You Can Still Travel Thousands Of Miles With Assouline

While we are somewhat confined to our armchairs right now, we can indulge our wanderlust with some true escapism of a different kind. With bold colours, strong design, interesting subject matters and the unearthing of unique destinations, Assouline has a strong history when it comes to travel books. Its collection of coffee books for travel lovers is continuously updated and later this year it will publish four new titles to escape with: Provence Glory by François Simon; Hamptons Private by Dan Rattiner; Tuscany Marvel by Cesare Cunaccia and Havana Blues by Pamela Ruiz.

One of its most recent titles is the glorious Versailles: From Louis XIV to Jeff Koons – giving the reader a glimpse into the glittering Château de Versailles. Crafted in collaboration with Château de Versailles Research Center, the title recounts the most important historical, social, and cultural milestones of Versailles, beginning with the original proposal for a modest hunting lodge, requested by Louis XIII in 1623. The text is by Catherine Pégard, president of the Château de Versailles, who has collaborated with Mathieu da Vinha, scientific director of the Château de Versailles Research Center, with the title revealing the many stories which have unfolded within the palace’s walls.

It’s a timely publication, as it coincides with this year’s opening of the much-anticipated hotel found within the grounds of the storied palace – Airelles Château de Versailles, Le Grand Contrôle. Set to be one of the most sought-after addresses in Europe when it opens in the spring, guests will be instantly transported back to 18th-century romance through Christophe Tollemer’s meticulous restoration and interior design. Each room has been individually decorated in an elegant period style, with authentic colours and fabrics, handpicked antique furniture, chandeliers, artwork and artefacts. 

No doubt bringing even more visitors than usual to one of France’s iconic destinations, one of the highlights is that guests can enjoy exclusive out-of-hours tours of the Trianon and the Château, complete with a glass of Champagne in hand. They can retrace the steps of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette, taking in the State Apartments, the Hall of Mirrors, the Royal Opera House and the Royal Chapel. Tours will also offer access to previously unseen areas, hidden nooks and secret rooms. 

Until we can visit, Assouline’s glossy book is the next best thing, with the volume uncovering the wonders of the expansive property, from the palace and gardens to the Grand Trianon and the Queen’s Hamlet. Versailles has seen many momentous occasions – from the first great constructions under Louis XIV, to its reimagining by Louis-Philippe in 1837 as a museum, dedicated to all the glories of France. There have been diplomatic summits, scientific advancements, and renowned visitors over the centuries – from Mozart, Benjamin Franklin and Queen Victoria to Fred Astaire and the Kennedys – not to mention exhibitions of today’s great artists, beginning with Jeff Koons in 2008.

To give a nod to the magnificence of its golden era, Assouline has also created a special edition of the book, signed by the author Catherine Pegard. The fittingly elaborate version comes in a velvet clamshell, with a sculpted medallion of Louis XIV placed in the front of its case. It’s as maximalist as it gets. The book will be limited to 100 copies and will cost $4,900. Each purchase also includes a private tour of Versailles led by a palace curator, including rooms not open to the general public (terms and conditions may apply). In an effort to preserve the historical grandeur and beauty of Versailles, Assouline will donate 25% of each special edition purchased to the Château de Versailles.

Meanwhile, Travel By Design, with a foreword by Peter Sallick, and edited by Michael Boodro, showcases travel photography by more than 150 of America’s top architects and designers.

More than 350 photographs take readers on a global journey through cityscapes, ancient civilisations, luxurious resorts and stunning natural wonders, all seen through the discerning and artistic eyes of today’s leading creative talents. Perfect for our times, the book will inspire dreams of escape, and the 40 pages of insider resources—from favorite hotels and restaurants to secret shopping sources and must-see monuments – is a must-have for future trips.

Miami Beach, with text by Horacio Silva, on the other hand, hones in on the most dynamic city that is Miami. Focusing on its evolving nature – the book looks at how Miami adds to its illustrious heritage, rather than simply changing it as the years go by. The chic Surf Club and the vibrant Faena Hotel, for instance, did not replace the emblematic Raleigh of the 1940s, nor the Ritz Carlton of the 1950s, instead they complement them. Classics like Joe’s Stone Crab continue to serve their signature fare to sell-out crowds each night, while new establishments attract with the latest up-and-coming chefs. The iconic Art Deco architecture remains on full display as the modern Herzog & de Meuron-designed Perez Art Museum stands alongside, in stark contrast. 

Taking the reader on a tour of this bold metropolis, the book documents its nightlife – a focal point of Miami life – as well as its glamorous yachts which line the marinas. The lively beaches offer front row seats to a parade of bronzed revelers, and bladers and bikers coast along its beach-front promenades. In short, Miami has become the hub for everything chic, fiery and colorful. 

Marrakech Flair, with text by Marisa Berenson, delves into the rich culture of the Moroccan city. It has been said that Marrakech awakens all of the senses. Whether it is seeing the intricate zellige tilework; smelling the various spices sold at the souks; hearing the call to prayer emanate from the nearby mosques; touching the supple leather used to make a pair of babouches (leather sandals); tasting a flavorful tagine, Marrakech never fails to excite. 

Located just west of the Atlas Mountains, the city has been dubbed the ‘Ochre City’ because of the proliferation of red sandstone buildings and the red city walls, which now enclose the Medina, home to Jemaa el-Fnaa, one of the busiest squares in Africa.

Marrakech overflows with culture and has been inspiring visitors for decades – from Yves Saint Laurent to Talitha Getty, Winston Churchill to Mick Jagger. In fact, Yves Saint Laurent’s intimate relationship to this city led to the opening of a museum dedicated to his legendary work. It’s also a favourite city for other artists, with the annual Marrakech International Film Festival drawing a prominent crowd. Museums abound, exhibiting Moroccan arts, photography, carpets, and the Andalusian design aesthetic that permeates the city’s architecture. There’s also a stunning line-up of places to stay with La Mamounia hotel, which opened in 1923, being one of the most iconic. Marrakech Flair brings all this and more to life and is a true insight into the city.