11/17/08

New York article PUBLISHED WWW.CONFETTI.IE




As close as it gets to my name in lights!!


I love New York is the official theme song of New York city and it’s not uncommon to be humming that tune for weeks after your visit. Built on an ancient Native American burial ground, it’s no wonder that New York is a giant energy ball, a hive of activity with layers of cultural intrigue, more like a big onion than a big apple!

Despite the general abruptness of the service industry (more a kind of ‘faux sincerity’) it’s gourmet gems are world class, the nightlight is random and varied in all the right ways, the weather is definitive in it’s seasonal splendour and the people are as diverse as you’ll find in any engaging city. Hyped by the sheer pace of city life the residents are buzzing 24/7 with either an early morning jog in Central Park or all night partying in the copious late night haunts sprawled across the city.

A five day trip is sufficient if you want to sample New York’s taster menu but for an a la carte experience try to make it ten. Hell y’all! Why not really push the boat out and stay for two weeks? You could permeate the city limits and take a mini break to The Hamptons or fly to Upstate New York and visit Niagara Falls. See details for a two day trips below: * with http://www.touramerica.ie/


Buns in Chelsea Market!
SHOPPING:
If there was a list of important things to remember when visiting NY City, the top tip every time would be to wear comfortable shoes! You’ll walk for miles without even realising, but later on, when you feel inexplicably tired you’ll realise it was the fancy footwear that did the damage! At the risk of sounding like a concerned mammy, you won’t look a bit out of place wearing flashy white trainers with your stylish outfit – it seems no self respecting New Yorker would leave home with out them.

Of course if you’re on your honeymoon, you wont want to wear ‘sensible trainers’ so the upside to wearing ‘sex in the city’ shoes is that taxis are pretty cheap & darting about (as long as it’s not peak time for traffic) can be done for half the cost of Dublin. It’s a surprisingly small city so you can hit most of the shopping districts in a day if you were truly focused!!!
I realise not every honeymoon is about shopping, but if you’re in New York City, I have it on good authority that it’s sacra religious not to spend at least one day visiting Broadway between Bleeker St and Canal for your high street fix, then head to the East Village for the more boho style independent stores (Most are closed Monday & Tuesday & only open after 12 til late)
American based products are definitely cheaper (by about 20 %) so pop into Bloomingdales 59th Street & Lexington Avenue to stock up on your basics. They do a visitors discount card if you queue up and show ID, but be mindful they don’t allow you use this card on cosmetics or denims (Possibly your main reason for going there!)
Soak up the delights of Fifth Avenue, popping in to the many chic stores like Bergdorf Goodman, 754 Fifth Ave. (There’s also a Bergdorf Men's at 745 so no one is left out!) For the perfect tailored look try Kenneth Cole, 610 Fifth Ave. and of course the exclusive, fashion pioneers at Saks Fifth Avenue, 611 Fifth Ave are always worth a reverent browse.
I’ll leave the last word in shopping to make-up and beauty heaven Sephora. http://www.sephora.com/

SIGHTSEEING -
A native New Yorker will tell you to steer clear of The Statue of Liberty as there is no entry anymore due to security measures. They’ll suggest The Rockefella Centre http://www.topoftherocknyc.com/ as it has much better views of the Empire State and Central Park. If like me, not seeing the Statue of liberty every visit seems fundamentally wrong, then grab a Circle line Boat Tour around the island (get the one that goes half way around - takes two hours and you get a good history. www.circleline42.com/index.ihtml?page=semicircle
As for Ground Zero, it’s probably best avoid it at present, as it's just a building site.ACTIVITIES
Visit Central Park even if you have a phobia about exercise! It’s immensely entertaining watching all the joggers hit ‘the wall’ as you sit and eat your cream bagel and sip your double shot cappuccino! If you have an ounce of spare energy, hire a bike and take a spin around the park. A lap only takes 45 minutes but maybe you fancy booking a couple of hrs and resting along the way! Try Bite of the Apple TOURS 310 W 55th St. (approx $30) There are many to choose from but this company is very close to the park.
GOING OUT The Box
If you enjoy events like The Tassel Club or la Clique then you might try Spiegelworld’s most popular show ABSINTHE.
Tickets are about $70 but for that you gain entry to Spiegelworld which has two tents, bars and a large restaurant so you can wander around the carnival style village for an evening checking out different shows. See http://www.spiegelworld.com/ @ Pier 17, South Street Seaport, South Street & Beekman Street. If this whets your appetite for adventure then maybe THE BOX is the next step! http://www.theboxnyc.com/ 189 Chrystie Street and Rivington. It’s a brash, saucy show set in a venerably styled theatre (believe it or not, it’s just a couple of years old!) There are a series of musical, comedic and sexual performances all the while serving food, booze and plenty of people watching! Pay about $60 for the first show and stay for the three later shows on special nights. It gets quite raunchy as the sun goes down so be warned!.
For the more conventional kind of clubbing try your luck getting into to Mansion. It’s a truly lavish night club with decadence written all over it. http://www.mansionnewyork.com/
EATING OUTWhat can I add to all that has been written about NY dining except list a few personal delights I discovered. Try booking your favourite choices in advance with http://www.opentable.com/ as many of the best are booked well in advance. Trestle on Tenth http://www.trestleontenth.com/ 242 Tenth Ave (@ 24th Street) and Little Giant http://www.littlegiantnyc.com/ 85 Orchard Stare both stylish, mid priced and great for lunch or dinner. Buddakan http://www.buddakannyc.com/ 75, 9th Ave, is elegant, slick Asian food and a happy alternative to over priced Budda Bar 17 Little West 12th St # 315 (which had appalling service and average food on my last visit) If you fancy going casual one night and going for more traditional New York food then check out Burger Joint in the Parker Meridien Hotel, 57th st. If every blog in New York is to be believed then it’s certainly the best around. Read for yourself here: www.blogsoop.com/nyc_rid_506.htmlBARS
The Otheroom www.theotheroom.com/room.html in The East Village is one of five slick bars or ‘design spaces catering for independent artists and lovers of all things boutique’. The same group own The Room Soho and Another Room in Tribeca. Ideal if innovative art exhibitions and dark, cosy corners are your idea of a perfect night out.
Hotel on Rivington’s bar 105 www.hotelonrivington.com/105riv.html for the ultimate expensive but flawless NY bar. (see also recommended places to stay)
The last work in originality goes to Happy Ending Lounge http://www.happyendinglounge.com/ 302 Broom St, which has to be one the most unique bars in the city. Set in a former brothel, (don’t say I never send you anywhere nice!) the interior of Happy Ending is a modish maze of stylised booths, so don’t be fooled by the innocuous, lacklustre frontage. The basement has private areas (formally the steam rooms!) and the DJ booth used to be a shower room! Not at all sleazy, this is a fun place to visit.
Happy Ending!
WHERE TO STAY:
The highly recommended Hotel Grace formally Hotel QT (www.room-matehotels.com) 125 W 45th St. is just one block from Time Square so if you want to be in the thick of it for a night or two this hotel is a mid price, mid town gem. Good size rooms with a great breakfast included & good coffee served all day, It has a stylishly designed indoor pool at entrance level with seating for cinema viewing and party nights! It also has a sauna and steam room with full bar service, so no surprise locals and tourists come from afar to party till late. It’s a young lively crowd but if it’s not your thing, don’t worry – the noise doesn’t travel to your room! 125 WEST 45TH STREET, grace@room-matehotels.com

Voted one of ‘The World s best hotels’, ‘ The Worlds hippest Hotels’ and ‘Best hotel pool in 2007’, Hotel Gansevoort has a fine reputation to uphold! Sadly, it’s actually quite an average hotel, but it does have one outstanding feature: The rooftop pool. Their brochure advertises jet pools and a Jacuzzi but they haven’t been in use for over a year. Everyone seemed oblivious to this, staff and guests alike because of that glorious coveted aqua oasis on the roof! Justly deserving the ‘best pool award’, but not truly worthy of the other accolades, Hotel Gansevoort is ideal if relaxing by the pool is a big part of your holiday and you want to be based in the spacious Chelsea area. Although you don’t quite get everything you need from Hotel Gansevoort, if you have good weather, you’ll forgive it almost anything. Hotel Gansevoort 18 Ninth Ave. http://www.hotelgansevoort.com/



Hotel on Rivington
It’s designed to an inch of it’s life but what a glorious, lustrous life it is! Hotel on Rivington is one of those places where compromise isn’t necessary and celestial architecture rules. The bathrooms get the most attention to detail and boast glass shower walls on the buildings exterior. The ‘conceal and reveal’ element gives you spectacular views while you shower and still protect your privacy! Some rooms even have a two-person Japanese style soaking tub. Full in-room spa services are available with honeymoon extras! http://www.hotelonrivington.com/ 107 Rivington St

Beacon hotel – Package deal
Do it all with one phone call and get return flights with Aer Lingus and a five night stay in the Upper West Side at the consistently dependable Beacon Hotel, 2130 Broadway on 75th st. http://www.blogger.com/www.beaconhotel.com The Beacon offers a free upgrade from standards to a suite for honeymoons booked by 31 Dec ( *subject to availability at time of booking) and include return limo transfers. (€999 per person) Because it’s the far side of Central park the guestrooms and suites (all with marble bathrooms) are some of the largest you’ll find in this range of hotel.

OTHER
Getting Married in New York:
It’s getting more popular by the day. ‘Licence and Go’ is a basic wedding package including minister and licensing fees and costs just $620! The list of optional venues include The Empire state Building and The All Souls Church. Choose extra s like a wedding planner, flowers & limo rides! For all you can imagine and more see www.getmarriedinnewyork.co.uk

Food stores
Buy all your essential food snacks at Wholefoods http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/ the posh supermarket that makes Fallen and Burn look like Asda. Avoid Dean and Delucia http://www.deandeluca.com/ as it has become totally over priced and over rated.
Lingerie:
Go crazy in Victoria’s Secrets, there are stores strewn about the city like lose change! Very reasonably priced http://www.victoriassecret.com/ Just don’t join their mailing list when you purchase unless you want to receive a mail every two days!
Chocolate
Max Brenner, Chocolate by the Bald Man
“Chocolate is not just about taste. It’s a symbol of different aspects in our lives of romance, of sensuality, of decadence.” says Max Brenner, the man behind the eye catching and mouth watering chocolate enjoyed by mere mortals and superstars alike. Chocolate pipes run throughout the entire shops making them worth a visit! Mary Kate Olsen, Puff Daddy and Hilary Swank are all fans. Just incase you want chocolates delivered to your hotel!
Max Brenner, Chocolate by the Bald Man http://www.maxbrenner.com/

Getting there:
Aerlingus http://www.aerlingus.com/
Aer Lingus operate twice daily direct flights between Dublin and New York, and daily direct flights between Shannon and New York. One-way fares start from €199 including taxes and fuel surcharge*

You can now fly to the USA from Cork with Aer Lingus and Aer Arann. Fly Aer Arann to Dublin and connect to New York with one-way fares starting from €238 including taxes and fuel surcharge*

*Special offer - Book by Monday 6th October for travel from November to February. For more information on fares and schedules and to book, log on to http://www.aerlingus.com/


* NIAGRA FALLS TRIP:
2 night trip to Niagra Falls from €339 per person
Includes return flights, transfers and accommodation with Days Inn Clifton
Hill Casino, Oakes Overlooking the Falls Tour includes the famous Maid of the Mist Boat Tour
TourAmerica http://www.touramerica.ie/

62/63 Middle Abbey Street
Dublin
Tel: (353) 1 817 3500 Fax: (353) 1 878 0269

9/23/08

Sara Colohan, Travel Article on Paris


PUBLISHED- Travel article on Paris 07


Paris – Joy de Vive

Paris is one of those special places that deserves all the high praise it gets from everyone who visits it. Any self respecting shopper will tell you it’s a fashionista’s paradise, the home of the quintessential French woman whose style and panache is still second to none worldwide. It’s a haven of chic shops, museums, unique cafes and bars, all of which add to the vibrant ‘je ne c’est que’ that makes Paris incomparable to other cities. Clichéd as it may sound, I felt like a movie star or a runaway bride as I breezed through the cobbled streets taking in the ambience of this unique and magical city.
Before my trip I promised myself that I was going to plan my weekend well in advance, avoiding my usual ‘blind leading the blind’ kind of rambling, where I waste valuable time aimlessly wandering through the streets without proper directions! I was determined to utilise every second of my time away so I availed of a novel little company I found online called My Genie in Paris http://www.mygenieinparis.com/. For 60 euro, (paid through their website) this independent ‘tour guide’ asks all kinds of profile building questions covering accommodation, eating out, tourist and shopping interests and so on. Based on your answers, they arrange a detailed, tailor made itinerary of where to eat, sleep and party, complete with maps and relevant phone numbers. What I found most helpful was Stephanie, my genie, managed to secure a table in the remarkably trendy and constantly ‘booked out’ KONG restaurant. Designed by Philip Stark, it’s set on the top floor of a disused shopping centre in the heart of the up and coming Pont Neuf area. It was a relief that I didn’t have to call them myself from Ireland as my limited French would probably have lumbered me with a reservation sometime in 3000!


Let’s face it – there are so many things to do in Paris you would need much more than a weekend to get it all done, but, thanks to My Genie I managed to do almost everything on my list in just two and a half days! When I arrived on Friday afternoon I met with Stephanie who gave me maps, relevant leaflets and my personal itinerary meticulously printed out. After I checked into my hotel, I went for afternoon tea in the Ritz, had dinner in Kong and late drinks in Mandala Ray (formally the restaurant Man Ray, owned by Johnny Depp) and was tucked up in bed by two am! I have to say, having everything mapped out in advance made it effortlessly easy to fit it all in.

My hotel was just five minutes from The Champs Elysees and was an exquisite little boutique styled spot called Hotel Daniel. http://www.hoteldanielparis.com/ I’ve learned that it’s always worth sourcing a well located hotel, especially if you are planning to carry lots of shopping bags home every evening!! This one was perfect – lovely décor, friendly and very easy to find, even after a few glasses of vino!


Saturday’s ‘Genie’ itinerary was packed with exciting options from my original list of requests including vintage stores, specialist chocolate &coffee shops and some historical sights and museums that were en route. I hit the Champs-Elysees first, checking out the worlds largest Louis Vuttion’s store and although I’m not a big fan, I’d recommend that you take a look as it’s breathtaking. Sephora and Zara are always worth checking out and if you need a quick espresso pop into George V café for great coffee and snacks. Walk, (or get the daunting, yet unbelievably easy to use metro) to Rue de Madeline and visit Maison du Cholocate if you fancy splashing out on some world famous French chocolate. Close by is the unique, design conscious store Colette http://www.colette.fr/ who’s modern approach to the normal, predictable concept of retail is novel. Smaller than I expected, (I had spent some time on their very cool website) it’s a shop for the design aware and uber chic mixing hi-tech with fashion, street art, world music, cult classic DVDs, unique jewellery and street wear. I was impressed by their music listening area, which consisted of a wall of I pods allowing you listen in advance to the album of you choice, cutting out the need to randomly buy something simply because you liked the cover! If there’s space (its always busy!) you can eat in the Water Bar downstairs.
Continue from there to Jartin du Palais Royal (M Palais Royal) and stroll through the beautiful garden which is surrounded by little shops including top vintage stores like Gabreille Geppert and the rather more impressive Didier Ludot The latter houses one of the most famous collections of vintage haute couture in Paris and I was told by the extremely enthusiastic shop assistant, that Reese Witherspoon bought her vintage Dior (1956) dress there, the very one she wore to the Academy Awards when she won the Oscar for“Walk The Line.” (Didier Ludot is also the author of the fashion book‘ Little Black Dress’)
For something altogether more modern I visited The George Pompidou Centre. http://www.centrepompidou.fr/ Now, I’m not the greatest appreciator of art but I was so glad I bought a day ticket and allowed myself three hours to view works from modern greats like Kandinsky, Dali and Marcel Duchamp. One of the hottest places to eat in Paris is George, on the top floor of the centre. (M Hotel de Ville) Even if, someday the food goes down hill, it will always have the best views so check it out if you can!
On Sunday I spent a couple of hours in the Louvre http://www.louvre.fr/ and at the risk of sounding like a complete philistine, I found it quite oppressive. It’s worth the effort to see the Mona Lisa and Michelangelo's David but you could end up spending way too much time trying to find your way around. (its like a mini city!) My best advice is decide in advance what you want to see and stick to it! Maybe the fashion museum MUSEE GALLIERA -
http://fr.sitestat.com/paris-touristoffice/paris-touristoffice/s?wwwgallieraarisfr&ns_type=clickout&ns_url=www.galliera.paris.fr is more your thing! It certainly was mine.

I couldn’t imagine Paris without visiting the theatre and as I’d never been to The Moulin Rouge I decided it was time to check it out!
The iconic red windmill itself is worth the short trip to the somewhat shady Pigalle district and the colourful and well choreographed show is full every night so they must be doing something right! If like me, you have an interest in the history of cabaret then this show is a must. Prices are not cheap at approx E140 euro for dinner but it’s a venerable French institution and I felt it was truly worth supporting.

With a centrally located hotel and a fairly good idea of what you want to do on your trip, there’s no reason why you can’t fit in all the culture, fun, fashion and gourmet food Paris has to offer, no matter how short your trip! Plan ahead and get the most from this incredible city. Vive la France!

Many thanks to :
Maison de France: For all information on France: http://www.franceguide.com/
Sara flew with Air France:www.airfrance.ie
My genie in paris. http://www.mygenieinparis.com/en/index.html

Shows:
Moulin Rouge; http://www.moulinrouge.com/

Accommodation:
Hotel Daniel – 8, rue Frédérique Bastiat, 75008 Paris http://www.hoteldanielparis.com/

Or
The Ritz
Ritz Paris: 15, Place Vendôme, 75001 Paris www.ritzparis.com
resa@ritzparis.fr




restaurants:
KONG
1, rue du Pont Neuf, 75001 Paris
Tel. 01 40 390 900 Fax. 01 40 390 910,
http://www.kong.fr/
George Restaurant
Place Georges Pompidou 19, rue Beaubourg 75004 Paris33 (1) 44 78 47 99

Best Coffee/Atmosphere/cafe

CAFE GEORGE V120 Avenue des Champs Elysées 75008 PARIS
Metro : George V

RER : Charles de Gaulle - Etoile

telephone number : 01.45.62.33.51

fax : 01.45.63.04.61

Shopping :
Colette 213 rue Saint-Honoré - 75001 Paris - France
Tel: +33 1 55 35 33 90 - Fax: +33 1 55 35 33 99
contact@colette.fr
Open from Monday to Saturday 11am to 7pm.
Subway Tuileries or Pyramides / Bus line 68 or 72 http://www.colette.fr/

Louis Vuttion http://www.louisvuitton.com/
(101 Avenue de Paris 750800 ph 0 810 810 010)

OTHER REASONS TO GO TO PARIS:
www.modeaparis.com
Fashion week spring-summer: 30 September-8 October
Haute Couture: 2nd to 5th July 2007
Ready to wear: 30th September – 8 October 2007
Men’s fashion: 28th June to 1st July 2007

MUSEE DE LA MODE DE LA VILLE DE PARIS10, avenue Pierre Ier de Serbie 75116 PARIS
Metro : Iéna

Bus : 32, 63, 72, 92, 42,80, 82

telephone number : 01 56 52 86 00
http://fr.sitestat.com/paris-touristoffice/paris-touristoffice/s?wwwgallieraarisfr&ns_type=clickout&ns_url=www.galliera.paris.fr

Books:
http://www.amazon.com/Little-Black-Dress-Vintage-Treasure/dp/2843232899


For other events:
http://en.parisinfo.com/show_exhibition/rub6130.html




9/8/08

Biarritz Baby! Sara visits Thalassatherapy spas

Biarritz Darling!
Once an old gambling haunt of the rich and famous, Biarritz attracted the elite for years. Now, with the loss of one of its two casinos, Biarritz had come back down to earth. The largest tourist group to hit Biarritz coastline in recent years is the surfing community, who come in their thousands to avail of the Atlantic’s generous and unrelenting waves. I was happy to find that there are many friendly people and many financial alternatives to spending top dollar for Hotels, spa resorts and eating out.

I was staying at the Miramar Hotel, part of the Sofitel Accor group. A luxury **** hotel with breathtaking sea views and stylish rooms. The Miramar is perhaps overshadowed by that fact that it’s a stones throw from the famous Hotel Du Palais where guests like Liz Taylor and Princess Michael of Kent hang out. It’s a completely different style of hotel - Old versus new but whatever your preference, the Mirimar can offer something the Palais cannot - an adjoining Thalassotherapy Spa where you can enjoy the complete benefits sea water & seaweed and all their healing powers.

I’ve experienced variations on Thalassotherapy before, but I had never been to a specifically designed Spa, which offered over 40 different marine therapies. As I only had two days to try treatments and get a feel for the place I was determined to plan my time with military precision! A treatment, a swim in the thermal pools, a spell in the relaxation lagoon, or take a walk on the beach? As the spa is right on the seafront, between treatments you can simply open the patio doors and be inches from the beautiful sandy beaches which make Biarritz so memorable. There is also the option of stretching out in the beautifully designed aerosols room, charged with negative ions, and filled with sweet smelling marine mist to boost your immune defences and your resistance to stress.

Standing on my sunny balcony, looking out on the lapping waves and the picturesque lighthouse, I felt like a 50’s starlet, living the dream. Perhaps that’s the Biarritz charm, Icon-ised by famous visiting stars like xxxx, Elizabeth Taylor and Brigitte Bardot. I felt a million dollars, even before my first treatment! Now that’s the kind of result I like!

Like most other spas, I was given my treatment schedule, chosen in consultation with a spa therapist. I travelled through the hotel lobby to the institute, located on the -2 and -3 floors of the hotel. The oatmeal and cappuccino colours of the hallways sent me into relaxed mode almost immediately and I felt comfortable and at ease even though I was wearing just a bikini and a bathrobe!

My first treatment was a multi jet Bath - the powerful jets promised to stimulate blood flow, tone slack muscles and decongest cellulite-affected areas. Bring on the jets! As you’d expect the bath contained many multi speed jets, which set off on a routine as impressive as the water fountains on the Las Vegas Strip.
I felt energised afterwards, refreshed and ready for my trip to the Relaxation Lagoon. Now, for anyone else who has suffered an hour in a dingy single floatation tank here in Ireland, and paid 50 euro for the pleasure, then your faith, like mine, can be restored by experiencing this vast, flower shaped pool with high ceilings and soothing underwater music. In the salt saturated water, you float effortlessly in a sweetly scented, atmospheric haven. After about twenty minutes in a state of weightlessness, I felt my neck was becoming sore and strained. Floatation therapy is ideal for re aligning your spine and if you’ve got any back problems you will feel the shift quite soon into the therapy. I felt more than one session was necessary for any real benefits but one is a great way to relax in a new way.

I took the second afternoon off to sit in the sun and have a quintessential dip in the sea. Considering it was late September, I couldn’t believe the weather was still so perfect. A comforting 28 degrees by midday. I have to admit, I had forgotten how great the south of France is for a holiday. All my trips abroad in recent years have been further a field, sure in the knowledge that distance from home equalled a more rewarding holiday. I left the cost confident I would return soon. Horse riding in the Pyrenees perhaps? Iv’e just added touring the Basque region with its splendid scenery and unique flavour of architecture and cuisine to my To Do list!
The rates for the treatments at The Thalassa therapy Institute are reasonable and bear in mind, there are less expensive options to staying at the Miramar hotel ( many people use the spa on an daily basis while staying at a cheaper hotel)

Rooms @ The Miramar Hotel start at E122 with treatments starting @ E25. Check the website for the many package deals the Hotel & spa offer.

The Thalassatherapy Institute
11 Rue Louison Bobet
64200 Biarritz
Tel 00 335 59 41 30 01
Fax 00 335 59 24 77 20
www.thalassa.com
www.accortravel.com

Barcelona - MODO Magazine

working on shoots in Barcelona


Sara Colohan goes to Barcelona (Published in Tatler Magazine)

It took me a few days to realise exactly what it is about Barcelona that makes it such a special place - My conclusion is that it’s truly a ‘peoples city’ . Every plaza and every street has something breathtakingly beautiful about it but it’s not hidden away behind ‘No entry’ signs and red velvet ropes - it’s celebrated by everyday people doing everyday activities.

Placa Reial is a great example of this practical open approach. An impressive cobbled square surrounded by coffee shops and wonderful restaurants including the popular Les Quince Nits. Every night huge queues of hungry patrons stretch across the square, waiting patiently for a chance to experience this restaurant’s great food and unbeatable value. I enjoyed my meal at Les Quince Nits, but I returned to the Placa for lunch the next day and ate at a neighbouring restaurant La Crema Canela and found it to be even better quality, although not as good value.
So, if you don’t feel like a queue, you can just pop over to this other tasty option. Y

ou can people watch from any of the restaurants and coffee bars around the square then take a stroll to Las Ramblas, not five minutes from Placa Reial and watch Barcelona’s most famous street heave and thrive nightly with street performers, hungry tourists and wonderful vibrant local florists. The energy of La Rambles is yet another example of Barcelona’s joy de vive.. Ask any local about Barcelona and they will spend an age telling you how beautiful the place is.

Unlike Paris, they don’t retain an ounce of snobbery about their love for their city. Gaudi, Barcelona’s most celebrated son epitomises this refreshing, fun and open approach with Place Guell, (3-5 Nou de las Ramblas) Parc Guell (Vallcarca) and La Pedrera or Casa Mila (92 Passeig de Gracia) all adding a unique sense of humour to the city’s architecture. All the above mentioned are a must, even to the most unlikely culture vulture!
I took valuable time out from my shopping holiday to visit each place and felt no remorse for doing so!
I spent 10 days in Barcelona and managed to fill every day with exciting things to do. It took me a day or two to get my barings but soon realised that getting around was remarkably easy even for a girl with a defective sense of direction!

I would advise anyone to take a few hours on the first day for a Barcelona bus tour. (Green, blue or red buses take you on different routes throughout the city approx Euro16) This is invaluable as you can hop on hop off as many times as you like, safe in the knowledge that there will be another bus along every 10 minutes. It really helped me get the lay of the land and I visited places I would not have otherwise ventured to like Placa Espanya and Museu Nacional D‘Art de Catalunya in Palau National, Parc de Montjuic. Montjuic is also the spot where you can catch the cable car across to the marina.

There’s even a shopping bus - which will bring you to all the main shopping areas in the city! I didn’t know about that til the end of my stay but I still managed to make a healthy dent in my credit card none the less!!

Shopping was my main focus on this trip and although I found lots of interesting shops throughout the city, I had the feeling Barcelona is no exception to the influx of High street stores bleeding the smaller boutiques dry. Zara, Pull & Bear and Mango being the main culprits.

The impressive Placa de Catalunya is the heart of it all! Everything leads from this point and it is easily found due to the landmark El Corte Angles store on the corner. I couldn’t get over the size of the underground Sephora store in the mall on the Balmes corner of Placa de Catalunya; it’s worth a visit. I found the best route for a days shopping was to take a trip down Las Ramblas from Pl de Catalunya and turn into C. de La Boqueria.

Continue on walking towards the breathtaking Av. De La Cathedral in Barrie Gotic area where I spotted one of the best-located hotels in the city. Hotel Colon**** info@hotelcolon.es Ph 93 301 14 04.
(Dbl rooms from 150 euro) From here, you can walk to Avinguda Del Portal de L Angel, which is a pedestrianised high street shopping area. (By the way, this leads you back to Placa de Catalunya) If you haven’t had enough at this stage, continue over to my favourite area of the city El Born. This area is a wonderful part of the old city, with narrow souk style streets, cool boutiques, great bars and bustling clubs. If you fancy staying around here,
I stayed for 2 nights in H10 Montcada**** on Vie Laietana montcada@h10.es Ph 93 268 85 70 (prices starting at 90 euro for a twin room)

You can easily walk to another great shopping street D’Avinyo from El Born. This street hosts more classic, funky boutiques the kind I crave when I travel to a new city. Make sure you don’t go on a Monday afternoon as most places in this area are closed. I made this mistake and had to go back the next day to scan all the beautiful shops I’d missed on my first visit.

I found Avinguda Diagonal to be the main area for designer shops hosting Gucci, Calvin Klein (484 Diagonal) and Armani (490 Diagonal) but even more interesting are the designer stores that sell many different ranges under one roof. Check out Gonzalo Comella on 478 Diagonal with another store on No 6 Passeig de Gracia. Take time out to eat at the Cros Diagonal cafe (Diagonal 433 - Lourdes 111) you wont be disappointed.

Passeig de Gracia is another street worth a look - I found a great little shopping mall called Bulevard Rosa (55 Passeig de Gracia)- It had lots of cute shoe, jewellery and clothes stores.
Porta Ferrisa is a good street for a mix of high street stores and one offs. When asking for directions, just ask for the street with the H&M store!

Of course after a few days shopping I needed to unwind so I ventured to Barcelona’s most celebrated club CDLC (Carpe Diem 32 Passeig Maritim http://www.cdlcbarcelona.com/ ph 932240470) It has a great location, set on the beach you have the choice to dance or chill out by the crashing waves. Even with the impressive setting, I couldn’t relax in the place.. If girls in sunglasses dancing on tables and posh locals posing by the bar is your type of night out then you’ll love it!
We left and took a stroll down the prominade and found a strip of bars and clubs which are free entry but pricey drinks (17 euro for 2 vodkas and sprite! Just like home!) if you do find yourself here, check out Kennedy s Style Club 14 c/moll de Marina but be warned, it’s a bit of a Temple Bar stag party area so don’t expect to last long !! Alternatively you can try La Terrazza, Poble Espanyol http://www.laterrrazza.com/ for a more stylish fun type of night.


Barcelona left me in no doubt that it deserves all the high praise and favourable comments that is bestowed upon it. I would travel back again at the drop of a Spanish sombrero and happily spend another 10 days shopping and sunbathing in this city that has an abundance of everything.







Things to do:
Shop in the morning, Go to the beach for the afternoon !!
Use the Metro - its cheap, clean, safe and fast and remarkably easy to use.
BTW. Taxis are considerably cheaper in Barcelona than home!
Visit the Sagrada Familia Church, Calle Mallorca. I didn’t and I came home feeling like such a philistine for not even see the spires !!
Visit Museu Dali, Figueres
Trains to Figueres leave from Barcelona’s sants station almost every hour and the trip takes about 2 1/2 hours. But worth it if you love Dali and want to see his home town and amazing musemn.
remembering every time to bring plenty of change for the street performers!
Stroll on Las Rambla and visit La Boqueria fruit market, the stunning Gran Theatre de Liceiu and then just a little further on, on the same side of the street, there’s Gaudi’s Palace Guell which is a must for anyone who visits Barcelona.
Go hear some jazz (it that’s your thing) in L’Hivernacle, Parc de la Ciutadella, Pg Picasso. This scenic park also houses the main Arc de Triomf in the city and a beautiful glass house style café with great coffee.
For info : www.bcn.es/parcsijardins
Visit the Ritz Hotel Barcelona for afternoon tea!





Essential numbers:
Turisme De Barcelona
http://www.barcelonaturisme.com/
0034 93 368 97 00
Places to stay: 5 star
*****Husa Rey Juan Carlos, Ave Diagonal 661-671
*****Majestic, Pl de Gracia 68.
Tried and tested:
4 star
**** Hotel Catolnia, Balmes 142-146
http://www.hoteles-catolonia.es/
****Hotel Cristal Palace Diputacio 257,08007 Barcelona.ph 34934878778
3 star
*** Hotel Century 154 Park Valencia, 08011 Barcelona ph 34934534400
Hostal LeVante 2 Bajada de S. Muigel, Ramblas Y Placa Saint Jaume.
ph 34 93 317 95 65
This place is great! E33 euro a night and its two minutes from Las Rambla.

The Tassel Club visits The Moulin Rouge!

EDITORIAL FOR life magazine

I grew up in a small town in Galway, a far cry from the glitzy cabarets I work on nowadays! Like most kids from a provincial town, I was fascinated by fashion and glamour and always wanted to work in the area. I’ve been lucky enough to build a career in fashion and stage production and after spending most of last year producing shows in the West End, I’ve come home to focus on my burlesque cabaret show The Tassel Club!
It’s exciting to see how Irish audiences have unequivocally embraced burlesque and The Tassel Club is really enjoying its pre eminent status as the sexiest cabaret show around! Ironically, it’s this flattering accolade that puts a lot of pressure on me to keep up production standards! I’m constantly looking for inspiration for the shows and travel abroad quite often in search of unique exotic stars to bring to the Irish stage! On a recent trip, I visited the very heart of erotic cabaret – arguably the most famous club on the planet, The Moulin Rouge. Ireland’s leading showgirl and star performer at The Tassel Club, Mz Epiphany de Meanour came with me to check out what her Parisian counterparts were getting up to.

The Moulin Rouge has been flashing high class flesh for over a hundred years and I can tell you, it isn’t showing any signs of covering up! I‘ve tried to visualise The Tassel Club mirroring it’s gruelling schedule of two shows a day, employing sixty five full time dancers and running for a hundred years! I’ve managed to bolster my confidence by concluding that the original Moulin Rouge owners could never have predicted their clubs’ success when they first started out! In fact, considering how so called ‘respectable’ French society frowned on and venomously condemned the club in its formative years, it’s to be heartily applauded for managing to cement its status as an internationally venerated French institution drawing more than 600 000 spectators through its doors every year.
I read up a little on the club‘s history before my visit and was amazed at the myriad of stars who’ve tread its’ well worn boards. Unique performers like La Goulue, Josephine Baker, Ella Fitzgearld and Frank Sinatra all performed there and of course, it was also the subject of many paintings by post impressionist artist Henri de Toulouse Lautrec. La Goulue was the subject of Lautrec’s first Moulin Rouge poster and possibly the first ever reported Can Can performer. Her infamous act involved grabbing drinks from the audience (permitted or not!) and getting as drunk as possible during her audacious saucy, high kicking dance routine! She thrilled and I’m sure frightened the life out of audiences by launching a series of high kicks, targeting and knocking off men’s hats! Kittie Kittie Kan Kan, our own can can troupe might try and re in act that performance some night at The Tassel Club, but I’ll have to warn my insurance company first!

En route to The Moulin Rouge we detoured via The Ritz hotel. Epiphany is a huge fan of burlesque goddess Dita Von Teese, and as Dita had recently named the Parisian Ritz her favourite hotel we just had to pay a visit! Just as you’d expect, The Ritz gives you the royal treatment even if your budget doesn’t stretch past afternoon tea! We were whisked off to a private salon where we stuffed ourselves with mini cream éclairs and cheese cake! With little regard for the tight squeeze into our laced up finery for the show later on we finished off the last of the cakes and joked that an extra tight tug on the corset strings would be in order after our shameless indulgence!
We were both pretty excited as it was our very first visit to the club. When we arrived at District 18, I could see straight away that The Pigalle district is to Paris what Soho is to London, a rundown assortment of adult entertainment businesses. The Moulin Rouge is a veritable national treasure but sits aside tacky strip clubs and countless sex shops in an incongruous mix of city planning. If the truth be told, I was fascinated by this part of town and felt disappointed that there wasn’t a chic little bar or cafe where we could sit and spy on the late night revellers.
Just minutes from the iconic splash of red light from the Moulin Rouge windmill, I noticed a dilapidated, decidedly feral looking sign for The Black Cat or ‘Cabaret Artistique’ as it was first called before changing its name to Le Chat Noir. It was the very first Parisian review bar, opening just before The Moulin Rouge in 1881 and all the up-and-coming cabaret artists tried out their new acts there before performing to a paying audience. It was visited by people from all walks of life: women of high society, tourists, bankers, doctors, journalists and was also home to all the literary and artistic giants of the time before they shifted their patronage to the glitzy new neighbour.

I noticed that by seven thirty the three deep queue for the eight pm show was already forming with Japanese and Chinese tourists first in line and a mix of other nationalities making up the rest of the hundred strong crowd. It was comforting to see such a large turn out on a wet Sunday night as it proved to me that The Moulin Rouge is not considered ‘old hat’ in Paris, but still ‘rakishly chic chapeau’.

We felt like proper VIP’s when management ushered us past the lengthy queue for a preview of the venue before show time! Stage manager Thierry Outrilla brought us through a secret door to the extensive backstage area and immediately we were struck by a good strong farmyard smell! Wholly unexpected, we had just passed a ‘dressing room’ containing eight miniature ponies wearing diamond studded bridles! Now that’s show biz Moulin Rouge style!
In the main back stage area we got chatting to some performers getting ready for the show. Caroline Renno 22, is a solo performer who has developed the unique talent of swimming with pythons! She’s from Newcastle in the UK and in a good ‘up north’ accent she told me “In the second half of the show, a twenty foot water tank containing ten live pythons rises up from below the stage and I jump in and swim with them! They love the warm water so they’re very placid! Most of us do more than one performance, so along with my solo act I also perform the can can and dance with the Doriss Girls chorus line”
Not all girls perform topless but Sophie Escoffier, 25, from Paris is one of the twenty who does. I didn’t really know what to else to ask her except what her mother thought of her performing topless! She wasn’t a bit phased by the question. “It’s such a beautiful magical environment there is nothing improper about it. My parents have come to the show and loved it! Even my grandmother has come to the show and was very proud of me!”

I asked if there were many French girls working the current Moulin Rouge show. “We have lots of foreign girls” Thierry told me. ‘Some shows could have up to fourteen different nationalities on stage on any given night. The top countries are Australian, French, English and Russian. Once, a few years ago, an Irish girl named Jean performed with the troupe”
We chatted in a small room, surrounded by a mesmerising array of costumes. Rows of identical headdresses made of vibrant, coloured ostrich feathers encrusted with diamante sat side by side. Feather trimmed armbands, fringed diamante headbands and glittery, shoestring style bodices (that looked exactly like bejewelled dental floss!) hung on rails. I think Thierry pre empted my next question and offered us some costumes to try some on! Epiphany narrowly avoided injury trying on a rather cumbersome red feathered headdress. “Everything is made exclusively for our performers – you won’t ever see anything like them outside of the club” Thierry said proudly. I detected he had a particularly strong bond with the place and found out later that he was a dancer himself prior to his twenty one years of management.

As we posed for photos by the stage entrance, the entire troupe of Dorriss Dancers swished past me in full feathered glory. They looked like a flock of exotic birds, and to use the vernacular, that’s exactly what they were!
PR manager Fanny Rabasse joined us backstage to fill me in on some of the general requirements for any young gal, or guy, hoping to join the ranks.
“The girls must have some ballet training” she told me,“along with great personalities, because this really shines through on stage! They also need to be a minimum of 5’ 8” with exceptional figures! We want our audience to be spellbound” she purred.

I moved on to a more pressing question – fake or non? – Will the Moulin Rouge allow cosmetically enhanced girls to perform? There was certainly no evidence of silicon from what I could see! Au natural seems to be the way of The Moulin Rouge and Fanny confirmed it.

“losing or gaining weight is controlled to + or - 2 kilos, cutting or dying hair is strictly monitored and absolutely no silicon for topless performers” she added, almost managing to take the fun out of it all!

The full meal and show costs E140 and as we watched from our little balcony style booth, I could see the floor staff whiz about like gnats getting the service out of the way before curtain call.
The Moulin Rouge venue is breathtaking, simply because it has retained all its original characteristics and still looks like a dignified, venerable theatre. The red and white circus style ceiling, the vintage artefacts on the walls all look (and could be) authentic relics of past Moulin Rouge decades. The luxurious red velvet booths remind me of our very own Trocadero a Dublin!

The current show on offer is ‘Feerie’ and is made up of three main sections ‘Moulin Rouge today, yesterday and Moulin Rouge Forever’ and naturally it features the best known legacy of the Moulin Rogue, the Can-Can. Ten of their best girls performed the famous dance and it really rallied the crowds. Fanny told me afterwards “It’s not like years ago when the chorus line was made up of linen maids and seamstresses who transformed themselves into Quadrille or can can dancers each night. Not every performer can do it because it’s one of the most difficult styles to perform and requires specific artistic and physical qualities. New girls spend five weeks training and the rehearsals are very frequent.”

The show’s twenty or so topless girls were exquisitely statuesque and uber chic with perfectly polished routines that went without hitch.
Maybe that was the problem! Personally, I relate better to performers who are not quite so precise! I crave audience connectivity, maybe even a ‘Janet Jackson wardrobe malfunction’ not that it would have been noticed during the topless numbers! I suppose I love the business I’m in because true quality burlesque delivers all that sexiness and comedy in spades! By definition, burlesque is saucy, titillating cabaret, and although The Moulin Rouge is that technically, I found it somewhat lacking in sex appeal and felt that a dollop of humour wouldn’t have gone amiss.
Nipples always stay under raps in burlesque (or more to the point, under tassels!) so I wondered, why do many people find burlesque performers sexier than these perfectly formed, size zero, topless Moulin Rouge dancers? The Moulin Rouge performers are undeniably stunning and remarkably talented dancers, but I can see how their performances could be seen as a tad austere and habitual. Perhaps it’s the beginning of the end of the ‘less is more’ theory and the return of the ‘more is more’ train of thought! I’ve always hoped that the striptease element of burlesque shows would play a part in encouraging people to look at adult entertainment in a different way.
With the exception of the kitsch trip to the Moulin Rouge of the eighties which was reminiscent of Eurovision hopefuls Sheeba singing topless, (Not a fantasy I wanted realised, thank you very much!) it is a remarkable show and I could see how it inspired so many in the worlds of artists, writers and film makers. Hollywood has immortalised The Moulin Rouge through the decades in classics like John Huston‘s 1953 "Moulin Rouge," 1960’s "Can-Can," with Shirley MacLaine and Frank Sinatra and most recently, Baz Lurman’s 1990’s Moulin Rouge!
Along with every other world famous glamour icon, I sensed The Moulin Rouge has to struggle continuously to fight off the natural aging process but indisputably, management have to be congratulated for their unappeasable desire to reinvent the show. They’ve also succeeded in realising my dream: to bring an audience into another world, where the costumes are every girls fantasy and the girls may well be every guys!
I have no reservations in heartily recommend a visit, to every vaudeville, cabaret and burlesque loving soul on the planet! Vive La France! Vive la Cabaret!
The trip was organised by :
French Government Tourist Office
30 Upper Merrion Street, Dublin 2
Fax: + 353 1 662 9346
www.franceguide.com

special thanks to Air France: www.airfrance.fr , www.mygenieinparis.com ,
www. moulin-rouge.com, reservation@moulinrouge.fr and www.hoteldaniel.com

The Tassel Club’s next event April 28th @ The Sugar Club
Tickets E37 plus booking fee www.tickets.ie more: www.thetasselclub.com


The Tassel Club’s next event April 28th @ The Sugar Club
Tickets E37 plus booking fee www.tickets.ie
www.thetasselclub.com



Short version:
I grew up in a small town in Galway, a far cry from the glitzy cabarets I work on nowadays! Like most kids from a provincial town, I was fascinated by fashion and glamour and always wanted to work in the area. Luckily Ive managed to have a career in production and currently I’m working on the burlesque cabaret show The Tassel Club!
It’s wonderful to see how Irish audiences have unequivocally embraced burlesque and The Tassel Club is really enjoying its pre eminent status as the sexiest cabaret show around! Ironically, it’s this flattering accolade that puts a lot of pressure on me to keep up production standards! I’m constantly looking for inspiration for the shows and even travel abroad quite often in search of unique exotic stars to bring to the Irish stage! On a recent trip, I visited the very heart of erotic cabaret – arguably the most famous club on the planet, The Moulin Rouge. Ireland’s leading showgirl and star performer at The Tassel Club, Mz Epiphany de Meanour came with me to check out what her Parisian counterparts were getting up to.

The Moulin Rouge has been flashing high class flesh for over a hundred years and I can tell you, it isn’t showing any signs of covering up! I‘ve tried to visualise The Tassel Club mirroring it’s gruelling schedule of two shows a day, employing sixty five full time dancers and running for a hundred years! I’ve managed to bolster my confidence by concluding that the original Moulin Rouge owners could never have predicted their clubs’ success when they first started out! In fact, considering how so called ‘respectable’ French society frowned on and venomously condemned the club in its formative years, it’s to be heartily applauded for managing to cement its status as an internationally venerated French institution drawing more than 600 000 spectators through its doors every year.

I read up a little on the club‘s history before my visit and was amazed at the myriad of stars who’ve tread its’ well worn boards. Unique performers like La Goule, Josephine Baker, Ella Fitzgearld and Frank Sinatra all performed there and of course, it was also the subject of many paintings by post impressionist artist Henri de Toulouse Lautrec.
Both myself and Epiphany were pretty excited as it was our very first visit but when we arrived at District 18, I could see straight away that The Pigalle district is to Paris what Soho is to London, a rundown assortment of adult entertainment businesses. The Moulin Rouge is a veritable national treasure but sits aside tacky strip clubs and countless sex shops in an incongruous mix of city planning. If the truth be told, I was fascinated by this part of town and felt disappointed that there wasn’t a chic little bar or cafe where we could sit and spy on the late night revellers.
As we arrived at the venue, we felt like proper VIP’s when management ushered us past the lengthy queue for a preview of the venue before show time! Stage manager Thierry Outrilla brought us through a secret door to the extensive backstage area and immediately we were struck by a good strong farmyard smell! Wholly unexpected, we had just passed a ‘dressing room’ containing eight miniature ponies wearing diamond studded bridles! Now that’s show biz Moulin Rouge style!
In the main back stage area we got chatting to some performers getting ready for the show. Caroline Renno 22, is a solo performer who has developed the unique talent of swimming with pythons! She’s from Newcastle in the UK and in a good ‘up north’ accent she told me “In the second half of the show, a twenty foot water tank containing ten live pythons rises up from below the stage and I jump in and swim with them!”
Not all girls perform topless but Sophie Escoffier, 25, from Paris is one of the twenty who does. I didn’t really know what to else to ask her except what her mother thought of her performing topless! She wasn’t a bit phased by the question. “It’s such a beautiful magical environment there is nothing improper about it. My parents have come to the show and loved it! Even my grandmother has come to the show and was very proud of me!”

I asked if there were many French girls working the current Moulin Rouge show. “We have lots of foreign girls” Thierry told me. ‘Some shows could have up to fourteen different nationalities on stage on any given night. The top countries are Australian, French, English and Russian. Once, a few years ago, an Irish girl named Jean performed with the troupe”
We chatted in a small room, surrounded by a mesmerising array of costumes. Rows of identical headdresses made of vibrant, coloured ostrich feathers encrusted with diamante sat side by side. Feather trimmed armbands, fringed diamante headbands and glittery, shoestring style bodices (that looked exactly like bejewelled dental floss!) hung on rails. “Everything is made exclusively for our performers – you won’t ever see anything like them outside of the club” Thierry said proudly. I detected he had a particularly strong bond with the place and found out later that he was a dancer himself prior to his twenty one years of management.

As we posed for photos by the stage entrance, the entire troupe of Dorriss Dancers swished past me in full feathered glory. They looked like a flock of exotic birds, and to use the vernacular, that’s exactly what they were!
PR manager Fanny Rabasse joined us backstage to fill me in on some of the general requirements for any young gal, or guy, hoping to join the ranks.
“The girls must have some ballet training” she told me,“along with great personalities, because this really shines through on stage! They also need to be a minimum of 5’ 8” with exceptional figures! We want our audience to be spellbound” she purred.

I moved on to a more pressing question – fake or non? – Will the Moulin Rouge allow cosmetically enhanced girls to perform? There was certainly no evidence of silicon from what I could see! Au natural seems to be the way of The Moulin Rouge and Fanny confirmed it.

“losing or gaining weight is controlled to + or - 2 kilos, cutting or dying hair is strictly monitored and absolutely no silicon for topless performers” she added, almost managing to take the fun out of it all!

The Moulin Rouge venue is breathtaking, simply because it has retained all its original characteristics and still looks like a dignified, venerable theatre. The red and white circus style ceiling, the vintage artefacts on the walls all look (and could be) authentic relics of past Moulin Rouge decades. The luxurious red velvet booths remind me of our very own Trocadero a Dublin!

The current show on offer is ‘Feerie’ and is made up of three main sections ‘Moulin Rouge today, yesterday and Moulin Rouge Forever’ and naturally it features the best known legacy of the Moulin Rogue, the Can-Can. Ten of their best girls performed the famous dance and it really rallied the crowds. Fanny told me afterwards “It’s not like years ago when the chorus line was made up of linen maids and seamstresses who transformed themselves into Quadrille or can can dancers each night. It’s one of the most difficult styles to perform and requires specific artistic and physical qualities. New girls spend five weeks training and the rehearsals are very frequent.”

The show’s twenty or so topless girls were exquisitely statuesque and uber chic with perfectly polished routines that went without hitch. Maybe that was the problem! Personally, I relate better to performers who are not quite so precise! Nipples always stay under raps in burlesque (or more to the point, under tassels!) so I wondered, why do many people find burlesque performers sexier than these perfectly formed, size zero, topless Moulin Rouge dancers? The Moulin Rouge performers are undeniably stunning and remarkably talented dancers, but I can see how their performances could be seen as a tad austere and habitual. Perhaps it’s the beginning of the end of the ‘less is more’ theory and the return of the ‘more is more’ train of thought! I’ve always hoped that the striptease element of burlesque shows would play a part in encouraging people to look at adult entertainment in a different way.

The Moulin Rouge it is a remarkable show and I could see how it inspired so many in the worlds of artists, writers and film makers, but along with every other world famous glamour icon, I sensed The Moulin Rouge has to struggle continuously to fight off the natural aging process. Indisputably, management have to be congratulated for their unappeasable desire to reinvent the show. They’ve also succeeded in realising my dream: to bring an audience into another world, where the costumes are every girls fantasy and the girls may well be every guys!
I have no reservations in heartily recommend a visit, to every vaudeville, cabaret and burlesque loving soul on the planet! Vive La France! Vive la Cabaret!
The trip was organised by :
French Government Tourist Office
30 Upper Merrion Street, Dublin 2
Fax: + 353 1 662 9346
www.franceguide.com

special thanks to Air France: www.airfrance.fr , www.mygenieinparis.com ,
www. moulin-rouge.com, reservation@moulinrouge.fr and www.hoteldaniel.com

The Tassel Club’s next event April 28th @ The Sugar Club
Tickets E37 plus booking fee www.tickets.ie
www.thetasselclub.com

Paris in Spring Time





Paris – Joy de Vive

Paris is one of those special places that deserves all the high praise it gets from everyone who visits it. Any self respecting shopper will tell you it’s a fashionista’s paradise, the home of the quintessential French woman whose style and panache is still second to none worldwide. It’s a haven of chic shops, museums, unique cafes and bars, all of which add to the vibrant ‘je ne c’est que’ that makes Paris incomparable to other cities. Clichéd as it may sound, I felt like a movie star or a runaway bride as I breezed through the cobbled streets taking in the ambience of this unique and magical city.
Before my trip I promised myself that I was going to plan my weekend well in advance, avoiding my usual ‘blind leading the blind’ kind of rambling, where I waste valuable time aimlessly wandering through the streets without proper directions! I was determined to utilise every second of my time away so I availed of a novel little company I found online called My Genie in Paris http://www.mygenieinparis.com/. For 60 euro, (paid through their website) this independent ‘tour guide’ asks all kinds of profile building questions covering accommodation, eating out, tourist and shopping interests and so on. Based on your answers, they arrange a detailed, tailor made itinerary of where to eat, sleep and party, complete with maps and relevant phone numbers. What I found most helpful was Stephanie, my genie, managed to secure a table in the remarkably trendy and constantly ‘booked out’ KONG restaurant. Designed by Philip Stark, it’s set on the top floor of a disused shopping centre in the heart of the up and coming Pont Neuf area. It was a relief that I didn’t have to call them myself from Ireland as my limited French would probably have lumbered me with a reservation sometime in 3000!


Let’s face it – there are so many things to do in Paris you would need much more than a weekend to get it all done, but, thanks to My Genie I managed to do almost everything on my list in just two and a half days! When I arrived on Friday afternoon I met with Stephanie who gave me maps, relevant leaflets and my personal itinerary meticulously printed out. After I checked into my hotel, I went for afternoon tea in the Ritz, had dinner in Kong and late drinks in Mandala Ray (formally the restaurant Man Ray, owned by Johnny Depp) and was tucked up in bed by two am! I have to say, having everything mapped out in advance made it effortlessly easy to fit it all in.

My hotel was just five minutes from The Champs Elysees and was an exquisite little boutique styled spot called Hotel Daniel. http://www.hoteldanielparis.com/ I’ve learned that it’s always worth sourcing a well located hotel, especially if you are planning to carry lots of shopping bags home every evening!! This one was perfect – lovely décor, friendly and very easy to find, even after a few glasses of vino!


Saturday’s ‘Genie’ itinerary was packed with exciting options from my original list of requests including vintage stores, specialist chocolate &coffee shops and some historical sights and museums that were en route. I hit the Champs-Elysees first, checking out the worlds largest Louis Vuttion’s store and although I’m not a big fan, I’d recommend that you take a look as it’s breathtaking. Sephora and Zara are always worth checking out and if you need a quick espresso pop into George V café for great coffee and snacks. Walk, (or get the daunting, yet unbelievably easy to use metro) to Rue de Madeline and visit Maison du Cholocate if you fancy splashing out on some world famous French chocolate. Close by is the unique, design conscious store Colette http://www.colette.fr/ who’s modern approach to the normal, predictable concept of retail is novel. Smaller than I expected, (I had spent some time on their very cool website) it’s a shop for the design aware and uber chic mixing hi-tech with fashion, street art, world music, cult classic DVDs, unique jewellery and street wear. I was impressed by their music listening area, which consisted of a wall of I pods allowing you listen in advance to the album of you choice, cutting out the need to randomly buy something simply because you liked the cover! If there’s space (its always busy!) you can eat in the Water Bar downstairs.

Continue from there to Jartin du Palais Royal (M Palais Royal) and stroll through the beautiful garden which is surrounded by little shops including top vintage stores like Gabreille Geppert and the rather more impressive Didier Ludot The latter houses one of the most famous collections of vintage haute couture in Paris and I was told by the extremely enthusiastic shop assistant, that Reese Witherspoon bought her vintage Dior (1956) dress there, the very one she wore to the Academy Awards when she won the Oscar for“Walk The Line.” (Didier Ludot is also the author of the fashion book‘ Little Black Dress’)

For something altogether more modern I visited The George Pompidou Centre. http://www.centrepompidou.fr/ Now, I’m not the greatest appreciator of art but I was so glad I bought a day ticket and allowed myself three hours to view works from modern greats like Kandinsky, Dali and Marcel Duchamp. One of the hottest places to eat in Paris is George, on the top floor of the centre. (M Hotel de Ville) Even if, someday the food goes down hill, it will always have the best views so check it out if you can!

On Sunday I spent a couple of hours in the Louvre http://www.louvre.fr/ and at the risk of sounding like a complete philistine, I found it quite oppressive. It’s worth the effort to see the Mona Lisa and Michelangelo's David but you could end up spending way too much time trying to find your way around. (its like a mini city!) My best advice is decide in advance what you want to see and stick to it!
Maybe the fashion museum MUSEE GALLIERA -
http://fr.sitestat.com/paris-touristoffice/paris-touristoffice/s?wwwgallieraarisfr&ns_type=clickout&ns_url=www.galliera.paris.fr is more your thing! It certainly was mine.

I couldn’t imagine Paris without visiting the theatre and as I’d never been to The Moulin Rouge I decided it was time to check it out!

The iconic red windmill itself is worth the short trip to the somewhat shady Pigalle district and the colourful and well choreographed show is full every night so they must be doing something right! If like me, you have an interest in the history of cabaret then this show is a must. Prices are not cheap at approx E140 euro for dinner but it’s a venerable French institution and I felt it was truly worth supporting.

With a centrally located hotel and a fairly good idea of what you want to do on your trip, there’s no reason why you can’t fit in all the culture, fun, fashion and gourmet food Paris has to offer, no matter how short your trip! Plan ahead and get the most from this incredible city. Vive la France!

Many thanks to :
Maison de France: For all information on France: http://www.franceguide.com/
Sara flew with Air France:www.airfrance.ie
My genie in paris. http://www.mygenieinparis.com/en/index.html

Shows:
Moulin Rouge; http://www.moulinrouge.com/

Accommodation:
Hotel Daniel – 8, rue Frédérique Bastiat, 75008 Paris http://www.hoteldanielparis.com/

Or
The Ritz
Ritz Paris: 15, Place Vendôme, 75001 Paris www.ritzparis.com
resa@ritzparis.fr




restaurants:
KONG
1, rue du Pont Neuf, 75001 Paris
Tel. 01 40 390 900 Fax. 01 40 390 910,
http://www.kong.fr/
George Restaurant
Place Georges Pompidou 19, rue Beaubourg 75004 Paris33 (1) 44 78 47 99

Best Coffee/Atmosphere/cafe

CAFE GEORGE V120 Avenue des Champs Elysées 75008 PARIS
Metro : George V

RER : Charles de Gaulle - Etoile

telephone number : 01.45.62.33.51

fax : 01.45.63.04.61

Shopping :
Colette 213 rue Saint-Honoré - 75001 Paris - France
Tel: +33 1 55 35 33 90 - Fax: +33 1 55 35 33 99
contact@colette.fr
Open from Monday to Saturday 11am to 7pm.
Subway Tuileries or Pyramides / Bus line 68 or 72 http://www.colette.fr/

Louis Vuttion http://www.louisvuitton.com/
(101 Avenue de Paris 750800 ph 0 810 810 010)

OTHER REASONS TO GO TO PARIS:
www.modeaparis.com
Fashion week spring-summer: 30 September-8 October
Haute Couture: 2nd to 5th July 2007
Ready to wear: 30th September – 8 October 2007
Men’s fashion: 28th June to 1st July 2007

MUSEE DE LA MODE DE LA VILLE DE PARIS10, avenue Pierre Ier de Serbie 75116 PARIS
Metro : Iéna

Bus : 32, 63, 72, 92, 42,80, 82

telephone number : 01 56 52 86 00
http://fr.sitestat.com/paris-touristoffice/paris-touristoffice/s?wwwgallieraarisfr&ns_type=clickout&ns_url=www.galliera.paris.fr

Books:
http://www.amazon.com/Little-Black-Dress-Vintage-Treasure/dp/2843232899


For other events:
http://en.parisinfo.com/show_exhibition/rub6130.html

Going Solo - Horseriding in South of France


On your own for the holidays?



Sara Colohan discovers that single holiday makers are spoilt for choice! If a typical sunny package holiday is not adventurous enough for you, why not consider horse trekking in the South of France!
_________________________________________________________
Sara Colohan travels on horseback through the Medoc region of the South of France .
I love horse riding, but always thought horse trekking holidays were difficult to organise and certainly not something I'd ever do on my own. But after some online research, I found Des Abrons, a very reasonably priced trekking company, who run tours of the Medoc vineyards in the south of France.



A nifty two hour flight with Air France got me from Dublin to Bordeaux, where I was immediately struck by the idyllic late September temperature of 22 degrees. A representative of Des Abrons Stables collected me from the airport and within an hour I was chatting to my fellow riders in our hotel lobby. The group included two Swedish men, both professors in their late 50’s, two Swedish women both in their 40‘s, one French gentleman about 40 and a Spanish girl called Maria only 26. I rounded off the group as the only Irish gal in her thirties. On chatting to the professors, I learned that they had both done this particular trek before and found it the best of many, including one they did in Ireland a year previous. Travelling alone can sometimes be a daunting experience, but this time I felt very much at ease mainly due to the relaxed, genuine manner of Pierre Chemineau the trek leader and owner .
As an accomplished rider I was confident of my horse riding abilities, but it had been a long time since I sat in the saddle for more than a couple of hours at a time. Each day of this seven day trek was scheduled for four to six hours riding, so it wasn’t going to be easy for any of us!
It was great to see that Des Abron’s horses were healthy, alert and well looked after. All ex trotters and race horses, they looked eager to start their new trek and capable of carrying us for six days! It was going to be a hands on experience as we were encouraged by Pierre to be responsible for our own horses, feeding and watering them every day before resting ourselves.
Each day we were given a map showing the direction and distance of the trek which basically made no sense to me at all! I was happy to fall in line and play follow the leader. For the first hour I obsessed about when we would get to gallop but I didn’t have to wait long! On signal, we took off through the flats, with the rows of vines lending themselves as tracks on a race course. I was out of breath by the time we reached the top of the stretch and memories of summer holidays spent horse riding with my sister came flooding back in vivid detail.



Pierre and Alex his trusty assistant alternated driving the truck, which went ahead of us each day carrying all our belongings and all the necessary provisions to make a lavish daily picnic. After enjoying an array of farmhouse cheese, salads, meats and copious amounts of vino, the picnic automatically became every ones highlight of the day. It was also a chance to rest before the long afternoon ride which could be up to four hours.
Our hotels on the first two nights were only two-star but to be honest, I was relieved that I wasn’t paying extra for unnecessary frills because all I wanted to do was sleep! There was a bath and a bed so I was happy! My back had started to feel the strain and I was exhausted from five hours a day in the saddle.
By the third night I was ready for a treat and low and behold we arrived at Domaine de la Gravette. A farmhouse style B &B where we enjoyed luxury fluffy towels and the most exquisite rustic French cuisine! Dinner was yet again accompanied by copious amounts of great wine. I had never experienced an all inclusive trip quite as generous as this one. The wine flowed like we were long lost relatives and as a result, I slept like a baby that night! Next morning, our truck was laden down with cases of the chateau’s wine as we bought supplies to bring back home.
On our final day the rain hit hard and as we struggled with our rain gear, the horses battled with the showers. It was a tough day, but it definitely made the vision of our last port of call, Chateau d’Arche a near spiritual experience! A vivid rainbow appeared as we made our way up the hill, framing the mirage-like chateau. I was mesmerised by the beauty of this four star sanctuary. We tended to our horses, setting them free to graze for the last time.



It occurred to me as I soaked away my aches in the beautiful antique bath of Chateau d’Arches, that even though the week had been a very active one, my state of relaxation was complete. Every decision on where, when and what to eat and where to go was made for me, leaving me time to build a relationship with my horse and the other riders on the trip. Just being outdoors for eight hours a day was such a welcome change to my normal routine that I’m sure the fresh air did something for my soul! I couldn’t think of a low point from the whole week and when Pierre told us we travelled 220 km in total I felt very proud of every step.



This trek was called The Tour of Great Bordeaux Wines and was an advanced ride out where we galloped several times everyday on eager horses. Our route took us from the Medoc to Sauternes via Pomerol, through the famous St Emilion, on to Cadillac, Cote de Blaye, along the Dordogne river, through forests of Landes Girondines.
This may not suit everyone riding skills so Des Abron offer about ten different styles of treks and horses to suit different levels. They include The Basque country, in the footsteps of the smugglers, The Provence, The Dordogine river, which is suitable for beginners and the tour of the chateaux of the Loire Valley.



Checkout the website www.les-abrons.com Tours start in March and run til October.
E mail Pierre : lesabrons@les-abrons.com or contact Pierre Chemineau
Guide de tourisme équestre Sourrel-haut 47440 Pailloles (05 53 41 03 38,
Fax 05 53 41 11 25
WEBSITE : WWW.FRANCEGUIDE.COM
INFORMATION LINE : 1560 235 235 (95 CTS/MIN)
Sara Colohan travelled with AIR FRANCE WWW.AIRFRANCE.IE



If someone told me I could earn a living reviewing spa resorts around the world, I would never have believed them! If they had tried to convince me that I would be following in Madonna’s footsteps bathing in wine, in a spa resort in the south of France, well, I don’t think I would have believed that either.

As my taxi driver sped me towards my destination, Les Source de Caudaile, an exclusive spa about 20 min drive from the heart of Bordeaux, he briefed me on local history and continually checked for my reaction in the rear view mirror. Far from relaxed, I clung for dear life as we weaved our way through the early morning rush hour traffic.He told me that twelve years ago, a famous French skier, Daniel Cathiard and his wife Florence, joined forces to restore a 16th century castle in Martillac, on the outskirts of Bordeaux.

The castle, Chateau Smith Haut-Lafitte also came with 55 acres of vineyards and despite having no experience in wine making, they successfully produced Smith Haut-Lafitte wines. Having fully restored the Castle and another nearby smaller chateau for private residence the couple got to work on opening a small four star hotel and with it, an adjoining spa. Their beauty range Claudalie is now sold worldwide. The couple’s daughter Alice has taken over the running, which doubled in size to 50 exclusive rooms and apartments. The l’Institute de Vinotherapie offers the worlds only oenologically based health and beauty treatment. This means that by using the polyphenols in the grapes, which contain antioxidants capable of combating free radicals like smoke, stress, pollution, the skin can be protected from ageing.

Recent research also shows that polyphenols is a cholesterol-reducing element in red wine. Grape seed oil is rich in fatty acids, which therefore makes it ideal to moisturise skin. I was happy to give it a try.Nothing could have prepared me for the serenity and beauty of the place. Carefully designed to create space, clean lines and tranquillity this spa is Zen-like, with natural wood beams framing large window areas and clean smooth limestone paving throughout.

As you enter the main area you can lounge in the huge Hydro-massage pool, referred to by some guests as the ‘healing pool‘, where the water is warm and comforting. The atmosphere in the main seating area, which surrounds the hydro-pool, is relaxed and tranquil with views of sun drenched vineyards and the large shimmering outdoor pool.Based on the first floor, my bedroom was a real haven. The double french doors opened out onto the small lake to the rear of the hotel.

Each evening I had the privilege of watching the resident swans swim in unison, peacocks swaggering about the grounds and when the trees sway a little, I could catch a glimps of the most exclusive of the hotel’s accommodation, the separate Cabin Suit, on the far side of the lake.I was given a card with my shedule written out - four treatments over my two days, with full access to all the amenities including a haman, outdoor jacuzzi and the michelin starred La Grand Vigne restaurant .The treatments I chose included a honey and wine wrap which lifts dead skin with the tartaric acid naturally found in grapes and helps circulation. The Peachy Complexion facial will do exactly as it prescribes while the crushed Cabernet Body Scrub softens the skin and the Sauvignon Massage tones. I found the treatments a little rushed but in a place this luxurious, the treatments almost became secondary to the view from my room.I met a wonderful glamorous lady from London called Paula on my first day by the pool. A sun-kissed well travelled lady, with immaculate hair and pristine, painted nails who told me she had travelled around the world on spa trips and Les Source de Caudaile was the best she’d found. We spoke about life, love and our treatment schedules, our smoking habits, fashion preferences, when the subject of age arose. Im usually a good judge but Paula left me pondering. She could be close to 60 I thought to myself, a well preserved 60.“Im over 70” she confided and I was stunned to silence. The most valid proof that a spa trip once a year can do wonders!It was time for lunch and I knew I was nt going to be disappointed. This spa has a wine cellar that exceeds 10,000 bottles, a two star Michelin chef in their restaurant and a cigar room where you smoke hand rolled cigars and sample wine from the region, difficult to surpass. Who ever imagined that a spa trip could be so indulgent!Les Source de Chemin de Smith Haut-Lafitte, 33650 MARTILLAC, France. T 0033 5 5783 82 82http://www.source-caudaile.com/sources@sources-caudaile.com
Sara Colohan travelled with Air France fly direct to Bordeaux
Internet: http://www.franceguide.comtel/: 1560 235 235 (95 cents per minute)

Book Review - How To Help - Capetown

How2Help, A guide to Worthy Causes in Cape Town (Aardvark)
I noticed many changes since my previous trip to South Africa, three years ago. Although there is still unbelievable poverty within the black communities, more and more local people are starting to address the problem constructively. I was very impressed by an article I read in The Cape Argus about an investment analyst called Tracey Young. Her book, How2Help, A guide to Worthy Causes in Cape Town (Aardvark) is the result of two years work and compiles information on 50 of the best charities who promote sustainability, and are community driven and self managed. She wrote the book after trying unsuccessfully to invest in a reputable charity in Cape Town. Using her financial background to weed out the good from the bad, she analysed the accounts of over 150 charities and admits to being pretty ruthless in her findings.
Tracey created the 'how 2 help' (h2h) initiative to increase awareness both nationally and internationally of the work that is being done by so many worthy projects, and to encourage residents and visitors alike, to get more personally involved. She reminds us that sharing skills and knowledge is far more effective than handing out cash -
“Many projects don’t have accounting skills to manage money - if you want to give money pay the electricity bills or pay for materials” She adds“ Handouts don’t get anyone anywhere”
All the royalties from the h2h books will go directly to the JDI (Just-Do-It) volunteer foundation which will ensure that the funds are appropriately dispersed to h2h worthy causes.
The number of Irish visitors to Cape Town for holiday and investment purposes is growing every year (30,000 at last count!). Buy this book before you go and make a difference!
Essential reading
How2Help, A Guide to Worthy Causes in Cape Town, Tracey Young (Aardvark publishing)
Written especially for people disturbed by the poverty in Cape Town and eager to help genuine projects. Email: avoice@iafrica.comWeb: http://www.africanvoices.co.za

Cape Town - Tatler magazine

CAPE TOWN -

So much had been written about the Irish holidaying and investing in South Africa we’re nearing saturation point, but each time I come home from a visit to Cape Town, I feel compelled to tell everyone about this beautiful, fashionable, cultural paradise.
My most recent trip to Cape Town was a working holiday - shooting fashion editorials for Irish Talter and an ad campaign for a leading department store. Film and photography work make up a substantial part of Cape Town’s booming industry. Capetonians are so acclimatised to cameras flashing and lighting crews on their beaches, that they hardly noticed us working for two weeks on their sandy shores. Everywhere you go, there are model agencies, production companies, lighting hire companies and beautiful people all eager to work. Cape Town has everything needed for a perfect shoot - an abundance of sunshine, beautiful beaches, a choice of two oceans -(The Atlantic and Indian are only 30 minutes drive apart) and one of the most famous mountain ranges in the world (Table mountain and the Twelve Apostles) .
Most of the worlds models who fancy a working holiday, travel to Cape Town during Fashion season ( January to March). We organised our shoot at the right time and had a staggering choice of models from South Africa, Israel, Spain, American, England, Scotland and Brazil!
Accommodation
I found Cape Town full of fashionable places to stay and ultra cool places to eat. For part of my stay, I bedded down at The Twelve Apostles hotel; five minutes drive past Camps Bay’s shops. Built into the mountain, with a view stretching to the Waterfront, it is the most spectacularly located hotel in Cape Town. I chose a mountain view room and spend my time lounging by the heated rock pools and enjoying a Clarins facial in their adjoining spa. Sanctuary Spa passes as one of the most magical places I’ve been to. Its colourful mood lighting reflects in the heated jet pool and rock carved flotation tank. The pools and treatment rooms are all linked together by a little foot bridge built into the mountainside. This hotel is worth visiting even if you don’t stay there. Just have a drink at The Leopard Room bar and watch the sunset. You wont find a better viewpoint for it.
After a luxury weekend in The Twelve Apostles I headed more affordable option in Seapoint This is a vibrant authentic, multi cultural area with lots of shops and cafes close to Waterfront and city centre. I stayed at the Planet Africa Lodge, which is a beautiful African style hostel, hotel and apartment accommodation combo. With it’s own information centre, swimming pool, bar and restaurant it really was a haven of calm and security in an otherwise bustling community.
Eating Out
I never tire of going out to top restaurants and ordering great sole on the bone or cray fish for about E10 per person! Its so refreshing to get pure value for money and leave Dublin’s overpriced restaurant culture behind. Madame Zingaras is a must for any travelling fashionista. Everything about this bohemian den of BoHo chic is flamboyant and camp, including the menu! I ordered Chocolate chilli beef fillet and received a spectacular a chunk of tender beef, smothered in a dark, rich unsweetened Belgium chocolate sauce. Half way through my meal, a frantic wave swept the restaurant as the zealous waiters prompted the diners (no exceptions) to don the ridiculous antique hats from the walls of the restaurant! One of the greatest social levellers (after Karaoke) I’ve ever experienced!
Shopping
For a city as fashion conscious as Cape Town, with beautiful people lounging in every club and bar and strutting on every beach, I found it surprisingly void of fashionable boutiques. Surf and street styles dominate the new and ultra modern shopping centres like Century City and The Waterfront. Kloof St. in the city centre, is a chic area for a stroll with great kitsch furniture stores like Eddie Zoom and Kitsch Boutique, but again, sadly lacking in high fashion or designer clothes. Long Street, the main street of the city is dotted with little boutiques and antique stores but nothing to get excited about!. Long Street is best visited at night where it comes alive with unlimited choice of bars and clubs.

Luxury Safari
I was lucky enough to meet a wonderful Irish beau called Ed Finn who lives in Cape Town, running his tour company Planet Africa Adventures www.planetafricaadventures.com A young entrepreneur, he really is the one to know when you arrive in Cape Town. He organises everything from safaris to trips on the Rovos Rail, classed as the world's most luxurious train www.rovos.com
I availed of his good nature and got him to organise a small safari trip for me and although most Big Five safaris are a plane trip away, he managed to find Aquila private game reserve only 90 min drive from the city centre allows you to experience the essence of safari and still be home in time for dinner!
Aquila also has a horseback safari so I booked overnight in one of their cottages to avail of this special combination. This was my first Safari and I found Aquila unbeatable. A shuttle picked me up from my hotel and within two hours I was saddling up my horse Spirit for a trek through the plains of karoo. I couldn’t believe how close we were allowed get to these great animals including Lions, Zebra, Giraffe, rhinos and antelope. (The park will introduce elephants in June 04.) It costs about E100 for a day trip and an extra E100 for an overnighter. Stay overnight!!! My chalet was pure luxury with a healthy mini bar and huge outdoor hot tub. The views were unparallel and the policy of no phone or TV made it even more special.
I fitted in another gallop on Spirit the next day and was home in Seapoint in time for Dinner.
Going Out
On my last night, my NBF Ed brought me out for dinner with his NBF Conrad Gallagher. They became buddies while setting up a luxury culinary tour for Ed’s company. It’s a special 10 night Gourmet Epicurean Tour to Cape Town, Victoria Falls and Zimbali Lodge near Durban. (details below)
We dined in the newest, coolest spot in the Cape Quarter called Tank, then headed for a new champagne and caviar bar off Long Street called Sobeit. It’s an elaborate Russian themed bar with spectacular décor, including a glass coffin containing a life size corps of Lenin set into the floor. After a few hefty cocktails we went on to Rhodes House, a very beautiful and very chic club, ideal for anyone who likes stylish décor, gorgeous people and funky lounge music.
Safety
Personally, I loved the vibrancy and ethnic mix of Seapoint and although you must take care wherever you go in Cape Town, the tales of high crime and violence are often exaggerated. Street cameras have been installed in many areas and a new police force dealing specifically with crime in the city has dramatically reduced the crime rate.

Sara Colohan travelled with Slatterys who fly direct from Dublin to CapeTown.
www. slatterys.com or by call 066-7186230 (RoI) and call-save 0845 300 4309 (NI), or contact your travel agent.
Must Do List:
Aquila Private game reserve & Safari
www.aquilasafari.com
0027 (0)21 405 4513
Theatre performance @
Maynardville open air theatre in Wynberg
Outstanding Shakespeare productions.
0027 (0) 21 410 9800
Lunch at Moye @ Spier wine farm
www.spier.co.za
Drinks at sunset in The Leopard Room, Twelve Apostles Hotel
www.12apostleshotel.com
Essential reading
How2Help, A Guide to Worthy Causes in Cape Town, Tracey Young (Aardvark publishing)
Written especially for people disturbed by the poverty in Cape Town and eager to help genuine projects. Email: avoice@iafrica.comWeb: http://www.africanvoices.co.za
Places to eat:
Madame Zingaras192 Loop St
Ph 0027 (0)21 4426 2458
Blues
The Prominade
Camps Bay
Ph 0027 (0)21 438 2040
Info@blues.co.za
Essential Number:
Planet Africa Adventures, Tel +27 21 9795663 Fax +27 21 9757928 - email
info@planetafricaadventures.com
Web-site www.planetafricaadventures.com
incoming travel company that specialises in booking all your travel requirements From May 2004, they will also be offering special 10 night Gourmet Epicurean Tours to Cape Town, Victoria Falls and Zimbali Lodge near Durban. For the Big 5 experience they also offer a variety of luxury game reserves.
Tried and tested Places to stay:
The Twelve Apostles
Victoria Road
Camps Bay
Cape Town
PH + 27 (0) 21 437 9055
Web www.12apostleshotel.com
Room Rate approx E380 euro per person
Planet Africa Lodge
17 Kei Apple
Fresnaye
Seapoint
Cape Town
Ph +27 (0) 21434 2151
Web www.planetaftica.co.za
E mail: welcome@planetafrica.co.za
Approx E55 per Double Room
Ashby Manor
242 High Level Rd
Seapoint
Cape Town
Sylvia Katz+27 21 434 1879 (Tel)e-mail: sylk@mweb.co.za
Approx E25 per room
Great Bars:
Sobeit, Longmarket Street, Cape Town
Marvel, Long Street (casual, NY style great music)
Ivory Room, Loop St ( posh, house music bar)

Clubs
Rhodes House
60 Queen Victoria St, Gardens, Cape Town
Purgatory
Cape Quarter
Summerset
Upstairs @ Mama Africa s (traditional music) 178 Long St, Cape Town