Miami Beach

Palm trees beach

Art Basel taking place earlier this month reminded me of my trip to Miami last summer. It was probably the first vacation where all I did was relax instead of running around to catch as many notable sights as I could. Most of my time was dedicated to lounging on the beach, driving around with beautiful landscapes in view and gorging on local food in excellent company.

Miami Art Deco Ocean Drive

The first thing I saw of Miami from the plane was palm trees. I remember being so excited as they’re the sign that you’re about to land in a warm exotic place.

Miami South Beach cabin

I’m usually not a big beach person despite growing up on the seaside, but give me warm clear water with sun and I’ll spend my days there.

Miami Art Deco Carlyle

We did however take in the Art Deco architecture on Ocean Drive with its many hotels.

Miami Art Deco 3 hotels

Miami Art Deco Avalon

Miami Art Deco Breakwater

Miami Art Deco Colony

Miami Art Deco Crescent

Along the way we came across Gianni Versace’s former mansion in front of which the designer tragically died.

Versace Mansion Miami

If you feel like shopping, The Webster is the place to go. Run by a French woman, The Webster is Miami’s version of Colette or Liberty.

The Webster

The Webster inside 1

The Webster inside 2

Another French-run place my friends and I were fonder of was La Sandwicherie. It’s the perfect spot to indulge in big sandwiches and delicious natural smoothies before hitting the beach.

La Sandwicherie

Other restaurants we enjoyed include Loews Hotel for their amazing breakfast buffet, the Italians Quattro and Bianca (at the Delano Hotel) and Icebox Café for its desserts. (Nobu was a bit of a disappointment.)

Speaking of the Delano Hotel, we loved the outdoor bar where you can lounge on giant pillows or in your own little tent around the shallow pool. And the cocktails are great too, which doesn’t hurt.

Delano Hotel

If you fly to Miami, do spend an extra 2 or 3 days in the Keys. The drive itself is a pleasure with beautiful landscapes and excellent restaurants along the way, like the Butterfly Café in the gorgeous Tranquility Bay Resort where we stayed. Breakfasting on sweet crêpes at the French-run Banana Café in Key West and dining at Marker 88 with the sun setting on the ocean were quite an experience too.

Sunset on the Keys

Snorkeling in Bahia Honda State Park was probably the highlight of my trip. It was exhilarating to observe the coral and tropical fish so up close.

Bahia Honda State Park Bridge

Anne's Beach

For shorter day trips, head to Key Biscayne. Once there, you can climb the stairs to the top of the lighthouse and take in the beautiful view before hitting the beach.

Key Biscayne beach

Key Biscayne Water

Are there any similar trips you would recommend me for next summer?

My afternoon in Deauville: sea, pics and shops

“Sea, pics and shoooops!” This isn’t exactly my cover of Serge Gainsbourg’s infamous “Sea, sex and sun”, but rather my afternoon in Deauville summed up in a few words.  As a fashion and photography nut, I went to see an exhibition organized by the quaint coastal town and ended up having a lovely time, albeit short.

This jewel of a town located on the Normandy coast was the vacation spot of two of the most influential designers in fashion history. Coco Chanel used to spend time there with her lover Boy Capel, who financed her second boutique in Deauville in 1913 after the one located rue Cambon in Paris. Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé owned a château in the area, lavishly decorated with antiques and art by Picasso and Jean Cocteau among others.

Nowadays I would say Deauville is to Paris what the Hamptons are to New York City. It is a place people are drawn to for its history as a fashionable resort haunted by artists and celebrities, its beauty, peacefulness and luxurious setting.

Deauville’s beach is famous for the Planches, a long wooden promenade built in 1924 so that the socialites’ shoes would not get dirty.

The beach huts set along the Planches bear the names of movie stars and directors who visited the resort. Deauville has indeed a long history with cinema, as it has hosted the Deauville American Film Festival for 30 years, with movies such as The Devil Wears Prada, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Little Miss Sunshine and Ghost World in competition.

The Planches are also an art exhibition venue, but more about that very soon…

Deauville city hall / Mairie de Deauville

Longchamp store in Deauville / Boutique Longchamp de Deauville

Contrary to the neighboring town of Trouville-sur-Mer, Deauville is astonishingly peaceful and clean. Its typical Norman architecture and luxury boutiques make me think of it as Disney-in-Normandy or Paris-on-the-sea.

Hermès store in Deauville / Boutique Hermès de Deauville

Hermès shop window: an equestrian’s dream equipment / Vitrine Hermès : l’équipement rêvé d’une passionnée d’équitation

Deauville is the place to be if you love horses with its stud farms, equestrian competitions, horse races and polo matches. Hermès, a luxury company that started out as a harness workshop, sponsors a couple of the town’s equestrian events. Therefore it is no surprise to come across one of its boutiques, as well as Ralph Lauren, a brand that communicates a lot on its relationship with polo.

Hotel Normandy

Hotel Normandy is one of the most emblematic buildings of Deauville by its stature and architecture. Every year with the American Film Festival, the hotel accommodates the members of the jury and the directors and actors of the movies in competition. From September 3rd, you may come across Naomi Watts, Emmanuelle Béart or Terry Gilliam in the lobby.

In my next post, I will take you back in time when women wore Jeanne Lanvin, Jean Patou and Madeleine Vionnet to the beach. See you there!

« Sea, pics and shoooops ! » Non, ce n’est pas une reprise du fameux « Sea, sex and sun » de Serge Gainsbourg, mais bien un bref résumé de mon après-midi à Deauville.

Ce bijou de la côte normande était le lieu de vacances de deux des plus grands créateurs de l’histoire de la mode. Coco Chanel séjournait régulièrement à Deauville avec son amant Boy Capel, qui lui permit d’y ouvrir sa seconde boutique en 1913 après celle de la rue Cambon à Paris. Yves Saint Laurent et Pierre Bergé possédaient un château dans les environs somptueusement décoré d’œuvres de Picasso et de Jean Cocteau. Aujourd’hui, je dirais que Deauville est à Paris ce que les Hamptons sont à New York. La station balnéaire est appréciée pour sa riche histoire de ville d’artistes et de plaisirs, son calme, sa beauté et son luxe.

La plage est connue pour les Planches, sa longue promenade construite en 1924 pour éviter aux femmes de salir leurs souliers. Les noms d’artistes de cinéma inscrits sur les cabines de plage rappellent la longue relation qu’entretient Deauville avec le 7e art. La ville accueille depuis plus de 30 ans le Festival du cinéma américain où des films comme Le Diable s’habille en Prada, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Little Miss Sunshine et Ghost World ont été présentés en compétition.

Les Planches sont également un lieu d’exposition, mais je vous raconterai cela plus en détail très prochainement…

Contrairement à sa voisine Trouville-sur-Mer, Deauville est étonnamment calme et d’une propreté immaculée. Son architecture typiquement normande et ses boutiques de luxe lui donnent un air à la fois de Disneyland-en-Normandie et de Paris-sur-Mer.

Deauville est la capitale du cheval en France avec ses haras, ses compétitions équestres, ses courses hippiques et ses championnats de polo. Hermès, dont le premier métier a été l’équipement du cheval, y parraine d’ailleurs des épreuves d’équitation. Ce n’est donc pas étonnant de retrouver en centre-ville la boutique de cette maison à tradition équestre, tout comme Ralph Lauren qui communique régulièrement sur sa relation avec le monde du polo.

L’Hôtel Normandy est l’un des bâtiments les plus emblématiques de Deauville par sa taille impressionnante et son architecture. Chaque année lors du Festival du film international de Deauville, l’hôtel accueille les membres du jury, des acteurs et réalisateurs des films en compétition. A partir du 3 septembre, vous y croiserez peut-être Naomi Watts, Emmanuelle Béart ou Terry Gilliam.

Dans mon prochain billet, je vous ferai remonter le temps à une époque où les femmes portaient les créations de Jeanne Lanvin, Jean Patou et Madeleine Vionnet à la plage. Alors à bientôt !