Sunshine In Saint Tropez.

As someone who is a huge fan of Classic Cinema and Blonde Bombshells, one place that I simply had to visit during my stay in Cannes was the stunning, Saint Tropez. This beautiful place was made famous by French’s most famous Film Star, Brigitte Bardot and has also been her home for almost sixty years! 

Sadly, I may not have had the pleasure of seeing BB herself, but, it’s very clear how loved and respected she is by the people of Saint Tropez – her beautiful face is everywhere! One of my favourite French Films is probably Brigitte’s most famous and iconic one; And God Created Woman (1956) and as it was pretty much all shot in Saint Tropez, it was a pretty incredible experience to literally walk in the Sex Kitten’s iconic footsteps. I bet when Roger Vadim and Brigitte were making this movie over sixty years ago, they had no idea of the huge impact they were going to have on this small little fishing village!

One of the things I really wanted to see whilst in Brigitte’s chosen home was the Musée De La Gendarmerie Et Du Cinema, also known as The Gendarmerie and Cinema Museum. Currently showing there until January 2018 is the, Brigitte Bardot; Myth Of Saint Tropez, which is a whole photography exhibition dedicated to BB herself. This was an amazing experience for me to witness and it also featured a few of Brigitte’s actual film clothing, an original portrait and autographs! My only criticism was I wish it had been bigger – the more BB the better! Sadly, I realized after visiting that there was a second floor in the building which also featured a permanent Brigitte section with other French Actresses. Therefore, I may just have to return!

Walking around Saint Tropez in the beautiful sunshine was such a wonderful memory for me, it was truly like a treasure trove, with so many amazing spots to discover. Whilst exploring the streets of Saint Tropez, I stumbled across this incredible Artist, known as Cserg, with most of his work featuring Brigitte and autographed by the lady herself! Sadly, his shop was closed and I didn’t get to meet him, but you should definitely visit his website and appreciated his incredible work. 

However, even if you’re not a BB Fan like myself, Saint Tropez is so aesthetically pleasing and perfect for photographers or scenery lovers. Ultimately, I only wish I’d have been able to have spent more time there as I don’t feel I got to appreciate 100% of what Saint Tropez has to offer. Although, I did see so many amazing things in one afternoon – so, there is a silver lining! 

Overall, I was most definitely impressed with this beautiful village and it without doubt met all of my expectations. It’s truly so heartwarming to see how over half a century later, the citizens recognize how much Brigitte has done for their home and without doubt made it a household name. On Brigitte’s 83rd Birthday, Saint Tropez will be unveiling their sculpture of their Blonde Bombshell, which will reside outside The Gendarmerie and Cinema Museum – a beautiful tribute for a beautiful legend.

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The Pink Palace of Dreams; Villa et Jardins Ephrussi de Rothschild.

There’s simply no other way of describing this incredible building, it really is a Pink Palace of Dreams. The Villa et Jardins Ephrussi de Rothschild is situated in Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat on the French Riviera and is truly like no other beautiful building I have had the pleasure to witness.

Owned by Baroness Beatrice de Rothschild, the Villa began construction in 1905 and finished seven years later in 1912. Furthermore, nine gardens surround this incredible historical beauty, which features a stunning fountain display and quite possibly the most beautiful roses I have ever smelt and seen. To say this home is a Paradise would simply be an understatement, therefore, a huge thank you must be given to the lady herself, Beatrice, for donating this unique beauty to Institut de France when she passed in 1934, making it open to the public.

It’s almost surreal when walking around this living dream to think that originally, the Villa was a home and the Baroness Beatrice lived, ate and slept here daily for many years! If I was fortunate enough to live in a place like this I don’t think I’d ever leave, it’s just too beautiful and awe inspiring to not be appreciated and explored on an everyday basis.

Dreams aside, we really picked the perfect day to visit, with it being in the height of Summer and the sun shining all day long. We spent the first half of the day walking through the many amazing gardens, each having a specific theme and style, until we arrived at the front of the Villa. Due to walking through the gardens first, I simply assumed I was continuing on through the beautiful scenery, as we arrived at this beautiful statue and long stream. There, right opposite the flowing water, was the Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild!

After following the stream down towards the Villa and watching the fountain display, Laura and I went inside the Baroness Beatrice’s home. Amazingly, we were allowed to take photos through all of the rooms and I’m sure you will agree when I say the building is truly a work of art. It’s so wonderful to see how well preserved and looked after the Villa is, plus, I’m sure Beatrice would be very proud of how the Institut de France have kept the authenticity of her property.

I found it very special to have the privilege to learn about Beatrice and her life whilst walking around the surroundings in her home. She seemed like a woman most definitely ahead of her time and I loved hearing about her unique ways and quirky behaviour, she definitely left her mark on the world! Beatrice had amassed an amazing collection of porcelain dinnerware, so much so that whole rooms were dedicated to these beauties! Furthermore, within her home she even owned items that belonged to Marie Antoinette!

It’s clear to anyone witnessing the Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild that Beatrice’s favourite colour was pink, not only is it the colour of her home but, it features prominently throughout the interiors, with lots of feminine decor. As pretty and pink is definitely my style, I did fall even more in love with the historical building. However, if this isn’t your thing, then fear not – with the Villa overlooking the Bay of Villefranche and the Bay of Beaulieu, plus it being situated 10 kilometers from Nice and Monaco – you definitely will see and have many wonderful experiences!

I can’t thank Laura and Paul enough for introducing me to this amazing place and arguably the most beautiful building I’ve ever seen. I truly hope I will be able to go back and visit again someday!

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Dial M For Monaco.

The first place we ventured out of Cannes for was a very well known country called, Monaco! Known to most as the home for many years of Hollywood Icon turned Princess, Grace Kelly – Monaco is visited by thousands of tourists every year and home to some of the most rich and glamourous. As soon as I discovered Grace, through my love of Classic Hollywood, I’ve always dreamt of visiting this magical place and this year in July, I finally got the chance to do this!

Monaco is around an hour away in the car from Cannes, so thankfully not too far and he majority of it can be seen in a day, although I’d definitely like to spend more time there. As soon as you arrive in Monaco, it’s almost as if you can feel the change in the air, it’s so aesthetically beautiful and without doubt the perfect home for a Royal Family. Once you enter Monaco and leave the car park, you definitely should prepare for a lot of uphill walking, as the country is situated on a huge hill. Although all the walking isn’t always pleasant in the hot weather, it’s definitely worth it, plus, there’s so many beautiful sculptures and flowers to witness during the journey. Furthermore, there’s lots of places to rest if you need a mini rest, just definitely make sure you bring sunglasses and lots of water.

Once you walk up the hill you venture through the wonderful streets of Monaco and see the beautiful architecture of the buildings, many restaurants and a lots of gift shops featuring the beautiful Grimaldi Family. I could definitely spend hours looking in and out of each shop and building, but alas, one day is not enough! However, the most important place to visit in Monaco is of course, the incredible Prince’s Palace of Monaco, which for just €8, (!) you can go inside! I can honestly say, this was a huge dream come true for me personally, as not only is the Prince’s Palace beyond beautiful, it’s a huge part of Grace’s life and Monaco History. Of course, privacy has to be respected and no photos are allowed inside, so sadly there won’t be any here in my post. However, the fact that everyone is welcome to visit the insides of this incredible building is so kind and thoughtful as ultimately, it is Prince Albert and Princess Charlene’s home!

After wondering through the beautiful Palace, we ventured into the official Monaco Gift Shop – my dream store! It was so wonderful to see a whole stand of photos dedicated to stunning photo prints of Princess Grace, I’m sure she would truly be so touched by all the love she receives over thirty years after she tragically left us.

Throughout Monaco and Monte Carlo, there is a special Grace photo trail, documenting twenty five significant moments during her lifetime! I wish I could have taken the time to find every one of these photo stops, but sadly I only had the chance to witness three. However, hopefully one day I can complete this wonderful tribute to Grace’s legacy! It’s such a unique idea, not only enjoyable for tourists and fans but also a huge aid in educating people on Monaco’s History.

The other important place to visit is of course, the Monaco Cathedral, which is both joyous for uniting Grace and Rainier in marriage and poignant for being their final resting places. The building itself is simply breathtaking, not only in size but in architecture too. We were slightly delayed in visiting the Cathedral as a Wedding was taking place the first time we tried to enter. It sounds silly, but it’s easy to forget that Monaco isn’t just the home of the Prince and Princess, it has many citizens too! Thankfully, when we checked back, the Cathedral was back open to the public and I could visit Grace and pay my respects to her.

It was so surreal to walk around this beautiful Cathedral and think that over sixty years ago Grace married Prince Rainier and became a Princess. I tried to focus on this historical moment and picture the beautiful Bride but in reality I was preparing to spend a few moments with Grace. I’d seen her resting place in photos before and it was easily recognizable by the multiple bouquets of flowers all placed on this one spot. Placed above her grave is the most beautiful painting of Princess Grace and Prince Rainier on their Wedding Day, which is poetically fitting as their lives together both started and ended here. As you can imagine, the Princess’s grave is the most popular and it can get quite crowded, plus, the area is fairly small so sadly you can’t stay for a long period of time. However, I definitely made the most of the minutes I had with Grace and of course paid my respects to Rainier then headed for the exit.

Before you leave the Cathedral there’s actually a small sign stating that tourists cannot visit the Princess during Wedding Ceremonies, which almost brought a tear to my eye as this shows how loved and respected she is by so many people. The fact that a sign was needed to inform the thousands of visitors about this without doubt confirms this and it warmed my little heart. I hope wherever you are, beautiful Grace, you know how thankful the people of Monaco are for your incredible contribution to the Grimaldi Family Legacy and that you’re still so adored by millions of people worldwide who visit you each year.

Before leaving Monaco, it was incredibly important for me to visits the Princess Grace Rose Garden, which was created in honour of the Princess after her untimely death. I absolutely love flowers and roses also happen to be my favourite, so this was something I really wanted to see whilst visiting Monaco. The garden is filled with over 8000 rose bushes and features a variety of over 300. A beautiful sculpture of Grace is placed at the top of the garden, with a fountain running throughout, creating a peaceful and calm atmosphere. Also, Grace’s Royal Emblem is adorned on the gates of the garden, with another sculpture featuring a quote by the Princess on her love of roses. This is such a wonderful tribute to Grace and I’m sure she would visit often if she was still with us.

After leaving Monaco we took the short drive into Monte Carlo, the place that truly lives life in the fast lane. Famous for hosting the Grand Prix, Monte Carlo is hugely popular with car lovers and gambling, owning arguably the most famous Casino of all time; the Casino de Monte Carlo. This building has been featured in many films and is visited by thousands of tourists each year, even if you’re not into gambling the architecture alone is worth viewing it for. In all honesty, there’s not much to do in Monte Carlo if you’re not extremely wealthy – a bottle of still water cost us a staggering €4, (!) but if you’re in Monaco – it’s definitely worth visiting.

During my stay in France, Monaco is definitely my favourite place we visited and I really hope I will be able to go back one day and spend more time there! Stay tuned for the next post in my Cannes series, which will be all about the incredible, Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild!

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A Blonde In Barcelona.

Barcelona is known as one of the most beautiful cities in the world and after being fortunate enough to visit it last week, I can most definitely agree with that statement! Best known for being the home to Gaudí’s incredible creations, Barcelona is an architectural enthusiasts dream and definitely worthy of the term aesthetically pleasing!

Personally, if I’m lucky enough to be able to visit a new City or Country, I like to make the most of each day and see as much as I possibly can. I think it’s safe to say I am the definition of a sight seeing lover of all things tourist related. Europe is probably my favourite place to visit and explore, so discovering Barcelona’s Gothic Quarter was an absolute dream!

The first day of my visit was spent seeing the beautiful city itself and what is the best way to do that? A Sight Seeing Tour Bus! I honestly think this is such a wonderful invention and whoever came up with this idea – thank you. This is a great way to discover all the wonders of any place you’re visiting and learning which are the best spots to experience. Plus, as I was only there for four nights, it was wonderful to be able to see places I sadly wouldn’t have the time to visit, such as the incredible Park Güell. A week has gone by and I’m still upset that I missed out on visiting this masterpiece! After familiarizing ourselves with the wonders that Barcelona has to offer, we stopped for some lunch in Barcelona’s Hard Rock Cafe, a restaurant truly like no other!

Continuing my adventures in Barcelona, Saturday was spent visiting without doubt, the main attraction and one of the most famous buildings on Earth; La Sagrada Familia. Gaudí’s most famous work began development in 1882 and encase you’re not aware, (I wasn’t..) is still being built! Funnily enough, as soon as I spotted the towers through the trees, I noticed the construction scaffolding and thought to myself, “Great, the one time I get to see one of the most amazing buildings on earth, it’s being renovated.” Little did I know construction is not going to be complete until 2026 – one hundred years after Gaudí’s passing.

Just being able to view this masterpiece in reality was without doubt an experience like no other, the intricate details and unique design leaves you in absolute awe. Gaudí devoted 43 years of his life to creating La Sagrada Familia, he even went so far as moving into the building! Now that is what I call dedication. Each piece of the Minor Basilica has a story to tell, with the front depicting the Crucifixion of Christ and the back showing the Birth of Christ, with each part of the monument displaying the moments which lead to these life changing moments.

The interior of La Sagrada Familia was inspired by nature, with each of the columns representing trees and branches. The ceiling is designed with geometric shapes and the four evangelists are pictured on the columns in the centre of the Church. Each detail has been intricately thought out and designed by Gaudí and the time and effort put in to creating this masterpiece is truly incredible. It’s poignant to think by the time of Gaudí’s death less than a quarter of his creation had been constructed.

Ultimately, it’s wonderful to see Gaudí’s incredible work all around Barcelona, my favourite building of his being the absolutely beautiful Caso Batlló. It’s something truly unique and the pastel colours which dominate the overall detail is just spectacular! If I’m ever fortunate enough to return to Barcelona, I hope to go inside the building and spend some quality time viewing it.

Barcelona is filled with so much incredible aestheticism, even the simplest building look like works of art, it has to be one of the most photo worthy places on earth and in all honesty, my photos don’t do it justice!

Where are your special places to visit? Do you have a favourite Gaudí creation?

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