Take me to Côte d’Azur

The French Riviera has it all for that picture perfect holiday. Dotted with towns with their unique personalities, the cosmopolitan feel of the coastal cities, classy designer boutiques, Michelin starred restaurants and not to forget the spectacular blue of the Mediterranean. The allure of old movie glamor still draws the international crowd year in, year out.

 

Stay at a villa or an apartment

Holiday rentals are very popular with visitors. It’s the ultimate indulgence, a gorgeous villa with a pool that you could share with your friends. Places like Nice have many nice affordable apartments too. And what’s great about renting your own accommodation is you can cook too. The markets have amazing cheeses, seafood, meats et al. for the dinner on your balcony with that perfect setting sun and a bottle of French vino.

 

Places to visit and tips while in Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur 

Every town in Provence has its own glitz and glamour from Monaco (though a separate country) to Marseille and here are a few that you need to visit.

Monte Carlo (Monaco):

Elegant and classy, it’s a place for the well-heeled. While here, visit a casino, have a drink in the terrace of Cafe de Paris then finish up with a dinner at Hotel de Paris.

St. Tropez:

Not only a place for party animals but also for fancy shopping and brunching, that’s why, you just can’t miss the Dior Café. Indulge in the lap of luxury with a yacht trip to relax under the sun and then show off your moves at the club, Les Caves du Roy at the Byblos Hotel.

Antibes:

For its golden beaches.

Avignon:

For the love of history, this city is totally worth a visit. Medieval monuments like the Palais des Papesthe cathedral and the annual Festival d’Avignon has really elevated it to the world stage.

 

Cannes: 

For its allure and art, also offers great shopping and beach club options. For a memorable experience, spend a day at Club 55, a wonderful place to soak up the sun for that essential golden skin.

Grasse:

Don’t forget to visit Grasse, the world’s perfume capital and pick up your favorite scent.

Valensole:

If you dream of standing in the middle of lavender fields, it’s a must visit.

Nice:

Here, you’ll find beautiful sand and stone beaches brushing against the turquoise Mediterranean Sea. Pass by the old town of Nice, enjoy the public beaches and gorge on delicious fare. The city is also perfect for exploring on foot and for awe-inspiring views stop by Place Massena and Castle Hill.

Marseille:

For traditional architecture and an immersive cultural experience, visit the Old Port, the Opéra de Marseille and the Notre Dame de la Garde church.

Personally, my favorite places are Nice and Monaco, they sum up perfectly the natural beauty and the luxurious life of the Côte d’Azur.

 

Bon apetit!

Bouillabaisse

This hearty seafood stew is no stranger to the outside world and is a coming together of herbes de Provence, garlic, tomatoes and the traditional accompaniment of rouille, a Provençal sauce added to the stew.

Salade Niçoise

A Mediterranean dish to the core, with fresh ingredients topped off with vinaigrette.

Tapenade

A variant recipe includes olives, capers, anchovies and plenty of olive oil, a winning combination that’s a hit everywhere now.

Socca

This chickpea based flatbread is best eaten straight off the oven and is a specialty from this region.

 

Plateau de fruits de mer

The French Riviera is famous about its fresh saltwater catches , so dive in this divine plate and have plenty of lemon around you.

I had my chicest brunch inspired from the world of Haute Couture at Dior Des Lices , the restaurant in the garden of the House of Dior .

 

 

 Shop

If you have been eyeing that ‘it’ bag for the longest time, now’s the time to get it. France’s top designers are here, from Chanel to Louboutin, along with all the other luxury brands and is a shopper’s dream. But even if you’re looking for something low key, turn your attention to many charming souvenirs to take home like lemon infused anything – ceramics or oils, exotic salts, lavender from Antibes, perfumes and Provencal soaps from the farmer’s market in Nice, the list goes on.

Tip: Also check out the local markets like Place des Lices in St Tropez for beach items and vintage designer finds.

 

Nightlife

There’s just something about the air of the Mediterranean that beckons you outdoors. From the celebrity rich clubs in Monaco and Cannes, to the more laid back: try getting a table at the Promenade des Anglais or Les Caves at Byblos Hotel and enjoying the night-time scenes.

 

In Farewell

The Côte d’Azur stays with you long after you’ve left her coastline, she’s like that summer romance you can never forget. Salty sprays that bring sweet memories. I’ll be back before you know it.

 

Bisous!

Check out The French Riviera Fashio File

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The Many Faces of Prague

Prague is one of those cities that seems to completely transform itself from day to night and season to season. The city you explore in the morning will seem entirely foreign to the one you discover after sunset, and the Prague of summertime is dramatically different from Prague in the winter. Each of these different version of Prague has something to offer, and you haven’t really experienced the city until you’ve seen it from all angles.

 

If you’re looking to get the full array of Prague experiences, I’d recommend finding centrally located accommodations. For those looking for a bit of luxury, The Grand Mark Prague offers the perfect combination of five-star elegance and exceptional location. Just a short walk from the city’s Old Town, The Grand Mark is just far enough away from the noise and crowds, but close enough that you can get anywhere relatively quickly. Plus, its beautiful courtyard and garden area is the perfect place to relax and unwind at any time of day.

 

Prague is a city that is best explored through long walks and idyllic strolls. Kick off your journey in the Old Town Square (make sure you stick around for one of the hourly animations of the astronomical clock) before making your way over to the famed Charles Bridge. From there, you can wander up the hill to Prague Castle. While this path may be bustling and well-worn, it’s also well worth the visit. Even further up the hill, you’ll find Petrin Tower, which – along with being a bit less touristy and chaotic – offers an incredible panoramic view of the city below. If all the walking tires you out, you can always access Petrin Tower by cable car.

After dark, all of these sites seem to transform entirely, from cultural and historic landmarks into dreamy nightscapes. The city is lively and vibrant at all hours, and you’ll love revisiting your daytime itinerary with fresh eyes, under the hazy glow of street lamps.

 

Another great way to soak up the sights and vibes of the city – particularly in the summer – is to rent a paddle boat along the river. It’s a peaceful way to escape the throngs of tourists, while still feeling like you’re in the middle of the action.

 

While Prague may often feel crowded, there are plenty of ways to explore the city’s quieter side. The city’s Letna Park, for example, is a peaceful, sprawling refuge located just a short distance from the Prague Castle, and a great place to enjoy a picnic. Grab some smazeny syr (deep-friend cheese), grilovane klobasy (grilled sausage served in a roll), or one of the many other popular street foods from an Old Town vendor and enjoy them amongst the park’s lush greenery.

 

Prague is well-known for its exceptional street food offerings, which continue to become more diverse year after year. Perhaps most famous is tredlnik, a sweet rolled pastry covered in sugar, cinnamon, nuts, or Nutella – it’s an absolute must-try, and a delicious after-dinner indulgence.

 

Of course, if you’re looking for a more upscale dining experience, the city does not disappoint. Kampa Park, located along the riverbank near Charles Bridge, is a delightful culinary experience, and in the summer, its riverside patio is the perfect place to enjoy a picturesque lunch. Meanwhile, on the opposite side of the river, Mlynec Restaurant serves up a trendy, modern twist on traditional Czech cuisine. Its five- and six-course degustation menus change on a monthly basis, and offer up the best of the country’s seasonal food fare.

 

The trick to really enjoying Prague is to explore it from all angles: from Old Town to New Town, from daytime to nighttime, from season to season. It’s a city that never fails to delight and surprise – and it will always keep you coming back for more.

 

 

 

 

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Adventures in a Familiar Destination: Rediscovering Jordan

 

One of the great and unexpected things about traveling to new locales is that it pushes you to look at more familiar destinations with fresh eyes. I have spent a significant amount of time in Jordan, and every time I return back, it’s like I have a new perspective and a new appreciation for the country. The truth is that Jordan is an absolute treasure: rich is culture, history, beauty, and unbelievable hospitality. It’s a country you can visit time and time again, without ever tiring of the tastes, sights, and otherworldly delights! Far removed from the troubles and instabilities that plague its neighbors, Jordan is an oasis of calm, warmth, and beauty.

 

A Land of Warmth and Hospitality

 

As a visitor to Jordan, one of the first things you’ll notice is how often you hear the phrase, “Welcome to Jordan.” People across the Kingdom are friendly and helpful to visitors, so if you’re ever lost or looking for advice, don’t hesitate to ask a stranger! It’s easy to strike up a conversation with just about anyone, and being a bit social and outgoing is a great way to happen upon some truly authentic, local experiences. You’ll be surprised how many Jordanians might just invite you home for coffee, tea, or dinner!

 

Embracing History

 

The major historical sites and destinations across Jordan are well-known and well-tread by tourists. And while no trip to the Kingdom is complete without visits to Petra, Jerash, Wadi Rum, and the Dead Sea, those who crave off-the-beaten path adventures can discover a veritable treasure trove of sights and activities. For those who crave history and beauty, head to the city of Madaba, where you can explore gorgeous old churches, gaze upon stunning mosaics, and soak up rich cultural offerings. Finish off a day in Madaba with dinner at Haret Jdoudna, which offers some of the most delicious Arabic food around.

 

Modern, Worldly Luxury

 

With so much history throughout Jordan, it can be easy for visitors to forget that Amman is a modern, metropolitan capital, complete with trendy cafes and restaurants, fashionable shops, and luxurious spas. After long excursions hiking and exploring in places like Petra and Wadi Rum, treating yourself to a decadent day in Amman is a must. Start your day off with tea time at the Four Seasons, then head down the street to Gaia’s Cocoon for some relaxing and indulgent spa treatments. If you’re in the mood to shop, grab a taxi and make your way to TAJ Lifestyle Center, where you can find everything from H&M to Louis Vuitton. If you’re craving a fancy cuisine, circle back to the Four Seasons and dine at La Capitale Brasserie, the hotel’s newest restaurant, which offers an unforgettable culinary experience.

 

Traveling anywhere is about embracing a variety of experiences, which is what makes Jordan such a unique and unexpected treasure. I would encourage any aspiring traveler to put this incredible country at the top of their list!

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The French Riviera fashion file

 

I bet you that when I say Côte d’Azur or its English version – the French Riviera, you think of the Cannes Film Festival, magnificent beaches and its love affair with glamor. Even to this day, it feels like you are in a yesteryear film while driving along the azure coast with the wind in your hair.

And of course being at the world’s most glamorous celebrity vacation spot you also need to vacay like a star.

As you know through the decades fashion icons like Brigitte Bardot, Audrey Hepburn and Grace Kelly, have lent their trademark allure to this place and forever stamped these glamorous moments in minds young and old.

So here are some style tips to stand out, in a place where the world’s most luxurious yachts anchor, stunning nature entice and A-listers frolic, without sacrificing comfort.

 

Très chic in the day

The iconic Riviera ensemble:

For the chicest look, choose WHITE.

Other must-haves include one piece swimsuits, Cat-eye sunglasses, Horizontal stripes, Vintage bikinis, cropped pants, a silk scarf for your head, a floppy hat and a straw bag.

You can’t go wrong with these iconic look pieces which will no doubt add elegance to every situation.

Très sophisticated at Night

A night out in Cote d’Azur is all about “see-and-be-seen” in the hottest nightclubs. Dress fashionably and remember no more beach wear, get your finest cocktail dress and heels on, and hit the dance floor.

Let your gold jewelry sparkle like summer night stars against bronzed skin.

This is definitely the place where your best pieces come out and you can indulge in them.

 

Stay chic!

 

Tip:

Luxury hotels have a dress code at dinner time. And they don’t allow people in beachwear into the restaurants.

You won’t be able to resist shopping here, there are many exquisite boutiques around.

 

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Dina Fawakhiri of Jordan

Born and raised in the UAE, Dina Fawakhiri returned to her native Amman to earn a Bachelor’s Degree in Graphic Design in 1997, and began working in advertising soon after. 15 years later, Dina left the industry as Creative Director to one of Jordan’s most prominent agencies, with numerous awards to her name to pursue a freelance career as an Illustrator.

As a young artist, Dina’s favourite medium was pencil on paper, preferring black and white to colour, with smooth rounded lines and perfect forms. But the fast-paced, commercially-driven advertising world eventually influenced her work as an artist. Inspired by the ease and speed of digital illustration, Dina’s lines got simpler, cleaner, bolder and faster. She began experimenting with colour and found herself drawn to digital art as a new medium that lent itself to surrealist conceptual exploration.

One of Dina’s first memorable dalliances with the arts was at age 8, when she painstakingly created miniature cereal boxes for her Barbie. Barbie herself may not have appreciated the great lengths Dina had gone to in order to ensure the boxes’ accuracy, but her incredible patience, appreciation for perfect forms and labour-intensive attention to minute details were all indicative of a budding signature style that would continue to inform Dina’s creative processes to this day.

Check out her amazing work on http://www.deedalart.com and follow her on Instagram: dee.dal.art

 

 

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