Thursday, March 31, 2016


Executive summary by Darmansjah

Claude Monet's property at Giverny (house and gardens), left by his son to the Académie des Beaux-Arts in 1966, became a Museum opened to public visit in 1980 after completion of large-scale restoration work: the huge Nymphea's studio was restored and the precious collection of Japanese engravings was displayed in several rooms, hung in the manner chosen by the master himself; the gardens were replanted as they once were. The house became a popular tourist attraction (the Claude Monet Foundation), particularly in the summer when the flowers are in bloom.

The other main attraction of the village is the Museum of Impressionism Giverny dedicated to the history of impressionism and its continuation in the Giverny art colony and along the valley of the river Seine.

The Hôtel Baudy was a center of artistic life in the Giverny heyday. It is now still a café and restaurant, with period decoration.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Georges Blanc

Executive summary by Darmansjah

The Veyle forms part of the commune's northeastern border, flows west through the northern part of the commune, then forms part of its northwestern border.

Vonnas is a commune in the Ain department in eastern France.

Vonnas has a famous restaurant with three stars in the Guide Michelin, the Hotel Restaurant Georges Blanc.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016


Executive summary by Darmansjah

The area surrounding Èze was first populated around 2000 BC as a commune situated near Mount Bastide. The earliest occurrence of the name "Èze" can be found in the maritime books of Antonin as a bay called the St. Laurent of Èze. The area was subsequently occupied by not only the Romans but also the Moors who held the area for approximately 80 years until they were driven out by William of Provence in 973.

By 1388 Èze fell under the jurisdiction of the House of Savoy, who built up the town as a fortified stronghold because of its proximity to Nice. The history of Èze became turbulent several times in the next few centuries as French and Turkish troops seized the village under orders from Hayreddin Barbarossa in 1543, and Louis XIV destroyed the walls surrounding the city in 1706 in the war of the Spanish succession. Finally in April 1860, Eze was designated as part of France by unanimous decision by the people of Eze.

Èze has been described as an “eagle's nest” because of its location overlooking a high cliff 427 metres (1,401 ft) above sea level on the French Mediterranean. It's so high that the light ochre church within (Notre Dame de l’Assomption built in 1764) can be seen from afar. An Egyptian cross inside the church suggests the village's ancient roots, when the Phoenicians erected a temple there to honour the goddess Isis.

Traditionally, the territory of the Principality of Monaco was considered to begin in the Èze village (outskirts of Nice), running along the Mediterranean coast to Menton, on the present Italian border.

Èze, renowned tourist site on the French Riviera, is famous worldwide for the view of the sea from its hill top. Its Jardin botanique d'Èze is known for its collection of cacti and succulents, as well as its panoramic views. Walt Disney spent a significant amount of time in Èze.

An old engraving of Èze

The oldest building in the village is the Chapelle de la Sainte Croix and dates back to 1306. Members of the lay order of the White Penitents of Èze, in charge of giving assistance to plague victims, would hold their meetings there. The shape of the bell-turret is an indication that the village once belonged to the Republic of Genoa.

The small medieval village is famous for its beauty and charm. Its many shops, art galleries, hotels and restaurants attract a large number of tourists and honeymooners. As a result Èze has become a "museum village", few local residents live here. From Èze there are gorgeous views of the Mediterranean Sea.

The motto of the village is the phrase Isis Moriendo Renascor (meaning "In death I am Reborn") and its emblem is a phoenix perched on a bone.

The local dialect (nearly extinct) is similar to the Monégasque language of the nearby Principality of Monaco, and is related to Ligurian but with some influences from the Occitan language.

Èze is one of thirteen villages grouped together by the Communauté d'agglomération de Nice-Côte d'Azur tourist department as the Route des Villages Perchés (Route of Perched Villages). The others are: Aspremont, Castagniers, Coaraze, Colomars, Duranus, Falicon, La Gaude, La Roquette, Levens, Saint-Blaise, Saint-Jeannet and Tourrette-Levens.

Monday, March 28, 2016


Executive summary by Darmansjah

Eugénie-les-Bains is a commune in the Landes department in Aquitaine in south-western France.

Eugénie-les-Bains is most well known for housing a spa resort and three restaurants, all belonging to chef Michel Guérard, inventor of cuisine minceur.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Eating in Bangkok

Executive summary by Darmansjah

Whatever the time of day, you can feast at a street stall, open-air market or top restaurant in Bangkok. The local cuisine gets its influences from Thailand’s geography, the royal kitchens and the Chinese and Muslim minorities.

Shophouse Restaurants


Shophouse restaurants are the most common type you’ll find in the city, Naaz (pronounced Nat), is a tiny Thai-Muslim place hidden in a nondescript alleyway, and it serves some of the city’s richest kow mok gai (chicken biryan). Various daily specials include chicken masala and mutton korma (24/9 Sol 45, Th Charoen Krung; closed Sun; mins from US$1.30).

Chote Chitr

This third-generation shophouse restaurant off Th Tanao with just six tables is a Bangkok food landmark. The kitchen can be inconsistent and the service consistently grumpy, but when they’re on, dishes such as the mee grorp (a former loyal palace recipe of crispy fried noodles with a sweet and sour flavor) and yam tooa ploo (winged bean salad) are in a class of their own (146 Th Phraeng Phuton; 11am-10pm; mains from US$1.10).


Taking full advantage of its cosy shophouse location in Banglamphu, this perennial favourite doesn’t skimp on flavor or presentation. The eclectic menu reads like an ancient literary work reviving old dishes from aristocratic kitchens across the country. Try the flavourful mee-ang kam – wild tea leaves wrapped around ginger, shallots, peanuts, lime and shredded coconut (56 Th Phra Athit; 4pm-12am; mains from US2.30).

Street food

Pa Aew

It’s a bare bones open-air curry stall with trays of dishes on show, but if we’re talking taste, Pa Aew is our favourite place to eat in the historical centre. Pull up a plastic stool for rich, seafood-heavy dishes such as pat chah look chin blah (freshwater fish dumplings fried with fresh herbs). It’s located near the corner with Soi Pratu Nokyung (Th maha Rat; 9am-3pm; mains from US$0.80).

Jay So

This crumbing shack is living proof that, where authentic Thai food is concerned, ambience comes second to taste. Fittingly, Jay So has no menu as such, but serves ballistically spicy som-dam (green papaya salad), sublime herb-stuffed grilled catfish and other isan (northeastern) specialities. Look for the shack decorated with Pepsi logos about halfway down Soi phipat in Tahon silom district (146/1 soi Phipat 2; 11am-4pm; mains from US$0.80).

Or Tor Kor Market

Bangkok’s highest-quality fruit and agricultural market brings sights such as toddler-sized mangoes and pots full of curries. Most goods are takeaway only, but a small food court and a few informal restaurant exist. Head to Rot Det for stir-fries and curries, and Sat Jai Kai Yaang, just south of the market, which does spicy northeastern food. Take the MRT to Kamphaeng Phet Station and exit on the other side from Chatuchak (Th Kamphaeng Phet; 8am-6pm; mains from US$1.10).

Upscale Restaurant


Australian chef-author David Thompson is behind what is quite possibly the best Thai restaurant in Bangkok. Inspired by ancient cookbooks, Thompson has revived dishes such as smoked fish cury with prawns, chicken livers, cockles and black pepper (; Metropolitan Hotel, 27 Th Sathon Tai; lunch Mon-Fri, dinner daily; set lunch from US$40, set dinner from US$65).


Bo.Lan was started up by Bo and Dylan, two former chefs at the London branch of Nahm, which gained a Michelin star before it closed. The chefs take a scholarly approach to Thai cuisine, resulting in full-flavoured dishes such as Korat-style beef curry. Book in advance (; 42 Soi Phichai Ronnarong Songkhram, Soi 26, Th Sukhumvit; dinner Tue-Sun; a la carte dishes from US$13; set menu US$73.30).

Sra Bua

Helmed by a Thai dan a Dane, Sra Bua takes a correspondingly international approach to Thai food. Putting Thai ingredients and dishes through the wringer of molecular gastronomy, the chefs have crated dishes such as frozen red curry with lobster and lychee. Reservations are recommended (; Siam Kempinski Hotel, 991/9 Th RamaI; lunch and dinner; lunch mains from US$27.70, set meals from US$73.30).


Budget airlines such as Jetstar, Scoot and Tigerair fly direct to Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi International Airport (from US$250; Other airlines include Singapore Airlines, Thai Airways, Malaysia Airlines and Cathay Pacific. Bangkok’s airport is 16 miles east of the city; you can get a train into town for US$1.50, or the express service which costs US$3.30 but is less busy. Bankok’s taxis are some of the best value cabs on Earth (US$1.30 for the first 2km), but walk away if the driver refuses  to use the meter. Other options are MRT trains ( and public buses (

Where To Stay

Despite the name, Lamphu Treehouse has its feet firmly on land. Guests are housed in a quiet and attractive canal-side building or in a new annexe a few blocks away (; 155 Wanchat Bridge, Th Prachatipatai; from US$48.90).

Siam Heritage is a boutique hotel with homey Thai charm. The 73 rooms are decked out in silk and dark woods with thoughtful design touches, and there’s an inviting rooftop pool (; 115/1 Th Surawong; from US$81.40).

Located behind a virtual wall of frangipani, Ariyasomvilla is a beautifully renovated ‘40s-era Villa. Demand is high for the 25 spacious and meticulously outfitted rooms (; 65 Sukhumvit Soi 1, Th Sukhumvit, from US$205).

What’s on the menu

Some must-eat dishes you might spot in Bangkok : Yam blah duk foo Fried shredded catfish, chilli and peanuts with a mango dressing. Gaang Som Sour with freshwater fish, vegetables and herbs. Plah Hang Dried fish with sugar and crispy deep-fried shallots served on top of slices of watermelon. Ka-nom beuang Refined taco-like snacks that can be either sweet or savoury. Mee grop Crispy noodles with a sweet and sour flavor. Pad thai thin-rice noodles stir-fried with dried or fresh shrimp, bean sprouts, tofu, egg and seasonings, now eaten across the world.

Chatuchak Weekend Market draws tens of thousands each weekend to buy anything from antiques to live snakes. It’s a great place to grab some snacks too. Arrive around 9am to avoid the crowds and heat (

LonelyPlanet’s Bangkok is a comprehensive guide to the city and chapters are available to download at while Pocket Bangkok is ideal for shorter stopovers. See for a wealth of information on Thai food, including a free guide to 50 dishes to try in Bangkok. Thai food by David Thompson (pavilion book) is an authoritative book on Thai cooking.