One of the most common misconceptions about Roma Gypsies today is that they come from Romania in Eastern Europe, but the Roma people and the nation of Romania are not at all related.
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!
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…
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.
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.