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Travel


Exploring the unexplored

THE DIWAN AND THE DANCER

  In Queen Ahilya’s inner circle there was a diwan, a minister of whom she was particularly fond. His name was Boliya Sarkar Chatri. She found him so remarkable that she offered him one of her relatives, a princess from Indore, in matrimony: but the diwan was smitten with a beautiful and loving dancer. He…

THE MAHARAJAH OF GWALIOR AND THE BANDITS

Many decades ago, we had been the guests of the sumptuous Maharajah of Gwalior, government minister and huge personality. He had told us of his dacoits. They were the local bandits that occupied the savannah. They were organized in gangs, the most famous of the time lead by a woman, Phoolan Devi, which had been…

MUMBAI, TAJ MAHAL PALACE HOTEL

The Taj Mahal Palace Hotel in Mumbai is probably one of the most famous palaces of India. It dates back to the 20th century and remains by far one of my favourite hotels of the country, and one of my favourite hotel worldwide, due to its extraordinary location by the ocean, extravagant and sumptuous architecture,…

THE BOURBONS OF BHOPAL

Many years ago, I stumbled upon the trail of a branch of the Bourbon dynasty, which would have settled down in Bhopal, India. It was hard to find traces, proofs, and yet the story appealed to me. I conducted long researches. If Bourbon they were, they did not belong to the official genealogical tree of…


LUCKNOW, THE STUDENTS OF LA MARTINIÈRE

In the 18th century, the capital of the Kingdom of Oudh, Lucknow, had become the wealthiest city in India, and the most international. Merchants, adventurers, entrepreneurs from all the nations of the Western World had settled there. Notably, a man from Marseilles named Martin. He became close friends with the kings of Oudh, was largely…

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EDWARD JAMES

Edward James is a fascinating character, out of the ordinary. He was born into British aristocracy where he suggested that he could have been the illegitimate child of King Edward VII, of whom we know the many mistresses but to whom we attribute very little bastards. He had the youth of a typical English noble….

THE MISSING ADVENTURER

Ever since my childhood, I have heard of Percy Fawcett. In spring 2017, a wildly promoted movie retracing his life came out on all screens. This English aristocrat from the beginning of the 20th century was, like many of his compatriots, irresistibly drawn to adventure and travelling. Amazonia was his magnet, with its immense and…

A GREEK FOR THE CONQUEST PERU

His name was Pedro de Candia and I discovered his existence in a fascinating book “The Royal Commentaries of Peru” written by Inca Garcilaso de la Vega, which my friend Samantha introduced to me. The author is the son of a Spanish conquistador and an Inca Princess. He therefore knows both the Spanish and Inca…

Palace of Strelna

Saint Petersburg, Russia This palace was built for Peter the Great by architect Le Blond. Its park stretched from its terraces to the Baltic. It was passed down to numerous members of the Imperial Family before belonging to my great-grandfather, the Grand Duke Konstantin Nikolayevich, and then to his son, Konstantin Konstantinovich. I absolutely wanted…

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TSARITSYNO PARK

It was just given back to the public recently, but Aimone, my son-in-law, had long known it as a Romanesque ruin through which he enjoyed taking strolls, as the palace is surrounded by a sumptuous park with water features, an island and a dock marked by marble sphinxes. In fact, the tsarina Catherine II the…