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Everyone has a Story to Tell and an Experience to Share!

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A Love Letter to Paris

Has anyone ever asked you where your mind goes to when it wanders? Mine often goes to Paris.

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When I was nineteen, after watching Moulin Rouge with Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor, I decided to go backpacking. To seize the moment. And I wanted to visit Paris.

I was never one who’d had a romantic notion about Paris. My grandparents spent a lot of time in France and I’d been to Menton in Provence several times, but I’d never fantasized much about going to Paris. Actually, I probably did have a romantic notion or two about the city, but I wasn’t intent on going there like I was New York. It didn’t draw me in. It wasn’t a place I planned on living, just visiting.

After seeing Moulin Rouge though, I decided either to backpack or move to Paris for a while. The bohemian revolution in that film spoke to my heart. I settled for backpacking, but I still ended up living in Paris because that’s where my journey stopped. I didn’t use my ticket to Italy. I stayed in Paris.

First Impressions

I still remember when I first came to Paris. Those first couple of days, walking around the city. I thought to myself that the city was nothing special. I couldn’t see what had made people oh and ah so much about it over the years. It just felt so…normal to me.

I think that was…is…the magic of Paris. To me it felt, and still feels, normal. Back then I guess I felt like I’d finally come home. Not the way I felt when I one day came home to Los Angeles, but the way you feel when a city matches your heartbeat somehow. It’s as if it’s a reflection of a part of your soul. That’s why it feels so normal.

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The Paris I See

If someone asks me to describe Paris I don’t know where to start, or what to say even. Paris, to me, is a feeling.

Paris in a sentence? I fear I paraphrase, but as Hemingway said, you can’t be poor in Paris, because you have Paris.

Paris to me is high up in the hilltops of Montmartre at night, walking around, getting lost in the alleyways. As you do, you spot a light in a loft apartment, with big windows, that in the day let in the light and at night allows you to see what little you can see of the stars in the city of light.

As you look in through those windows you see easels. Tubs of paints. Paintbrushes stuck in different jars. Old wine bottles used as candle holders. In a corner there’s an old divan and various sheets to cover it. In another corner there’s a desk with a typewriter.

If you keep walking you’ll stumble into a bar, sooner rather than later. Most likely a French café, which is both a café and a bar. Here you can be served coffee, wine, absinthe, or pretty much anything else you want. This is where you’ll find the heartbeat of Paris. People talking over wine or coffee. Talking about art, about philosophy, business and the meaning of life. People sharing plates of cheese and olives.

In the morning, the same streets will be washed clean by water, as pigeons bathe. The scent of freshly baked goods will float into the air from the different patisseries. People will be walking in the streets to catch the metro to work, as others try to drive in the Parisian traffic. Paris will be alive.

There are other sides to Paris. Walking along empty streets at night, looking into the windows of well-lit art galleries and ateliers. Mingling with the masses of people outside the Louvre and along parts of Rue du Rivoli. Sitting in grand old apartments with high ceilings with intricate details and wooden floors. It’s the view of the city at the top of Galleries Lafayette and Sacre Coeur. It’s the elegant streets surrounding Champs Elysées and my grandma’s reminder to look at the chestnut blossoms along said street in spring. It’s lunches by the Seine where people sit and talk over baguettes and wine. It’s the scent of roasted chestnuts on winter nights. It’s the fog and the rain, making the grey city even grayer, yet making the colors stand out so much more. It’s the nicely dressed Parisiennes and the sound of the French language. It’s the little bookstands along the Seine and the taste of baguettes dipped in hot chocolate. It’s the contrast between the scent of rotten eggs on the metro and the hopeful writers in Shakespeare & Co. It’s cobblestone streets lined with patisseries and shops with walnut bread.

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The Essence of Paris

Maybe more so than anything, Paris, to me, is where the artists and thinkers gather. It’s a city filled with art and thought. It’s a place where I feel at home. Sometimes I don’t know if it’s because I grew up with French brands and TV thanks to my grandparents, or because I just fit in with the intellectuals and artists. It just feels right. And when I write, I often end up in Paris. While I may not daydream about it much, when I start typing a plot, the characters tend to find themselves in Paris. Sometimes it’s planned — if I write a film set in Paris it means I have a chance of going back there to make the movie. But ever since I was a kid, my plots were set in France. Provence. The alleyways of my heart where artists lived and saxophones played. Those.

My personal brand, Magique, is inspired by Paris. By the Moulin Rouge. Everything I do, appears to take me back to France.

Los Angeles is home. The place where I feel I belong — the hills, the lights, the stars, the ocean, the movies…but Paris. How can one live without Paris? And a little bit of Provence? 

This is a poem I wrote a year and a half ago when I visited Lautrec, France. 

The Heartbeat of Paris

empty bottles dancing midnight waltzes

crooked stars singing lullabies

above the hills in montmartre

where paintbrushes are making love to canvases

and typewriters are making out with dreams

back alleys of swirling romances

where dreamers are lost

and artists are found

have their own merry tales

of charcoal smudged fingers

tracing the sensual outline of bodies

and the wrinkled realities of the soul

secret streets have seen

wine dipped poetry

falling out of tipsy pockets

only to be stolen by the wind

and read by the city

under some old streetlight

where you can still hear the violin of romance

fueling first kisses

and improper conversation

amidst philosophical arguments

and the ever-present heartbeat

of the city of paris

If you want to read more of my poetry, you can find my business, Magique, on Insta, where I try to update poem weekly. 



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Once. It is a long, gray and cold month. We are all secretly ready for vacation. A sunny vacation. Voyage Nomad have listed three sunny winter destinations that will certainly make you warmer!


CURACAO

It is about 9 hours flying to sunny Curacao, where you can enjoy an average temperature of 28.5 ° C for 8 hours a day! Cooling off in the sea is difficult, with a sea water temperature of 27 ° C. Want to sunbathe? Then go for the most beautiful beaches to the Kleine Knip and Grote Knip. On both beaches you really get a Bounty feeling! White sand, an azure blue sea and background music from the rippling waves ... Do you like quiet beaches? Then go to Kleine Knip. There are few to no facilities here and it is quieter.

Of course a small road trip in Curacao cannot be missed. Because yes, you also have the best holiday on the small island with a rental car at your doorstep! A nice route is that from Willemstad to Westpunt. Along the way you will not only come across beautiful beaches, but also a number of special nature parks. And near Sint Willibrordus you can spot flamingos. How fun!


GRAN CANARIA

Only 4.5 hours of flying and you get off in the warm Gran Canaria. The average temperature during the winter months is 21.3 ° C. Want to swim? With a little luck, that is still possible.

Are you on vacation with your loved one? Then a visit to Playa de Amadores, the beach of loved ones, should not be missed. The yellow gold beach is on a wide bay with crystal clear water. Finish the afternoon with a nice glass of wine or a tasty cocktail? Behind the beach you will find various restaurants and bars. A nice market is held twice a week near the beach in Puerto de Mogan. Also nice to spend an afternoon strolling.


FLORIDA

It takes about 13 hours to fly to Miami. Quite a long piece, but afterwards you can fully enjoy the winter sun! During the day it is a nice 22 ° C in Florida, the sea water is around 23 degrees and you can enjoy no less than 7 hours of sunshine every day.

Florida certainly belongs in this list of winter sun destinations. It might not be a destination where you can only sunbathe on the beach, but you can optimally enjoy a pleasant temperature during road tripping. So you can visit Miami, then to Orlando and of course not to forget: The Florida Keys. And yes, you can of course enjoy sunbathing, boat trips or snorkeling.

Are you the types who don’t wish to spend much on your vacation and still want to enjoy the holiday to the best, soaking up what all the place has to offer? Well, if yes, then the list is surely going to help you. Come, take a look:

Rishikesh, Uttarakhand

The “Yoga Capital of World” is also one of the favourite hippie spots and one place which can be explored even when you are travelling on a tight budget. Situated just about 250 km from Delhi, Rishikesh is well-connected via train and road including the state transport and private buses. In case, you are planning to travel by train to this holy city, it would be a good idea to check for IRCTC seat availability with fare and timings across different trains for a hassle-free experience.

Mcleodganj, Himachal Pradesh

If you live in the capital city or around it and looking for a nice vacation place where you don’t have to shell out much, then Mcleodganj would be one of the best bets. While the hotel tariffs can between INR 300 to 400 per day if you wish to stay at Dharamkot or Naddi, you can also explore the town without spending much. Some of the famous attractions of this pretty hill resort are Dal Lake, Tibet Museum, St. John in the Wilderness and the Cricket Stadium at Dharamsala among others. When here, don’t forget to indulge in some yummy local dishes for that complete experience.

Kanyakumari, Tamil Nadu

Situated just about 80km from Trivandrum, Kanyakumari is a place which offers that much needed quietude and solitude from the chaotic city life. The most famous attraction of Kanyakumari is the Vivekananda Rock Memorial which attracts loads of tourists every day. With a number of good budget accommodation options, ranging from INR 800 per day and easy accessibility from Trivandrum via road and rail, the city is definitely one of the best choices if you are planning for a budget holiday. In case, you wish to take a train journey, it would be a goodbidea to check details train berth availability and seat availability prior to your bookings.

Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh

The holy city of Varanasi is another good option for budget travellers and that explains why it is one of the most favourite destinations for backpackers. There is a lot to explore and learn when you are here. For instance, you can take a lesson or two in meditation, Indian classical music or yoga- the choice is yours. Food, stay and transportation costs in Varanasi are very cheap and you can get a hotel room at INR 300 per day and the city is also well-connected via road and rail to almost all major cities in India. If you are planning to take a Delhi-Varanasi train, we suggest you to check with Indian Railways Enquiry for relevant details.

So, what are you thinking now? Plan your bags and happy travel.

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