Justine PhilipponJustine PhilipponJuly 11, 2017


If you are stuck for choices for this summer for your holidays, you can choose to stay in your house, and lock yourself indoors or be more creative with a packed itinerary discovering some undiscovered spots in France. One place I could recommend is the beautiful Jura Mountains.

In the east of France, Jura Mountains have splendid landscapes. Away from the city, you will discover things in this place that you have never seen before. If you are not a big fan of water, be careful because in the Jura, this is the mountain heart. It has been here for thousands of years and this is what created the richness of this amazing place. Whether it is big caves, water has played a significant role in the Jura Mountains history.

The Hérisson, one of the vein of the Jura, is full of cascades and drops for about 3.5 Kilometres. Since 2002, it has been classed as a “protection of the landscapes” location. Jura Mountains is certainly full of little treasures that need to be protected. Everywhere you go, you will be held by the beauty of nature.
At the source of the River Lison, the waterfalls are blue all year round. You can also get lost in nature by disappearing in the Jura forest.
I personally recommend the Planches-en-Montagne. The cascades and the Gorges of La Langouette will take you to another world.
The depth of the water is so powerful which shows you to the strength of the surface landscape. If you want to increase your altitude and feel a little confident you can hike higher with the falls at Billaude or La Lemme. The water plunges into a narrow gorge across two successive drops from a height of 28m, huge no?

Wonderful water activities

Combining relaxation and fun is the best way to live your life and in the Jura Mountains, you have the possibility to do a lot of different activities that combine both. From canoeing, swimming to fishing, you can enjoy every facet of the water.

Jura Mountains has been adapted to suit the needs of even the most demanding of people, especially families. Everyone will be happy to swim into the natural pools forged into rocks or jump into the fresh water. If you are feeling more adventurous, you can choose to discover the River Loue with canoe or kayak. Enjoy the Jura nature in each detail and take your picnic with you.

Take a final breath by sitting down and listening to the nature song. The water is flowing, leaves of trees are intertwining, this is like music to your ear in time with natures influence on your heartbeats.

The lakes and rivers are what make all the charm of the Jura Mountains. The largest one, at Chalain, is just covering more than 230 hectares. Simply…Unbelievable!!

The Lac de Vouglans and the natural lake at Saint-Point are the 3rd place largest damns in France … With 850 m of altitude, this last one offers you a nice scope of 6 Km. Smaller but more fun, the Lac de Vouglans is long for about 3 Km and is equipped of leisure activities among its boast beaches.

All Jura Mountains Lakes are secured and calm thanks to a ban on all motorised craft. Fall in love with the natural site of Lac des Rousses, the wildlife side of the Jura Mountains. You will find a pine forest and a wild natural habitat thanks to the very clear water. This is the forgotten part of the Mountains and the less touristic parts. You will totally escape from the connected world and discover a fragile ecosystem full of biological life.

Finish your trip by visiting another natural site, the Lac Genin, the latest jewel of the massif. Rivers, lakes, forest, …the reputation and the beauty of the Jura Mountains is indisputable.  So just a little advice from a French girl to you this summer… forget the hustle and bustle of London, take a deep breath and relax yourself with the natural beauty of France.





Johana BaldellaJohana BaldellaMay 4, 2017


Here in Bordeaux, the return of Spring heralds the re-opening of the Night Beach. For the sixth season, the rooftop terrace of the InterContinental Bordeaux – Le Grand Hotel, proves it ever-growing popularity as the trendiest address in the city. The casual elegance of the sophisticated setting allied to the superb 360° panoramic view of the city and a wonderfully relaxed atmosphere all combine to make this open-air-lounge “the place to be” this summer in Bordeaux.

From the end of April until September, every day without fail, the Night Beach offers trendy evenings beneath the starry skies. Enjoy innovative tapas and signature cocktails reputed to be among the best in all of Bordeaux, specially concocted by the award-winning barmen of this 5* establishment, which has quickly become the absolute reference in luxury hotels in this city. Greatly in demand are the specially-themed evenings that take place several times per month, with pride of place given to the iconic Fête de la musique (music festival) and Bastille Day (French National Holiday, July 14th). A special “Ladies Night” every Tuesday offers a complimentary nail bar, while a DJ provides entertainment on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.

Image result for interContinental Bordeaux - Le Grand Hotel, night beach, bordeaux

To mark its sixth season, the Night Beach is proud to announce something new: the rooftop terrace, normally accessible evenings only, is now open for lunch. From noon onwards, a selection of seasonal dishes is served (salads, organic salmon, Charolais beef tartare and a wonderful assortment of crunchy vegetables), prepared by Alex Thiebaut, who is the chef at the Bordeaux Gordon Ramsay Brasserie. Food here is all about lightness and balance, with a menu of detox, healthy-choice options ranging from organic teas to freshly-pressed fruit juice.

An added opportunity to enjoy this exceptional haven of peace and serenity, with its stunning view of the rooftops of a city that is a World Heritage Site!

Night Beach is open daily noon until 14h30 and again from 19h00 until 01h00

  • Lunch: from noon until 14h30 – salads and dishes from 21 euros 
  • Evenings: from 19h00 until 01h00 – cocktails and finger food 
  • Themed evenings: every Thursday evening in June and July, and every second Thursday in August, not forgetting the “Fête de la musique” (June 21) and Bastille Day (July 14th)
  • Ladies Night every Tuesday and a DJ on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights

Jeff ArmstrongJeff ArmstrongJune 9, 2016


With everyone consistently on a tight schedule, it’s often a challenge to plan a luxury holiday especially when you want the best money has to offer. Location is key and access to a range of destinations is happiness! Where do you find the time to get the perfect home away from home?  Introducing.. The Hideaways Club, an alternative form of foreign home ownership, which allows members to invest in, and holiday in, a collection of luxury homes in fantastic locations across the globe.

The Hideaways Club is designed for those looking to invest in a second home, but who want the flexibility of travelling to different locations, rather than being restricted to holidays in the same place every year and who don’t want the hassle of maintaining a foreign property.The properties are all hand-picked for their outstanding location and access to great holiday activities and are all worth more than £1.2 million.

Investing in the Hideaway Club makes sense and you will be good company. Tim Henman is a member of the Club. The global portfolio now consists of  Villas in France, Italy (including Sardinia), Morocco, Portugal, Spain, Turkey, Croatia, Mauritius, South Africa and South East Asia as well as Ski Chalets in France, Switzerland and Japan.

There is also a concierge service for consumer that require the additional touch. So, if you have ever considered second home ownership, but want to have the flexibility to literally pay once for the price of several home options worldwide. Then the Hideaways Club is certainly the perfect choice.

For more information. Go to:

Federica TadiniFederica TadiniNovember 27, 2015


The French Riviera has been a quintessential destination for the rich and famous for more than a century. Wealthy and aristocratic northern Europeans have been visiting the Cote d’Azur since the 1800s but the Riviera quickly gained popularity as a summer destination in the 1920s due to the likes of Ernest Hemingway, Pablo Picasso, and Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald. The beautiful landscape, warm climate, and easy access made it the prime location to host what has become the most prestigious annual film festival. The first Cannes Film Festival was held in 1946 and the Riviera’s romantic appeal has since captured the imagination of filmmakers around the world.

The French Riviera continues to appeal to the discerning travelers of today. The turquoise waters and sandy beaches, nearby mountains, the exquisite yachts, casinos, fabulous restaurants and entertainment provide the perfect setting for a travel destination. Rich in history and rooted in French culture, you can explore the glitz and glamour in the famous seaside towns of Monte-Carlo, Cannes, and St. Tropez as well as the old world charm of the medieval villages such as Eze, St. Paul de Vence, and Mougins. From an adventurous family vacation to a relaxing romantic getaway, the French Riviera sets the standard for beautiful living and captures the essence of “la joie de vivre.”


When visiting the French Riviera, experience this region in the finest way possible. A.M.A Selections, the French Riviera’s leading travel authority, is a luxury vacation rental agency built on superior service, intimate knowledge, attention to detail and 24/7 prompt customer. In keeping with their philosophy, Cofounder Mariek Anselme says, “We believe that the travelers of today are looking for a more authentic and meaningful experience that they can share. We create these five star experiences in a home.”

With the company’s recent launch, A.M.A Selections now offers an exclusive portfolio of just under 100 villas for rent from Monaco to St. Tropez ranging from 7,000€ to 120,000€ per week, complemented with a range of services such as private jet and yacht charter, live-in concierge, private chef, car service, and more.


In addition to A.M.A Selections à la carte services, the company offers their Premium Experience which is designed to provide all of the luxuries of a five star hotel in the privacy of a home such as airport transfers, a live-in concierge, daily continental breakfast, and jet lag massages, to name a few. Furthermore, A.M.A Selections will be launching their new collection of experiences this December to offer to their discriminating clientele. These unique experiences include a private cheese and wine tasting with a sommelier awarded as the best in Europe, a personal photography tour in a beautiful medieval seaside village, an afternoon enjoying water sports alongside the world champion of jet surf and more.


When booking with A.M.A Selections, every recommendation that guests receive is guided by personal experience and insight. Through the extensive network that the A.M.A Selections team has built and their passion and knowledge of the region, clients are treated to unparalleled service and experiences. A.M.A Selections is dedicated to perfecting the travel experience and is building an unrivalled level of reliability, trust and personal connection with their guests.


For more information on A.M.A Selections. Please visit :

Kristina FosterKristina FosterJuly 15, 2014


London needs as many rooftop bars as it can get during the summer, having only a small window to enjoy those blazing hot days and steamy nights. This is perhaps why the French Provincial restaurant, Orrery, Marylebone, does so well as we need people who understand sunshine to know the dynamics of rooftop sunning. Their roof terrace doubles up as a beautiful bar taking inspiration from the back gardens of Provence. It’s dotted with tea-lamps, olive trees, and of course those familiar lavender rows that we cannot help but associate with the smell of French sun. As the wine boxes cum plant-pots suggest, there is an array of amazing wines and of course champagne that you can sip and enjoy in the open air.

The Orrery Terrace Rooftop has been nominated this year for the National Luxury & Lifestyle Awards in the best bar category. You can vote for them from the 19th of July 2014 here.

Ann FooAnn FooMay 17, 2013



There are houses that are born to breathe culture – those from which it should ooze at the seam. However with time, and under different ownerships, the musical notes, dancing feet and painting hands of the past, too often are left behind. So when culture is delivered back to these properties, generations on, it is truly a magical thing.

Such has been the case this year at Chateau Lou Casteou – the Grande Dame set in the Esterel Mountains of the Cote D’Azur. Bought as a ruin by Morag and Chris Baxter in 2006, the 108-year-old chateau was gutted and completely renovated to the luxury private residence it is today. And Lou Casteou once again is playing host to cultural pursuits, which no doubt would have been practised by its patrons, over a century ago.

Last month saw the first Luxury Cultural Retreat held in the impressive chateau – a six-day programme dedicated to escapism, enjoyment and honing, (or simply learning the basic) skills of singing, song-writing, painting, cooking, trekking and dancing. And I had the pleasure of taking part.


On arrival from Nice, I was met by my chauffeur Wilfred and swiftly arrived at Lou Casteou to a warm welcome. As other guests arrived during the day, we all chatted over champagne in the pool gardens. After freshening up and changing into something more relaxing, we later all dined together and prepared for the week ahead.

So, to the talent… Scouted to tutor our group was award-winning Italian chef Matteo Mangiarotti, Sommeliers Silvia Revello and Jean-Denis Mull, Russian Artist Tatiana Perreard, Outdoor trek expert and historian Laurence Lassalle and signed musicians, Lisa Marie Simmons and Marco Cremaschini, of hit group Hippie Tendencies. Our days were split, with parallel classes running in the mornings and afternoons – however, each class focused on a different aspect of the discipline – meaning guests could dip in and out, trying every pursuit on offer. Or even just relax by the pool if preferred.

First up was food – Italian, Michelin-star quality food, to be precise. Charming Matteo shared his passion for food and quality ingredients and walked us through Italian delights such as Focaccia con pomodori e oregano (Homemade focaccia bread with tomatoes and oregano), Ceviche di pesce fresco (Ceviche of fresh fish) and Fragole marinate al vino rosso (Marinated strawberries with red wine reduction). We learnt culinary skills such as kneading pasta and making ravioli, searing lamb racks, cleaning Octopus, making the perfect risotto and dicing beef tartar. Dishes we made were served for dinner – so chefs and guests could sample our skills. My personal favourite was the Tartare di manzo con foie gras (Beef Tartare with Foie Gras) – a crowd-pleaser at Matteo and Silvia’s Lake Garda restaurant QB (short for Quanto Basta – ‘just enough’). After three sessions – which involved tasting and laughing, as much as learning, I felt confident enough to master traditional Italian dishes. I’ve also resolved to upgrade my set of knives, and buy a mini blow torch, to crisp up crème brulees at home.

Cooking done, next up was art – water colour painting. Having dropped art at the earliest opportunity in favour of drama at school, and apart from visiting the occasional art fair – and enjoying art along Bayswater road every Sunday, I’d never given the idea of painting much thought. Least of all, as something I thought I might be good at. So with a slight pessimism, I picked up my paint brush. Order of the day was to grasp the concept of mixing a palate of colours from three primary liquid paints and progress to painting a vase of peonies in the beautiful surroundings of the cloisters. Step by step I mixed my palate, experimented with brush size and stroke, positioned my viewfinder and sketched my flowers in pencil.

After this, I dabbed here and there blotted and swirled, guided and encouraged by Tatiana who demonstrated water colour techniques beautifully, until I had something of with I was rather proud. After an expert swoosh of the brush from the endlessly patient and talented Tatiana, I actually had a painting of red and purple hues that is destined for my wall at home. And nicer still, I found the three-hour session so relaxing – drifting off with my spectrum of colours, until unbeknown to me, it was lunchtime. Other scenes the class painted that week were Lou Casteou’s historic architecture, Provencal scenery and wild garden flowers, and a Matisse-esque table, set with fruit and flowers. Feeling inspired, I made a promise to myself, to buy a set of watercolours in England!

Salsa and Latin dance classes was held early evening in the elegant reception room, complete with mirrored wall for self-admiration or amusement!  Our fun-loving, teacher Nicolas walked and gyrated us through the different Latin disciplines, defining the rumba from the cha-cha-cha. Partnering us up initially, the grou then rotated, switching partners – all in the best spirit of fun and without any embarrassment. The classes allowed the group to practise our steps for the last night of celebration!

Trekking occurred every other day, and the group was led by Laurence – a local historian and nature lover. The sea views close to Lou Casteou were breath-taking and we were amazed by the rugged, natural beauty of the area – so much in contrast with the busy, body packed beaches of Nice and Cannes.

Accommodation was to the standard of a five-star hotel – with sea and mountain views from all windows, new en-suite bathrooms, and gorgeous, comfortable beds with crisp Egyptian cotton sheets.

Breakfast, lunch and dinner were prepared by the Italian chefs, with the freshest ingredients. Every day we enjoyed the traditional Aperol spritz or house champagne together with hors d’oeuvres by the pool as the sunset. And one evening Jean and Silvia hosted a tasting of 8 Italian fine wines, in the atmospheric cloisters – lit by candlelight.

Dinner was served either in the elegant dining room, cloisters or pool gardens and each was a celebration and a feast of flavour. And all dinners lead to discussion of the day’s activities with fellow guests – all 12 of us, in my international group. These included guests from Russia, Italy, Kenya and the UK. Ages ranged from 21-50, which indicated to me how the event appeals to culture-lovers of all ages. The group was a mix of singles, couples and two family pairs.

And now to my personal favourite, singing and song-writing classes – a class taught by two talented members of Italian–signed band Hippie Tendencies, singer Lisa, and pianist Marco. Lisa’s enthusiasm soon rubbed off as she taught us the basics of song-writing – explaining hooks, riffs, verses and choruses, along with the importance of melodies and lyrics. We were tasked to find five notes, which would form the hook of our song. The next session we paired our notes with a partner – and were helped (with a little music software!), to create a viable verse and chorus. Next came lyrics – which we pulled from our chosen topic of inspiration, in our case Growth. After we had practised, we were ready to record, and perform our pieces on the final celebration night!

And celebrate we did. Flushed with creativity, good company, fine wine, exquisite food and the splendour of Lou Casteou, the group sang and danced – with the night owls finishing off their evenings around the pool table. The last night proved the most spectacular of all, with Lisa and Marco playing outside as the sun set, around the chateau’s magnificent infinity pool’s edge. I even got to join Lisa and Marco for two numbers we had prior rehearsed – which was the icing on the cake.

And as the last morning came round, I packed my case and with a heavy heart departed for Nice, in the knowledge I was taking with me new friends and experiences. Lou Casteou’s original creator Lord Amherst of Hackney would have been proud.

The Luxury Retreat at Lou Casteou costs 5,500 Euros per couple or two sharing a twin room or 2,950 Euros per single room occupancy, with VAT included. Prices are fully inclusive of all classes, materials, visits, accommodation in en-suite rooms, meals and drinks including wines, evening entertainment, wine tasting sessions and airport transfers from Nice. The next courses are 13 – 18 October, 2013 and 4-9 May, 2014. For more information please visit

Words by Leila Stocker


GraziellaGraziellaAugust 5, 2011


A unique opportunity to acquire a superb property of 300 m2 in a Californian style set in magnificent fully enclosed mature grounds of 1990 m2 in the heart of the exclusive Super Cannes estate, 10 min from the city centre. Enjoying a sea view and exceptional aspect, the fully refurbished never-lived-in villa offers luxury appointments. 4 bedrooms, vast reception room with fireplace, equipped kitchen, wine cellar, outbuildings. Infinity pool with beach-type access for the children, stunning terraces, BBQ, summer pergola, indoor and outdoor jacuzzi, water wall, stunning exotic vegetation, very modern home automation features. Carports, alarm system, CCTV. Exceptional property. No work needed. Energy rating: NC.




GraziellaGraziellaAugust 5, 2011


Stunning old farmhouse and gites in quiet village close to all amenities.

Set in the tranquil countryside of Le Lot between Gourdon and Souillac in south west France and only ten minutes drive from the Dordogne river, this beautifully renovated farmhouse and barn offers stylish accommodation, gardens and swimming pool. The premises are situated directly in the centre of the main tourist attractions for both Le Lot and Dordogne departments.

The accommodation comprises of the main farmhouse set over three levels, a large kitchen, a 60 m2 lounge and dinning room, four very large bedrooms including a master suite and three bathrooms. Adjoining the cave is a large workshop and the property is terraced over its entire length of 14 m.

The renovated barn set over two levels provides two gites, the first being a fully equipped two bedroom gite offering accommodation for four people, and the second a fully equipped four bedroom gite offering accommodation for eight people. By opening the internal doors at ground and first floor level you can provide a large gite capable of accommodation twelve people. All bedroom are complete with en-suite bathrooms. Both gites comprise of bedrooms, bathrooms, kitchen, lounge and dinning rooms.

The property is set in 5885 m2 of beautiful gardens including a large courtyard, 12m x 6m swimming pool, a double garage and a large pigsty.

The gite is running as a business and all high quality furnishings, luxury bed linen and swimming pool / terrace teak furniture are included within the price together with the current website and booking forms. The website address is

The main farmhouse is decorated in antique furniture and can be sold separately if required.

Contact :


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