Did someone press the “All Clear” button on travel? Did the 1st of May signal the call to your travel agent, blow the dust off the passport and say time to get going? For as many people coming into the city for Jazz Fest, French Quarter Fest, all sorts of fests, just as many were headed to our new airport, which is a destination of its own.
Like ships passing in the night, Paris was a favorite destination. I missed Courtney Ann Sarpy in Paris for a dinner and lecture by the head of restoration of Notre Dame by one day. Four days later, I missed Quinn Peeper and Michael Harold who were headed to Versailles, because I was headed with an intimate group to a tour of Burgundy. Then there were a handful of NO/BR close friends and family attending a wedding in Bordeaux at the Chateau Montrose. The Hansels, Dana and Steve, closed out their European odyssey in Paris after visiting Prague.
Paris – how good it was to be back in Paris. Drinks at the Hemingway Bar at The Ritz, dinner at Le Soufflé, and four hours at the Louvre catching the last day of a city-wide exhibit of Yves Saint Laurent’s haute couture brought back memories of my days as a fashion editor and seeing designer shows. The Musee de la Marine has opened after years of careful renovation and is a standout on the Place de la Concorde – a must for those who love house museums.
Under the auspices of the French Heritage Society, Burgundy and its fine wines became an education. Lunch at the 800-year-old chateau of renowned designer Juan Pablo Molyneux and his wife Pilar, tours of Beaune and its Hospices, private dinner at Clos de Vougeot, visits to Domaine Faiveley in Nuits Saint Georges, Puligny-Montrachet and the like has made me reconsider my tiny wine cellar. The minute I returned it was off to Martin’s and Ben at the Wine Seller for some serious upgrades.
From France it was on to Austria. Someone tell me how have I missed Vienna all these years? Vienna’s beauty revels that of so many grand cities. The palaces, gardens (so many roses), the collections of the Hapsburg’s porcelain, silver and such are head spinning. The streets and plazas are spotless, public transport is safe at midnight. The city gleams. Then there is the music: Mozart and Strauss spilling out of concert halls, churches and as background for the millions of coffee houses. At St. Stephen’s in Vienna, we stumbled into a sung High Mass with a full orchestra and opera chorus…you bet we stayed and prayed. In Salzburg, the hills are indeed alive with the sounds of music and there is enough charm to leave smiles on visitors faces. It was hard to resist a piece of strudel with crème anglaise and I am not the dessert type.
While I was in Vienna, Brian Batt and pals were in Hawaii working on their tans and attending a wedding. The Ellis Fraters too – a river cruise to Budapest, etc. The Richard Freemans joined a National Trust trip to Holland where thousands upon thousands of tulips were in bloom. And Margaret Jones, of Scriptura fame, and her husband Dave traversed Greece – a much needed respite from the wedding, graduation, and deb invites they have worked on over the past months. Deb invites? That’s right, it’s Debutante Season again and my pal Nell Nolan at The Times-Picayune will fill you in on all off that.
Meanwhile, I am off to smell more roses for a bit.