Hamilton Island - Australia
Six years ago, I left Australia, this beautiful country where I lived for 7 years, and where I’ve collected so many great memories.
I have widely shared my photos and my adventures (list of the articles at the end), but believe me I still have a lot to tell you.
This time I wanted to talk about another island in the Great Barrier Reef: Hamilton Island!
(As always, all photos are mine!)
With 1,200 inhabitants, this is the largest inhabited island of the Whitsundays (archipelago of islands), the infrastructures are therefore more developed, unlike very small islands such as Heron Island (read article again).
It’s located 887 km (551 mi) north of Brisbane and 512 km (318 mi) south of Cairns.
Also easy to access because it has an airport, this island is very popular all year round.
That’s also how I got there, and we already have a good feeling of vacation!!
And then I take possession of my apartments, an apartment in this case and I discover a breathtaking view...
Heaven on earth exists, and right now, I’d like to live here forever.
Follow me! I take you for a little walk, especially since the island is perfect for that, since private cars are not allowed on the island!
As a result, it’s very calm, you can hear the surrounding nature, the vegetation is very present.
Sometimes we come across small golf carts, which can circulate.
Be clear, Hamilton is a rich island where you can find luxury residences and yachts.
But also, beautiful shops and restaurants, mainly centralised around the marina.
Besides, let's have lunch at the beach after this pretty walk, we’ll have the opportunity to take a nap afterwards and swim.
Relaxing and enjoying is the goal of successful holidays, isn't it?
Either way, it's mine!
For those who don’t like lazing on a white sandy beach, the island is famous for its many trails, so you can walk through its forest and discover many species of trees and shrubs, but also birds.
You’ll see in the pics, a kookaburra and a white parrot, emblematic of the island.
Obviously, all these efforts are not in vain when you discover the incredible view from the top.
You can also venture out and enjoy a completely deserted cove.
To be honest, I’ve only met a few people, which really gives us the impression of being alone with nature, a real moment of serenity.
Another activity and one of my favourites: the boat!
From Hamilton you can easily visit the Great Barrier Reef but above all you have access to Whitehaven beach, one of the most famous beaches in Australia, and also Hill Inlet (read my article again).
Diving, snorkelling, and fishing, here we go…
Impossible to get bored on this island.
With such busy days, we have to end up the day with some drinks!
But this time let's take the free island bus to take us to the heights of the island, which gives the opportunity to have another viewpoint.
Atmosphere assured with an improvised bar and many people who come here to meet and especially for the sunset!
Honestly a great idea, and definitely something to replicate elsewhere.
And no, I don't mind travelling alone, or eating out alone (or with a bird).
Being single, and in my case married to myself - although my Solo Wedding in Santorini came a few years after that trip - doesn't mean moping around at home!
I talked about it in my article Single.
Well, I must admit that Hamilton was a little more complicated than my other trips, because the restaurants did not accept one person per table. Incredible but true.
Fortunately, some places made an exception, and I thoroughly enjoyed my stay.
And yes, I always make myself pretty when I invite me to the restaurant!
Enjoy life and all it has to offer!
As I constantly tell you: life is a gift, and we must honour it!!
Have a fantastic week everyone!
Love & Joy,
Happy Valentine's Day 2023!
Already 5 years since this blog was created to share my life, my dreams, my inspiration.
An adventure that made me discover so many incredible people, but also encouraged me to find you the best exhibitions, and interesting, unusual topics.
I learned to open up more and share my life more genuinely.
But also, to stretch my potential and my creativity! My book is proof of that!
It was hard to choose, but here are my 10 favourite blog posts:
Reread my Valentine's Day articles or those that correspond very well to this day:
“I love pink and Barbie! », this sentence coming from my book and in which a whole chapter is devoted to it, represents quite well my mood for Valentine's Day, which inspired me the following photo.
And to celebrate my blog's anniversary and Valentine's Day, 2 of my books will be given away to show you all the love and gratitude I have for you.
Giveaway contest on Facebook and Instagram (@blogaboutl), you can still participate!
For my part, this year I asked my sister to be my Valentine, on the program a date with several naked men… on the big screen hahaha
And yes, Magic Mike Last Dance in theaters now, and that’s the perfect opportunity, especially since the film takes place at the London show, which I attended and which I talk about in my Article My Birthday in London!!
Believe me despite the zero degrees outside, we're going to be hot in the room!
Trailer at the end of this article…
It doesn't matter if you're single, in a relationship, if you have plans or not, let's celebrate love in all its forms, our family, our friends, our pets!
And if you're brave enough, tell yourself “I love you” in the mirror 😉
Very Happy Valentine's Day!!
Lots of Love & Joy,
Roots - Passy Cemetery (Paris)
Last year at this time I was in Paris for a long stay, I’ve already shared many moments with you, including another cemetery, Montparnasse.
But this one is very personal…
And there you wonder what a Parisian cemetery has to do with me.
After the breakup and before my Solo Wedding in Santorini, I spent a week in Vietnam, I talk about this trip in my book.
Reconnecting with my roots and learning more about my history is important to me. We can’t know ourselves and project ourselves into the future without being aware of our past.
"Nguyễn" my family name, which is of Vietnamese origin, is the name of a dynasty that reigned in Vietnam from 1802 to 1945.
The last emperor Bảo Đại had to abdicate in 1945 against the communists and the Vietminh party.
Born Prince Nguyễn Phúc Vĩnh Thụy in the city of Hue in 1913, he went into exile in France in the 1950s - and now you are beginning to understand - died in the Val-de-Grâce military hospital in Paris in 1997, and he’s buried in the Passy cemetery in Paris!
I’ll tell you more about the history of this dynasty in a future article.
In the meantime, I must say that he has chosen a beautiful place, on the hill, overlooking the Seine and Chaillot Palace.
And above all, a view on the Eiffel Tower!!
There are many cemeteries in Paris, and as many legends are buried there.
That of Passy is certainly no exception to the rule.
Édouard Manet, Tristan Bernard, Claude Debussy, Fernandel, the Givenchy family, Pasteur…
It's not always easy to find specific tombs in this maze, but sometimes it's more fun to discover them by chance...
In winter, the place is solemn, peaceful but not morbid, especially when the blue sky is there.
It's like going to a museum, you find art, architecture, and history.
All these great names, characters and for sure incredible adventures that could be told by these deceased...
I hope you enjoyed this little walk.
Read my previous posts:
Next post: January 28.
Have a great week everyone!
Love & Joy,
You know how much I love water and boats, and going through my photo archive this week, I came across those taken during a memorable sailing trip.
It was in 2010, suffice to say that it goes back and yet I remember it as if it were yesterday.
I had just lived a year in Morocco, and I was about to move to the other side of the planet in Australia!
Also, when one of my best friends asked me to join him in the Mediterranean, I booked my flight in a few minutes.
Departure: Cagliari in Sardinia!!
Colombine - that was the name of my friend's sailboat - was going to make us sail from Italy to Corsica... Well, for me, because my friend would continue his journey.
And when I say "we", I'm talking about 4 people, 2 girls and 2 boys, with the only common denominator being the captain. Yes, we didn’t know each other and we were going to spend 10 days on a few square metres of space 24/7. That would have made a good TV-reality show lol
And no, I wasn't worried, because I embarked with a calm sea and a magnificent blue sky, nothing could have altered my good mood and my thirst for discovery!
With a limited space, it was a small sailboat, no doubt that promiscuity was a challenge, but you discover people more quickly too. Fortunately, they were great and no incidents to deplore.
Obviously, it’d not have been fun without a major issue: no bathroom and even no toilets!
There was a technical problem and it couldn’t be repaired immediately.
We were in October and the sea was far too cold for me. I was washing myself with micellar water, I had long hair at the time and I didn't take a shower for 10 days, imagine!
For the toilets, it was quite an exercise to do that overboard, especially when the sea was rough. Which shows that we get used to everything, we are far more capable to do without modern comfort than we think.
Fortunately, we had enough chocolate, saucisson and other food to make us forget these inconveniences.
We went along the coast without ever stopping in a port.
It was beautiful, wild and us with it!
We had a very good weather most of the trip but 2 days of big storms too, including seasickness.
We explored the land according to our desires, we only met a few people, some of them welcomed us (even rescued I’d say) on their luxurious spacious sailboat and let us use their toilets, a blessing lol
The immensity of nature to regenerate me, me a sign of water (Cancer), a magnificent moment of meditation to rediscover myself, stop time and enjoy the moment.
The Strait of Bonifacio is a 11km (6.8mi) international strait that separates Sardinia from the French island of Corsica, and I had the honour of steering this part.
For those who know about sea navigation, this area is known to be dangerous to sail because of the rocks and strong currents.
Luckily, the sea was very calm that day and I had an incredible pleasure, a memory that will remain etched in my memory. I still feel the breeze on my face, the sun above me and Bonifacio looming in the distance...
Arriving by sea is absolutely magical, a feeling that I relived in Santorini, after my Solo Wedding during my Honeymoon.
Some islands are nothing but beauty and splendour…
Bonifacio, a fortified town in the southernmost of Corsica, rests on a limestone cliff of 1,600m long by 100m wide.
Inhabited since the Neolithic, it crossed all the times not without difficulty, numerous massacres and battles annihilated it on several occasions.
It took its current name in 832, thanks to Boniface II of Tuscany, who rebuilt and fortified it.
Later, the Genoese added a citadel.
A strategic military place due to its commercial port and its geographical location, it has been disputed, destroyed and repopulated.
Today, it has about 3,200 inhabitants.
We laughed, we cried, we changed the world, we also decided on my new haircut: short this time!
The kind of friends who stay in our lives forever despite the distance and the years without seeing each other.
A magnificent nautical adventure, human and personal, confronted with nature and the elements, technical hazards, to finally realise that we are one with the universe...😉
Have a fantastic week 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!
Check out some of my previous posts:
Have a great week everyone!!
Love & Joy,
Buttes-Chaumont - Paris (France)
While we’re still enjoying the beautiful summer days, at the sea, in the mountains or in the city, I wanted to share with you a very exotic and relaxing place in the heart of Paris.
In 2020, I chose to spend my second honeymoon in the French capital. A romantic destination that also works for self-married people and singles. The important thing is to be in good company, and I admit that I love being with myself! One of the many benefits of my Solo Wedding in Santorini, self-love makes us accept ourselves as we are.
And I liked it so much that I spent the summer in Paris again last year, I like this time of year when the city is quieter, almost at rest with its inhabitants who have left on holiday. It's as if I had it all to myself, a romantic tête-à-tête.
Precisely, I take you daydreaming in the magnificent Buttes-Chaumont park…
It was inaugurated in 1867 under Napoleon III, a great period of construction decided by the emperor and entrusted to Baron Haussmann, remember my article on the Garnier Opera House.
Napoleon III was seduced by London parks – I understand that, check my article My Birthday in London – and wanted to reproduce this model in the French capital.
With nearly 25 hectares of greenery (61 acres), this public garden located in the 19th arrondissement of Paris, is one of the largest parks in the city.
Unlike most green spaces which are flat, the Buttes-Chaumont, as their name suggests, overlook Paris, thus offering an exceptional view.
Built on a former gypsum quarry, the engineer Adolphe Alphand was inspired by its 40-metre drop to create an English garden reminiscent of the mountain and its environment: waterfalls, cliffs, cave rocks, torrents, belvederes…
This makes it a place conducive to discovery and strolling.
With 820m (2,690ft) long and 450m (1,476ft) wide, and a periphery of 2.5km (8,200ft), the multiple paths and bridges are an invitation to adventure.
There’s thus a suspended footbridge of 65m (213ft) which makes it possible to reach the belvedere located on a 30m-high 98ft) steep island. And guess who built it in 1867? Gustave Eiffel.
The neoclassical style temple, crowning the belvedere, is a creation of the architect Gabriel Davioud.
And after all this walk, there's nothing like enjoying its 12ha (29ac) of lawns in the shade of its 6ha (15ac) of woodland to rest and reconnect with Mother Nature.
A natural paradise built by man around a lake, home to incredible flora and fauna.
Moreover, the Buttes-Chaumont include the widest variety of forest species among Parisian public parks.
All you have to do is breathe and relax...
And I put some of my videos at the end.
Have a Great week everyone!
Love & Joy,
As I explained in my previous article Happy Me, beach & sea are my elements!
Besides, the places where I lived the longest were paradises for that: Indonesia, Morocco, Australia, Greece.
Unlike London or Madrid, where I only stayed a few months.
For the 3rd year in a row, I won’t be enjoying the beach, I need a distraction-free environment to be able to concentrate on my book “My Solo Wedding in Santorini”, which is soon to be released!
Dreams require making choices, and I admit that I see this only as a parenthesis in my life, because I intend to return to live near the ocean or the sea.
And then I’ve enjoyed a lot in recent years, I have no complaints, here is a summary of my favourite beaches!
(All photos are mine)
How not to talk about Santorini, my passion island, my lover, the one who witnessed the most important event of my life: My Solo Wedding in Santorini!!
Santorini and its black sand beaches – it’s a volcanic island - with a multitude of bars and restaurants lined up all along.
I even took my guests there the day after my wedding, catch of the day and idleness.
No surprise that I stayed there for several months for an improvised honeymoon!
Everything is unique on this enchanting island…
Feel free to read my articles:
All the articles about my Solo Wedding in Santorini: HERE.
In 2018, when I had just created my blog, I stayed in Crete for a long time.
I was writing and working for the blog in the morning from 7 a.m. to noon, then I was spending the afternoon at the beach or visiting, the boat often being an option!
I've shared a lot about this island, the largest in the Aegean Sea, a beautiful and heavenly place.
I loved living in Crete, the proof is, it's there that I wrote my book "My Solo Wedding in Santorini".
A great source of inspiration and serenity for me on this island…
Check out my previous posts:
The Pacific Ocean, with of course Australia! I lived there for 7 years, which gave me plenty of opportunities to visit.
I still have a lot to show you although I’ve already shared some incredible destinations:
Also Fiji, what an unforgettable memory, and definitely a place I’d love to return to.
But first on my list are Vanuatu, the Cook Islands and Hawaii!
California, I have not yet done an article on this and I should. Very beautiful beaches as far as the eye can see, and if everyone thinks of Baywatch, the beautiful lifeguards, and surfers, I must admit that the mounted police attracted my attention a lot!
Obviously, I rather tend to choose my destinations according to the beaches, hence:
Las Palmas (Canary Islands), Thailand, Vietnam, or even Madagascar, one of my most beautiful trips.
If I don't see the sea, I can still go to the magnificent lakes of my native region:
And especially at my birthday, I was offered a voucher for a luxury spa! The reservation is for August, I can't wait to go!!
Have a magnificent week!
Love & Joy,
Heron Island - Australia
It's been a long time since I took you to an exotic destination, and with summer coming, I wanted to make you dream a little, a lot... madly.
This week I'm showing you one of my favourite places on our beautiful planet: Heron Island in Queensland, Australia.
And as a reminder, all the photos are mine, and it was very difficult to select them, each one so beautiful than the other!
Located on the Great Barrier Reef, in the northeast of Australia, on the Tropic of Capricorn, this small island of 16 hectares is a real paradise.
It can be reached by boat, which means 2 hours of seasickness for my sister who was accompanying me, or by helicopter, but this time this mode of transport did not fit into my budget.
If you have a feeling of deja vu, it’s because I’ve already shown you several of these photos in my articles. But really, I never get tired of it!
There’s only one hotel on the island, the Heron Island Resort, which makes it a very privileged area and when I say hotel, it’s actually small wood cabins scattered in the vegetation.
So relaxing and rejuvenating to be immersed in such an environment.
And my sister is touring you 😉
Obviously, we didn’t come all this way not to swim.
Pool or beach, the dilemma of the day…
Although you can go around it quickly, only 800m long (2,600 ft) and 300m (980 ft) wide, its charm and its particularity lie in its fauna and flora.
In summer, nearly 200,000 birds inhabit the island. We observe them everywhere and especially we hear them! Well, be clear here, some songs are more melodious than others…
And no, contrary to its name no heron on the island, the English explorer, Lieutenant Charles Bampfield Yule, who discovered it in 1843 would have confused egrets with herons.
To be honest I'm very bad at bird species so I don't blame him, and then in the end, it sounds good Heron Island!
And then, there are sea turtles too!!
But maybe you remember, I told you about it in my article My Favourite Animals.
And yes, it’s an island where Green sea turtles and Loggerhead turtles (or Caretta Caretta) come to nest.
I had the pleasure of witnessing the nesting and hatching period, so magical!
No photos of the mothers, they come to lay eggs during the night, so we observe them from a distance in the dark so as not to disturb them.
However, I have some memories of baby turtles trying to reach the sea...
At low tide, walking on the island is just as surprising, there’s plenty of time to admire this rich fauna and flora.
This is also a perfect opportunity to visit the University of Queensland research station, one of the most important in the world for research on the coral reef.
I knew that I had not chosen the right course of study, spending my days in a bikini on a tropical beach watching fishes, wonderful…
There are of course a lot of sea excursions organised to admire the Great Barrier Reef, I don't take underwater photos, I prefer not to have any distractions in case a shark decides to take me for its snack hahaha.
From the beach too, you can see rays, sharks and all kinds of fish. Magical!
Heron Island is one of the places I’d revisit with pleasure, and a memorable memory with my sister.
Besides, she would have loved to get married there, finally she got married in a magnificent castle in France, it was very good too!
Finally, this place was heavenly for my creativity.
And some of my favourite photos:
My Previous Articles about Australia:
No article next week, multiple projects are taking shape and I'll tell you about it next time.
Have a fantastic week everyone !
Love & Joy,
Petit Palais - Paris
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,
As I mentioned in my last article Happy New Year 2022, I’m back in Paris for several weeks, which will give me the opportunity to show you even more of this magnificent capital, and this time in winter.
So, get your coat and your boots, and follow me!
Obviously the first place I went to, my favourite park in the capital: the Luxembourg Gardens.
The seagulls have invaded the flowerbeds (without flowers) and it’s very surprising and exotic to hear them in the middle of the city.
The bare trees make the atmosphere very mysterious and bring out the many statues in the park even more, which almost seem to be alive!
But the Tuileries gardens near the Louvre Museum are also very pleasant.
What I love about this time of year is that it’s even more peaceful and the perfect place to sunbathe when the sun is out.
The French capital has no less than 200 religious buildings, so visiting them can be a wonderful way to walk around the city.
And I’ve just discovered the Saint-Augustin Church this week that I didn’t know.
In a very different, but equally solemn style, the Parisian cemeteries have many famous people buried and searching for their graves is fascinating.
So, I added that to my list, and I’ve already visited part of the Montparnasse cemetery.
I haven't had time to go to the museum or see an exhibition yet, I've given priority to reunions with friends and good meals!
However, you can imagine that I already have several visits in mind…
Check out my previous posts:
No article next week, lots of plans but follow me on Instagram to find out what I'm doing during my stay.
Next Article: January 29, 2022
Have a great week everyone!
Love & Joy,
My Christmas in Crete
I hope you enjoyed my last article Travel Memories to get some air and dream of far-off horizons.
This week, I look back on a special December in my life, while I was writing my book "My Solo Wedding in Santorini"!
I am therefore taking you to Crete, which I’ve talked about a lot previously - reread the Crete Series - to share with you an intimate and personal moment of my life.
And if you were already following me on my social media back then, this article will bring back some memories.
I arrived in October 2018, when my story was going viral in the international press & on the internet, and when I was invited on TV - check out Media.
I had already spent several months on this island at the beginning of summer, and I thought it was the perfect place to write my book, in the solitude and quiet of winter, when most of the businesses and hotels were closed.
A friend of mine introduced me to the owner of the building where he lived. A flat was available for the winter season, that was ideal!
So, for 7 months, I lived in a very small flat in Kokkini Hani, not far from the capital Heraklion:
The furniture was traditional but charming and functional.
Simple fixtures, just a stovetop, mini fridge, no oven or microwave, no TV, little shower pressure, and random and temperamental hot water / internet / electricity.
Despite that, it was my home, and after spending over a year in hotel rooms or on a sofa (reread Spring in Madrid), I was happy to be able to unpack my bags for a while. Even more so to fulfil one of my dreams and do what I love most in the world: writing.
Obviously, as a talented interior designer (yes, another of my gifts), I bought some linen, decoration, rearranged the space to feel in perfect harmony, my little haven of peace ...
So, this environment was perfect for my artistic creativity, I wrote my book in 6 months, continued to feed my blog every week.
When the internet was unavailable, I was going to a café 5 minutes walk from my house, some of my favourite posts were created there:
I also grew my Instagram presence around this time and started thinking about what videos I could create.
Above all, I did a lot of artistic photos which I share with you from time to time, on my social media & on the blog, as in the article: The 4 Elements.
What I liked in December was being able to admire from my window, the snow on the peaks (the island is mountainous) and the New Year's fireworks!
It rained a lot that winter, more than usual apparently, I kept telling myself that this was the perfect time to stay home and write ...
Well, I only had the heater for a few hours a day, so I wrote a lot under my duvet, fortunately I had bought a heated mattress topper, a blessing!
I spent Christmas and New Year’s Eve on my own by choice, I wanted the experience of loneliness to the end, and I loved it!
It is only when you come face to face with yourself that you realise how great company you can be ...
No Christmas tree but a little bit of decoration though, no crèche this time but I had a sheep 😊
My family and friends had sent me lots of gifts, including a unicorn (reread my article Unicorns to find out my passion for this animal).
I prepared a feast with lots of local and French specialties.
And even too good since I lost a tooth, which led me to find an emergency dentist on December 26th. What can you do? I like challenges!
My café/bar had also transformed for the occasion, and I even took a short trip to Heraklion to really get in the mood.
Christmas 2018 is really an excellent memory 😊
You’ll find even more details about what I just said in my second book now in writing.
The first book "My Solo Wedding in Santorini" is still pending publication, but I have a feeling that 2022 will be its year 😉!
Read excerpts from my book: HERE
Reread my previous Christmas articles:
Start sending me your Christmas decoration photos, like every year, I’ll publish them in my article on December 25!!
Have a brilliant week!
Love & Joy,
After taking you on a trip to Australia with my last article Hill Inlet, I'm going to keep this category this week, as it's time to start taking stock of the past year ...
Although I didn’t take a plane in 2021, thanks to my incredible archives, I was able to show you 17 of my adventures including one about my Solo Wedding in Santorini:
Click on it to access:
And your favourite article this year was: In the Air 4 (Dubai - UAE)
Thank you for your comments on the blog & social media 😊
Here are the top 3 of your favourite photos on Instagram in 2021:
Access to all my travel articles here: LINK
And I take the train tomorrow for the south of France with some new adventures to tell you soon ...
Have a fantastic week!
Love & Joy,
Hill Inlet (Australia)
As the cold takes hold in Europe and winter is just around the corner - I can already see snow from my window in the Alps – I’ve chosen to warm up with a destination that is simply my favourite place in the world.
Having lived almost a decade in Australia has given me the chance to visit amazing places and for me who loves the beach, the sea, and the sun, it has been a real blessing.
No surprise that I stayed in Greece after my Solo Wedding in Santorini…
But without further ado, let's take a look at the map to see where exactly Hill Inlet is located:
This inlet is located at the northern end of Whitehaven Beach - one of Australia's most famous beaches - on Whitsunday Island, the largest of the 74 islands in the Whitsundays.
This archipelago - mostly uninhabited - lies in the Coral Sea, between the northeast coast of Queensland and the Great Barrier Reef.
Obviously, to get there, the boat is essential, whether it’s a big yacht, a sailboat or a small motorboat, the important thing is to arrive at the destination.
I’ve had the chance to go there a few times and each time it has been an extraordinary adventure both from a human point of view and by the beauty of nature ...
(FYI all photos are mine, without filter or retouching)
Covering an area of nearly 109 km2, the island enjoys a tropical climate.
It was populated by the Ngaro aborigines for 8,000 years before being expelled under British colonisation.
The name Whitsunday was chosen by James Cook when he discovered the island in 1770.
To access the best viewpoint of the island, you’re going through the forest, a nice walk that allows you to learn more about the many wild species of the island: birds, plants, varans, rays and reef sharks.
I never tire of this extraordinary view with multiple shades of blue and crystal clear waters.
Beauty in its purest and natural state, no filter or retouching, here any photo is a postcard...
And even going back to sea level, one continues to be amazed and enveloped by this wild nature, so vibrant and yet peaceful.
Thank you to keep preserving this amazing place!
And of course, you noticed this magnificent white sand, as far as the eye can see ...
So thin, it sings when one stepped on.
You can leave me here anytime; this is my heaven on earth!
My Previous Articles:
Have an amazing week!
Love & Joy,
In the Air 4 - Dubai
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, Dubai, Fujairah, Ras al Khaimah, Sharjah and Umm al Quwain.
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,
A Glimpse of Paris
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! 😊
Asterix Theme Park - Paris
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,
The Louvre - Paintings
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,
Spring in Madrid
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 ornamental 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,
Louvre - Paris (France)
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,
Basilica St Remi (France)
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,
Spring in New York City
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,