Joyeuses Pâques! or How to celebrate your Parisian Easter “à la française”

From delicious chocolates and festive family meals to amusing holiday games and special church services, it’s not hard to see that Easter is quite a celebration in France!

With its strong Catholic history, France delights in Easter festivities – boutiques are decorated with pretty chocolate bunnies to the joy of the kids; as for the grown-ups, they enjoy their three-day long weekend to take a well-deserved break and visit family and friends.

Celebrated with great enthusiasm, Easter in Paris is all about exciting Easter egg hunts, gourmet getaways, festive concerts and imposing celebrations at the Notre-Dame Cathedral or the Sacré-Cœur Basilica…

Read along to discover some curious French Easter traditions and to make the most of our hints on how to celebrate your Parisian Easter “à la française”…

As a part of the country’s Roman-Catholic past, most French Easter traditions have a religious background.

The tradition of offering eggs as an Easter gift, for example, rose during the 4th century A.D.  Considered a symbol of rebirth and fertility, many French Easter games involve the use of eggs.  Hunting in the garden for hidden chocolate eggs is a traditional Easter pastime for children.

 

Another old Easter custom is the contest of rolling raw eggs down a gentle hill. Symbolizing the stone which rolled away from Jesus’ tomb, the surviving egg is declared the victor!

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Another very charming ritual (according to which the French church bells do not ring from Good Friday to Easter Sunday morning) tells the story of the “cloches volantes” (the “flying bells”) which   remain silent for a few days in remembrance of Jesus’ passing. To comfort the children, parents explain that all French church bells have flown off to Rome to visit the Pope but that they will return on Sunday morning bearing chocolates and eggs!

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If you want to play Easter by the French rules, check our list of activities covering kids, couples and families – there’s something for everyone to be happy!

An egg hunt for the children

Want to participate in the largest Easter egg hunt in France while exploring a gorgeous 17th century castle located just outside Paris? To celebrate Easter, a huge Easter egg hunt is organized in the French gardens of the Chateaux Vaux le Vicomte, a place which knows how to give the royal treatment to children…With more than 50 000 chocolate eggs hidden among its groves, sculptures and secret corners, this sure will be one Easter event to remember!

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A floating Easter lunch for the whole family

Have you ever considered celebrating Easter “at sea”? Then why not opt for a slightly less conventional festive Easter lunch for a change? Embark on a friendly and memorable water journey and celebrate Easter on board! Explore the magic of Paris unfold in front of your very eyes behind the panoramic glass roofs of the Bateaux Parisiens. Enjoy your meal prepared “on board” by the chef while classic French tunes enhance your rendez-vous with the Eiffel Tower, the Notre Dame and the Orsay Museum even more!

An Easter concert for the romantic couple

The “cultural” cherry on the cake? Finish your “Easter in Paris” program with a classical concert enjoyed in La Sainte-Chapelle, the pearl of French Gothic architecture. Home to over 100 performances a year, it offers one of Paris’ most breathtaking settings for appreciating a superb performance of classical music. In 2014, Easter weekend will be commemorated with masterworks of the classical repertoire, including Haydn’s “The Seven Last Words of Christ”, Mozart’s “Requiem”, Vivaldi’s “Credo in E Minor”, Bach’s “Passions” and more…

However you choose to celebrate, make it a time for you and your loved ones to enjoy each other’s company!

Joyeuses Pâques from Studios Paris!

True Grace, Beauty in the eye of the beholder

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Fancy pampering yourself with a truly graceful Easter celebration while on your festive trip to Paris?

True Grace

Studios Paris rewards you with the best holiday gift of all – residing in a stunning apartment which offers you the invaluable adventure of constantly experiencing Paris as a moveable feast.

Ideally located in the very center of the French capital and equally close to the Luxembourg Gardens, the Pantheon, the vibrant medieval Rue Mouffetard or the nearby Montparnasse district where Hemingway and the “Lost Generation” crew loved to hang out, our stylish, spacious and cozy True Grace apartment has a poetic appeal that matches the outdoor charm of its illustrious surroundings.

Located at the intersection of 5th and 6th arrondissement, True Grace offers stunning views of a stylish symmetrical square with two fountains and the “Val-de-Grâce” church.  Considered by some as capital’s best example of baroque architecture, the church’s dome is one of Paris’ skyline’s primary landmarks the sight of which you will have the pleasure to enjoy every day.

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With its ample space of 80 m2, True Grace can generously accommodate up to five guests.

Furnished with state-of-the-art equipment and furniture, the apartment’s décor is a carefully chosen blend of modern and antique.

Just like in the best hotels, True Grace offers numerous upscale amenities to help you enjoy your stay to the fullest.

True Grace Salon

High speed Internet access (200Mb/s fiber optic) with Wi-Fi and 2 HDTVs with 3D glasses as well as a   VOD (Video On Demand) provide you with a working space and a family video club directly at home.

Each room is equipped with a separate volume controller for an exclusive Hi-fi experience and, what’s more, all of True Grace’s windows and ceilings are supplied with anti-noise systems for comfort.

Equipped with 2 separate toilets and a bathroom with a large bathtub and a shower corner, True Grace guarantees you a truly “zen” showering experience thanks to the professional water softener rendering the water neither too hard nor too soft… feeling in the mood to make some soap bubbles already?

For a feeling of being up in the clouds, enjoy the quietly elegant 25m2 blue master bedroom overlooking a discreet courtyard. Looking airy and light with its soft timeless aqua shades, your retreat of calm makes for a space both relaxing and inviting.

Creating a really homey and cozy atmosphere, the fully equipped 10m2 kitchen  (with dishwasher, Nespresso coffee machine, robot KitchenAid, the Tefal Actifry fryer without oil, induction hot plates, washing machine) is a piece of paradise for the amateur chef and the professional alike.

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Have fun exploring this exclusive apartment in search of your own private little corner.

Some will find it by the window, while sitting on the soft throw pillows, daydreaming at the royal view of the stunning Val-de-Grâce church.

Others might discover it in the intimacy of the cozy kitchen over their first cup of home-brewed coffee…

Still others could grasp it in the originality of the idea of having a comfy office space in the tranquility of the water-shaded bedroom…

But wherever your treasure trove may be, you won’t fail to breathe in the magic of True Grace, a place radiating the divine energy of its refined historic surroundings…

Please check True Grace’s availability on our website: http://www.paris-apartment-rent.com/True-Grace.html

Studios Paris celebrate spring with new artistic services

Sing like a bird with our brand new spring-launched Bel Canto singing classes!

As a world capital of art and with The Paris Opera having one of the highest budgets internationally, France is the worldwide leader and sponsor of the performing arts.

Accustomed to housing opera singers and music lovers from all over the world, we at Studios Paris are willing to prolong this tradition by creating more opportunities of living alongside music for our artistically tempted clientele.

Inspired by the advent of spring – an apt moment for favoring fresh starts and venturing into new challenges – Studios Paris upgrade their current real estate network by integrating more piano-equipped apartments and present their customers with the possibility to become part of a very rare singing class project, honoring the esthetics of vocal revival.

Taught in French and English, this melodic voyage towards the sacred lands of a lost vocal tradition is targeted at professional singers and beginners alike. Delivered by Thalia Carouza, the only person in France trained in this method, the course brings around the might of natural voice which made the greatness of opera singers like Beniamino Gigli, considered to be one of the finest tenors in the recorded history of music and renowned internationally for the immense beauty and soundness of his vocal technique.

We consider the Bel Canto course to be a form of an aesthetic pilgrimage and by proposing it to our clients we pursue our vocation to make life more beautiful and remain faithful to our mission to preserve any technology that can contribute to beauty.

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Thalia Carouza graduated from the Ecole Normale de Musique in Paris and completed her professional training by attending piano classes and drama courses in the Theater of Inspiration. In 1997, she met David Kauffman, founder of the School of Natural voice in the USA, London and Paris, who taught her the art of opera in the pure Italian tradition deriving from Antonio Cotogni, Riccardo Daviési and Herbert Ceasari. Thalia is the heiress of a vocal tradition dating from the 18th and 19th centuries, which has disappeared in the 20th century. These techniques of the old Italian singing tradition are based on the laws of acoustics and apply to all styles (pop, jazz, blues, rock, classical). The soprano regularly stages concerts and has performed in many cathedrals in France, Great Britain and Spain. She has participated in numerous festivals in France and abroad and her next appearance will take place in Paris and in the French department Loiret.

How did your relationship with music start?

While still very young, I discovered the universe of classical music by admiring the mastership of great composers, particularly the romantic ones. My passion for opera blossomed very quickly as I listened to the great voices of our time. I discovered the opera singers of the early 20th century just later, when I began my musical studies and after having met David Kauffman, the man who would later become my teacher and my husband.

What is unique and specific about the singing technique you teach?

David had done extensive research on the singing techniques of the old Italian school which marked the greatest opera singers of the last century. His teaching was based on a singing tradition from the distant past, respecting the beauty and power of human voice. Long forgotten, the tone and nuances of natural voices are rarely heard nowadays, but in the past all renowned singers had this one feature in common appreciated by the audience. Conveying a “sound expressing a disincarnated sonority” (the sound seemed to come from all parts of the body except from the singer, and it seemed to be floating, suspended in space), this technique based on the laws of acoustics allowed the human voice to achieve the highest possible vocal range without risk of distortion. The singer mentally guided the vibrations which changed their direction depending on the vowel or the note sung. Unfortunately, the building of this glorious tradition dating from the Golden Age of singing has vanished one century ago. Thanks to David Kauffman’s research, it was possible to rediscover this spiritual voice inspiring the artist and bestowing him with a sense of freedom experienced in the process of singing.

Who could practice this technique? Do people need to have any particular musical competence to subscribe to your class?

‘Anyone who can speak can sing’! Many individuals who have worked with incompetent teachers or have been exposed to unfounded criticism might end up thinking that they cannot sing. However, everyone can sing as long as they receive proper education. Therefore it is not mandatory to have any previously acquired musical knowledge to enroll in our singing classes. The course is open to everyone and the technique is applicable to all styles, including jazz, blues, rock, folk, pop and classical. Students progress very quickly which can be certified after the very first lesson.

What is the course’s structure? How does it unfold?

Normally each session lasts one hour, but you may choose to take 30 minutes only, depending on your needs and availability. In the last part of the course, the students perform a piece in which they bridge the gap between the acquired technique and their own interpretation of the piece.

Why should our clients consider taking this course?

The primordial aim of the art of singing is to convey emotions to the public. Each individual mastering this art will derive invaluable advantages in terms of personal development. They would boost their self-confidence; learn to better communicate with others in their personal and professional life and find inspiration, creativity and joy from the pleasure of developing a new skill.

For professionals, the vocal technique delivered by Thalia Carouza at the Studios allows for safe, long-lasting careers without the troubles encountered today by the most beautiful voices in the world after two decades or so of intense performance.

The course guarantees personalized tuition and a program unfolding at a pace that suits our clients’ agendas.

To enroll in or learn more about our Bel Canto course, please contact us at:  http://www.paris-apartment-rent.com/contact.htm

G comme Gargouille

An Easter rendez-vous with the capital’s world-famous “friendly demons”

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The meaning:                   gargouille = gargoyle

The history:                       Representing animals or imaginary monstrous creatures, gargoyles have always intrigued us with their baffling petrifying looks. Eerie and fascinating, they are believed to date back to the 12th century. Widespread all over Europe, these stone grotesques undertook the important role of illustrating some Biblical parables to the largely illiterate Middle Ages’ crowds.

The function:                    Curiously, gargoyles were initially created for a practical purpose. Designed to convey rainwater away from the sides of a building so as to prevent it from running down and eroding the church façades, they were used to reduce the potential damage a rainstorm could be causing on buildings. Originating from the French word “gargouille”, the term “gargoyle” most likely represents the gurgling sound of water passing through those water sprouts.

The symbolic significance:

Apart from their technical purpose, the statues were thought to have another, more heavenly mission. Said to scare evil spirits away from churches thanks to their terrifying appearance, gargoyles were seen as the keepers of Good, appointed to reassure the faithful that salvation is to be found inside the places of worship where the Devil could not enter. Legend has it that you could even hear the gargoyles shriek should an evil spirit approach the church walls, be it a visible (witches, wizards and demons) or an invisible one…

The reactions:                  Paradoxically, there was a time when the poor stone creatures were received with mixed feelings even by the church itself! Seen as a form of idolatry, all these “grotesque, horrific, fantastic creatures with eagles’ beaks and wings” became suddenly unpopular with the medieval clergy. Known as their fervent opponent, St. Bernard of Clairvaux became famous for his 12th-century quote: “What is the meaning of these unclean monkeys, these strange savage lions, and monsters?”

The curious fact:              Interestingly this was not the end of the “anti-gargoyle movement”!  In the late 1700s, architects ostracized gargoyles so much that they had the Notre Dame and other Parisian Gothic buildings stripped of “devils, dragons and other grotesqueries”. Fortunately for us, during the 1800s all ornaments were restored back to their original perches.

Not to be missed:           Undeniably, Paris’ most illustrious gargoyles ornate the façade of the Notre Dame cathedral. As in any other Gothic building, here too nothing is due to chance and each sculpture encloses a hidden or esoteric meaning, where gargoyles and chimeras take on certain roles. Here is our short selection of the famed cathedral’s notoriously gothic cast.

“The pensive demon” or the strix is Notre Dame’s best known chimera. Originally combining the features of a woman and a bird, this kind of ancient demon which used to haunt cemeteries now observes the world with nostalgia, as if musing over the time of sorcery and magic to which it once belonged.

Portrayed with a long beard, anxious eyes and mouth wide open, the statue of the Wandering Jew was inspired by a medieval legend. According to the story, on his way to the crucifixion, Jesus met a shoemaker and asked him for help. The man spat in Christ’s face instead. As a punishment, he was condemned to wander endlessly through the world, lonely and hopeless, without ever being able to find rest even after his death…

Cerberus, the three-headed dog, is an underworld creature believed to be guarding the doors of hell. His sickly appearance gives it a disturbing look evoking the time of epidemics, famines, fear and uncertainty Paris has long gone through.

Legend has it that some of these fantastical stone creatures still come to life at night…

Pretty in Pink

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Celebrate the arrival of spring in Montmartre’s historic “La Maison Rose”

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With the trees finally into leaf now, we all feel the urge to make up for lost time and forget about the weeks of endless rain, cloudy skies and unfriendly weather we have been tolerating for so long…

One of the best ways to declare war on winter (and to invite spring for breakfast!) is to add some colour to our life!

Rosy pink, one of springtime’s indubitable favorites, comes first to mind when we wish to perk up our day and make it more energetic, vibrant and bright.

And to complete the seasonal equation, let’s try adding the colour pink to a fresh morning walk through the cobbled streets of Montmartre until your steps mysteriously take you to…   La Maison Rose!

Just like a spring flower having freshly sprouted above the ground, this charming little restaurant with a distinctive rosy colour which makes it impossible not to notice, can well become your personal celebration of spring on the hill!

Situated just north of the crowded Place du Tertre, this relic of Montmartre’s golden days frequented by Picasso and Gertrude Stein is a vestige of the fin de siècle.

Stopping by for a glass of rosé would certainly make you feel initiated to the artistic past of the area, even if in a small way.

All the more so when knowing that this quintessential Montmartre bistro had once lured painter Utrillo to capture its perky spirit and immortalize it forever in one of his paintings now proudly exhibited in San Francisco’s Museum of Modern Art.

Today this “très coquet” abode located in a rosy pink house on the corner of two streets is the perfect spot to hang out and enjoy the more invisible part of the hill, dotted with winding streets, ivy walls and even a vineyard!

Ideal for daydreaming, cozying up with a book, planning the rest of your day with a map or sharing romantic glances over the rim of your glass, La Maison Rose is your invitation to discovering the “Parisian village” against the flow. What adds to the charm, is the café’s romantic terrace, which permits you to discover the real Montmartre off the beaten track and in an exclusively pastoral setting.

Discovering one of Montmartre’s cozy little secrets, a stop at the Maison Rose will help you experience the genuine Montmartre, with a decidedly less touristic feel, but all the more dreamy for it.

The ideal spot for an aperitif as the sun sets or for a café crème in the rosy afternoon, this is the place to visit if you want to rejoice in the fact of being in Paris, Montmartre, during the spring when everything is beautiful and budding with life…

Les Studios de Paris, artistiquement vôtre !

Dès ce printemps, chantez comme un rossignol grâce à nos tout nouveaux cours de bel canto !

Comme en témoigne le budget de l’Opéra de Paris, l’un des plus élevés au niveau international, la France est le mécène et le leader mondial des arts du spectacle. Et Paris n’est-elle pas l’une des capitales mondiales de l’art ?

Habituée à accueillir des chanteurs d’opéra et des passionnés de musique du monde entier, l’équipe des Studios de Paris souhaite faire perdurer cette tradition en multipliant les occasions de ponctuer de musique la vie de ses clients qui ont la fibre artistique.

Inspirée par l’arrivée du printemps, le moment propice pour découvrir de nouveaux horizons, l’équipe actualise son réseau immobilier en intégrant plus d’appartements équipés d’un piano et offre aux clients la possibilité de participer à des cours de chant peu ordinaires qui honorent l’esthétique de la renaissance vocale.

Enseigné en français et en anglais, ce voyage mélodique vers les terres sacrées d’une tradition vocale disparue est destiné aux chanteurs professionnels comme aux débutants.  Animé par Thalia Carouza, le seul professeur en France formé à cette méthode, le cours développe la puissance de la voix naturelle qui a fait la splendeur de chanteurs d’opéra comme Beniamino Gigli, considéré comme l’un des plus grands ténors de l’histoire de la musique et mondialement reconnu pour l’immense beauté et la parfaite maîtrise de sa technique vocale.

Aux Studios de Paris, nous considérons ce cours de bel canto comme une forme de pèlerinage esthétique et en le proposant à nos clients, nous réaffirmons notre vocation de rendre la vie plus belle et restons fidèles à notre mission de préserver les technologies pouvant contribuer à la beauté.

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Thalia Carouza est diplômée de l’École normale de musique de Paris et a complété sa formation professionnelle par des cours de piano et d’art dramatique au théâtre de l’Inspiration. En 1997, elle rencontre David Kauffman, fondateur de la School of Natural Voice (l’École de la voix naturelle) aux États-Unis, à Londres et à Paris, qui lui enseigne l’art lyrique dans la pure tradition italienne dont étaient issus Antonio Cotogni, Riccardo Daviési et Herbert Ceasari. Thalia est l’héritière d’une tradition vocale datant des 18e et 19e siècles, disparue au 20e siècle. Ces techniques de l’ancienne tradition italienne du chant sont basées sur les lois de l’acoustique et s’appliquent à tous les styles (pop, jazz, blues, rock, classique). La soprano se produit régulièrement et a donné des concerts dans de nombreuses cathédrales en France, en Grande-Bretagne et en Espagne. Elle a également participé à plusieurs festivals en France et à l’étranger et se produira prochainement à Paris et dans le Loiret.

Comment a commencé votre relation avec la musique ?

Très jeune, j’ai découvert l’univers de la musique classique en admirant la virtuosité des grands compositeurs, en particulier ceux de la période romantique. Ma passion pour l’opéra est née très rapidement à l’écoute des grandes voix de notre époque. J’ai découvert les chanteurs lyriques du début du 20e siècle un peu plus tard, lorsque j’ai entrepris des études de musique et après avoir rencontré David Kauffman, l’homme qui allait devenir mon professeur et mari.

Qu’est-ce qui singularise la technique de chant que vous enseignez ?

David a fait des recherches approfondies sur les techniques de chant de l’ancienne école italienne qui ont marqué les grands chanteurs d’opéra du siècle dernier. Son enseignement était basé sur une tradition du chant d’un lointain passé, qui respecte la beauté et la puissance de la voix humaine. Oubliés depuis longtemps, le timbre et les nuances des voix naturelles sont rarement entendus de nos jours, mais autrefois, tous les chanteurs de renom avaient en commun cette particularité très appréciée du public. Véhiculant un « son exprimant une sonorité désincarnée » (le son semble provenir de toutes les parties du corps à l’exception du chanteur et paraît flotter, suspendu dans l’espace), cette technique basée sur les lois de l’acoustique a permis à la voix humaine d’atteindre la tessiture la plus étendue qui soit sans risque de distorsion. Le chanteur guidait mentalement les vibrations qui changeaient de direction en fonction de la voyelle ou de la note chantée. Malheureusement, cette glorieuse tradition datant de l’âge d’or du chant a disparu il y a un siècle. Les recherches de David Kauffman ont permis de redécouvrir cette voix spirituelle qui inspire l’artiste et lui procure une sensation de liberté ressentie lorsqu’il chante.

Qui peut pratiquer cette technique ? Faut-il avoir des compétences musicales particulières pour suivre vos cours ?

Quiconque peut parler peut chanter ! De nombreuses personnes qui ont travaillé avec des professeurs incompétents ou qui ont été exposées à des critiques infondées peuvent finir par penser qu’elles ne peuvent pas chanter. Tout le monde peut chanter du moment que l’enseignement est de qualité. Il n’est donc pas obligatoire d’avoir des connaissances musicales pour s’inscrire à nos cours de chant. Les cours sont ouverts à tous et la technique s’applique à tous les styles, notamment le jazz, le blues, le rock, le folk, la pop et le classique. Les étudiants progressent très rapidement et les résultats sont au rendez-vous dès la toute première leçon.

Quelle est la structure d’un cours ? Comment se déroule-t-il ?

En principe, chaque session dure une heure, mais vous pouvez choisir des sessions de 30 minutes, en fonction de vos besoins et de vos disponibilités. Dans la dernière partie du cours, les étudiants chantent un morceau dans lequel ils comblent le fossé entre la technique acquise et leur propre interprétation du morceau.

Pourquoi suivre ce cours ?

L’objectif primordial de l’art du chant est de transmettre des émotions au public. Les personnes qui maîtrisent cet art en tireront d’inestimables avantages en termes de développement personnel. Véritable outil pour renforcer la confiance en soi, le chant est un passeport pour mieux communiquer avec les autres dans la vie personnelle et professionnelle et puiser de l’inspiration, de la créativité et de la joie dans le plaisir d’avoir une nouvelle corde à son arc.

Pour les professionnels, la technique vocale qu’enseigne Thalia Carouza aux Studios de Paris permet d’inscrire les carrières dans la durée en évitant les problèmes que rencontrent aujourd’hui les plus belles voix du monde après une vingtaine d’années d’intenses représentations.

Notre offre garantit des cours sur mesure et un programme dont le rythme adapté à l’emploi du temps de nos clients.

Pour vous inscrire ou en savoir plus sur nos cours de bel canto, contactez-nous:  http://www.paris-apartment-rent.com/contact.htm

Prochainement : la Dolce Vita dans le talon de la botte italienne…

Retrouvez les Studios de Paris en plein cœur des Pouilles

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Enthousiasmée par l’esprit du printemps, la saison des nouveaux commencements, l’équipe des Studios de Paris a elle aussi choisi de se lancer dans une toute nouvelle entreprise !

Avec le lancement de notre dernier projet, la construction de deux villas jumelles privées dans les Pouilles, une région historique et authentique de l’Italie, nous sommes sur le point d’enrichir notre offre locative déjà très attrayante.

Véritable défi en soi, le projet de création d’un complexe VIP à l’étranger est le premier investissement de ce type pour les Studios de Paris, mais certainement pas le dernier…

Basé près de Manduria, à deux kilomètres de la mer, le projet prévoit la construction de deux villas jumelles en plein cœur de trois hectares d’oliveraies : un complexe exceptionnel qui, luxe suprême, offre tout loisir de s’évader du quotidien !

Quelque part entre les oliveraies au parfum divin et le bleu infini de la mer Ionienne (dotée de plages parmi les plus sauvages et les plus isolées qui soient), votre future villa privata promet d’être le lieu idéal pour une escapade romantique ou (ré)créative loin du quotidien…

Pour une reproduction authentique du fameux cliché de la grande famille italienne, n’hésitez pas à louer les deux villas ensemble. Double dose assurée de rire, de bonne humeur et de plaisir estival !

Laissez le charme rustique de nos villas de vacances opérer pour apprécier une petite tranche de vie apulienne.

Grâce à la situation géographique idéale de notre complexe, vous pourrez aisément rayonner dans toute la région. À vous la magie de l’Italie !

Commencez par explorer la ville de Manduria et sa source magique mentionnée dès le 1er siècle ap. J-C par Pline l’Ancien, écrivain et naturaliste romain à qui elle doit son nom : Fonte pliniano. Cette source souterraine (dont le volume n’a jamais changé, quelles que soient les quantités d’eau prélevées) est encore visible aujourd’hui, fidèle aux descriptions datant de 2 000 ans, un amandier poussant en son centre…

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Les activités touristiques ne manquent pas dans les Pouilles. N’hésitez pas à quitter la villa pour sillonner les environs à la journée. Visitez Lecce à juste titre surnommée « la Florence baroque » (à 50 km) ou Oria (à 10 km), l’un des nombreux villages baroques de la région. Vous pouvez également vous rendre à Monopoli, de l’autre côté du talon de la botte. Découvrez la magnifique ville portuaire de Bari (à 142 km) et le labyrinthe des ruelles étroites de son centre historique ou émerveillez-vous devant les énigmatiques trulli d’Alberobello (des habitations de pierre sèche surmontées de toits coniques, classées au patrimoine mondial de l’Unesco) à 67 km à peine de votre lieu de séjour. Vous pouvez aussi choisir de profiter de vos trois hectares de jardins privatifs sur lesquels se dresse un trullo d’origine, entièrement rénové, que vous pourrez utiliser en tant que maison d’accueil.

Pour une courte pause riche d’expériences et de convivialité, empruntez les routes bordées d’oliviers des Pouilles pour découvrir le charme de ses villages authentiques ou prenez la direction de ses plages baignées d’un soleil radieux.

Partez à la rencontre des Apuliens en vous rendant dans l’un des nombreux festivals d’été de la région. Au rythme de la musique populaire jouée par l’orchestre installé sur la piazza de chaque ville, dansez et dégustez de délicieuses spécialités locales vendues directement dans les rues. Laissez-vous tenter par cette Dolce Vita et souriez, vous êtes filmé !

Découvrez nos régions préférées d’Italie avec les Studios de Paris !

C comme Chocolatier

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The official excuse to indulge in our Paris’ finger-licking good chocolate tour!

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The meaning:   chocolatier = master chocolate maker

The history:

The French do take their chocolate seriously! With more gourmet chocolate shops in Paris than in any other city in the world, master artisan chocolatiers have never stopped amazing or delighting us with their extraordinary chocolate creations. From high-end old-time chocolatiers to independent artisans rethinking old-fashioned recipes and competing in creativity, Paris has become a chocolate lover’s paradise of sorts! Distinguished for its superiority and originality, dark chocolate is one of French chocolate artisans’ specialties, as are ganaches: chocolates with rich, velvety centers. Let Paris’ cocoa experts and their succulent creations take your taste buds on a journey of discovery, as romantic as it could get…

The must-tries:

For a taste of a world-famous traditional ganache, head straight to La Maison du Chocolat. Those on the fun-loving side should give a chance to Michel Chaudun’s chocolate “sausages”. Savvy collectors can stuff their bags with chocolate memorabilia, including Jospehine Vannier’s chocolate masks and mini-grand pianos, Michel Chaudun’s (slightly cheaper than the original) chocolate Hermès Kelly bags or Rochoux’s sweet garden gnomes, bronze emperors’ busts or exotic animals that promise not to bite! You’re in it for the flavour? Then go wild with Paris’ imaginatively flavoured ganaches: Pierre Hermé’s orange and balsamic vinegar, Rochoux’s basil ganache, or Marcolini’s refreshing thyme-orange, Earl Grey tea and violet. For more unusual stuff, sample Richart’s star anise, fennel and curry or Christian Constant’s ganaches scented with jasmine, ylang-ylang and verbena.

The curious fact:

Consider yourself a classics’ lover who would only order what the “celebrities” before him did? Then go dip your pinkie in the divine flavours of Debauve & Gallais, Paris’ oldest chocolate shop and a gorgeous historical monument of 200 years ago, where Balzac, Proust and Brillat-Savarin went to satisfy their cocoa cravings…

Some like it hot:

If you’d rather enjoy a cup of decadent hot chocolate in the company of your beau or belle, Angelina’s belle époque salon located under the archways of the posh Rue Rivoli might be your thing! Their specialty is the velvety “African” hot chocolate, which teams well with their most popular dessert, the Mont Blanc, an island of meringue topped with whipped cream and sweet chestnut. Prepare for long queues, though, and preferably go during the week!

Not to be missed:

For a really personal chocolate-related experience, visit the shop of the sweetest woman in Paris! With her plaited pig-tails, necktie and pleated kilt, it’s always a pleasure to come across Madame Denise Acabo, famous all over the world as an authority figure in all chocolate matters. In her charming shop “A L’Etoile d’Or” on 30, Rue Pierre Fontaine, she will charm you with her bright and informative descriptions of each bonbon in her vast collection featuring a variety of chocolates from France’s best artisans. Another unique and unusual place to pay a chocolate pilgrimage to would be the chocolateries of Patrick Roger. On his eccentric shop windows huge chocolate sculptures raise awareness of animal species on the brink of extinction profits from the sales of which are donated to numerous charities.  This year’s highlight, the hippopotamus (at 7 m in length and 4 tons in weight), was all carved by hand and took about a year to complete!

Montmartre’s Allée des Brouillards

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A walk on the foggy side of the street

alleyofmists

Romantic and poetic yet strangely obscure, the lyrically named Allée des Brouillards (The Alley of Mists) and the eponymous Chateau des Brouillards which borders it are two Montmartre legends which seem to have remained surprisingly untouched by touristic interest…

This charming area appreciated by artists like the poet Nerval, the painter Modigliani and the filmmaker Jean Renoir to name but a few, is now a must-see for love pilgrims searching to relive the rural and picturesque spirit of the hill of yesteryear.

A rare find, the Alley and Castle of Mists form the perfect choice for an inspired and contemplative walk for two or a romantic pause away from the crowds of Montmartre.

Their enigmatic name goes a few centuries back when a farm and a windmill named “Les Brouillards” occupied the same location.  The “mists” in question probably originated from the water vapours emanating from the numerous springs located in the small plateau and forming a cloak of mist when in contact with the fresh air.

In 1772, an advocate from the Paris Parliament bought the ruins of the mill and its surrounding area of 7000 m2 to build a small “folie” (a suburban building in the form of a castle, built to satisfy a fancy often of an eccentric kind) which he called The Castle of Mists.

In the mid-nineteenth century, the chateau’s servants’ quarters deteriorated significantly. The park and its gardens were invaded by vagrants and gypsies and turned gradually into a wasteland which later became part of the famous “maquis de Montmartre”, so dear to the nostalgic residents of the hill.

Falling to abandonment, in the 1890s the property was occupied by poor artists like Steinlein, Poulbot and Van Dongen who were neighbours with Modigliani and Renoir living in the shacks on the opposite side of this improvised shanty town.

Nevertheless, the same unfortunate slum happened to prevent the destruction of the chateau by the City of Paris, which had originally planned to demolish it in order to connect the parallel Rue Girardon and Rue Simon Dereure. Instead, a small alley was opened to connect the two streets in 1929, more popular today as the charming Allée des Brouillards.

Purchased by the composer and violinist Marius Casadeus in 1928, the Castle of Mists was thus saved and restored to its original beauty.

Yet all those artistic ghosts of the past probably still haunt this magical place, which exudes a special charm to this very day.

That’s why seeing an affectionate couple sharing soft whispers while sitting on the stone balustrades of this tiny alley is not such a rare sight, especially for those loving souls who happen to have a knack for finding the right place in the right time…