Meeting at New York
It was in the streets of SOHO in New York that we first met to discuss Nicole and Charles’ Wedding Anniversary Project. They both live in Philadelphia and have come to meet me. It was the opportunity to eat in a restaurant fetish for the couple, a French restaurant la Mercerie where some American television stars also sometimes come to lunch.
1° Jour: Pétanque à Saint paul de Vence
Saint Paul de Vence is a typical Provencal village on the French Riviera close to Italy. Very touristic place, with small old streets with a lot of charm. Saint Paul de Vence is known as much for its numerous art galleries as for the millionaires’ villas that dot the hills of the village.
Our bride and groom had chosen this village to start the festivities. Traditional meals of the region such as Pissaladière (Pizza made with onions), Pastis (Alcohol made with aniseed) and Pétanque, games played with steel balls.
2° Plage Keller Antibes
Keller Beach is an institution in the French Riviera. Natural beach located at the tip of Cap d’Antibes on the wilderness classified site of the Baie de la Garoupe. Between its restaurants and its pontoons, Keller Beach is one of the most chic beaches of the French Riviera when it comes to celebrating an event such as a wedding or a birthday by the sea. A pontoon between sky and sea, a natural beach of fine sand, a luxurious place that coexists with the Yachts of billionaires, a high-end French cuisine.
Nicole and charles had chosen this place for their second day of festivities with their American friends who came mostly from New York and Philadelphia.
3° La chèvre D’or à EZE
The Château de la Chèvre d’Or is a luxury hotel-restaurant, located near the medieval city of Èze, in the Alpes-Maritimes. This village near Monaco is one of the most beautiful villages of the French Riviera. It overlooks the famous luxury wedding venues such as the Villa Rotschild Ephrussi or the famous palace of Saint Jean Cap Ferrat. It is here that our two lovers decided to celebrate their wedding anniversaries. The Restaurant de la chèvre d’or offers multiple terraces suspended above the sea. Tonight a jazz band will accompany us.
Nicole explain to us:
Charles and I were married 10 years ago in a beautiful English Renaissance Estate in West Chester, Pennsylvania. And it was perfect. Originally, I wanted to get married in France but we knew that many of the people who are very important to us would not be able to join us if we got married in France. So, secretly – or not so secretly – I’ve had this party for our 10 year anniversary up my sleeve for the last 10 years.
Charles is from Nice, France. Everything that makes Charles who he is is rooted in the South of France. We’ve been together for 15 years and we spend a lot of time in Nice with family and friends. It has become a fundamental part of me as well, and I became a French citizen a few years ago. We live in Philadelphia, and our life together is rooted here, but there is so much about Nice and our family and friends there and the time we spend there that defines us as well.
We both believe that the people who matter most to you in life, your family and your ‘chosen family’, should really know who you are, and we are open books when it comes to those we love the most. A good majority of the people we love most are the people who live here in Philadelphia, and close friends who are scattered around the world. So its a very peculiar feeling for us that those people who know us best, are not familiar with this huge part of us and of our life together.
This is why it was so important to us to throw an anniversary party in the South of France – to share this part of us with our closest family and friends and to bring everyone together – our friends in the States, Europe, and even as far as China.
The invitation to the party by Two Paperdolls was incredible and really set the tone for the party. Invitees received a beautiful white linen box, branded to mimic our favorite pastis, “Ricard” (Charles believes its sacrilegious to drink any other brand of pastis). The interior of the box was lined with a lemon print from traditional provencal tablecloths and napkins. Inside the box was a sleeve that presented the invitation and itinerary, and a set of two vintage pastis glasses which we painstakingly sourced from France – everyone got a different matching pair of glasses.
We planned a 4-day itinerary to share some of the things we like to do when we’re in Nice.
Charles’ family live in La Colle sur Loup – just outside of downtown Nice. Often on the day we arrive in Nice, after lunch at home, we head over to Café de la Place at the foot of the medieval village, St. Paul de Vence, for a pastis and to watch the old men play pétanque. So this was a natural way to welcome everyone – we reserved a bunch of tables at Café de la Place, drank pastis, snacked on pissadaliere and played pétanque.
We spend many of our days in the summer in Nice at the beach. We like to hop around to different beaches like Paloma in Saint Jean Cap Ferat, Belles Rives in Juan les Pins for lazy beach days broken up only by a long boozy lunch on the along Mediterranean. For the second day of festivities, we brought everyone for the day to Plage Keller in Antibes. We swam, drank rose, and had a leisurely lunch with beignets de fleurs de courgettes, fresh caught seafood, and little ravioli with truffle and artichoke cream.
Saturday, June 8th was the main event – a dinner party at La Chèvre D’Or. Charles works in hospitality and one of his very first jobs was there at this iconic hotel in Eze Village. The first time he brought me to Nice, he brought me there. Its just a magnificent and magical place and as long as I’ve imagined this party, I’ve imagined it there – there was never any other place to consider.
Entering through the gates at La Chèvre D’Or is an experience in and of itself – as you enter the gates of the property, you follow a path that leads to the most incredible gardens splayed over many levels and overlooking the mediterranean. We welcomed our guests with champagne in the garden. The most special thing about the hotel is the way the rooms are scattered throughout the medieval village. Glass of champagne in hand, we led everyone on a short celebratory walk through the village, with a guitarist following along. The walk ended with aperitif on the most spectacular stone terrace studded with lemon and olive trees (reminiscent of our riviera lemon covered invitation), overlooking the mediterranean coast and looking out onto the lower level terrace where dinner would be served.
After aperitif, we continued down onto the final terrace that juts out over the coast – we insisted upon having our dinner there where it felt like we were dining while floating over the sea. Traspiquet Quartet travelled all the way from Aix en Provence to play for us. Perched on a small terrace above us, they serenaded us all night with classic and modern jazz. We sat at candlelit tables lined with lemons and olive branches under strung lights and enjoyed a four-course meal complete with local wines, foie gras, supreme de vollaile roti, and the obligatory and decidedly unpasturized cheese course. Dessert was the pastry chef’s famous lemon dessert, ‘Vision d’un citron de pays’. Each person received a veritable “lemon” that was cut open to reveal layers of cake, cream, and curd.
The final day we invited everyone for a paella pool party at my mother-in-law’s house. She has a beautiful house with stunning mountain views and everyone came to hang out by the pool, recover from the night before, and eat paella.
It was all a dream.
hat by benoit missolin
white fingerless lace gloves by ann demeulemeester
dress by toteme
shoes by proenza schouler
lemon earrings by mercedes salazar
leopard swimmie by Agua de Coco
hat by Eugenie kim
sunnies by loewe
shell earrings by etro
Dress by Dolce & Gabbana
Pearl and PVC Shoes by Stella McCartney
earrings by Oscar de la Renta
makeup by Olga Lozitskaya
Charles’ white linen and silk suit by Canali
Charles’ shirt by Hugo Boss
Charles’ blue, white and red embroidered pocket square by Gucci
Charles’ red-knotted sneakers by Givenchy