Saturday, June 02, 2018

it's up to you, New York, New York

I always knew that I was going to love New York. I just didn't know that I'd fall so hard...

See this? That's our view from our hotel room. We stayed at Hotel Belleclaire on the Upper West Side and it was just utter perfection. We normally stay in an apartment but this time we went for a hotel with a suite and it was quite the lovely experience.

The restaurant didn't have a kitchen, but it was attached to this rather fabulous French bakery where I actually ended up eating more croissants than I did in Paris. Also: gooooood coffee.

Now, it's taken me a while to write this post as I knew it'd make me desperate to head back to New York and oh man, it has. So I'm just sharing a series of my favourite pics that show why winter in New York is just utterly divine.

How cold was it? Freeze-a-fountain-cold.

Christmas tree goals.

I don't know what specifically screams New York, but this pic does it for me. Honestly, what a city.

So many brownstones. And if there's anything prettier than a snow-covered stoop, I just don't know what that is...

We wished and hoped for snow and then, on the morning of our gal's 18th birthday we woke to snowflakes falling. This was the day we wandered through Central Park - THE most spectacular location in the world. Yep, I'm calling it.

We don't really get bare branches in my part of Australia, so I was enamoured of them. Every pic looks prettier when viewed through their stark frames. 

Sex and the City fans will recognise this locale. Sure, it's lovely in the Spring, but in Winter? Divine!

When you've wanted to come to New York for your 18th ever since you were six years old, when you fell in love with the story of Eloise at the Plaza, there's really only one thing you can do on your birthday and that's have an Eloise High Tea at the Plaza.

My plans for swanning around New York in my vintage red cape and vintage leather gloves were happily foiled by friends who loaned me black thermals and this fabulous coat. SOooooooo warm. Sooooo livesaving. Husband was far more sensible and layered up and was uber-toasty.

New York and Art. C'mon. It's a natural. Here's hubby gazing adoringly at a Picasso. I fell in love with the Manet's on display - but at the Guggenheim, there's only one real love...

The architecture.

Oh my.

I took approximately 9 million photos in New York. How could you not? This one on leaving the Rockerfeller Plaza.

Chelsea Markets. I could happily live here.

One of the milder days...

Walking the High Line - an absolute must. What a monument to community. And stunning. So darned stunning.

Look, as if you visit New York without stopping by Kate Spade. My gal and I both invested in handbags. It had to be done.

You can only get gloriously lost in New York. Next time I'll invest in even better walking shoes [whatever they may be!]

Greenwich Village was one of my faves and shows that you are never too far from a bit of yarn-bombing.

When you take a wander through a park and stumble upon an Ai Wei Wei art work. I squealed.

It may have been winter, but I wasn't going to let that stop me from eating a lobster roll.

The iconic Rockerfeller Plaza Christmas Tree and skating rink. 

Next time we'll stay in Brooklyn. Dumbo was a must, and yep, we stood in the middle of the road to get this iconic shot.

This bridge. I cannot possibly tell you how much I loved walking across this bridge. With Manhattan spread out before us, that glorious architecture - and the vivid blue sky. So worth the effort.

My gal? Also a fan!

My family made so much fun of my incessant urge to eat a burger from Shake Shack. I am so glad I persisted. The lightest bun, perfect crispy lettuce and the ultimate meat to filling ratio. No wonder it's a classic.

People who got sick of taking pics of Brooklyn Bridge: not me.

That skyline tho...

New York is such a bike-friendly city. Like so many other cities in the world. I do like people who take the time to coordinate their bike to the cafe decor...

No food in New York lacks instagrammability. Yes, this is an icecream shaped like a rose. Yes, it was around -10 degrees. Yes, it was so worth it.

Will we do it again? Hell yeah, in every season. Never have I felt so safe and so enthusiastic in a city. New York embraced me and made me feel like there's so much promise in the world. Sure, on our last day there was a bomb cyclone and I've never felt so cold - but even though we sat on the runway for hours while they defrosted the motor and cleared the runway I knew I'd be back.

No wonder it's the city that's spawned so many songs...

Sunday, January 21, 2018

christmas in paris

I already thought that my love for Paris had reached a peak. Then I visited in Winter. At Christmas. We travelled via fast train from Bruges to meet up with our English rellos. Finding a flat in Paris that could accomodate two families [with enough beds so that our gal didn't have to sleep on a pull-out sofa] was a challenge, but we found one on Boulevard Saint Germain - mere steps from Notre Dame.

Now, I've seen Notre Dame many times in the spring when it's surrounded by roses and beds of flowers, and the contrast of its stark gothic beauty with natural blooms is perfection.

However, I realise that true perfection is Notre Dame at night in the winter.

When I first caught glimpse of this, as we wandered over to Ille St Louis for dinner I actually held my breath in wonder. I have taken approximately 9 million photos of Notre Dame. All majestic.

I apologise for nothing.

Can you even comprehend the work that's gone into this creation?

There was a wee Christmas market beside Notre Dame that we wandered by on our way to the Metro each day. So tiny, so charming. I bought my sister-in-law a rather fabulous hand-crafted hat from here. Memories.

Wandering mere steps from the market we found THIS! My spiritual home - Shakespeare & Co. It's everything I've dreamed of and more. For some reason, I've never visited on our previous trips [quelle horreur!] but this time I had to step inside those magical doors. I bought a book for our gal on French Christmas stories, and a book for myself. When I purchased it the guy asked me if I'd like a Shakespeare & Co stamp on the inside. "WHO WOULDN'T?" I exclaimed?

Well, apparently some weirdos don't.

I did.

Attached to the bookstore is a rather delightful café with this view. Good coffee too.

I heart the metro so hard. Getting around Paris is so ridiculously simple. I adore the book of ten tickets [which I bring home and use as bookmarks - cos I always lose real bookmarks...]. These stations will never cease to make me swoon.

Oh, our apartment? Here 'tis. Again it was an AirBnB find. Our host, Claire, was an utter delight. My gal managed to leave behind a pair of spesh PJ pants, and Claire mailed them to us - no charge. Love her. Also love the decor of this place [and that view!]

Note the photogenic power of my cape combined with my gal's faux fir.

Never have I ever seen a Parisian kitchen this size. I feel guilty that we only cooked in it one night, but with so many cafés offering up three course meals for 20-odd euros - why cook! We did enjoy that lovely bottle of red though!

Galeries Lafayette. Already pretty much my favourite place in the world - and then decorated like this. Every hour, on the hour, music would play and all these sweets would rise and fall to the dome. Best viewed with a champagne in hand from one of the bars.

My niece Ruby loves ice-skating, so we promised her an outdoor rink in Paris. Here it was at the base of the Tour Eiffel.

Oh, and a winter fete? If you insist...

I am not the only one in my family with a love for this place. Have managed to pass it on to our gal.

You cannot stop me from taking photos of this structure. I love it so.

Oh look, it's the Eiffel Tower highlighted by bare branches. What a surprise!

 There was wine. Red, rosé and Sancerre.

 There were memorable family meals. This one one the Place des Vosges. I had steak and frites and it was damned fine. Washed down with a diet coke with lemon. The best.

Bowie, a Parisian street light and a Paris street scene. Bliss.

There was a Degas exhibit at the Musee D'Orsay. It was utterly sublime. There were sketches alongside his paintings which really provided insight into his incredible way with form. I didn't take a photo of my favourite - woman leaning over a bath. It's imprinted on my heart though.

These sculptures. They challenge Rodin for form and fabulosity.

One day I will actually eat in this café. Next time for sure.

The place in itself is a pure work of art. 

Again, Paris at night, does it get any prettier?

Quite frankly it is not a visit to Paris without a boule of violette icecream. Despite the temperature hovering around zero I had to partake.


Just like Paris at Christmas.