Monday, 20 January 2014

Week 28: Eiffel Tower - Au Revoir and New Blog!

Hi all! It's been a while hasn't it! Apologies for my absence and silence - It's because I've been working really hard! Honest! 

Anyway, with my return to the UK came the end of this wonderful piece of blog but fear not! All you insatiable Fran followers (ha...) can find me once more a-blogging HERE

However, as an end to this lovely project and a (hopefully temporary) goodbye to you all, here are some pictures from my last day in Paris - at the Eiffel Tower.

Delightful Boyfriend and I having lunch at the top of the Eiffel Tower

Dress - H&M
Shoes - New Look
Necklace - Zara
Sunglasses - Marks&Spencer
Bag - Cath Kidson

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Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Dressing Up On Holiday: Versailles


Greetings bloglets – sincerest apologies for my lengthy absence! I have now officially left La France and am back in Blighty for good (or for bad – you decide!) I said goodbye to Paris in a rather special way that I plan on sharing with you all in due course, but first I thought I’d do my second “Dressing up on Holiday (in France)” post.

Versailles Chanel Red and White Panniers

Versailles Chanel Red and White Panniers Golden Gate

As you may recall, I escaped the city a couple of weeks ago to go join my family for a mini-holiday near Paris. On my last day with them we visited one of the most splendid places ever to be produced by this (or rather, that) glorious country: the Palace of Versailles.

Versailles Chanel Red and White Panniers Black and White floor

Versailles Chanel Red and White Panniers statue Louis XVI

The town of Versailles acts as a wealthy suburb of Paris, about 20 km from the capital. The palace there was the centre of power from 1682 until the French Revolution in 1789 and is seen as the ultimate symbol of the ancien regime and the French absolute monarchy. The building itself began life as a hunting lodge for Louis III, but was expanded into one of the largest palaces in the world by Louis XIV. This was where the royal family and court lived until 1789 when they were moved to the Palais de Tuileries (which no longer exists) in Paris.

Versailles Chanel Red and White Panniers

Versailles Chanel Red and White Panniers golden gate

After this, all of the furniture from Versailles was sold (I know, it breaks my heart too!) and the palace itself only survived because the Convention decided to keep it for the “public good”. The building then became a museum for all of the artworks the Revolutionaries had taken from princely homes and churches.

Versailles Chanel Red and White Panniers jewellery

Grand Trianon

Versailles Chanel Red and White Panniers jewellery garden

In its heyday, however, courtiers were forever vying for rooms in the palace for themselves and their families. Indeed, some historians have said it was more like a giant apartment block than a palace, perhaps even a hotel – since keys to each room had to be left when the lodging was vacated. Not a very good hotel though- they didn't even have toilets until 1768! The glitz and glamour of the 18th century, eh?

Versailles Chanel Red and White Panniers Hall of Mirrors

Versailles Chanel Red and White Panniers Mirror

Versailles Chanel Red and White Panniers Grand Trianon

One of the most famous rooms in the palace – and perhaps in the world – is the Hall of Mirrors, construction on which was started in 1678. In a century where mirrors were extortionately expensive, this room acted as an indisputable reflection (heh) of the grandeur and magnificence of the Sun King’s reign. It was in this room that Louis XV met Madame de Pompadour – at a masked ball celebrating his son’s marriage. She was dressed as the hunting goddess Diana, he was dressed as a Yew Tree. Not an option that ever occurred to me at Halloween but one I will very much consider this year. Even I would dress like a tree if I could meet Mme de P – quelle babe.

Versailles Chanel Red and White Panniers Petit Trianon

Versailles Chanel Red and White Panniers Petit Trianon

One of the other two palaces on the grounds at Versailles – the Petit Trianon – was built for Madame de Pompadour, though sadly she died before it was finished. Instead it became the safe pseudo-rural haven of Marie-Antoinette who would come to escape the pressures of court or to play in the fake hamlet she had built nearby. The Grand Trianon (the second Palace on the grounds) provided another escape from court, this time for Louis XIV and his mistress. Parts of it were also used in the promotional video for Dior’s latest campaign. 

Versailles Chanel Red and White Panniers Grand Trianon

Versailles Chanel Red and White Panniers Grand Trianon

For this shoot, I took inspiration from Chanel’s 2013 Resortcollection – which was also Versailles-inspired.  I stuck to a similar colour scheme of red, white and purple and used my beloved net petticoat to form faux panniers (or, at least, I tried to). I went with BIG jewellery and trainers to give it a bit of an edge – though obviously, Chanel’s gold flatforms would have been better...

Versailles Chanel Red and White Panniers Sun

Versailles Chanel Red and White Panniers Sun
Dress - H+M
Petticoat - Lindy Bop
Fake Vans - New Look
Necklace and Earrings - H+M
Sunglasses - H+M

As a tourist attraction, Versailles is stunning and, once you’ve gotten in, really rather well-maintained. But therein lies the rub... When we arrived, the first thing we saw was almost enough to put us off completely: the entire front courtyard was full of a HUGE snaking queue which some were saying they’d been standing in for upwards of two hours. Super. In fact, this was just the queue to get in, after you’d gone through the whole queue for tickets! SO – advice: 1) palace is closed on Monday, we went on a Tuesday and it was extra-busy – go later in the week; 2) book tickets in advance to avoid at least one queue; 3) get there early. Like, EARLY early. We arrived at about 11 and the queues were already insane. Otherwise, would highly recommend this gem. See you soon!

Versailles Chanel Red and White Panniers Sun

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Thursday, 15 August 2013

Dressing Up On Holiday: Chartres

Hi all – sorry it’s been such a long time since my last post, the end of my time in Paris is fast approaching and it’s been a busy busy couple of weeks. Anyway, I wanted to share some pictures with you from the mini-holiday I took this weekend and tell you a bit about the first place we visited: Chartres.

Chartres is a small town about 50 miles/80km outside of Paris and, fun fact, it is twinned with both Chichester in the UK and Cusco in Peru. Although a lovely and thriving little town in its own right, Chartres is most famous for its incredible cathedral, which was the backdrop for one of this week’s photoshoot.

The Cathedral of Our Lady of Chartres was mostly built between 1194 and 1250, and is widely regarded as the finest example of French gothic architecture there is. The building you see there today has changed very little since the 13th century and still boasts much of its original stained glass.

Not only that, the cathedral has also been a site of pilgrimage because it houses what is believed by many to be the Sancta Camisa, the tunic worn by the Virgin Mary when she gave birth to Jesus. It also boasts a large “labyrinth” in the floor of the nave, which is uncovered once a month to allow pilgrims to practice the devotional ritual of slowly walking around it, praying.

Chartres cathedral has escaped not only the ravages of time (hey, 763 years leaves a scar or two, y’know) but also a couple of attack by the French themselves. During the Revolution, an angry mob started destroying many of the statues and the building only escaped after a concerted effort made by the townspeople to protect it. Then, during the Second World War and the German occupation of France, the French were all set to blow up the cathedral, believing it to be acting as an observation post for the Nazis. Only the bravery and initiative of a US Army Officer saved it, with Colonel W. B. Griffith offering to go behind enemy lines and verify that the cathedral was not being used. This he duly did, and this magnificent structure was saved.
Top - ASOS
Skirt - H+M
Shoes - Vintage Louboutin, Rokit London
Necklace and Earrings - Oxfam
Sunglasses - Marks+Spencer

And thank goodness it was, because it really is beautiful inside and – at less than an hour from Paris by train – well worth a visit. That’s all for tonight folks, stay tuned for another exciting holiday post this weekend.