The Expert - 11 Must-Visit Places in Paris and the South of France If You Love Art and Design
Jake's Musings

11 Must-Visit Places in Paris and the South of France If You Love Art and Design

Words by Jake Arnold
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Jenna Lyons and Jake Arnold; Photo by Jessica Romm Perez

There’s nothing quite like traveling with like-minded people.

My latest trip to France was born out of the need for rest and relaxation but also the desire to be inspired and reinvigorated. It all started with an invitation to Pierre Yovanovitch’s annual summer soirée at his château in Provence, which Jessica Romm Perez (our VP of partnerships and Domino’s editor-at-large) and I promptly accepted. Jenna Lyons also joined us—the three of us were so excited and enthusiastic about traveling to see art and design and eat great food. We just hung out and jumped in the ocean—it was such a special trip.

We kicked off the trip in Luberon in a small town called Lourmarin where we stayed at a lovely villa in a storybook setting. One of my favorite things about going to France is that it’s so affordable and authentic to stay at a farmhouse in a small village. You wake up and there’s no formal restaurant but someone brings you croissants and coffee. And it’s the best croissant you've ever had.

Pierre Yovanovitch's soirée at his castle in Provence was, of course, breathtaking. The level of detail everywhere was so inspiring. Every single room has its own personality: there was a hierarchy of doorways, like in most homes in France, where one room had a beautiful stone opening and the one next door was invisible and hidden in the wall. In the guest house, each bedroom door was painted a different color—it's almost like his house was designed out of conviction. And it inspired me to really push myself with my own projects.

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Pierre Yovanovitch's Château; Photo by Jessica Romm Perez

Saint Tropez is where we got to relax because the rest of the trip was “go go go.” Nearby Cap Ferrat and Saint-Paul-de-Vence were also high on my list of highlights: we visited La Colombe d'Or and the Matisse chapel. We eventually ended up in Paris, which we were going to cancel because we were having so much fun in the south, but it was the best way to end the trip. There was a crazy heatwave and when we got to the Jardin des Tuileries, there was no one there. It was a magical moment. My biggest takeaway is to travel not just with best friends, but also with peers and new people with fresh energy that enrich your experience.

I'm always in such a time crunch in Los Angeles and normally, I would have been constantly on my phone, but we were fully present in everything we were doing. Slowing down to look at the history of a place or create a narrative of how people lived was a huge breakthrough for me.

I'm currently renovating a turn-of-the-century Gilded Age-era estate in Southampton, and this trip inspired me to study the architectural vernacular and historical context in depth. I love working on projects in resort areas because they’re born out of nostalgia and the need for escapism. France is exactly what I needed to inform this sensibility of the slow life.

—Jake

Jake Arnold’s Little French Black Book

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Courtesy of Le Galinier

Provence and Côte d’Azur

Le Galinier, Lourmarin

This stunning farmhouse was in this little village with a charming farmer’s market across the street. The best part about being in Europe is not seeing the extravagant hotels, but being immersed in the culture with more pared-back experiences like this one.

La Maison Vime, Vallabrègues

Atelier Vime’s newly-opened emporium was incredible. The owners have a house next door and made our visit so worthwhile.

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Courtesy of Hôtel La Ponche

La Maison Vime; Photo by Jessica Romm Perez

La Réserve, Ramatuelle

We went to La Réserve for lunch one day and it was so fun: they have the best beach and restaurant, but it’s also chill and full of good energy.

Hôtel La Ponche, Saint Tropez

We had dinner in a room at Hôtel La Ponche with large windows that open up to the sea. It was amazing.

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Courtesy of Chapelle du Rosaire

La Colombe d'Or; Photo by Jessica Romm Perez

La Colombe d'Or, Saint Paul de Vence

My number one place from the whole trip was La Colombe d'Or. It was the most magical experience sitting in this hotel surrounded by all these incredible original works of art. The energy was very special.

Fondation Cab, Saint-Paul-de-Vence

You can actually stay in a Jean Prouvé-designed guest house here. The also foundation exhibits great contemporary and modernist art.

Chapelle du Rosaire, Vence

The Matisse chapel, which I didn't even know existed, was breathtaking. Matisse was commissioned to do it right before he died.

Paris

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Courtesy of Hôtel de la Marine

Château Voltaire, Place Vendôme

We stayed at the Voltaire in Paris, which was amazing and it's funny—I was skeptical about going because it’s an Instagram hotspot but it was a really good experience.

Hôtel de la Marine, Place de la Concorde

At the end of the Jardin des Tuileries is Hôtel de la Marine, built for Louis XV (not to be confused with a hotel you spend the night at). It now displays the restored 18th-century apartments of the King's Intendant. It was the most unbelievable place: so inspiring and absolute perfection.

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Jake Arnold at Pierre Augustine Rose; Photo by Jessica Romm Perez

Courtesy of Château Voltaire

Galerie Éric Philippe, Galerie Véro-Dodat

Éric Philippe who apparently has been in his gallery for 45 years and seeing his collection was so worthwhile. Plus, it’s in the most amazing passageway.

Phéromones, Saint-Ouen

We went to the Marché aux Puces with this incredible collector, Joseph Daaboul, or Pheromones on Instagram—and it was amazing because the market was technically closed, but he had opened up for us and it was really special because there was no one else there.

As told to Gabrielle Savoie.

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