Stalking Louis Vuitton since 2006

Beijing, China, 2023

At the airport, on the day of departure, 7 March 2023, Beijing, China.
Text & Photo © CM Cordeiro 2023

There is almost no excuse anymore. I didn’t exactly chase down Louis Vuitton Maison Beijing that officially opened in Beijing China World Mall in Feb. of 2015. It is a beautiful flagship store designed by renowned architect Peter Marino. But, I did however, manage to capture this image, which made me really happy to have found Louis Vuitton, as I was on my way from Beijing back to Sweden, at the airport.

Louis Vuitton holds an endearing place in the hearts of many in China, where the luxury brand has lasted over 20 years. When in China, the conglomerate employs a multi-channel marketing approach that integrates digital and in-store services. It actively maintains a presence on several popular social media platforms such as Xiaohongshu, Douyin, Weibo, and Wechat. Leveraging these platforms to showcase its latest products, consumers are invited to new travel and luxury goods experiences. In acknowledgement that traditional retail stores continue to play a role in customer experiences, in 2022, LV decided to expand its physical footprint in China by launching new stores at Taiyang Taikoo Li in Chengdu and The Mixc in Fuzhou.

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Cradle of the sun, Castle Hill, Nice, France

On a walk up to Castle Hill, Nice, France.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro 2018

“Shall we go for a short walk?”, was the question that came just about before the 93m climb of a large limestone rock called Castle Hill in Nice, France. The walk was indeed short, but unfortunately more or less straight upwards.

Because it offers such spectacular views of Nice from sunrise to sunset, the place is romantically called ‘cradle of the sun’. I’ve been on walks before, but this vertical experience was challenging under the clear skied Mediterranean summer. Once at the top however, the panoramic views of the pebbly beach of Nice is priceless, on condition you’re not too out of breath or cross-eyed to view the scene after the climb.

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A walkabout Place Masséna, Nice, France

At the tram stop Masséna at Place Masséna, Nice, France.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro 2018

It was an evening’s walk around Place Masséna, that might be considered the heart of the city of Nice where most public transportation systems converge, then diverge into the city’s tributary streets. The city’s quintessential architecture, and its vibrance is literally reflected at Miroir d’Eau at the Promenade du Paillon where children run and dance around the water fountain display.

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A Côte d’Azur morning

Along the Promenade des Anglais, Nice, France.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro 2018

During the 19th century, the season for visiting Nice was during the winter months in northern Europe. Later in more modern times, the season extended to include also spring and summer. The most popular place is still the beachfront, where the old villas are located between Promenade des Anglais and Rue de France. With increased urbanization, the private villas have now been turned into hotels and museums. The beachfront today seems a favourite place for morning strolls, bicycle rides and workouts by the beach. The Mediterranean waters are pleasantly warm, even at hours just after sunrise.

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When in the Mediterranean, gelato

At Palais de Justice à Nice, France, with a double scoop serving of chocolat noir and pistache from oui jelato!
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro 2018

The last time I had gelato was at the Gothenburg annual culinary food fair, Passion för Mat 2018 held at Erikbergshallen in early March. I went back for seconds after an initial double scoop serving. If I had any deep preference for anything, it would be gelato over ice-cream. After an evening’s walkabout in the older part of the city of Nice, I was filled with glee that gelaterias were established in about a third (if not half) of the places designated for food and beverage. The abundance of crème glacée establishments set my culinary agenda for the next few days. As with my visit to Naples 2016, the mission is to gelato through the day.

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Stalking Louis Vuitton, Europe

22 Jun. 2016. Munich, Germany.
Cheryl Marie Cordeiro, Louis Vuitton,  München Residenzpost, Germany  2016.

Louis Vuitton, München Residenzpost, Germany 2016.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro 2016

– You know there’s nothing much in Munich if you’re not into beer guzzling or wurst eating.
– I could do pork knuckles.
– Schweinshaxe. No, you don’t.
– No, you’re right, I don’t. And stop swearing at me.

I thought Munich one of the prettiest most liveable cities I’ve thus far visited. From the chimes of the clock tower in the city centre that advise the time of day and task to accomplish before sundown to the historic cathedrals built around the old market square, Munich is anything but nothing much.

I didn’t need to look for it. I knew I would come across it just like so, an old friend along the street. And I did. The Louis Vuitton boutique located along Residenzstraße.

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Visiting Abbot Suger’s St. Denis: A visual language of light and architecture

Basilique Saint-Denis, Paris 2016

The choir of Saint-Denis, the birth place of Gothic architecture.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2016

It is generally thought that Gothic architecture was born when Abbot Suger (c.1081–1151) of the French Royal Abbey of Saint-Denis just north of Paris, undertook the renovation of the then Romanesque style structure of the Saint-Denis, the most sacred shrine in France. The work began in 1140 with the erection of a new western facade, and continued with a new choir at the eastern end, covering as he put it, the alpha and the omega, the beginning and the end of the basilica. Time did not let him see the new nave erected as he planned it but the foundation was laid. As the Saint-Denis Basilica Chatedral stands today what remains of Sugers work is the general appearance of the western fascade minus the northern tower, and the very important new choir at the eastern end. The nave is as he envisioned it but was built after his time. Most of the important glass windows was lost over the years or destroyed at the time of the French revolution at the end of the 18th century.

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The latent image

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Auguste Rodin, L’aurore (Camille Claudel) c.1885, Musée Rodin, Paris.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2016

Dionysius the Areopagite

Mystical Theology

Chapter II

How it is necessary to be united with and render praise to Him Who is the cause of all and above all. Unto this Darkness which is beyond Light we pray that we may come, and may attain unto vision through the loss of sight and knowledge, and that in ceasing thus to see or to know we may learn to know that which is beyond all perception and understanding (for this emptying of our faculties is true sight and knowledge), and that we may offer Him that transcends all things the praises of a transcendent hymnody, which we shall do by denying or removing all things that are like as men who, carving a statue out of marble, remove all the impediments that hinder the clear perceptive of the latent image and by this mere removal display the hidden statue itself in its hidden beauty. Continue reading “The latent image”

Une petite cheese shop spectaculaire, Paris 2016

Cheryl Marie Cordeiro, French cheeses, Paris 2016

Neatly tucked in between other more imposing shop facades along Rue de Grenelle, equally far away from Musée d’Orsay and Musée Rodin rests one of Paris’ many culinary gems, the Barthélemy cheese boutique, that carries more than 200 varieties of unique and hand crafted French cheeses.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2016

It is not possible to go to Paris and not step into the myriad small specialist culinary boutiques that cater to almost every whim or fancy. From cheese and wine to artisan chocolates, these boutiques are scattered over the city, making it possible to find your favourite merchant in almost every quarter of the cityscape.

Unawares of this scatterings of artisan boutiques, I had in fact, written down a few addresses of cheese boutiques that I wanted to visit in Paris. The other unawares of mine was that some of these small specialist shops in Paris tended to shut down for a mid-day break. The boutiques close at around Swedish lunch time and re-open at about Swedish after lunch fika time.

For a cheese enthusiast, this midi repos was nothing of a deterrent. I simply found a nearby café around the corner and indulged in my other enthusiast culinary staple – a local hot chocolat viennois.

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Musée d’Orsay: unbound by gilded frame

Cheryl Marie Cordeiro, Musée d'Orsay 2016

At the former restaurant of the Hôtel d’Orsay that serve traditional French cuisine.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2016

There is something about old train stations that takes me to another place, another time. Stepping into the Musée d’Orsay is like stepping into a circle of old friends, in continuance of a conversation of a different time period – which, reminds me of some lines from Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris – from 2011:

“Inez: You’re in love with a fantasy.
Gil: I’m in love with you.”

“Man Ray: A man in love with a woman from a different era. I see a photograph!
Luis Buñuel: I see a film!
Gil: I see insurmountable problem!
Salvador Dalí: I see rhinoceros!” Continue reading “Musée d’Orsay: unbound by gilded frame”

Un chocolat viennois s’il vous plaît

Cheryl Marie Cordeiro, Paris 2016 café culture

Marie. Starbucks, Paris.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2016

I had a list of maybe forty-two different restaurants and cafés that I wanted to visit when in Paris. But sometimes the idea of what you’d like to do when visiting a different city stifles the doing in itself. So the eatery list was placed aside and what was left were the serendipitous finds of round the corner cafés and restaurants, closest in proximity usually, to our other list – places of interest.

Paris has a rich café culture to offer, a total joy and treasure of the city.

Cheryl Marie Cordeiro, Paris 2016 café culture Continue reading “Un chocolat viennois s’il vous plaît”

The Opéra Garnier in Paris, France

Opera Garnier in Paris, France

The Paris Opera house, also known as Opéra de Paris or Opéra Garnier.
Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro-Nilsson 2009

If there is something that makes the French French, I think that is a certain spirit – they just don’t do boring. It’s in the fashion, women in skyscraper skinny stilettos in the Metro in the morning, their passion for life and, in their architecture. Take this Opera Garnier for example. It’s an orgy in marble and gilt, exudes a love of life and is a grand example of how to do things with panache!

Just consider that they started to plan this building with its surrealistic grandiosity less than half a century after the French Revolution in 1793, when Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette had been publicly beheaded because of their opulent life style.

The realization that there actually is an indoor lake under the basement make you half and half believe that there probably is a phantom somewhere in there too. All sets the stage in our minds for a great theatre play. You just need to step inside and the grand entrance staircase will within the blink of an eyelid place you in the spotlight, on stage in the theatre of life, cast as the star.

Top of the Opera Garnier or Palais Garnier in Paris, France

On the roof are sculptures of Apollo, Poetry and Music by Aimé Millet and Liberty by Charles Gumery.

The grandeur strikes you already when you set your eyes on it from across Place de l’Opéra. Above the golden frilly edge of the roof are statues of Apollo, ‘Poetry’ and ‘Music’. This is the ideal setting and one can think that Gaston Leroux’s Le Fantôme de l’Opéra (1909) must have basically written itself. This was also the story that was later adapted by Andrew Lloyd Webber to the musical, The Phantom of the Opera in 1986 and became one of Broadway’s longest running musicals of all time. I can’t even write the title without hearing the theme in my mind. Continue reading “The Opéra Garnier in Paris, France”

The Eiffel Tower in Paris by night in early spring

Under the Eiffel Tower, Paris, France

Under the Eiffel Tower at night in early spring in Paris, France.
Photo © Jan-Erik Nilsson for CMC, 2009

Considered by the French as a national embarassment and an architectural eyesore on French landscape when it was first erected in 1889, the Eiffel Tower is now one of the world’s most recognizable construction. Though not the highest lattice tower in the world, it could well be the most replicated structure of our time and you can find versions of it in countries such as China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Bulgaria, Romania, the USA and Denmark.

When it was suggested that I should visit the Eiffel Tower by night, I thought that rather a ludicrous idea – what could you possibly see at the Eiffel Tower at night?

But we were in Paris to do all things crazy and romantic, so why not.

It took less than ten minutes from where we were to get to the Eiffel Tower by taxi. When we got out, instead of pitch black deserted grounds as I had expected, we were greeted by crowds of people in vibrant, cheerful spirits. Tourists and Parisiens were there on excursion and you had local street vendors who sold everything from roses to stuffed plush toys, Eiffel Tower keychains and all sorts of sourvenirs they could wrap up under their generous woollen coats.

To my delight, the base of the Eiffel Tower was alive with activity and more than that, the crowd was basked in the warm orange glow of light emanating from the Eiffel Tower by night. And it was this warm glow of light that we found ourselves embraced in, as we walked to the entrance of the Eiffel Tower.

Cheryl Marie Cordeiro, looking up the belly of the Eiffel Tower, Paris, France

Myself, lying on a bench under the Eiffel Tower, looking straight up in to the belly of the trellised structure.

The visual journey and experience of the Eiffel Tower begins even before you get close to its ticketing entrance. The intricately latticed structure knocks the wind right out of your lungs just by you standing at the base, looking up. It’s as if you were looking up into the heart and core of this enormous construction of iron. The flickering lights by night made it look like the Eiffel Tower lived and breathed the very heartbeat of Paris and you’re at once entranced and puzzled by how soft and romantic a piece of metal structure can look.

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The mysterious ‘Notre Dame’ Cathedral in Chartres, France

The heart of Chartres, the Notre Dame Chartres Cathedral looms impressively over the town and is visible from miles along the plains of Beauce.

The entire landscape around the city of Chartres about 45 km south of Paris, is mostly flat agrarian countryside. Mile after mile of fertile soil made the foundation of wealth that went into the building of this Cathedral. From a distance, the Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Chartres seems to float among the clouds. This impossibly large structure strikes you as unlikely as Noah’s ark, just stranded on the mountains of Ararat.

The west facade of the Notre Dame in Chartres, a magnificent piece of mid 12th century high Gothic architecture. Its famous Portail Royal, completed about 1155, is currently under restoration. In this picture, the right (south) tower is the original, older, from about 1150. The higher, left (north) tower was rebuilt in 1513 after a fire.

The medieval charm of Chartres envelopes you as a warm cloak even as you approach the small town. The river Eure that runs through the town provides it with a picturesque backdrop and one is immediately taken in by the timbered architecture of the houses that line the cobbled streets, making them look almost right out of a Brothers Grimm fairytale.

At the heart of this city is the massive and striking Notre Dame Cathedral in its Gothic glory. From afar, the looming structure seems to float on clouds. It is only upon drawing closer that you realize that it sits quite solidly, on a hilltop, previously known as The Mound. Continue reading “The mysterious ‘Notre Dame’ Cathedral in Chartres, France”

Visiting the Rothschild vineyards in Bordeaux, 2008

Visiting Baron Philippe de Rothschild’s Vineyards in Bordeaux

The region of Bordeaux was legendary to me. I had heard of it long before I ever thought I would visit it. To me, Bordeaux was superior wines, it’s romantically undulating landscapes that the grapevines so needed to grow, the warm weather and the rustic lifestyle of grape harvesting and wine making.

Even though my knowledge of wines is limited to be able to recognize a good wine when I am served one, I expected to hit every single chateau in sight for some wine tasting, inspect all barrels of wines in different stages of aging and come away with much greater knowledge than before I set foot here.

It was such a disappointment then, that the day we had set out to explore Bordeaux, was a French national holiday weekend and all chateaus were closed!

With a sunken heart, we decided to travel around some and take a look at the vineyards and chateaus anyway, targeting one of our favourites, the Rothschild’s vineyards in the Médoc area just northwest of Bordeaux. Since the history of the Rothschild family, as well as the history of the vineyard and the wines all have approached mythical proportions, we decided this was worth doing even if there would be no one on grounds to meet.

A signpost leading the way to maybe the most famous of all vineyards in Bordeaux. The vineyards and chateaus are generally easy to find, following the signs.

The roads were tiny and winding slightly up and slightly down. They were also bare of any vehicles or crowds due to the holiday.
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Stirred, not shaken, in Monte Carlo

Cheryl Marie Cordeiro, Monaco, France 01

In the background, Le Grand Casino, Monte Carlo, Monaco.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, D Neikter-Nilsson, CM Cordeiro-Nilsson 2008

The kingdom of Monaco is stunningly famous despite its modest land area. Only 800 meters by 4.8 km (0.5 x 3 miles) it is the second smallest country in the world. The only state even smaller is the Vatican inside Rome. As such, you can walk clean through the country of Monaco almost without noticing that you’ve entered or left it. The country is however, fantastically scenic as it clings to the rocky, sometimes vertical slopes of the coast of the Mediterranean sea. One fifth of the entire city-state of Monaco is reclaimed from the sea and the main feature of this place is a very large harbour where the exceedingly rich who live here have their luxury yachts.
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The Cannes Film Festival beach

Cheryl Marie Cordeiro, Cannes beach 1 2008

As the beach was just 100m across La Croisette from our hotel,
it was only a matter of grabbing the towels and go!

Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro-Nilsson 2008

When in Cannes, there really isn’t much to do in this city except eat, shop and watch movies, so after a hearty breakfast buffet at the Majestic Barrière, we did what most people along the La Croisette were there to do; we went swimming!
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Hotel Majestic Barrière, Cannes

Cannes – City of dreams.
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The Hotel Majestic Barrière offers a splendid view across the La Croisette towards the Cannes Film Festival’s main building with its roof designed as a spacious helipad. To the left, is the beach where a bikini clad Brigitte Bardot introduced a new beach fashion to a whole world in the early 1950s. In the middle is the private entrance for artists to the festival building, right now leading into the Palais Club discotheque. Further out is the Port de Cannes where many large and comfortable private yachts are anchored.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro-Nilsson 2008

Once a year the city of Cannes becomes the focal point to all who hold any hope of making it into the fame and fortunes of the international movie industry, as it hosts the most important film festival in the world, the annual Festival de Cannes.
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Quiet? In St. Tropez, Côte d’Azur

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St. Tropez is characterised by narrow streets that lead straight to the Riviera front.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro-Nilsson 2008

Located on the French Riviera, the ancient town of Saint-Tropez is as beautiful in the day as it is in the night when the coastal stretch is lit in what seems like a mellow glow of romantic amber against the velvet navy of the ocean and night sky, nothing that reminds of its intriguing and turbulent history from the time of Nero and the Roman Empire.

Having somewhat been at the cross-roads of all sorts of trade and warfare, it was here in this town that was said that France had first contact with the Japanese in September of 1615, obliged to spend the time in St. Tropez due to bad weather conditions, when the Japanese were en route to Rome. Continue reading “Quiet? In St. Tropez, Côte d’Azur”