Saturday, July 25, 2015

A bit of paradise in the Pays Basque discounted

If you happen to be in the Pays Basque (French) consider a stay at the beautiful Auberge Ostapé high in the foothills of the Pyrennees in hills above the hamlet of Bidarray.  This gorgeous property is a member of the Relais de Silence network and you do indeed enjoy unobstructed views of the beautiful Basque countryside.  Accommodations are in individual buildings that were built to look like those gorgeous Basque timbered farmhouses.  Cuisine is stellar.  The hotel is offering a 10% discount through August 4th on rooms for up to three nights.  This is a lovely place at full price but the discount sweetens the deal!  Book directly with the hotel and cite the speciale de l'éte  (summer special).

Talk with us about planning a wonderful trip in the Spanish and French Pays Basque anytime.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Check out these artisans in Istanbul's Beyoglu quarter

The hillsides that wind down from Istiklal Caddessi towards Tophane are increasingly home to wonderful one of a kind boutiques and to small hotels.  They can be steep, so put on your walking shoes!

Kumbaraci Street is where you will find several artisans of interest. As you start down Kumbaraci from Istiklal (this is near the Tunel end of Istiklal, not the Taksim end) you might want to have lunch at Lokanta Yeni.   Delicious food in a 'modern' lokanta serving traditional Turkish food with a contemporary spin.  Story di Toy is a have of fanciful toys made by repurposing discarded or worn items.  Seyda Hacizade is the artist-owner.  61 B Sekar-Ekrem cd.  Elif Dogan studied Murano glass making in Italy and is now happily pursuing her passion for making beautiful glass jewelry in her shop at 31/1 Kumbaraci. Woodworker Ismail Hiz has been on the street for years making his well-priced, attractive wares.  21/A Kumbaraci.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Anish Kapoor At The Chateau de Versailles

Now here is a 'mission statement  of note.  Contemporary British artist Anish Kapoor, renowned for his stunning modern installation art, has collaborated with the Chateau de Versailles to install several pieces on the grounds of the Chateau.  Kapoor shares a birth date with Andre LeNotre the great designer of Versailles classic park and gardens.  Kapoor set out not just to place objects around the grounds but to "upset the balance, create chaos and have a modern day dialogue with Andre LeNotre.

Versailles has partnered with noted contemporary artists like Jeff Koons in previous summers.  This Kapoor installation is one that is well worth the trip from Paris on its own merits... then you have that magnificent chateau to explore too.  Through November 1, 2015.