Destinations | Perfect Weekend

Richard Mille’s Rennes

Richard Mille founded his eponymous company in 2001, inspired by the aviation and automobile industries. His watches are famed for their cushion-cased designs.

April 30 2010
Nicola Copping

“On Saturday morning at 8.30am I go to my office because I work like a donkey. I have organised an office on top of my garage so that I can see my cars while I work. It’s part of my château, where I have lived for eight years. There are 130 hectares of land full of deer and wild boar, which occasionally destroy my grass. I have some of them in my fridge.

On Saturdays, I take my family to Rennes, where there are many good restaurants. My wife, Valérie, and I particularly like Pen’ Roc; quite a lot of English people go there and it does great fish, especially lobster. However, my children – Armand, 11, Blanche, 14 and Jeanne, 17 – always want pizza, from La Casa Pépé, or a crêpe. Then at 4.30pm, we have tea at the pâtisserie Le Daniel. Normally it’s green tea with a Mont Blanc dessert – puréed chestnuts with cream.

In the afternoon Valérie and I might visit friends in Le Perche region, where there are many antiques shops. The decoration in my house is very unusual, with interesting objets – I like pastoral art of the 18th and 19th century. La Maison Fassier in Mortagne-au-Perche has a nice selection of unusual pieces.

In the evenings I like to read. I’m crazy about cars and since I’ve just bought some new ones, I’m reading like mad about them. The last car I bought was a vintage Porsche, the 917. It raced in Le Mans in the 1970s.

I don’t have a television. I listen to the radio, and my tastes, as in wine, are very eclectic. I’m not orthodox about anything – my friends say I’m like a woman, always changing my mind, but I think it’s boring to do the same thing always. Sometimes I’ll be crazy about bordeaux, the next day I’ll be crazy about burgundy, then I’ll want to have a white wine. It’s the same with music: some days I’m into classical music, some days jazz, other times I want to hear something very hard.

I also like to have a little glass of génépi in the evening, a drink that my father-in-law makes. It’s made from a small plant found only in the Alps at about 3,000m. You can drink it as an apéritif, and it’s also good for digestion.

I buy my wine, meanwhile, from Cavarmen in Cesson-Sévigné, which also has an excellent selection of Scotch whiskies. When my kids have gone to bed I’ll watch a DVD with my wife; it’s like a preview of what it’ll be like when they’ve grown up and moved out.

My perfect Sunday is a sunny day when I can take care of my cars. I go to my garage (pictured) where I choose one to suit my mood. I have five: another Porsche (a 910), two 1970s Lancia Stratos rally cars, and a Formula One car from the same time. I do a bit of maintenance on them but, when it’s too technical, I pass them over to Yvan Mahé of Equipe Europe, who takes care of them all.

On Sundays I like to take out either the Porsche 910 or the Lancia Stratos. I go to get bread from a charming town called Vitré, which has a beautiful medieval castle. Normally I pick up some Normandy oysters from the market. Then I go home, park my car, kiss it, clean it and bid it goodbye for the moment, before going in for a Sunday lunch of oysters and roast chicken with, of course, a different wine every time.

I have two dining rooms, one that’s very casual and one that’s much more impressive – bigger, all wood-panelled and castle-like, but it’s a bit dark so it depends on my wife’s, or my, mood. From March we eat outside: we have a very long lawn and sometimes you see deer. It’s quite romantic.

Then, with my wife – and when we can get a child to volunteer – we walk in the grounds and go to the lake where we feed the ducks and swans. The other day I saw that we had a new swan – a refugee. After tea, I go to the office and take another look at my cars…”

See also

People, Richard Mille