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Paris Watch: The Seine Gets a Facelift + New Cultural Venue

Cité de la Mode et du Design

The rehabilitation of the quais along the Seine will be completed by this summer (just in time for Paris Plage, which kicks off at the end of July). The Left Bank section, stretching from the Pont Royal to the Pont d’Alma, will open exclusively to pedestrians in June; by the following month, newly installed traffic lights on the Right Bank will make strolling the Seine even safer.

One of this year’s most anticipated openings also takes place on the beloved Parisian river: after a seven-year renovation, the funky green multi-level space known as Dock d’Austerlitz will re-open in late July as the Cité de la Mode et du Design, a center for fashion, design, and all things culture related. Look out for boutiques, restaurants (like MoonRoof on the top floor), fashion shows, museum exhibitions, and even a nightclub run by André Saraiva and Lionel Bensemoun (of the popular Le Baron, Hotel Amour, and Le Montana).

Tina Isaac is Travel + Leisure’s Paris correspondent.

Photo by Hemis / Alamy

Reopening Art Gallery: The Palais de Tokyo in Paris

Palais de Tokyo artwork

When the Palais de Tokyo reopens this month, three times bigger than before, the self-described “anti-museum par excellence” will be one of Europe’s largest contemporary art spaces. The inaugural Triennale exhibition (April 20–Aug. 26) features works by a global range of talents, including Ghanaian sculptor El Anatsui and New York–based Rirkrit Tiravanija.

Roar, K, a papier-mâché mask by South Korean artist Seulgi Lee, on view at the Palais de Tokyo.

Mask by Seulgi Lee, Photo by Aurèlien Mole / Courtesy of Palais de Tokyo

3 Chic Boutiques Not to Miss in Paris

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Heading to the City of Light? T+L reveals three boutiques not to miss.

Having earned her stripes at Balenciaga and Christian Lacroix, Bouchra Jarrar—known for her suits and dresses with bold, graphic lines—has struck out on her own with a namesake atelier (19 Rue de Cléry, Second Arr.; 33-9/51-59-37-68).

Designer Guillaume Henry has revived the all-but-forgotten French fashion house of Carven (36 Rue St.-Sulpice, Sixth Arr.; 33-1/43-54-78-72), recasting it as “urban, accessible couture for everyday.” Think structured dresses and bowed slingbacks. His latest addition: a dapper men’s collection.

In a world of “it” bags, you’ll be pleased to stumble across La Petite Mendigote, which recently added two Right Bank shops (1 Rue des Abbesses, 18th Arr., and 3 Rue Guichard, 16th Arr.). Everything—from destination-themed travel pouches to printed scarves—is stylish and affordable.

Tina Isaac is Travel + Leisure's Paris correspondent.

Photo Courtesy of markbraude/T+L Photo Contest

Beloved Provençal Winery Becomes Region's New Art Destination

Chateau La Coste

Many who love Provence are familiar with Château La Coste, which produces some of the region’s best-known rosé. But what many do not know (yet) is that since the vineyard was taken over by an Irish businessman, in 2002, not only have the wines gone organic, the sprawling domain has become the most ambitious art and architecture complex in France—and perhaps in all of Europe.

The idea: to bring together art, wine and architecture in a way that is organic and site-specific, yet defies easy definition. Too vast to be a sculpture garden and too diverse to be an art collection, this exceptional compilation opened without fanfare in June.

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Beyond Rosé: Provence Winery Becomes World-Class Art Destination

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Many who love Provence are familiar with Chateau La Coste, which produces some of the region's best-known rosé. But what many do not know (yet) is that since the vineyard was taken over by an Irish businessman, in 2002, not only have the wines gone organic, the sprawling domain has become the most ambitious art and architecture complex in France—and perhaps in all of Europe. The idea: to bring together art, wine and architecture in a way that is organic and site-specific, yet defies easy definition. Too vast to be a sculpture garden and too diverse to be an art collection, this exceptional compilation opened without fanfare in June.

Read More

Pierre Cardin Unveils the “New” Château Lacoste

Chateau Lacoste

Artists and other creative types have been drawn to the Château Lacoste in Provence since the Marquis de Sade was in residence, and the notorious author’s lure held fast even as his castle and its surrounding fell into decay. Closer to our times, the Surrealists and Max Ernst gravitated to what was left of this tiny medieval village, and over the decades an artists’ community has grown up around it.

Since 2002, a cluster of homes bought and gradually restored by the American expat artist Bernard Pfriem in the Fifties was acquired by the Savannah College of Art and Design, which stepped up renovations, giving a historic boulangerie new life as a library (pictured above), and transforming forgotten cellars into exhibition spaces. In a separate but complementary effort, over the past several years nonagenarian fashion designer Pierre Cardin has been busy rehabilitating the ruined castle into a center for arts and music and recast a number of storefronts into shiny galleries.

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The Pour: Paris’s New Global Wine Bar Has a ‘Top Chef’ Connection

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At a time when everyone’s a stickler for provenance, the wine atelier O Château has struck a chord with its wine-and-tapas bar concept on the Rue Jean-Jacques Rousseau near Les Halles. The concept, in addition to regularly scheduled wine tastings, is to offer a selection of exceptional wines by the glass. The house wine list offers 500 varieties (!) from around the world, with a selection of 40 wines by the glass (!) featured daily. Adding to the charm is the location: this landmark building was once a hotel particulier belonging to Madame Pompadour. A more recent claim to fame is that the chef, Tiffany Depardieu, was recently a contestant on Top Chef. An ideal location and great excuse, as if any were needed, to get to know your Latours from your Margaux. 68 rue Jean Jacques Rousseau, 1st. tel 33-1/44 73 97 80.

Tina Isaac is Travel + Leisure’s Paris correspondent.

Photo Courtesy of O Château

Philippe Starck Opens Seafood Shack…On the French Riviera!

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Although well-known to locals, the 1.2-mile Sentier du Littoral pathway leading from Cap d’Ail on the Riviera to Monaco remains relatively obscure to visitors. That is set to change this summer, with the recent opening of A’Trego, Philippe Starck’s haute take on a humble fishing hut. This three-level fantasia, which sits on its own isle 100 feet offshore, is where chef Laurent Sturbois whips up traditional cuisine with a dash of extravagance, but what’s even more likely to make it a hot address are the venue’s two bars, one on the terrace and the other for members only.

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On Our Radar: Paris Shopping

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Where do chic Parisians shop these days? Travel + Leisure's Paris correspondent Tina Isaac shares her insider tips here:

For jewelry go to . . .

White Bird
Around the corner from the glittering heavy artillery in the Place Vendôme, Stéphanie Roger’s newly opened WhiteBird jewelry gallery specializes in stylishly singular - and comparatively affordable- niche brands from around the world, almost all of them designed by women (Jean Grisoni is the lone exception). (34 rue du Mont Thabor, 1st.)

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Top Paris Hotels Left Off "Palace" List

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A jury composed by the Ministry of Tourism has awarded the new 'Palace' label to eight Paris hotels—Le Bristol, Le Meurice, the Park Hyatt Paris Vendôme and Le Shangri-La among them. But to the confusion of many in the industry, the Four Seasons George V and Hôtel Ritz, Paris did not make the grade.

Only five-star hotels could apply for the Palace distinction, but the fact that two illustrious addresses were not recognized has caused dismay. As a result, a new call for candidates was issued and certain criteria have been relaxed: The Royal Monceau, for example, is too recent to have participated in the firstround, but it will be considered in the next one. The call closes in June.

Tina Isaac is Travel + Leisure's Paris correspondent.

Photo courtesy of The Ritz, Paris

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