There’s no question that Chris Noth likes to challenge himself as an actor. Playing eclectic roles that include a bad-boy politician on The Good Wife, tycoon J.P. Morgan on the mini-series Titanic: Blood and Steel, and the porn financier in the film Lovelace, Noth has never been one to rest on his Sex and the City laurels. So it seems fitting that when it comes to traveling, Noth follows the same mantra. “I can’t drink daiquiris and eat cheeseburgers on a beach all day,” says the actor. “Some people like to do that when they go away, but that doesn’t appeal to me.” We talked to Noth about his Mr. Big sense of wanderlust.
Galavante: What do you look for when you go away?
Chris Noth: I’m a guy who likes to physically get involved. I need to feel that I’ve earned my relaxation. I’ll go to a beach after I’ve run a few miles or hiked. And then I have to go in the water to swim or snorkel.
Galavante: So activity is key?
Chris Noth: I like activity, but I also like stillness. When you go to remote places, you can find stillness. I grew up a country boy in Wisconsin and Connecticut. Nature means a great deal to me. When I’m in New York City, I yearn for Central Park. And there are times when I travel and can observe other people – which I find to be immensely refreshing – especially in a place where people don’t watch too much TV. But there aren’t many places like that anymore.
Galavante: What’s the first big trip you took that stands out?
Chris Noth: When I was a college student, I rode a bicycle up the west coast of Scotland for the summer. That was extraordinary. I got on my bike, started riding, and stayed in youth hostels. I remember riding down Glencoe, two emerald hills. The roads go on forever on the horizon. One of the most memorable experiences was taking a boat to the Orkney Islands. If you really want to understand it, you should read Robert Burns. One of the islands, Old Man of Hoy, is a solid huge rock that juts out of the ocean about 600 feet. Amazing.
Galavante: What are some of your favorite places that you’ve visited over the years?
Chris Noth: When I was doing Julius Caesar in Malta, I went to Rome, which was wonderful. And because of the material, I just fell in love with the city. I could sit and look at the Pantheon all day. Your imagination goes wild. It’s a great city. I also used to spend quite a bit of time in Asia and in Indonesia. That was in the late ‘80s when work brought me there.
Galavante: I know you adore Paris.
Chris Noth: Paris wears its history on its sleeve. It has so many layers. It’s always asking you to knock on the door and enter different moments in time. I love the fact that there are restaurants that have lasted 100 years or longer and haven’t been torn down. You sit at a table and realize that someone else broke bread there in a whole other era.
Galavante: How did you initially discover Paris?
Chris Noth: During my youth, I experienced Paris through Ernest Hemingway and his book, A Moveable Feast. I’ve read it so many times. My dream of Paris centered around the 1920s. I had to see all the haunts in the book, where Hemingway lived in his first apartment with Hadley. It’s always good to read the book before visiting and it provides the best description of eating and drinking in Paris. It makes the idea of going and having a glass of wine an experience rather than just going out. La Closerie des Lilas is one of Hemingway’s old spots and the bar is exactly the same.
Galavante: Tell me about visiting Brazil to get fit for Sex and the City 2.
Chris Noth: I went to the Island Experience in Brazil on Ilha Grande. Usually, going somewhere to get in shape is about working with a trainer, but they take a very holistic approach. I had a total vegetarian diet and spent all day doing yoga, hiking, kayaking, painting. There’s no coffee, no alcohol, no meat. It’s a beautiful camp where you do yoga twice a day. You’re cleansing yourself, but not starving. I’ve never been a vegetarian, but the way they prepare it is exquisite. And you’re in one of the most beautiful Atlantic rainforests on the planet. It’s intense but a great way to get in shape. I loved it.
Interview by Jeryl Brunner, Galavante Celebrity and NYC Contributor