I’m going to Paris on business in early November – Art de Parfum is taking part in a cool London lifestyle pop-up show there. And I’ve decided that, while I’m there, I might as well pop down to the French Riviera for a little autumn break over the weekend. The South of France is my spiritual and artistic home. It’s where my perfumes are made and where I get all of my inspiration!
It will be cool but hopefully sunny in Nice at this time of year. I am looking forward to taking long walks down the promenade, reading in cafes, drinking tea, enjoying the fresh sea breezes, and generally just soaking up the incredible sense of style, culture, and artistic freedom of the Riviera lifestyle.
Here are essential things I absolutely have to have in my suitcase for my trip:
Copy of Tender is the Night, by F. Scott Fitzgerald
This is a romantic and tragic novel that I never get tired of reading. Set in the glamorous French Riviera of the 1930’s, it follows the heavy drinking and descent into madness that plagues the marriage of Dirk and Nicole Diver. I love this book because it shows the dark side of the glamorous, sparkling lives of the young and the beautiful on the Riviera. It also fascinates me that the main characters were based on the author himself and his wife Zelda, who herself was being treated in an insane asylum while the book was being written.
Art de Parfum Sea Foam
One of the scents I savour the most is the aromatic, crispy smell of the sea, the sand, and sea grasses. Sea Foam perfectly captures that moment when you see the sea for the first time that year and you run towards the water, filling your lungs to bursting with that wonderful smell. Sea Foam is the smell of freedom and perhaps even of the melancholy of nostalgia for seaside holidays when we were young. It’s a fragrance that is also perfectly suited to long, wistful walks down the deserted, windswept beaches of Nice in November. A bottle is definitely coming with me.
Camel Trench Coat
An absolute style classic. I buy the best one I can afford, and always in camel. It is such a chic, timeless wardrobe essential. I can throw it on over a pair of jeans and instantly I look more pulled together.
I pack a pair of trainers for my walks on the beach, of course, but for my walks on the promenade and in Nice town itself, I will need a chic pair of flats that will provide an instant shot of class to any outfit I put together. I like the classic black ballet pumps, but I think that for the melancholy of November, a pair of grey, sueded flat pumps with a pointed toe is the right choice. I like the little strap at the back – it exposes part of my heel, and I think it’s rather sensual to reveal a tiny bit of skin like that.
Ok, ok, I confess – I am one of those crazy people who packs their own tea cup to bring on holiday! I can’t help it. I collect exquisite, antique bone china tea cups, and over the years have built up quite a collection. Some of my favourites come from Japan, Iran, and England, and some are so old that I have to wrap them in tissue paper so they won’t snap.
Anyway, I firmly believe that my morning lapsang souchong or Earl Grey tastes so much better when taken in a really fine piece of china. That’s why I take one of my beloved cups with me whenever I travel. The waiters don’t mind – they know my habits by now! Plus, the French love eccentricity when it is a matter of personal style.
I love foulards and silk scarves, and over the years have learned how to wear them in the French manner. Now a beautiful foulard is my quickest route to a chic, polished look. I like patterns and eye-catching colors because they can elevate even the most neutral of looks to something striking. There are about four different ways I tie my foulard depending on my outfit or what I am doing. But that’s a post for another time!
What about you? What essentials would you pack for a November jaunt to the French Riviera? Love to hear from you!