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Travel

Mykonos

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Why Mykonos is the best place to visit this summer!

I always search for destinations that have more to offer, beyond landscapes and beautiful restaurants or hotels. Immersing into the local culture and absorbing the people’s ways of living, perspectives on life and exciting life stories enables me to truly enjoy my stay and leave with a pocket full of new ideas, unforgettable memories and new friends all over the world.

Mykonos is all that and more. I was blown away by everyone’s way of always focusing on the half full part of the water glass, their ease to see the lighter side of things and constant smiles.

What’s more, their entrepreneurial sense of business sets Mykonos as one of the most inspiring and motivational places I have ever been to.

Here are my favourite venues in Mykonos, places that have been emphasised by the people and their insightful stories and nevertheless an impeccable service.

AT A GLANCE

Best time to visit – May to June or August to September

Currency – Euro

How to get there – You can fly straight into Mykonos’s National Airport, look for flights here.

Highlights – Visit at the Big White Art Gallery and sunset by the Paraportiani Church.

Top Fact – The famous windmills were built by the Venetians in the 16th century and remained in use until the 20th century.

Dress code – Both relaxing, light-weighted clothes and slightly more elegant outfits for places such as Sea Satin and Nobu.

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BEACH

Scorpios Beach (Paraga, 84600 Mýkonos, Kikladhes, Greece)

One of the most beautiful beaches in Mykonos opened last year. A wonderful mix of lounge, deep house and instrumental music will enable you to fully relax and kick back into the cosy hammocks and oversized daybeds. Designed with the concept of simplicity in mind, everything is made from natural materials, conserving the perfectly imperfect shapes and surfaces of each object or piece of furniture.

Psarou Beach, Nammos (Mikonos 846 00, Greece)

A loungy laid back ambience in the first part of the day set in a naturally shaped cove. Kick back and relax, sipping a delicious cocktail and listening to beautifully mixed lounge chill out music. Bluntly speaking, there are 2 downsides to Nammos Beach. The sunset cannot be seen from there and the crowd after dawn converts to a slightly less elegant gathering.

Agios Stefanos Beach (Agios Stefanos, Greece)

If you are looking for an unspoilt sandy beach with clear blue waters, this is the place to go. Highly important in Mykonos, Stefanos Beach is protected from the winds and is one of the few beached where you can also just lie your towel in the sand instead of renting a sun bed.

Kalo Livadi Beach (between Kalafatis and Elia beach, located 10 km from Mykonos Town and 2 km from Ano Mera)

Featuring the finest sand in Mykonos, with bright blue and clear waters (perfect for snorkelling), yet extremely windy at all times.

Source: www.scorpioshotel.gr/

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LOCAL TRADITIONAL RESTAURANTS

The Fournos Veneti Bakery, situated at Thesi Argyraina Ep. Odos Mukonou – Αno Meras, 846 00 Mykonos Cyclades Greece – stay away if you happen to be on a diet!

Kalita Restaurant, located at Eparchiaki Odos Mikonou-Ano Merias, Mykonos Town 84600. Give in to delightful greek flavours in a glamorous rusting setting.

Chez Katrine, located at Nikiou, Mikonos, Greece featuring a fusion of french and greek dishes. A gastronomic paradise hidden on the narrow streets of the greek island. Not as easy to reach, but don’t even think of giving up, is beyond worth trying.

SEA FOOD RESTAURANT

Sea Satin, a magical spot situated at the tip of a waterfront peninsula floating right below the famous windmills and bordering with Little Venice. The freshly fished shellfish is a must accompanied by the local white wine and live music. Be sure to make a reservation prior to your visit at +30 2289 024676.

The famous Nobu at Belvedere Boutique Hotel presented in a magnificent poolside setting. With breathtaking views overlooking the white cubist houses of Chora and the Aegean Sea.

Alemagou Beach Bar Restaurant located 12 minutes away from the Mykonos Chora. Simplicity meets luxury in a natural light grey setting. To die for fresh ingredients from the local market – beautifully presented and accompanied by an impeccable service.

Source: http://www.alemagou.gr

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SUNSET

There are numerous restaurants and bars that offer stunning views of the sunset, but I particularly enjoy getting lost in a more natural setting and filled with good vibrations. Beautiful, tranquil and perfect for soothing the soul is the Paraportiani Church. Lay down on the stones next to it and get ready to see the most spectacular sunset.

ART

And last but not least, the Big White Gallery situated at Meletopoulou 7 Mýkonos, is home to some of the most impressive and intricate local artists. Be sure to pay a visit!

Travel

Paris

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Bonjour Mon Amour PARIS

Remember when you were a kid? We always had the urge to explore restlessly, play, dream of what we would be or do when we grow up. As adults we slow down, we let our day to day routine interfere with what were once our beliefs and dreams. I get it, we now have responsibilities, jobs, bills to pay but we shouldn’t let all these things slow us down.

Find what puts your soul on fire and go for it! I find myself that being a nomad has kept me focused to live my life at 100% intensity and creating as many unforgettable and bespoke memories as possible. ‘Nomad’ is defined as a member of a community of people who live in different locations, moving from one place to another’. I might be wrong but I don’t agree fully. From my perspective being a nomad also stands for the travels of the soul, for the life journeys that we allow ourselves to go through, for the different states of mind that we experience all throughout our lives.

They say sleep doesn’t help if your soul is tired. I believe travel can’t be fully enjoyed if your soul is not present. Open your eyes, leave your worries behind, pack and go.

Now, to keep you inspired why don’t you follow me to Paris for a marvellous weekend get away.

AT A GLANCE

Best time to visit – Every season has its own magic but I personally prefer spring time when all the cherries blossom or summer season when you are sure to get warm weather.

Currency – Euros.

How to get there – if you are travelling from the UK, Eurostar is the quickest and comfortable option. For flight options visit www.skyscanner.com

Highlights – Lunch at L’Avenue and Monet’s Water Lilies Collection at Musée de l’Orangerie.

Shopping – Avenue Montaigne and Rue Saint Honore.

Top Fact – According to Claude Monet’s own suggestion, the eight compositions in Musée de l’Orangerie were set out in the two consecutive oval rooms being oriented from west to east and following the course of the sun. The initial project started in 1914.

Special treat – dinner at Le Cinq, George V Four Seasons Hotel.

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I have had several different experiences in Paris, both good and others not so good. The last two however were absolutely fantastic. The prototype for French people is defined by rudeness, but I have come to learn that they are a wonderful nation. Highly educated, friendly and helpful. It’s all about being open minded and embrace local cultures rather than sticking to your own. Paris will give you adventure, culture in all forms and new experiences.

JOURNEY & HOTEL

As per last time I decide to book George V Four Seasons for 2 nights. Beyond the world class dining, luxurious interiors and elegant design that blends past and present in perfect harmony, the customer service is absolutely impeccable. You can actually find reasonable rates if you book via www.booking.com. I embark on a Eurostar train and within 2 hours and 15 minutes I arrive in the centre of Paris. I enjoy the journey as much as I enjoy visiting Paris. I like the fact that they’ve renovated the train station in Paris and you can now grab a cab in a civilised manner.

The sun is hiding behind the clouds and the temperature is considerably low but I really don’t mind, my plans for the weekend keep my thoughts entertained. As I arrive to the hotel, the lobby staff welcome me with a big smile and my check in seems to be all ready to go awaiting for my arrival. I don’t have to worry about a thing, I know they take care of everything. What’s more, if there are any available they will most certainly upgrade you to a bigger and nicer room. Be sure to get the room facing the Eiffel Tower, the view is outstanding.

The hotel was built in 1928, offering 244 guest rooms. Located just off Champs-Elysées, you are walk distance close to any points of attraction you might be interested in, chic coffee shops, art museums, long romantic walks or shopping. Regardless of your itinerary whilst here, it can’t get any better. If you are the kind of traveller that appreciates ingenious details done well, this is the place to be. As I head to the room I am once again mesmerised by the art collection showcasing from the lobby all the way to and inside the room.

DAY 1

Having arrived quite late in the afternoon I book dinner and decide to go for a walk via Rue de Saint Honoré all the way down to its extension Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré. Laid out as early as 1874, this street certainly has that cuelque chos to it. The parisian vibe, architectural lines and hidden art galleries and coffee shop resemble a scene from Woody Allen’s movies. This area is full of chic art galleries with an array of artwork including digital works and sculptures. It is a 10-12min walk from the hotel, incredibly easy to get to.

DINNER

I return to the room to change for dinner and head to L’Avenue Restaurant located on 41 avenue Montaigne 75008 Paris, 5 minutes walk from Four Seasons.
Forget about the Google reviews, this place is one of the best restaurants I have ever been to in Paris, with its wonderful views of Avenue Montaigne, traditional cosy design, gorgeous & friendly staff and culinary heaven. Despite the returning glamorous crowd and the frequent celebrities visits, the restaurant is actually quite unpretentious welcoming its guests even in a pair of jeans and sneakers.

The food is exquisite with an unexpected but highly enjoyable healthy twist to it. Kick it of with a delicious Natural Carrot Juice followed by a perfectly made hot chocolate or a fine locally roasted cup of coffee. There’s a wide variety of healthy dishes but I finally decide to go for the Foie Gras as a starter and Jumbo Prawns Rice for main. My taste buds are in awe, both the starter and the main are delightful. Once the waitress hands me the desert menu, that bloated feeling miraculously disappears and I can’t help but ordering the to die for Apple Pie to which I add a touch of vanilla ice cream.

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WINE BAR

Post desert I feel energised and so I head to Manko which is a couple of minutes walking distance from L’Avenue, 15 Avenue Montaigne, 75008 Paris, France (http://www.manko-paris.com/en/home-en/). I have heard about its vibrant vibe and array of cocktails before, no one ever mentioned the cabaret though. The lounge bar is tastefully decorated and understatedly chic, perfect venue to kick off the weekend. The cabaret however…well let’s just say it’s best not to bring kids around. Be prepared to enter the 20’s era where all inhibitions are dropped and the extravaganza is brought to levels you have never seen before. Expect the unexpected.

DAY 2

The sun finally arises the 2nd day and I skip breakfast for a couple of hours more underneath the comfortable sheets of the super king bed. As I slowly wake up I decide to go for a long walk along the river, go back for lunch at L’Avenue which once again proves that health and flavour are not mutually exclusive and return on Rue de Saint Honoré to visit the art galleries that were closed the previous evening. The majority feature an attractive modern twist on ancient inspired art and I find myself smiling and inspired with my thoughts flying to my next art collection. If you are looking for something different be sure to visit 59 Rivoli, an artistic universe mixing workshops, concerts and studios. Located on 59 Rue de Rivoli, 75001 Paris, France.

A 3 MICHELIN DINING EXPERIENCE

This evening I opt for the 3 Michelin star restaurant within the hotel, called Le Cinq. Unfortunately they misplace my booking and I have to wait for 25 minutes until I am walked to the table. They are sure making it up for the wait, offering a wonderful plate to serve as an apology composed of Foie Gras with Passion Fruit Marmalade, Jellyfish (Orange Ginger Campari Transparency) and Tangerine Ball. Second welcoming dish at the table is a beautiful presented Mushrooms Consomee.

They synergy between the cultural elegant design in keeping with Paris’s antique character, adorned with Jeff Leatham’s sculptural floral composition and the culinary work of art created by talented Chef Christian Le Squer provides an unique chance to reinvent your taste buds and insures an evening to be remembered.

The 3rd Michelin Star was achieved with the Chef’s signature dish Line-Caught Sea Bass – Caviar/Buttermilk and no wonder! An absolute gourmet heaven!

Sumptuous gourmet dishes in all simplicity yet maintaining its freshness through the influence of today’s fashion world and the new trends that every season brings. As per each Michelin starred restaurant, expect your bill at 250-300 euros per person excluding the bottle of wine.

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ART

On Day 3 I wake up with a clear objective for the day – I NEED to finally see the unique Water Lilies collection by one of a kind French painter Claude Monet. Despite the cold I decide to walk to the museum and enjoy a beautiful parisian day. As I have skipped breakfast again I stop by Mandarin Oriental Hotel located on 251 Rue Saint Honoré, 75001 Paris, France (http://www.mandarinoriental.com/paris/) for a quick brunch on the hotel’s alluring terrace where I enjoy the best dumplings I have had in Paris so far and once finished head on to Place Vendome which is 5 minutes walk away. Words cannot describe how beautiful this area is, loaded with high end accessories and jewellery brands. I return from there and keep walking straight until I reach Jardin des Tuileries, an expansive, 17th-century formal garden dotted with statues, including 18 bronzes by Maillol. I keep right and the gardens lead me to Musée de l’Orangerie where Monet’s masterpieces are exposed.

Embrace yourself, you are ready to enter a true “Sixtine of Impressionism”, in the words of André Masson. You might not be an art lover, but I can assure you that the walls of Monet’s exhibition will leave you speechless. Once I soak up the splendid sights of one hundred linear meters adorned with water lilies, willow branches, trees and cloud reflections, I go downstairs to discover the Jean Walter-Paul Guillaume Collection.

Make sure you purchase the tickets online here prior to your visit so you can avoid the never-ending cue.

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After the well worth it cueing in the cold and rain, there’s nothing better than a deep tissue massage to sum up my trip. It’s worth visiting the spa simply for its finest, most luxurious design and wide range of tea flavours and dry fruit.

Au revoir PARIS!