middle of it. On a map, it is marked down as Doyers Street, but in old New York parlance, it had a much more chilling name – Bloody Angle.Read the rest

The Last Makers of the Parisian Café Chair

The Last Makers of the Parisian Café Chair

Stepping inside Maison Gatti is a bit like entering Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory for Francophiles, and furniture connoisseurs alike. Nestled in the Parisian commune of Fontainebleau, the atelier is the last of its kind, and the world’s only source for authentic Parisian bistro chairs.

As such, Gatti has become the guardian of a long-standing craft, and a tradition that has made Paris’ renowned terrace culture what it is today. “They’re as Parisian as the grandes boulevards,” says owner Benoît Maugrion of the nearly 100-year-old business, “In a way, they gave us the grandes boulevards.Read the rest

So Matisse, Chagall, and the Headless Horseman Walk into a Church…

So Matisse, Chagall, and the Headless Horseman Walk into a Church…

Tucked along New York’s Hudson River is the town of Sleepy Hollow, where old carriage roads can still be walked, and the woodlands feel just a bit darker than they should. It’s also home to the Union Church of Pocantico Hills, a gothic style church built in 1921 by the Rockefellers. Oh, and it happens to house works by two of the 20th century’s greatest artists — nine by Chagall, and the last ever work created by Henri Matisse.… Read the rest