After a delightfully relaxing stopover in London, it was time to switch into the fast lane, and catch some sights and sounds in romantic Paris!

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My all time favourite monument, here we come!

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Its an extremely majestic landmark which anyone can immediately recognize – no matter which country you’re from.

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The Arc de Triomphe (or in local context, Gerbang Berjaya), in full glory!

The Paris Bridal Fair began in April, making it a jamboree of non-stop fashion shows, sashaying models, and dresses to make any wedding gown designer drool. Being an extremely popular event, it was jam packed with people. Held at the Halle Freyssinet, the illustrious fair is where one can preview the future – that of the fashion industry of course. Elegant, chic and always romantic, the designs that were paraded down the runway had a myriad descriptions.

This warehouse-looking locale soon turned into…

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…a bustling exhibition hall.

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Dresses galore! No shortage of frills.

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And plenty of stunning models to go around…

Upon observation, however, I noticed that, surprisingly, the designs are not entirely foreign to us. As it turns out, the more I looked, the more I realized that quite a number of the pieces had strong similarities to those already within our shores! Perhaps a tad different in certain ways, but a majority of the pieces wouldn’t look too out of place if our local girls took to wearing it around. Thinking of the trends that would evolve from this, I could already imagine what was to come – pastels, lace, and higher emphasis on belts and other embellishments!

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I managed to meet Max Chaoul, maestro and designer extraordinaire!

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Along the way, I also got the opportunity to meet renowned jewelry designer Petra Domling. Look at how elegant she is!

With ideas for new designs beginning to tumble around my mind, it was time to flip on the tourist switch, and gawk at the city of love.

The first thing that one notices when arriving in Paris is the architecture. You’ll never get bored of the scenery, as every nook and cranny has been lovingly crafted, and bears the handiwork of artisans. Walking about the locale, the weather was chill and crisp, which made wearing a wrap absolutely necessary.

One thing to note about the Parisian city is its irregular layout. Where most city planners attempt to make things as simple as possible by arranging houses and buildings in a symmetrical (and utterly boring) square, the inventive people here designed their city in the most unusual shape; a snail (or escargot, for you perfectionists out there). The entire place is split into neighbourhoods, and each neighbourhood is distinctly special and unique. Here’s an illustration of how it looks like;

Snail not included.

Le Paris is the city where everything is art – including their food. Sous chefs take great pains to craft the most exquisite dishes that the human palate can imagine, and ensure that every drop of chocolate dressing is in the right place. Having said that, friends had recommended this place called the Cristal Room for ages, and since we were actually staying within an easy distance from the place, the hubby and I said to ourselves, “Why not give it a try?”

And so, we found ourselves at the posh restaurant, waiting to be served. This Michelin Star restaurant (which we had to book 2 weeks in advance) is utterly serious when it comes to food, and one can clearly see that in the elegant interior, and amazing crystal-themed dining rooms. Forget about dining in T-Shirts and shorts; walk into this place in your casual clothes, and you’d immediately feel like a hippo in a lake of swans. James, who never (ever) wears anything more formal than pants and a T-shirt came dressed to the nines – an incredible feat in itself! The ensuing 5 course meal (with wine that would delight the strictest of aficionados) was to die for.

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Note how elaborate the deco is, right behind me.

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Exquisite dining at Pinxo.

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A champagne breakfast!

We visited several places, including the Lourve, Notre Dame, Lafayette, and even managed to catch a cabaret at the Moulin Rouge!

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The setting for literature like Angels and Demons!

However, as shy as I am to admit it, my favourite location was yet to come.

There you go. I admit it, I’m a sucker for good deals.

Shopping, of course, is the lifeblood of any woman, and set loose in a place like La Vallee shopping village, well, you can imagine the outcome. A shuttle bus comes over to Paris to pick up eager shoppers for 20 euros to the place at 9 a.m., and returns at either 1.00 pm or 5.00 p.m. Thinking that 4 hours of shopping would be sufficient, we picked the 1.00 p.m. shuttle, but the moment we reached, we knew that we had to opt for the 5.00 p.m. slot!

Now, before you begin to imagine my crazy shopping spree, I must qualify that the sales were definitely value for money. The items over here are a far shot cheaper than back home, and they stock the latest designs too! Take for example, the Ferragamo suede loafers James picked up – in Malaysia, it would have cost approximately RM1,600, but over here, it was a steal at RM700! Truly a shopper’s paradise.

Bags heavily laden, we made our way to Barcelona, for the Barcelona Bridal Fair. Here, the designs are mainly centred around wedding gowns, and other matrimonial fare. Top names like Pronovias, Franc Sarabia, Rosa Clara and Francis Montesinos graced the runway with their revolutionary yet pleasantly traditional designs, guaranteed to set the heart of any groom racing!

Credits: Zimbio

As always, we took time out to play tourist…

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Beautiful, beautiful skies!

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No beach bunnies spotted.

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No I normally don’t eat this much. Today, I will make an exception.

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James guzzling a cold one at La Ramblas.

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Le Me, astounded by the sheer variety of food, at the Barcelona Market.

All in all, a very eventful trip! Although it was a bit difficult to get around, as not everyone spoke English, the people were still very helpful, and no one actually told us off even though we must have looked like dazed ducks wandering lost around the city!

Definitely waiting for the next opportunity to visit Paris and Barcelona again!

Love,
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