A place to meet: Behavior


Reading time 7 minutes

So much has been written about Comporta in recent years - who signs these lines one of them, the truth be told - that there will be those who think that there is not much left to tell about the place that has shaken the reign of the very Hamptons as an epitome of perfect summer. Can be.

Behavior in strides does not cover much, but in adjectives it is everything: that bucolic Alentejo village of white and blue houses, those rice fields exploited for years by the Espírito Santo family running parallel to movie beaches, that place where some aspire to see and be seen … if they manage to meet someone.

Because this paradise that every year visit more curious to the smell of postin names - Philippe Starck, Christian Louboutin, the Casiraghi, Kristin Scott Thomas and even the Bruni-Sarkozy - has managed to maintain its privacy between tame pinheiros and brave pinheiros, tree mass that flood the area.

Standing on the thickets of low forest, it serves as a perfect hiding place for bohemian cabins and elegant shelters completely integrated into the surroundings. In other words: this is not Ibiza, nor is Tarifa, so the instagrammer addicted to the show off has few options here to boast.

Detalle de a casa de Marina Espírito Santo Saldanha

Detail of Marina Espírito Santo Saldanha's house © Charlene Shorto and Carlos Souza

The limited hotel offer, added to the few beach bars and the absence of a marina, for example - welcome to the wild Atlantic, friends, here there is no calm for weekend Nemo captains - are the best allies of the blessed peace of Comporta, only interrupted by those August sunsets in which the town becomes a swarm of jet set seekers .

Of one Jet set sleepy in their cabins because they know that here at sunset the mosquitoes form another swarm just as annoying and that better swirling for a while until the night calms a little to the roaring marabunta.

Yes, that is the only catch of Comporta: its wetlands feed too much bug ready to leave you a round souvenir - or two - on your leg freshly baked by the sun. And the truth: those of us who adore this place bless these annoying picones that scare away the hordes of tourists. Without losing sight, of course, the After Bite.

Vistas desde la cabaña de François Simon

Views from François Simon's cabin © Charlene Shorto and Carlos Souza

That said, and despite the fact that writing about paradises always gives a certain panic because it is usually the best way to stop them from being so, we are in this for strictly literary reasons: Comporta Bliss. This is how the book is titled - bliss is happiness, bliss, bliss … amen - with which the prestigious publisher Assouline initiates the discreet charm of, now yes, a rival at the height of the Hamptons even when decorating the table with sophisticated coffee table books.

Carlos Souza and Charlene Shorto sign with four hands these almost 300 pages endorsed not only for their love fou to Portugal, but also for a trajectory always gripped to good taste.

Souza, Valentino's international ambassador, began as an Interview photographer with Andy Warhol, regularly collaborates with AD, has a jewelry firm , Most Wanted Design, and in 2014 he published, also with Assouline, the travel book # Carlos's Places .

Meanwhile, Shorto, Souza's ex-partner - together they are parents of two children - and today her best friend was born in Brazil but was educated between Britain and Switzerland.

After living in Rome, where she became the director of Oliver by Valentino, also at the hands of the designer, she decided to move to Lisbon. His passion for photography and, of course, for Comporta, are reflected in the pages of the book through prints that cause an uncontrollable desire to go there as a soul that carries the bohemian.

Piscina de las casas Timor de Louis Albert y François de Broglie

Pool of the Timor houses by Louis Albert and François de Broglie © Charlene Shorto and Carlos Souza

A few kilometers from Tróia, the peninsula off the coast of Setúbal that the tourist boom wanted to turn into an asphalt jungle - and that the good Portuguese tino has managed to appease in recent years - the small Comporta and the following villages that dot its beaches - Carvalhal, Brejos de Carregueira, Pinheiro da Cruz and so on to Melides, the most alternative and surfer - went unnoticed for the summer-eager beach bar. "There is nothing there, " they thought. But wow there was.

As Souza says, “during my first trip to Portugal, in the late 70s, my dear friend Pedro Espírito Santo took me to Comporta. The family had a large area of ​​land with rice paddies and a handful of houses. A remote area with a humble structure, but rich in sensations (…) ".

He continues telling that "my sense of smell was decisive in that visit, because my first impression was marked by the intense perfume of the pines that adorn the landscape (…). I must say that, unlike other summer places I have visited, that Over time they have lost all their brightness and appeal to me, my desire to return again and again to Comporta continues to endure: its genuine character, its soul, its folklore, its simple gastronomy, the affection of its people … who can ask more?

Botes en un lago de arrozal en casa de Vera lachia

Boats in a paddy lake at Vera lachia's house © Charlene Shorto and Carlos Souza

Let's face it: some do ask for more. More hotels, more accommodations, more speculative response to the immense echo of his fame. But (almost) nobody there wants that except for some shark that did intend to make a profit on its more than 40 kilometers of wild beach and safeguarded by a large dune that separates the wild from the barely urbanized.

Finally, the crisis struck like a tsunami, also the Espirito Santo family, and the advances receded until they returned their peace to Comporta and its surroundings; that peace only disturbed, and not much, when in August it is rush hour.

It is true that the future of the Herdade da Comporta, which controls the tourism and business development of the area, remains unknown after the Public Prosecutor's Office stopped the purchase attempt of businessman Pedro de Almeida, but those are issues that we better leave to the salmon pages of the newspapers.

Detalle de la cocina de la interiorista Vera Lachia

Detail of the interior designer's kitchen Vera Lachia © Charlene Shorto & Carlos Souza

For the rest, nothing seems to happen here when you wake up in the morning and decide which stretch of sand to go: Melides has that still underground spirit that is already moving more than a few heading south; Pego is undoubtedly the beach of the French, which at sunset rises the music of Sal, the beach bar with more beautiful people per square millimeter, and offers a parade of sailors sweaters and glasses with thin frames that laugh at Biarritz.

Carvalhal is the place where to start the day looking for bargains in the antique stalls of the road - the addictive velharias - or hallucinating in Stork Club, the store of Jacques Grange and Pierre Passebon, and continue with some amêijoas à bulhão pato - clams pan with garlic and coriander - in Pôr do Sol.

And does it behave? Comporta is no longer the beach - too many people, too much umbrella, too much report about Comporta - but the town, a meeting point to get lost among its beautiful boutiques, such as Lavender - with Christophe Sauvat, Odd Molly and Maison Scotch and other fetén firms -, Loja de Cá, Côté-Sud or Rice, the space of interior designer Marta Mantero in which to fall in love with the je ne sais quoi decorative that prevails here.

Platos portugueses de Santa María Velharias

Portuguese dishes of Santa María Velharias © Charlene Shorto & Carlos Souza

This could also speak a lot Vera Iachia, the architect who signs the impressive Portuguese Cabanas, available to rent for seasons … but only if you go with recommendation, so forget to find them on the internet.

Pedro Ferreira Pinto with his Casa do Pego and Manuel Aires Mateus, creator of some rational villas, sober and sustainable as impeccable - and that you can rent at The Suites Residences - are other architects who have left their mark here.

Philippe Starck is not that we do not want to talk, is that his house, a delirium for those who dream of leaving everything and following the dictates of the commandments of the Walden of Thoreau, is not available for the rest of mortals. Of course, you'll be glad to know that Starck plans to develop its agricultural facet with the creation of its own wine and oil.

Tienda de antigüedades de José Antonio Brito Canudo

José Antonio Brito Canudo antique shop © Charlene Shorto & Carlos Souza

It is not a bad plan in a place where there are neither nightclubs nor waiting for them. Nor dance hotels. Note: at the end of this edition there were only 16% of available accommodation in Comporta and surroundings for this imminent August, including private residences and its minimum hotel offer, which highlights the, why adjective more, Sublime Comporta. So if someone tells you that he wants to go … remind him of the mosquito issue without skimping on hyperbole. And reserve but now.

Casa típica alentejana

Typical Alentejo house © Charlene Shorto and Carlos Souza

* This report was published in issue 118 of the Condé Nast Traveler Magazine (June) . Subscribe to the print edition (11 printed numbers and digital version for € 24.75, calling 902 53 55 57 or from our website) and enjoy free access to the digital version of Condé Nast Traveler for iPad. The June Condé Nast Traveler number is available in its digital version to enjoy on your preferred device.