As the weather cools down, we’ll soon be tempted into hibernation with long socks and steamy lattes. But before snuggling-in for the season, I say now is the perfect time to take another vacation! Trust me — there are fewer crowds in September, and you won’t be fighting any mid-summer heat bombs as you see the sights.
Have you ever been a-wassailing?With plenty of established (and emerging) wine regions, you’ll find small towns all over Ontario celebrating Wassail this time of year – a Medieval English tradition which pays tribute to the harvest before the arrival of winter. Merrymakers would travel from house to house, with a song on their lips and a glass in their hands! Apparently this cheerful ritual would ensure a good cider apple harvest the following year – Frankly, I like their methods.
The coming of Fall can bring about more change than the simple turning of the leaves. As I’m layering on the blanket scarves and contemplating woolly socks and ankle boots, my thoughts are turning inward. When the chill sets in, I begin to embrace the the stillness that exists between the adventures of summer and the hullabaloo that is the Holiday Season. It feels like a repose – a time to collect myself.
If you live and work in a big city, you can probably attest to the fact that as city dwellers we rarely give ourselves permission to slow down. Our day-to-day is fast paced because “fast” means “productive”, and boy do we love to get stuff done! Somedays it can feel like an endless race; masses of people rushing to get places, filing in and out of down-town offices on a 9 to 5 clock. It’s enough to make me stand like a rock in white waters – to throw my hands into the air and yell “what is it all for!” Suffice it to say, a 24 hour hustle leaves me feeling tired and unfulfilled.
Of all my Parisian fantasies (and trust me there were many), visiting Ladurée, to sip the perfect cup of tea while surrounded by a rainbow of delicate macarons, was the most glamorous.
The Ladurée tea houses have become a tourist fave, and are filled with an eclectic bunch looking to savor luxurious mid-day refreshments. Like most decor in Paris, the Ladurée restaurant along Le Champs Elysées, was elegant and ornate. That said, there was nary a wide-brimmed-hat-wearing, pearl laden lady in sight – quel dommage!
Although surprised, I was actually very glad to see that no one was very formally dressed since Mano (my husband) and I had just finished dashing in and out of shops along the street trying to stay out of the rain. We inevitably ended up a little soggy and sad by the time we sat down to tea, but despite the polished decor, Ladurée proved to be a place where all are welcome to experience a little Parisian luxury.
Nothing quite captures the old world of Paris like Montmartre! It’s winding cobblestone roads invite you to explore the bohemian district which was once the live/work local for artists such as Dalí, Monet, Picasso, and van Gogh!
Today however, Montmartre is often a touristic frenzy. With hoards of people filling into overpriced cafes and souvenir shops, its important to know what’s actually worth seeing, which sights to skip, and where to find the hidden gems that will make your day in Montmartre extra special! You’ll find a handy “Montmartre Walking Tour Check List” at the end of this post – enjoy!
Our walking tour began at Blanche Metro Station, where we met up with Chris, the forthcoming and very knowledgeable creator of City Free Tours. From the station you’ll see the infamous Moulin Rouge. After some research, we decided this was a sight to skip, as the price of the dinner/cabaret is pretty steep – gauged against entertainment value.
Next along Rue Lepic is the Café des Deux Moulins (meaning “two windmills), where many go with the hopes of being served by Amélie. Continue to 54 Rue Lepic, where a large blue door marks the entrance to the apartment where Vincent Van Gogh lived with his brother Theo from 1886 – 1888. Look up to the third floor and you’ll see sunflowers tucked in the shutters of his old 3rd floor apartment.
Last spring, my husband and I took a two week vacation to France (photos and stories to be featured all month!) and Paris was, without a doubt, the city over which I grew the most obsessed prior to the trip.
Like many, I dream about, fantasize, and idealize, the many corners of the Earth. Wanderlust had a serious hold on me, and I spent ample time dreaming about what Paris would be like! Read More
There’s no doubt that winter can be a long and especially sun-deprived season. As the magic of the Holiday fades (and it fades way too fast in my experience), the reality of the cold months ahead begin to weigh on the spirit. When it’s not glittering and whimsical, winter is a relentless beast!
I’m relieved to say that winter is finally easing up, but this doesn’t mean you can’t get a jump on summer by planning a little vacation down south! If the beach is calling your name, grab your swimwear out of the depths of your closet – behind the knitted sweaters and long underwear – and book yourself a getaway. Ah, sweet escape!
After a much needed, week-long vacation in Varadero, Cuba, I’ve put together a few practical tips for you to keep in mind when travelling south. Now go enjoy the sun!
Bring me to the beach! There’s nothing like exotic pink flamingos to get you dying to trade-in your parka for a seaside escape. Here are some of my favourite picks for fun vacation-to-summer pieces that flirt with kitsch without going overboard.