Monday, June 25, 2012

Irish interlude

Following our Kilimanjaro trek last fall, my friend Judy and I decided to take a milder trip where one can actually sleep on a bed and eat more readily palatable food. I was so incredibly busy with work and delegated all aspects of the trip to Judy who organized the itinerary and most of the B&B type of accommodation (not your average B&B, but beautiful, charming grand old manors and lodges). I will admit, I was not very exited about the trip, much preferring exotic, untravelled, challenging venues but having broken my heel and torn a ligament, my walking is still rather painful.

Was I in for a surprise! On day one, driving on the left side in a stick shift on roads whose narrowness I haven't ever encountered before (short of Bhutan, but that is another story) I didn't expect to fall head over heels in love with Ireland. It truly was love at first sight, the lushness, greens, architecture, enchanting villages, magnificent landscapes, majestic coast line of this country and its gentle kind people.

We landed in Shannon, drove on to Bantry in Cork county, visiting ancient castles and gardens under  a rather hard rain. From Bantry, we followed the coastline to beautiful, quaint Dingle where we spent our second night. Amazing sunshine and warmth stayed with us there on. In Dingle, I ate my best seafood meal ever!! We shopped our hearts out for bed and table linens and cashmere. From Dingle we moved on to Doolin where we spent two nights. We took a ferry to the Aran  Islands and spent the day biking around this dry, rugged beautiful island. I swore I would return, rent a cottage for a couple of weeks and read, read, read and work on my book. Finally, we moved on to Connemara, visiting on the way the romantic gardens and Abbey of Kylemore. Connemara is an idyllic enchanting place, the land of green hills, rivers, mountains ... a visual feast. We stayed two nights at the delightful Delphi Lodge  which felt as a home away from home, with the most attentive, entertaining staff, delicious meals and grand architecture and surroundings.

I'll let the pictures explain...

Entry to Bantry House

Beautiful Romantic setting for this old grand House, witness to a time gone by

The old steps leading to what must have been an extraordinary garden

Encountering some financial hard times, the lady owner and one gardener are trying their best to keep some sort of structure. I found this garden enchanting

Very pleasant setting for lunch

The ancient castle is the site of beautiful parks and gardens

Kylemore Abbey

The beautiful coastline

Driving and walking around the deserted villages and the Burren, you can fully sense the devastation and the suffering of the Irish during the dark times of the potato famine.

Bantry coastline

Biking on the Aran island. Pure bliss!

I want to rent this cottage for a week of two, read, bike, swim, eat fresh seafood, sleep,enjoy the moment

Ireland has a yearly contest for tidy houses. Each homeowner and shop owner take incredible pride in their house and village. The houses are pristine, the villages are perfectly clean with flower baskets and gardens, not a shred of discarded paper in sight. These villages are incredibly charming, welcoming, with great local shops and bookstores. I picked up a few novels by contemporary Irish writers.

The famous Cliffs of Mohair

A farm on the Aran Islands

On our way to bucolic Connemara

The magnificent Delphi lodge, where we ended our stay. I pledge to return as I truly loved everything about this lodge,the house, the guests coming from all parts of the world to fish, and the incredible suroundings. Judy and I decided to climb up the hills to explore on a mild walk. Asking the manager for a map, he offered to drop us off quite a long few miles away which concerned me a little as my bandaged heel cannot take too much stress. His directions were quite precise: go up that hill all the way to the top, but stop under the fog-line (it was raining quite hard on that day), then go straight across these hills and walk down to the lodge. You can't miss it.

Famous last words, we went up and up, and then down to avoid brittle rock faces, climbed over and under numerous barbed wire fences, got stuck in mud and bogs filled with nasty leaches. Could not get a sure foot on the ground as these hills were too steep. Totally lost, we went up again in hopes of seeing the lodge. We took a gamble and walked in one direction ... again up and down the hills and ... victory we recognized the loch by the lodge... 6 hours later, soaked, covered in mud we found the lodge.

But what an adventure

A Bientot,


Monday, June 18, 2012

The LUXE event

Sandow media and Luxe Interiors+Design sponsored a fabulous event at the Delamar Hotel in Greenwich, Connecticut yesterday. Jennifer Matthews, the energetic, enthusiastic and extremely talented Group Publisher of Luxe interiors + Design put together an incredible afternoon to evening elegant affair. Following a hard day working in the garden, I quickly showered, put on high heels and black little dress and drove to the Delamar. The setting was stunning, a perfect blue sky, the entire courtyard and walkways were devoted to luxury goods, from men's fashion to cigars, champagne, exotic sports cars, yacht, beauty products... all the toys for a very affluent group of people. Women were elegant, men sporting yachting attire. The Luxe cabana was designed by Jiun Ho whose work I have admired for many years. Jennifer made the mutual introduction and I really enjoyed chatting with him. We have so much in common, our love for Asia, design sensitivity, travel, biking...

From the lounge, Estera, Interieurs project manger, and I wandered around, from the outrageously beautiful cars to testing champagne, chocolate and latest beauty products and finally took our shoes off and entered the "dream lifestyle"of yachting. I have spent my younger years with summers on the atlantic coast where my father docked his boat in Arcachon. These were fantastic times and I have kept a deep love for the sea. Once we set foot on the amazing Ohana, 154', I was hooked !  (hard not to be....) 

Bugatti... not for a discreet ride

Aston Martin...a truly elegant beautiful powerful car

This boat is simply amazing,the design and configuration maximizes every square inch for a beautiful, contemporary luxurious interior featuring 3 bedrooms.

On board the Ohana

Lunch on the deck...

...or intimate dinning in one of the pair of dining tables in the main dining room

Traditional living room

Very large master suite with sitting area, study,library, his and hers master bath

5 cabins for 10 guests and a crew of 10.

view of the Greewich harbor from the Captain's desk

My favorite ? The traditional Maine boat, built in Maine

Friday, June 15, 2012

Glam side of interieurs

I was really in a mood for a little touch of Glam. This is our latest window display at Interieurs, featuring the fabulous hand blown glass chandelier Tanzania, our latest upholstered collection, Juliette, and gold leaf tables.

Would love to hear your thoughts on my  take on glam...

Picture: Jeff Cate, location Interieurs Showroom 228 E 58th, New York City

I just flew back from Ireland and am totally in love by this beautiful country and friendliest people

A Bientot,


Tuesday, June 5, 2012

A country wedding in Provence

On June 16th...we both said yes

How appropriate to have our "By Invitation only" June post 's theme to be our "dream wedding"since June 16th is the day I was married in my village of Clermomt Dessous, France.
As I am envisioning my dream wedding, I cannot help but reflect on my own wedding, twenty something years ago... a simple elegant wedding in my 12th century church, followed by a reception in the most extraordinary setting, a castle in ruins dating back to the 1300s. It was quite a task to bring this castle to life by clearing up an access to the castle, tenting a ceiling for rain was in the air, bringing hundreds of candles, an evening I shall never forget...

Please follow me in my imaginary wedding.

The setting, a ruin in provence ruines du chateau du Castela

The Church

image;Vogue magazine

The dress: Dress and Bride's maids in Morgane LeFay 

Brides' maids in white

The sweet flower girls

Ready to walk down the aisle

image:photo by Olivier Lalin

from Vogue magazine
image:Vogue magazine
Let's celebrate!

Hats are "de rigueur"

image:cote sud

Champagne flowing...


Lunch under the shade, catered by our famous chef from the South of france:Alain Ducasse

Traditional Piece Montee by Laduree

Guests will leave with Jacqueline Morabiteau's ceramic hearts

Guests will be staying at the wonderful Hostellerie de L'Abbaye de la Celle

Off to the Maldives!!!

As I end this post, I am off to Ireland with my friend and hiking partner Judy...a week in the south of Ireland biking, hiking, visiting gardens and tasting the local ales.

A Bientot,


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