July 8, 2015 I recently returned from one of the most wonderful trips I have taken to Europe…Barcelona, the French Riviera (or the Cote D’Azur as it’s also referred to), Provence and Paris – not only were the beautiful beaches, the serene countryside, the flavourful food, of course the rose wine and overall vibe of the south of Spain and France incredible, but the architecture, design and decor was awe-inspiring. In this post, I will share some of my favourite sights that are architectural, design and decor related. I’m sure you’ll be just as inspired as I was! I really didn’t want to come back this time!
The first series of pics are from the first leg of our vacation – beautiful Barcelona. For those of you who are architect buffs, you’ll recognize these buildings (including the famous Sagrada Familia church) as the works of Architect Antoni Gaudi who was a Spanish Catalan architect and the best known practitioner of Catalan Modernism. Gaudí’s works reflect an individualized and distinctive style. Sagrada Familia speaks for itslef with its ornate style. Was really something to see both inside and out! The building that looks like something from the “Flinstones” era is called “La Padrera” and it was just recently restored. The balconies were made out of iron and were designed to depict waves from the sea. These are just a few of Gaudi’s unbelievably unique buildings that are scattered throughout Spain. Spectactular!
While exploring Barcelona, I came across some really different and sleek toilets and tiles. Red was a predominant colour there – check out the really cool red toilet (with matching bidet of course)! Also, love the snake skin one! I would want to put this on display in my living room!
I also discovered an awesome store while still in Barcelona called “Home on Earth” – www.homeonearth.com. They carried all very natural, eco-friendly, “green” products. I was inspired by some of their wall posters describing their mission as well.
Then it was off to Nice in the Cote D’Azur. Everything was very colourful and modern there too. Fell in love with some of the light fixtures in the shape of small, medium and large, brightly coloured balls!
When we arrived to Aix En Provence, our loft apartment was decorated with a string of them…fun!
I also have to show you the bedroom in the flat we rented in the old town in Nice. The owner did a great job incorporating the shower and sinks into the bedroom. It was quite something taking a shower and trying not to get water in the bedroom. There were shower curtains on either side though that helped. Loved the lit up sinks on either side which you had to step up to! The steps themselves had little blue lights in them so that you wouldn’t trip in the middle of the night. Very creative thinking!
While exploring Nice, we stumbled upon the most incredible gardens with the most perfect view of the City! I can’t imagine being the gardener there…it would be a daily job keeping everything so perfectly manicured!
While in Nice, we took a few memorable day trips – on the way to Monaco one day, we discovered the most beautiful medieval village perched like an eagles nest on a narrow rocky peak overlooking the Mediterranean sea called Eze. The ancient fortified village is still crowned with the ruins of its 12th-century fortified castle (torn down in 1706), sitting on a narrow rocky peak. The castle grounds host the well-known Jardin Exotique, and from the top, you’ll have a good view of the coast. Of course, there are now many shops, restaurants and boutique hotels built into the ruins so it could be a very expensive day while exploring these ruins! There are also some pictures from another similar village called St. Paul – very similar without the view of the sea. Couldn’t get enough of these 2 medieval villages!
Next it was off to Aix En Provence where we stayed for a few days and explored the areas around there including nearby Cassis (views of the sea were amazing!) and Gordes, another beautiful perched village with incredible homes, gardens and scenery. We were lucky enough to stay with friends who rent there every year. I was also elated to finally get to see (and sit amongst!) some lavender fields. Next are some pictures of the beautiful property in Gordes as well as some lavender fields in front of the Senanque. I was truly in my glory!
Our loft in Aix en Provence was built in the 1400’s and although it was very modern inside, I enjoyed entering it through the large arched doorway. The lobby was kept in its originality with it’s beamed ceilings and just outside our apartment’s entrance, a little face was sculpted into the corner of the ceiling. Kind of scary but would have loved to know the reasoning for it by the architect.
Sadly, our trip came to an end in Paris where we also explored the city somewhat although it wasn’t our first trip there so we didn’t take as many pictures this time. I found the most beautiful “living wall” just by the Eiffel tower. The bridge is my favourite one in Paris – it’s called the Pont Alexandre III and I think it’s the most beautiful of all of the bridges. It is immediately recognized for its decorations of lampposts, cherubs and nymphs in gilt gold. I can never get enough of Notre Dame Cathedral either so we had to visit that again and I don’t need to explain what my final picture is of. Truly a spectacular vacation and one that I will have wonderful memories of forever!