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Posts tagged ‘Luxury’

The Sicily Series | Part III – Taormina Town

From the dusty, bustling and chaotic streets of Catania, we moved upwards and outwards along Sicily’s Eastern Coast to the popular tourist town of Taormina. Situated in a delightful apartment by the sea, which benefitted from both an extensive green garden, full of lizards and ferns, and an incredible sea view over the beach of Mazzaró, we were only metres from the cable car station which led us straight to Taormina, perched upon its rocky heights. There was something about the quaint little cable cars which took us up from the coast to this ancient town which reminded very heavily of the set-up in Capri, and indeed the town of Taormina also had something of the Capri style about it.

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While the popularity of the town of Taormina has very much hinged upon the presence of its stunning Greek theatre and its dramatic Etna backdrop (more about that next time), no doubt the heritage of having taken its rightful place as a stop on the Grand Tours of old has contributed to the somewhat classy breed of tourism which characterises Taormina today. Of course you’ll see the odd inappropriately vested tourist ambling along the salubrious Corso Umberto, but you’ll also notice that he looks out of place. For today’s Taormina is a town of quaint old streets and pricey boutiques, of people-watching cafes and streets adorned with fountains and churches and marbled pavements. In short, everything that in combination makes for my favourite kind of holiday destination.

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So the town of Taormina very quickly became our favourite Sicilian haunt, to enjoy an Aperol Spritz, to listen to the many street musicians frequently assembled, to watch as the milky afternoon sunshine bounced of glittering carts serving gelato and granita di limone, and to admire the breathtaking views which offered a vista across the long Eastern coast, sprawling hillsides and of course the mighty silhouette of Etna beyond. The photos on this page offer something of the wonderful atmosphere of Taormina. A place to see, and to be seen in.

© Nicholas de Lacy-Brown and The Daily Norm, 2001-2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of the material, whether written work, photography or artwork, included within The Daily Norm without express and written permission from The Daily Norm’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. 

The Honeymoon Chronicles, Part IV: Cannes

Cannes. The very name inspires a thousand tales of glitzy summer nights spent alongside yachts overbrimming with champagne, of film festivals with the stars, and dining in the famous Carlton Hotel alongside the palm-fringed parasol-filled beach of the French Riviera. Having long soaked up the reputation of this celebrity hot-spot, we could not resist the temptation to pay a visit to the city, staying as we were mere kilometres away. And while our visit there involved several rather unenviable encounters with the feral French roads and the even worse drivers impersonating something akin to driving upon them, we were excited to arrive in this much reputed city, filled as it was with all of the thrills and frills of the high life.

Cannes sur la plage

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The sophisticated life which brand-Cannes sells was obvious as soon as we arrived. Ladurée macarons sat alongside Dior which in turn neighboured Chanel, which faced Lacoste. Walking onto the beach, the famous domed silhouette of the Carlton Hotel glimmered in the haze of summertime heat, and beyond a rather grotesque film festival cinema building, the charming old town stood quaintly alongside a luxury harbour glimmering in the sunshine.

In the old town restaurants, prices were commensurate with the reputation of the city, and in the shops one quickly got the impression that a lack of money was not easily tolerated in this playground of the rich and famous. So very French Riviera, so very Cannes.

Old town Cannes

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For us, it was a day of mixed emotions. We were charmed by the old town, with its pastel colours, soap-filled souvenir shops and a little church nestled upon a hill overlooking the luxury liners below. We were equally enamoured by the Carlton Hotel, or the outside at least, which we gazed upon with a knowing nostalgia as we remembered scenes of Grace Kelly and Cary Grant from our favourite Hitchcock film, To Catch a Thief. 

But beyond these charms, the town was altogether too developed and too busy to be truly admired. True luxury comes from exclusivity, and the exclusivity of Cannes felt superficially imposed by its prices, rather than by the inaccessibility or unspoilt beauty of its location. Rather it was a location spoilt by development, by tourism, and by the ravages of money… the charms of Grace Kelly and the golden age of Hollywood seemed very lacking here. True, with money, Cannes might have its illusions still, but for those with less, being shut out on the outside is less fun. There simply isn’t enough beauty there to keep you enchanted for free.

The famous Carlton

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All photos and written content are strictly the copyright of Nicholas de Lacy-Brown © 2015 and The Daily Norm. All rights are reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of the material, whether written work, photography or artwork, included within The Daily Norm without express and written permission from The Daily Norm’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.