During one of the days in Corsica, a few of the girls and I took the lovely tram from Bastia, the main town in the north, to Ajaccio, the island's capital city in the south. The tram (referred to as such given that there are only two cars) takes you through the entire landscape of the island, including through, over, and above the grandiose mountains for which Corsica is famous. A one-way trip lasts 3 hours, but in return for your time, you get some of the most magnificent views. The tram is also modern and equipped with AC, so it is quite a comfortable way to travel through the island. For now, I leave you with some shots taken through the tram's glass windows.
Thursday, 16 May 2013
Wednesday, 15 May 2013
Here are a few shots from our sunniest day in Corsica, spent beachside at La Marana, ten minutes south of Bastia. Being back at the office in cold and rainy Paris (and pulling the late nights that I've been doing lately) makes me miss all the warmth and sunshine that I had just a few days earlier.
After all, I'm a Mediterranean child / tropical island girl. I'm a beachside baby through and through!
Tuesday, 14 May 2013
This snapshot of the sparkling Eiffel Tower was taken last night near midnight and sent to me by one of my best friends who lives on that side of town. It was nice to get a little sparkle after a very, very long day in the office: I was just getting out when I received this shot. Alas, it looks like a difficult week back at work, but little sparkles like this make my day!
To pay it forward this morning, I am sending a little sparkle to Savannah Martin, whose heartfelt and insightful response won her April's Giveaway! Savannah, FYAM and I will send you an email shortly with the good news. :)
Monday, 13 May 2013
A trip to the magical Mediterranean island of Corsica definitely deserves more than a long weekend, but for those of you living in Paris or nearby, it is certainly doable! I myself recently had the chance to spend several days in this gorgeous paradise with a great group of girlfriends and even a week would not have been enough to explore it.
For those of you unfamiliar with this island, let me just say one thing: Corsica is e-n-o-r-m-o-u-s. Located west of Italy and southeast of the French mainland, it is 183km long at its longest and 83km at its widest, has a thousand kilometres of coastline, boasts more than 200 beaches, and (having formed through volcanic explosions) is the most mountainous island in the Mediterranean Sea. To put it in terms of time: it takes 3 hours alone to take a train ride from the northern-most main town (Bastia) to the southern-most main town (Ajaccio). That amount of time would easily get you from Paris to Provence.
Given the length and width (and height!) of Corsica, I am dedicating this weekender to Bastia, the lesser lauded city on the island. Much larger Ajaccio may have Napoleon's cradle, but Bastia, as Corsica's principal commercial town, boasts a beautiful port, is well-known for its wines, and has a unique character and charm that come from its diverse immigrant population (10% of Bastians are non-French). Aside from the spell of the city itself, it is also just a car, bus, or train ride to other parts of Corsica, both near and far - making it an ideal island destination for a weekender!
1 :: Where to Stay
One of the best things about Bastia, unlike Ajaccio, is its genuine lack of tourists. It truly retains its local, untouched feel, despite being the principal port of Corsica. The flip side of that, however, is that the hotel industry is far from fully developed. That said, the type of people who come to Bastia are easy-going, adventurous, and drawn by what's outside in the streets rather than what's inside the buildings. My main recommendation is that you stay close to the centre, for which there are numerous 3-star accommodations. A good basic choice is Hôtel des Voyageurs, located on one of the main streets and close to the main plazas, the port, the tourist office, the tram station - not to mention the restaurants and cafés! Its rooms can be a little cliché, but the service staff is lovely, the lounge is spacious and comfortable, and there's wifi!
Sunday, 12 May 2013
Happy Mother's Day to all of the amazing women out there
who inspire, teach, challenge and love their children every day!
This bouquet of roses is for my mother of the same name.
She is far away, but it doesn't mean I can't treat her to flowers. :)
Love you, Mama.
Tuesday, 7 May 2013
Early this morning, as I took the taxi across the city, I looked up and saw the most gorgeous wispy clouds blanketing the sky above me at Place de la Concorde. They were the kinds of clouds that inspired dreams of far-away places, of feeling safe and stable enough to go on amazing new adventures, of explorations of both the world inside and outside ourselves.
These days, I am dreaming of (in no particular order):
Hiking across the Outer Hebrides (Scotland)
Exploring the art, beaches & culture of Bali (Indonesia)
A foodie weekend in Marseilles (France)
Relaxing in a water villa in the Maldives
A cross-country trip across Canada
Visiting the whirling dervishes and travelling through Cappadocia in Turkey
What far-away places and amazing new adventures are you dreaming of?
Monday, 6 May 2013
The Louvre Abu Dhabi, designed by the brilliant Jean Nouvel to be an "island on an island", is set to open in 2015, and E was lovely enough to bring the art fanatic in me to see their pre-opening exhibition. This gorgeous contemporary piece of interwoven wooden chairs was my favourite piece.
Sunday, 5 May 2013
My favourite shot from my entire trip to Dubai and Abu Dhabi, when my good friends E & J took Olga and me for a fabulous dinner at the 101 One&Only, beautifully situated just across the water from Dubai Marina at the Palm. Gorgeous view!
Wednesday, 1 May 2013
Today is the first day of May, which is synonymous with La Fête du Muguet, for which you can see stands selling these gorgeous white "lilies of the valley" at almost every corner in Paris. This is the day when people are supposed to give muguets to their loved ones, and I received my first and very own this morning. The tradition dates back to the Middle Ages, when King Charles IX received a sprig of lily of the valley as a lucky charm, and decided to offer one to each lady of the court every year thereafter.
Apart from ancient stories, luck and love (and, really, don't they always come together?), the first of May signifies the height of spring. Pink blossoms everywhere in Paris. Warmth and sunshine that come hand in hand (perhaps if not today, then certainly later this month). And lastly, amazing things to see and do in Paris - and not because there are necessarily more events taking place in May versus other months. It's because it's during this month when spring blossoms inside people, and this in turn translates into a seasonal desire to actually see and do more things. May is when Parisians decide truly to live their lives outdoors again: to go on picnics, to concerts, on holidays. And this month, my Ideal Social Calendar couldn't be more reflective of that!
1 :: 12 MAY :: THE RAVEONETTES @ LA MAROQUINERIE
My social calendar kicks off this mid-month (after returning from 3 jours fériés and just as many holidays!) with Danish indie rock duo, The Raveonettes, who come to La Maroquinerie to perform. If you've never heard of their music before, it's not hard to fall in love with their close two-part harmonies and intense electric instrumentation. It's part The Jesus and Mary Chain, part The Velvet Underground, all beautiful in that edgy dark way. (Tickets are €24 each.)
2 :: 14 MAY :: JUNIP @ LA TRABENDO
Gothenburg-based Swedish trio, Junip, was formed in the late 1990s by singer / songwriter Jose Gonzalez. The group is made up of Gonzalez on guitar and vocals, drummer Elias Araya, and keyboard player Tobia Winterkorn. Together, they create dark, moody melodies with an indie folk undertone that I adore. I look forward to checking out their concert on 14 May at La Trabendo! (Tickets are €19.80 each.)
3 :: 14-18 MAY :: LE BALLET PRELJOCAJ @ CRETEIL MAISON DES ARTS
Angelin Preljocaj and his dance group, Ballet Preljocaj, based in Aix-en-Provence, is reinterpreting the gorgeous and erotic tales from A Thousand and One Nights at the Maison des Arts of Creteil, which is just a 15-minute drive outside of central Paris. Wearing costumes made by Azzedine Alaia, the Ballet Preljocaj will revive Aladdin and the Magic Lamp, Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves, Sinbad, and other stories, reflecting the group's fascination with Arabic heritage.
Tuesday, 30 April 2013
It might be raining cats and dogs outside right now, but spring is definitely here! And how can I tell, apart from the gorgeous pink blossoms blanketing the city? Because something is starting to beat inside me again, and I know that the seasons have truly changed when I feel like I'm starting to get my Groove back. (Yes, with a capital G.)
And the Groove started this weekend, with a cremaillère ("housewarming") that turned out to be much more fun and fabulous than I expected! The party theme was Tarantino, and I was very lucky to have friends from both Paris and London come. It was a little bit like watching two eras of my life collide, and that alone was such a special experience for me. In honour of my theme, guests came dressed up as characters from the likes of Kill Bill, Sin City, and Reservoir Dogs. (As the hostess, I dressed up as Miho, the mute female assassin from Sin City - complete with the kimono and sword.) To get a feel for what the party was like, have a peek at Diane's gorgeous photos of the evening, done up in high-contrast black & white like a Sin City comic book.
As for what the future brings, May is just a few hours away, and, as you'll soon see with my Ideal Social Calendar for this month, there is going to be so many fabulous things to do! And as wonderful memories are waiting to be made in Paris, wonderful memories are also waiting to be made abroad - and tomorrow, I'll be off on the first of several trips for this month, to the gorgeous deserts of Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
Aside from a super fun month both in and out of Paris, I'm also looking forward to a sultrier spring. The Latin side of me feels that, in many ways, I've become a bit muted during the last 3 years here in Paris (perhaps in honour of the classic, elegant Parisienne?) and this spring, I want to get ALL my Groove back. In that spirit, I've figured out a few things that I'd like to add back into my life, such as (in no particular order) more Agent Provocateur, more girls' nights out, more cocktails, more cool concerts, more beaches, more bikinis, more stunning sunsets, more breathtaking landscapes, more adventures, more fearlessness, more Jumping into the Deep End with Eyes Mind & Heart Open.
And that is how Milsters got her Groove back. ♥