Château Vaux-le-Vicomte_reviving charm

Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte

Before traveling home from San Francisco we were able to spend some time in one of the airport lounges before boarding our flight. To help pass the time I grabbed a couple of newspapers to read, including the French newspaper Le Figaro. The front page immediately caught my eye with an article about the French Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte, the largest privately owned chateau in France. If you plan to visit France, the chateau is an easy day trip from Paris.

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I don’t actually read French but I was able to gather a little from the article…

The current owner, Count Patrice de Vogüé, received Vaux-le-Vicomte as a wedding gift in 1967. After they were married, Count Patrice de Vogüé and his wife Countess Cristina (seen below) vowed to open the château to the public. They made good on that promise a year later by opening it up to the public in 1968. This month marks the 50th anniversary of Vaux-le-Vicomte being open to the masses. What a wonderful milestone and gift to all that enter its gates.

Vaux-le-Vicomte is “a masterpiece of classical art, the apogee of grandeur and refinement ….”. –Count Patrice de Vogüé

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Vaux-le-Vicomte was originally built in the mid-1600’s by Nicolas Fouquet, who served as a chief financial officer to King Louis XIV. Upon its completion, Fouquet held a lavish party at his new château and invited the King to attend. (Who wouldn’t want to host a party here?!) Unfortunately, bringing much attention to himself and Vaux-le-Vicomte backfired because one of the King’s advisor’s felt that Fouquet had certainly been embezzling money to finance his new estate. Fouquet was sent to prison and the King eventually seized the property. Ten years after Fouquet’s imprisonment, Madame Fouque was able to gain back control of the property but eventually sold it in 1705 after the death of her husband and son.  There were a series of owners after that but in 1875 after 35 years of much neglect, the current family purchased it through auction. As mentioned previously, the property is now owned by Patrice and Cristina de Vogüé, the Count and Countess de Vogüé with their three sons (shown below) helping with the continued administration of this grand estate.

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The Château is surrounded by a moat and beautiful French gardens. It is said that Vaux-le-Vicomte was the actually the inspiration for the construction of Versailles.

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Vaux-le-Vicomte plays host to many events throughout the year including an Easter egg hunt and celebration for both kids and adults. Can you imagine how fun that would be!!??

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During a portion of the year, an array of 2,000 candles are lit for you to enjoy the gardens at night. Firework displays are also displayed.

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Check out this article by Sotheby’s to learn more about Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte, it’s history, and is restoration. The official Vaux-le-Vicomte website can be viewed here. 

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Spring Has Arrived

Today officially marks the first day of Spring. Happy Spring! I have been eagerly awaiting Spring because one of my main goals this season is to tackle the design of our small backyard garden. Mr. B and I opted to tackle the project ourselves (what are we getting ourselves into?) by planting a new row of privet to create a nice tall hedge and star jasmine as a pathway border. A simple, low maintenance green and white garden is what I’m going after. I am also looking to accentuate this area with a new garden bench. Do you have any great resources for garden furniture and accessories?

In the meantime, I am loving the New Orleans garden of the aunt of Jane Scott Hodges who is the owner of Leontine Linens. More of the garden can be seen here on Bettie Bearden Pardee’s website, Private Newport.

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I love spring anywhere, but if I could choose I would always greet it in a garden. –Ruth Stout

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I am also looking forward to all the beautiful flowers that will be in bloom this season. I was hoping to plant more in the garden for the purpose of having my own cutting garden but, frankly, it seems like too much of a commitment. Instead, my goal is to visit the farmer’s market more often to pick up more fresh flowers. The arrangement below is stunning, isn’t it?

What are your goals this season?

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The Inner Circle

I’ve been doing a lot of research about garden design since Mr. and I have decided to tackle some new gardening projects in our backyard. When I retire I could easily see myself spending more time outdoors tending to the bounties of nature but for now I need something pretty and very low maintenance. In my research I came across a small garden designed by London based landscaper Karen Rogers. Her client lives in an urban London setting and was desiring a garden that would provide privacy from the street and surrounding neighbors, provide seating for 6, and serve as a beautiful space to have coffee in the morning. As a result, Karen Rogers created this beautiful courtyard garden that stopped me in my tracks. The circular courtyard incorporates a lovely sunken outdoor dining space. I can only imagine that sitting at the table would make you feel completely enveloped by nature and make you forget that you’re actually in the middle of the city. Oh, to be able to relax in that inner circle…

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Tribute to Hubert de Givenchy

It was with great sadness today that the House of Givenchy reported the passing of its founder Count Hubert de Givenchy, a major influence in the world of fashion with an enviable career that spanned decades. He was an aristocrat (literally) of the fashion industry. He was 91. home of Hubert de Givenchy_reviving charm blog 2

He lived in a 16th-century castle known as Manoir du Jonchet, located approximately 80 miles from Paris, that he purchased in the 1970’s. He restored and furnished it in such a way that makes a castle feel cozy. It feels very much like a home that is actually livable as opposed to feeling like a place where you’re afraid to sit on the chairs. Manoir du Jonchet even included pieces designed by artisan Diego Giacometti, which were auctioned off earlier this month at Christie’s (by the way lots realized over $32 million). In honor of Mr. Givenchy, let’s take a look at Manoir du Jonche, the place he called home.home of Hubert de Givenchy_reviving charm blog 3home of Hubert de Givenchy_reviving charm blog 4ahome of Hubert de Givenchy_reviving charm blog 4home of Hubert de Givenchy_reviving charm blog 4chome of Hubert de Givenchy_reviving charm blog 6home of Hubert de Givenchy_reviving charm blog 1home of Hubert de Givenchy_reviving charm blog 8home of Hubert de Givenchy_reviving charm blog 7home of Hubert de Givenchy_reviving charm bloghome of Hubert de Givenchy_reviving charm blog 2ahome of Hubert de Givenchy_reviving charm 2home of Hubert de Givenchy_reviving charm blog 5

Images via Christie’s and Vanity Fair (Spanish version).

knowlton farms on Reviving Charm

THE CHARM OF KNOWLTON FARMS VINEYARD & ESTATE

The recent California fires, particularly those in Northern California, devastated entire regions. A friend of mine told me a story of their friends who were looking for a vacation home in the Napa area and found one that they were considering to buy. They left town and just a few days later they learned that the home they were thinking of purchasing had burned down. They were lucky, but many were not. The fires caused loss and injury. Many people were displaced and stories of price gouging for rental housing in an area hit hard by the fires started to emerge. While some people took advantage of the situation, others decided to do a good deed. One such person was the owner of Knowlton Farms Vineyard & Estate located in Sebastopol, California, who rented the homes on his 6+ acre property to first responders for free or at a heavily discounted rate. The owner has since decided to sell the property because he wishes to move to New York City and doesn’t want the responsibility of managing the property from the east coast. The owner purchased the property 15 years ago and has done several additions and updates. He’s also leaving everything behind, including the kitchen plates! All you need is to do is pack your bags and for $5.25 million, the property could be yours. Considering the amount of land and number of structures on the property, and the fact that it’s California real estate (i.e. never affordable) it actually seems like a fair price. The official listing is here. 

Be warned…there are lots of pictures in this post so grab a cup of coffee, tea, or your favorite beverage and enjoy…

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The Guest House

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Savoring Fall

I am so happy that the weather is changing here in Southern California and it’s finally starting to feel like Fall. I’ve been able to break out the coats this week and I look forward to layering and wearing thick, warm scarves. I’m heading out to San Francisco with Mr. B this weekend so I’ll definitely be needing the warmer clothing. While in San Francisco we plan to use some of our time to go shopping. I’m really lucky that I have a husband who loves to shop as much as I do, although that can be a dangerous thing! I am hoping to find a few new things to update my Fall and Winter wardrobe but we’ll also be shopping for Christmas gifts. As the saying goes, “One for you…two for me…”.  I say it every year, and I’ll say it again…Fall is one of my favorite seasons and I savor every moment of it. Happy Fall! fall tablescape thanksgiving_reviving charmthanksgiving menufall leaves_Reviving Charmfall branches decor_reviving charmsilverware with ribbon tablescapefall landscape_reviving charmgrateful quotes inspiration_reviving charmsilverware 1apple tart_reviving charmDecorative holiday wreath made of feathers and pine needles.fall door_reviving charmfall colors centerpiece_reviving charmclassic cars_Reviving Charmfall vignette_reviving charm

Villa Astor in Sorrento

Ciao from Italia! Mr. B and I are still traveling around Italy and although we’re actually in northern Italy at the moment (Lake Como, to be exact), I couldn’t help but share the beautiful Villa Astor located in Southern Italy. The property is probably one of the finest in Sorrento perched high above the Bay of Naples looking out toward Mount Vesuvius. The neoclassical structure was originally built by the late William Waldorf Astor, a diplomat (former Ambassador to Rome), developer (including New York’s famed Waldorf Astoria Hotel), and financier. Astor passed away in the early 1900’s and the home was then passed onto the Italian government. In the 1970s the home was purchased by shipping tycoon Mario Pane and his wife Rita. They held onto it for more than three decades before selling it in 2012. The new owners completely renovated the property in 2016 and hired famed French designer Jacques Garcia to renovate the interiors. The property is breathtaking and the renovations were documented in the book “Villa Astor: Paradise Restored on the Amalfi Coast” published earlier this year. The book also contains a foreword by Lord Astor of Hever, William Waldorf Astor’s great-grandson. For today let’s enjoy a bit of the beautiful Villa Astor. The current owners will actually rent it and if money is no object you might consider renting it to call it your own for a few nights. Just remember that if you decide to rent it, you must allow me to tag along!

The White Garden at Kensington Palace

Princess Diana resided in Kensington Palace for 15 years during her marriage to Charles, Prince of Wales. During her time at Kensington, one area of the grounds that gave her much joy is known as the Sunken Garden. She was known to often stroll through this area to admire the garden and chat with the gardeners. This past Thursday marked the 20th anniversary of Princess Diana’s death. And as a special tribute to Diana, the Sunken Garden was transformed into a beautiful “White Garden” that opened to the public beginning in May 2017. The Sunken Garden was intended to be viewed as a complete picture from the surrounding “Cradle Walk”, so access into this area is typically off limits. However, the gates are open to the public through the end of this month to coincide with a temporary exhibit inside the Palace known as “Diana: Her Fashion Story” displaying some of Diana’s most memorable outfits. The plant scheme was inspired by colors and textures of Diana’s wardrobe as she often wore shades of cream and white. As a result, over 12,000 bulbs were hand planted last fall to create an stunning show of nature with flowers to be freshened up throughout the Spring and Summer seasons. While the White Garden is scheduled to be open only through the end of this month, it is a lovely tribute to the People’s Princess.

If you would like to add an array of beautiful white flowers to your own garden, be sure to view and print the official White Garden planting list.
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A California Hidden Gem: Grand Tradition Estate & Garden

I’ve been doing a lot of research lately for several trips in my future and I am specifically seeking out those “hidden gems” to discover and experience. You know, things off the beaten track that make you feel like you are experiencing a town like a local. I am a Southern California native and this past weekend I discovered a hidden gem surprisingly located only 2 hours away from home. Grand Tradition Estate & Gardens is located in Fallbrook, California, a small rural community in North San Diego County. Grand Tradition was the brainchild of Fallbrook couple, Beverly and Earl McDougal. They purchased the property in the 1970’s and turned this former swampland and orange grove property into what I like to call a “life event center”, a venue for weddings and other special events. The entrance is rather unassuming and looks like the driveway to an adjacent office building. But once you turn down the driveway and pass the gates, you realize you’ve discovered something special tucked back behind the main road.
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The main building on the property is known as Beverly Mansion, which looks and feels like a Victorian Era home but was specifically built in the 1980’s as a special event venue. Instead of constructing a Spanish style building, which would be more appropriate with the surrounding community, Beverly McDougal opted for a Victorian because she wanted something more “romantic” in style. The McDougals had no experience in architecture or landscaping but they did a lot of research and had a ton of vision. And when they ran short of money during the construction process, they cut all the shingles for the facade of Beverly Mansion by themselves in order to reduce costs. They left no piece of wood left for scrap. beverly mansion grand tradition fallbrookgrand tradition estate and garden beverly mansiongrand tradition estate and gardengrand tradition estate and garden fallbrook 1grand tradition estate and garden fallbrook californiagrand tradition estate fallbrook garden

Behind Beverly Mansion is a large heart shaped lake with a fountain and gazebo. The gazebo is a popular spot for weddings. The day I visited, I witnessed a couple taking engagement photos here and throughout the property. grand tradition the veranda beverly house fallbrook

The Veranda Restaurant is located on the backside of Beverly Mansion. The Veranda overlooks the vast gardens, pond, and fountain. I enjoyed a nice lunch with some of the ladies in my family to celebrate a belated birthday.

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What I enjoyed most about visiting Grand Tradition was spending time with family and being able to slow down to enjoy the moment. The short few hours visiting Grand Traditions made me forget the stresses of daily life while enjoying such a beautiful park like setting.

If you decide to visit Grand Tradition, I strongly suggest you take a golf cart tour of the grounds. For $25.00, our small group (in addition to the entrance fee), received a private tour of the property. Our docent was friendly, very knowledgeable when it came to identifying particular plant material, and provided a great overview of the history of the site. A wonderful afternoon was had by all…

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Photos 1, 5, 6, & 13 via Grand Tradition; All other photos by Reviving Charm.

For Sale: The Former Home of Author E.B. White

Do you recall reading the classic children’s book Charlottes Web? It is American author E.B. White’s most famous book first published in 1952. If you haven’t read it or don’t recall the details, then here is the Cliff Notes version: The book tells the story of a deep, loyal friendship between a pig named Wilbur and a barn spider named Charlotte. Wilbur is in danger of being slaughtered and his friendship with Charlotte is what saves his life. Charlotte devises a plan to spin messages in her web in order to persuade the farmer to let Wilbur live. Her plan is successful and Wilbur’s life is spared. The story goes on to explain how Charlotte stays with Wilbur until the very end of her own life. Count on a children’s book to teach us a lesson about true friendship…

“You have been my friend,” replied Charlotte. “That in itself is a tremendous thing…after all, what’s a life anyway? We’re born, we live a little while, we die…By helping you, perhaps I was trying to lift up my life a trifle. Heaven knows anyone’s life can stand a little of that.  — E.B. White, Charlotte’s Web.charlottes web EB White

E.B. White and his wife, Katharine Angell, a former New Yorker magazine editor, called a 48-acre farmhouse property in North Brooklin, Maine “home” for over 40 years. The property was sold in 1985 to the current owner’s, Robert and Mary Gallant, who recently listed the property for sale. The circa 1795 home is the subject of an article that will be published in the September/October issue of Yankee Magazine, but a preview was just posted on their website. It really is a lovely article that I highly suggest you read. 

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eb white barn mainThe property’s barn inspired Charlotte’s Web. The rope swing still hanging in the barn is referenced in the book.White did much of his writing in the boathouse where the author’s desk, bench, and wastebasket still remain. eb white boathouse mainehome of eb whiteeb white maine farmhouse 2eb white farmhouse maine home 3eb white farmhouse maine 4