Yayoi Kusama's Infinity Mirrors at the AGO

"With just one polka dot, nothing can be achieved.

In the universe, there is the sun, the moon, the earth, and hundreds of millions of stars. All of us live in the unfathomable mystery and infinitude of the universe."

- Yayoi Kusama

Yayoi Kusama

I can't remember when I first heard about Yayoi Kusama and her stunning Infinity Mirrors exhibitbut I do know that I've been wanting and trying to see it for years. It has seemed like wherever I have travelled, the show has either just finished or is starting after I leave!

When I heard last year that the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) was going to be hosting this exhibition (the only Canadian city to do so), I've eagerly awaited its arrival. Last week, I had the opportunity to attend the media preview of this extraordinary show, which officially opened to members of the public this past weekend to overwhelming demand.

When the AGO opened the booking portal for tickets in January, thousands and thousands of people logged in, waiting for hours to snag a ticket to one of the hottest shows of the year. In three days, the AGO sold an astonishing 30,000 tickets, selling out well before the show opened! One of the most exciting things about this show is that it is drawing attention and a younger audience to the AGO, generating energy and excitement which will hopefully continue into the future attracting more shows like this one. For myself, this show inspired me to buy a membership to the AGO to explore everything the Gallery has to offer and engage in new ways.  

Infinity Mirrors and the dreamworlds they create in six immersive rooms have to be seen in person to get the full effect. Yes, they look beautiful in photos, but are even more dazzling to experience. These worlds were created by Yayoi Kusama, the brilliantly talented 88 year old artist who lives in Tokyo (voluntarily in a mental hospital since 1977), and still actively creates art today.  In addition to experiencing six of Kusama's most iconic works, there are more than 90 paintings (including her early Infinity Net paintings), sculptures, photographs, rare archival materials, and works on paper from the 1950s to current day to see.

In addition to the ticketed exhibit, you can see her 'Narcissus Garden' installation on the second floor (on view from February 24 - April 29, 2018), a beautiful 'garden' made of mirrored balls, which is open to general admission.

Kusama has been creating art and breaking new ground for over 60 years. During her time in New York (between 158 - 1973), Kusama moved in circles with fellow artists Andy Warhol and Allan Kaprow. It was during this time that she began creating her signature polka dot and net designs, transforming them into paintings, soft sculptures, installations, and performance-based art.

The first use of mirrors came with Infinity Mirror Room - Phalli's Field, 1965 (the red-and-white polka dot themed installation), which multiplied and magnified the repetitive effect she was hoping to achieve, transcending physical limitations and creating an immersive experience. 

Kusama was the first woman to have a solo presentation at Venice's Biennale's Japanese Pavilion in 1993, and was named on of the world's most influential people by Time Magazine in 2016.

Yayoi Kusama Pumpkins

Above, the famous 'Kusama pumpkins' can be viewed in her work called All the Eternal Love I Have for the Pumpkins. You aren't allowed to take photos while inside the room, but you can when outside the door looking in. You will also be escorted inside with a member of staff. This is apparently due to pumpkins being damaged in previous exhibitions held elsewhere and the art is fragile.

The pumpkins first appeared in some of Kusama’s drawings from the late 1940s and has regularly shown up in her paintings, sculptures, drawings and installations. Her first pumpkin mirrored room was staged in 1991 and later at the 1993 Venice Biennale. The concept of this room is for viewers to be transported into a space which recalls fairytales and fantasy. 

 

Love Forever is a trippy feast for your eyes, allowing up to two viewers to look through small peepholes into this room. Looking inside, you can see yourself in a mirror directly opposite as well as the other viewer, making it feel quite voyeuristic. Kusama was experimenting with new technology when she created this room, which features dazzling lights, patterns and colours which change every few seconds. Her 1966 exhibition featured this work and she distributed buttons with her 'Love Forever' message printed on them. For her, this work stood for civil rights, sexual liberation, and the anti-war movement in the 1960s. 

 

The Souls of Millions of Light Years Away takes you into a world of lights and mirrors resembling a galaxy. Hundreds of LED lights flicker and sparkle while you are inside activating the environment and becoming immersed into the infinite space. It is absolutely breathtaking to experience! I just wish that you could have longer than the allocated 30 seconds to experience it and really take it in. 

 

Phalli’s Field arose from Kusama wanting a new way to create a hallucinatory scene of phallic-like shapes covered in red polka dots. Up until the point this room was created, Kusama had spent much of her time between 1962 and 1964 sewing thousands of stuffed fabric tubes and affixing them to furniture and other objects to create her sculptures; however, this became physically and mentally tiring. Her breakthrough moment came when she began to use mirrors to achieve the repetitive effect she envisioned, transcending her physical limitations, and making it an immersive experience for viewers. 

 

Aftermath of Obliteration of Eternity is another mesmerizing world comprised of flickering gold lanterns that seem to go on forever into black infinite space. Kusama's room is a reflection on the experience of death and potential afterlife, recalling the Japanese tradition of toro nagashi, a ceremony which sees paper lanterns float down a river to guide ancestral spirits back to the resting places on the final night of the summer Obon Festival. 

 

Dots Obsession – Love Transformed Into Dots has you enter a large gallery room which has a rosy glow from the large pink polka-dotted balloons hanging from the ceiling and placed around the floor. Near the back of the room, you can enter a room inside one of the balloons, feeling a bit like you are entering a fuschia fairy-tale world. On the other end of the room, you get the opposite experience by peering into a small hole into a dazzling pink infinity mirror room. 

 

The Obliteration Room is the final room of the exhibit. This room invites you to participate in completing the work. Upon entering the stark white room, set up to look like an everyday home with everyday objects, you are handed a sheet of coloured dot stickers and invited to place them anywhere in the room and on objects. I would love to see what this room looks like when the exhibition closes! Kusama's concept of obliteration is to find and create new expression on this white space as the coloured dots invite each visitor to participate on a journey to infinity one dot at a time. 

For each of the mirrored rooms, you will join a line to enter. You may have the opportunity to go in by yourself or with two to four other people. You need to leave your bags just outside the exhibit (watched by AGO staff) and can enter for twenty to thirty seconds depending on the room. The staff have a stopwatch to time each entry and will give a soft knock on the door to let you know when five seconds are left. I wish that you could have more time inside the rooms as they are so dazzling and extraordinary that there just isn't enough time to properly take everything in. But, on the other hand, it forces you to be present and enjoy the moments you do have. 

This extraordinary show is a visual delight, and you are encouraged to share your photos with the hashtag #infinitekusama. Part of the appeal and high demand to see Kusama's show has been driven through photos shared through Instagram. While you can bring your cameras and smartphones, you cannot bring in tripods or selfie sticks. 

There will be a new batch of tickets released by the AGO on Tuesday March 6th at 10am online only. There will also be a very limited number of same-day timed tickets available on-site at the gallery. The show runs from March 3 to May 27, 2018. 

WMW's Gift Guide for Travel Lovers

Looking for some inspiration for the travel obsessed, wanderlust suffering globetrotter in your life? Well, speaking as one of those people, I'm sharing both my favourite things and what's on my wish list this year in hopes to inspire some ideas! Nothing listed here is sponsored in any way. Some things I own and others I covet, and they are all purely things that I love, think are great, and happy to recommend to others! 

 

For the Frequent Flier

Away Suitcases

Photo: Away via Conde Nast Traveler 

Photo: Away via Conde Nast Traveler 

One of the hottest, and most Instagrammable, suitcases on the block, Away is attracting people for its chic, minimalist style and embedded technology. Away makes what they call 'thoughtful' luggage, developed from hundreds of travel stories. Their suitcases feature unbreakable shells, interior compartments - and, one of the coolest elements - built-in USB chargers! The built-in battery can be easily removed, is TSA approved, and is compliant with all airline policies. You can choose from the popular carry-on luggage style through to large checked baggage sizes in a multitude of colours. While I normally pick sleek black, I just love this perfect pink shade. 

Away takes a direct-to-consumer approach. By doing this, the suitcases are made with the same high quality materials as other premium luggage brands but can charge less due to having lower overheads. And, importantly, Away guarantees their quality for life. 

On the other end of the luggage spectrum is the beautiful vintage inspired and designed Steamline Luggage. There are a variety of different collection styles and sizes to pick from. One of my favourites is the Sweetheart Collection, a selection of light-coloured cases (white and tan) on the exterior with a beautifully printed lining inside of foliage, flowers and birds, making a beautiful contrast. In the photos below is another collection I love called the Architect in cream. This collection is inspired by Art Deco prints for its interior lining. 

While the design may be vintage, the cases are modern in function with features like an extendable trolley handle, buckled leather straps, two TSA-approved locks, and silent-glide wheels. Inside, you will find zippered lid pockets and a detachable door-hangar washbag to keep your belongings organized. SteamLine has also included a new ripstop cover to protect the case. The carry-on size also meets the cabin luggage size requirements for most major airlines. 

SteamLine ships all over the world, and also provides a full refund if you are not happy providing the luggage is unused. 

Photo: SteamLine Luggage

Photo: SteamLine Luggage

I received a Coach passport case monogrammed with my initials a few years ago and it is one of my chicest travel accessories. It's a timeless gift and a lovely little luxury to give someone. If you have the time to have it monogrammed, it ups the luxury factor that much more through personalization. The quality of the leather is fantastic, contains multiple slots to carry various travel documents, frequent flier cards, and other important documents, and is durable. 

Photo: Lululemon

Photo: Lululemon

I have used Lululemon's duffel bags for years - purely for travel! I call it my 'Mary Poppins' bag due to its ability to fit an unbelievable amount of things in it and still look chic while carrying it. This bag is perfect for a city break or weekend away somewhere. I have found these bags to be very durable and last a long time. 

This particular bag is water-repellent, contains laptop storage (a padded pocket that fits a 15" laptop), a heat-resistant pocket (helpful for a hair straightener), multiple compartments and pockets, and comes in various colours and patters

Photo: Cabeau Evolution Memory Foam Pillow

Photo: Cabeau Evolution Memory Foam Pillow

Ok, so a travel pillow may not be the most exciting present but bear with me. After trying many different travel pillows over the years, this is now my most trusted one. This pillow is actually comfortable as it is made with high quality memory foam. When I fall asleep on planes, my head tends to bob all over the place so I put this on and it supports my neck properly with 360 degree support. It's easy to pack as it squishes and folds up neatly into its bag, you can tie it to your carry-on bag to save room, and it is washable. It also comes with a two year satisfaction warranty. Forget blow-up, down, or beanbag style travel pillows - this is a travel winner. 

Capture Memories

Olympus PEN Camera

Photo: Olympus PEN

Photo: Olympus PEN

On my wish list for ages has been the Olympus PEN camera. It is beautiful in design with its vintage style, portable so it is easy to carry around, and has high specs and top quality interchangeable lenses so it can produce beautiful images. I've been looking for a terrific camera that is more easily transportable than my DLSR, but produces better quality images than a standard point-and-shoot or smartphone. It's also got built in wi-fi so you can upload and share your images quickly. The other great thing about it that I love are the stylish accessories that you can pick from including leather neck straps, lens covers, body jackets, and bags. There is a more expensive, higher quality version which is the PEN-F, and a lower cost but still high quality version, which is the PEN-E. 

Photo: Olympus PEN 

Photo: Olympus PEN 

Create Experiences 

Eurostar E-Voucher

Photo: Eurostar

Photo: Eurostar

Is there a better gift than being able to jet someone off to Paris for the weekend? The Eurostar is chic and so easy to use - and often has terrific deals, including on Boxing Day. You can buy e-vouchers from Eurostar in either a pre-selected amount or amount of your choosing in GBP, EUR, or USD. I love this idea because it provides something to look forward to and creates a memory. 

Other Experience Ideas

  • Gift certificate from an airline to put towards airfare for a destination of their dreams, much-needed getaway, or upgrade. 
  • Pre-book tickets if you know they are going to a particular destination and their dates, such as museum tickets, tickets to a special exhibition, a hotel upgrade, special tour, or restaurant. 
  • Currency for the destination they are going so they can buy themselves something special, especially if money is tight or it's been spent on the logistics and accommodation! 

 

Wearable Memories

Jet Set Candy

jetset.gif

I first discovered Jet Set Candy in December 2015 when I visited a Christmas Market at NYC'S Grand Central Station. I instantly fell in love with the beautiful wanderlust inspired jewelry and charms representing all things travel. Launched in October 2014, Jet Set Candy is one of the first premium lines of travel souvenirs which are modern and wearable keepsakes. Many of the pieces are collectible, such as the fun airport code charms that can be put on a necklace or used as a charm on a bracelet.  The line was designed by Nicole Parker King, who wanted to design a thoughtful, stylish, and classic line of travel souvenirs to redefine what is available for travel lovers. The pieces are collectible and made in either sterling silver, 14k vermeil, or solid gold. 

In addition to a YYZ charm, I also picked up a silver ring with a plane on it, which was instructed by Nicole's mom to wear facing out on outbound trips and facing in on inbound trips. The packaging is also so thoughtful from the beautifully printed tissue paper with maps, beautiful navy blue suede jewelry pouches, and travel inspired quotes on the inside of the box. 

One of my all-time favourite shops, Canadian jewelry and lifestyle shop Bluboho, has grown from a lovely shop in downtown Oakville, Ontario to adding two additional shops in Toronto, Canada (on Queen West and Yonge and Eglinton). Everything about these shops is special from the thoughtfully curated pieces which each have a meaning to the warm and welcoming staff led by Cheryl and Maggie who make you feel like an old friend from the first time you meet. The name 'Bluboho' represents a connection to others, nature and unlimited possibility, with references to sea and sky, and evokes a luxurious, free-spirited lifestyle and lust for life. 

Among the treasures you'll find in their beautifully designed shops are pieces symbolizing travel, wanderlust, adventure, and freedom. For example, I love the silver bar bracelets and necklaces with engraved quotes to speak to your present or desired state of mind or feelings. Two of my favourite quotes read 'Not all who wander are lost' and 'Fortune favours the brave'. Or,  choose a beautiful feather bracelet or birds in flight necklace to symbolize freedom, flight, and exploring new places. 

Bluboho has a stunning Instagram account that will have you wanting to buy everything they post, as well as an online shop. If you're in the Toronto area, pop-in and say hi to Maggie, Cheryl, and the team and see their treasures in person!

Photo: Pottery Barn

Photo: Pottery Barn

Think of this as jewelry for your luggage. For a chic, yet inexpensive, gift, jump onto Pottery Barn's website to order a personalized luggage tag. You can choose from a dark brown or black leather strap which holds a silver plated tag. Monogramming is available for a small extra charge with up to 15 characters per line. This is a fantastic gift for a stylish traveler, a colleague or boss, or someone who frequently travels for business to up the professionalism and luxury factor. I chose to do mine and the ones I have given friends with name initials, such as the one shown in the photo above. 

I adore the concept of this jewelry line. Inspired by the line 'Every memory has a place', Coordinates Collection engraves the specific latitudinal and longitudinal coordinates of a place special to you or the recipient of your gift. The pieces are modern, chic, and stylish, and are a unique, deeply personal wearable memory. Is there a memorable holiday that you took? Have they lived abroad? Are they an expat and want to wear a piece of home? The possibilities are endless. 

You can choose a selection of bracelets, bangles, cuffs, and necklaces in sterling silver and gold at a range of price points from the very affordable to much more expensive pieces that incorporate precious gems and diamonds. This will be a gift that will delight and touch anyone you give this to. 

The 36 Hours In... series by the New York Times is a classic gift to either inspire ideas for new travels and/or help plan an upcoming trip. You can choose larger guides that cover Europe or USA and Canada, or smaller guides focused on a smaller region or country. It makes a terrific coffee table book as it will no doubt inspire conversation about favourite travel memories or dream destinations. I use it as a critical guide in helping inspire places to go for a city break or what to do while I'm there. 

Home and Lifestyle Inspiration 

Mapiful 

I discovered Mapiful through coming across their beautiful Instagram account and fell in love with their products. Mapiful creates printed map posters of not only the big, usual-suspect world cities, but many smaller cities around the world. Even cooler, you can customize your own map through their online tool of your own city or town (or that of the person you are gifting it to) to really personalize this gift. Posters are printed on museum quality paper and shipping is free worldwide. The hardest part will be trying to choose which location(s) you want!

3 of London's Most Iconic Shops

London is home to some of the world's best shopping. Here, you can find everything from flagship big brands to the quirkiest independent shops selling things you didn't even know you needed. 

My advice is to focus on the shops that are unique to the city (or country). Don't bother with chain stores that you can find at home; save your time and money on seeing new and unique things. Also, for British chain stores that you may not find at home, avoid the congested areas of places like Oxford Street, and head to areas of the city where you'll find the same shop in a less crowded area and discover somewhere new. 

In London, there are some incredible shops - here, I'm sharing three of my favourites that are must-visits when in the city. 

 

Liberty London:

Liberty is a must-see and must-experience for so many reasons. You've probably seen its flower shop display at its front entrance all over social media as it is an Instagrammers' dream! Liberty's building just off Regent and Oxford Streets is in a beautiful Tudor building that is worth seeing on its own. Its window displays, especially for Christmas, are stunning. The interior of this historical building is beautiful, set over several floors. 

Go for:

  • The famous Liberty prints (available in fabric rolls, scarves, bags, and more)
  • Fantastic beauty and skin section which carries hard-to-find and coveted brands (including Biologique Recherche products and spa treatments)
  • The Soho Home brand collection
  • A beautifully curated contemporary women's fashion department
  • Stunning newly renovated shoe department
  • Delicious section dedicated to chocolates, including unique and carefully selected brands, particularly UK-based ones 
  • Beautiful Christmas Shop

 

Selfridges:

Selfridges is one of the main (and only) reasons to trek to Oxford Street. This iconic building takes up a massive block filled with all kinds of treasures. Try and go earlier or later in the day to explore without big crowds making the experience unpleasant. 

Go for: 

  • Terrific and fun beauty and skincare department: It's filled with all kinds of fab latest and greatest brands that you may struggle to find elsewhere, including Korean skincare goodies (everything from creams to miracle sheet masks). There are also quite a few mini shops within the department to get the latest in high-tech facials, a Cowshed spa, Nails Inc nail bar, henna bar, and blowdry bar. 
  • Food and confectionary section: Here, you'll find delicious UK brands and imports from North America for those feeling a bit homesick. You can stop and snack on everything from cupcakes to champagne and oysters. 
  • Mariage Freres: there is an outfit of my absolute favourite tea brand, Mariage Freres, from France that I stock up on whenever I'm there. 
  • Handbags: There is a fantastic and extensive department focused on handbags and accessories to explore. 
  • Contemporary Women's Fashion: you can shop for brands exclusive to Selfridges or hard to find elsewhere in the city/country, as well as small outfits of some of the most popular 'high street' chains. 
  • Aubaine: This Instagram favourite is a french bistro restaurant on the second floor next to the extensive women's shoe section. Decorated with whimsical wisteria falling from the ceiling, it is a beautiful space for lunch or a glass of champagne.  
  • Housewares. There is an extensive collection of home goods to check out.
  • Quirkiness. There is even a psychic available on the lower ground level in the home goods and accessories floor!

 

Fortnum and Mason:

Fortnums is such a special place to visit. Located between Green Park and Piccadilly Circus, it is housed in a beautiful building spanning several floors to explore with a rich history, including creating the Scotch Egg! Founded in 1707, Fortnum and Mason also holds a Royal Warrant by Appointment by HM The Queen and HRH The Prince of Wales. 

Go for:

  • Impressive selection of tea
  • Wide selection of own brand and imported goods and confectionary 
  • Unique gifts 
  • Housewares section
  • Afternoon tea at the Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon
  • Made to order picnic baskets and hampers
  • Beautiful window displays
  • Magical Christmas Shop

Sketch - London's Most Glamorous Place for Afternoon Tea

Sketch has become instantly recognizable due to its iconic art deco-inspired, glamorous pink salon that is an Instagrammers dream. 

Located in Mayfair, Sketch hosts a series of bars and restaurants over two stories in a converted 18th century building. 

The Gallery, designed by India Mahdavi and David Shrigley, is the eponymous room in Sketch that features the afternoon tea, which, in my opinion (and probably many others, considering how busy it gets), is the most glamorous in London! If you're looking for a classic experience in a beautiful room, particularly with a group of girlfriends, this is a perfect place. To note, it is also open for dinner, with creatively styled and interpreted classic dishes. 

 

Sketch London Afternoon Tea

From the moment you arrive at Sketch, the service is impeccable, adding to the luxurious experience you have there. Start by choosing either a classic or Champagne afternoon tea; as you can see above, we went with the Champagne tea! Served in classic Champagne glasses, it automatically ups the glam factor. Sip your champagne slowly while taking in your surroundings, which include 239 pieces of quirky artwork lining the walls by David Shrigley - the largest group of original drawings Shrigley has ever exhibited.  

Start with creative and delicious sandwiches, served on an afternoon tea cake stand, created from stacked cups and saucers. The tastiest ones in my opinion are the coronation chicken, and truffle croque monsieur. If you fancy some more, your server will gladly bring you a refill of your favourites!

But don't forget that you've got fresh scones and cakes to enjoy as well, so don't fill up too much on the sandwiches to save room for the other things! 

You can select from freshly baked, warm plan or sultana scones, served with classic clotted cream and strawberry jam. I went with a classic plain, which was delicious. It was also a nice balance between the savoury sandwiches and sweet cakes. 

The cakes offer a nice balance of flavours, from a citrus tart, to chocolate gateaux, to bubblegum marshmallow knots (very light in flavour so not overpowering), and a delicious cheesecake pudding. 

Sketch London Afternoon Tea
Sketch London Afternoon Tea
Sketch London Afternoon Tea

Afternoon Tea is served between 12:30pm - 4:30pm Mondays through Sundays.

sketch Afternoon Tea as from Monday 13 March:
sketch Classic Afternoon Tea, £58 per person
Champagne Afternoon Tea, £72 per person
Children's Afternoon Tea, £29 per child - including Pat the Bear

 

Oh - and don't forget to make a stop to check out the quirky, beautiful, space-like bathroom pods before you go!

Exploring London Town

Living in London is never dull. It's chaotic, fascinating, exciting, interesting and never ever a shortage of things to do. I can't believe that there are still so many museums, events, and sights that I need to check out that I haven't seen before, but I'm making my way through exploring the city. Here are a few things I've been doing recently from Instagram - come follow along with me! You can find me on Instagram at @woman.meets.world

London Life

What else have I been up to since moving to London three weeks ago? Sharing a few of the places I've visited and explored. Follow along as I post on my Instagram at @woman.meets.world - I'd love to get your London recommendations!

Some of my favourite places featured in the photos below:

Coastal Living Magazine

Coastal Living Magazine is a favourite publication of mine. Their magazine and beautiful regular posts on Instagram always provide daily inspiration and a breath of fresh air. The coast - and the ocean/sea/lake/river/any body of water - has always provided me with a sense of calm and serenity. This might be due to growing up in Oakville, ON, which is right on Lake Ontario, but I find peace in watching and listening to the regular rhythm of waves rolling into shore. I have recently purchased my first condo in Toronto and one of my favourite features is the fact that it has a view of the lake. I love to gaze out and watch sailboats float by on the shimmering water in the sunlight. It only made sense to also draw inspiration from the beautiful design inspiration of coastal properties to decorate that the magazine highlights!

So, you can imagine my delight and happiness that the wonderful Coastal Living Magazine shared one of my recent photos taken in Dubrovnik, Croatia, on their website on Saturday as their 'View of the Day' - and paired it with the most perfect soundtrack! You can find the post here: http://dailycatch.coastalliving.com/2015/07/11/beach-music-beyond-the-sea/

Parisian Architecture

In Toronto (and many places in North America), part of the thrill and appeal of Europe is the history of the buildings - many of which are much much older than our own countries. We live in cities that are very new, not the greatest at preserving heritage buildings, and lots of glass and concrete rectangular buildings which often look alike. 

Wandering around in Paris is a visual feast. Parisian architecture celebrates detail, beauty, and history, as opposed to solely function and efficiency. It also helps that the Parisian light seems ethereal and illuminates the buildings in beautiful ways. At sunset, so many of its buildings seem to glow in the sunlight. When in Paris (or anywhere in Europe to be honest), be sure to look up, down, and all around you as you'll never know what intricate details and surprises you  might find! Below are some of my favourites from my recent trip in April. 

xo Rheanne 

Postcards from Paris: An Ode to the Eiffel Tower in the Springtime

I have a confession to make. I am deeply in love with the Eiffel Tower and I just can't get enough of it. Yes, I realize how much of a tourist that statement makes me sound but I can't help it. I've been to Paris four times now and I often find that it's one of my first stops. I get a rush of excitement when I see it rising above the city. I love it in the morning, noon, and night. I adore it in the evening the most when it sparkles and glimmers - absolutely magical. Once it starts sparkling at the top of the hour for a few minutes during the evening, there are always people around who gasp and adore in its brilliance. I have heard more than one French person exclaim, "Ooh la la!", which to someone who is not French is fantastic! Its intricate details, its curves, its romantic design....it's no wonder it has become a worldwide symbol for Paris. There is something that draws people to it and can gaze at it for ages. 

I hadn't ever seen it just after sunrise in the early morning hours, so I made it my mission this time to do that. I went early on a Monday morning before the crowds had appeared and when the spring sunlight was hazy and glowing. This is my ode to the Eiffel Tower through photos and I hope you like it! 

 

xo Rheanne 

Postcards from Paris: Place des Vosges

On my first morning in Paris, fresh off an overnight flight from Toronto and desperate to stay awake and beat jet lag, I took a walk around the Marais after dropping off my bags at my apartment. Having left Canada in snow flurries, the bright blue skies and 20 degree temperatures felt invigorating! I grabbed a tea from my favourite tea institution, Mariage Freres, and a sandwich and began walking to Place des Vosges to have a picnic. As this was one of the first nice days in Paris this spring, I think the rest of Paris had the same idea! Although the lawn was packed with people, it was lovely to see everyone outside enjoying the beautiful weather in high spirits. 

Postcards from Paris: Sunday Morning in Le Marais

Ahhhh, Paris! Paris is beautiful in all seasons, but I truly believe that it is most magical in the springtime. People are out and about again, soaking in the spring sunshine, drinking coffee outside in bistros on boulevards, and riding on bicycles. The city is awakening with the green buds appearing on the trees and shots of colour with tulips appearing in gardens and parks. And perhaps most mesmorizing is when the cherry blossoms burst into bloom in shades of fluffy white and candy floss pink. 

I wanted to take a few days off from work and to have a break between finishing my last course module of my MSc before launching into my dissertation. That, combined with a flight sale from Air Canada, and I couldn't say no to a trip to Paris last minute trip. I booked a lovely flat in Le Marais through Airbnb to try a new arrondissement (I stayed in Saint-Germain des Pres last time and loved it there too) and I was all set.

My flat was located just off Rue Vielle du Temple - a fantastic location as it was close to both the St Paul and Hotel du Ville metro stations on Rue de Rivoli, Place des Vosges, as well as a wide selection of wonderful restaurants, boulangeries, and shopping - including some of my favourites like Le Mary Celeste, Mariages Freres, and L'Eclair de Genie.  

It's a beautiful arrondissement to stay, visit and explore with many nooks and little streets to explore as it is one of the oldest areas of the city with many important historical and architectural sights. Make sure to wander around its winding streets and let yourself get lost - that's always how you make the best discoveries! On my walk, I stumbled across a wonderful little boulangerie called Au Petit Versailles Du Marais, which has the most bread and pastries - but you must try their pain au chocolat as they are to die for! Their bread was also an award winner for the Top 10 baguettes in Paris. It's tiny but beautiful indoors, with all of the meticulously prepared, colourfully pastries that look too lovely to eat (but not quite because they are so delicious!) on display under a glittering chandelier. There is some outdoor seating when it's nice outside, though no indoor seating.

Sharing a few photos with you from a lovely Sunday morning two weeks ago wandering around Le Marais in the beautiful, warm morning spring sunshine. There's nothing like taking a few deeps breaths of the fresh air and turning your face to the sun to feel its warmth after the winter, and taking in all of the sights and the scents around you, like the aroma of freshly baked bread and pastries, to make you feel reinvigorated and ready to take on the world!