While in France we’ve just suffered a big heat wave, I say suffer because it was very difficult to sleep and work from home without air conditioning and fan - besides my American friends don’t understand that we don’t have air conditioning here.
In these cases, nothing better than going to visit museums and precisely that reminded me of this exhibition that I did while it was 40°C in Madrid!
Last month I spent time once again in Madrid, a city that you know has been dear to me since 2018, since I had lived in this capital for the freezing of my eggs.
It's one of the few cities where I feel at home, and there's nothing rational about it, it's just the way I meet the people there, the way I move around in this city, or how I always discover secret passages and incredible places. I don't know, I feel attached and connected to everything in a very deep way.
This time, I'm taking you to the Royal Collections Gallery, a new museum in the Spanish capital which opened its doors this summer.
And after my Barbie article, talking about princess carriages seems very appropriate!
Remember my article on the Royal Mews of London, I know you enjoyed the wonderful photos and this time again you’ll be amazed.
"In motion" is the name of this temporary exhibition which presents coaches and vehicles from Spain's national heritage.
The royal family has always had a great need for means of transport to get around, including after 1561, when King Philip II settled the court permanently in Madrid, since he liked to hunt and enjoy the many other palaces in the Kingdom.
Obviously, everyone followed him on his travels, which required a lot of logistics and vehicles.
Thus, the evolution of these means of transport was in line with the needs of these kings and French craftsmen were among those most in demand. They are also the ones who invented the Berlin carriage, with 2 supporting axles allowing better stability and comfort.
The example below dates from 1790-1800 & 1799.
Obviously, faced with the strong demand from the monarchs of the time, the Spaniards also specialised in the field.
It must also be said that in the 16th and 17th century, the kingdoms were very extensive, the monarchs had to move frequently and over long distances to be able to rule and meet their subjects.
It was also a way to show off their power and wealth, which played a major political role at that time.
In the 18th and 19th centuries, many technical innovations, particularly from England, improved safety and comfort.
And always this taste for detail and refinement...
Another form of transport, the ancestor of the convertible with a sunroof, mainly used for walking in parks on sunny days: the Landau.
But the interiors competed just as much in luxury and precious materials.
Many professions had to be invented to create these magnificent carriages, creating many jobs and thus contributing to the economy of the countries.
Not to mention all the other associated craftsmanship and jobs...
Litter, Sedan chair, sleigh, baby carriage, many invented vehicles, especially for people who couldn’t ride a horse such as women and children or to move more easily in town or on snow.
Art is a fabulous testimony to history and here to the different means of transport through time.
How could I not comment on the planetary phenomenon associated with the Barbie movie?
Especially if you have been following me for a long time, you know that I love this fashion doll.
I’ve talked about her many times on this blog, but also in my book and even more because she’s literally in the acknowledgments of my book!
It's surprising because I mentioned this excerpt from my book in March, when we weren't yet talking about the film.
Excerpt from My Solo Wedding in Santorini:
And of course, I took my book “My Solo Wedding in Santorini” to watch the Barbie movie.
We loved the absolutely incredible sets, the very current story and also which reminded me very well of my emotional bond with her.
All the actresses and actors are perfect and Margot Robbie is FANTASTIC, we couldn’t have hoped for better to embody our favorite doll!
And then, the outfits… I still dream about them! Especially since several of my Barbie are represented in the film.
It reminded me of the magnificent Barbie exhibition in Montreal (Canada), I invite you to check it again, hundreds of photos of Barbie in her most beautiful outfits: LINK!
Read again my previous Fashion articles:
But Barbie Laeti is by far my favourite, a very special edition 😉 and in addition in her favourite environment, the beach...
And no, I didn't do it on purpose to be perfectly matched to the decor, that's what being a perfect Barbie is, we always match!!
However, my dream is very real, I wish to have a Barbie one day in my effigy: the solo bride inspired by my Solo Wedding in Santorini.
May the angels of Barbie and Mattel hear me!
My Solo Wedding articles on the blog: LINK
My Book - extracts and order: HERE
Follow me on Facebook and Instagram for more fun!
And also YouTube, nearly 60 videos where I talk about myself, my Solo Wedding in Santorini and the life lessons I learned.
Happy August everyone!!
Love & Joy,
As the holiday season has begun and the trees, houses, streets are adorned with their most beautiful lights and decorations, of course I can't help but think of festive outfits!
Which reminded me of the wonderful creations of Yves Saint Laurent that I discovered at the beginning of the year during a special exhibition “Yves Saint Laurent at the Museums”, in collaboration with many museums in Paris.
Dresses, jackets and suits were presented associated with artists, paintings, texts, which had inspired the designer.
And it’s with great admiration that I present these photos to you this week.
As a reminder, all the photos are mine – Laëtitia Nguyen
To start, let’s go back to the time of Proust at the magnificent Orsay Museum.
These outfits, inspired by In Search of Lost Time by Marcel Proust, of which Yves Saint Laurent was passionate, represent on the one hand the "world in transition" (those are his words) and on the other hand this duality of genders (masculine- feminine).
Thus, the 2 dresses, which borrow from the fashion of the end of the 19th century, were created for the Proust Ball, celebrating the centenary of the birth of Marcel Proust, and organised in 1971 by the Baron and Baroness de Rothschild.
The dress in the background is the dress created for the Baroness and the one in the foreground for Jane Birkin.
As for the tuxedo, which appeared in the 19th century in England, it was in 1966 that the designer adapted them to women to expand their wardrobe. Those presented here come from collections between 1966 and 2001.
Essential clothing and centerpiece of this genius of fashion.
Just like Yves Saint Laurent, Proust is one of my favourite authors, and I actually quoted him in my solo wedding vows in Santorini.
I can perfectly see myself wearing one of his magnificent creations, made of delicate fabrics and materials but offering so much personality!
Change of era and decor at the National Picasso Museum.
This time it’s Cubism that influences YSL and several of its collections. Creations that pay homage to Pablo Picasso and his works.
In the Fall-Winter 1979 collection, this is impossible not to recognise this allusion.
And he goes even further, by drawing inspiration from the Portrait of Nusch Eluard, he creates a jacket based on the model of Elsa Schiaparelli worn on the painting. A way for the designer to honour the painter but also the fashion designer.
For the Spring-Summer 1988 collection “homage to artists”, he chose to “putting static objects into motion on a woman's body”.
He applies here the same approach as Picasso with assemblage, representation, and details.
So much genius and elegance.
I had the chance to also visit the Yves Saint Laurent Museum and of course I’ll do an article about it!
I hope I made you dream and that it inspired you, in my case, nothing like art and beauty to increase my creativity!
And for your greatest pleasure and mine, an article will be published on Saturday December 24 and Saturday December 31, so that you have something to read by the fire (northern hemisphere) or at the beach (southern hemisphere).
Feel free to read my previous articles:
Happy Holidays everyone!!
Love & Joy,
While this week I attended online a very interesting class about the history of Mary Magdalene, I remembered that last year at this time I had just returned from Paris and was preparing to go to the south of France to discover the Sainte-Baume Cave where Mary Magdalene spent the last years of her life.
So, the idea of telling you about the famous Parisian church was obvious!
Located in the 8th, not far from Place Vendôme, located at one end of Rue Royale, with Place de la Concorde on the other side, as a tourist, impossible to miss it!
Commissioned by Napoleon I, it was however not finished until 1842 (85 years later) because of the political troubles at this period.
From Greek neoclassical style, this Catholic church surrounded by 52 Corinthian columns, measures 354ft (108m) long and 141ft (43m) wide, and its height is 98ft (30m).
I didn't take pictures of the exterior because the facade has been under renovation for many years, and it’s hidden by large panels.
However, I got revenge inside and all the following photos are mine.
The work of the craftsmen here is impressive, gilding, wood and marble, you don't know where to look, everything is so sumptuous.
Obviously, our attention is on the Choir created by Charles Marochetti and the Rapture of Saint Mary Magdalene. An exceptional work that required 12 years of work on the part of the sculptor.
So much detail, you could spend hours looking at it all.
Above all, a lot of tenderness and poetry in this piece, so real, that one would expect the characters to wake up at any moment.
Behind the Choir, the Lameire mosaic, highlighting the Resurrection of Christ and his first disciples, including Mary Magdalene of course.
And above the painted fresco by Ziegler telling the story of Christianity. We see Mary Magdalene supported by 3 angels just like in the Choir, but also many outstanding characters: Saint Louis, Clovis, Charlemagne, Joan of Arc, Louis XIII with Richelieu, Napoleon but also Raphaël, Michel-Ange and Dante to represent the Renaissance.
And even more sculptures, all as incredible as each other...
Including the carved bronze front door!
I end with an element that you’ve certainly noticed in the previous photos, the great organ!
Restored several times, it was originally built by Aristide Cavaillé-Coll in 1846.
n the Corinthian style to harmonise with the rest of the architecture, the woodwork by unknown author is a work of art in itself!
Many personalities have had their funerals organised in this magnificent church:
Chopin, Offenbach, Mistinguett, Coco Chanel, Joséphine Baker, Tino Rossi, Dalida, Marlène Dietrich, Henri Salvador, Johnny Hallyday and this year the Bogdanoff brothers to name but a few...
No article next week, I’m working intensely on the publication of my book in French: Mon Mariage Solo à Santorin!
In this Pride Month, I wanted to talk to you about this immense French designer who left us at the start of the year, on January 23, 2022.
Manfred Thierry Mugler, was born in 1948 in Strasbourg (France), a classical dancer from an early age, but he also studied interior design, at the end of the 1960s he moved to Paris, and naturally became a fashion designer, then an independent stylist.
A magnificent exhibition “Thierry Mugler: Couturissime” took place at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris from September 30, 2021, to April 24, 2022.
I had the pleasure of going there several times, so amazed and fascinated by his work.
Nearly 140 outfits on display, not to mention accessories, costumes, drawings, videos, photos...
Follow me into his extraordinary universe!
(and as usual, all photos are mine!)
Creations for the theatre, the Cirque du Soleil and many other shows at the end of his career, his imagination and creativity continued to reveal themselves fully. A universe he discovered as a child as a dancer – he joined the Opéra du Rhin at the age of 14 – and which gave him this passion for the stage and costumes.
No wonder then that its Haute-Couture and Ready-to-wear shows reflected this theatrical inspiration.
Extravagance, including in its Ready-to-Wear collections, no wonder why celebrities love him!
Everything inspires him, nature, legends, modernity, the future...
Extraordinary fabrics, textures, materials, crystals, horsehair, scales, nothing stops this genius with an overflowing imagination, and creations that captivate and which impossible to feel indifferent about.
In addition, attention to detail pushed to the extreme, shoes, gloves, accessories, headpieces, nothing is left to chance. Perfect harmony of the silhouette which becomes the personification of his talent.
Renowned photographers who use his creations to create art: Helmut Newton, Jean-Paul Goude, David LaChapelle, Karl Lagerfeld, Herb Ritts, Ellen von Unwerth, Guy Bourdin, Dominique Issermann…
And stars, models, who make the show!
But Thierry Mugler is also a renowned photographer, and some of his photos have become legendary.
Jerry Hall and Iman are his muses. Architecture and nature its playgrounds. His universe is fully represented.
Once again, he stretches the limits of aesthetics through amazing combinations.
Did you pay attention to Jerry Hall in the dunes with a bottle of perfume?
Thierry Mugler is an undeniable visionary, shaking up traditional codes by integrating food fragrances, he creates the first so-called "gourmand" perfume, after nearly 13 years of research to obtain what will be his signature: Angel.
Other perfumes will follow, and once again the couturier leaves nothing to chance, from the design of the bottle to the ad, including the dress and the accessories, everything is meticulously orchestrated.
And as a showman, no suprise that in 1984, to celebrate the 10th anniversary of his brand, he organised a fashion show at the Zénith de Paris in front of 6,000 people!
For the finale, Pat Cleveland descends from the sky as a Madonna and pregnant.
His work & sketches are the testimony of an incredible and avant-garde artist.
A fitted waist, big shoulders, enhanced curves, he knew how to sublimate the woman like no one else, and very honestly, I would love to wear most of his creations!
But also, sexy creations because the female body is a work of art...
Thierry Mugler leaves us an incredible legacy and certainly an immense source of inspiration for generations to come...
"I'm not trendy. I'm not ‘in fashion’. I am simply a positive human being who has a positive outlook on life." Thierry Mugler
Snow surprised us in France last weekend, and I wanted to stay in this enchanting atmosphere this week, although I like spring and its comforting sunshine!
You know that I remain a child at heart, that I believe in unicorns, Santa Claus, Superman and Cupid... So, when my sister suggested to go see Disney on Ice, obviously I couldn't resist!
'Find your Hero’ is the name of this new production which features brave characters on ice such as Ariel the Little Mermaid, Rapunzel, Beauty and the Beast, Moana and Maui, and of course Anna & Elsa.
But also, all their companions…
I admit that Moana and Elsa are my favourite heroines, moreover I’ve talked about them in my article ‘Merry Christmas 2020’.
It must also be said that no Prince Charming comes to their rescue, their character thus reminding me of My Solo Wedding in Santorini!
However, my favourite moments of the show are: the Little Mermaid which is visually very successful, we believe we are underwater with her, and as for Frozen, we are totally caught in a snowstorm!
But the magic also comes from the sets and costumes!
The shows are prepared in Florida before going on tour around the world.
About twenty professional skaters, who are asked to push their limits both in terms of acting and physicality.
Try skating with these amazing costumes…
And a special mention to Ariel, the Little Mermaid, who delivers a breathtaking rope aerobatic show! As a reminder, she has skates on her feet!!
Don’t hesitate to dive back into my previous articles:
No article next week, I have many projects in progress which I’ll tell you about soon, and I also plan to celebrate Easter with my family in the Alps.
Have a fantastic week everyone! And Happy Easter!!
Love & Joy,
You know how much I love art, and being able to spend the past 2 months in Paris has given me countless opportunities to satisfy my curiosity.
And there’s a place that I adore and that I never tire of visiting, the Petit Palais.
Inaugurated in 1900 for the Universal Exhibition, in the same way as the Grand Palais and the Pont Alexandre III, it became from 1901 the Museum of Fine Arts of the city of Paris.
Located next to the Seine, and between the Champs Elysées and the Jardin des Tuileries, this is the perfect place to take a break during a long walk, to protect yourself from the rain or the heat wave, depending on the season.
In addition to its absolutely magnificent architecture, what I like about this museum is the variety of its collections, whether they are eras, artists or genres: sculptures, paintings, furniture and objects…
First of all, the sculpture gallery, located immediately to the left of the main entrance, welcomes the visitor in a masterful way.
Whether in plaster or bronze, they all testify to the creativity and inventiveness of the artists: Ernest Barrias, Charles Valton, Auguste Bartholdi, Paul Roussel (former student of Barrias), Alexandre Falguière, Jules Desbois...
Some of these plaster statues were the models of bronze sculptures, many of which were melted down during the Second World War, such as the dancer Sacha-Lyo by Serge Youriévich.
You’ll notice the height of the ceilings with their splendid paintings.
But many sculptures are scattered throughout the museum, with among others a large space dedicated to the sculptor Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux.
There’s also a bronze by Renoir, but also marbles: Rodin with "Amour et Psyché" or Auguste Clésinger's "Bacchante".
What beauty and poetry in this museum…
Flemish, French, Italian painters, and from all eras, this is what makes the richness of this museum, we go through history through these artistic discoveries.
Rubens, Poussin, Sisley, Pissarro, Géricault, Cézanne, Delacroix, Monet and many others… To name but a few.
And then some figures that we recognise on the paintings, such as Sarah Bernhardt, the great French actress of the 19th century-early 20th century, painted by Georges Clairin in 1876.
If the city of Paris has acquired many pieces from this museum, in particular the sculptures, it should be noted that generous donors have enriched the collection.
Thus, most of the furniture, objects and decoration come from private collections bequeathed over time.
The following photos will certainly remind you of my articles Cretan Pottery or Rainy Day in Athens.
Greece, my adopted country since my Solo Wedding in Santorini, and I admit I love learning more about its history and culture.
Here too a very beautiful collection, rich and varied.
Since 2017, a new room has exhibited an incredible collection of Eastern Christian arts (Russia, Bulgaria, Turkey, Greece...), from two private collections and bequeathed to the museum.
Its café nestled in the middle of the garden is my favourite place!
So calm and peaceful to forget for a moment that we are in the heart of Paris.
The chirping of the birds, the vegetation and the gardens are conducive to daydreaming, and when the sun is out, it's like being transported to some exotic destination, or even to another era!
This Petit Palais has everything of a great museum, but with fewer people, I strongly encourage you to visit it.
Note that the permanent collection is free for all!
The Museum also regularly hosts magnificent temporary exhibitions (with fee).
My Favourite Articles about Paris:
No article next week, I'm working on the publication of my book "My Solo Wedding in Santorini, or how I saved my life. "
Next post: March 26, 2022
Have a fantastic week everyone!!
Love & Joy,
“Art is my Lifestyle and Vice Versa!” L.
You know how important Art is in my life, how much it inspires and nourishes me, just as I love endlessly creating and revisiting my way of life over and over again.
While we’ve already reviewed the travel category in my previous article Travel Memories, this week I’m choosing to check the other articles: Art & Lifestyle.
I certainly spoiled you in 2021 with lavish exhibitions, amazing museums and majestic churches:
I haven't failed to share my life with you this year, and all the amazing things I do and care about:
Your favourite article this year was: Happy Pride!
In fact, one of the photos in this article is actually in your Top 3 on my Instagram.
Not to mention the most important event of the year for me: the Renewal of my Wedding Vows!
In fact, many of you watched the video, I put it back at the end of the article.
Without a doubt, 2021 has been a year rich in discoveries and surprises of all kinds. So grateful for all these adventures and the people who came with them.
Don't forget to send me your Christmas tree photos to be published in 2 weeks!!
Have a brilliant week everyone!
Love & Joy,
This week, I chose to stay in the flowers theme, my last article Florae is still making me dream...
And I take you to the magnificent Orangery Museum, in the Jardin des Tuileries in Paris, to admire the latest work by one of the most important impressionist painters: Claude Monet.
He wanted it as a place of meditation, silence is requested, but in front of so much beauty one can only be moved and be silent.
There’s only one other place where I feel so peaceful, and that is on the island where took place my Solo Wedding in Santorini.
Here, the artwork depicts a garden at different times of the day from sunrise to sunset.
No horizon or frame to get lost in this scenery and it doesn't take long to be completely absorbed by this lush vegetation.
Installed on the curved walls of 2 large oval rooms. The total ensemble measures nearly 100 linear metres (328 ft) over a height of 1.97m (3.28ft), in other words not far from 200m2 (2,153 sq ft) of art on display.
The light is natural, overhead, coming from the ceiling as in the artist’s studio.
Nothing is left to chance, Monet decided the location of the 8 panels, the space between them, he planned the smallest details.
However, he has never seen the result, the Water Lilies were installed a few months after his death in 1927.
Born in Paris in 1840, Monet was a French painter and one of the founders of Impressionism.
He spent the last 30 years of his life painting water lilies, no less than 250 oil paintings, and it took him 15 years to paint those on display at the Orangery.
His ultimate work, dedicated to peace, started in the midst of the First World War, therefore he did donate it to France.
So important to him, that suffering from cataracts and almost blind, he had an operation to be able to finish them off.
He died in 1926 at the age of 86 from lung cancer.
I’m sure you are captivated by this spectacular work.
Keep this meditative and calm mind until next week.
And a great video at the end of the article, for those who want to discover more…
Have a wonderful week!
Love & Joy,
In my last article Last Quarter, I explained how to end the year serenely, well why not go see this magnificent and free exhibition “Florae”, at the Hôtel d'Evreux, Place Vendôme in Paris, until November 14, 2021.
Organised by Van Cleef & Arpels in collaboration with Japanese photographer Mika Ninagawa and architect Tsuyoshi Tane.
On the theme of flowers - and you know how important they were at my Solo Wedding in Santorini (reread my article Flowers) - the jewels on display, or should I say the artworks as they are so incredible, come from the private collection of Van Cleef & Arpels.
Obviously, we’re talking about pieces of fine jewellery encrusted with diamonds, rubies, emeralds, sapphires and other precious stones and materials, some of which belonged to princesses ...
Mika Ninagawa, born in Tokyo in 1972, is a world-renowned Japanese photographer and director. She has worked with many famous artists and won prestigious awards around the world.
Her universe is pop, colourful, dreamlike and is inspired by nature's beauty.
A magnificent association between her photos and the jewels presented.
All this magnified by an aesthetically luminous presentation by Tsuyoshi Tane, Japanese architect and scenographer.
Here, he chooses to make us move through a plant labyrinth in an intimate atmosphere.
You quickly feel possessed by this unique garden, you lose your bearings and surprise yourself to gather nectar from flower to flower (from photography or jewellery) ...
And how not to dream in front of so much beauty, poetry and brilliance (besides, it wasn’t always easy to take pictures because it shone so bright!).
I can imagine myself perfectly with one of these necklaces around my neck ...
Don't forget to book your time slot online before your visit: LINK
And you can always count on the house's watch collection to inspire you to be on time for the rest of your life!
I’d like to thank Van Cleef & Arpels for their kindness and generosity, and for giving us once again access to their incredible talent and know-how.
A video at the end of the article to tell you even more about this magnificent exhibition.
And to come on October 21, an exciting online conference by L’ECOLE School of Jewelry Arts "The four seasons of the Jewelry Garden" broadcast live from the Florae exhibition!
Register here, it's free: LINK.
Read my previous articles:
Have a fabulous week!
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,
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,
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, and its golden age happened during 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,
As we close this month of March, which is also a celebration of women's history #womenshistorymonth, I’d like to pay tribute to Elsa Peretti who left for another realm on March 18 at the age of 80.
Famous jewellery designer and designer, she was born in Florence (Italy) in 1940, and grew up in Rome and Switzerland.
After studying interior design in Rome, she became a model in Barcelona (Spain) before moving to New York to work for the famous American fashion designer Halston, followed by many others…
She rubbed shoulders with the biggest celebrities, Andy Warhol, Liza Minelli, Cher, but also the greatest photographers.
In 1975, she was even immortalised by Helmut Newton!
In 1974, she became a designer for Tiffany & Co. and revolutionised the jewellery industry by making silver chic and precious.
Tiffany & Co, an American company founded in New York in 1837 and you know I love this city very much (reread Spring in NYC).
No less than 30 timeless and modern collections with among the most famous: Open heart, Bean, Bone cuff, Lacquer bangle ...
She who loved to travel (alone) was inspired by know-how and techniques from around the world.
She also created many accessories and objects for the home ...
"Style is to be yourself." Elsa Peretti
Her creations for this house belongs to history, several of them are part of the permanent collections of the largest museums:
You can find her collections for Tiffany & Co by clicking here: LINK.
Elsa Peretti was also a philanthropist, in 2000 she created the Nando Peretti Foundation (NPF), a foundation in honour of her father.
Countless projects have emerged in favour of the environment, education, women's rights ...
An artist with a big heart.
The first time she liked one of my Instagram posts, I felt so blessed.
To tell the truth, I don't know if it was her or someone from her team who saw my photos, and yet it's like somehow we were connected.
She's the kind of woman I wish I had in my life. I’d have loved to meet her. Maybe in another incarnation.
This woman will be my inspiration forever ...
I'm lucky enough to own one of these famous Bone cuffs, I only wear it on very special occasions, and I wore it during my interview for the late night show in Athens.
The embodiment of strength and femininity, this cuff represents to me the modern elegance of an independent and visionary woman.
And to tell my Solo Wedding in Santorini on the biggest Greek TV channel, this jewel was essential for me, like a kind of talisman, a protection.
Check the Article: TV Interview - Behind the Scenes
I also wore it in Paris for the beautiful wedding of gay friends (reread Superwomen 3).
It was written in the 2016 Tiffany catalog:
Bold and powerful yet feminine and unpretentious, just like the women it was created for, the Bone cuff has become a mainstay in the world of fashion and design.
An incredible woman who has crossed ages, and has never stopped building / rebuilding herself, always staying true to who she was.
A great example of how creativity, art, can transcend a human being and vice versa.
Keep shining Elsa, you are now a star among the stars!
Reread my Series Superwomen:
Have a wonderful 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,
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,
Last week I told you about Gratitude and how it’s a great exercise to be happy, this week I want to be grateful for the month of December because this is my favourite & for shoes!!
For those who follow me for a long time, you know how addicted I am to luxury shoes, with more than 130 pairs in my closet, you can also re-read my previous articles full of photos:
You also know that my shoes for My Solo Wedding in Santorini were Louboutin!
During my 2nd Honeymoon in Paris, I had the chance to visit his exhibition at the Palais de la Porte Dorée: L’Exhibition [niste].
It’ll be accessible again from December 15, 2020 to January 3, 2021, online reservation is of course mandatory: LINK.
All the following photos of the exhibition are mine, as always in each of my articles :D
Follow me to discover 30 years of creation and inspiration ...
A designer is above all an artist, and Christian Louboutin has his own universe. From the 80s, in his tiny room, he explored genres, whimsical and funny, made of waste material and a lot of DIY ... Some meetings were decisive like with Roger Vivier, and in 1991, he created his own brand.
The stained glass windows were designed by the designer and made by the Maison du Vitrail in Paris, they refer to the world of Christian Louboutin such as travel, theatre, couture, art, craft, Parisian women, innovation and sexuality.
Obviously, when we think of Louboutin we think of luxury and magic. Precious materials, original, timeless and inimitable designs ...
My favourites, the fuchsia obviously in crepe de chine, satin and cock feathers!
Exceptional and meticulous work, some models have Swarovski crystals which are placed one by one by hand...
To respect the model's arch, each shoe size has its own heel height to maintain the same silhouette.
There’s also a workshop for "special orders", custom-made, and many personalities use it: Mika, Victoria Beckham, Kylie Minogue, Dita Von Teese ...
And celebrities who loved his creations from his debut such as Madonna, Princess Caroline, or Anna Wintour who published an article in Vogue at the very beginning.
More recently, we can’t forget Beyoncé for the 2018 Super Bowl or Blake Lively, stunning on the red carpet of the 2018 MET ball, alongside Christian Louboutin who had made for her an exclusive model for the occasion!
But these stars also inspire him since some models are called: Mika, Dita ...
Obviously dance and music have always been great sources of inspiration for him.
My favourites are the fringed boots inspired by Tina Turner called For Evertina, and the So Baker, for Josephine Baker (remember, she’s mentioned in my article Proud to be a woman).
Louboutin, it’s also an erotic and fetishistic universe, dear to the creator.
The invention of nude in 2009, a revolution ... Designed to adapt to any type of skin tone, it’s about further lengthening the silhouette by making the shoe disappear.
Today there are 8 shades of nude.
His inspiration is endless and comes from multiple worlds, which he was kind enough to share in this exhibition.
You will no doubt recognise Andy Warhol's painting Flowers (rediscover my article Andy Warhol), which inspired Louboutin's very identifiable Pensée model.
His calling happened when he was a child, because of a sign that prohibited heels to preserve the mosaic floor of the Palais de la Porte Dorée, everything starts with a drawing and any drawing is the source of a creation ...
As a kid from the neighbourhood, he often came here, this is the reason why he chose to exhibit in this building.
Thank you very much Mr. Christian Louboutin for inviting us into your world, your life, your creation ...
But the Louboutin brand is also perfume, lipstick and nail polish, I even got some as a gift for My Solo Wedding in Santorini!
Every day until Christmas, I put in my stories on Instagram, dreamy things to give you gift ideas, also take the opportunity to reread my article from last year Letter to Santa.
(Photo Credit: Alexander Hadji)
In the meantime, I’ll do as Jennifer Lopez in the song at the end of the article, I’ll throw on my Louboutins and write to Santa!
By the way, the Palais de la Porte Dorée is absolutely magnificent, an Art Deco building built in 1931 (but I'll talk more about it another time, don't worry).
My favourite period, I'm sure I lived at that time in another life: I drink whiskey, smoke cigars, love parties, art and short hair, I dance Argentine tango, foxtrot, quickstep, and I love pearls!
Pearls that will be in the spotlight on December 9 and 10 at the School of Jewelry Art (Van Cleef and Arpels), during their free online conference "Pearl merchants: the forgotten history of a trade between the Gulf and France ”.
I highly recommend you to register, it only lasts an hour and it’s always absolutely fascinating!! Link
Till then, I’ll do as Jennifer Lopez in the song at the end of the article, I’ll throw on my Louboutin and write to Santa!
Have a great week!!
Love & Joy,
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 (58m)...
2nd floor at 380 ft (116m)...
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 (276m)!
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 (324m), 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,
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,
As I told you in the previous episode Honeymoon in Santorini, I chose to spend some time in Paris this year, after my birthday.
Alone, or with my friends, I had decided to make some of my dreams come true, you know how much this is part of my personality, read again:
A special year for me, my 40th birthday, which I couldn’t celebrate as I imagined it & my 3 years of marriage. And yes, My solo wedding in Santorini was in 2017 ...
So, what a better idea that to spend a second Honeymoon in the most romantic city in the world.
A magnificent gift to myself that will remain etched in my memory.
Although I often go to Paris, I never get tired of this city, there’s so much to discover here.
You’ve already followed me in my articles:
I must admit that even in July, I had never seen Paris so deserted, that's what encouraged me to stay and visit places normally crowded with tourists ...
I'm a dreamer, and what I love most of all is creating new dreams over and over again. This is probably what drives me to achieve them.
I don't just make a wish list and leave it in a drawer, they're in my head all the time, and I was going to dust off one that had been waiting for over 20 years ...
The last time I visited this famous museum, I stood in line for hours, and I couldn't get a photo with the star of the place. So, it was my dream to be able to come back and this time I really immortalised the moment!
Of course I’m talking about the Louvre, but in addition to having had my photo alone with Mona Lisa, I was able to admire from all sides the Venus de Milo, to take photos of the painting "Liberty leading the people" by Eugene Delacroix, or "the Raft of the Medusa" by Théodore Géricault.
Strolling all day in this sumptuous building with sometimes no one in the same room, was a huge privilege.
Let's continue with one of the most visited attractions in France, after the Louvre and the Palace of Versailles.
I’ve visited it several times in my life, I talked about it in my article Christmas in Paris, but I had never been able to go to the top, to the 3rd level.
Obviously, for my Honeymoon 2, I couldn't say no to myself, and even more extraordinary to be there for the sunset, this wonderful dream came true with exaltation.
Imagine I was the only Asian!! I'm not even sure this ever happened in history’s Eiffel Tower…
You know my passion for dance and ballet, remember in my article Happy New Year 2020, I wondered which company I was going to see this year.
Well, in the meantime, I went to visit a place that has been on my list for a very, very long time: the Garnier Palace (Paris Opera House).
Again, only a few visitors, I was able to admire this beautiful construction from all angles and be inspired by its luxury and prestige.
To tell the truth the building and its history are simply fascinating, and I’m very happy to have made this dream come true, especially as the architect Charles Garnier himself played the guide ...
There are always great exhibitions in Paris, and this one was on my list:
L'Exhibition[niste] by Christian Louboutin, the famous shoemaker that I’m not presenting anymore, I’ve already talked about him with my wedding shoes, in Shoes Forever.
This incredible exhibition takes place until January 3, 2021 at the Palais de la Porte Dorée in Paris, it tells the story and the journey of Christian Louboutin, obviously with countless pairs of shoes on display.
I encourage you to visit it if you like art and shoes.
Don't worry, I’ll come back in detail on this incredible exhibition and the magnificent monuments mentioned above.
You can review my previous articles in the meantime:
Obviously, you are now used to my culinary escapades, especially if you follow my Stories on Instagram, so yes, I also took the opportunity to treat myself during my stay.
No pastry like in Christmas in Paris, I try to follow my Healthy Routine, but that didn't stop me from going to Ladurée for a very elegant avocado toast.
Okay, I sometimes fell for a few desserts ... But it's so good!!
Add a coffee on the terrace, a drink on the quays, and you get the perfect cocktail for a second honeymoon full of wonderful memories…
I was going to forget, Paris by night is just as exceptional and enchanting ...
I still have so much to tell you about this beautiful city, stay tuned ...
Next Article September 12!
Love & Joy,
We’ve just celebrated Bastille Day, National Day in France, unfortunately this year with the Covid restrictions, the fireworks of the Eiffel Tower took place but without spectators.
You can celebrate anyway watching the replay at the end of the article, or by reading again my article from last year:
My Bday in Paris
Or the one from 2018:
And yes, again in Paris in July to celebrate my birthday among other things.
I’m very grateful to be in Paris, some people dream of it all their life as in the film The Extraordinary journey of the Fakir, mentioned in my article Summary (in which besides I reminded you of my articles on incredible constructions.)
The atmosphere of this magical city inspired my last video:
However, on this very special day for the French, I wanted to tell you about a monument that honours our patriotism, and all the people who have contributed to it: The Pantheon in Paris.
But before that, it was a Christian basilica, built in 507 by King Clovis. It became the Church of Sainte-Geneviève, named after the patron saint of Paris, because she had protected the city and its inhabitants from the barbarians with Attila at its head.
A large mural depicts the life of Saint Geneviève, as well as her apotheosis under the dome. These are the oldest paintings dating from the First Empire.
In 1755, Louis XV commissioned Jacques-Germain Soufflot to build a prestigious basilica in honour of Sainte-Geneviève, to whom the King credits his recovery from a serious illness.
The architecture is Greek and Gothic, the dome is inspired by Saint Paul's Cathedral in London and the Invalides in Paris, the monumental peristyle is inspired by the Pantheon of Agrippa in Rome.
Soufflot wanted to compete with Saint-Pierre de Rome, he died before the end, his building was completed in 1790 by his collaborator Rondelet.
At its centre, there’s also the Foucault pendulum invented in 1851, in order to prove the rotation of Earth.
Finally, in 1791, the basilica was converted into the National Pantheon, however it changed twice into a religious building during the 19th century.
From 1874, paintings were added to the monument recounting the key moments of the Christian and monarchical origins of France, Clovis, Joan of Arc, Saint-Louis, Charlemagne are notably represented.
Obviously, we can’t miss the masterful representation of the French Revolution "The National Convention" embodying Marianne surrounded by soldiers and revolutionary deputies.
The original text of the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen as well as the Constitution of the 5th Republic can be found in the Pantheon.
There are also many statues and inscriptions to pay homage to various personalities.
I can’t speak of the Pantheon without mentioning the crypt of course, many illustrious personalities who contributed to the glory of this country are buried there: Voltaire, Rousseau, Alexandre Dumas, Victor Hugo, Louis Braille, Jean Monnet, Pierre & Marie Curie, Simone Veil to name a few ...
We emerge humbled and moved by this beautiful monument, not to mention that we remember a part of the history of France.
A visit that I highly recommend if you’ve never been before.
Follow me on Instagram (@blogaboutl) to see more of my adventures!
Next Post: Saturday August 1st.
Love & Freedom,
We’re going to celebrate Mother’s Day in France tomorrow, which made me think of pottery, because let's be honest who never offered one for Mother’s Day, or even made one at school?
To tell the truth, I already thought of writing this article previously, but it had been replaced by Single and Superwomen 4.
Especially on this Saturday June 6, I celebrate something very special to my heart: the freezing of my eggs in Madrid! I’ve mentioned it last week in my article Happy Anniversary.
Maybe one day I will have the chance to have a pottery too...
But for the moment, let's go back to Crete, great place of this craft, still very popular today.
The Heraklion Archaeological Museum (one of the most important in Greece) is a great place for pottery, from the Neolithic period to the Roman period, and obviously from the Minoan period too.
At first, pottery was ornamental, representing human forms, and sometimes animals or objects. They were used for rituals, magic, or as amulets or toys.
Then, widely developed as funerary objects, they filled the graves and tombs of the deceased, before finally becoming utensils for everyday life.
You will notice the colours, shapes and patterns which are sometimes very elaborate. Cretan pottery is one of the most beautiful pottery I’ve ever seen.
As a reminder, the pottery is made from terracotta.
These objects were found in various places of the island, in the tombs and the ruins of the palaces, including Knossos, remember I’ve talked about it in my article Crete Episode 1.
They cover more than 5,500 years of history!
I’ve rarely seen a collection so rich and so well preserved; this museum opened in 1883.
Also, the tiny Archaeological Museum of Chania (city that we've visited in my article Crete Episode 4) displays a small but very nice collection.
Above all, some artefacts date from the Roman period, or they're from workshops in Corinth and Athens (I’ll tell you more about it in a future post).
We can see toys, perfume bottles and very pretty figurines too…
And for those who love history and artefacts, my previous articles:
Obviously, I went to visit a pottery and ceramic workshop, on the Lassithi plateau (place mentioned in Crete episode 3), to see what it looks like. They still use a potter's wheel and all the objects are painted by hand.
I’m sure you won’t see pottery the same way now…
And at the end of the article, the trailer of an animated film highlighting a Super mum!
Have a great week everyone!
Love & Joy,
I love this city and I’ve already talked about it a lot, in my article Christmas in New York.
There’s so much to discover, and this time without all the Christmas lights, but under a spring sun.
Last week, I explained 2 incredible constructions, the Thames Barrier in London & the Channel Tunnel.
To tell the truth, I’m also very interested in architecture, and New York is pretty incredible for that, then today, I’m going to present you The Rockefeller Center.
The construction of the Rockefeller Center is an idea of John D. Rockefeller Jr., the same one who sponsored the reconstruction of the framework of the Reims Cathedral, in reinforced concrete.
This huge 7 million square feet complex, includes 1.5 million square feet of shops and dining, 19 commercial buildings, including 14 built during the Mr. Rockefeller era, which represents more than 40,000 people employed during the Great Depression.
Some buildings are as impressive inside as outside. Art is at the heart of them, Art Deco obviously, since construction started in 1931 and ended in 1939.
John D. Rockefeller Jr. considered art as an act of good citizenship.
As an aside, his wife, Abby Aldrich Rockefeller, was also fond of art, she created in 1929 with two of her friends, the very famous MoMa (Museum of Modern Art).
Sculptures, paintings, mosaic, each artwork is explained in detail on the Rockefeller Center website: link.
For example, ATLAS (1937) by Lee Lawrie and Rene Paul Chambellan.
You can enter the buildings and admire all of these beautiful artworks for free, but guided tours are also organised, and if you're lucky like I was, you may come across a member of the Rockefeller family.
After so much culture, let's take a walk outside, in The Channel Gardens, a path that separates 2 twin towers, the Maison Française on one side and the British Empire Building on the other.
In the surroundings, we find:
• The NBC studios, you should see some celebrities, in my case: Sofia Vergara, from the Modern Family series, so beautiful.
• But also, Magnolia Bakery for a delicious cupcake.
• Or Christies, auction mood today?
• And of course, Radio City Hall! But if you remember, we visited it in my article Christmas in New York, before the Show of the Rockettes.
Besides, during the Covid-19 confinement, it’s important to exercise, I’ve mentioned it already before:
Personally, I’ve decided to follow the free Rockettes lessons on Instagram: Link.
You have the choice between the workout program or a dance choreography from the famous Christmas show.
I saved the best for last, the Top of the Rock observatory, in the heart of the Rockefeller Center.
Located on the 70th floor, with 3 interior and exterior levels to enjoy a 360-degree panorama.
The view is breathtaking as soon as you go up ...
A video at the end of the article with original footage of the construction of the Rockefeller Center.
Have a wonderful week!
Love & Construction,