From Fashion to Food and Film, Here’s a New Year’s Round-Up of European Events
Happy New Year to you all! In my first blog of 2015, I thought I’d summarise just a few of the big events and lesser-known happenings in some of Europe’s major cities over 2015, the perfect tie-in perhaps with a short break to one of the continent’s many fabulous short-stay destinations.
The end of January is always an exciting time in Venice as this stunning city gears up for its annual Carnavale, running from January 31st until February 17th. With an estimated three million visitors descending on Venice during carnival season, La Serennissima comes alive with masked balls held in historic palazzos across the city and high society travelling along the Grand Canal and backwaters of Venice, adorned in elaborate costumes and intricate masks. Visit the official website www.carnevale.venezia.it/ for full event details.
Vienna is currently enjoying an artistic influx as it plays host to four incredible exhibitions devoted to the work of Joan Miró, Claude Monet, Diego Velázquez and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec across some of the city’s most prestigious art institutions. Catch the Joan Miró retrospective at the Albertina until January 11th, the works of Toulouse-Lautrec at the Bank Austria Kunstforum until January 25th, the fabulous Claude Monet exhibition at the Schloss Belvedere until February 8th, and the solo retrospective to Diego Velásquez at the Kunsthistorisches Museum until February 15th.
2015 also marks the 150th anniversary of the famous Ringstrasse, home to some of Vienna’s most stunning architectural gems, including the State Opera House, City Hall, Hofburg Palace, Natural History Museum and Kunsthistorisches Museum. And if you happen to be in the Austrian capital in May, you’ll find yourself hit by Eurovision fever as this annual singing spectacular comes to town between the 19th and 23rd of the month.
If fashion is your passion, make haste to Madrid to catch the last few days of the Givenchy exhibition currently taking place at the Thyssen Bornemisza Museum. On until January 18th, this exhibition marks the first major retrospective devoted to this esteemed designer and indeed the Thyssen’s first foray into fashion, with an overview of Givenchy’s finest sartorial creations from the past 50 years, from the founding of Maison Givenchy in 1952 to his retirement in 1996. If you can’t make it to Madrid, then why not try the Palais Galliera in Paris where, from March 8th, an exhibition devoted to Lanvin, France’s oldest fashion house, goes on display. Equally, the Musée Cognac-Jay, housed in Paris’ Hôtel Donon in the 3rd arondissement, hosts an exhibition entitled ‘Carte Blanche à Christian Lacroix‘, running until 19th April this year.
If movies are more your thing (and you don’t mind paying inflated hotel prices whilst the Hollywood A-listers are in town), then why not try combining a city break to coincide with one of Europe’s prestigious film festivals? Berlin’s Berlinale runs between the 5th and 15th of February, with Fifty Shades of Grey set to make its much-anticipated world premiere at the event. Budapest’s Titanic International Film Fest takes place from the 4th to the 12th of April, whilst the glamorous Cannes Film Festival runs between the 13th and 24th of May and the Edinburgh and Moscow International Film Festivals both scheduled for the end of June. Zurich, Reykjavik, Deauville, Venice and San Sebastián follow later in the year, in September and early October.
Copenhagen is a fabulous city-break destination at any time of year. It’s currently home to the world’s best restaurant, noma, for starters and its cool credentials have risen to lofty new heights over the past year thanks to its starring role in the Nordic Noir TV crime thrillers, The Killing, Borgen and The Bridge. In March, there’s two interesting exhibitions coming to the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, set a 35-minute train ride outside the city centre. The first is devoted to the master of modern photography, Jeff Wall, whilst the second pays homage to the drawings of David Hockney and, in particular, the landscapes of Yorkshire where he was born.
And if you’re visiting in August, you’re in for a culinary treat as the city’s annual culinary festival, Copenhagen Cooking, hits the streets of the Danish capital. Regarded as Northern Europe’s largest food festival, Copenhagen Cooking comprises some 150 different events from cooking schools and experimental food shows to Michelin-starred restaurants to street kitchens. For more information, visit the website www.copenhagencooking.com/.