World Scene

EXPERIENCE LIFE’S LITTLE LUXURIES

BY DONALD CHARLES RICHARDSON

THE ART OF STYLE

Le Royal Monceau, Raffles in Paris is a very fashionable hotel. Between rushing out to glamorous appointments, modish guests dine in the restaurants, gather at Le Bar Long for cocktails, or indulge in the Spa My Blend by Clarins (which has the longest indoor pool in Paris). And it’s the ideal hotel for art lovers. Paintings, drawings and photography exhibitions are in the lobby, the rooms… everywhere. There’s even a contemporary fresco, A Garden in Paris, on the ceiling of La Cuisine. Le Royal Monceau is also home to the city’s first art concierge, who offers tours of the hotel’s treasures and organizes excursions, such as a visit to contemporary art galleries in the Marais and St. Germain areas, or a private viewing of the Henri Matisse exhibition in Pompidou. In Paris, home is where the art is.

UN JOUR EN NORMANDIE

The lovely little town of Bayeux in Normandy, near the English Channel, is home to the celebrated 230-foot tapestry depicting the Norman invasion of Britain, not to mention extraordinary cheese, the Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Bayeux and a landscape layered with centuries of history. A drive through the lush countryside offers glimpses of châteaus, apple orchards and the famous Normandy cows, arguably the most tranquil in the world. Naturally, you’ll want to visit the inspiring and poignant beaches and artifacts of the World War II invasion. (At Port en Bessin, right above a German bunker, notice the watchtower built by the soldiers of Louis XV.) Nearby is the 17th-century Château de Balleroy, the Forbes family home. So is Brécy, a manor house with restored Italian-style gardens laid out over four terraces. The Château de Brouay, amid-18th century château surrounded by farms, has been a family estate for six generations; you can arrange to lunch in the château or have a cocktail in the orchards. And don’t miss La Haizerie farm, where you might be invited to pet the cows before tasting the homemade lavender ice cream.

SUMMER READING

There’s a reason Twin Farms is a nice place to curl up with a good book. Set in Vermont, just north of Woodstock on 300 acres of meadows and woodlands, this quiet country hideaway was once the home of Sinclair Lewis and Dorothy Thompson. Here, many of the great names in literature gathered to talk (and probably argue) about their work and lives. Twin Farms retains its aura of simplicity and coziness. There are hand-painted murals, rich maple and pine woodwork, American folk art and rustically elegant accommodations, with king-size feather beds, wood-burning fireplaces and screened porches. If you need to stretch, there’s hiking, biking, tennis, pond swimming, fly fishing and canoeing. But why bother? Just relax and catch up on your reading.

PLUGGED IN

Even if you’re not a motorcycle enthusiast, chances are you’re going to want to tool around the countryside (or slip quickly through city traffic) this summer on the top-of-the-line bike from Evolve. The Titanium XR is all electric: no gas, no oil, no emissions. It can go up to 60 miles per hour, has a range of 100 miles on one charge and is almost completely silent. At your request, Evolve will even make coordinating accessories, such as a container sized perfectly to hold your picnic basket or bottle of bubbly.

FROM THE TOP

On warm evenings, New Yorkers love to gather at rooftop lounges. Upstairs At The Kimberly is a favorite among celebrities and fashion insiders. The view is spectacular, the lounge is never uncomfortably crowded (there’s a strict rule about the number of people admitted), and the staff is charming. Together, sommeliers Branimir Kostic and Niko Mavreas have created an extensive list that boasts a collection of spirits and wines from all over the world, including an astonishing 26 different kinds of Champagne. There are wonderful savory and sweet things to munch on (try the truffled mac and cheese or lobster sliders), and either sommelier is happy to help guests choose a wine and food pairing. Reach for the stars.

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