Riviera life­style com­plete with WINE, GLAM­OUR, ART & AR­CHI­TEC­TURE

Per­son­alised In­dul­gences in South­west Europe

World Travel Magazine - - Inspire Me -

For lux­ury trav­ellers head­ing on a trip around south­west Europe, from glitzy Monaco to the quirky art that sur­rounds Barcelona, there are a plethora of op­tions—per­sonal shop­pers at their beck and call, pri­vate tour guides to chauf­feur them from one vine­yard to an­other or self-drive in lux­ury cars, as well as art ex­perts to de­mys­tify the in­spi­ra­tion be­hind the mas­ter­pieces.

Famed for its ex­trav­a­gant par­ties and op­u­lent life­style, the lux­ury trav­eller finds so­lace in Monaco, where he­li­copter trans­fers are de rigueur as an air­port shut­tle. Stun­ning cars with gor­geous celebri­ties in tow are as com­mon as candy or an el­e­gant yacht party fill­ing the air with music and laugh­ter in the har­bour. One of the high­lights of the so­cial calendar in Monaco is the Monaco F1 Grand Prix, and the best van­tage point to watch the ac­tion from—and party the night away—is on a su­pery­acht, of­fer­ing guests a cham­pagne break­fast, per­fect loung­ing choices, the place to be seen and be pho­tographed in a de­signer bikini... all this with en­ter­tain­ment from the best DJS around the world.

The tiny prin­ci­pal­ity is home to at least 4,000 lux­ury brands all within easy reach in the Cer­cle d’or district around Place du Casino. For the trav­eller who has nei­ther the time nor the in­cli­na­tion to search through the mul­ti­tude of shops, opt for a per­sonal shop­per who works with many brands and de­sign­ers in Monaco to help clients find the right out­fit for any of the glam­orous oc­ca­sions they are likely to find them­selves in. Chauf­feured cars, fit­ting rooms or even the whole shop can be pri­va­tised for ut­most ex­clu­siv­ity.

Leave the glitz of de­signer brands be­hind for a while, and travel back to Nice via he­li­copter, of course. Modern tourism be­gan in

Nice in the 19th cen­tury, where the Bri­tish aris­to­crats en­joyed the warm weather and ‘sea bath’ dur­ing win­ter sea­son. Here, two out­stand­ing mu­se­ums are Musée Marc Cha­gall, fea­tur­ing an ex­ten­sive col­lec­tion of the artist’s work, as well as Musée Matisse,

sit­u­ated a short dis­tance from the Ho­tel Regina where Henry Matisse used to re­side. Take a per­sonal tour guide to ex­plain the his­tory and nu­ances of their works.

The next two mu­se­ums worth a visit are in Grasse, namely the In­ter­na­tional Per­fume Mu­seum—the only one of its kind in the world—and the Jean-hon­oré Frag­o­nard Villa-mu­seum. The former re­traces the steps of per­fume, soaps, makeup and cos­met­ics for four mil­len­nia. Under the watch­ful eye of a teacher, the trav­eller can also cre­ate a cus­tom Eau de Cologne with nine essences per­son­alised to your tastes at the Jean-hon­oré Frag­o­nard Vil­la­mu­seum. This mu­seum also dis­plays prom­i­nent Grasse artists’ works, with a dozen ma­jor works by Jean-hon­oré, and paint­ings from Mar­guerite Gérard and Jean-bap­tiste Mal­let.

Ol­fac­tory senses height­ened, Provence is worth a short de­tour, to dis­cover the lo­cal vine­yards and taste the best rosé, to­gether with a wine ex­pert and a pri­vate chauf­feur. Of course, Châteauneuf du Pape is an es­sen­tial stop, and the pri­vate tour will take the would-be som­me­lier to a few vine­yards in the vil­lage, ex­plor­ing the winer­ies, fol­lowed by some quin­tes­sen­tial wine tast­ing. Nearby are the stun­ning laven­der fields that sur­round the for­ti­fied Sault vil­lage. For pa­trons of Van Gogh and Cézanne, ex­plore Provence and ven­ture out to Saint Paul de Mau­sole, where Van Gogh was treated and Aries, where he com­pleted some of his most fa­mous works. A tour of Aix-en-provence, Cézanne’s birth­place, re­veals the panora­mas that in­spired this great mas­ter’s post-im­pres­sion­ist works.

From here, drive in com­fort with AVIS to Barcelona. With a rich tra­di­tion of wine­mak­ing, Cat­alo­nia (North- Eastern Spain) has 12 Des­ig­na­tions of Ori­gin—11 for wine and one for cava—of which one is Penedés. One of the best winer­ies here is Tor­res, run by multi-gen­er­a­tions of the Tor­res fam­ily, all ded­i­cated to the love of great wines. Try the blind ta­pas at Mas Ra­bell for a unique sen­sory jour­ney ac­com­pa­nied by sev­eral dif­fer­ent wines. Oth­er­wise, dine at the three-starred Sant Pau, run by renowned

Chef Carme Rus­calleda, who is the only fe­male chef to be awarded seven Miche­lin stars in the world.

In Barcelona, at a Miche­lin-starred chef’s home, un­cover his se­crets to epi­curean great­ness in a lovely din­ner paired with the best wines. Take in the city and its sur­round­ings from the air in a pri­vate he­li­copter ride for amaz­ing panoramic views, or in­dulge in a pam­per­ing ex­pe­ri­ence at one of the best spas. Con­tinue shop­ping with your ded­i­cated per­sonal shop­per at beau­ti­ful bou­tiques and work­shops or be­spoke shoe­mak­ers and tai­lors like Ra­mon Cu­berta and Bel.

While wait­ing for the wardrobe to be cu­rated, an art and ar­chi­tec­ture tour around Barcelona is highly rec­om­mended. Be­gin with Gaudi’s first home, Casa Vi­cens, which con­tains all the ini­tial el­e­ments of tiles that in­spired his later mas­ter­pieces that in­clude the yet-un­fin­ished Sagrada Fa­milia, Park Güell and Casa Batlló, so a half-day pri­vate tour is the per­fect way to take in the dreamy ar­chi­tec­ture of the ge­nius that is In­sta­gram-wor­thy from al­most all an­gles in one of the Euro­pean cities with nine UN­ESCO World Her­itage sites.

Next, head to Ibiza, renowned for its lav­ish beach par­ties and exclusive club scene. Per­sonal hair and makeup artists will be on hand to de­liver glam­orous, party-ready looks. Gain exclusive ac­cess to the White Area in Priv­i­lege Ibiza, pos­si­bly the largest club in the world, and have fast track en­try, while a host en­sures that all re­quests are catered for. Oth­er­wise, be the envy of ev­ery­one else at the Own­ers’ Ta­ble in Ocean Beach Club, the most exclusive bed in the venue, per­fect to watch the aerial ac­ro­bats and air­borne dancers per­form­ing. The club has hosted celebri­ties like Rosie Hunt­ing­ton­white­ley and Ed Sheeran. Su­per­cars like Lam­borgh­i­nis and Porsches can be ar­ranged to trans­port guests to their des­ti­na­tions.

For ul­ti­mate lux­ury, take the party to the Villa Sky­fall for an in-villa club­bing night, with Pacha’s res­i­dent DJ spin­ning for the guests. Al­ter­na­tively, have DJ lessons in Ex­pe­ri­ence at Es Vive ho­tel, where the club will be at the guest’s dis­posal for the whole length of the les­son. Ibiza ex­pe­ri­ence is in­com­plete with­out vis­it­ing Sublimo­tion, which is run by two Miche­lin-starred chef Paco Ron­cero. Dubbed the world’s most ex­pen­sive restau­rant, it’s an ex­pe­ri­ence de­signed to stim­u­late all five senses.

Panorama of Monaco coast

Laven­der field near Sault, Provence

Châteauneuf-du-pape

Old town of Grasse, Provence

Park Güell – Barcelona Ibiza Dalt Vila Har­bour

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