Le Collectionist's source of inspiration Luxury vacation rentals with hotel-like services and a local private concierge.
In the early morning, as he set foot on the Kenyan soil, at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi, Le Collectionist lets himself wrapped by the heat already exceeding 104 °F. But he won’t stay in the capital. From the small Nairobi-Wilson airport, our hero must take a private plane that will take him to the southwest of the country, in the Maasai Mara National Reserve, one of the world’s largest in the world. Listed as a humanity heritage, this unspoiled territory is named after the legendary Maasai, an ethnic group of farmers and semi-nomadic warriors, brave and proud, who continues to live with wild animal’s life.
Suddenly, Le Collectionist understands the exact reason for such a journey: a huge land of rolling savannah on which meanders the legendary Mara river. Far away, herds of thousands of zebras and wildebeest abscond due to the heavy sound from the little place. We are in June and our traveler came to those legendary lands to contemplate a unique event: the Great Migration. Enchanting spectacle that those of whole herds of zebras, Thomson's gazelle, wildebeests leaving the Serengeti park, in Tanzania, to gather together on the river Mara banks. Wildlife lover, Le Collectionist has promised himself to meet the famous "big five" that are buffalo, rhinoceros, elephant, lion and leopard.
Our adventurer stays at the Damaris domain, a huge raw wood villa overlooking the verdant stretch. A taste of adventure, admittedly, but amazing when you can have from the terraces such a unique spectacle in a highly diverse ecosystem: savannah, steep mountains and forests where hundreds of bird species scream their eternal melodies.
Night falls on the golden savannas. The setting sun illuminates, in a gentle brightness, the peaceable moment that our hero and his friends are sharing as if in a dream. Le Collectionist begins to appreciate the first images of a stay worthy of the famous Sydney Pollack’s movie, "Out of Africa". The lion’s roar in the middle of the night gives his finishing touch to the picture. And as Ernest Hemingway says in “Green Hills of Africa”, it seems to him like “it was a country where one went out as if in a dream, happy to have dreamed and, to see if it was going to disappear, I held out my hand…”
Summer is slowly showing off and Le Collectionist has only one destination in mind. As usual, he decides to spend a few days in the charmy village of Saint-Tropez. Known for hosting travelers from around the world, Saint Tropez’s bay has no secret to our aesthete. Le Collectionist arrives at a time when the sun just started to brush against the Tropezians. Moored to the port he enjoys, still amazed, the stunning view on the little fishermen village.
Prerequisite of the seaside town, Le Collectionist chooses to stop at the café Le Gorille Ô Soleil, for an ideal breakfast and relishes, filled, his espresso, in the middle of the crowd came to enjoy the scenery and the summer heat.
Then, his adventure leads him to the Club 55 on the Pampelonne beach. The reminiscences of the humble beginnings of this Eldorado come to his mind. Indeed, this tryst place, which was once composed by three shacks, bereft of water and electricity was the promised land of the De Colmont family, that run aground the beach on a mistral day. Struck by the beauty of the place, the patriarch decided to acquire the piece of land, made famous by the shooting of the Roger Vadim’s movie "Et Dieu…créa la femme” in 1956.
In a relaxed atmosphere, he settled on a sunbathing enjoying both an invaluable discretion and an idyllic view over the Mediterranean Sea. After some breaststrokes in the turquoise waters, our epicurean offers himself the exceptional flavors of a bream accompanied by a glass of Minervois.
The sun tickling his face, Le Collectionist decides to make a stop at Truffaux, located in the village of Saint-Tropez. With his valuable panama combining know-how and modernity, he walks along the port blending into the crowd of tourists and regulars. Who knows? His long ride may one day lead him to the Madrague, to the good memories of Miss Béjo our goddess of fire.
But now, the time has come for the sun to reach his bed, inviting Le Collectionist to sit on the terrace of the Bar du Sube and its authentic style. Our sybarite, rapt with wonder, assist at the spectacle offered by this unique sunset while sipping his cocktail Saint-Germain. By his side, stands the majestic statue Pierre André de Suffren, cast in artillery pieces taken from the enemy.
In the evening, Le Collectionist continues his trip in the mesmerizing surroundings of Les Viviers du Pilon, comfortably contemplating the Gulf of Saint-Tropez. He willingly devoted himself to the stimulation of his taste buds through the long but delicious gastronomic journey he is about to undertake.
Finally, to end the evening on a more festive note, Le Collectionist rushes into the bewitching atmosphere of the White 1921 bar-lounge, located on the mythical place des Lices, whose name refers to the period of construction of the little mansion.
After dark, Le Collectionist plans, serene, his next day’s program: at daybreak, at the villa L’Escalet where he sojourns, he will rejuvenate by the sea before heading to the Annonciade museum where graze the works of Matisse, Derain and Albert Marquet. He will then go to Sénequier where he will taste the specialty of the house, the nougat, whose recipe is jealously preserved from the Place aux Herbes’ workshop.
The blue sky …. the powder snow which covers the white slopes of Mont Grand-Fonds which is a station settled in the city Malbaie in Quebec. In the distance, a myriad of trees hangs on to the massif of Charlevoix, adding a harmony of purple and gold to this already so majestic whole. As soon as winter is coming, this region is regularly rewarded by a white gold bed which is a treasure offered by the nature and so often aspired by ski enthusiasts. Today, on the station located on the black mountain, the Collectionist puts his ski on in order to slither down some of the 18 slopes
Our skier uses a descent to notice in the distance the mythical river Saint-Laurent. For a while, this natural wonder, which is called Hochelaga – « The walking way » – by Amerindians people, was used by fantastic characters. Famous explorers stopped there such as Jacques Cartier who took possession of the river on behalf of the King of France François 1er and to whom this official discovery is attributed.
While zigzagging on the slope «of birches» our slalom skier joins a delightful wooden chalet to find his friends there. The gourganes soup with braised pork on rices and vegetables is a good reason to enjoy the splendor of the snowy landscapes for an hour. But we must unfortunately go. "The mountainside of the Lynx", laid out in an opened forest, receives it in a thick snow-covered topcoat, alloying pleasure of eyes and at the same time pleasure of gliding. We shove not at all in snowy and lighted paths. It is only under the declining sun that Collectionist decides to join the Orignal chalet, hidden in the middle of a dense forest of conifers. His day ends while he is coiling up in a couch next to the fireplace and savoring plates and this delicious “ice wine” with his friends.
By raising the head, the Collectionist’s look clings to the huge foliation of “renalias” such as roots which are rising to 40 meters towards cerulean sky. This specimen of baobab – "l’Adansonia grandidieri”- is settled in Madagascar, which is called “Red Island”. Bewitched by this exceptional natural diversity of this island, our explorer decides to do a stopover in order to visit Maramba, “Malgasy Along bay”. A long journey is in perspective. After landing in Nosy Be, he boards with a private jet, on a sailing boat during two navigated days to this magical bay.
During this crossing, the coast shows an unique decor where everything seems precious: mysterious limestone formations gush out clear waters; a series of wild beaches compare with preserved coves for beauty, copper-coloured and luminous baobabs as well as pachypodiums come up majestically from strange coral formations. Facing the beauty of landscapes such as the bay of the Russians, Radama islands, formed by four islets and the island of NosyLava, the yachtsmen are silent and moved silence invades the sailing boat. Only the birds’ songs and the noise of Lemurs, jumping from tree to tree, disturb this unique moment. While the boeat is cleaving the waves, the multicolor Moramba bay shows off under the sunset. “Many” who is the places guardian welcomes them with a huge grin and a Meal based on fish of the day – white tuna, mérou, shrimps – on manioc, on rices coke, on yams and chips of plantain cooked around the fire. In the soft light of fire, the cheerful team organises three next days which will be dedicated to the discovery of a big diversity of landscapes.
Our Collectionist discovers, the days following, humid and sandy mangroves which alternate with a dry vegetation, a forest of baobabs, of palms or a forest of ravenalas called "tree of the passenger». Exceptional sanctuary of an endemic fauna and of a flora, the malagasy land gives him its natural resources such as white sandy beaches edged with a cameo of turquoise waters which are the nicest finery. The stay ends by an exceptional diving in a roofless aquarium which the outstanding decor is reanimated by one farandole of multicoloured fish.. Lute turtles, roguish fishs, worrying sharks of reefs, and Mantas and mobulas fish come to twirl around Collectionist. So, he will extend his stay in the home Volana which rises at the edge of a private beach, on the bay of Moramba.
Light is shining on the vineyards, olive trees’ and rosemary’ fields, letting us foresee various nuances which are scattered over the Provencal landscapes. Besides those views enthralled several painters such as Cézanne or Van Gogh. Le Collectionist cuts across Provencal streets in order to discover those typical landscapes as an olive grove interspersed with colored flowers, huge limestone white rocks in which a small oscillated lizards shelter, and finally green valleys swept by a hot wind. Dazzling panoramas pass through our traveler’s eyes. The natural park of the Alpilles, which is the backdrop of Daudet’s tasty stories, still has and always will carry magic legends …
Le Collectionist becomes imbued with this geological splendor, such as some artists did with small villages in mountains. Hanging out on one of the Europe oldest archeological site called Glanum, the town of Saint-Rémy-de-Provence is plunged into magical atmosphere. While our explorer is going for a walk in the typical streets of the Alpilles’ little capital Provencal city, he turns the pages of a history which comes to life at every monument he meets: at the church Saint-Martin with his Gothic bell tower; at the fountain of Michel de Nostredame – Nostradamus was a doctor and astrologer born in Saint-Rémy at the beginning of the 16th century – at the Romance Saint-Paul-De-Mausole monastery where the artistic madness of Van Gogh was sheltered at Jules's mausoleum or at the triumphal arch of Glanum.
Puzzled with those pictures, Le Collectionist is going to seat down under a hundred-year-old plane tree in the luminous sun shade. Considering the multicolored expanse which is crowned by a crest of grey rock, he starts thinking of Frédéric Mistral, who described the Alpilles as “a belvedere of glory and legends”. This is how he ends his day, by allow going to an insidious languor in which all the surprising tale of aged myths is focused.