[PARIS] oo8.GALERIES LAFAYETTE

And Paris is a woman’s town, with flowers in her hair;
– Henry van Dyke

A full-blown visual tour of Galeries Lafayette’s gorgeous interior: other than to gush over luxury goods I took the liberty of snapping otherwise passed-over gush-worthy details. Has anybody ever really highlighted the architectural wonder that is this shopping mall?

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Top-storey view: gorgeous and lofty. You could pretty much see a 360 of Paris.

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xoxo,
Viktoria Jean

[PARIS] oo7.CARETTE

“When good Americans die, they go to Paris,’ the ghost said, after taking a drag on a small cigarette.”
― Karen Chance, Embrace the Night

The sky decided on delivering a full-blown shower and a trio of very drenched Paris Explorers braved their way on foot across the Eiffel Tower and towards Trocadero. Pretty much everywhere in Paris’ city centre you’ll be able to locate patisseries and cafes that are great for alfresco-dining.

A walking distance from Tour de Eiffel is The Carette Paris where locals and tourists alike can be seen nursing a cuppa, having pre-dinner drinks along the pavement portico, or enjoying a full-course dinner in its premises. Its interior decor is made up of beautiful pristine whites in stark contrast to the red velvet cushions and dark brown mahogany woods of their lounges and seats, which in my opinion is the classiest interior colour combination ever.

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Dinner was: iced chocolate, almond and cinnamon infused hot milk, a slice of insanely rich opera cake, a piping hot onion and cheese soup as well as assorted macarons!P1070099

A handful of pistachio, raspberry, dark chocolate and sea salt caramel, rose, and fudge cake macarons. My favourite was the pistachio. So yummy! ^^ See how Paris has spoilt me on the dessert front? Overloading on good pastries is a given when in Paris! They have an impressive collection of macarons on offer, you can never taste them all.
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And then there was this: the opera cake. I can never have another coffee/chocolate cake without thinking of this one.
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xoxo,
Viktoria Jean

[PARIS] oo5.LÉON DE BRUXELLES

You know you’re in love with restaurant in a foreign land when you visit twice in 2 days, and already miss having it the moment your plate is clean. This was Lèon de Bruxelles for us, having found love in pots of garnished mussels in delectable broths and platters filled with basil sauce and melted mozzarella.

I know I’m definitely in love with Lèon’s cappucino with fresh whipped cream, meridional mussels’ gratin, creme brûlée, and waffles! For the curious, please do sneak a peek at their menu. I swear all this travelling spoils my appetite for food.

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xoxo,
Viktoria Jean

[PARIS] oo4.PONT DES ARTS LOVELOCK BRIDGE

“But Paris was a very old city and we were young and nothing was simple there,
not even poverty, nor sudden money,
nor the moonlight, nor right and wrong
nor the breathing of someone who lay beside you in the moonlight.”
― Ernest Hemingway, A Moveable Feast: The Restored Edition

So we found two very different bridges padded with lovelocks of all shapes and sizes – symbols of timeless promises and devotion to one’s significant other-halves. The first one, Vedettes du Pont Neuf, was tucked away in a corner along La Seine (so if you walked down Notre-Dame to the Louvre you’ll see it on your right-hand side). Unlike the more popular lovelock bridge at Pont des Arts, this one hasn’t collapsed.

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Who could resist not taking selfies in Paris? Couples wishing to locate a spot for their locks will find a better chance at this place, and the view of La Seine is equally if not more breathtaking (sans the human congestion and men touting tourists to pay for souvenirs or a well-taken photograph).

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Oh what a face only a célibataire on a bridge of love would make.

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Onwards to the legitimate lovelock bridge – the Pont des Arts overlooking Pont Neuf at the Louvre Museum! The sheer number of locks amazed me, it’s really no wonder parts of the bridge have collapsed from the weight. Each day hundreds of new locks are added to the walls along the bridge, and seldom have any been unlocked or removed until the recent collapse. Many locks date back to the ’90s! Lovelock bridges are always a sight to behold – the greater significance of the locks far outweighs its physical presence on the bridge. So much hope for the future goes into each, of which the keys are deliberately lost. There’s no question why Pont des Arts remains an important icon in the City of Love.

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xoxo,
Viktoria Jean

[PARIS] oo2.NOTRE DAME DE PARIS

“Paris is always a good idea.”
― Audrey Hepburn

Cathédrale Notre Dame de Paris, which inspired Victor Hugo’s 1831 French Romantic/Gothic novel, stands resolute in the Parisian city center unscathed by ruining tides of time. The state of damnation of the Cathedral is the single most significant aspect of Hugo’s novel, influencing the ebb and flow of Notre-Dame de Paris’ main plot setting and focus of the story’s themes. For anyone who’s ever read the actual novel sans watching the Disney adaptation would understand that the original focus was not on the Quasimodo-Esmeralda-Phoebus love struggle but on the importance of reviving significant Gothic architecture that had served as silent witnesses of history.

The towering 13th Century architecture is regally flanked on both sides by the river La Seine. Blessed by good autumn weather, we had arrived at the Notre-Dame by taking a good long walk from Bastille whilst enjoying the amazing view of La Seine’s banks, cruising yachts, and river diners. Here are some shots I took with my Panasonic Lumix GF6! Please enjoy as much as I did the beauty of Paris’s very own Notre-Dame.

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With loads of love, from Paris!

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Inside the Cathedral: it is really dark and flash photography is (thankfully) not allowed. The stained-glass windows of Notre-Dame highlights Parisian heights of architecture and craftsmanship.

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The South Rose Window:

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Interesting to note: in the near vicinity lies the Crypte archéologique du Parvis de Notre-Dame which displays ancient, medieval as well as recent remains recovered under Notre Dame during preservation works! My colleague introduced me to an amazing documentary – Cities of the Underworld – that “peels away the layers of time-often literally hundreds of feet thick-to expose the incredible pasts lurking beneath some of the most populous cities on earth”. Paris is one of those cities with more than a couple of layers of intriguing histories buried in construction and time.

Notre Dame Cathedral
6 Parvis Notre-Dame – Place Jean-Paul II
75004 Paris

xoxo,
Viktoria Jean

[PARIS] oo1.KUSMI DETOX TEA

Whilst walking along Champs-Elysées my colleagues introduced me to Kusmi Tea, a brand of tea producing Russian-style teas and tea blends with headquarters in Paris. All of Kusmi’s merchandises and beverages are beautifully packaged in pretty tins and boxes perfect for gifts or simply displaying in homes. Couldn’t help grabbing a couple tins of loose tea-leaves and a pretty lime-green mug with an inbuilt infuser (because teabags may contain plastics which in the long run, isn’t good for you!) Look how pretty everything came in! IMG_3876.JPG The bright yellow tin contains BB Detox Tea, a blend of green tea, rooibos, dandelion and sweet fragrant grapefruit. It says on the inset pamphlet that it can be enjoyed iced or hot at any time of day, as the amount of caffeine is very light. I tried it early in the morning and am totally in love with the fragrance. As a detox tea, it smells and tastes too good to be true. I’ve tried Skinny Mint for a short while (that’s a another story), but this one tastes so much better and is cheaper too! Of course Skinny Mint effects are much stronger. The orange tin, aptly named EUPHORIA, contains roasted maté, chocolate and orange, and as the name suggests, is a total orgasmic tea experience. Now I know what to reach for when I’m craving a huge dose of chocolates…oh who am I kidding a double dose of Euphoria and chocolates is gonna be da bomb! IMG_3872.JPG IMG_3873.JPG IMG_3875.JPG IMG_3874.JPG The tea mug is kinda heavy with the infuser and all, but trust me, the fragrance is insanely good. I used to think Lipton White Tea and Lipton’s Strawberry Cupcake Green Tea were the greatest tea inventions of all until I met Kusmi. TWG Teas are literally not my cup of tea, and I especially hate their jasmine teas… it leaves that acidic aftertaste on my tongue! Wishing I’d gotten more of Kusmi’s teas. While referring to their web earlier, many other blends sound so equally orgasmic: St Petersburg – Blend of black teas, bergamot, red fruit and caramel Anastasia – Blend of black tea, bergamot and orange blossom Prince Vladimir – Black tea, citrus, vanilla and spices and so many more flavours! Tea lovers, give this a shot! xoxo, Viktoria Jean