• Razing Hell

    In Provence, France’s highest court orders a showman to destroy his opulent $69 million faux Italianate palazzo There’s something of a “separated at birth” quality to Donald Trump and Patrick Diter. Both made their fortunes in real estate. Both have a brazen if not confrontational and litigious style. Both like their homes to be palatial, […]

  • You Lose-Lautrec! The famous artist’s family gets grifted out of the family château

    Nobody was more Parisian than Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, the painter who captured the color and sweat of turn-of-the-century Montmartre and its Moulin Rouge scene in a stripped-down working way, where you could taste the absinthe and choke on the Gauloises. Known as the quintessential Parisian rake, Toulouse-Lautrec was actually a transplant, born into an old […]

  • Off with Their Perks! – How “Penelopegate” sentenced a leading French pol to prison and shook the country’s ruling elite

    On May 14, 2011, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the managing director of the I.M.F. and then considered the front-runner in the 2012 French presidential election, was arrested in New York City for sexual assault and attempted rape of a chambermaid at the Sofitel hotel in Midtown. At the time, the French public was shocked, not just by […]

  • Is Paris Fuming? – Life in France during the nationwide strikes, now in their third month

    Although Sam Mendes’s 1917 debuted in Paris theaters January 15, I, like many of my friends here, have been reluctant to see it. We’re going through our own form of PTSD right now, and frankly anything involving tear gas and chaos, sirens and claustrophobia, isn’t something we need more of. When I moved to France […]

  • Fawlty Towers – The château that ate Provence

    If you make the windy drive up into the hills of Cannes at sunset, it’s hard not to think of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s description of the place: “The diffused magic of the hot sweet south … the soft-pawed night, and the ghostly wash of the Mediterranean far below.” Although it’s been almost a century now […]

  • Monsieur Mediocre – Now out in Paperback!

    A hilarious, candid account of what life in France is actually like, from a writer for Vanity Fair and GQ. Americans love to love Paris. We buy books about how the French parent, why French women don’t get fat, and how to be Parisian wherever you are. While our work hours increase every year, we […]

  • Gloria Vanderbilt: The last American aristocrat

    Heiress to one of the richest American dynasties, Gloria Vanderbilt has seen it all. Fame, fortune, love, and tragedy. JOHN VON SOTHEN retraces the destiny of the woman who inspired Breakfast at Tiffany’s and designer jeans, while harkening back to a lost age – when America once had royalty. There must have been a moment […]

  • Veronique Nichanian – Hermès’s Wizard of Oz

    The Wizard of Oz is never who you think he (or she) is. And inside Paris, the emerald city of fashion, behind a curtain in a fitting room, on the third floor above the famed Hermès store on rue Faubourg St. Honoré and rue Boissy d’Anglas, stands a petite brunette with dark bangs who’s been […]

  • The curious hanging Santas of Paris

    Recently, I’ve been having a hard time convincing my seven-year-old daughter Santa exists. She just saw High School Musical 2 at a sleepover “pajama party” last weekend and usually, if you’re old enough to appreciate the works of Zak Efron, chances are you’re not buying the Santa Claus myth anymore. And honestly, how could she? […]

  • My moleskin and moi

    My moleskin, that leather-bound notebook I used to write in, no longer inspires me – probably because everyone, it seems now, has one. I see mothers with Moleskins writing down the number of naps their kids take. Guys at the gym tote around Moleskins to mark down their reps. I even noticed my shrink taking […]