Entries tagged with: france

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*notcot in tech - 1 Notes

Mercedes-Benz CLA: Animalistic Affordability?

cla00.jpg It has been impossible to ignore Mercedes-Benz’s targeting of the “younger” market with their new entry level CLA model… from the fantastic Super Bowl spot “Soul” featuring Willem Defoe as the devil tempting a young man… to “Kate Upton Washes the All-New Mercedes-Benz CLA in Slow Motion”, which is pretty much what you’d expect… there’s even the Ryan McGinley film featuring model, Karlie Kloss, “Mind of Its Own” that debuted during fashion week… and how can you forget the “Untamed” spot where the car faces off with a wolf? Basically the marketing of the CLA seems to have its target on the younger/college crowd, playing heavily on the affordability and animalistic nature of the car… so when given the chance, i was too curious to see what this affordable, animalistic, compact car (the little sister of the CLS) feels like in person.

Hopping over to St. Tropez to give it a spin, felt like stepping into the “Soul” ad - being given an other worldly experience to play with the car while exploring the south of france… see a peek at our stay at the Hotel de Paris which just reopened. On first impressions - i was first drawn to the grill that seems spotted from afar… and the lights are just stunning up close (both front and rear), with such aggressive eyes that illuminate in the front, and incredible red gills that fill the back lights, they are definitely my favorite features. As for the interior, the dash seems to be where the affordability compromises were made, or my taste has aged me out of the younger demographic they are targeting… and the neon stripe options on some seats were surprising. As far as drivability, it would definitely make a fun little city car ~ and we even tried taking it to an impromptu flea market we found while driving around the french countryside, and it fit in easily (though drawing quite a bit of attention as well)… take a peek at the adventures and details with the Mercedes-Benz CLA on the next page!

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*notcot in travel - 1 Notes

Hotel de Paris, St. Tropez + CLA

deparis0.jpg This weekend’s adventures lead me from LA to St. Tropez by way of Paris and Marseille to try out the new Mercedes-Benz CLA. While there, Mercedes-Benz took over newly redone, iconic Hotel de Paris St. Tropez, which barely reopened the doors before Mercedes moved in for this round of drives. Mixed into the sculptures throughout the lobby, we were greeted with displays of the new CLA Dashboard, Direct Steer System, various engines and more… which fit right in! In the main courtyard, the new CLA and it’s larger influence, the CLS were on show. Apparently the Hotel de Paris was one of THE first hotels in St Tropez back in the 1930s, and was THE spot to be seen in the 60s and 70s (think artists, starlets, and more). Freshly redone by interior designer, Sybille de Margerie, it is quite a mix of design styles, and the hardest things to miss are the stunning spherical chandelier of metal petals of sorts in the lobby… and the nearly ready glass bottom pool that is suspended over the lobby which is viewable from all floors! Take a peek at the details of the Hotel de Paris St. Tropez with its Mercedes-Benz CLA flourishes on the next page!

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*notcot in travel - 0 Notes

Veuve Clicquot Hotel du Marc

hdm0.jpg Embargoed until a few hours ago ~ it’s been driving me crazy to sit on these pictures from my few hours in Reims, France for lunch a few weeks ago! Veuve Clicquot’s Hotel du Marc, which is barely a hotel at all ~ more of a magical guest mansion of sorts in Reims that Veuve Cliquot uses for special occasions ~ has recently finished its restoration/remodel which now includes some lovely themed guest rooms filled with modern art as well as hints of its past! From the beautiful staircase and the Chanel like faceted mirrors, to the Veuve-yellow Smeg and wall of champagne… the ornate chandeliered dining rooms to the modern portraits lining the hallway to the guest rooms… there is so much to take in, but here’s a first peek into their world!

p.s. you can also catch me in a few reflections rocking the super yellow veuve apron…

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*notcot in travel - 0 Notes

Operation Window Seat: Monaco-NCE-MUC

ncemuc1.jpg On amazing little journeys ~ we started at the dock/house/helipad area on the water where we originally met the group of Mercedes-AMG SLS Roadsters… and our bags were waiting for us to head to the airport… via helicopter! So i have some video of the quick flight along the Cote du Azur as well as the landing (i felt like i was in a toy as we came in to land, it’s fun riding shotgun!) Then on to a quick Nice to Munich flight… over the alps, which are always stunning. The shadows. The way the snowy mountain tips peek through the fluffy clouds. The melting snow into lakes. The tiny green towns tucked between it all… and before landing there were amazing amounts of teeny tiny sail boats below out in a lake! Take a peek at all of it on the next page!

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*notcot in food+drink - 0 Notes

PERRIER JOUËT: Into the Caves

caves0.jpg There’s something so refreshingly lovely about the champagne region of France. Is it the air? The people? The stunning champagne houses and the lifestyles inspired by champagne over the centuries? And there’s something particularly magical about the chalky caves below the area that millions of bottles of champagne are hiding in awaiting their time… While some say, once you’ve seen one you’ve seen them all… Perrier Jouët’s is particularly visually enticing… those signature belle epoque flowered bottles (and with their pastel green bottle caps during the process) just pop so beautifully, breathing life into the otherwise damp colorless chalky caves. SO take a peek into the cellars with me on the next page!

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*notcot in food+drink - 0 Notes

Perrier-Jouët: Westin Paris

belle0.jpg So that plane i hopped on instead of checking out the skull engraved in a cube of uncut currency has landed me in Paris! At the Westin Paris… to celebrate Perrier-Jouët’s 200th Anniversary… greeted in the room by a lovely bottle of their Cuvée Belle Epoque Champagne in the signature Flower Bottle, invitation to tomorrows festivities, and a schedule for the next 3 days, which will take me from Paris, back to Epernay, to learn more about where it all came from. So first, a look at the bottle that awaited me, and the gorgeous graphic design on the invitation! After all… it’s a philosophie de vie… take a peek on the next page!

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*notcot in design - 1 Notes

"Jeu de société" in Reims

jeudesociete0.jpg Manege de Reims “Jeu de société” - Sometimes it’s as much HOW art work is displayed, as what it actually is. In this case, that’s what grabbed me first. We were hungry and wandering Reims in a pack of 5 trying to find dinner ~ and suddenly we find ourselves walking alongside these bizarre photographs [tons of them!] around a construction site and it was like… is this a Gap ad? Are these billboards that got posted up? And we even touched them, and they were really nice all weather prints… and the contents were bizarre, it was a bunch of images of people in this tiny space, where there seemed to be a door on one side they cam in from,and a window on the other, they went out of… like a super flipbook of sorts… then after making it around two sides of them. It was that epiphany of “Oh! it’s Art!” “Jeu de société” is an art exhibition making beautiful use of the boarded up construction site around the Halles du Boulingrin. It is a collaboration between photographer Arnaud Baumann, and choreographer Stephanie Aubin, as directed by the Armoury of Reims. It is all about a person initiating a movement, then the next joins in, and connects, and it keeps continuing all around the building with over 100 shots, showcasing various types of people in the community, from kids and parents, to lovers, to priests, to military, and more… See the fascinating display on the next page!

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*notcot in food+drink - 0 Notes

Veuve Clicquot Harvest: The Food

harvest0.jpg It’s harvest time of year! And the nice folks at Veuve Clicquot brought me out to Paris/Reims once again for harvest ~ and blame it on Tasteologie, with food on the mind, i just had to share with you some of the yummier side of laborious grape picking Veuve style! For the look at the whole Harvest process, check out these pics from last year. And this year we had cheeky, chic black Harvest Staff tee shirts ~ most amusing of course was watching how the fashionable crowd immediately took to our limited resources out on the vineyard to start cutting them up with grape cutting shears to personalize them… so browse on to the next page to see a peek at what the food is like throughout the day… a slight twist on what “real” harvesters eat throughout the season…

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*notcot in wearable - 1 Notes

180 Grammes

180g0.jpg I am mesmerized and fascinated and suddenly feeling the need to pick a color and dye things. Don’t mock, but i’m SO giddy because i think i’m finally nearly caught up on email for the first time in… YEARS? 1300 to under 100!!! Took me something from 11am to 6am yesterday… but nearly there! and in it i just found this gem from a friend…

“I was in Paris last week and I spent 2 hours in the 180 grammes store in la Bastille and I thought it could be of interest for you. They are making painted clothes and shoes. They have a deal with Nike and are making super cool shoes. In the store, the clothes they have (for men and women) are amazing and custom made. I bought a pair of nike and pants but frankly, with more money I would have bought everything. Apparently, they are submerged with request from people… it was tough to have make my pair of shoes in 1 day!”

How incredible is that? And then i just lost a bit of time staring at the images on the 180 grammes site… absolutely stunning. Seriously. Look at all these COLORS! See more images on the next page…

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*notcot in home+decor - 5 Notes

Chandeliers of Versailles

chandelorg.jpg There's something so magical about being able to wander around the Chateau de Versailles after dark in black tie garb with only a handful of people around... and free flowing Dom Perignon. Actually, there's something so magical about Versailles at any time, but this was particularly surreal... and while there, i think i've discovered a new obsession. Chandeliers. From directly below! Particularly with mesmerizingly mind bending shadows and/or ridiculously opulent and stunning ceilings... and yes, there was a point where i became that girl who handed off her glass of Dom to lay on the floor in the middle of an empty room in my dress, louboutins, and clutching my massive camera to see just how much ceiling my wide angle could ingest from directly below the center of the chandelier. It's a bit dizzying at times shooting straight up and getting lost in the concentric circles ~ but it's such a fun perspective... Ami from Cool Hunting is calling them our 'chandelier mandalas' (and huge thanks for Ami for resisting iphone-pic-ing me while i was laying there on the floor!)... so take a peek at *some* of the chandeliers (and a few bonuses!) from perhaps (but hopefully not!) the most magical night i will ever spend in Versailles...

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*notcot in design - 0 Notes

La Confusion Des Sens

senses0.jpg Firstly, who WOULDN'T want essentially a "mood wall" ~ a thermochromatic wall of sorts ~ sure you'll have to clean it regularly, never know who's been rubbing up against it or licking and kissing and breathing on it... painting with their heat... I know part of me has been dreaming up ideas and places and colors to do something like this since...

But back to the subject at hand! While swinging back through Paris with Veuve Clicquot after adventures with harvesting in Reims, we had a chance to take a look at the Espace Culturel Louis Vuitton in the penthouse above the Champs Elysees Louis Vuitton store. It totes stunning views of the city, with a nice wood planked walkway around the perimeter, and a beautiful gallery space. Freshly launched is "La Confusion Des Sens". You arrive in the space after experiencing full sensory deprivation in their completely dark silent elevator ride up (a permanent part of their collection) ~ only to emerge to a large open space looking out over all of Paris... and surrounded by fascinating artworks focused on throwing your instinctual sensory reactions for a loop at every twist and turn... whether it's tactile, auditory, visual, or a combination of senses, it's an incredible show! Take a look at a few of my favorites on the next page...

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*notcot in food+drink - 1 Notes

Gatinois + Champagne Corks

gatinoismain.jpg Ok on aspects of this trip that i shamelessy geeked out on... did you know that's how champagne corks start? Before they get mushroomed? And the machine that mushroomifies them and puts the cage on is really cool? (Cool enough i had to make a video to share with you of course!) Also, there was definitely a warm fuzzy feeling that overcame me as Veuve Clicquot brought us to visit a tiny (relatively speaking!) grand cru champagne maker ~ Gatinois, a family-run business located in Aÿ since 1696, at the foot of the Montagne de Reims. While they have been selling half their crop to neighbor, Bollinger, they are producing more and more of their own label. It was infectious how passionate Pierre Cheval-Gatinois was as he shared his company's story and history and process with us (his son is starting to step in as the 12th generation!)... perhaps the biggest contrast was visiting his cellars compared to les creyeres of Veuve Clicquot... the shift in scale was amazing, and you must check out the exposed wires running the lighting (to fry yourself, just reach up and grab one in each hand)... Oh, and also, the amber blush tone of the champagne is gorgeous and it is extremely delicious... but unfortunately it they don't have a distributor in LA! Anyhow, on the next page you can see lots of pics, and the video of how the corks transform to magically to the mushrooms we associate with champagne!

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*notcot in travel - 2 Notes

Veuve Clicquot Harvest 2009

vcharvestmain.jpg Veuve Clicquot was generous enough to bring me to Reims again this year to join their intimate harvest festivities (read: honored they let me come do a day of manual labor with their friends/family). I kid you not. I spent half a day in the beautiful hot champagne region sun from the break of dawn fighting jetlag clipping grapes and working my way through the rows while chatting with friends old and new. So there you have it, my excuse for why posts slowed down and got so quiet. Also minimal wifi. But really, it turns out that the best way to slow me down is tire me out! Because i certainly had no problem running around, drinking late, and still posting before bed on the last trip...

So on the next page you can take a look at my experience from sunrise to learning how to pick grapes, to wine breaks (at 9am!), to crating the grapes away, to seeing them pressed... all the missing steps from last year... it's fascinating really to see what happens between the fresh grapes and the bottling to spend time in les crayeres. And we were back at the Verzy country estate which has some of the finest grapes behind it ~ the grapes we picked will be in the 2019 Veuve Clicquot La Grand Dame if we're lucky, so far they are saying it is a phenomenal harvest! And if nothing else, they've at lease guaranteed that i will have to purchase a bottle (or case!) just to see where my grapes went! So see the process first hand on the next page!

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*notcot in design - 3 Notes

History of Labels: Veuve Clicquot

label2.jpgHere's another one from the plethora of pics that have been waiting to become posts ~ while traveling with Veuve Clicquot in Reims, we had a special tour in the VCP Maison de Patrimoine (think: amazing archives of the history of Veuve since the 1800's in one room) by Fabienne Huttaux, the Historical Resource Manager. And amongst the many things she showed us (like the originals of the first shipment ever made, which was to Venice, and the first invoice to the USA, including some as movie props...) ~ i was most fascinated by the evolution of the labels! With full white glove treatment, we were shown this little book that housed every label variation since the beginning, long before the signature yellow label was even yellow... personally my favorites are the oldest ones, with elephants from the trading company logos distributing them. In addition to label imagery, you can also get a peek at the shelves and shelves of resources, as well as closer looks at some of the documents i mentioned, the typography not only on the documents but the spines of the archives were stunning, and make me wish we were still trained as thoroughly to have perfect cursive handwriting.

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*notcot in travel - 0 Notes

Veuve Clicquot Country House Inspirations

country1.jpgWhile recollecting my thoughts and trying to take a bit of a break ~ i've also found myself cleaning up my computer, and while doing so, discovered a lot of posts in the making... that never quite made it! So here's some more catch up. I spent most of yesterday running around LA (and the outskirts) hunting and researching for the house i'm working on (under construction! i get to move in soon!) ~ and in doing so, finding myself thinking about so many details i hadn't paid such careful attention to before, and things that reminded me about the Manoir de Verzy ~ the Country House of Madame Veuve Clicquot that we visited, and i'm ashamed that i hadn't gotten these pictures up for you sooner!

There were so many fascinating details to this house and its gardens and being able to visit the actual vineyards ~ consider this a photo essay of sorts taking you through some of my most memorable images while there. This house is where we learned about vintages (even tasting our birth years! mine was a delicious vintage in '82) and Dégorgement à la volée in the Vieux Pressoir with Cyril Brun, the wine communications head and wine maker ~ followed by aperitif and specially crafted, perfectly paired lunch with Stéphane Gerschel - International Communications Director, Andrea Crippa - International Marketing Director, Cyril Brun, Felix Bocquet - Quality and Environment Director, followed by a walk through the vineyards with the Veuve Clicquot Vineyards director, Christian Renard. (All before taking off to our surprise helicopter ride!). It was at this lunch that Andrea gave us that sneak peek of the Ice Cube and i showed you some of the tile i loved. Anyhow, so on house shopping, and all the little details that make a house a home, take a peek at some of the quarters where VIPs stay with Veuve Clicquot, and the beautifully inspiring views across the vineyard on the next page!

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*notcot in wearable - 4 Notes

Penhaligon's Artemisia

penhaligons.jpgPenhaligon's ~ i tried to tell myself i'd stick to French brands and stores while wandering around in my few days in Paris ~ but i couldn't help myself when i wandered into Penhaligon's, the legendary british perfumerie that dates back to the 1800s. I've been drawn to their fragrances at Fred Segal most recently, and vaguely remember loving a lavender body wash of theirs an ex had... but the store, packaging (love their tissue paper), layouts, and product designs were so gorgeous i was smitten - and had to share a few pics. So take a peek on the next page... even their tiles had me mesmerized...

I still have SO many things i want to share with you from the Paris trip, but strangely enough the jetlag has left me in a bit of a haze the last few days here in LA... so more catching up to come soon!

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*notcot in design - 5 Notes

Stained Glass Product Placement

medveuve.jpgOn fascinating lore (surrounded by rumors and speculation) ~ in Notre Dame de Reims (where nearly all the kings of france have been crowned) in the stained glass windows of the south transcript... there are yellow labeled champagne bottles which we heard from someone who heard from someone that Veuve Clicquot played such a large role in the history of the region over the centuries that you even see it in the stained glass. Speculate as to whether its complete fabrication, conspiracies of the past, the first product placement, etc as you wish... i'm just showing you what we found in those windows, so you can join in on the fun too. See larger images of these wine making panels on the next page!

By the way, standing in such a large cathedral, late for the bus, trying to play the equivalent of 'where's waldo' on a huge wall of stained glass is harder than expected...

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*notcot in tech - 1 Notes

The Veuve Clicquot Bentley

bentley0.jpgSo traveling Veuve Clicquot style is quite a trip, they started us out on the yacht, flew us around in the helicopter... and now here's the most impressive car... Who knew a 1960's yellow and purple Bentley S3 could be so appealing? I love fast cars, i love beautifully designed cars, and apparently i love the vintage woody not at all discreet Veuve Clicquot Yellow and Purple Bentley? I couldn't resist taking two rides in it with Stephane Gerschel as we drove around Reims... and every time i sat fascinated not only by the tiniest details (from the jeweled fuel light to the insane speed of the windows to the amusement of seeing a GPS in a car of that vintage)... You have to check out the rest of the pics!

p.s.
You would never believe how hard it is to cull from the hundreds of pictures from each day to figure out what to post!

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*notcot in travel - 6 Notes

Helicoptering over Champagne

helicopter0.jpgI've thought and rethought and dreamt about how to describe this trip, how to break up the posts, how to tell you about all of the incredible things that have happened in the last three days, and somehow it all comes across sounding quite possibly a bit gushy and cheesy. So, you know what? I'm just going to be completely honest with all of you, and even though i have about 1000+ pics of so many insane adventures and stories, here's the plan: i'm going to work my way through them in images, sharing with you piece by piece, scattered with little stories as i remember them.

The official aspect of this Veuve Clicquot France trip has come to an end, and most of the other bloggers are headed back home, my new Veuve Clicquot family has been kind enough to put me up for 5 more nights so i can cover Paris Design this week at Maison & Objet. So about that family thing, i kid you not that it feels like we were all adopted by the Veuve Clicquot family, everyone from the president, to communications, to brand managers, to sommeliers, and more welcomed us with open arms, and were so kind (and insanely playful, passionate, and full of life) - it felt far more like hanging out with your long lost aunt than meeting with the president of multinational, centuries old, champagne powerhouse. Also, what's more inspiring than constantly hearing the lore of Madame Clicquot, and in a one liner... a woman who was widows at 27, who manages to revolutionize the champagne industry through a multitude of innovations, and becomes the richest woman in europe in a time where women held few rights? (So, at 25, i guess i have a lot of work to do to catch up someday!)

Ok, but, moving along ~ HELICOPTER RIDE! I'd never been on a helicopter, and the crazy, secret loving itinerary planners of this trip worked in massive surprises for us everyday where even the drivers didn't know what was up until we arrived. So imagine the looks on our faces when we pulled up to L'aerodrome Reims Prunay? And when we are whisked into "the rolls royce of helicopters" (leather seats, Bose headsets, etc), and soon peering over at the champagne region from bird's eye view, watching all of the tiny people, vast vineyards, circling the mountain... then suddenly you see it. Madame Clicquot's historic Boursault Castle. Mind. Blowing. Go see the rest of the images on the next page!

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*notcot in travel - 4 Notes

Chateau Les Crayeres

crayeres1.jpgUPDATE!: The bathroom was so gorgeous and huge as well i've added pictures of that as well....

Ok, we're going to jump out of order a bit, but i am far too excited by the gorgeously inspiring chateau Veuve Clicquot moved us to today... imagine waking up from a jetlagged nap and feeling like you fell into a time warp? Welcome to Chateau Les Crayeres in the heart of the Champagne of France... the grounds, decor, rooms, lounge, restaurant.... it's all breath takingly stunning. Don't believe me? You have to take a look at the rest of the pictures on the next page... wow. I'm sitting on that bed in the pic right now, and i can't help staring off every few minutes discovering new details, from the paintings, to the wallpaper patterns, to how ornate the extra high ceilings are!

Basically for the ultimate escape, i can't imagine a more surreal and beautiful space to relax and catch my breath in... and the whole "room" is probably three time the size of tiny SF apts i've ended up in...

p.s.
The pics on the next page of the circular bar areas with the petticoat like curtains are so sweet!

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