Though I’d be lying if I claimed to be an avid history buff, I am absolutely enamored with exploring old structures, browsing through authentic, antique/ancient artifacts, and feeling as though I'm traveling to another time, even if for just a few moments. And now, thanks to the efforts of the local authorities in the town of Moulins—about 190 miles south of Paris—I now feel compelled to travel to central France for just such an opportunity.
After about 100 years of sitting locked up, untouched by the outside world, a townhouse built in the late 1800s is open to the public, after a $4.7 million dollar restoration.
Looking to travel, but don’t have any vacation time left after taking the holidays off? Check out the Mammoth Collection, an online art gallery that sells prints from as little as $20. Its strong collection of photographs will tame your wanderlust with a visual tour of the world.
The series includes high-quality, yet affordable prints from Nicholas McElroy, a photographer who spends his summers on a muskox domestication project in Alaska, to Wang Yuanling, a photojournalist based in Chongqing, China.
Most prints are available in a variation of sizes and prices, including 8" x 10" ($20), 11" x 14" ($50), 16" x 20" ($200), and 24" x 30" ($800). The company makes their prints in-house with archival pigment inks on heavyweight 100% cotton fibre archival paper.
Here are a few of my favorites below. Click on them to snag a copy. What are your favorites?
When American Ballet Theatre’s new production of The Nutcracker premieres at the Brooklyn Academy of Music on December 22, audiences will encounter a vision of the holiday classic like no other. The staging—with choreography by Alexei Ratmansky, spectacular sets and costumes by Richard Hudson (well-known for The Lion King and his designs for opera and dance), and Jennifer Tipton’s evocative lighting—follows the ballet’s traditional outline, based on the story by E.T. A. Hoffmann, The Mouse King and the Nutcracker Prince. But it also bursts with fresh dramatic theatricality. Ratmansky creates ballets that are emotionally rich, kinetically responsive to music (and what music: a Tchaikovsky masterwork), full of wit and imagination.
John Singer Sargent may have been the most cosmopolitan American
artist of the nineteenth century (born in Florence, Italy, trained in France,
travels in North Africa, commissions in the United States). One of his most famous paintings, Madame X (1883-84), caused a scandal when first exhibited in Paris because of the
daring sensuality of his depiction of Amélie Gautreau. Today, the portrait hangs in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Half a block from the Met on a quiet Upper East Side street, the Adelson Galleries has organized the revelatory exhibition “Sargent and Impressionism,” on view until December 18.
Taking that long drive down I-95 over the holidays? If you have kids in the car and you’re passing Baltimore, consider a detour to the Walters Art Museum to see the Walter Wick: Games, Gizmos and Toys in the Attic show before it closes January 2.
Forget Santa and his workshop, for the holidays Bergdorf Goodman’s windows will take you on a fantastical journey. To where I don’t exactly know, but it is sometime in the past before body scanners and weighing your carry-on became mandatory.
Still not sure what to buy for those travelers on your gift list? Whether they’re nature-lovers, new parents, or nose-in-the-air fashionistas, the Travel + Leisure “Best Travel Gifts” for 2010 is here to help. Find the complete list here. Or, enjoy this a sneak peek—which just happens to feature my recommendations.
“Keep Calm and Travel On” Inspired by the WW2-era posters that urged Brits to "keep calm and carry on," this modern update couldn't come at a better time. Worried about a TSA patdown? Keep calm, friend. And, yes, travel on. Available in several colors. Unframed: $15.95; buy 3, get 1 free; etsy.com.
It's even better than reading The Onion. The UNESCO Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage has just released its latest list of cultural practices worth preserving. While some of them are obvious choices (French gastronomy, flamenco), others are certain to leave you baffled—and perhaps even asking, "Do we really want to preserve some of these things?!" Once you read the list, you'll be left wondering why they forgot to add goldfish swallowing, 1K charity walks, and the Macarena.
Here are some doozies from the 2010 list, along with our 10-point Intangible Rating Scale (IRS) score and commentary:
This year is turning out to be even busier than usual for Larry Gagosian. On the eve of the opening of the FIAC (the international fair for contemporary art in Paris), the contemporary art dealer unveiled a new gallery—his ninth—in the 8th arrondissement, a stone’s throw from the Elysee Palace.
For the first time in modern history, the below-ground tunnels of Rome's Colosseum, where the gladiators tied up their sandals and prayed to their gods before entering the arena, have been opened to the public. The hallways and holding areas, and even the workings of the wooden elevator platforms that would hoist the wild animals, slaves, soldiers, and prisoners up to the floor of the arena for mortal combat, are on view following a $700,000 restoration.
Also restored and reopened for the first time since the 1970s is the third tier of the Colosseum from which Rome’s middle class watched the monumental pageants and battles. The Guardian reports, “This level boasts heart-stopping views of Rome, from Palatine Hill to the distant Vittorio Emanuele monument. And, at about 115ft in the air, you're still more than 70ft below where the highest seats would have been.”
The guided tours, open to 25 visitors at a time, must be booked in advance. Call Pierreci, the cooperative that handles ticket sales and tours at the Colosseum, at +39 06 3996 7700, to book the €20 tickets.
Ann Shields in an online senior editor at Travel + Leisure.