Monaco, Max, Martell, His Majesty, and Me

Monaco

I’m tired. Or as Madeleine Kahn more bluntly put it in Blazing Saddles, “G-ddammit, I’m exhausted.” The last few weeks I’ve been racing around Paris in my dusty clothes, trying to find things like electrical switches, bathroom shelves, and making a decision about kitchen cabinet knobs for much longer than any sane person would consider prudent. And I’ve been averaging about three hours of sleep a night. (I’m actually in bed for eight hours, but five of those hours are spent worrying about things.) Everything of mine is still piled up in boxes, including important tax documents (hello, April 15th..in just two weeks…), prescriptions that need refilling (hello, sanity…), and most importantly, a much-needed change of clothes.

I’d been invited to Monaco for the one hundredth anniversary of Martell’s Cordon Bleu cognac, which I had accepted, then wrote a message declining. But something in me prevented my twitching finger, which normally hovers over the “Delete” key, from hitting the “Send” button. And when I finally got to the point where I had to make an absolutely certain decision (with substantial prodding from Hélène), I hit that all-important delete key and instead confirmed that I would attend.

Monaco

The only dart-in-the-backside was when my formal invitation arrived in the mail, in the fine print, at the bottom was a line that said “Black tie” – which I had to Google to figure out what it meant. And sure enough, I found out a bow tie, white shirt (cleaned and pressed), dark suit (without plaster dust on it), and black shoes (without cement bits crumbling from the soles) were required for the gala dinner. Wikipedia didn’t mention the dust or cement part, but I assumed those were a given.

Martell Cognacs dressed up

Monaco Martell Dinner

Although I had most of those articles of clothing already, and could have cobbled together a suitable get-up, they were packed up in one or more of my miscellaneous boxes under makeshift plastic tarps. And when I tried to peek into a few of the boxes near the top of the heap, handfuls of plaster dust slid inside, covering everything. So I embarked on a two-day shopping spree in Paris, trying to put together some fairly decent looking attire without spending a small fortune. I discovered that formal wear in Paris is almost as expensive as plumbing fixtures and light switches. And at this point, I would rather have a toilet, or an electrical outlet, than a pair of fancy lace-up shoes.

jeans

Somehow, I got it all together and managed to look presentable when I arrived at the airport in Paris. But of course, on the plane, when I opened my pen to write something down in my notebook, a drop of ink landed smack-dab in the middle of the leg of my one and only pair of jeans. Which, of course, I tried to rub away, which only made it worse. So much for arriving in Monaco with any sort of panache.

rosé wine

Aside from a stain stick, another thing I didn’t have on hand, or even think about bringing, was a swimsuit. The moment we landed and exited the airport, and the warmth hit us, flowing from the gentle blue Mediterranean, the idea of jumping into the water seemed to be the first order of business after lunch, rosé – and, um, a bit of Cognac. Since it was just quick trip, Max and I were directed by the concierge at our hotel to a nearby shopping mall in Monaco for swimsuits.

However after finding out that the cheapest swimsuit was €169 (which was probably a bargain in Monaco, and in retrospect, we should have snapped up as many as we could), we both reluctantly passed and decided to head back to our rooms and try to sneak in a nap before the evening events.

hotel room

(And let me tell you, after being without my own bed for a month, there is nothing better than crawling into a sumptuous bed with freshly laundered sheets, surrounded by mountains of generous pillows, bedding free of plaster dust, and yes, electricity. Needless to say, that night I could barely sleep. I kept turning the lights off and on, as well as thinking about what I’d be having for breakfast the next morning.)

petit dejeuner

Anyhow, since the Prince of Monaco was going to be coming to the dinner, we got briefed about protocol when in the presence of His Royal Highness. When he came into the room, we were supposed to stand until he was seated. Photographs were interdit, except at certain photo-ready moments, which is a good idea since no one looks good – or wants to be photographed – when they’re eating. (If you’ve ever tagged anyone on Facebook eating, do them a favor and after you read this, go untag them.) And we weren’t supposed to go up to him and say “Hey, how’s it going?” without him initiating a conversation. Fair enough. And when I get my own crown, I’m going to call the shots, too. And send my minions out to untag any photos of me eating as well.

Martell Cordon Bleu

In my room, I gussied myself up for dinner, even donning a bow tie before our lovely dinner at the Hôtel de Paris, where the entire, splendiferous façade and dining room were bathed in a lot of blue, the color of Martell, a nod to their ancestors seafaring days.

Hotel de Paris

While it made from a dramatic evening, consequently all my photos of the food and dinner ending up looking like they were taken by a member of The Blue Man Group. So I asked if I could visit the kitchen the next morning to meet the crew and share a little of their work.

bakerLemon Brioche Monaco
morning pastriescopper pans at Alain Ducasse

Tucked within the Hôtel de Paris is the Louis XV restaurant, one of the many three-starred restaurants by French chef Alain Ducasse. In the kitchen, cooks were charring and roasting yellow peppers, sauces were reducing in copper pans, blood oranges and grapefruits were being prepared in sûpremes (sections), and the rest of the staff was buzzing around quietly, working hard at preparing the food for the day.

citrus - Hotel de Paris
copper pans hotel de paris

The restaurant is celebrating its twenty-fifth anniversary this year and during that time, Chef Ducasse has focused on using and highlighting products from the Mediterranean region. And his cuisine at the restaurant reflects the local flavors, and those of nearby Provence.

cooking foie gras foie gras

There were Menton lemons (from near Nice), and silky lobes of foie gras being gently poached to just the right temperature.

chefs at Hotel de Paris

Franck Cerruti, the executive chef of the Hôtel de Paris, and Dominique Iory, the chef de cuisine at the Louis XV, were kind enough to show me around their kitchens. But, of course, I was anxious to visit the pastry section, since everyone knows that the desserts are the most important part of any meal.

tartletsfraises des bois tartlets
grapefruit tartcandied kumquats

So they led me to a separate area where the pastry cooks were putting together individual tarts with fresh fruits and berries, sandwiching tiny macarons, and unmolding individual savory tartlets, which get served to diners as a little amuse bouche, before dinner.

Interestingly, at the dinner the night before, our desserts were all citrus-based, since that’s what in season in the south of France right now. And after our plates were brought out, the waiters served coffee with baskets of warm madeleines and tiered trays of orangettes (candied orange enrobed in chocolate), as well as the most delicate little tartlets – ultra-thin layers of pâte sucrée with a candied kumquat nestled inside, then topped with meringue and brûléed.

Alain Ducasse Macarons

As someone who has made quite a few painstaking desserts in my time, when they were brought to the tables the night before, after the long dinner, most of the guests had stood up and were preparing to leave. Yet when I saw those shiny little gems come out, I could not resist heading back to the table and munching on a few. And they tasted even better than they looked. The perfect blend of tangy kumquat, a delicately buttery crust, topped with a sweet, creamy crown. So when I met the pastry chef and saw a tray of them in the kitchen from the night before, we immediately bonded when I pointed out how much work those were and he nodded in agreement that many of the guests didn’t get a chance to give them the attention they truly deserved.

It was one of those professional “bonding” moments and I made up for the other guests oversight, and took advantage of the leftovers in the kitchen – which would not be the first time. And they invited me back to the restaurant for dessert later that day, which unfortunately I couldn’t take them up on because I had to head back to Paris. (And when I got back, it was confirmed that apparently I’m not allowed to go away longer than twenty hours at a stretch.) But I do hope to go back to Monaco and take them up on it, although I’ll keep my pens capped on the plane until I arrive.

lemon brioche

Although the Louis XV kitchen doesn’t make the breakfast pastries for the hotel guests, as we were checking out of the hotel, I saw another plate of the same lemon brioche pastries that they were serving at the breakfast buffet, resting by the coffee pots on a table in the hotel lobby. Since I’m surrounded by French pastries most of the time, I’d passed them over in favor of bacon and dim sum at breakfast. But here they were, once again, in the hotel lobby.

A friend said she had enjoyed one at breakfast, then launched into a full-on description of a buttery pastry shell enclosing a tart, lemony filling, with the slight bitterness of candied local Menton lemons. Since I’m not anyone’s Royal Highness (heck, I’m still waiting for my throne to be installed at home), and I was back in my ink-stained jeans, I dared not to ask if they were complimentary. But I’m keeping the rest of my outfit handy, just in case I ever get summoned back.



Related Posts

The Coopers of Cognac

Nice and the Côte d’Azur

Sprinting Toward the Finish

Cognac

Mirazur

Socca Recipe



Note: Travel to Monaco for the event, and hotel accommodations, were provided by Martell cognac. The kumquat pastries were given to me by the pastry chef, although I only took two (or maybe three) of them.

90 comments

  • Hi David,
    I also live overseas (Australia) and know that you can file your taxes in June if you like:

    June 15, 2012
    2nd quarter estimated tax payments due for the 2012 tax year.

    Deadline for US citizens living abroad to file individual tax returns and to pay any tax due. You can request an additional 4-month extension (Form 4868).

    So have another glass of wine and relax!!

  • €169 for a swimsuit is a steal:) Imagine the bargain during off-season!

  • Oh what a delightful experience! And what a good reminder to us all to say yes to things! I so love how you tell a story.

  • Don’t you think that Menton lemons perhaps come from Menton (east of Monaco) rather than Nice?

    • Yes, they do in fact. I said they were from the area near Nice, not Nice itself. (I originally said “nearby” Nice rather than “near.”) Menton is close to the Italian border.

  • I know you are at the end of your rope, but you always say that a lot of different kinds of people read your blog and tell us not to post offensive remarks. The second sentence was definitely offensive to me.

    I was quoting from the film and it’s not terminology that I use on the site normally. I modified it. -dl

  • That line about waiting for your throne to be installed at home was a gem. Do Parisians use that euphemism too?

  • Monaco is lovely to visit and must have been a great break from all your renovations. Everything is so dreadfully expensive though that many of the locals shop in France and on Fridays go by train to the market in nearby Ventimiglia just over the border in Italy. We had a wonderful week in Monte Carlo a few years ago staying with a friend’s brother who walked us all over, including a tour of the Palace. One thing we learned on a later trip when traveling from Milan to Nice by train, never travel on a Friday! It seems the Italian rail people have in the last few years been involved in some sort of dispute with French rail. Instead of being able to travel straight through by the one train as we used to do, the train from Milan now terminates in Ventimiglia and you have to hoist your bags off and wait for another train to take you to Monaco, Nice or wherever. We learned the hard way, doing it on a Friday.

    There were so many people from Monte Carlo boarding in Ventimiglia with all their shopping bags and trolleys from the market that we couldn’t get on the first train and even on the next train couldn’t get a seat and had to squeeze in a corridor. This time we’re traveling on a Thursday! But if the Italians can’t get their act together in the next year, we’ll probably give Italy a miss altogether in the future. They have a similar dispute with Austrian rail – last trip when traveling from Vienna to Venice, we had to get off the lovely Austrian train at Villach in Austria and take a bus the rest of the way. In earlier years, you could go straight through. It’s very short sighted of the Italians because it can really dissuade people from visiting if they make traveling so inconvenient when it really isn’t necessary.

    Looking forward to seeing the result of your renovations!

  • Jenny, Lighten Up! Our host used a line QUOTED from a movie. Occasionally there is an off-color comment and an alcoholic beverage served at the “grown-ups'” table. I can’t imagine the blog author cleaning up his writing so as not to offend a ten year old with an eye on joining the clergy in a few years. David, please do NOT write defensively.

  • David,

    First of all, this was a wonderful post to find this morning. I took a day trip to Monaco this time last year while visiting NIce, and thoroughly enjoyed hearing about your experience-it reminded me how desperately I hope to go back to the South of France someday!
    I unfortunately had the same swimsuit conundrum on my visit as well. We had just come from Rome which was rainy and cold all week to find clear skies and sunshine in Nice. The first thing I wanted to do was jump in the water, but of course did not think to bring a swimsuit! However, one of the girls I was traveling with thought the Mediterranean would be to chilly so I wore hers instead of spending all of my money on a new bathing suit : )

    Thanks again for the great post, and I’m looking forward to seeing more renovation pictures soon!

    Beth

  • If that is you looking all fine in a tux, I don’t think you need worry about your sartorial effect. I’m definitely finding a spot for kumquats in the yard now too.

  • I have a bottle of Martell somewhere.. I will have to dig it out and have a drink to your health.

  • Everything looks absolutely delicious … much more so than the Prince of Monaco. I’d rather have your pictures of the cuisine and sweet treats than him any day of the week. Glad you enjoyed your escape from the plaster.

  • anytime I’ve taken photos of chefs or bakers (or even cheesemongers) they all fold their arms for the shot ! Are they anxious? Hiding food stains?

  • love the POST

  • Oh, David. Sorry to see cranky people showing up on your site today, especially when your post is so interesting. Lighten up, folks! Or move on. Quietly.

    Thank you for sharing your whirlwind trip with us. I’ve not been in that part of the world for years, so it was delightful to revisit it from your point of view.

  • All I can say is Wow!! Good for you. I am speechless….almost.

    A few years ago while having dinner at Les Papilles in Paris, we became friendly with a group from Martell so I know how generous their hospitality is.

    Thanks for sharing.

  • David exactly the kind of experience I would adore!! The venue, superb!

    I hope you get started on your throne soon so that I am invited to your coronation!!

    xoxo
    Karena
    Art by Karena
    The 2012 Artist Series

  • I’m so glad you didn’t hit delete on the invitation! You needed the change of scenery. Fun post.

  • I enjoy your writing style so much it’s a pleasure to open up the iPad and see a new post from you. I dream of jetting of to a luxury resort surrounded by fluffy pillows and baskets of freshly baked pastries. Le sigh.

    PS I love Blazing Saddles quote away life is homogenized enough.

  • Dave, I loved the article and your manner of writing. I follow your photos and writings via my e-mail. I am presently at my home in Palm Beach County in Florida heading back home to Ile Saint- Louis and my apartment in Paris. If you are ever in the area please let me know…I am a loyal fan.

  • There were so many *that is so true*s and *why doesn’t anybody get that*s and *ughh good lord*s during this post. Gald you decided to go David. You looked smashing in your suit.

  • naomi: What was funny was that I put together a complete outfit in two days for less than €90. Thankfully Max had a bow tie that I could borrow, although it would have been nice if I’d remembered to pack a swimsuit. Next time!

    Susan: People say when you’re renovating – “Go away on a long trip. And when you get home, it’ll be done.” Am not sure that strategy is a good idea (since you don’t know what you’ll come home to..) but an overnight is a good idea..and sometimes imperative for your sanity : )

    Lulu, Lindsey and Craigkite: Folks get riled up about politics and religion, and so I try to skirt those topics too much here. I wasn’t sure if that expression was all that offensive since it’s used (very) frequently on television and elsewhere in the US. But regardless of how folks feel, I think that’s a pretty great line from that movie. Madeleine Kahn is hilarious.

    Lindsey: I think chef’s are used to using their hands. So when they stop for a photo, they don’t know what to do with their hands.

    Beth: Sometimes men can get away with certain styles of, um, undergarments in Europe. But since this was a pretty swank place so we didn’t try to get away with it – !

    Diane: They are quite nice people, and I was fortunate to be invited. And thankfully there were a few tiny “airplane-size” bottles for sipping in the room.

  • I found out that pens leak during flights the hard way, wearing a white blouse. It must be the pressure in an airplane cabin.
    Your trip to Monaco looked great. For a spectacular view, drive up on the Moyenne Corniche, or hike up to Eze, the reward of the climb being a great restaurant with a terrace overlooking it all.

  • I’m jealous. We should have made it another Ireland, but in Monaco. And, David, for the record, I always carry a stain stick and am a very good sharer.

  • Weren’t you tempted to nick some of the kit they had in the kitchen? Or at lease that nice fat piece of foie gras? You sir, have crazy willpower.

  • David, Never thought of you as a Monaco type but it must have been wonderful to surrender to luxury for a day……….sometimes you get what you need!

  • David,

    You made my morning coffee! What fun & so entertainingly reported. And when your new home is finished, you have to send detailed pics our way….even the light switches…or I am going to come to Paris…hunt you down…and steal your KitchenAide!

    H.

  • You are a hoot………your wit is undeniable…..what a wonderful break from the reality of your day to day headaches of your move.
    wow……….what a trip!

  • You’re such a lucky guy having had so much fun at your Monaco rendezvous. Now you’ve got the hookup for all those cute little yum-yum pastries. Keep that tux on standby.

  • Greetings David,
    I did so enjoy your article today re Monaco. Classy, artistic, beautiful photography and wonderful words. Best wishes for the ultimate completion of your new home. Anxiously looking forward to photos of what I am certain will be a very special place in Paris.

  • David, may I say you looked dashing in the black-tie getup? It would be so like me to arrive (anywhere) with a spot on my best jeans- I had to laugh! Good for you that you broke away from the re-mod to have some fun. Life is too short to wait for the dust to settle…

    Cheers!
    June

  • No pastry chef should be allowed to look so svelte! I loved living vicariously through this post but most of all I liked the pictures of the pastry and those stacks and stacks of copper pots – and all that foie gras. I would be the same as you – it doesn’t matter how much dinner was served, any pastry that looks that beautiful must be sampled. Several times.

  • You look marvelous in your black-tie!

  • Sitting in the gray, damp, cold, dreary Ohio climate, your opening pic of Monaco took me away and I actually felt the warmth of the sun and imagined the wisp of a sea breeze gently on my hair. I don’t know what looked more delish; the sumptuious
    color-rich mouth watering food, the gorgeous ornate hotel bathed in blue, the exquisite heavenly scenery or you in that James Bondian tux….yes you win by a landslide! So glad u decided to take the plunge and leave all your worries behind; they are still there but this experience was meant for you to enjoy and to share with us all as well. Now I am off to make some fruit tarts and imagine I am in Monaco awaiting my James Bond to arrive to delight in my attempts at pastry.

  • Thank you for saying that people should not tag photos of other people eating! I crankily ask my friends to remove tagged photos of me. Would that we could all control our images like movie stars used to do. I’m dreaming about those lemon pastries now — perhaps you will whip up some when your new kitchen is in order.

  • What a great post – I laughed out loud as I read it! Thanks for taking us along…

  • Was the black suit a tux? Typically anytime I have seen an invite ( rare for that) for black tie…it meant tux and really dressed up. Sounds like a quick fabulous break in the midst of the chaos of the move and apt renovation. Hope things are winding down and you can get a bit of “normalcy” soon!!

  • Why you don’t have your own television series is beyond me! You are slightly hilarious, (although I’m pretty sure you’re holding back on us) and definately delightful. This has been one of my favorite posts! More please.

  • meant to write you are clearly hilarious!

  • Thank you for sharing your lovely visit–l can’t tell which of the photos were my favorites–it’s a toss-up between all the copper pans or the pastries!

  • Great post! I am now based in Monaco on a Yacht as a Personal Chef and have to say Hotel de Paris takes the cake!!! Great post David. ps. The Tux looks great!! Jan Hendrik

  • What fun, and well-written indeed! Didn’t follow the 20-hour time limit. Did bad stuff happen on the renovation during that short trip? I certainly hope not!!

  • What a welcome respite. Sounds heavenly. You look very handsome.

  • I stayed at the Hotel de Paris once working on a commercial (those were the days) I was convinced the producers had put me up in the wrong place…..it is one of the most sumptuous hotels I have stayed in and the memory of room service breakfast has stayed with me ever since……Fabulous really is the right way to describe it!

  • Killing me!!! Those pastries. Mon dieu.

    I’m glad you got a break from Paris-reno-dodo.

  • Hi David,
    I always love your posts! What a great trip and the photos are lovely. I have been stalking you lately more than usual (cyber stalking that is) as I’m coming to France in November; first to Lyon and then to Paris and because I have been to Paris enough times to do the usual tourist stuff, I’m reading up on the foodie things to do according to your posts! I greatly enjoyed the Sweet Life In Paris and will definitely be reading again before the trip and looking back at some of your posts about great restaurants and pastry shops. And though I have changed my diet drastically over the past year to mostly plant based, I will never ever ever pass up foix gras in Lyon or Paris! Can’t wait! I live in Santa Fe, NM. Chile season will just be ending when I come. Let me know if I can bring you any. My fav non-perishable is Chimayo Sun-dried Red Chile powder!!! Oops, I guess that sounds like I’m really stalking you, but I would be glad to drop some for you somewhere! Take care!

  • What a great opportunity. And snaps to you for jumping on it (eventually).
    I remember way back when I was managing a large American meeting at the Hotel de Paris. What grandeur and history I thought. Did you get to meet the Prince?

  • You deserved the break! xv

  • If that is you in the dinner jacket, you were looking quite soignée!

  • Loved the post, the pictures, your ensemble, and those darling young chefs! Having been a collector of professional-grade copper pots (thank you, Zabar’s), I think there’s enough money in those pots to pay for your apartment!

  • Just one point that should reduce the pressure somewhat: as an American living abroad, you automatically have a two month extension to file your tax returns.

  • David, thanks for including us all in your life & being a great example of human grace under pressure.
    Nikki

  • Hey, you’re in my neck of the woods! I live here in Monaco. If you’d like the “cook’s tour” and the inside culinary scoop, let me know.

  • Love the throne and the crown references. And the schnazzy black tie photo.
    LL

  • Love this post. So glad you decided to go. Next time if you really can’t I am happy to fill in for you!

  • What a delightful read! The photos are beyond mouth-watering and indeed, your excursion from a construction site must have geared up the experience a few notches for you.

    We’ll be landing in Antibes (actually, Nice Airport) on 28 March. We usually skip Monaco, but perhaps a train ride down the track might be in order for this trip.

    I hear the weather in Paris is perfect right now. Hope it holds as we’ll be that way for a week after the Côte d’Azur. Our expat friends have reserved one afternoon of food and wine at Le Bouclier de Bacchus.

  • In case you have another accident with an ink pen, Aqua Net that very cheap hairspray, removes ink. You spray and blot, spray and blot until the stain goes away. Make sure you have a cloth or towel under the area where the ink stain is located. Only blot, do not rub. You cannot do this if the ink stained clothing has been washed and dried. I can’t tell you what hairspray in France is equivalent to Aqua Net, but basically, it needs to be really cheap aerosol hairspray.

    BTW, I love your website and you travel stories are wonderful.

  • Wow! What an amazing trip! And well deserved after all that stress of your new home! (I loooooove plush hotel beds!)

  • I was going to invoke the hairspray to remove ink trick, Kari–you beat me to it!

    David, as always, thanks for sharing your experiences through your blog so some of us can live vicariously through you for a little while :) Monaco is definitely on my list of places to visit!

  • I’m thankful you didn’t hit that ‘delete’ button. This post is sweet, sweet, sweet.

  • Up until today I never would have understood this sentence: “The perfect blend of tangy kumquat, a delicately buttery crust, topped with a sweet, creamy crown.” Because today, I had my first real kumquat, fresh and organic from the farmer’s market. And it was quite tangy ;) This dessert I bet was one to behold, if it really did live up to being tangy, butter and creamy all in one. Sign me up! (Or ship me some from Monaco ;)

  • Bravo!

  • I’m glad you took the trip, as I so enjoy reading what you’re up to.Yours is The One and Only Blog I follow. Your photos inspire my attempts at culinary success in my kitchen. Keep writing and please don’t edit yourself… I like your writing just the way it is… some people need to Lighten Up!

  • David–I really like your writing and your wonderful photographs. It is a treat to see your name in my e-mail!

  • Okay, you got me at your throne not installed yet. LOL

    Too bad the trip to Monaco was so short — you’ll have to go back and then tell us all about it.

  • But did you see the Prince? Did he say “Hi!”.

  • David,you’ve already been a prince to our family for quite a while. There are few folks who so generously and humorously share the world’s delights,quirks and nuttiness the way you have done. Thank you for being so consistently delightful.
    Now, “Another Schnitzelgruben,Mein Schatze?”

  • the way you narrate things makes me want to open your Website and read your post every morning! :)

  • Hope you have time to visit the exquisite Chocolaterie de Monaco, purveyors to the princely Grimaldi family its boutique and salon de thé on Place de la Visitation, a few steps from the palace let alone just by the terminal of buses l and 2 (direction Musees- Palais – Monaco Ville).
    (www.chocolateriedemonaco.com)
    I never miss this delight when in Monaco let alone absolutely adore the tiny elegant bus system covering Monaco-Monte Carlo (you do know the difference I imagine).
    As for the royal status of the Grimaldis: by European standards they are not royals
    any more than the Pope merely like the Pope enjoying some royal privileges such as having people stand up as they enter or leave a room.
    Let alone prince Albert is adressed as Monseigneur and not His Royal Highness.

  • Love the picture of the piled up copper pots!

  • I love how you embrace every opportunity…and then share your thoughts, images and interpretations with us. And the best part is that you can laugh at yourself!!! *

    I prefer reading blogs because it’s refreshing to read honest writing and I wish people who are easily offended would stick to reading their ‘approved reading lists’ and leave the rest of us alone!

  • Looks like an awesome time,you make vacation look gooood!

  • Ah, Lilli von Shtupp.

    I’m tired
    Sick and tired of love
    I’ve had my fill of love
    From below and above
    Tired…
    Tired of being admired
    Tired of love uninspired
    Let’s face it, I’m tired!

    I’ve been with sousands of men
    again and again.
    They promise the moon
    They always coming and going and going and coming…
    and always too soon!
    Right girls?

  • We have been all over France, but this posst makes us think of the south, thank you for your great discriptions

  • What a fabulous break from the drudgery of remodeling! Location, food, weather, company… all sound refreshing.

  • Heaven on Earth, you make me hate my life

  • Hi David, ( * stephanie comment , exact reflection of my thoughts . )
    I love your story telling style , complete with fab pix ! The quote from a comical film… added just the right touch.. at the perfect moment ! You handled the lack of sense of humor issue, per that single comment .. very tactfully . The rest of us… simply adore your blog and Newsletter in every respect !!

  • David – you looked like James Bond in that tux!! Very nice! : )

  • Stunning photos! Looks like a great trip and the line up of desserts looks delicious!

  • wow, what a lovely post. this is an experience i will, in all honesty, probably never have. so thank you for letting us live through you!

  • I had just been reading about the Prince & Princess of Monaco’s trip to Lapland, with photos of them riding in a sleigh being pulled by reindeer. And about Monaco’s Rose Ball, with photos of all the family in their designer gowns. All very ‘unreal’, so far removed from reality – whilst enjoyable to look at. Then to find you have also been there, indeed at the same function as His Serene Highness : you really do move in the upper echelon, we are so privileged that you share an ‘insider’s view’ with us :) I’m so glad you were able to get away & ‘recharge your batteries’, a timely reminder of how your real life will resume once this (large) blip is over!

  • Loved your tweets that night!
    Monaco means you’re a James Bond baller :D

  • Pens and airplanes don’t mix. Something about the change of air pressure makes them explode.

    I almost fainted with envy at the sight of all of those copper pots!

  • Ah..to be in your shoes!
    It all looks fabulous.

  • Get me just a little bite of each and I’m happy!

  • Tahini and salted butter. I think about that breakfast every night before I fall asleep.

  • Great story…good tip on the bathing suit :)

  • wonderful post , happy memories, many thanks