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 activity 😊
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,
Garnier Palace (Paris)
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, 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 ballerinas 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,