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BUZZ: Le Maquis, Corsica & Le Dodin De Mark Singer, Paris
In hommage to her patron in a Montmartre bar, where Kitty Salini worked as a student, Madame Kitty (the name by which, to-day, she is known by le tout Corscia) decided to create a small hotel/restaurant on a plot of land owned by her father, a beachfront concept that has become a secret paradise.
Set in the hollow of a white sandy bay, surrounded by the Maquis (wild and fragrant scrubland) the air perfumed with herbs, 63-years later, Le Maquis has a luxury 5-star rating. Should you wish to ignore the warm turquoise sea, there are large outdoor and indoor pools. Throughout the hotel mini-boutiques showcase talented local designers and jewellers, the tiny spa uses Corsican wild flower products.
A walk through the hotel is the fascinating record of an authentic Corsican family. Rooms and suites are punctuated with antiques, some of the bathrooms have jacuzzis. All have wide terraces the better to appreciate the Mediterranean panorama and the Sanguinaires Islands opposite.
Book a helicopter or boat tour, both collect from the hotel. Jet ski, 4 x 4 or quad bike trips are easily arranged with a guide. How about a visit to Bonaparte's house? Lunch on a deserted beach? Chez Eric's just the place, no shoes required. Or visit Le Domaine de Saparella where locals Julien and Laetitia Peretti have 400 hectares of private land between sea, beach and mountains, they're waiting to give you a modern Robinson Crusoe experience. Visit their website or call them on 06 03 35 76 15. In these locations you'll understand why Corsica is called the “Ile de Beauté”.
Returning to Le Maquis enjoy the peace and tranquility of L'Arbousier terrace restaurant where chef des cuisines Gérard Lorenzini suggests his “local flavours of the day menu” (80€) paired with white, red or rosé local wines. Nicolas Stromboni Meilleur Caviste de France 2011 gives wine tastings in the rose garden.
Lunch and dinner is a taste of Corsica. Cannelloni au bruccio (local cheese) et saveurs de menthe. Catch of the day from fisherman Eric Costa, parfum de fenouil sauvage, simply drizzled with local olive oil, herbs and tapenade. Civet de sanglier au Capitoro, dauphinoise potatoes. Corsican cheeses from Mmes Rogliano & Casalta, and Biscuit Bonaparte, Reinettes de Bastelica, glace vanille.
“We live and die in the midst of marvels”. Napoleon Bonaparte.
Hotel Le Maquis,
Chateaux & Hotels Collection,
BP 94 – 20166
Porticcio, Corsica, France
T: + 33 4 95 25 05 55
Heli-pad, Tennis, Fishing etc.
19 rooms – 7 suites of which there are
Doubles from 180/1750€ + breakfast 28€
Meanwhile, back in Paris, Mark Singer and his wife Dominique have transformed Le Petit Colombier, former haven for game, a short walk from the Arc de Triomphe, into, well, a triumph!
Mark, from Philadelphia, and ze very French Dominique work in perfect tandem. The newly decorated walls are punctuated with Dominique's beautiful photographs. Upstairs there's three sumptuous salles great for cocktail parties, weddings, barmitzvahs. And do check out the loo, monument historique.
You'll remember chef's talent from Dodin- Bouffant, after which his restaurant is named, as well as Les Caves Gourmandes (which he took over from Eric Frechon) and Les Glenats. Jean-Luc Petitrenaud was there last week with Christian Constant and the former proprietor Bernard Fournier has given Dodin his seal of approval. So no worries about the game, but you'll have to wait until the autumn for that.
“There's no signature dish, my menu's based around the seasons”, says chef Singer who came to France with his parents when he was 10. “My mother influenced my choice of career”, he admits.”A great fan of Julia Child so, together we would make her recipes”, he recalls.
Le Dodin de Mark Singer
42 rue des Acacias, 17th
T: 01 43 80 28 54
Dinner A La Carte about 35-60€ + wine
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