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Chanel threatens to pull plug on perfume over high-speed rail link

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Perfume maker Chanel is kicking up a stink over plans for a French high-speed rail line which it claims threatens the flowers it uses to make its classic Chanel No 5 fragrance.

The luxury goods giant has threatened to quit Grasse, the luxury perfume capital of the world, if a TGV line is driven through the Provencal fields where it grows flowers for the perfume.

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Chanel has the 1,000 jasmine flowers and a dozen May roses it takes for every 30-millilitre bottle of No 5 grown close to its perfumery in Grasse.

With (Other OTC: WWTH – news) its lavender fields and hillsides full of wild flowers, the region is one of the most mythic corners of the south of France.

In a strongly-worded open letter to planners, Chanel said a viaduct to carry trains over the picturesque Siagne valley would be a disaster.

“The construction of a viaduct and the regular passage of high-speed trains over these fields of flowers would force Chanel to cease supporting its artisanal activities in the region,” the label added.

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It said the quality of the flowers harvested around Grasse was “unique and exceptional… and indispensible for the creation of Chanel perfumes”.

– Desperate need for investment –

France’s state-owned SNCF railway company argues that the new 6.7-billion euro ($7 billion) line would cut an hour from the trip along the French Riviera from Marseille to Nice (Other OTC: NCSYF – news) .

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It said the line is the most congested in France outside of Paris and desperately needs investment.

Despite its high tourist numbers, the Cote d’Azur is one of the worst served by the country’s high-speed rail network.

The journey time from Paris to Nice now stands at around six hours.

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Chanel has already fought off plans for a dump not far from the fields where the Mul family grow the flowers.

The legendary scent was created by Coco Chanel in 1921, and quickly came to define a new type of independent, modern woman.

She (Munich: SOQ.MU – news) commissioned Ernest Beaux — who had been the perfumier to the Russian tsar — to concoct a new type of perfume that broke with the strict rules of what scent was proper for a woman to wear.

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“I don’t want any rose or lily of the valley perfume; I want a more elaborate scent,” she famously said.

Chanel had been introduced to Beaux on the Riviera close to Grasse by her then lover Grand Duke Dmitri Pavlovich Romanov, the man who had murdered the notorious Russian mystic Rasputin.

The fragrance became the most famous perfume of the 20th century, worn by Marilyn Monroe among others, with a bottle being sold every 30 seconds, according to Vogue magazine.


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UK travel giant Thomas Cook set to collapse: report

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Thomas Cook's 178-year existence was reported to be coming to an end on Monday after the British travel firm struggled to find private investment to keep it afloat, potentially affecting thousands of holidaymakers.

The operator has said it needs £200 million ($250 million) or else it will face administration, which could affect 600,000 holidaymakers and require Britain's largest peacetime repatriation.

A source close to the negotiations told AFP that the company had failed to find the cash from private investors and would collapse unless the government intervened.

But ministers are unlikely to step in due to worries about the pioneering operator's longer-term viability, the Times reported, leaving it on the brink.

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‘We are the people’: Watch Billy Porter get a standing ovation for his passionate speech at the Emmys

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In a powerful and passionate speech accepting his Emmy, "Pose" actor Billy Porter showered the audience with love and proudly reminded all of their right to belong and be loved.

"Oh, my God. God bless you all! The category is love, y'all, love!" Porter exclaimed.

The epic FX show "Pose" depicts Black and Latinos in the LGBTQ ballroom culture of New York City in the 1980s in the first season and the early 1990s in the second season.

"I am so overwhelmed and so overjoyed to have lived long enough to see this day," he said. "James Baldwin wrote, 'It took many years of vomiting up the filth I was taught about myself and half-believed, before I was able to walk on the earth as though I had a right to be here.' I have the right. You have the right. We all have the right."

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Paris show of King Tutankhamun artifacts set new record with 1.42 million visitors

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A blockbuster Tutankhamun show set a new all-time French record Sunday, with 1.42 million visitors flocking to see the exhibition in Paris, the organisers said.

The turnout beat the previous record set by another Tutankhamun show billed as the "exhibition of the century" in 1967, when 1.24 million queued to see "Tutankhamun and His Times" at the Petit Palais.

"Tutankhamun: Treasures of the Golden Pharaoh" -- which has been described as a "once in a generation" show -- will open in London in November.

The last time a show of comparable size about the boy king opened there in 1972 it sparked "Tutmania", with 1.6 million people thronging the British Museum.

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