I‘ll have Paris with coffee.

If you’re suffering from an architecture deficiency, there’s only one cure: Paris. You better take the next plane to Paris, store your luggage at the hotel, don’t waste time unpacking, there’s really no time to be wasted at all, you may re-spritz your cologne though, and make it to the nearest bar-tabac, café, brasserie, restaurant or whatever place with a table on the sidewalk, install yourself, order coffee, p’tit noir or au lait, and there you go. Enjoy your view. Paris. Haussmann. The Middle Ages. Renaissance. Louis XVI. Empire. Belle Époque. Art Nouveau. Art Déco. Everything. You have it all in front of you. You can even touch it. You can breathe again. The agony is gone. You will smile again. You’re cured. Isn’t it great? By the way: Any additional coffee deficiency will be cured as a side effect.

Moving to Paris.

One day, that is, if one day I win the lottery, I’ll move to this place on Boulevard Haussmann in Paris, it’s not too big nor too small, quite manly, elegant, it screams old money, it’s not Monceau at all, only close by, nobody will suspect you bought it from your lottery win, the house next door has a beautiful red door, not Elizabeth Arden’s though, a little more to the oxblood side of red, it’s near to Miromesnil and Rue La Boétie, Boulevard Malesherbes and Saint-Augustin isn’t far away either, I’ve practically spent days watching these crossroads while having an endless series of cafés au lait, also a highly recommandable salade norvégienne at Saint-Augustin’s, I call that area my natural habitat, including the Starbucks on Boulevard Haussmann, I’m not a snob, I like to have my soy caffè latte when ever I feel like it, and an iced americano in summer, venti, always venti, and once they had that matcha cake, so good, so green, anyway, whoever lives there now, will have to move out, at once, sorry, but it’s beyond my control, ainsi va le monde, ce n’est pas ma faute, I’m just hoping I picked the winning numbers.

Zurich‘s best coffee.

The best thing about my Zurich apartment was the coffee downstairs at Totò’s. Whenever I would leave the house and feel like taking it slowly, I’d sit down and order a double espresso before taking my tram, heavy stuff, bitter and strong, awfully good, and while I was sipping it, I’d watch my neighbourhood, that beautiful Seefeld scenery, from a different angle, not as usual from my third floor balcony, through my olive trees’ leaves, but at ground level, quite a change, it’s true what that teacher in Dead Poets Society says, you should change your perspective from time to time, it’s quite invigorating, and thanks to Totò’s, I didn’t need to climb on anything, I just had to make it three floors further down.

Olga en route.

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I didn’t come to see trunks when I went to see the Olga Picasso exhibition in Paris’ Musée Picasso, beautifully situated in an hôtel particulier in the Marais, Paris’ oldest quarter, one of these elegant mansions, châteaux to go so to speak, family mansions shrunk to fit into Paris, like Levi’s 501s in the 1980s, but Olga’s fabulous trunk by Goyard, exhibited on a par with Picasso’s paintings, struck me nonetheless. I can’t say that I liked it more than the stunning portraits Pablo did of her and their son Paul in the 1920s when they lived on rue de la Boétie, but it was the only object in the exhibition I took three photos of. Three! I therefore declare Goyard trunks works of art and give you all three photos – and some of the café on top of the Picasso museum (just because it’s such a great place to have a coffee). Picasso’s famous portraits, well, I leave them to the others, all these people less interested in art and coffee.

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The hot days of winter.

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Winter is a tricky season. Outside it’s cold, inside it’s not. It’s a perfect dilemma. You’re never dressed appropiately if you don’t care to carry a suitcase with you at all times of the day which I don’t. I frightfully remember one evening, a frosty winter’s night in Frankfurt. I was visiting my oldest and best friend Miriam and I was taken out to dinner at a Greek restaurant, her neighbours, the consulate general of Australia and her husband joined us, and I had the best dorado of my entire life there, which actually means a lot as I was brought up by a fish enthusiast. I can’t recall what we had for starters but that was when I started to feel hot. Very hot. I was wearing a woolen turtle neck sweater with the thickest turtle neck possible. Yves Saint Laurent, ordered at Mr Porter at the time when Stefano Pilati was still in charge. I might have looked cool in it, but I didn’t feel cool. Just hot. And not in the good way. The wine wasn’t cooling me down either, although I was starting to be thankful that white wine is served cold. I was considering ordering ice cubes with it but Miriam wouldn’t have approved of that. Surely she wanted to come back to that place. The easiest thing would have been to just take it off, but I couldn’t as I was wearing a totally torn t-shirt underneath. Old as dirt. It was hopeless. At dessert I almost fainted, little drops of perspiration dropped from my nose which at least was in top shape, as I had used Moritz’s Clinique For Men Face Scrub in the shower. This was actually the place where this night ended – in the shower. Washing off the woolen fuzz of my fluffy forest greened throat.

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My gourmet restaurant.

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I love insects. Dragonflies for example. Beautiful creatures. Fascinating even, some kind of chinoiserie helicopters in turbulence, caused by tropical summer heat, with a pilot who has had one too many whisky sours, until they’re suddenly disappearing in your garden’s Bermuda triangle while you’re having tea. Moths, however, I disapprove of, I despise them from the bottom of my heart. I’ve killed generations of moths over the years, or at least, I’ve made their lives miserable with moth paper, vast amounts of moth paper, placed everywhere, in my bedroom’s wardrobe, in the other wardrobe in the hall, in every fucking drawer, between pullovers, next to pullovers, on top of pullovers, layers everywhere, hysterical layers of moth paper, but these beasts are smarter than I thought. They discovered that one loophole in my meticulous precautions: my Hermès pillows. The other day, when I just wanted to rest my head after over-ordering at Mr Porter’s, nothing of importance actually, just underwear and socks, I discovered the holes they’ve left behind. Not even tiny ones, no, very gourmand ones. They had quite an appetite. I am still under shock. Who would think of moths attacking Avalon?

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Nuit blanche.

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In 2002, my friend Julia and I went to Berlin, we strolled around, went to museums, to all those architectural gems on Museumsinsel, had lots of fun, met a colleague of Julia’s when we had tea at the Adlon, the city’s most distinguished hotel at the time, he was staying there during a film production for a TV commercial, the client apparently being very generous, imagine his surprise when he saw us there, comforted by all this utter luxury, having tea and cake, served with dozens of splendid silver tea and hot water pots, silver milkers and a multitude of silver etageres for petits fours, sugar diversities and other stuff, with a strange vacuous expression on our faces after walking and talking for hours, we must have seemed liked bored habitués on their honeymoon, with nothing particular to do on an afternoon, and so we told him about some sort of necessary sudden marriage, leaving him so covered with confusion that he bumped into one of the Adlon waiters. Later in the day, our spirits high again, we sat for hours at the Literaturhaus Café on Fasanenstrasse, dining and drinking, until not only were we sat on the streets after closing hours but our last train to Hamburg had left, too. We were stranded. Stranded in Berlin. We walked up and down Kurfürstendamm, and all of the side streets, void of people at this time of night, discussing every single item of the displayed clothing, jewellery and shoes in extenso, with an air of hoboes, some tramps into style, desperate with no place to go, at least until the first train to Hamburg would take us back. In the middle of the night, Jil Sander’s windows offered some light at least, her flagship store was bright as hell, and Milan Vukmirovic, the designer in charge at the time, obviously had a thing for lovers that summer collection of 2002, the lettering came on t-shirts and in even larger lettering in the flagship store’s window. Julia put me just next to it and took a shot with her camera, quite appropriately so, as I was wearing my beloved ice blue Jil Sander jacket, I wore it to death, and I still miss it, I couldn’t even throw it away when it was no longer wearable, damaged by being way too often in the washing machine’s wool wash cycle, I hate dry cleaning just as much as Paul Smith, but its ice blue colour was prone to smudging, it’s been buried for years in my parents’ attic, in some suitcase, anyway, at the time it was still new and it suited me well enough to make me feel like just the sort of lover Milan Vukmirovic had in mind when designing the collection. At least that’s what I firmly believed. Julia never contradicted me. And women, as we all know, know it all.