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www.france.fr

V I V E L A FR A NCE N 0 6 2 0 1 6

LE MAGAZINE

Culture

PARIS to a
fine art

Lifestyle

$8.95

The Fragrance of Happiness

Rendez-vous en France | L E M A G A Z I N E | 2 0 1 6 |

Raging bulles
in CHAMPAGNE

1328-9225

LIFESTYLE

I GOURMET

I ACCOMMODATION

I DESTINATION I PORTRAIT

DIOR.COM

B LO O M I N G B O U Q U ET

#ITSMISSACTUALLY

Photography by Warren & Nick

PERRIER-JOUËT, THE ALLURING CHAMPAGNE
Since its foundation in 1811, the champagne house Perrier-Jouët has crafted elegant, floral wines of rare finesse with a Chardonnay hallmark.
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PLEASE DRINK RESPONSIBLY
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D E S I G N M E E T S TA ST E

08/01/16 17:53

State-of-the-Art Wine Cellars

Introducing the new
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Designed by French sommeliers, handmade in France

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New ‘CASTEL’ 3-Zone

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*compared to previous range, based on room temperature of 25°C.
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MAGAZINE

Discover the new ‘Prestige’ range: transtherm.com.au

From the
Editor

DESIGN, ARCHITECTURE,

ART, THEATRE – FRANCE IS
SYNONYMOUS WITH THESE,
ALONG WITH ROMANCE,
FASHION, PHILOSOPHY,
GASTRONOMY AND WINE. I AM
OFTEN ASKED HOW IT IS THAT
THIS COUNTRY, SMALLER IN
SIZE THAN NEW SOUTH WALES,
REMAINS THE EPICENTRE
OF SO MUCH CULTURE.

F

or millennia, France has

unending at the time. We revisit the 1916

nurtured every form of

battles at Pozières and Fromelles, where

human cultivation. It has been

Australian soldiers suffered terrible losses.

traversed by Romans, pilgrims

Of course, being our culture issue, we

and revolutionaries alike;

also focus on all the intangible treasures that

its tolerant, open spirit has

make France what it is. Explore our top picks

embraced artists and inventors, intellectuals

of cities, towns, performances, exhibitions,

and entrepreneurs, refugees and royals.

architecture and more. Vive la France.

This spirit of openness is why France has
lost none of its fascination through centuries
of change and revolution, and why some 1.2
million Australians visited in 2014.
It is why no act of terror or intimidation
will quench the spirit of any French city, Paris
or otherwise, and why France stands proud
in welcoming its international guests to a
safe, uplifting travel experience in 2016 and

Patrick Benhamou
Director Atout France in Australia
France Tourism Development Agency
patrick.benhamou@atout-france.fr

beyond.
This year marks the midpoint in the
centenary events of a different crisis – World
War One, a savage war that must have seemed

MAGAZINE

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|
RENDEZ-VOUS EN FRANCE 2016
DIRECTOR OF PUBLICATIONS
Christian Mantei
EDITOR
Stephanie Oley

67 Le Meurice
Artistic impressions

|

18 Sud de France
Artistic retreat
24 L’Occitane
Purity, pleasure, Provence
26 Monaco
High society

PROOFREADER
Paula Towers
PUBLISHER
Peter Berman
CONTRIBUTORS
Danielle Bricker, Ruby Boukabou,
Lizzie Davey, Vanessa Couchman,
Coralie Giraudet, Susan Gough Henley,
Gretchen Holm, Yolanda Koning,
Sophie Ibbotson, Ella Lombardi,
Persephone Nicholas, Adrianne Young
Cover photograph © Ionut Caras, 500PX
Printed in China
ATOUT FRANCE AUSTRALIA
AND NEW ZEALAND
France Tourism Development Agency
Editorial, Production and Sales Team:
Patrick Benhamou, Sophie Almin,
Charline Joly, Lucie Leparquier,
Alexandre Venec, Sarah Elfassy,
Claire Kaletka-Neil, Anais Leloup,
Garance Garcia, Charly Bongiorno,
Thomas Lefebvre.
L13, 25 Bligh Street
Sydney NSW 2000 Australia
T: +61 2 9231 5243
F:+ 61 2 9221 8682
www.france.fr

|

Become our Facebook fan
www.facebook.com/AtoutFranceAU

G O U R M E T

Watch new content on YouTube
www.youtube.com/user/frenchtouristoffice

| HERITAGE & HISTORY |

82 Somme
Tales from the trenches
|

84 Flanders
All quiet on the Western
Front

38 Lyon
River queen
40 Beaune
A living wine library

|

|

104 Air France
Up in the air

54 Bordeaux
City of grace

110 Antibes
Tender is the night

58 Dinner party
A Parisian life in courses

65 George V
Signature dish

S T O R Y

102 Arts
Picture this

49 Bordeaux-Aquitaine
Magical mystery tour

A C C O M M O D AT I O N

C O V E R

100 Paris
Forever young

42 Dijon
Best in class

62 Terre Blanche
Stroke of genius

Follow us on Twitter
twitter.com/AUNZ_FranceFR

69 Hyatt Paris
Private retreat

80 Northern France
Surf and turf

28 Le Ponant
Sea change

|

12

L I F E S T Y L E

|

|

D E S T I N AT I O N

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116 New Caledonia
My island paradise
120 Tahiti
Pearl of the Pacific

MAGAZINE

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Photography

SNAP
happy
ATOUT FRANCE HAS PARTNERED WITH
LEADING ARTS ACADEMY, LES GOBELINS,
TO CREATE A SERIES OF EXHIBITIONS
INSPIRED BY THE NATION’S RENOWNED
CUISINE.

I

f the Old Masters could do it, then so
can the tech-savvy modern ones. We’re
talking about depicting food in the arts,
of course – a theme particularly fitting
in France.
After all, this is a country whose cuisine was
listed as a UNESCO ‘world intangible heritage’
practice in 2010, and which has perhaps the
world’s most-imitated wines, dining customs
and foods (brie, pommes frîtes or champagne,
anyone?).
Now, Atout France has collaborated with
Les Gobelins, School of the Image, inspired by
French gastronomy in different regions. Seventy
students were given carte blanche to take
photographs in eight locations, with the stellar
results to be unveiled at several photography
exhibitions this year.

Further Information
Atout France
www.france.fr
16

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Above: Hôtel Intercontintental from the Lignes
Parisiennes series (photo © Sasha Mongin);
below: Les Dames de l’Ouest (photo ©
Margherita Muriti and Charlotte Mano).

Opposite page: La Monnaie de Paris (photo ©
Guy Savoy]; Hôtel Intercontintental
also from the Lignes Parisiennes series
(photo © Sasha Mongin).

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Sud de France

Artistic
RETREAT

Above: this public building Pierresvives, by Zaha Hadid, exemplifies Montpellier’s recent architectural
innovations (photo © Marc Dantan). From left, below: terrace setting and outdoor lounge at Château
Castigno (photo ©Sud de France); Musée Fabre (photo © Montpellier Metropole).

GLEAMING CONTEMPORARY ARCHITECTURE JOSTLES SIDE BY SIDE WITH ROMAN AND MEDIEVAL-ERA RELICS IN LANGUEDOCROUSSILLON, MIDI-PYRÉNEES, WHERE ARTFUL CUISINE, FINE WINES AND SUN-DRENCHED LANDSCAPES COMPLETE THE PICTURE.
BY DANIELLE BRICKER

W

hen you’re craving a sunny
Mediterranean
climate
coupled with rich heritage,
your first thought may be
the southern region of
France. If you look to the country’s southwest,
you’ll find Languedoc-Roussillon, MidiPyrénees offers a particularly fine experience
for travellers. This large French region’s five
departments carry widely varied landscapes –
both geographic and cultural.
Sharing a border with Spain, Pyrénées-

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Orientales benefits from a distinctly Catalan
influence. Hot and exotic with bustling beaches,
this is the place to experience a corner of
France you may never have imagined. History
lovers will find plenty to occupy themselves
in the Aude, home to stunning World Heritage
Sites including the Canal du Midi and La Cité
at Carcassonne, or in the Gard, where you’ll
find the famed Pont du Gard. If you prefer
an uncrowded highland terrain, Lozere is sure
to be your cup of tea, while city slickers will
prefer the fast-growing pace in Herault, as

the population of Montpellier, its main city,
continues to skyrocket.

BUILT TO IMPRESS
Montpellier is also home to the
contemporary architecture that has become
a trademark of Languedoc-Roussillon, MidiPyrénees. France’s most talented architects and
designers, including Christian Lacroix, Philippe
Starck, and Jean Nouvel, have all left their
mark on this avant-garde city. Marvel at the

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experimental design of Le Nuage, a five-storey
sports and wellness club meant to evoke the
ethereal nature of clouds.
This is France’s first inflatable building,
with rough structured framing alternated
with a transparent membrane of ultra-thin
screenprinted plastic, which can be inflated
with hot air. The fun can last all day with a
self-guided walking tour, courtesy of the office
of tourism’s free Contemporary Montpellier
app, an audio guide which will lead you to 24
hotspots around the city. Should you desire a
shopping break, the Halles Jacques Coeur is
both a wonderful market to pass the time in
and a masterpiece of modern architecture with
its transparent façade.
To the east, Nîmes may draw visitors for
the Pont du Gard, but it has its fair share of
contemporary architecture as well. The Carré
d’Art exemplifies modernism inside and out,
with a vast contemporary art collection housed
in a glass and steel building that establishes
an interesting dialogue with the first century
Roman temple across the way.
Perpignan, located on the coast of PyrénéesOrientales, also plays host to architectural gems
like the Théâtre de l’Archipel, a modular arts
complex whose eye-catching red dome was
designed by Jean Nouvel, and the Palais des
Congrès, a contemporary convention center
nestled amid a lush, central park.

HERITAGE AND HISTORY
Sprinkled throughout the region are
several UNESCO World Heritage Sites, which
make Languedoc-Roussillon, Midi-Pyrénees a
naturally favoured destination for discerning
travellers. Carcassonne’s La Cite is one of
the best preserved medieval fortifications in
Europe, while the Pont du Gard strikes one of
France’s most well-known images across the

Main: tree-inspired residence, Arbre 21, in Montpellier (photo © Sud de France);
left: Salon Vert inside the Musée Fabre (photo © Montpellier Metropole).

sunny southern skyline. The Canal du Midi has
tied the region together since the 17th century
and runs from Toulouse to Etang de Thau.

Practically every vacation includes a
museum visit or two, and you have stellar
choices in Languedoc-Roussillon, Midi-Pyrénees.

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Take the river less travelled.
Captain your own boat
No licence required. No experience necessary.
France · Belgium · Holland · Italy · Germany · England · Ireland · Scotland

www.leboat.com.au
1800 118 940

Canal du Midi, France

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Who’s on board?

?

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CERCLE PRESTIGE
When only the best will do, turn to
the Cercle Prestige. This vital tourism
resource singles out the finest of
Languedoc-Roussillon, Midi-Pyrénees’
luxury establishments. Elegant boutique
hotels, the most delectable menus of
gourmet restaurants, and the UNESCO
World Heritage Sites that make LanguedocRoussillon, Midi-Pyrénees a naturally
favoured destination… all of the region’s
best and brightest come together under
the Cercle Prestige name.

SPECTACULAR STAYS

Top: luxurious styling at Domaine de Verchant (photo © Sud de France); below: guest suite at Château
Orfeuillette (photo © Sud de France).

The Musée Fabre in Montpellier offers an
impressive collection of paintings and
sculpture spanning the 15th through 20th
centuries. Meanwhile, the medieval village
of Lagrasse in Carcassonne could perhaps
be a living museum in its own right, but its
Musée-Caveau le 1900 is something even
more distinctive. After you explore its exhibits
on Belle Époque history, you can enjoy a wine
tasting at the in-house bar.

Indeed, while Bordeaux, Burgundy,
and Champagne may attract most of the
international acclaim, Languedoc-Roussillon,
Midi-Pyrénees is the largest wine-producing
region in the entire world, with about 283,000
hectares under vine. Chateau-Abbaye de Cassan
in Roujan is an attraction for both its history as
a 12th century priory and its rosé wine. Château
Haut-Gléon has equally historic roots and
quality wines, but also doubles as a posh hotel.

Montpellier can be an attractive place
to base yourself for your exploration of the
region. Bed down in luxury at the Domaine de
Verchant, a spa hotel housed in a 16th century
mansion. If you like the idea of an historical
setting, but would prefer a smaller town to call
home for your trip, try La Maison d’Uzès, an
extravagant set of lodgings comprising three
17th century houses, all located in a small
village just north of Nîmes.
If the region’s chic modern architecture
inspired your visit, a stay at the Château
d’Orfeuillette will tie your trip together. This
four-star property in Lozère features glamorous
contemporary design and luxurious gardens.
Elsewhere in this northernmost department
of the region, you’ll find the Village Castigno.
Noted by the Cercle Prestige (see sidebar) for
its impeccable quality, this collection of luxury
accommodations runs the gamut from quaint
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converted stables to an opulent nine-room
mansion. Perhaps you’d prefer a more unique
twist on your lodging. The Péniche HÔtel
Alegria has all the ritzy amenities you could ask
for, with one key difference to traditional hotels:
it’s located on a barge ready to escort you along
the historic Canal du Midi from the charming
town of Beziers to the storied fortifications of
Carcassonne.

DINE IN STYLE
When in Montpellier, enjoying the city’s
chic contemporary style can easily carry over to
mealtime. La Panacée is a gloriously modern
cultural center whose café dishes out the best
brunch in town. If you find yourself feeling
more adventurous, pay a visit to Pastis
Restaurant. The fixed menu at this establishment
changes regularly based on its expert chef’s
interpretation of each day’s market-fresh
ingredients, so you never know exactly what
will find its way onto your plate. Elsewhere in
the region, you can enjoy traditional
Mediterranean cuisine with careful staff
attention at a variety of restaurants, including
L’Ancien Théâtre in Nîmes.
Top: night crowds at Triangle Feuchères in Nîmes (photo ©
William Truffy); below: sampling wines near Carcassonne
(photo © C Deschamps).

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Further information
Sud de France
en.destinationsuddefrance.com

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Above right: water feature at Le Couvent des
Minimes; Immortelle blooms from Corsica (photo ©
PressImmortelleEurope). Below: L'Occitane's Néroli
fragrance, rich in the scents of Provence.

Beauty

Purity, pleasure,
PROVENCE

RICH IN AUTHENTICITY, SKINCARE BRAND L’OCCITANE CAPTURES THE NATURE AND SCENTS OF THE
PROVENCE ORCHARD AND MARKETPLACE – ALMOND BLOSSOMS DANCING ON THE MISTRALS, THE AIR
HEADY WITH HONEY. BY ADRIANNE YOUNG

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ature and cultivation move in tandem in Provence, and from this
partnership a life of pure pleasure
is born. The perfumeries of Grasse
are a prime example of how the
people of Provence refine the land’s wild pleasures. Intoxicating scents, once indispensable
to French nobility, are inspired by local harvests
of lavender, orange blossoms and rose petals.
This flower-bedecked town is a fragrance lover’s
dream. Visit L’Occitane’s pristine perfumery and
come away with a full appreciation of the great
art and history of perfume making.
Experience Provence un-edited and make
an excursion to the breathtaking Gorges Du
Verdon. This 25-kilometre long canyon provides
a rare glimpse of untrammelled wilderness.
Take a drive along the canyon’s rim, walk one
of its many trails or kayak the impossibly blue
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water aside sheer 700-metre cliffs. In Arles,
inspiration plays constant companion and new
art is celebrated. Don’t miss the annual summer
photography festival Rencontres d’Arles, which
largely showcases unpublished work and acts
as a launching pad for emerging artists. Live
Monday morning like a local at the festive
Forcalquier market. Located in the centre of
town, the market spreads throughout Place
du Bourguet. Over 300 stalls keep the area’s
kitchens stocked with fresh produce, locally
made bread, cheese, pasta and meats. Be sure
to bring a shopping sack for irresistible clusters
of grapes and achingly soft cheese. L’Occitane
offers several exclusive guest experiences in this
setting, which has been integral to its product
offering over the four decades since the company
was founded in 1976.
Just 10 minutes away from those markets

is the Le Couvent des
Minimes HÔtel & Spa in
Mane. The chic five-star
spa hotel is the epitome
of Provence’s easy
marriage of pastoral
beauty and absolute
elegance. From the
perfectly appointed
hotel rooms to the
garden café tables, each
detail coaxes a new
level of calm.
Prepare for an unforgettable gastronomic
journey in any one of the hotel’s three
dining establishments. The airy bistro offers
outside seating, the well-appointed Le Cloitre
Restaurant is intimate and welcoming, and the
stunning wine cellar offers privacy.

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In the hotel’s L’Occitane spa, wellbeing
is perfected with services customised to
each individual using L’Occitane’s all-natural
product line. Every gesture, every line and every
ingredient draws on the brand’s lush herbarium.
From the moment you enter a L’Occitane
spa, the fragrances transport you to the fields
of Provence. Be pampered with their iconic
products, such as Crème Divine, featuring the
anti-ageing powers of immortelle from Corsica
(which is also ethically sourced, as are all
L’Occitane ingredients). Guests are immersed
in the care and hospitality that have made
L’Occitane spas renown worldwide. For a more
interactive L’Occitane experience, head to the
bustling town of Manosque, where you can
take a free one-hour tour of L’Occitane’s factory
and workshop, learn the art of perfume mixing
firsthand in the dynamic L’Occitane museum
and take advantage of exclusive pricing and
services in the L’Occitane store – the largest in
France.
There is so much living to be had in Provence
that a guided tour might be the best use of your
precious time in the region. Specialised bespoke
tours offer the luxury of seeing Provence in
intimate guided groups.
L’Occitane opens doors to exclusive
experiences, available only through its
partnership with Kairos Travel.
Further Information
L’Occitane
www.au.loccitane.com
couventdesminimes–hotelspa.com
Unique Provence by Kairos Travel
www.unique-provence.com

Clockwise from top: Divine cream; lavender field in
Provence (photo © Atout France/Phovoir); lounge area at
Le Couvent des Minimes (photo © Couvent des Minimes).

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Clockwise from above: The majestic yacht Tuiga outside Monaco Yacht Club (photo © Carlo Borlenghi); spiral staircase inside the club (photo © Nigel Young); silver service at
Monaco’s epochal Louis XV-Alain Ducasse (photo © Pierre Monetta); inside the Hotel Hermitage’s Diamond Suite (photo © SBM).

Monaco

High
SOCIETY

A RECENTLY REOPENED YACHT
CLUB, GLAMOROUS STAYS BOASTING
NAMES LIKE ‘DIAMOND SUITE’, AND A
YEAR-ROUND CHOICE OF CULTURAL
ACTIVITIES ALL MAKE MONACO AS
APPEALING AS EVER. BY DANIELLE
BRICKER

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n ultra-glam Monaco, crowds may come and
go, but luxury and culture are year-round
commodities. December through February
is low season, when you’ll feel like royalty
with so few tourists vying for a hotel room.
May through August is peak season.
Monaco’s proximity to Nice and Cannes
makes it easy to incorporate your stay into a
larger French itinerary, while its rich cultural
history means it is a worthy destination on
its own as well. The Grimaldi dynasty dates
back to the 13th century and encompasses the
famed rule of Prince Rainier and Grace Kelly, a
classic symbol of Monegasque glamour. Today,
attractions like Monte Carlo Casino of James
Bond fame make this tiny principality prime
fodder for high rollers.

WHAT TO DO
The Formula 1 Grand Prix held each spring
is a major draw for visitors, but you’ll find
plenty of events, festivals, and other things to do
throughout the year.

In winter, families can enjoy the
International Circus Festival. Prince Rainier III
introduced this beloved wintertime tradition to
his country in the mid-1970s. The party spreads
joy throughout Monaco’s streets with a grand
parade from Fontvieille to the Place du Palais.
Any time of the year, experience oceanic
wonders at the well-loved Oceanographic
Museum, formerly run by the legendary
explorer Jacques Cousteau. One- and two-hour
guided tours are available, to introduce you
to over 6,000 marine specimens in faithfully
reconstructed natural habitats.
Nautical fans have another reason to visit
Monaco year-round: the exciting programs
offered at the recently reopened Monaco Yacht
Club including its rowing club and sailing school.
Designed by Lord Norman Foster, the club
features an atrium entry and a series of terraces
overlooking both the sea and the Formula 1
Grand Prix track. And you can’t discuss Monaco
without a mention of its world-class shopping.
The Carte d’Or neighborhood near the Place du
Casino brims with glittering jewellery shops

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and haute couture fashion boutiques from the
world’s best designers. You may also enjoy the
high-fashion wares of the Metropole Shopping
Center, also nearby.

WHERE TO EAT
Located in Hotel de Paris for over 25
years, the Louis XV-Alain Ducasse is a timeless
place to pamper your palate. This was the
first-ever hotel restaurant to earn more than
three Michelin stars, and it also awarded a first
Michelin star to chef Alain Ducasse, now a gem
in the French culinary crown.
Just reopened after an extensive overhaul,
the menu expresses a strong connection to the
heritage of the Riviera, with locally sourced
fish, traditional Provençal vegetables and
luxurious black truffle flavouring. The wine
menu incorporates seasonal rotations, carefully
selected vintages, and the expansive stores of
the Société de Bains de Mer wine cellar.
You’ll find yourself equally well treated
at Le Vistamar, prime restaurant at the HÔtel
Hermitage. In the kitchen, Michelin-starred chef
Joël Garault focuses on sustainable culinary art,
particularly local seafood.

WHERE TO STAY
Constructed in the early 20th century,
Hotel Hermitage’s neoclassical architecture
will whisk you away to the golden days of the
Belle Epoque.
Catering to all travellers from luxurious
leisure hounds to business travellers, the hotel
was recently renovated to better integrate the
elegant Belle Epoque décor with more modern
touches. Its 278 rooms offer an impressive list
of plush amenities, but when you’re looking
to emulate Monaco’s glitterati, only the best
will do; for that, you’ll want to look toward the
Diamond Suites.
Gourmets will find themselves in good
company with breakfast or afternoon tea at Le
Limùn, vintage wines and champagnes at the
Crystal Bar and Terrace, and fresh seafood at
Le Vistamar.
Further Information
Visit Monaco
www.visitmonaco.com
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Cruise

Sea
CHANGE

Clockwise from above: foredeck of the Le Lyrial (photo © Marie Fontrier); (inset) Atout
France director Patrick Benhamou with Monique Ponfoort, Vice President Australasia,
PONANT, Yacht Cruises & Expeditions; gastronomy on board (photo © Nuel Dugied).

EXPERIENCE THE MEDITERRANEAN
ABOARD AN-ALL FRENCH CRUISE
LINER, PART OF THE EXCLUSIVE
PONANT FLEET, AND YOU MAY NEVER
WISH TO TRY A DIFFERENT CRUISE
EXPERIENCE AGAIN. BY AMELIA
HUNGERFORD

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or my first cruise, I fear I may have
started at the top. Over the few days
I spend at sea with PONANT, Yacht
Cruises & Expeditions – the only
cruise line to sail under the French
flag – I become used to the intimate size and
warmth of a small luxury vessel. From the
moment I see Le Lyrial, moored beside Marseille’s
glass-encased Villa Mediterranée, her dove-grey
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hull gleaming in the autumn sun, it is clear this
is no ordinary ship.
Le Lyrial is the newest of PONANT’s modern
fleet, making her debut earlier in 2015. In 2016,
she will undertake her first Antarctic season,
but for now she cruises the Mediterranean,
close to the company’s homeport of Marseille.
Her three sister ships are nearly identical,
with only the number of cabins and the
colour schemes of their Jean-Philippe Nueldesigned interiors to tell them apart. Le Lyrial’s
cool tones of pale blue and grey complement
the polished chrome that features throughout
this vessel with 122 staterooms and suites, 95
per cent of them with balcony.
Perhaps the most exciting thing for the
Francophile, though, is to be greeted with
a crisp “Bonjour” wherever you go. All the
ship’s announcements are made in French
and English, and a large percentage of the

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Experience the Ponant Moment
9.45 am
S 62°54’48.08’’
W 55°17’56.22’’

AWAKEN
YOUR SENSE OF WONDER

Uniquely, PONANT understands that the concepts of luxury cruising and
expedition cruising are not mutually exclusive, offering a selection of itineraries
that provide opportunity to meander through some of the most sublime historic
and marine environments in the world. Other voyages, equally luxurious, are
designated as expeditions and appeal to inquisitive travellers keen to explore the
rarely visited, all enhanced by knowledgeable lecturers and specialist expedition
teams. Four compact yachts comprise the youngest fleet in the world, plus a
classic three masted yacht for traditional sailors. With a maximum of 132 oceanview suites and staterooms, 95% with private balcony, they exude understated
elegance combined with French ambiance, outstanding gastronomy, inclusive
fine wines and the comfort and facilities of a 5-star yacht.
Contact your travel agent or PONANT: 1300 737 178
reservations.aus@ponant.com

ANTARCTICA - ARCTIC - ASIA - AUSTRALIA - BALTIC
MEDITERRANEAN - PACIFIC - SOUTH AMERICA

www.ponant.com

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Above: Monaco is just one of PONANT’s French Mediterranean stops (photo © Monaco
Tourism. Below: Interior styling on board (photo © Ponant/Nuel Dugied)

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small fleet of bikes is offered to help passengers
explore the first Italian city on the itinerary,
while others choose to visit its more illustrious
neighbours of Florence, Lucca and Pisa. The
next day we arrive in Gaeta at midday, enjoying
lunch in the middle of the bay while executive
chef Erwin Unterberger barbecues fresh sea
bass with a deft hand.
At night, we make a ritual of ascending to
our top-bar vantage point to watch the ship sail
away before we feast on fine French classics
in Le Céleste and La Comète. The after-dinner
entertainment varies from dance performances
to piano recitals, and inevitably ends in the
Main Lounge on Deck Three, where Jean-Paul
or Anna-Rita will croon the night away.
Passengers talk of the ‘PONANT moment’
or l’instant PONANT, but there is far more to the
experience than one moment. It is the whole

GETTING THERE
Marseille is a 90-minute flight or a threehour TGV train ride from Paris-Charles de
Gaulle. Air France flies to Paris-CDG from
Sydney and Melbourne via various Asian
gateways with its partner airlines.
www.raileurope.com.au
www.airfrance.com/au
passengers are from France – or from France
via Sydney, as is the case of another cruise
first-timer, Patrick Benhamou, Director of Atout
France Australia.
When we set sail later that night, a small
group gathers at the top-deck bar, wrapped
up against the wind as we sip champagne
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and watch the ship silently, gracefully pass the
Old Port of Marseille and make its way down
the Mediterranean coast. We are bound for
Monaco and then Italy, finally disembarking in
Palermo, Sicily.
If you are to arrive anywhere by a luxury
megayacht, then surely Monte Carlo is the place;
its harbour is dotted with elite private vessels.
We take breakfast at the buffet restaurant, La
Comète, beside the pool on Deck Six, with an
early-morning view of the principality. Most
travellers are quick to head into the city, keen
to explore its palace, Oceanographic Museum
and the iconic Place du Casino. In Livorno, a

journey – the elegant, oh-so-French ship, her
passionate crew, her extraordinary locales –
that makes a PONANT cruise unforgettable.
Further Information
PONANT, Yacht Cruises & Expeditions
www.ponant.com

Le Lyrial’s sister ship, L’Austral, will
be cruising Australia and New Zealand
from December this year to February 2017.
Four new Explorer luxury expedition ships due
to start cruising in 2018 and 2019.

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Experience the Ponant Moment
1.15 pm
N 42°20’50.32’’
E 8°36’36.26’’

AWAKEN
YOUR SENSE OF WONDER

What better way to explore the Mediterranean or Caribbean than sailing, literally, on
the classic three masted yacht, Le Ponant? At 88 metres length with only 32 cabins,
her low-profile, dynamic lines and streamlined decks offer guests a refined, intimate
and exclusive sailing experience. On board, enjoy a French lifestyle and refined
adventure: unique comfort & service, Open Bar, sophisticated cuisine and fine wine.
Equally at home in Monaco or St. Tropez, as she is when under sail around Corsica,
Sicily or Sardinia, this is Mediterranean cruising at its elegant best. Or, perhaps the
tropical islands of the Caribbean appeal, with their crystal-clear waters and golden
beaches lined with coconut trees and exotic flowers...
Let the gentle ripple of the breeze in the sails lull you, or take a dip from Le Ponant’s
stern marina platform, and wake each morning under a new azure sky. Your
exclusive private yacht and traditional sailing experience awaits...

Contact your travel agent or PONANT: 1300 737 178
reservations.aus@ponant.com

ANTARCTICA - ARCTIC - ASIA - AUSTRALIA - BALTIC
MEDITERRANEAN - PACIFIC - SOUTH AMERICA

www.ponant.com

ate ch
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P O R T R A I T

OUR PICK OF THE BEST FRENCH JOURNEYS
– AND ARMCHAIR TRAVELS – FOR 2016.

Tour

Built to last
Architrip’s walking tour of the
City of Light will take you through
all its major modern and
contemporary
architectural
landmarks. Led by passionate
professionals, the tour explores the
city through time and space, taking
you from Montparnasse ateliers
dating to the Roaring Twenties, to
the contemporary urban renewal
projects, without forgetting scores
of beautiful 17th century buildings.
Fascinating and thorough, the tour
offers a brand-new perspective on
the capital and includes a Parisian
café stop. www.architrip.fr

Opening

Ode to
performance
Due to open in late 2016, the Cité
de la Musique on Paris’ former

The new Philharmonie de Paris, one of the stops on Architrip (photo © Knitram).

industrial site of Seguin Island will
sport an auditorium of 1,100 seats
and a concert hall with up to 6,000
seats, along with several recording
and rehearsal rooms. It aims to
make art accessible to all, with
spaces dedicated to children’s
activities and public exhibits.
Designed by architects Shigeru Ban
and Jean de Gastines, the complex
will make this corner of Paris an

artistic force to be reckoned with.
www.citedelamusique.fr

Cellar

A fine drop

Rich displays at Le Taillevent’s state-ofthe-art cellars (photos © Francis Amiand).

m

Construction on the new Cité de la Musique will transform the neglected Seguin Island
(photo © Cite de la Musique/Shigeru Ban Architects Europe – Jean de Gastines Architectes).

This year, venerable Paris dining
room Le Taillevent celebrates
70 years of wowing guests with its
superbly traditional haute cuisine.
Established in 1946, it went on to
win three Michelin stars, open a
London branch, and launch the
wine shops Les Caves de
Taillevent. Here visitors can
choose from 1,500 fine French
wines, from the most famous
appellations to the most elusive
and the most compelling new
picks. www.taillevent.com
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Illuminate

Winter’s tale
Every year in December, Lyon
lights up for the Fête de la Lumière.
The whole city becomes an art
show,
with
themed
light
installations creating a completely
different scene and atmosphere

Walt Disney exec David Clark, from
Sydney, enjoys a Bordeaux-style
reward after his run.

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on every street corner, along
with
celebrations
including
theatre, street art, special exhibits
and openings, as well as the
famous Lyon Christmas Market.
For four nights, Lyon is the
prettiest French city, so save the
date for 8 - 11 December 2016.
www.fetedeslumieres.lyon.fr/en

An intimate view into the world of
Leonardo da Vinci.

Marathon du
Médoc
One of the world’s most colourful
runs, Marathon du Médoc is coming
up again this September – prime
wine-tasting season in Bordeaux’s
renowned Médoc region. Hardcore
runners are signing up for next year’s
run, as the 8,500 spaces for this year
are close to full, but bon vivants
everywhere will still get much joy
out of the three days of non-stop
music, food events, silly costumes
and fine dining opportunities.
www.marathondumedoc.com

Spectacle

Picasso in
Marseille

Maestro
Art trail

When Renaissance master
Leonardo da Vinci was invited to
reside at Château du Clos Lucé in
1516, few could have known the
legacy he would leave. After crossing
the Alps on muleback with all his
notebooks and three paintings from
Rome, the 64-year-old maestro
settled in to complete a host of
works. Today, visitors can see the
innumerable technical sketches,
paintings and inventions that
ensued. Just one hour from Paris by
TGV, the château is open year-round
except Christmas and New Year’s
Day. www.vinci-closluce.com

Marseille’s stunning MuCEM once
again offers a great program for
2016. Of note is the Picasso exhibit,
“A genius without a pedestal”,
running until 29 August, which
delves deep into themes and
encounters that shaped the artist’s
work. Also promising is “After Babel,
Translate”, starting 14 December
2016, recognising the creative and
cultural force of translation. “Made
in Algeria”, from 20 January to 2 May
2017, explores artefacts from
a faraway Mediterranean coast.
www.mucem.org/en

Themed lights transform Lyon Cathedral (photo © Muriel-Chaulet).

Marseille’s landmark MuCEM is showcases Mediterranean civilisation and culture (photo © Mucem-St Jean-Larry).
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Yachting

Ship shape
The stunning new Yacht Club
Monaco is a sleek addition to the
sailing, rowing and celebratory
possibilities on offer at Monaco
harbour. Award-winning Foster +
Partners
and
Monegasque
architects Cabinet Alexandre
Giraldi have conceived the club as
a series of decks (rather than
floors), all angled for optimal
ocean racing views. The bars,
restaurant and ballrooms are
mostly members-only, but
anyone can soak up the scene
around the marina shops. www.
yacht-club-monaco.mc/en

The new yacht club finally completes a marina newly extended in 2013 (photo © Yacht Club Monaco).

costumes simply defy ruffled
skirts and can-can dancing. Apart
from its sexy original revues,
guests are often treated to
performances by international
stars like Dita von Teese and
Conchita Wurst. Shows are held
several nights each week.
www.lecrazyhorseparis.com


Left Bank
Intimate
hideaway

Cabaret

Crazy Horse
Since its launch in 1951, Crazy
Horse Paris has carved out a
reputation as France’s hippest
and most daring cabaret – its
high-art
stage
direction,
multinational cast and futuristic

Tucked behind a set of
wrought iron gates that open to a
garden courtyard is the intimate
Hôtel Relais Christine. Once a
medieval abbey, this Small
Luxury Hotels of the World
member oozes charm with its
old fireplaces, vaulted ceilings
and wood panelling hung with
portraits, hinting at the hotel’s
past. Vintage glamour combines
with contemporary style in each
guest room. In summer, the
suites’ private garden terraces
beckon guests to relax with an
aperitif, while winters are made
for fireside gatherings in the
drawing room. www.slh.com/
hotels/hotel-relais-christine

Orderly Parisian intimacy at Hôtel Relais Christine (photo © SLH).

Dramatic burlesque styling at Le Crazy Horse Paris (photo © Riccardo Tinelli).

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Pout

Ruby red lips
With the famous red Louboutin
soles already being seen on the
feet of every fashionable woman,
the brand is now launching a new
lipstick to complete its collection.
The dramatic Red Louboutin
lippie is a new must-have, and
comes in three textures: Silky
Satin, Velvet Matte and Sheer
Voile. At last it’s possible to be
Louboutin from head to toe.
www.asia.christianlouboutin.com

Nook

Louboutin silky satin lipstick (photo © Ali Mahdavi).

Hotel de l’Abbaye is an
archetypal Parisian stay, with its 40
classically styled rooms and suites,
charming courtyard and striped
chintz armchairs in the breakfast
room – the perfect complement to
your croissant and café au lait.
The hotel is tucked away in SaintGermain-des-Prés, bristling with
restaurants, clubs and theatres.
Cross the cobbled courtyard to
enter, and you’ll feel as if
you’ve been whisked away to
another era – one where
the service is gracious, the antiques
real and where no one is
stopping you from relaxing in the
garden courtyard all afternoon.
www.hotelabbayeparis.com

Indoor pool and mosaics at Hôtel Paris Bastille Boutet.

Hotel de
l’Abbaye

Boutique

Hôtel Paris
Bastille Boutet
Intimate and unusual stays are a
hallmark of Accor Group’s
MGallery brands, and the discreet
five-star Hôtel Paris Bastille
Boutet hotel is a proud new
addition to their portfolio as of
December. The former cabinet-

Hôtel de l’Abbaye.
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maker’s
workshop-turnedchocolate factory has been
meticulously overhauled for
comfort, while its industrial
heritage is still evident in its
stunning façade. The 80 rooms
and suites offer high ceilings,
chic modern styling and hightech comforts. The swimming
pool and its mosaics are neighbourhood treasures, and the
spa offers a delicious range of
treatments. www.mgallery.com

TRAVEL CONNECTION

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Historic buildings along the Saône River, near its confluence with the Rhône River (photo © T Deschamps).

Lyon

RIVER F
queen

SENSATIONAL FOOD MARKETS, A
DREAMY RIVERSIDE LOCATION AND
A DYNAMIC BLEND OF ANTIQUITIES
WITH BRAND-NEW ATTRACTIONS MAKE
LYON ONE OF FRANCE’S BEST-KEPT
SECRETS. BY GRETCHEN HOLM

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or nearly 2,000 years, Lyon has
graced the banks of the Rhône and
Saône rivers. Its claims to fame span
from its earliest days as a Roman
capital, through its years as a centre
of publishing and silk-weaving. Today, the city’s
greatest pride is its cuisine, with food lovers from
around the world visiting to sample the offerings
of thousands of restaurants.
Lyon’s long history doesn’t mean it’s a
quaint, stagnant city. Instead, it bursts with new
life. Its Confluence district, once an industrial
area, now attracts visitors as a trendy, bustling
center of modernity. The striking combination
of architecture here ranges from restored
industrial warehouses to brightly colored, ultramodern buildings.
One of the most architecturally notable
buildings is the new Musée des Confluences.

This museum, which just opened in 2014,
masterfully combines explorations of natural
history and anthropology.
In January 2016, the new Grand Stade (or
the Stade des Lumières, meaning the “Stadium
of Lights”) opened with nearly 60,000 seats and
state-of-the-art technology for music shows and
sporting events alike.

ONE MORE NIGHT
With over six million visitors per year,
Lyon offers a wide range of places to stay.
Quaint, charming bed and breakfasts dot the
area, offering homey comfort and authentic
European experiences.
For visitors who prefer more elegance,
the new Fourvière Hôtel combines centuries
of history with ultra-modern decor and

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Left: Musée des Confluences in the hip new district
of the same name, which takes its name from Lyon’s
unique geography (photo © Quentin Lafont); Burgundy
wine and Paté Croûte, a Lyonnaise delicacy (photo ©
Roger Stowell-Onlylyon Tourisme).

Musée des Confluences, stop by its Brasserie des
Confluences for elegant, sophisticated dishes
that show just how far culture has evolved
from the roots of humanity explored within the
museum.
conveniences. Its roots in an 1854 building by
architect Pierre Bossan are lovingly preserved,
but each of its 75 rooms is fresh and modern.
OKKO Hotel similarly sits at the confluence
of history and modernity. Since its December
2014 opening in the stunningly overhauled
19th-century Lyon Prefecture building, OKKO
has anticipated the modern traveler’s needs
with appealing yet accessible services. It
offers eco-friendly transport, 85 rooms with
a contemporary and minimalist design, and
sensible pricing.
If you prefer classical to cutting-edge, try
Mercure Château Perrache (www.accorhotels.
com). A listed Art Nouveau historic monument
built in 1906, the hotel offers 120 newly
upgraded rooms, and a central location just a
few minutes’ walk from Place Bellecour. The
rooms are an inviting blend of elegance and

modernity, with a generous dash of old-world
charm..

CUISINE LYONNAISE
For foodies around the world, Lyon is
synonymous with its famous chef, Paul Bocuse.
One of the pioneers of nouvelle cuisine, Bocuse
creates simple, vibrant, fresh French dishes.
His iconic restaurant, l’Auberge du Pont de
Collonges, lies in the northern part of Lyon’s
urban area.
For a more independent exploration
of Lyon’s culinary offerings, visit the city’s
renowned indoor market. Here at Les Halles
de Lyon Paul Bocuse, the best merchants of the
region offer up everything from chocolates to
meat and cheese.
And for those visiting the spectacular

DAY TRIPS
Just beyond Lyon’s many culinary and
cultural offerings lie a tempting array of day
trips. The Beaujolais vineyard is under one hour
away, and the Alps with Mont Blanc (Europe’s
highest peak) are under two hours away.
The plethora of options becomes even
more appealing for weekend trips. The famous
cities of Paris, Marseille, and Nice are all less
than two hours away by train, perfect for a long
weekend – at least for the visitor who can bear
to leave Lyon’s charms for that long.
Further Information
ONLYLYON Tourism and Conventions Bureau
www.en.lyon-france.com
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Above: the famed vineyards of Meursault (photo © Atelier Muzard); below: art gallery Bartoux exhibits
modern art at the Marché aux Vins (photo © Bartoux/Marché aux Vins).

A living wine
LIBRARY

IT HAS MAINTAINED A CONVIVIAL VILLAGE-LIKE AMBIANCE, WITH ITS MODEST
POPULATION OF 23,000, BUT VINEYARD-FRINGED BEAUNE BOASTS A RICH HISTORIC
HERITAGE AND YEAR-ROUND CULTURAL PROGRAMMES. BY RUBY BOUKABOU

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ituated between Paris and Geneva
in the east of France, 40 kilometres
south of Dijon, is the charming and
historic city of Beaune (not to be
confused with Béarn in the southwest). The 15th century capital of the Duchy of
Burgundy lies in the heart of Burgundy’s Pinot
Noir country. Among the offerings are wine tours,
an excellent light festival, a prestigious baroque
music festival and – not to be missed – a crime/
thriller film festival. Combine relaxation and
adventure under the heady wafts of the grape.

BEAUNE TO BE CULTURED
Let’s start with the cultural fare, which is
varied and nonstop. The French music festival
season kicks off here with the prestigious
International Baroque Music Festival from 8 –
31 July (www.festivalbeaune.com). Highlights
include three concerts by Purcell, along with
favourite operas by Händel, Rameau and Vivaldi.
Rediscover the city by night in a whole new
light (literally) during the city’s inspirational
Festival of Lights. The church of Notre Dame,
Hotel Dieu, the clock tower, chapel of SaintEtienne, Wine Museum, ramparts and more
all transform under the art of astoundingly
beautiful laser lights.
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Take an apéro of Pinot in a medieval wine
cellar, which may also help calm the nerves
if attending the international crime/thriller
festival (www.beaunefestivalpolicier.com).

VISITOR HIGHLIGHT:
HOTEL DIEU
Once a medieval refuge palace for the
poor, this monument with its gothic façade,
flamboyant colours and geometrically
patterned roof is one of the region’s main tourist
attractions. Created in 1443 by the chancellor
of the Duke of Bourgogne, after the 100-year
war with England, the hospital foundation
has been preserved in an exceptional state.
It houses a fascinating museum of objects,
furniture and decoration from the Middle
Ages. It also has its very own vineyard.
Only in France! www.hospices-de-beaune.com

Clockwise from top: festival of lights at Beaune’s Hôtel Dieu (photo © M Joly); chef Laurent Peugeot
(photo © Arnaud Dauphin); guest room at Bacchus’ Secrets (photo © Bacchus’ Secrets).

HERITAGE WINING AND DINING
The Côte de Beaune vineyards, with their
unique limestone walls, are listed as UNESCO
world heritage. Sip and taste in style with fellow
travellers and friendly, wine-savvy locals. You
can cycle the vineyard trail through villages
such as Meursault, Pommard and PulignyMontrachet. Make sure to snack on the way, so
you don’t get too wobbly on your bike!
Local products to try are mustard and
cassis as well as cheeses, meats and breads.
Top restaurants to try include local icon Clos
du Cèdre (see below); the refined Loiseau
des Vignes (www.bernard-loiseau.com),
with its library of fine wines; and The Bistro
Bourguignon, a lively bar with fine local wines.

HERE COMES THE NIGHT
The five-star Hostellerie Le Cèdre (www.
lecedre-beaune.com) is a spectacularly oldworld establishment with just 40 individually
styled rooms and suites, refined interiors and
a wood-panelled lounge bar with fireplace
and piano. The main structure faces onto
a wonderful private garden. Don’t miss the
restaurant, Clos du Cèdre, famed for its vibrant
interpretation of local cuisine.
Prefer to sit back and let the experts organise
your holiday? Exquisite accommodation and
bespoke tours can be booked by Bacchus’
Secrets (www.bacchussecrets.com). You’ll stay

in the medieval village in the Hautes Côtes
region and enjoy a service that organised your
wine tours, accommodations, michelins starred
dining and cooking classes.
Time left over on your trip? Digest and
build up your next appetite with a game of golf
or tennis. Or sink into a well deserved holiday
siesta to dream of your next meals, trips and
sunny French adventures.
Further Information
Beaune Tourisme
www.beaune-tourism.com

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Above: Outdoor dining in central Dijon (photo © Alain Doire/Bourgogne Tourisme).
Below: The pedestrian-friendly Place Darcy (photo © Ville de Dijon).

BEST in class

THE CHARMING CITY OF DIJON OOZES CLASSICAL FRENCH CULTURE, FROM
ITS ARTS SCENE, FINE DINING AND THE RECENTLY UNESCO HERITAGE-LISTED
VINEYARDS THAT PRESS IN ALL AROUND. BY LIZZIE DAVEY

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ince July 2015, the Climats project of
Burgundy has listed its vineyards as a
UNESCO World Heritage site.
The preserved historical sector
of Dijon is also a priceless world
heritage site.
Tucked away between Paris and Lyon, Dijon
acts like a portal to the past, where trams reign
strong and locals whizz around on bicycles. The
laidback lifestyle sets this cultural bastion of
France apart from the rest, with its collection of
relaxing green spaces, picturesque gardens, and
traditional café culture.
Dig a little deeper, and you’ll find a
city steeped in history – not just a place to
kick back with a coffee. The Saint-Bénigne
Cathedral towers over cobbled streets, while
the Archaeological Museum valiantly conserves
remnants of the Gallo-Roman era.

WINNING WINES
Elsewhere, wine-loving tourists hit the
UNESCO-listed vineyards that sprawl out like
gastronomic arms from the city centre and
boast world-famous wines, including GevreyChambertin, Nuits-Saint-Georges, RomanéeConti, Vosne-Romanée, and ChambolleMusigny. These heady heights of prestige
languish just 1 kilometre from Dijon, which has
been dubbed the Champs-Élysées of Burgundy
thanks to its fine selection of tipple.
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Since July 2015, the vineyards of the
Côte de Beaune and Côte de Nuits have
been awarded a long-awaited UNESCO World
Heritage status, and exploring their flavours,
landscapes, and processes is one of the best
ways to discover Dijon.
Pairing these wines with the city’s
gastronomic delights is a match made in heaven
(especially since French cuisine itself has
UNESCO intangible world heritage status). Dijon
has flourished into a radiant foodie paradise
which will see the much-anticipated Cité
International de la Gastronomie et du Vin open
in 2018 (citedelagastronomie-dijon.fr). This
cultural institution will wear its gastronomic
heart on its sleeve, showcasing some of the
best ingredients and produce from the region.
Located on the old site of the historic General
Hospital of Dijon, the centre will play host to
numerous restaurants, a cinema complex, and
an eco-neighbourhood. But it’s the food that’s
drawing the most interest, with classics like
snails, beef bourguignon, and coq au vin served
alongside contemporary international dishes.

ART SMART
Culture plays a huge part in Dijon life, with
the food and wine only making up a small
portion of what’s on offer. In the heart of the
city, the museums remember a fascinating past,
while cultural events bring the city’s heritage
into the present day.
The Musée Magnin houses the eclectic
collection of Maurice Magnin, which
incorporates thousands of paintings, drawings,
and furniture from yesteryear. For ancient
curiosities, the Musée des Beaux-Arts is the
go-to venue. Boasting an assortment of Egyptian

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Clockwise from top: vintage season in the region’s UNESCO heritage-listed vineyards
(photo © Dijon Tourism/Atelier Démoulin); Château du Clos de Vougeot (photo © JL Bernuy);
local wine (photo © Dijon Tourism/Atelier Démoulin).

art, 18th century pieces, and Burgundian
paintings from the 15th century, it’s one of the
oldest museums in Dijon, and packs a historic
punch – helped by the age-old architecture
of the palace it’s set in. Completing the triad
of major museums is Le Consortium, which
showcases contemporary works and original
pieces from acclaimed French and international
artists. Apart from its permanent and temporary
exhibitions, the museum also offers artist
exchange facilities, resources, a multipurpose
theatre and more.

SUMMER NIGHTS
Bringing together the gastronomic heights
of Dijon and its arty undertones is the music
festival Garçon la Note (garcon-la-note.com),
a summer festival with free concerts on the
terraces of the city’s cafés and restaurants.
During July and August, the city comes alive
with local bands and fresh food – the perfect
combination.
Together with the wine, art, and food, a trip
to Dijon is made complete by a stroll around its
stunning scenery. The Burgundy Canals carve a
picturesque backdrop, while cycle paths etch
through the tree-lined boulevards. There are
plenty of top-value tours on offer that take in all
of Dijon’s delights and more.

Above: Le Consortium, a bridge between modern
and historical art (photo © Consortium).

Further Information
Dijon Office de Tourism
www.visitdijon.com

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VIT0870 - RENDEZ-VOUS_EN_FRANCE_MAGAZINE_FA.indd 1

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9/02/2016 5:07 pm

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Feast

A dinner in
PROVENCE
MISSED OUT ON THE GOOD FRANCE
FEAST IN 2016? LOOK OUT FOR THIS
DELUXE FOOD FEST AGAIN NEXT YEAR,
AND EXPERIENCE THE CREATIVITY AND
CONVIVIALITY OF FRENCH-STYLE DINING
AROUND THE GLOBE.

G

ood food and fine wines are a
hallmark of France, where it’s
said that two new cookbooks
are published every day. There’s
never a shortage of gastronomic
inspiration and the vogue for foodie events
has stretched from France across the globe.
The Good France (or Goût de France) festival,
for example, brings together more than 1,500
chefs across five continents to celebrate and
share contemporary French cuisine on one
special night of the year.
Australia held its own particularly delicieuse
instalment of the festival on 21 March. Top
French (and Francophile) chefs headlined
the event and each participating restaurant
simultaneously served a specially created
French-style menu.
Punters could arguably dine French 365
nights of the year if they wanted to. But what’s
special about Goût de France is the impassioned
generosity of chefs in sharing their culinary
skills and treasures with guests.
At the Garden Court Restaurant event in
Sofitel Sydney Wentworth, for example, 150
guests were treated to delicious wines handsourced from Provence – which would be hard
to find here without industry contacts.
Diners feasted on five courses of flavoursome
seasonal fare that were a treat for all the senses.
They included classic French aperitifs and
digestifs (G.H. Mumm Cordon Rouge, Ricard or
Cognac Martell); a spectacular entrée of crab
served with avocado, vegetables and citrus; and
a main course of tuna steak accompanied by
seared duck liver. Dessert was an Easter egg
‘illusion’ – it looked just like an egg in a nest, but
was in fact created from chocolate and apricots.

A TOAST TO ESCOFFIER
Launched in 2104 by legendary chef and
restaurateur, Alain Ducasse, together with
Laurent Fabius, former Minister of Foreign Affairs
and International Development, Goût de France
was inspired by Auguste Escoffier’s Epicurean
Dinners, which date back to 1912. These dinners
brought together as many diners as possible to
enjoy the same menu on the same day in several
international locations.
The good news for those of us who love
French-style flavours, but who won’t be in France
in March, is that Ducasse is working with an
international committee to make the Goût de
France 2017 the biggest and best yet.

Above: Goût de France events take place at 1,500 venues
globally (photo © Ariane Vinciguera); the aptly named
‘multicolour’ crab entrée at Garden Court Restaurant recently
(photo © Alex Brown).
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PROVENANCE AND PRIDE
Speaking at the event launch, Alain Ducasse
said: “French cuisine is first and foremost an
entire attitude. Its strength lies in its attention to
the products used and the seasons. That is why
it is able to adapt to such a range of regions – the
resources available vary depending on the place
and the season, but the care taken over products
and the techniques are the same everywhere….
French cuisine respects the planet and cultural
diversity. It is a humanist cuisine.”
Menus for 2017 are still under wraps, but
diners will be offered a traditional aperitif
(champagne or iced cognac), followed by a
cold starter, hot starter, fish or shellfish, meat
or poultry, a French cheese or cheeseboard,
a chocolate dessert and French wines and

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digestifs. Each course will be developed using
the best seasonal local produce and will reflect
current tastes for healthier eating with lower
levels of fat, sugar, salt and protein.
Restaurants taking part in Goût de France
range from simple bistros to fine dining
establishments. All share a passion for high
quality, ethical and contemporary French
cuisine, with their focus on healthier, sustainable
ingredients. Mark your calendar now, and make
it a night to remember.

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Clockwise from top: The Atout France team before
this year’s event; chefs Boris Cuzon, Xavier Mathieu
and Jean Marie Le Rest with Ambassador of France
to Australia, Christophe Lecourtier; Wivina Chaneliere
from Tefal and Caroline Le Roch from L’Occitane;
chef Guillaume Brahimi, who was awarded a French
government merit award in 2015 for his contributions
to French cuisine, poses with Les Schirato from
Vittoria Coffee (photos © Alex Brown).

Further Information
Goût de France
www.goodfrance.com

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