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Karen Walker’s art of cool travel

By Carolyn Enting

Karen Walker’s art of cool travel
Karen Walker has proved she has a nose for fragrance with the launch of her A, B, C Eau de Parfum trio. She also has a talent for sniffing out cool places to stay when she travels. We asked her where she stayed in France when she was working on her perfumes, and why.

Karen Walker is the queen of cool so naturally we wanted to know where she stayed when she was in the south of France working on her trio of fragrances A, B and C.

KW bottles

During the development of her new fragrances, which launched on April 15, Walker worked with French perfume house Charabot in Grasse, custodians of the craft of creating fragrances for hundreds of years.

Parfum web

“Years ago my friend Katie Lockhart told me that if I was ever near Nice I must go to St-Paul-de-Vence and stay at La Colombe d’Or so the choice of hotel was non-negotiable,” Walker says. “As soon as I knew we were going to Grasse I said we had to stay there.”

Hotel view for web

The small, family-owned hotel first opened in 1920 just outside the old city walls in the medieval town of St-Paul-de-Vence.

Hotel for web

“In the early 20th Century it was a favourite spot for many of the world’s greatest artists and they all paid in contra so the hotel’s overflowing with the most wonderful artwork by many of my favourites – a Miro above our table at dinner, a Picasso across the dining room, a Chagall just behind us, a Leger in the breakfast courtyard, a Calder by the pool. I could go on and on. There are literally hundreds and hundreds of works by my favourite artists there,” Walker says.

Below Karen Walker creative director Mikhail Gherman sits beside a portrait of Pablo Picasso.

Mikhail for web

“Add to that that the hotel is, of course, delightful and stunning, the food incredible, the setting unbeatable and the history and roll-call of the fabulous and famous who’ve stayed there beyond impressive,” says Walker. “What makes it all especially magical though is that it’s still family owned, intimate, non-corporate and completely genuine. The lady serving breakfast is also in a photograph, as a little girl, hanging out with Picasso around the family’s dining table. It’s not yet been knocked from its number one spot on my best hotels list. I’ll definitely be back there as soon as I can.”

Walker at hotel



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