Tag: Paris

 

Grand Bazaar and Spice Market

If you are at all into shopping, then the Grand Bazaar will be right up your street…literally. It has been said that one can lose days in this maze that is perhaps another one of Istanbul’s most recognisable sights. It seems that almost anything you require can be found here and the shopkeepers will do almost anything to appease you into purchasing from them and not their nearest competitor. From glass tea sets, to brightly coloured lanterns (a must have to add colour and sparkle to your home!) and from Turkish delight, to fake designer handbags, your wish is their command to these genies of Istanbul’s very own Aladdin’s cave. I finally tracked down the perfect rose gold crescent moon necklace here, which had the shop owner running back and forth all over the Bazaar (I kid you not!). It would appear if they don’t have it, they will simply go out and get it for you – I like their entrepreneurial spirit!

Try your hand at bartering, or simply browse the streets – this is an experience that is essential to experience quintessential Istanbul.

Discover more about the Grand Bazaar & Spice Market

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Go underground to the Basilica Cistern

They say that whenever you visit a new city you should look up. For it is when we look up, that we truly see. We see the beauty of the buildings surrounding us, and we see the love that goes into creating every city that many, many tourists (and even residents) miss. Whilst the same is true of Istanbul, one of it’s more surprising beauties, is actually underground. In fact, it wasn’t really meant to be seen at all. Commissioned by Justinianus I, the Byzantium Emperor, (the part of my mind that loves old school history is now in overdrive!) this surprising discovery was constructed as an underground water reservoir. Yes, you read that right – this vast underground space, which will frankly take your breath away, was never actually meant to be seen… now if that isn’t dedication to beauty and ascetics I don’t know what is! One of the few benefits of the snow was that many people had not ventured out that day, so the Cistern was very quiet and warm – go figure! A visit while the crowds are away comes highly recommended, not only for the obvious reasons of not being able to see anything and the potential hazard of being pushed into the water, but so you can really get a sense of how vast this underground chamber is. There is a certain stillness that can be found there which is almost therapeutic, and after 2 days of freezing my little butt off, I was in need of some therapy! (I say again – Claire, I am NEVER listening to your weather predictions again!)

Whether you are a history, science or art geek, there is something here for everyone to admire and be astonished by. If your approach to life is a little more hedonistic, simply watch the fish swim by and imagine what an awesome party you could host down there… those ACOUSTICS!

Discover the Basilica Cistern here.

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Dinner with a View – The PerDerPey Restaurant at the Richmond hotel

I have yet to meet a person who does not love an incredible view over a landscape, be it the countryside, a seascape, or a cosmopolitan city. Now, if you can combine said view with amazing food, then I am quite possibly the happiest girl in the world. On the terrace of the Hotel Richmond lies the PerDerPay restaurant which overlooks the peninsula of Istanbul. For me, it has the perfect view. You can look out onto the water to see ships of all shapes gliding silently through the water, while across the water the modern buildings of ‘new’ Istanbul form the perfect opposite to the beautiful ancient mosques which are so synonymous with the city. The food is excellent, specialises in Ottoman cuisine and presents menus which are updated and changed regularly. The staff are super helpful and will accommodate your requests… even if this means taking endless photos of you standing with the whole of Istanbul at your feet.

Book your table here.

 

Hotel Richmond viewJourney to Paris

The special place that is Paris has in my heart is always with me. From the wild times of Las Vegas, to the still waters of the Maldives, no one in my book does it quite like Paris. Imagine my amazement (read total delight!) to find a tiny Parisian style tearoom tucked in the corner of one of the most glamorous hotels in Istanbul. In case you hadn’t already realised, the Pera Palace became our go to comfort blanket when we were in need of a little warmth with an added dash of luxury. Please note, when I go on holiday I like to fully get involved in the local culture, but sometimes, the familiar is just want is required.

After a particularly long, and cold day (yes, there were many of these!) Claire and I decided to venture in for cake on our way ‘home’. The dusky pink interior (my new favourite colour) welcomed us in,  and despite our very bedraggled appearance, we were shown to a table by a very sweet girl. The choice of cake was vast ranging from Parisian macarons to cupcakes with a twist.

If you are in search of an luxurious heaven, then this is quite possibly it. Attention to detail is displayed in everything that they do. Even the uniforms of the staff  (Pink in case you couldn’t guess!) were pressed pristinely. This was topped off with a black fascinator for a touch of style and eccentricity – too cool!  The vast chandeliers, the marble floors, the beautiful cakes all lead you to the conclusion, that if you like elegant things, you have well and truly come home.

This little slice of heaven is Patisseries de Pera

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Many people reflect on that fact that the world is such a vast place, and it is! 510,072,000 km² to be precise! It in fact seems so huge, that people state that there also seems so little time in which to see it. I would in turn,  say this to them. If you have a hunger to seek out the world, do just that… little by little. Look to what has been left by the past for inspiration and to see what great things can be achieved. Istanbul is a fabulous place to be reminded of this. We can learn lessons from Empires now consigned to the history books, yet they still live on through the buildings and culture that remain today. Our predecessors that have gone before us have left us a message, and if you listen closely you may just hear it. Start today, and build your tomorrow. The Topkapı Palace in Istanbul took 14 years to build, but this did not dissuade it’s creators from starting… this time is now.

Love Always,

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International Adventures

Paris At Your Feet

There is magic in Paris that can be found nowhere else, not in the city that never sleeps, nor the sweet tropics of the Maldives. From the moment you step on the Eurostar that speeds you towards happiness, to the moment you have to leave, Paris is the city that gives you a thousand emotions. Where else in the world can you find Orlando Bloom look-a-likes working in The Louvre, or drink champagne on fabulous hot nights at 3am while watching the hustle of the Champs Elysees. Home to some of the biggest powerhouses in fashion, to the worlds greatest hot chocolate (Hotel de Crillon). No matter what the weather, rain or shine, your heart always shines in Paris. When there is such love and indulgence to be found in Paris, it seems perhaps only natural that this fabulous city has a reputation as one of the most romantic cities for lovers. I pose this to you however, that Paris is perhaps the ideal place to be single, and further more,  for you to fall in love with yourself. A place to renew, explore and inspire the unattached among us. A place where there is always something new to discover, and form an opinion on. If its quiet contemplation you are after of any kind, this can be found in Paris, indulgent shopping, no problem, to die for food, you got it. To take you away from the mundane of every day life, and present you with a brave new world of opportunity, Paris is the place for indulgence on your terms, as the single girl.

With that in mind, I bring you a selection of the most fun, and diverse adventures Paris has to offer the single girl.

Attach a Padlock… For yourself

The breath taking Pont des Artes, has become part of a new age tradition now reaching across the far corners of the globe. In the most romantic city in the world, lovers inscribe padlocks with their names, before flinging the key into the Seine to symbolise the binding of eternal love. The sceptic in me wonders how many of these fabulous love affairs outlive the padlock, let alone eternity. With that in mind, who better to pledge eternal love to than yourself. Paris is a place where hopes, dreams and love meet in glorious spectacular, so renew your promises to yourself, lock that padlock and bask in the romance knowing that you hold the key to a love affair that will last forever.

The Quest for the Ultimate Hot Chocolate

There is only one way to describe hot chocolate, and that is quite simply, ‘liquid heaven’. Although Paris is perhaps renowned more widely for its other gastronomic successes, it does not seem to have forgotten to turn its hand to this little beauty. The Angelina Salon de The’ puts its own spin on this classic, accompanying the steaming cup with a side of whipped cream (oh my goodness!!) But perhaps if you are looking for something a little bit extraordinary, there is only one place. The Hotel de Crillon provides a charming mix of old school glamour, (it’s the only place to be a debutante, don’t you know) and exceptional client service. The hot chocolate for me, demonstrates this perfectly. Served in the most exquisite silver service, the liquid chocolate is mixed with orange peel, providing a hidden surprise. So take your time, sit in the ornate salon, and savour every mouthful.

Marvel at the Most Fabulous Flowers

Take a trip to the Four Seasons George V to see how diverse flower displays can really be. Under the talented eye of Jeff Leatham, this floral feast for the eyes will leave you breathless with wonder. Known for ‘mixing it up’ in his designs, Leatham combines the delicacy of flowers with the edginess of modern design. The combination of daring colours, mixed with the aroma of the flowers will leave you breathless as you wonder through the hotel, happening upon new designs around every corner. Take your time enjoying the flower displays and really savour their uniqueness, these like so many of life’s beautiful moments, are one time creations. Sip a cocktail in the bar and admire the view.

Ride the Carousel at the Eiffel Tower

Doing this at night, while France’s most famous landmark after Bridget Bardot sparkles behind you, makes this experience even more magical. Embrace your inner child, grab some candy floss, and climb aboard the colourful horses, sit back and really savour Paris.

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Drive A Super Car

Another truly fabulous thing about Paris is that as your wonder the streets, you never know what you are going to come across next. Certainly not the sleekest of Lamborghini’s, parked on the Champs – Elysees just teasing you to drive it… Except you can drive it… for 89 euros. So for the petrol heads amongst you, this is an experience not to be missed. Cruise along the streets, while enjoying Paris in the fast lane.

Try on Breath-taking Jewellery

From the most intimate of shops on hidden side streets, to the luxury designers of the Place Vendome, feel like a million dollars as you try on the most fabulous jewellery. Most boutiques are happy to accommodate the discerning browser, so take time to marvel in the sparkles.

Sit and Just Be… In the Tuileries

Recommended for a sunny day, Paris can be VERY cold in the Winter, however you are more likely to be able to seek some solstice at this time. Sit on a bench, hire a deck chair and really feel Paris. The bustle of the surrounding roads and irate French drivers, melts away and makes Paris seem like an altogether more tranquil place. Look one way and you will see the modern pyramid of The Louvre, contrasted with the beautiful palace behind. Look the other way, and the Eiffel Tower rises majestically  from the Parisian skyline. Bask in the atmosphere of it all, and really savour Paris.

Go on a Quest to Find the Most Chic French Woman Ever

Now being in Paris, the home of Christian Dior and Haute Couture, and given the reputation of French women as a whole, one would be right to conclude that this would not be a difficult task… Wrong. The fabled chic woman, seems to be a little more elusive than our cousins over the water would have us believe. In a day I would say it was possible to find perhaps 3, or 4 TRULY chic women, with that little extra ‘je ne sais quoi’ about her. So if people watching is your thing, and you relish a challenge, then this is the quest for you! It’s likely as well that she will turn up in the most unlikely of places… So scour the streets, comb the banks of Seine and see if you can find a more chic madam than this fabulous lady we randomly stumbled upon in a small French café… (please excuse the pap shot but I just had to share her with you!)

Journey to Shoe Heaven

Trot down to 19 Rue Jean- Jacques Rousseau to the birthplace of the ultimate aspirational shoe. As a girl who love, love, LOVES her footwear, Christian Louboutin has to be on the list of essential places to visit in Paris. Marvel at shoes that look like they have dropped straight out of heaven, and landed perfectly on their own individual pedestals. Honestly, is there anything quite so divine as that?! Try them on, (buy if you dare) and contemplate the genius of the man who brought Louboutin to the world.

Eat Unique Macaroons

As Laduree continues in its quest for world domination, popping up in the most unusual of places,  (I am informed there is now one in Charles De Gaulle airport) journey back to the roots and visit the luxury of the Paris premises. Next to the traditional chocolate, and Strawberry macaroons, Laduree premieres unique seasonal flavours. These range from the incredible Marie Antoinette, described by Laduree as ‘ A pastoral walk at the Petit Trianon’ to its newest flavour – Yuzi-Ginger. Sample these presented on delicate china, accompanied by a cocktail (Laduree make an awesome Kir Royal), feel them melt in your mouth, while you muse over the meaning that Paris has for you.

Paris is many things to many people. So visit the city and take what you need, and know that a piece of this extraordinary city will forever be in your heart.

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With love dancing on a cloud in Paris,

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P.S. Thank you and much love to my beautiful friend Claire Noyelle for her photos xxxx

International Adventures