The jetset Cannes still go glam

OK, so they may not be everyone's idea of a good time. However, for a lot of mere mortals the Monaco Grand Prix and Cannes Film Festival hold a special allure and embody many modern day aspirations - fame, beauty, glamour, luxury...Read more

How to make French friends and alienate them

Finding French friends in France is surprisingly hard. Believe me, I've been trying to collect them for a while now to no avail. Alongside my lack of language proficiency I count this as my greatest failure as an ex pat. Obviously, I'm aware that if I had more friends I would speak better French and if I spoke more French I'd have more friends. Honestly, I'm trapped in a vicious cycle.Read more

No exceptions please, I only speak English

This month I have been throwing myself fully into the spirit of spring. It may be a cliché but, still, you can’t deny that there is something about how the air feels on your skin at this time of year, how it smells, that awakens you from wintery slumber and encourages you to seek out the world with new eyes. With this in mind, I have decided to get out there and learn French.Read more

A guilt-free guide to a bikini-fit body

I blushed as the champagne bubbles bit at my foie gras coated tongue: it felt intensely private and far too good to be happening in front of other people. It was Sunday and I had managed to invite myself to lunch with a Niçois restaurateur and his family. As his 6-year-old daughter matched me mouthful for mouthful with the duck liver, I couldn't help but think that, at her age, the idea of munching on a vital organ would have repulsed me.Read more

Kandinsky and Guests

“You do know that most of the people at this thing will have been born after 1990?” Miranda said, as she threw another discarded vest top on the floor. “Yep,” I nodded, indicating that I liked the present ensemble. “Really?” she put her hands on her hips. In black and white stripy tights, platform shoes, hotpants, an oversized tee-shirt and a blazer covered in school badges, I had to give her credit: she got kiddie fashion, perhaps even better than the kids did themselves.Read more


PinotGate, as some have already dubbed it. Or - how to dupe America’s most powerful winery into buying hoards of fake French pinot noir (and make a fortune in the process). Sounds far-fetched, but a group of Languedoc wine producers succeeded in doing just that.Read more

Straight from New York

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There is nothing quite like a Ligurian mercatino, a traditional farmers market. Several times a week, local farmers descend from the hills and diligently set up wooden stands in coastal towns to sell their produce. It's not just the fruits and vegetables, beautifully imperfect, that make these places special. It's also the hands that sell them, belonging to men and women who have been farming locally for generations, who smile with pride when they get to add to your shopping bag their pezzo forte (e.g. a bunch of juicy apricots or the first, tender artichokes of the season).Read more

A petite poupette in Paris

“That iz it!” the Belgian artist spluttered. “I am no longer going to waste my time on the provincial and the small-minded.” I held the receiver away from my ear a little. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciated his point: he’d overcome the snow and the second-class train travel to appear at his vernissage at MAMAC the week before, only to be rudely set upon by an unruly youth who had taken offence at his tattooed pigs.Read more

Valentine’s Day massacre

I moved to France 18 months ago and have to admit that by now I thought I would be so immersed in the culture I would have trouble pro-nouncing my own name without a French accent. I would have several lovers called Pascal and Pierre and, most importantly, I would have mastered the art of French cooking, whipping up a Bouillabaisse like it was nothing, and all the local market vendors would know me by name.Read more

New access route opens in Monaco

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Not so much a “voie rapide”, as the country’s too small to really pick up speed, but rather a “dorsale” or backbone running through the centre of Monaco is taking shape. Yesterday saw the official opening of another step in this grand project to ease traffic congestion for commuters and visitors in the Principality.Read more