A Note From Melissa


In the past month, I attended TEFAF Maastricht in the Netherlands for the first time, which was an extraordinary immersion and education in the decorative and fine arts; explored the most multicultural and multilingual country in Central America, Guatemala; and enjoyed the colors, textiles and food of San Miguel de Allende, all on Indagare Insider Journeys

I also returned to three of my favorite European cities: London, Florence and Paris. As London gears up for the historic coronation of King Charles III on May 6 at Westminster Abbey, I was reminded amid the pomp and circumstance that there is no place that mixes majesty and charm quite the way the U.K. does, though croissants seem to have trumped crumpets with a crop of new French bakeries opening.


Plus, news to know: those headed to southern Italy this summer will have two new hotspots to explore in the Argentario. Petersham Nurseries—which has two locations in London—is opening a pop-up in Capalbio next Sunday and will serve lunch and dinner through the season. And up the coast, a stylish new private hotel and beach club called La Roqqa is opening in Porto Ercole in July, with stunning views over the bay. In the same region, don’t miss a visit to the Tarot Garden of artist Niki de Saint Phalle, which I toured last weekend and adored. More on this very special area to come.


Read my Just Back from London story now—and there is more to come on all my discoveries.



Melissa Biggs Bradley 



london restaurant
Three New Restaurants in Mayfair, London


Socca: A neighborhood gathering spot from chef Claude Bosi of Bibendum in Chelsea, evoking Southern France in décor and food.


Mount St. Restaurant: A new haunt (pictured above) for art connoisseurs from award-winning Swiss art gallery Hauser & Wirth, which also owns The Fife Arms in Scotland. The art—including floors by Rashid Johnson—is bold, but it can be loud at dinner so it isn’t the place for a quiet tête à tête. 

The Twenty Two: Part hotel and part members club, the restaurant is open to anyone all day. Delicious Mediterranean-meets-classic British fare and a new hot spot whether for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Tom Cruise, Jeff Bezos and Madonna have all been seen here.



paris art
What is it Actually Like in Paris Right Now? 


Paris has been in the news for its recent rash of strikes, piles of garbage and demonstrations over Macron’s retirement reform, but as usual the negative press seems an exaggeration when you are on the ground. Some arrondissements, like the 7th (which is home to the Eiffel Tower) and the 3rd and 4th (home to Ile St. Louis and the Marais), have private garbage collection, so clean streets. Many strikes are announced beforehand with protests authorized in some boulevards and prohibited in others, so people can plan around the disruptions. So yes, you want to avoid booking travel on strike days and steer clear of known protest zones, but this week I found shops, restaurants and museums buzzy and would certainly not discourage people from visiting. 

As to new discoveries, if London is doubling down on pastries, Paris is upping its health and beauty practices. Galeries Lafayette opened a new well-being space with fitness facilities, treatments from cult therapists like Nathalie Duarte (for lymphatic drainage) and Martine de Richeville (for reshaping) and everything beauty from brow pigmentation and piercing to Oriental waxing and a healthy cafe. The other underground spa wonderland is at the Bulgari Hotel, which has one of the city’s prettiest pools. French women guard their beauty secrets, but the most sought after appointment to get is the cult “biotechnologie” facialist that is by invitation only. I managed to wrangle an invite, and I am working on securing access for our members. Once I do, I will share more. 

Museum Exhibits to See

While the Musée d’Orsay readies for the 150th anniversary of Impressionism next year, it currently has a wonderful exhibit on Pastels (through July 2) and it just opened a major Manet/Degas show that will run through July 23. I was also lucky to catch the special Matisse show at Musée de l’Orangerie, which is up through May 29. 




Three To Know: Antwerp, Belgium


  • Stay or dine at the Botanic Sanctuary: The city’s first five-star hotel opened last summer, and its Michelin-starred restaurants, buzzy bars, holistic spa and serene suites are a game changer for Antwerp.
  • See the Royal Museum: After a massive renovation, the KMSKA (as it’s commonly called) now ranks as one of my favorite lesser-known European museums. Exhibitions are arranged thematically around concepts like Evil, Power and Madonna. Plus, there is an immersive Old Master experience.
  • Visit the Kanaal District by designer Axel Vervoordt: Just outside of Antwerp, this gallery and exhibition space offers an inspiring look at Belgian design and features works of such artists as Anish Kapoor.
My Florence Update


The birthplace of the Italian Renaissance has always been shaped by its power families and some—like the Puccis and Antinoris—are continuing to innovate while respecting the past. This fall, I’ll be hosting a special Insider Journey to Tuscany’s capital to spend time exploring its history and innovation with the residents who continue to shape it. 


Some New Discoveries:


If Paris has Ladurée and Milan has Marchesi 1824, Florence now has a super chic tea room of its own called Iginio Massari.
One of my favorite meals was at the rooftop restaurant Angel on top of the Hotel Calimala.

While there is an amazing show on the Medici Court at the Pitti Palace right now, the Palazzo Strozzi will be hosting a major Anish Kapoor exhibit this fall. 

Laudomia Pucci, daughter of Emilio and former CEO of the fashion brand he founded, has turned an area of the family’s 500-year-old Palazzo into a private museum and archive, Emilio Pucci Heritage. We will spend time with her there on our trip—as well as at her other archives at the family’s villa in Tuscany—but for members we can also arrange special visits. Lovers of fashion and history will not want to miss it. 


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Modena and Florence are released.

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