Sunday, June 26, 2022

New York City Theater: BACK TO BROADWAY 2022

By Jacquelin Carnegie
"What good is sitting alone in your room? Come hear the music play." Nothing lifts one's sprits better than seeing a good show. As the pandemic continues, theaters on and off Broadway are hurting. These shows are a great incentive to get up off the couch and head out.
BROADWAY
COME FROM AWAY
Schoenfeld Theatre (236 West 45th St); comefromaway.com
Book, Music & Lyrics by Irene Sankoff & David Hein; Directed by Christopher Ashley; Currently Starring: Jenn Collela, De’Lon Grant, Caesar Samayoa, Sharone Sayegh, James Seol, Q. Smith, Astrid Van Wieren, Emily Walton, Jim Walton, Gene Weygandt, Sharon Wheatley, Paul Whitty, Josh Breckenridge, John Jellison, Tony LePage, Monette Mckay, Happy McPartlin, Julie Reiber.

Perhaps you haven’t gone to see this absolutely, fabulous show yet because you heard it was about 9/11 and don’t want to be reminded or live through it again. Well, while it’s true that the events of 9/11 are the catalyst for the show, it’s really not what it’s about. It’s about random acts of kindness and “it takes a village.” That village happens to be Gander in Newfoundland where 38 planes were forced to land on that fateful day.

(photo: Matthew Murphy)

With no notice, the townspeople of Gander and the surrounding hamlets organized to provide food, shelter, and welcome to thousands of frightened, frenzied, international passengers who’d “come from away” (outsiders in Newfoundland speak). With open arms, the Newfoundlanders helped this group of distrustful, cranky, not-particularly-grateful strangers. But their unbridled kindness and generosity in the midst of tragedy taught those passengers a lesson in compassion. Over the course of that heart-rending week, their ingratitude turned into appreciation and enduring friendships. The terrific, ensemble cast of COME FROM AWAY takes you there. As Anne Frank once said: “In spite of everything, I still believe that people are really good at heart.” This show is the embodiment of that thought. Do yourself a favor and go see it before it closes on Broadway (10/2/22). Get a glimpse: https://tinyurl.com/yuzuesnp

SIX
Brooks Atkinson Theater (256 West 47th St); sixonbroadway.com
Book, Music & Lyrics by Toby Marlow & Lucy Moss; Directed by Lucy Moss & Jamie Armitage; Currently Starring: Adrianna Hicks, Keirsten Nicole Hodgens, Andrea Macasaet, Brittney Mack, Mallory Maedke, Abby Mueller, Samantha Pauly, Joy Woods.

If you have teens &/or tweens, they’ll really enjoy this 80-minute song fest. One would be hard-pressed to call it theater; it’s more as if Madonna did one of her stadium shows in a theater. There’s no storyline per se just six terrific performers singing about the lives—mostly sad fate—of English King Henry the XIII’s six wives: Catherine of Aragon, Anne Boleyn, Jane Seymour; Anna of Cleves, Katherine Howard & Catherine Parr. “Divorced, Beheaded, Died; Divorced, Beheaded, Survived” – that’s the plot. Nonetheless, it’s a fun night out and Tony-award winning Gabriella Slade’s costumes are to die for! Get a glimpse: https://tinyurl.com/ms38mn96


OFF-BROADWAY
The Orchard
Baryshnikov Arts Center (450 West 37th St) – Only until 7/3/22; 
the-orchard
Conceived, Adapted, & Directed by Igor Golyak (based on Anton Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard); Featuring: Jessica Hecht & Mikhail Baryshnikov, with Juliet Brett, Darya Denisova, Elise Kibler, John McGinty, Nael Nacer, Mark Nelson & Ilia Volok.
With a group of fantastic actors, you can stage a play any which way and it will still work. Here, Russia is an eerily-beautiful, surrealistic landscape where the servants and pets are robots, but the characters’ anguish is as real as ever.
Social upheaval is indeed a bitter pill—past, present, and future. Fortunately, in this production, a monumentally-talented cast guides us through the torment.
The aristocrats, clinging to the past, are cruisin’-for-a-bruisin’. The arrivistes—former peasants now middle-class with money—gleefully kick over the apple (cherry) cart and gab up the spoils. The old, faithful servants are left on the ash heap. The “Moscow Millennials” are stunned, but cautiously hopeful for the future. As for the orchard…But, take heart, any day you see Mikhail Baryshnikov on any kind of stage is a good day. Jessica Hecht is always magnificent and this merry band of accompanying players rises to the Chekhov occasion with gusto, especially Nael Nacer as the unctuous Lopakhin.

Editor’s Note: This post-modern production can be seen in-person, virtually, &/or a combo of the two. But, hurry, it’s only up till July 3, 2022. Get a glimpse: https://tinyurl.com/b66reejw

BAC is dancer/performer Mikhail Baryshnikov’s brainchild. Envisioned as a creative space to support international, multidisciplinary artists, BAC presents innovative works of dance, theater, and music at affordable prices. Check out upcoming presentations.

Monday, June 6, 2022

6 Ways To Experience The Great Outdoors Right in New York City

By Jacquelin Carnegie
The Greens (photo: Howard Hughes Corp, Keeyahtay Lewis)

For New Yorkers, the “great outdoors” could be just a rooftop bar or a stroll along the river—Hudson or East. Here are some cool places to hang out:

MANHATTAN
A Backyard in the Sky
The Greens – Pier 17, South Street Seaport
The Rooftop, Pier 17, 89 South St, NY; http://thegreens.pier17ny.com
(Must reserve your spot in advance for a fee.)

What everyone wishes they had in New York City: a backyard! The Greens is your chance to hang out on your own mini-lawn with lounge chairs and an umbrella and room for up to 8 friends. Since it’s on the rooftop, the views of the East River are grand and the simple-but-delicious food choices—by famed chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten—are fabulous.

Great Entertainment
Little Island
Pier 55, West 13th Street on the Hudson River, NY; https://littleisland.org
(Open: Daily, 6am-1am; Must reserve a free time-slot in advance which includes admission to the concerts & events; a few require paid tickets.)
Little Island (photo: Michael Grimm)

The latest edition to Hudson River Park is the loopy Little Island—like a Disneyland ride without the ride! There are several, terrific “vista points” and an outdoor food court. But the best part is all the wonderful free entertainment for adults and kids in the magnificent amphitheater overlooking the Hudson and in the lovely, smaller venue, The Glade.

BROOKLYN
An Army Post Open to Civilians
US Army Garrison Fort Hamilton - Interpretive Trail
Harbor Defense Museum, 230 Sheridan Loop, Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, NY
For centuries, to protect New York harbor, there were fortifications in each borough. Now, Fort Hamilton in Brooklyn is the last active Army Garrison Post in New York City. On the base, in Bay Ridge on magnificent grounds overlooking the Narrows tidal strait, there’s a 10-stop Interpretive Trail of special interest to history buffs that can be visited by the public. Of particular note, is the last stop: a marker to honor the Marquis de Lafayette, a Major General in the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War.
Ft Hamilton, Lafayette Marker (photo: J.Carnegie)

How To Visit: Arrange a free, guided tour of the Interpretive Trail thru Fort Hamilton’s Harbor Defense Museum, Tel: 718/630-4349;
https://tinyurl.com/3tr9wyx3
Visitors must have 2 forms of ID (State or Federal) to access Fort Hamilton. Enter thru the Main Gate, at the end of Fort Hamilton Parkway at 101st Street, for a background check at the Visitor Control Center.
Getting There: Subway: R – Bay Ridge/95th St, then 5-minute walk to Fort.

Take A Walk On The Wild Side
Newtown Creek Nature Walk
Greenpoint, Brooklyn, NY; https://tinyurl.com/cs7taxn2 (Open: Dawn to dusk)
Newtown Creek (photo: J.Carnegie)

This is an outing only for the brave—a true mix of the beautiful and the ugly. On the one hand, the actual walkway, designed by artist & “environmental sculptor” George Trakas, is magnificent. On the other hand, what you’re looking out onto is the Newtown Creek, one of the most polluted waterways in the U.S, and Whale Creek, what I refer to as “scrap metal gulch.” However, almost unbelievably, the overall concept is aesthetically pleasing: ship-inspired design elements, historic granite slabs, native plants, and unassuming “artworks” such as stone circles, under a Honey Locust tree, engraved with place names used by the Lenape people, who once inhabited this area. So, take a walk on the wild side to experience this exquisite ½-mile walk within this gritty setting.
Getting There: Subway: G - Greenpoint Ave. Use the Greenpoint/Manhattan Ave exit. Walk east on Greenpoint Ave, take a left on Provost St, walk several blocks down, then take a right onto Paidge Ave & you’re there; about a 20-minute walk. (The “Visitor Center,” an orange brick building, is sometimes open, 329 Greenpoint Ave, right next to the Wastewater Treatment Plant!)

QUEENS
Skyline Views
Gantry Plaza State Park
Long Island City, Queens, NY; https://tinyurl.com/y46bta92 
Gantry Park (photo: Courtesy SWA/Balsley)

This lovely spot is easy to get to by subway or ferry, yet you’ll feel transported. Right on the river with fantastic views of the Manhattan skyline, there are several sections to the park located on a former dockyard. In fact, the name “Gantry” comes from the restored gantries–-gigantic structures that once transferred railcars onto rail barges. In summertime, there are often concerts and other fun events.
Getting There: Subway: 7 - Vernon Blvd/Jackson Ave. Walk west 2 blocks to Gantry Park. Or, NYC Ferry

Farm Living: Right in the Heart of the Big Apple
Queens County Farm Museum
73-50 Little Neck Parkway, Floral Park, NY; Tel: 718/347-3276; www.queensfarm.org (Open: Daily, 10am-5pm, Free)
(photo: Courtesy Queens County Farm Museum)

Once upon a time, New York City was all woodland and farmland. Even up to the 1920s, there were some 800 farms within the city limits. Now, only one working, historical farm still exists. So, grab the kids and head to Queens. This 47-acre farm, established in 1697, has lots for youngsters to enjoy from farm animals to hay rides. Adults, who like to cook, will thrill to the heirloom produce available at the farm stand (May to November) and other goodies at the farm store. Throughout the year, there are several, fun, family-friendly events.
Getting There: Subway: E/F - Kew Gardens/Union Turnpike, then #Q46 Bus (eastbound on Union Tpk) to Little Neck Parkway. Cross Union Tpk, walk north on Little Neck Pkwy, 3 blocks to Farm entrance. LIRR: Port Washington Line to Little Neck station, then taxi or Uber (5-10mins).

Sunday, June 5, 2022

New York City: 8 Great Ways To Sightsee by Boat

By Jacquelin Carnegie
Pioneer (photo: SoStSeaportMuseum)
Here’s a sampling of some boat rides with terrific views that will help you experience the city in a whole new light, along with some fantastic sightings of Lady Liberty!

FREE (& ALMOST FREE) BOAT RIDES WITH GREAT VIEWS
Staten Island Ferry
Whitehall Ferry Terminal, 4 South St.; www.siferry.com; Free, year-round
(photo: Staten Island Ferry)
Think of this pleasant 25-minute ride as a mini-cruise with some of the world’s best views--the Statue of Liberty, New York Harbor and lower Manhattan. On Staten Island, get out and explore all the wonderful sights such as the Alice Austen House Museum (www.aliceausten.org) showcasing photography in a lovely setting, the Tibetan Museum (www.tibetanmuseum.org), and the Snug Harbor Cultural Center & Garden (www.Snug-Harbor.org).

Governors Island Ferry
Battery Maritime Building, 10 South St.; www.govisland.com
Open Daily, year-round; Ferry, free, Sat & Sun before noon. Otherwise, $4, except seniors & kids
Gov Island (photo: J.Carnegie)
This 7-minute ferry ride whisks you from Manhattan (& Brooklyn on the weekends) to a little bit of nature with spectacular views of the Statue of Liberty and lower Manhattan. After 200 years as a military base, Governors Island is now a lovely public park. The former barracks, for the US Army and Coast Guard, make it look a bit austere, but all the new recreational features are fun to discover and, almost every weekend, there are entertaining activities, concerts, and events. 


NYC Ferry
https://www.ferry.nyc
(photo: NYC Ferry)
For just the price of a subway ride ($2.75) you can travel on the East River between Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx--even to Rockaway beach & soon to Coney Island. Get off and explore the offerings at specific stops or just stay on and enjoy the ride. From the 17th to the 19th century, ferries traversed the city's waterways but, as bridges and tunnels were built, the ferries were fazed out. Now, they're back in full-force and a thrill to ride. The major hubs in Manhattan are at East 34th Street and Pier 11 near Wall Street & the So St Seaport.

FREE BOAT RIDES, PLUS EXERCISE
These kayaking and rowing options are offered on a first-come, first-served basis, but you need to reserve them in advance, so sign up early. (You also must know how to swim.)
Kayaking on the Hudson
The Downtown Boathouse; downtownboathouse.org; May-Oct; Free, Weekends (Pier 26, North Moore); Saturdays (Pier 101, Governors Island) 
On the weekends, The Downtown Boathouse offers free kayaking on the scenic Hudson River at two locations. The equipment—boats, paddles, life jacketsand instructions are free. Wear shorts or a swimsuit.
Kayaking in Brooklyn: Pier 2, Brooklyn Bridge Park Boathouse
(photo: Downtown Boathouse)
June-Sept; Free, Saturdays; Wed & Thurs evenings.

Row Your Boat – Manhattan
Village Community Boathouse, Pier 40, Hudson River Park, at W. Houston St.; www.villagecommunityboathouse.org
April-Nov; Free, every Sunday at noon & Wednesdays, 5:30pm

The Village Community Boathouse offers free, group rowing sessions. The aim is to provide safe, public access to the city’s fantastic waterways and to introduce people, especially kids, to the joys of rowing and boatbuilding. 

NOT FREE BUT STILL WORTH IT BOAT RIDES
Hurricane Sandy dealt a blow to the South Street Seaport Museum. While there are currently only a few small exhibits on view, the museum offers wonderful boat rides:
W.O. Decker - Tugboat
South Street Seaport Museum, 12 Fulton St; Pier 16; May - Oct; Fri, Sat & Sun; Fee, Museum Admission + boat ride
(photo: SoStSeaportMuseum)
          
We think of tugboats as the "worker bees" of the waterways. This one (refit with a diesel engine) was built in 1930 when steam tugs were a common sight in New York Harbor. Today, enjoy a bit of history on a truly-enjoyable, 45-minute ride on the W.O. Decker, the last-surviving, New York-built, wooden tugboat. Delight in stunning views of the lower Manhattan skyline and the Statue of Liberty.

Pioneer - Schooner Sail
South Street Seaport Museum, 12 Fulton St; Pier 16; May - Oct; Weekends & Wed/Thurs/Fri evenings; Fee, Boat ride with/or without Museum Admission (2-hour cruises)

Enjoy an afternoon or sunset sail on this historic vessel, first launched in 1885. Bring a picnic lunch or dinner and revel in the sights of New York Harbor.

5 Free Fabulous Summertime Things To Do in New York City

By Jacquelin Carnegie
In August, many cities around the world empty out and all cultural activities come to a halt. But, during the dog days of summer, New York lives up to its reputation as "The City That Never Sleeps." Cool cultural and fun events never stop! Here's a sampling of not-to-be-missed happenings: 

DANCE MOVES WITH A VIEW
Battery Dance Festival
Robert F. Wagner Jr. Park, Battery Park City 
batterydance.org (Aug) 
Battery Dance Fest, Trainor Dance (photo: Steven Pisano)
Every August, this festival gives dance lovers a reason to rejoice. Wonderful international dance companies are showcased in the most beautiful setting in New York City! But, even if you know nothing about dance, it's worth checking out this festival as each night a selection of five dance troupes performs giving you the chance to discover that you're really a dance fan after all. Plus, the Statue of Liberty is in the background!

THE MUSIC PLAYS ON
Summer Concert 
(photo: Cory Weaver/Metropolitan Opera)
All throughout the summer there are wonderful, free outdoor concerts featuring all kinds of music, but this one lasts until Fall: 
SummerStage 
(www.summerstage.org; June thru Oct) This music fest has expanded beyond Rumsey Playfield in Central Park to 18 parks in all five boroughs. You'll hear cutting-edge music--everything from Indie to Afrobeat, Latin to Soul, Reggae to Fado, etc.--plus you'll see contemporary dance. All performances are free, except for benefit concerts. For jazz fans, there's the Charlie Parker Jazz Festival (Aug). 

THEATER AL FRESCO
Hudson Warehouse’s Shakespeare in Riverside Park
                           In the summertime in New York City, Shakespeare is king! The best-known offering is The Public Theater's Shakespeare in the Park (July thru Aug) at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park, but there are also some lesser-known productions such as Shakespeare in the Parking Lot, Shakespeare in Riverside Park & Shakespeare Downtown.

CINEMA SOIRÉES
Have a drive-in experience without a car! Check out all the lovely outdoor locations to watch movies under the stars in the middle of the city from Coney Island Flicks to Rooftop Films

THE GREAT OUTDOORS IN THE CITY
Governors Island
New York Harbor, www.govisland.com
Open: Daily, year-round; Ferry fee, but free on the weekends before noon.

Governors Island
This glorious getaway, just 5 minutes from Manhattan Island by ferry, was for many years a base for the US Army and Coast Guard. But, the Island has been transformed into an artsy recreational area with lots of interesting events. A wonderful way to get away while staying right in the city. (Here are some other great ways to stay cool while sightseeing: https://bit.ly/30Dqnzy)

Saturday, May 21, 2022

What’s New in Paris, France: Artsy & Cool Things To See & Do

By Jacquelin Carnegie
Bourse de Commerce
(photo: JCarnegie)

When it’s COVID-safe to venture out of the house again, you’ll be amazed at all the wonderful venues in Paris that have been created and/or renovated:
TREATS FOR FANS OF ART, ARCHITECTURE & HISTORY
Pinault Collection

Bourse de Commerce, 2 Rue de Viarmes; www.pinaultcollection.com
1st arrondissement, Metro: Rivoli or Les Halles (Closed Tuesdays; Fee)

The Pinault Collection is housed in the unbelievably-magnificent Bourse de Commerce, an 18th-century, glass-domed, round, neoclassical building, reminiscent of Rome’s Pantheon. It’s located in the center of Paris in the revamped Les Halles district, near the Pompidou Centre and the Louvre.
François Pinault--founder of the global luxury group Kering which includes Gucci, Yves Saint Laurent and Balenciaga, and the owner of Christie’s auction house—has been a passionate, contemporary art collector for more than 40 years. That collection is now 10,000 diverse works by some 400 artists, both emerging and well-known including Cy Twombly, Cindy Sherman, Damien Hirst, Kerry James Marshall, David Hammons, and Antonio Obá.
For the past 20 years, Pinault has wanted to establish a museum in Paris to share this impressive collection with the public. The Bourse de Commerce is the
Bourse de Commerce
(photo: JCarnegie)
perfect place. The building, a former commodities exchange, has been beautifully-renovated by the fantastic, Japanese architect Tadao Ando. The Bourse is an artwork in itself with its glorious rotunda and resplendent, glass cupola. Beneath the dome, restored, 19th-century frescoes depict global trade of the past (spices and slaves). This is in contrast to the “woke,” cutting-edge artworks in the galleries below, many by Black artists.
In addition to groovy paintings and sculptures, there’s a gallery dedicated to photography. On the top floor, there’s a ritzy restaurant, Halle aux Grains. If you can’t afford that, there’s a free “water maker” that even dispenses seltzer. Also at this spot, there are chairs and benches where you can recoup and a balcony from which to admire the rotunda below. In addition to the changing exhibits and artwork on display, there are concerts, films & lectures at the museum. Pinault, a self-made billionaire, is one high-school dropout with great taste!

Hôtel de la Marine
2 place de la Concorde; www.hotel-de-la-marine.paris
8th arrondissement, Metro: Concorde (Open: Daily, late-night Fridays; Fee)

Located on the Place de la Concorde, the newly-renovated Hôtel de la Marine (Palace of the Navy) is not only drop-dead gorgeous, it’s also really fun to visit thanks to the extremely-entertaining Audio-Guide.
(photo: Courtesy Hôtel de la Marine)

Originally built in the 18th century by King Louis XV’s top architect, Ange-Jacques Gabriel, it has been stunningly-renovated. The building was first the Garde-Meuble de la Couronne, the institution in charge of royal furnishings. Hence, there were storage areas, workshops for restorations and repairs, and a gallery, open to the public, that displayed the crown jewels and other finery. Also, the Intendant in charge, a prestigious position, had a lavish apartment here. First, Pierre-Elisabeth de Fontanieu (1767-84), then Marc-Antoine Thierry de Ville d’Avray (1784-92) lived in the palace.
During the French Revolution, the Naval ministry moved in and stayed for about 200 years. Thus, it became the Hôtel de la Marine. Now, the building’s original, magnificent decor by Jacques Gondouin has been restored to its former splendor by interior designers Joseph Achkar & Michel Charrière, along with some 200 fine craftsmen, under the auspices of the Centre des Monuments Nationaux.
(photo: Courtesy Hôtel de la Marine)

After all this painstaking-restoration work, the palace is open as a museum that takes you back to the Garde-Meuble glory days of the late 18th century when Intendant de Ville d’Avray was in residence. The playfully-amusing Audio-Guide, “The Confidant,” has the de Ville d’Avray’s maid and valet show you around the palace, pointing out important furnishings that they have to dust or fix, along with some tidbits of gossip. Even the master and mistress of the house chime in. It’s a wonderful way to learn about the history of this magnificent monument. Before leaving, be sure to step out on the “loggia,” the long balcony that overlooks the Place de la Concorde with a view of the Obelisk and the Eiffel Tower. Afterwards, if you need refreshments, there are two fancy restaurants, Café Lapérouse & Mimosa, in the lovely courtyard.

Musée Carnavalet
23 Rue de Sévigné; www.carnavalet.paris.fr
3rd arrondissement, Metro: Chemin Vert or Saint Paul (Closed Mondays; Free; fee for special exhibits)
(photo: Antoine Mercusot/Chatillon Architects)

After a major, five-year renovation, this fascinating history museum—that I’ve always encouraged people to visit (5 Not-To-Be-Missed Museums in Paris)—has finally reopened its doors. 
The Musée Carnavalet first opened in 1880 in a magnificent, 16th-century mansion in the Marais district. Over time, the museum expanded into the adjoining mansion and acquired thousands of artifacts, but it was never revamped since it opened. Now, Paris’ captivating history unfolds along the museum’s new, chronological layout: Prehistory, Antiquity and the Middle Ages; Paris from 1547 to the 18th Century; The French Revolution to the Early-19th Century; The Late-19th Century to Today.
Musée Carnavalet
(photo: Antoine Mercusot/Chatillon Architects)
Peek into gloriously-decorated Paris parlors of yore, walk into Art Nouveau designed shops of the past, and admire historical relics such as Voltaires writing chair and Marcel Proust’s famous cork-lined bedroom. All this plus everything from Marie-Antoinette’s shoe to a prehistoric canoe. For refreshments, a restaurant has been added, opening onto the glorious, courtyard gardens.

[Editor’s Note: Please keep in mind that during COVID, and for the foreseeable future, many places require: Proof of Vaccination, Masks, & Reservations &/or Tickets purchased in advance for a particular day/time and may be open on a reduced schedule.]

STYLISH SHOPPING & DINING
La Samaritaine
Rue du Pont Neuf/9 Rue de la Monnaie; www.dfs.com
1st arrondissement; Metro: Pont Neuf
(photo: JCarnegie)

Opened in 1870, La Samaritaine was a department store for the masses. Its slogan: “On trouve tout à la Samaritaine!” (One can find everything at La Samaritaine). But, due to a number of modern-day factors, it was forced to close in 2005. For almost 20 years, the beautiful, department store buildings, right on the Seine river by the Pont Neuf bridge, sat empty. Now, there’s good and bad news:
The luxury-goods conglomerate LVMH has renovated and preserved the store’s architecture and fabulous, Art Nouveau features and fixtures. But, now, its goods are only affordable to the ultra-wealthy. There’s a selection of women’s and men’s designer, fashion brands including accessories, jewelry and watches, top-of-the-line beauty products and perfumes, and items for the home. Also, Personal Shopping services and a spa as well as eateries and fancy-food shops.
(photo: JCarnegie)
 But, browsing is free! You can admire the stunning façade, then go to the top floor to swoon in front of the painstakingly-restored, iconic peacock fresco beneath the Art Nouveau glass roof. The Voyage restaurant is there, if you can afford it. If not, another option is a Guided Tour; find out more about La Samaritaine’s history and the stunning architecture for a nominal fee (in French & English).

Le Tout-Paris - Hotel Cheval Blanc Paris
8 Quai du Louvre; www.chevalblanc.com
1st arrondissement; Metro: Pont Neuf

Part of the former La Samaritaine store, facing the Seine river, has been converted into a 5-star hotel, Cheval Blanc Paris. LVMH selected French architect Édouard François to execute the makeover while American architect/designer Peter Marino handled the snazzy, interior design. There are 72 guest suites, a spa & swimming pool, and a few eateries. While most people will not be able to afford to stay here, you don’t have to be a hotel guest to enjoy a drink or a meal at the terrific Le Tout-Paris, on the top floor, with a great terrace and splendid views of “tout Paris” (all of Paris)! The kitchen is run by chef William Béquin and even the hot chocolate is the best you’ll ever taste.
Le Tout-Paris @wearecontents


GOOD TO KNOW
Visiting France during COVID: As you know by now, the COVID situation—as well as requirements for travel--is constantly changing. At the moment, visitors to France need to be vaccinated (& possibly also have a booster shot) to enter the country as well as bars, restaurants, museums & monuments, and public transportation. However, as of March 14, 2022, neither the “Pass Sanitaire” (Health Pass) nor the 
“Pass Vaccinal” (Vaccine Pass) will be required. Masks must still be worn on public transportation and at certain venues. Check the French Foreign Ministry’s site for all the latest, constantly-changing requirements. 
COVID Tests in France: Most pharmacies offer rapid-result, antigen tests without an appointment; results in about 15 minutes (Fee: currently around 25 Euros). PCR tests can be done at some pharmacies and clinics, but require an appointment; results in about 24 hours (Fee: currently around 50 Euros).