After my article last week on the Air Festival , I wanted to share these other photos with you.
I’ve already mentioned this city before, reread Christmas in Dubai and the Desert, but this time, I'm going to show it a bit differently.
As a reminder, Dubai is in the Middle East, in the United Arab Emirates, in the Arabian Peninsula, between the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman.
Before my Solo Wedding in Santorini, I lived in Australia, and I regularly transited through Dubai to visit my family in France.
The UAE is a federal state created in 1971, with 7 emirates: Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Sharjah, Dubai, Fujairah, Ras el Khaïmah and Oumn al Qaïwaïn.
The city of Dubai is the capital of the Emirate of Dubai.
With more than 3.1 million inhabitants, it’s the most populous city in the UAE out of the 9,700,000 in the country (of which 90% are immigrants).
But Dubai is also the country's first port and the economic capital, while Abu Dhabi is the federal capital.
Focused on luxury tourism, Dubai is particularly famous for these extraordinary constructions such as the towers: Burj Khalifa and Burj Al-Arab which I spoke about extensively in my article Christmas in Dubai.
And seen from the sky, one can only admire, with Burj Khalifa a bit in the fog, yet it easily stands out from other skyscrapers ...
Another architectural feat, Palm Jumeirah!
An artificial archipelago in the Persian Gulf in the shape of a palm tree, made up of a trunk 1.25 mi (2 km) long on which the monorail circulates, and 16 palms which house a thousand luxury private villas.
This magnificent palm tree is surrounded by a 6.84 mi (11 km) long crescent, where you can find palaces and luxury hotels such as the famous Atlantis hotel (re-read Christmas in Dubai)!
But Palm Jumeirah was to be the smallest palm of an initial project of 3 palms along the coast.
In the same spirit, we also find another incredible archipelago, the world, which as its name suggests represents a map of the world. Unfortunately, no photo of the whole set, much too large, and visible from the International Space Station!
All these islets require a lot of sand, dredged from the bottom of the Persian Gulf and fitted out with dikes and canals to counter the swell while allowing the renewal of the water, and thus avoid the proliferation of mosquitoes and algae.
Some projects have been started and never completed; others continue despite successive crises. We haven’t finished discovering the landscape of these unique archipelagos ...
But back to the city, from the air, we realise the colossal construction that this city has required.
Although some writings reveal that Dubai already existed in the 11th century, it was not until the 18th century that it was considered a city. And thanks to the very important pearl trade at that time, its notoriety developed widely.
Then, with the discovery of oil in the 60s, the city changed dramatically, and from the 90s, incredible infrastructures and skyscrapers sprang from the ground to give the city we know today ...
And by the way, what I haven't mentioned but which you may have noticed in the photos is my mode of transportation: a seaplane!
A city always on the move and in constant search for novelty, an incredible new space has recently opened its doors: Deep Dive Dubai.
This is the deepest diving pool in the world, 197 ft (60m)!!
Designed as a submerged city, you can visit it and have fun while being under water ...
Until we visit it, we’ll watch the video at the end of the article 😊
And to reread my previous articles:
Have a fantastic week!
Love & Joy,
After a long stay in the capital, as I mentioned it last week in my article A Glimpse of Paris, I was happy to reconnect with nature, and more precisely in the mountains, in the French Alps, where I grew up (reread Childhood).
I even had more fun as an airshow was organised at the Alpe d'Huez, and you know how much I love everything that flies!
Reread my previous articles:
A magnificent day in a sumptuous setting and the sunshine, life is good!
As a child, with my family, we used to go often to this kind of event, during them, I had my first ride in a hot air balloon and in a helicopter.
It actually reminds me that after my Solo Wedding in Santorini, during my Honeymoon, I flew by helicopter over the island at sunset, such a magical moment!
Plane is different, thanks to school I had flying lessons when I was 8. And today I no longer count my miles as a passenger!
But before I take you into the air, let's take a look at the ground.
All kinds of stands, a flight simulator on Mirage 2000, in air combat mode over Dubai for me, adrenaline guaranteed, and I won’t see my photos of Dubai in the same way anymore (reread Christmas in Dubai).
But above all there’s a model of the Alpha jet of the Patrouille de France, the Air Force’s aerobatic display team...
Throughout the day, breathtaking demonstrations on different types of aircraft, recent and old, and an unfailing admiration for these pilots ...
And yes, the runway is a leap into the void!
So incredible and magnificent, aerobatics…One or many planes ...
It makes me want to try, next first time on my list for sure!
But also, a helicopter rescue demonstration, it wasn’t the first time I saw one and yet it’s always impressive ...
I skydived before, however I’ve never tried paragliding, and this lively performance excited my curiosity!
And of course, the Patrouille de France (PAF)! Created in 1931, this is the oldest aerobatic display team in the world.
Composed of 9 pilots including a replacement (8 airplanes). And a whole team behind them. Being able to see one of their shows is a beautiful opportunity.
Even better when you can meet them afterwards and talk to them ...
Their work, talent and kindness are a real source of inspiration.
Although I lived in 7 countries in the world, I’m French, born and raised, and watching the PAF always gives me chills!
Thank you to all, the pilots, the teams, the organisers…
No matter how old we were, everyone had sparks in their eyes!
For a day I thought I was a pilot, a wonderful memory and a good way to keep my mind in the clouds & keep dreaming...😊
Have a wonderful week everyone!
Love & Joy,
Many of you asked me what I did during my last trip in Paris, and although I shared a lot on my social media, I don't blame you for being curious!
So, here it is, I’ve chosen to give you a glimpse and of course many of my visits and experiences will be the topic of specific articles ...
To be honest, I never tire of talking and commenting on this magnificent French capital which amazes me every time.
Here’s a summary I made in Paris:
And yes, I wore a Chaumet tiara, well let's be more specific, a metal replica, it’s still magnificent and obviously I couldn’t resist the temptation to try on a few diamonds (Chaumet)… You know how much I love jewellery, reread My Wedding Ring.
For those who are familiar with the place, you recognised La Samaritaine in the background, after 15 years of closure and an incredible renovation, this department store has reopened its doors to the public and I had the immense privilege of discover it in a unique way. Of course, an article will be dedicated to it ...
Museums... Here are the ones I visited this time:
And also churches...
I also had the opportunity to see 2 magnificent exhibitions organised in collaboration with Van Cleef & Arpels:
In addition, I went to admire the incredible Van Cleef & Arpels Private Collection, Place Vendôme (photos not allowed).
I’d like to warmly thank Van Cleef & Arpels for their hospitality and kindness, and I look forward to seeing you again!
I also let myself go with the wind, walking through the streets and parks of Paris ...
Besides seeing my friends, I made many new ones.
Especially Thibaut, an incredible artist who did my portrait based on the photos of My Solo Wedding in Santorini!
Because Paris is all of that, luxury, art, architecture, history, beauty & new friendships ...
And also, some pleasure! 😊
After my article on art with the Louvre, I wanted to choose another universe that I love, you know how much I love theme parks!
Last year, family & fiends took me to Gallic territory to celebrate my birthday and I had a great time despite the cool and capricious weather for a month of July ...
From the height of his 7m (23ft), weighing no less than 4 tons, Asterix observes the arrival of visitors, perched at a height of 30m (98ft)!
It was one of his dads, Albert Uderzo, who had the idea of a theme park in 1981. However, it will take 8 years of reflection, preparation including 2 years of construction, before his dream was born in 1989.
Since 2002, the park belongs to the Compagnie des Alpes, a French company that manages several ski resorts including Méribel, where I grew up, but also other tourist attractions such as Futuroscope, Walibi and the Grévin Museum.
Today, Parc Astérix is in 3rd place (number of visitors) in France, behind Disneyland Paris, the Disney Studios and ahead of Futuroscope.
Rich in sumptuous decor and full of humour, you immediately feel immersed in Gaulish country and in a good mood ...
Obviously, none of this would exist without the boundless imagination of the French comic book creators, René Goscinny, screenwriter and Albert Uderzo, designer.
Friends for many years, they chose to create historical characters, Asterix, Obelix and all the indomitable Gauls were born in 1959.
Gauls who resist the Roman Empire thanks to a magic potion made by their druid Getafix.
Albert Uderzo continues the series alone after the death of his friend in 1977, then since 2013 Jean-Yves Ferri and Didier Conrad are in charge of perpetuating this great adventure.
Albert Uderzo died in 2020 at the age of 92.
And a fabulous story with 38 books, translated into 111 languages and dialects!
And nothing is funnier than looking for all these characters across the park ...
Look, it looks like Queen Laeti is visiting.
Asterix and Cleopatra is one of my favourite books and here it is widely represented with a whole universe dedicated to it:
But my favourite area, Greece of course!
Since my Solo Wedding in Santorini, you know I’m kind of half-Greek now 😊
Of course, what I also like about this park are the rollercoasters!
And knowing that I tested many of them around the world, I can tell you with certainty that this park is full of great surprises.
Oz Iris at 40m (131ft) high and more than 90km/h, the Tonnerre de Zeus, certainly one of the most impressive that I’ve seen because it’s an entirely wooden construction, 84km/h and above all a vertiginous drop of 29m (95ft). And I've heard that the Tonnerre 2 Zeus is currently in progress ...
Goudurix, my favourite, 7 times upside down at 92km/h and up to 36m (118ft) in height, or 12 floors of a building!
But also, the Trace du Hourra, the Cheval de Troie and the last one, Pegase Express, rich in new technology, it combines thrills with great fear… but I won't tell you more…
Be prepared to be thrilled!
But we also have the right to do more relaxing rides ...
And after such a day, the souvenir shop is essential ...
Anyway, wonderful memories and an unforgettable Gallic adventure!
As a reminder, during the summer vacation (July-August), I only publish 2 articles per month.
But find my daily photos of Paris on Instagram ...
Next Article: August 14, 2021!
Love & Joy,
I promised you several articles on the Louvre Museum, so here is the 2nd opus.
Passionate about art, the Louvre Museum is an incredible place to satisfy my curiosity as its treasures are countless.
We’ve just celebrated Bastille Day in France, and for the occasion I wanted to honour French painting.
And to start, I chose " La Liberté guidant le people " (Liberty leading the people) by Eugène Delacroix.
Although this painting refers to the riots of July 1830 which led to the abdication of Charles X, and not to the French Revolution & the Storming of the Bastille, that we celebrate every July 14, this painting remains an important symbol of the French Republic.
We see the tricolour flag as well as Liberty wearing the Phrygian cap.
Delacroix is one of my favourite painters and this incredible artwork (260 x 325cm) is exhibited at the Louvre Museum in Paris among other of his masterpieces ...
I’m planning an article which will be entirely dedicated to him, so much there is to say about this extraordinary artist.
Another painting that attracts many visitors: The Raft of the Medusa by Théodore Géricault.
Another French romantic painter, this spectacular work from 1819 (491 x 716cm) also tells a historical event: the wreck of the frigate Méduse of the French colonial navy.
She stranded in 1816 off the coast of Mauritania on her way to Senegal to transport equipment and personnel. On a makeshift raft, 147 people tried to survive for several days, cannibalism included. Only 10 people ultimately escaped death.
The painter has researched extensively and even met survivors to create this disturbing and magnificent work that cemented his reputation.
Still in the historical context, a once again very famous painting: The Coronation of Napoleon.
Painting from 1807 by Jacques-Louis David, one cannot miss this neoclassical work of 621 × 969 cm!
Obviously representing the coronation of Napoleon I and Empress Joséphine in Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris in 1804 and not at Reims Cathedral like the previous Kings of France.
No less than 191 people are faithfully reproduced in this artwork.
The artist realised an almost identical second painting, which is now on display at the Palace of Versailles.
Jacques-Louis David, a very influential painter, has been the master of two generations of artists.
I’d like to conlude with Jean-Auguste Dominique Ingres and another important event in French history: Joan of Arc at the coronation of King Charles VII, in the Cathedral of Reims (1429).
Ingres, disciple of Jacques-Louis David of course!
I’ve previously talked about Reims and its history:
I hope that with this article you discovered or rediscovered some gems of French painting.
For those who wanted to see the Mona Lisa, I invite you to reread my Article Louvre Museum.
No article next week I’ll be settling in Paris for the summer! Which presages many new adventures and exhibitions to tell you.
But you can still re-read all the articles about my Solo Wedding in Santorini: LINK.
Obviously, I’ll stay active on my social media:
Next article: July 31, 2021!
Love & Joy,
While I’ve just renewed my vows and celebrated the 4th Anniversary of my Solo Wedding in Santorini (read the Article again), here I am celebrating another anniversary, just as unique and special: the freezing of my eggs 3 years ago!!
I’ve explained extensively why and how it all happened in my Article ‘Gift from Science’, I invite you to re-read it:
And for those who follow me for a long time, you know that I made this wish come true in the magnificent Spanish capital: Madrid.
That’s the reason why I’ve chosen to show you more this city that I adore, and where I lived for several months for the success of my cryopreservation.
If there's one place I've spent a lot of time, it's the Retiro Park, located in the heart of Madrid and very popular with locals, especially on sunny days.
First with its large rectangular ornemental lake adorned with an imposing bronze equestrian statue from 1904, the place is romantic and relaxing for a rowboat ride.
Or the many gardens, perennials, French flowerbeds or the rose garden that I told you all about in my article: Rainy Day in Madrid.
In the first heat, taking refuge under the 15,000 trees in the park is a real breath of fresh air. Moreover, built between 1630 and 1640, it was for a long time the royal secondary residence.
Today there are 2 palaces, the Crystal Palace built for the colonial exhibition of 1887 and the Velazquez Palace, both rich in know-how and architecture that serve as an exhibition hall.
And with the many fountains and statues present in this park, it’s a really pleasant and peaceful place.
Another area where I walked daily, the Royal Palace.
In its surroundings, you’ll obviously find the Almudena Cathedral, to which I devoted an entire article, many gardens including the Plaza de Oriente located between the Palace and the Royal Theatre.
Old or modern buildings, strolling through Madrid is always fascinating and you sometimes come across architectural surprises such as the Temple of Amun.
Temple built in Debod in Egypt and dating from the 2nd century. It was donated by Egypt to Spain in 1960, as part of the safeguard of the monuments, which were to be flooded by the waters of the Aswan dam.
Another very famous place, the Plaza Mayor, which is always crowded.
From 1590 to 1854, it changed and transformed many times to finally retain the style that we know today, with an equestrian statue of Philip III dating from the 17th century.
This square measures 423ft (129m) by 308ft (94m) and is pedestrian only, which is in fact a privileged place for meetings, it’s also surrounded by many restaurants.
Strolling the surrounding streets immerses you in the historic atmosphere of this vibrant capital!
And at the end of the day, nothing better than going for a few tapas at the San Miguel Market.
In these sumptuous covered market from 1916, a heritage of Spanish know-how for iron architecture (like the Crystal Palace), you can taste all kinds of specialties and delicate meals prepared by the greatest Spanish chefs, but also international and Michelin-starred chefs.
For more than a decade, this space has been considered the first gastronomic market in Madrid.
No wonder then to find caviar as much as traditional paella ...
Bon appétit !
This city with its many famous museums is exciting for lovers of history and art. I’ve already introduced several of them with some very fascinating exhibitions:
I hope you enjoyed this walk as much as I enjoyed sharing my memories with you ...
Have an amazing week everyone!
Love & Joy,
While some are starting to reschedule trips, me for example! I thought that a summary of my articles on the subject would be welcome. Indeed, in 3 years, I’ve already shared many of my magnificent travels.
Maybe this gives you some ideas for your next vacation 😉
Obviously, I start with my country of heart, Greece, which witnessed my self-marriage, but also the birth of my book My Solo Wedding in Santorini:
Rainy day in Athens
For lovers of cities, museums and architecture:
The other country that is dear to me because I lived there for 7 wonderful years, Australia:
Christmas in Brisbane
North Stradbroke Island
In the Air 3 (Sydney)
And then the exotic destinations, you know how much I love the sea and the ocean:
Las Palmas (Canaries)
Other amazing places:
Without forgetting where I grew up, the French Alps: Childhood.
And at the end of the article, my last video: Go with the Flow.
Where I explain that I lived in 7 different countries in the world and that none of them was part of a plan ...
Because that's how I see my life, seize the moment, live the moment and let the universe guide me to discover all the beauty and magic of our beautiful planet!
Don't forget to think of me on May 27, it’ll be the 4th anniversary of my solo wedding 😉
Have a wonderful week everyone!
Love & Joy,
Last time I took you to the far reaches of the Pacific Ocean, to Fiji.
On this Ascension long weekend, it seemed appropriate to show you another jewel of Christian architecture, and what is an unrecognised basilica and yet highly prestigious in many ways.
You know how much I love to share with you my interest in architecture, art, and history ...
The Basilica of Sainte Clotilde of Reims, bears the name of Queen Clotilde, Queen of the Franks and wife of King Clovis, whom she converted to Christianity.
Clovis, remember that is the name of the champagne at my Solo Wedding in Santorini (reread the article).
This magnificent basilica, in Greek cross shape, surmounted by a dome, was built between 1896 and 1905, by Alphonse Gosset, architect from Reims, with a national and even international reputation since he participated in competitions abroad (like one for New York).
Neo-Byzantine in style, he was inspired in particular by the model of Hagia Sophia Cathedral in Istanbul (Turkey) that I had the chance to visit.
This very fashionable style in the 19th century, also reached its peak with the construction of the incredible Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Paris.
Much more modest in size than St Remi Basilica or Reims Cathedral, and of course Almudena Cathedral in Madrid, it’s no less majestic from floor to ceiling.
Whether it’s the tiling with fleur-de-lys and doves, or the stained-glass windows depicting Joan of Arc and the baptism of Clovis.
Or the incredible ceiling under the dome which symbolises the celestial vault.
You will not remain indifferent ...
What I love most about this basilica is its baptistery.
Isolated next to the entrance, circular in shape and carefully decorated, it was used for baptism.
Moreover, the Basilica of St. Clotilde was originally erected to celebrate the 1,400 years of the baptism of Clovis, a baptism which took place at the Basilica of St Remi, remember my article.
But what makes all the richness of this basilica are the relics kept in its crypt!
It represents 1,600 Saints of France with 403 reliquaries and 2,100 relics.
Photos weren't allowed, but the video at the end of the article gives you a guided tour (but it's in French, anyway images speak for themselves).
My previous articles on Reims and its region:
Here again my video with the Cathedral of Reims in the background!
Have a luminous week everyone!
Love & Joy,
While checking my travel photos, I came across May 2014, during my trip to Fiji.
Incredible holidays, I lived in the Pacific Ocean for a long time, so it was easy for me to visit exotic archipelagos, only 4 hours by plane from Brisbane, Fiji is a popular destination for Australians.
For sure, from Europe or the US, it becomes more adventurous. That’s why this week I wanted to share its treasures with you.
This country located in the Pacific Ocean includes more than 300 islands of which only 100 are inhabited, representing a total population of 936,000 inhabitants.
Of course, when you think of Fiji, you visualise the white sand beaches and turquoise waters, and don't worry, you’ll be amazed!
Nothing better than a boat to fully enjoy, can you feel the sea air??
The coastline stretches over 1,129 km (701mi) for a country with an area of 18,333 km2 (7,078 sq. mi).
Although covered with tropical forests, the islands are also mountainous with the highest peak reaching an altitude of 1,324m.
But I also took the opportunity to visit the local market in Suva, the country's capital on the main island: Viti Levu.
It’s always very interesting to discover local products, you learn a lot about cultures.
And in Fiji, there's a very popular root, from a plant native to the Western Pacific called Kava, and related to the pepper tree.
When crushed into powder, it makes a preparation for infusion, keep that in mind because I’ll talk about it later in this article 😉
What I also love is visiting villages, it's very interactive, they are all different, you learn so much about customs and traditions, and I've even been to a pottery village.
You know how much I love this craft, reread Cretan Pottery.
Fiji has preserved its traditional art and cultural heritage, handicrafts such as pottery, cloth, wood carving, jewellery continue to be passed down in the villages from generation to generation.
Made from clay and sand, potteries often have a utilitarian use. Handcrafted, they dry in the sun before being heated over a fire containing coconut shells and bamboo.
If there’s one memory that marked me more than the others, it was the connection with the locals.
In the chapter Moral of my book My Solo Wedding in Santorini, I explained I liked participating in charitable projects.
I had the opportunity to make a donation for one of the villages on the island of Viti Levu, for the construction of a small infirmary. No significant amount, but to them it was a blessing.
Most of the inhabitants were working and were not present in the village at this time of the day, but the Chief asked the children - who were at school - to come to thank and honour me.
I spent several hours, sitting in the village hall, drinking kava, the famous drink mentioned above, very sour and spicy, with an earthy taste and with anaesthetic and relaxing properties, quite a program ...
As a guest, you can’t say no, as it’s a sign of respect and friendship.
Experiencing strange things, that’s also a part of discovering new cultures.
I also listened to them play music and sing, but most of all I danced with the children!
One of the happiest moments of my life, I’m still very moved when I talk about it.
Receiving so much kindness, love and joy from complete strangers is what makes the beauty of our humanity.
You understood, if you have paid attention to the photos, whether on a boat or in a village, music and dancing are omnipresent in Fijian culture, I love this.
And after so much emotion, it's time to relax and enjoy the shows offered at sunset ...
No doubt I have a special connection to the Pacific Ocean, and I can't wait to go on a plane to discover new beautiful places ...
In the meantime, I'll just watch Vaiana again, the Disney movie I talked about in my article Merry Christmas 2020.
And also, a great video at the end of the article, a change of scenery in your living room 😉
You can also read my previous articles about Fiji:
And thank you to the InterContinental Fiji, who made my stay and all my excursions unforgettable!
Find all the Travel Articles: HERE.
And as a reminder, some of my favourites:
No article next Saturday, I’ll be very busy, I have to attend several seminars including one with his Holiness the Dalai Lama 😊
Next article: Saturday May 15th
Have a wonderful month of May everyone!
Love & Joy,
I should have been in Paris this month, unfortunately with the confinement I changed my plans but that doesn’t prevent me from showing you more of this magnificent French capital which is full of countless treasures.
I’ve chosen for this week one of the gems of France, which I had time to appreciate during my Honeymoon 2, last year.
Let's be honest, the Louvre Museum is huge, spread over nearly 250,000m2, of which 70,000m2 are devoted to exhibition, with 403 rooms, and 35,000 artworks out of the 500,000 preserved.
It’s also the largest museum in the world (in terms of exhibition area), in addition to being the most visited in the world.
So, I won't be able to show you everything at once, but today I'm going to talk about some legendary pieces of art.
First of all, the Louvre surprises with its architecture.
From one room to another, atmospheres are different, we travel in time and space, we discover all the styles of decoration, but also the history of France, and the history of its different owners of Philippe II to Napoleon III, via Henri IV or Louis XIV, but also more recently the French Presidents.
No less than 800 years of construction, transformation, and renovation ...
After my articles on the Palace of Versailles, the Garnier Palace, the Pantheon, the Louvre is a magnificent palace to discover.
It became a museum in 1793, the majority of the artworks coming from the Royal Collection, which became national property during the French Revolution.
It survived the changes of power and the 2 world wars, and continues to this day to acquire and protect artistic treasures.
Even without the artworks, I’d spend hours admiring and exploring every nook and cranny from floor to ceiling!
As you know, the Louvre is full of sculptures and paintings from all eras, and I’ll show you many of them in different articles.
But this time, I present to you my favourite sculpture: the Venus de Milo.
Magnificent marble sculpture dating from 120 BC, it’d represent Aphrodite the goddess of love and beauty (Venus for the Romans).
Obviously, you know my attachment to Greece since My Solo Wedding in Santorini, and this masterpiece of Greek sculpture adds to the wonderful creations I’ve shown you previously:
Discovered in 1820, by a Greek peasant on the island of Milo, island of the Cyclades, it was acquired by a French ambassador who offered it to Louis XVIII, and the latter donated it to the Louvre in 1821.
She was hidden at the Château de Valençay during the 2nd World War.
Today, she stands almost alone in the Galerie des Antiques, surrounded by red marble from the time of Napoleon I.
As I already explained in my article Honeymoon 2, I had never been able to have a picture taken with her before, for the good reason that there were always too many people.
This time, I had all the time and the opportunity to have a tête-à-tête with Mona Lisa, a moment of pure happiness and emotion.
In 1518, Francis I bought the painting from Leonardo da Vinci, and joined the collection of the Louvre during the Revolution.
She was moved too during World War II, like almost the entire Louvre collection, but her hiding place, the Château de Chambord.
In 2005, she was placed in the centre of the museum's largest room, protected in an air-conditioned display case due to its fragility, as it’s an oil painting on a poplar wood panel.
I'm going to show you something you don’t necessarily think of with the Louvre Museum and yet, the Crown Jewels!
It’s true that we got rid of Kingship a long time ago, and we’ve forgotten that incredible pieces of goldsmith's work, crockery, furniture and jewellery were created in the past and represent an incredible richness of craftmanship and luxury.
And to present them with dignity, nothing better than the Galerie d'Apollon created at the request of Louis XIV. Rich in gilding, painting and sculpture, it easily recalls the splendour of the Palace of Versailles, no wonder since the same artists took care of the Hall of Mirrors. Above all, this is the room that for the first time, Louis XIV associated his power with the symbol of the sun.
Today, among other things, we discover the Regent diamond of 140 carats, bought in 1717 by Philippe d´Orléans, Regent of France, and which Louis XIV had refused in the past because it was too expensive.
Along with Louis XIV's Blue Diamond, they were stolen during the Revolution, a burglary at the Hôtel du Garde-Meubles where they were stored.
The Regent was found a year later, however the blue diamond was lost and transformed to become the famous Hope Diamond (exhibited at the National Museum of Natural History in Washington USA).
If the Mona Lisa is the most visited work of art in the world, the Hope diamond is in second place, our Kings of France certainly had great taste.
By the way, these magnificent jewels remind me of my article Kensington Palace in London.
And if you’d like to know the full history of these jewels, don't miss the fabulous discussion at the Ecole School of Jewelry Art - Van Cleef & Arpels, which will take place on May 5 & 6: Link for registration (free event).
I described this wonderful school in my article:
I never tire of learning and discovering with them the incredible history of stones, metals and jewellery and I encourage you to visit their website: link.
Check my Previous articles about Paris:
And I invite you to watch the little video at the end of the article, which shows the successive constructions of the Louvre Palace, it's fascinating ...
Have a fantastic week everyone!
Love & Joy,
And yes, it's Easter weekend, and while some of us thought of celebrating it with our family (me for example!), France is re-confined just before the school holidays ...
But let’s not lose our enthusiasm nor our faith in a better future, and that’s why I’m taking you today to visit the Basilica of St Remi in Reims.
After my Solo Wedding in Santorini, I’ve spent a lot of time in this beautiful region of Champagne-Ardennes, which includes the city of Reims, and I’ve already introduced you to some great attractions:
St Remi Basilica is almost as tall as Reims Cathedral, 413ft long (126m), like Notre-Dame de Paris and 190ft wide (58m).
It was built in the 11th century, but more construction occurred for several centuries until the 19th century, but its golden age dates from the 12th century.
It was largely destroyed during the 1st World War, and 40 years were necessary for its reconstruction (20 for the Cathedral of Reims).
Roman and Gothic in style, its volumes are very impressive and make the place very solemn.
Many items of furniture and decoration were destroyed and ransacked during the French Revolution.
However, some sumptuous elements are still present and distinguish it from other religious buildings such as:
Let's admire now the classic stained-glass windows that have withstood ages and wars, accompanied today by contemporary stained glass windows created between 1950 and 1980.
But what makes this basilica unique is that it keeps the relics of Bishop Saint Remi, the very one who baptised Clovis, the first King of France. This is the reason why it was originally built.
His tomb is majestic and beautifully displayed, although this is only a 19th century replica, the original being looted and vandalised during the revolution.
Moreover, the basilica is decorated with many chapels including the chapel of the Virgin of the Vow, and an ambulatory to accommodate the many pilgrims.
A video to watch at the end, unfortunately it's in French, but you can still enjoy the beautiful images...
Don't hesitate to re-read my articles from previous years:
No article next week but you can continue to follow me on my social media ...
Next Post: April 17, 2021
Love & Joy,
I hope you’re enjoying the effects of the new moon, and you’ve decluttered as I recommended to you last week in my article Detox Your Life.
Spring is here, well in theory, because it’s not the 10 degrees of temperature predicted these days in my city that will bring me out of my cave.
For those who follow me regularly, you know how much I love NYC. And in fact, the very first time I went there was in spring 2013!
I love this city so much that I plan to celebrate in 2027, the 10th anniversary of my Solo Wedding 😊
In the meantime, I went to dig through my photo archive and decided to show you a little more New York this week.
Nothing more symbolic than tulips to represent this season ...
If the city and bay of New York were discovered in 1524, it didn’t take this name before 1664 when the English conquered it from the Dutch.
Initially, it was even French because it was discovered on behalf of François 1er.
At the end of the 18th century, accompanying strong demographic growth, the city developed according to a Hippodamian urban plan, like a grid. So easy to walk around and get your bearings!
Today, it’s the largest city in the United States with more than 8,300,000 inhabitants (20 million inhabitants with its suburbs) for an area of 302.6 square miles (784 km2).
It’s also the most populous English-speaking city in the world.
This city calls for curiosity and is definitely very different from European cities.
Yet the atmosphere seems familiar to us, the Empire State Building, the Rockefeller Center, Broadway, Time Square, the yellow cabs, the police, everything reminds us of the movies and series we have watched ...
The architecture is really fascinating in this city, and I’ve already explained the construction of the Rockefeller Center.
But my favourite thing about spring is of course the famous Central Park!
With its 341 hectares of greenery, 2.5 miles (4 km) long, with its many trails and lakes, it’s the perfect place to recharge.
Created from scratch, it took 13 years of construction before it was completed in 1873.
As nature comes back to life, we appreciate its beauty and benefits even more ...
On foot, by taxi, bus, metro, bicycle, there are many ways to get around, but crossing the city by rickshaw is the most fun (when there’s no traffic jam ...).
Let’s get out of the city to admire the Statue of Liberty.
From its full title “Liberty Enlightening the World”, this neoclassical copper statue with a steel structure weighs 225 tons and stands 151ft (46m) high, but 305ft (93m) in total on its concrete and granite plinth.
Donated by France in 1886 to the United States to celebrate the centenary of the American Declaration of Independence. This is the work of 3 men: Eugène Viollet-le-Duc (Architect), Auguste Bartholdi (Sculptor) and Gustave Eiffel (Engineer).
Visits weren't allowed when I was there, so I just photographed her on the ferry to Staten Island. It remains a very moving meeting.
One of my dreams is to fly over the city by helicopter, you’re not surprised if you’ve read my Series of Articles In the Air.
Each time, the weather prevented me, but I keep it on my list 😊, maybe next time ...
Till then, a very nice video at the end of this article.
Reread my Previous Articles:
You can read all my travel articles here: link.
Happy Spring to all!
Love & Joy,
After talking about Madrid and Sydney, two cities I like a lot, back to nature.
And for that, nothing better than Australia of course.
I lived in this wonderful country for 7 years, before my Solo Wedding in Santorini, which gave me lots of opportunities to visit amazing places.
With its 7.692 million km², I still have a lot to visit, for example I’ve never been to the west coast. It gives me even more reasons to want to go back someday.
In the meantime, I'm taking you today to another famous island in Queensland: Moreton Island!
A precious memory that the discovery of this island for a whole weekend and that for several reasons.
First, I did it with my younger sister in February 2016, just 5 years ago. She came to live a year with me and this excursion was her last, and what an adventure!
Pick up in Brisbane by our driver and guide with a 4X4, to board a ferry; at only 40km (25mi), the crossing takes about an hour and a half. Which is long enough for my sister to be seasick...
Third largest sand island in the world, only 4X4 vehicles are allowed on this island classified as a national park.
By the way, for information, the 4 largest sand islands in the world are in Queensland
Like the visit of North Stradbroke island, I’ve told you about already, the discovery of Moreton is also adventurous…
Apart from the white sand beaches as far as the eye can see, which I personally never tire of, you can discover the sand dunes in the desert.
As impressive as those in Dubai (reread the article Desert) and perfect for tobogganing with a wooden board.
First time for my sister & I, was fantastic; no photos or videos unfortunately, I was too busy having fun!
The 4X4 also provides easy access to the heights of the island to Cape Moreton Lighthouse, the first lighthouse built in Queensland in 1857.
One of the buildings has been transformed into an information centre with a presentation of the island and its history.
Remember that Moreton Bay including Brisbane, and Australia in general, was initially a penitentiary centre for British convicts.
When the weather is clear, you can easily see whales, sharks, turtles, dolphins, rays and dugongs.
The vegetation is very astonishing here and offers a surprising spectacle, perfect for photography.
Let’s stop at the Blue Lagoon, a lake in the middle of the island, with a sandy bottom formed by the natural collection of rainwater over thousands of years. Its cool water infused with the natural tea tree oils that surround it, makes it a popular spot.
For fish & snorkelling lovers, let’s head to the beach to enjoy the 15 ships that were deliberately sunk there in 1963 to create a breakwater. Coral and wildlife have taken over the place and the atmosphere is quite unique.
Again, no photos, I was head underwater admiring fishes, but beautiful images in the video at the end of the article ...
You know me well enough now to guess that I picked the hotel instead of the campsite.
However, the Tangalooma Island Resort is not like any hotel.
Originally the place was a whaling fishing station that operated between 1952 and 1962. The island is in the way of the whale migration route from June to November.
Today, an Eco Centre installed within the hotel, protects and informs about the environment and the island’s wildlife. Lots of activities are organised around it, interesting for both adults and children.
A whole ecosystem coexists here, which makes it a surprising and magical place ...
I've saved the best for last, if you've read my article My Favourite Animals, I talked about it briefly: dolphins!
Every evening, about ten wild bottlenose dolphins come to the shores of the hotel.
You have the option of being able to feed one of them by hand. The research team take the opportunity to check the health of the dolphins and to count them.
They are only fed 10-20% of their daily requirement to keep them wild.
The experience is incredible and truly extraordinary, the dolphins are curious and playful, and being able to approach them so closely is a great chance.
To leave this little paradise, we had to take the ferry again, much to the despair of my sister who would have preferred the helicopter!
Reread my Previous Articles:
Have a great week!
Love & Joy,
I was in Madrid 4 years ago, to freeze my eggs, a new city for me that I discovered with pleasure and great curiosity.
Another milestone in my life, after My Solo Wedding in Santorini.
Freezing my eggs was a thoughtful decision, however the process was longer and more emotionally painful than I’d have thought ...
But I’ve already told you all this in detail:
Faith is what has helped me, the one I have in God, in the Universe but also faith in myself and in my choices, the way I react to hardships, and how I constantly challenge myself to become a better me day after day.
Without wanting to, this article is timely because this week I’ve been greatly tested on that side, staying on course towards your dreams while the path seems to be giving way beneath your feet…
To be silent and to learn to listen to oneself, this is the main principle of meditation but also of prayer.
And in fact, in 2018, I was going to the sumptuous Almudena Cathedral every day to calm my mind...
After the grandiose and opulent Royal Palace, the Almudena Cathedral located just opposite can’t be missed.
Built in the heart of the city, near the Plaza Mayor, its neoclassical style and multiple huge entrances make it one of the main attractions.
Its baroque dome and its columns inevitably recall the Pantheon in Paris which I talked about during my Honeymoon 2.
Begun in 1883, it wasn’t completed until 110 years later, for lack of money, and of political and religious wars.
Finally, in 1993 Pope John Paul II consecrated it, and a statue in effigy adorns one of the main entrances ...
It’s equally majestic in the evening, bringing out other details of its incredible architecture ...
102m (335ft) long and 82m (269ft) high, this cathedral is very impressive with its 4,800 m2 (52,000 sq ft).
But its originality lies in the duality of its architectural style: neoclassical on the outside (like the Royal Palace), but Gothic on the inside with modern and contemporary artworks.
Very different to the Reims Cathedral (France), that I’ve showed you already.
The wedding of King Felipe VI and Letizia Ortiz was celebrated in this cathedral in 2004.
This cathedral is a true incarnation of several eras dedicated to the Virgin of Almudena who sits in its centre.
And many people flock every day to approach the statue erected on a magnificent platform.
The Virgin of Almudena is the patron saint of Madrid, she’d have appeared several times in the past, near a wall built when the city was an ancient Muslim medina called Almudena.
Celebrated on November 9 with many processions, religious services, the entrance is completely covered with flowers, it’s a very important day for Madrid inhabitants. I had the chance to attend once and it’s fascinating.
Besides, I strongly encourage you to visit the Cathedral Museum, which exhibits the Virgin's ceremonial outfits and accessories, and also tells the story of the Diocese of Madrid (unfortunately no photos allowed).
Especially, the entrance to the museum will give you access to the Dome of the cathedral at 70m (230ft) high, surrounded by the 12 apostles.
And to admire the city, you don't need a helicopter like in my last article In the Air 3, the view from the roof is breathtaking!
The absolutely sumptuous neo-Romanesque crypt opened to the public in 1911 ...
Madrid is a city I like a lot, with its rich history, architecture, culture, there’s a lot to discover in this city.
Read my previous articles about Madrid:
Have a lovely week everyone!
Love & Joy,
After my article last week on My Solo Wedding Fireworks in Santorini, I decided to keep my head in the sky.
I’ve shown you in the past how much I love spending time in the air:
Today I'm taking you to the other side of the planet, to visit an incomparable place from the sky: Sydney!
An Australian city discovered by James Cook in 1770 - who to get there largely used the navigation instruments mentioned in my article The Greenwich Meridian, moreover certain objects and documents of the navigator are exposed in the museum of the Royal Observatory of Greenwich - Sydney is a unique city in many ways and it can be visited by land, sea and air…
The helicopter is a great way to discover its architecture and landscape from a different and grandiose perspective, as it covers 12,300 km2 (4,750 sq. miles)!! In comparison, London covers 1,572km2 ...
Thus, we can easily admire its magnificent opera house, the Harbour Bridge, Circular Quay, Anzac Bridge, the Olympic facilities, but also its numerous beaches ...
I’ll tell you more about this city in a future article.
Re-read my articles about Australia:
For brave people, you can also climb to the top of the Harbour Bridge, after 1,332 steps you reach a height of 49m (161ft.), 3 hours of journey in total.
Quite honestly, I’m not brave enough to do it but I have no doubt that it’s an incredible experience to live ...
However, I’ve been to the top of the Sydney Tower at 260 metres (853ft) high to admire the city at dusk.
Everything becomes magical with the lights ...
Sydney by helicopter is one of my fondest memories, I’m happy to have shared it with you and I hope I’ve made you travel in the air ...
Have a great week!
Love & Joy,
Youhouhhhh!! Finally, here it is 2021, a new decade begins, with new expectations, hopes, dreams and interaction to come ...
I wish you all a magical, bright & wonderful year!!
I hope you had a great holiday season.
I spent NYE with my parents, and last time was in 2015. They came to see me in Australia, and we were outside the Sydney Opera House for the gigantic fireworks. An absolutely unforgettable memory. I put the full video of this year's Sydney fireworks at the end of the article 😊
What a year 2020! We’ve been through a lot, definitely a very interesting and demanding period. It drove us into a corner and pushed us to question ourselves about the meaning of our lives.
In my articles Happy New Year 2020 and 2019 to 2020, I said, among other things:
My resolutions for 2020: to sustain my momentum, not to plan anything and to live driven by opportunities, new people, and of course to continue to realise old dreams and create new ones.
I definitely had a good intuition by not planning anything, I was unable to travel abroad in 2020, but I took you with me on my previous adventures:
However, in 2020, I had a wonderful Honeymoon 2 in the most beautiful city in the world:
And I still have a lot to tell you ...
In 2020, I talked a lot about myself again lol:
My quarantine articles obviously:
I hope you’ll keep some good habits like dancing every day!!
I did my best to inspire you more this year:
I couldn't attend any new ballet, but I did watch some on the internet!
This period definitely made me more interested in the options available online, then I met incredible people and attended some amazing world conferences ...
My Resolutions for 2021:
Recently a friend told me why stop something that is working?
So, let's continue: the blog, the videos, my social media...
And if there’s anything you want me to talk about or improve, please tell me: here.
Obviously, publishing my book My Solo Wedding in Santorini, or How It Saved My Life is still relevant today, but I'm also working on the next one:
After… My Solo Wedding in Santorini, or How My Healing Became A Mission…
I promise to tell you more soon ...
However, this year, I intend to travel, find where to put my bags for good and may be even find love ... 😊
“I was born to inspire people to be themselves! "L.
And thank you again for your support & unconditional love, I wouldn't have so much fun creating and writing without you!
No article next week, I'll be busy writing my greetings cards & meditating to charge my energy for the New Year.
Take the opportunity to catch up with the articles you haven't read 😉
And don't worry, I’ll stay active on social media:
Happy New Year again, I believe in you and your magic, and as I said on my photo at the beginning: leave sparkles wherever you go ...
Be confident, be yourself and shine like a thousand fireworks!
Love & Joy,
After my article Louboutin last week, let's stay in luxury and creativity, I promised you an article on Dubai, here it is, and at Christmas of course!
Change of scenery guaranteed and even more decadent than in my previous articles:
I know you’re already dreaming!
The beach and the skyscrapers probably remind you of Christmas in Brisbane with South Bank Beach in the middle of the city. I love it!
And for those wondering, yes, we wear bikinis at the beach, Dubai is a very cosmopolitan city that is home to many nationalities and cultures.
It’s quite confusing at first, but you quickly get used to the mix and it’s quite fun & inspiring.
You’ll surely recognise the Burj Al Arab hotel, the highest in the world and 7 Stars please, with among others a heliport and a restaurant at 200m above sea level (Video at the end of the article).
A real aesthetic and technical feat, built on stilts (250 pillars of 1.50m in diameter!) And able to withstand storms and frequent earthquakes in the region.
I couldn't visit it, but it made a perfect background for my selfie!
And yes, my hair was a bit longer at that time, read or reread my article Titanium Heart to know everything about my haircuts ...
In my article Desert, mentioning the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve, I said that everything was possible in this city, the proof again here with the different activities that you can find in the gigantic shopping centres out of sand: luxury shops, art, cinemas, aquariums, and even an ice rink and ski slopes, this is Christmas anyway!
No chance to be bored in Dubai ...
And cuz it’s Christmas, window displays and decorations are in the spotlight.
Oh Louboutin, did you read my last article?
However, I strongly advise to wear sneakers to visit these immense galleries, I sprained my ankle walking these endless alleys ...
Of course, we think of luxury and extravagance, I won't lie, I’ve experienced them a lot: caviar buffet, champagne, luxury shopping, restaurants, bars ...
It reminds me my Solo Wedding in Santorini somehow.
I also took the opportunity to wear my jewellery and designer dresses:
Outfit 1 – Dress Anne Fontaine, Bracelet Tiffany & Co, Ring Chanel, Earrings Swarovski, Chanel beauty, Shoes Stuart Weitzman, cigarillos Romeo y Julieta
Outfit 2 – Dress Zimmerman, Earrings Coach, Chanel beauty
You think I'm exaggerating, so what are you going to think of the air-conditioned bus stops and police driving Ferraris ...
Let's continue in the spectacular with the fountains ballet like in Las Vegas, with the famous Burj Khalifa tower illuminated in the background.
With a height of 828 metres (2,717 ft), 163 floors, it’s the tallest tower in the world since 2009. However, the Jeddah Tower in Saudi Arabia is expected to overtake it by 2024 by reaching 1000m (3,281 ft).
The Burj Khalifa tower is nonetheless an incredible construction, like many others in Dubai.
And just another building that many have seen before, the 5 Star Atlantis hotel. Huge complex with 1,539 rooms including 2 underwater suites, a water park, an aquarium, 17 restaurants and bars ...
There’s even a skytrain to access it.
The Atlantis was recently (October 2020) the backdrop for the new largest fountain in the world called The Palm Fountain, because located on the Palm Jumeirah island (Video at the end of the article).
Dubai can also be visited by sea, by yacht to blend in perfectly with the scenery, although mine was almost invisible compared to the size of the others ...
Sea Trip Outfit - Dress Hermès, Sunglasses Prada, Belt Salvatore Ferragamo
But by air it's even better, by seaplane please. You know I like flying (read the article In the Air).
We then realise the immensity of the work that has been required, and all the construction in progress.
Let’s not forget that it was only in the early 90s that it all started ...
Have fun recognising the buildings and places mentioned above 😉
There’s a photo, however, that must have seemed strange to you ...
And yes, the old town is not so far with its traditional boats still in use, but also the spice market and especially the gold market!
I've never seen anything like it, and yet you know I've travelled a lot in my life.
I also highly recommend visiting The Dubai Museum, it’s absolutely beautiful, housed in the old Al Fahidi Fort.
Rich in number of artefacts from the region but also from around the world, thanks to trade, it also exhibits local life before the oil era.
Besides, do you know what was Dubai's main wealth?
They were mainly pearl fishermen; actually Paris was the pearl capital of the world at the end of the 19th century and had strong trade links with the countries of the Persian Gulf.
Dubai is the perfect embodiment of the past and the future, perfect at the end of the year when we reflect on what we have accomplished while setting new goals ...
To keep you busy while waiting for Santa, several videos at the end of the article that highlight what I told you in this article.
Don't forget to send me your photos of Christmas decorations, they’ll be published in my next article:
Have great Christmas preparations!!
Love & Joy,
"The whole world is a book, and those who don’t travel read only one page.” St Thomas Aquina
And as we can’t travel anymore, I’ll continue to show you virtually the wonders of our world.
I realised that I regularly talk about the sea and the ocean, but not that much about the desert which nevertheless occupies nearly 20% of our beautiful planet.
Certainly, I’ve already told you about Las Vegas which is located in the middle of the Nevada desert, but this doesn’t count.
I'm not going to lie to you, the reason that brought me to visit this desert, well it's a spa!
You know it's one of my passions after reading my article Spas Around the World.
And I'm not talking about a mirage, but a magnificent establishment nestled in the sand.
Today I’m taking you somewhere where the word impossible doesn’t exist, in the desert of Dubai ...
When it comes to Dubai, you think of luxury, and for sure the 5-star Al Maha resort and spa is no exception.
In the heart of the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve, just 45 minutes from the city, this is the perfect place to regain your energy in contact with nature, and to forget the hustle and bustle of the city.
Lounges filled with traditional furniture and local antiques immediately transport you to another world.
Relaxing here is nothing difficult especially when you see a gazelle by the pool.
And when you have lunch with a view of the desert, it’s a truly unique and magical experience.
Without forgetting that the 42 suites of this luxury hotel are hidden in the dunes and the vegetation, notice the small white tents…
Another reason why I’ve been there is for the animals.
I admit none of them is mentioned in My Favourite Animals, but yet I’ve always wanted to see oryxes, gazelles and antelopes in the wild.
Follow me, a guide takes us in a 4x4 to visit the reserve ...
Thanks to conservation efforts since 2004, the reserve now has more than 70 plant species, 140 bird species and 44 mammal and reptile species.
It has received numerous awards for the protection of nature and local wildlife.
All the activities and excursions organised within the reserve respect its ecosystem.
With its 225 km2, representing 5% of the emirate of Dubai, it’s the largest area protected by the government of the United Arab Emirates.
I’m delighted to have discovered this reserve of Dubai, totally magical and unreal, with its dunes as far as the eye can see, drawn by the wind, a soothing and timeless silence.
And sometimes a landscape that reminds me of Mars (reread In the Air 2) ...
I hope you’ve enjoyed this article. It’s a wonderful memory for me.
And don’t worry an article about Dubai is coming very soon ...
Have a wonderful week!
Love & Joy,
As I said in my article last week Greenwich Meridian, many of us are confined again.
Besides, I’d very much like to use time travel if it existed, to be able to relive some of my trips, and why not even redo My Solo Wedding in Santorini!!
At that time in 2018, I was in Crete writing my first book, an extraordinary and very emotional journey, I was realising a childhood dream while healing my love wounds.
I've shared a lot about this beautiful Greek island:
Then, in 2019, I was in London, I was working on the English version of my Book, and I took the opportunity to show you around this city that I particularly love:
No idea where I’ll be in 2021, but who knows today with the uncertainty around us.
Nevertheless, I posted a video on my social media last week, to keep our physical and mental health!
When the news broke of a new lockdown, many of you confided in me, expressing your worry and anxiety.
The idea is that moving your body with music is a great benefit to your health (body and mind), so I ask everyone to choose a song every day and to dance on it, anytime during the day.
It’s simple, easy and I promise it makes you smile every time!!
And on my Instagram, every day I remind people to dance, those who wish can even make a little video, tag me and I'll repost it.
Many people have embraced this idea and are spreading it around them in addition to practicing it, which makes me extremely proud and happy.
Happiness comes from small things and I keep telling you it on this blog:
And in my videos:
All videos: here
However, this time and unlike the first Quarantine, I intend to continue to follow my Healthy Routine!
If you need to occupy yourself, don't hesitate to sign up for the free webinars of the School of Jewelry Arts (Van Cleef & Arpels), I've already mentioned this school in my article Bird Paradise.
These live talks (in French & English) hosted by specialists and teachers from the School are extremely interesting and last only an hour and a half.
Coming up :
New York Architecture & Art Deco Jewelry - November 18 & 19, 2020
Flora in Jewelry Arts - November 24 & 25, 2020
From the Gulf to France, the Forgotten History of Pearl Merchants- December 9 & 10, 2020
Register online for details: Link.
Have a lovely week everyone and don't forget to dance!!
Love & Joy,
You know how much I love travelling, just re-read all my travel articles, especially the latest one about Palm Cove in Australia.
We also experienced Time Travel together in one of my previous articles, and that’s what we’re going to do again today.
Several countries have changed the clocks and I thought that travelling back in the past to understand time and space was welcome.
So I'm taking you to the Royal Observatory of Greenwich near London!
GMT, does that mean anything to you? Greenwich Mean Time, and yes, the mean solar time at the Greenwich Meridian has long been used as a world standard for time, based on Earth's rotation.
And if you remember my article Pantheon in Paris, there was a huge clock on the floor that operated with the movement of the Earth.
But you wonder why Greenwich in England?
This is quite arbitrary, because while latitude is measured by the equator and separates north from south, longitude, on the other hand, has no benchmark to separate west and east.
In the 19th century, many countries used their own meridian based on their national observatories.
However, in 1884, at a conference in Washington DC (USA), Greenwich was recognised as the Prime Meridian (O° of longitude) as an international standard, because the majority of shipping companies and the American rail system were already using the British system.
In addition, they took the opportunity to adopt a world time based on this same meridian.
Thus, the Greenwich Meridian, which crosses the Observatory, was the world's benchmark measurement of time and space. However, France didn’t adopt it until 1911, preferring to use the Paris meridian of course.
However, since 1972, GMT has been replaced by UTC (Coordinated Universal Time), a more precise calculation method. That’s the reason why you sometimes see Paris UTC + 1 or Los Angeles UTC-8.
The Greenwich meridian or prime meridian crosses England, France, Spain, Algeria, Mali, Burkina Faso, Togo, Ghana and the Antarctic.
You’ll observe in the photos, the names of the cities, their longitude in degrees and a letter (W for west and E for east), and of course Greenwich is on both sides of the line.
Here I am, I stand above the Meridian of Time and Space, between West and East!
In the observatory you can admire the telescope invented and used by George Biddell Airy (7th Royal Astronomer), to calculate the prime meridian.
You’ll notice the system to open the roof ...
But how did it all start?
Located in east London not far from the Thames Barrier, which I described to you in my article Technical Feat, the Royal Observatory was established in 1675 by Charles II of England.
At that time, the sailors and their precious cargo encountered a major problem, they knew how to calculate their north-south position (latitude) but had no way of knowing their longitude (west-east).
Many were lost at sea and perished.
John Flamsteed was the first Astronomer Royal, responsible for improving star maps to aid mariners.
Royal astronomers over time have thus created more precise tools and methods using various instruments, some invented at their request, several are on display at the observatory including a telescope from the Victorian era (1893), which is still in use today!
Moreover, the red ball on the roof of the house (installed in 1833), goes up shortly before 1 p.m. (in summer, noon in winter) and at the exact time falls, this allowed the boats which were on the Thames to reset their instruments before going to sea.
I’m speaking in the present tense because the ball is still used today.
Another major discovery was the invention of the marine timekeeper for boats. It was essential to consider the rolling, the temperature changes and the salt which rusted the pieces. After 45 years of work and research, and 4 versions of the clock, John Harrison invented the H4 in 1760 and revolutionised watchmaking.
The measurement of time was an essential discovery, the observatory has a large collection of sundials, clocks and watches.
It’s interesting to see this evolution until the wristwatches that we know today, these were initially created for ladies, men preferring the pocket watch, however during the WW1, they lost them in the trenches and decided to strap it to their wrists… Today the wristwatch is adopted by everyone.
The bronze planetarium was installed in 2007 on the property which makes this place a place full of enrichment and discovery.
The Observatory and the Greenwich Park where the building is, offer incredible panoramic views over Greenwich and the City of London.
The splendid building that extends below was a royal residence including the Royal Navy Hospital, now it’s the National Maritime Museum.
A very pleasant and relaxing environment, inspiring to daydream and new inventions ...
I admit, this article was a lot of reading, but as we are confined again, I figured this would pass the time for you.
Don't hesitate to re-read the articles about my Solo Wedding in Santorini if you’re looking for a bit of hope and courage.
You can also review my articles on London, and then, at the end of the article, a video on the best attractions in the city!
Have a fantastic week everyone!
Love & Science,
Happy Halloween everyone!!
We must admit that this year we don’t really need to scare ourselves, Covid 19 is largely taking care of it.
In addition, many cities and countries around the world don’t allow house tours to celebrate Halloween properly, such as in France where we are confined again since yesterday!
But don't let that prevent you from eating sweets or watching horror movies, or even disguising yourself while keeping your slippers on ...
You can also read my previous Halloween articles:
Or re-read my article from last week Respect with excerpts from my book My Solo Wedding in Santorini.
In short, as I repeat on this blog and in my videos, there are always many ways to smile and to be happy, you just have to be creative and keep an open mind, moreover, I put one of my videos below:
I lived in Australia for 7 years, I can tell you that nature makes you shiver every day, and if you ever find yourself lacking in thrills you can always go to the beach!
And today, I'm going to tell you about one of my favourite spots, Palm Cove.
Located on the east coast, in the north Queensland, not far from Cairns, this adorable little town of 2,000 inhabitants owes its name "Palm Cove" from the row of trees along its white sandy beach.
I love palm trees; it reminds me of my article Las Palmas on Gran Canaria Island.
Dreamy beaches ...
You don't understand why it’s scary, yet I've covered it before in:
And yes! Among jellyfishes, crocodiles and hydrocution, you must choose hahaha.
Don't worry, you can swim in the large nets set up by lifeguards.
It’s strange the first time, but you quickly forget about the net and feel perfectly safe.
And on unsupervised beaches, there are bottles of vinegar available, for your information it's to relieve jellyfish burns, not to season your salad!
In addition, Palm Cove is very popular with anglers looking for mackerels, giant trevallies and sharks ...
Along the beach there’s a lovely promenade with shops, restaurants and cafés, which makes it a very pleasant place to wander and relax.
For those who don't like the ocean & its inhabitants, they can always choose a nice residence to stay in, like mine which had several beautiful swimming pools.
In addition, Palm Cove is located near the Great Barrier Reef and the Daintree Rainforest, 2 natural sites not to be missed if you visit Australia.
Have a great week!
Love & Thrill,
Back to France this week, I hope you enjoyed our getaway last week with Rainy Day in London.
In Honeymoon 2 I told you about all the amazing things I did during my stay in Paris and I started to give you details of my visits:
Today the Eiffel Tower, admittedly this is not the first time I mention our pretty iron lady:
But this time I take you to the top for the sunset!
1st floor at 190 ft high ...
2nd floor at 380 ft ...
The first elevator reaches the first 2 floors, then you must take a very small elevator to reach the last level.
The ascent only takes a minute and a half, but you quickly gain height, reaching 905 ft high!
We thus arrive on a sheltered and fully glazed floor, then a metal staircase brings us to the external platform located at 915 ft and protected only by wire mesh.
The view is breathtaking, Paris below us, luminous and majestic ...
And for those who know this city, have fun spotting the Sacré-Cœur, the Pantheon, the Montparnasse Tower, the Louvre, Notre Dame de Paris, the Grand Palais, etc.
Gustave Eiffel its creator had installed an office on this floor, it’s certain that with such a view, one can’t lack inspiration ...
As a reminder, it was built in 2 years and inaugurated in 1889 for the World Fair.
It is 1,063 ft high, the base of its pillars forms a 410 ft square and its metal frame weighs 7,300 tons.
It’s served by 5 elevators, already present in 1889, a real technical feat for the time, and 2 of them are still in use today. If you want to know more about how they work, click on the link below:
A magnificent park has been built under the tower with a few ponds, which makes it even more romantic and peaceful.
With the restrictions related to Covid, you must take your tickets online on a specific day and time, so there’s no longer a line, a huge advantage.
And here is the sun setting ...
The night ends up enveloping us, the Eiffel Tower shines with a thousand lights and nourishes us with its gentle and quiet strength ...
Paris is truly magical and captivating, I keep discovering it on each of my visits.
Read previous articles:
By the way for those who love jewellery and gems, I strongly recommend that you register for the Diamond, Art and Science seminar: link.
It's organised by the Ecole des Arts Joailliers with the support of Van Cleef & Arpels.
October 14, & 15 free and online.
I've been making my dreams come true since my Solo Wedding in Santorini, and I feel so proud and fulfilled every time I realise one. Just pure happiness.
Try! It’s really worth it ...
Have a great week!!
Love & Joy,
After a rainy week secluded in my cave as I like to call my sanctuary where I write and work, inevitably I started to think of London!
First, because last year at this time I was living there, second, for those who follow me on Instagram, I’ve widely shared my stories about the rainy days in London.
In fact, I also talked about it in one of my videos, I put it at the end of the article.
I needed the perfect outfit to be able to go out there and my favourite store: Burberry on Regent Street. The building is period, built in 1820 for the Prince Regent (hence Regent Street), later King George IV.
I've discovered this place in 2017, during my hen's trip, one month before my Solo Wedding in Santorini.
The building was completely restored by the brand and its then Creative Director, Christopher Bailey. It took 2 years of renovation before it opened in 2012, this is the brand's largest store with 44,000 sq. ft of space, no less than 8 elevators and 26 stairs! This magnificent boutique is worth a visit on its own, especially if you like architecture.
Well, I admit the welcome is so charming and personalised that I took up residence lol, and depending on the time of day, I am offered a coffee, a tea or champagne… One tip from me, leave before emptying your entire bank account, everything is so beautiful here ...
Well covered up, I’m not afraid to explore the city on foot, even in the greyness there’s a lot to discover in the streets of London ...
Just in time for the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace!
Another very touristy place, the Tower of London. The place is already quite austere in normal times (medieval style dictates), but on a rainy day we can perfectly imagine Anne Boleyn locked in the dungeon several weeks before her execution… You know, the 2nd wife of King Henry VIII; accused of adultery and high treason, she was beheaded.
Fortunately, at the Tower of London, there are also the crown jewels to admire (unfortunately photos prohibited), and then we understand better why Anne loved being queen so much ...
By the way, thanks to The Tudors series, I don't think I’d have remembered British history so much without watching Henry Cavill in panthoses, it was surely a good practice for him before Superman!
And the animal statues are there to remind us that in the past this fortress housed a menagerie (on the other hand the crow is real).
Nothing better than to take refuge in the many museums of the city for shelter like the British Museum my favourite, you can also go to see a musical or a ballet: reread Happy New Year 2020.
All these visits make me hungry: scones or cupcakes, so hard to choose (Read Article I love December).
But it’s already 6 p.m., dinner time here, if we opted for a specialty:
It was a good day, for those who really don't like the rain, there’s always the option to watch it fall and the squirrels pass by, or to wait for spring to return to go back to the magnificent parks and gardens of the city, like in my Article my Birthday in London.
Have a great weekend everyone!
Love & Joy,
Autumn is here, the rain and the cold with it, I’m back in Europe for 3 years since my Solo Wedding in Santorini, and I still have a lot of trouble getting used to the seasons here. I loved to be in flip-flops and wearing a summer dress most of the year ...
In Australia, however, it’s spring!
Although I had a fantastic month in Paris for my Honeymoon 2, I admit that I miss the Pacific Ocean, so this week I take you with me to Australia, to discover a wild island full of treasures ...
North Stradbroke Island (Minjerribah) called Straddie by locals, is an island located in Queensland, not far from Brisbane.
The only way to get there is by boat or ferry.
This island is 38km (23.6mi) long, 11 (6.8mil) wide, with 2,000 inhabitants for 275 km2 (106 sq mi).
This little haven of peace offers an exotic getaway and a great way to reconnect with nature. Moreover, only one hotel for the whole island, camping is privileged.
Only the north of the island is inhabited, the south is totally wild and I find it very interesting to visit it by catamaran.
Otherwise, nothing better than a 4x4 to get around the island and the beaches, of course you need a special licence, which is valid for one year. Be careful with the tides, however.
Nature is truly incredible here, no matter the point of view, the forests, the endless white sand beaches, & BBQ on the beach, my favourite!
All beaches are magical, and sunbathing from beach to beach is my favourite sport 😊
But beware some places can be populated by jellyfishes and sharks, below a sign that we often see in Australia ...
I’ve already discussed this in my previous articles:
If you're afraid of the ocean, you can always go swimming in the many lakes of Straddie:
the two main ones are Blue Lake and Brown Lake, its name is due to the colour of the waters, which comes from the tannin of the surrounding plants. In fact, depending on the light, the water is even red!
It’s very surprising and very funny to bathe in it, especially as it’d have beneficial properties for the skin.
Another activity that I love, spotting koalas in the trees, it's not always easy to see them (check the photo below to demonstrate your talent), and I admit that sometimes I feel a bit like a voyeur lol but they’re so cute!!
This is a great opportunity to observe nature, all the animals and birds we find on this beautiful island, and it’s even better when we have a chance to see turtles, dolphins or whales!
Straddie has some great vantage points and the Gorge Walk (little path along the cliffs) is really perfect.
In addition, walking is excellent for your health ...
And when you see this type of sign, totally normal for Australians but completely unbelievable for us Europeans!
I love Australia ...
Travelling to the other side of the planet is not for now as far as I'm concerned, but I’ll take comfort in reading again my article Spas around the world and applying my own advice from the Happy Summer video ( at the end of the article).
Have a great week everyone!
Love & Joy,
I couldn't wait any longer to unveil this wonderful palace to you, because in fact I was so amazed that I absolutely wanted to share this discovery.
And for those who have visited it before, I hope you will enjoy seeing it again from all angles.
You are familiar with my interest in architecture and art, just remember some of my previous articles:
As I told you in my last article Honeymoon 2, visiting the Garnier Opera house was one of my dreams.
I’ve already visited magnificent opera houses such as Sydney, Madrid, or the Royal Opera House in London, which I told you about in my article Happy New Year 2020, but the Palais Garnier opens the doors to Parisian splendour and French elegance ...
Have you deciphered the words hidden on the ceiling medallion (photo above)?
“JEAN LOUIS CHARLES GARNIER ARCHITECT 1861-1875”.
And yes, he’s the one who gave his name to this building.
It was completed in 1875 following a competition organised by Napoleon III, after the old opera house Le Peletier was destroyed in a fire.
Garnier Palace is one of the emblematic monuments of Paris.
After passing the Rotonde des abonnés and the Bassin de la Pythie, let us be enchanted by the grandiose and luxurious atmosphere of the Grand staircase.
With a little imagination, we can easily imagine ourselves in a ceremonial outfit, we’re transported to the 19th century ...
An eclectic architecture that combines modern techniques and classic decoration. The whole structure, frames and beams are in metal, which is camouflaged with a lot of stucco, plaster, stone, paintings, gilding, onyx, copper, and marble! No less than 3 different marbles for this majestic staircase.
So many corridors, we don't always know where they lead to, but we gladly wander, and we often stop to admire the little details ...
Meeting with the other spectators before the performance, in the Avant-foyer, enhanced with multiple ceramics and gilded chandeliers.
Then, we finally find our loge, and we discover the auditorium located in the very heart of the palace.
Admittedly, this is no longer the original ceiling painted by Lenepveu, Napoleon III's favourite painter, but a creation by Marc Chagall designed in 1964 at the request of André Malraux, Minister of Cultural Affairs at the time. It represents the history of the arts of opera and dance.
The first painting, however, is safely stored underneath.
The chandelier is 16 feet high with a diameter of 13ft and weighs 6.5 tons. It reminds me of the magnificent chandelier in the Radio City Hall in New York.
An impressive room 102 feet wide, 105 ft deep and 66ft high to accommodate nearly 2,000 seats.
We cannot remain indifferent to such a creation ...
But this is the intermission, let's stop for a few moments to say hello to our friends in the splendid Grand foyer and its adjoining salons, it feels like being in Versailles, surrounded by gold and mirrors ...
Let's get my glass of champagne in the Rotonde du Glacier before the show restarts, does anyone want something else: coffee, orangeade, pastries?
It's hard to imagine that above this magnificent painted ceiling hides a dance studio, and yet...
Let's finish with the palace library and museum, 600,000 preserved documents, scores, photos, sketches, letters and no less than 100,000 books. But also 8,500 objects including paintings, set models and stage jewels...
From inside to out, Charles Garnier meticulously designed and planned everything.
He chose all the craftsmen himself: painters, mosaicists, and sculptors. An eclectic and very rich decoration for an opulent but nevertheless elegant result.
If you use the multimedia guide for the visit, he'll explain himself all the mysteries of his work.
This interactive tablet is really complete, you sometimes seem weird pointing your tablet at the ceiling, but it's definitely worth a look.
You'll thus discover certain places that are not accessible to the public, such as the dance studio above the Rotonde du Glacier, the Foyer de la Danse which is behind the stage, or the costume room where the tutus are stored !
I didn’t buy anything at the gift shop even though several dancers wanted to be adopted ... So cute!
Next time I’ll go to see the magnificent Paris Opera Ballet, there’s no doubt I’ll feel the presence of the architect all around me!
“A true artist is not one who is inspired, but one who inspires others. " Salvador Dali
Love & Joy,