Tag Archives: travel

Travel changes you

Travel changes you – By Joy Loves Paris. Brush lettering, watercolour

The hardest part of a trip away is coming back home and almost feeling like you had never left.  But I seem to always feel… different.  Everything is as it was when I had left it, yet not.  As I unpack my suitcases I’m reminded of all the experiences that I had just come back from: the different surroundings, the aromas, the sounds, the people.  The memories remind me that I am but a tiny part of this world.  It reminds me that there is so much out there in the world yet for me to discover, that there are so many possibilities.  And it reminds me that the world is a beautiful place, that there are so many kind people out there.  In effect, I return home inspired with a sense of hope, possibility and confidence.

For travel isn’t just learning about the world, but learning about yourself.  And discovering these things about yourself, whatever they may be, is the best part of the journey.


Peonies & Paris: An update

As the year comes to an end, chaos usually ensues.  The past couple of weeks have been quite hectic, but I’m happy to have been able to find time to post at least once more this year.  Other than the usual Christmas events and taking care of a teething toddler, here is what else has been happening in my world:

  • Peonies.  On a whim I picked up a bunch to spoil myself, and from the moment the petals opened up and I smelled its scent, I fell in love.  I pulled out my camera and took a few shots to practice my photography.
  • Overseas travel was not something I was expecting for a while, but there is a wedding in Toronto that my husband wants us to attend, so attend it we shall!  We worked out a route that will get us there via Hong Kong, Paris and New York.  It’s all set, and I’m ecstatic that I will get to see my beloved Paris again!
  • I’ve got my heart set on changing careers, so will be starting a course in the new year. However in the last month or so I’ve been toing and froing about which one to do.  I have finally decided (for real this time!) to do the graphic design diploma then, if I still yearn for it, will pursue further study in fashion.  Et voilà.
  • Another thing that I have been wanting to do for many years is to move and work overseas.  My efforts for making this happen have somewhat waned of late, probably due to the lack of response from applications, as well as anticipation of upcoming plans. In its stead I would now settle for a career that would allow (either through the job or by giving means to) travel regularly (perhaps annually?). I’m not exactly sure how I’ll find such a job/career, but I’m hoping putting it out there in the universe will allow to happen, somehow 🙂
  • I started Blogging 201 to try to tszuj up my blog a little, but alas, my time has been limited and I have yet to complete all the assignments.  It’s going onto the To Do list.

Things to look forward to in the New year:

  • So Frenchy So Chic in The Park.  The lineup looks good, the food amazing, and a family day out surrounded by French culture is always a good day in my books!
  • I signed up my 18 month old daughter to a weekly French class/playgroup. It will be interesting to see how they go about teaching babies (from 6 months!) and toddlers another language. It’ll also be a good refresher for me.
  • Planning the details of The holiday. Side trips, accommodation, transportation etc. I love this stuff.
  • The start of my journey to a new career. It’s scary but who knows where I’ll end up! My next mission is to get my art pieces done to submit for course entry.  I’ve started a few sketches, but I’m hoping to do something I’m totally happy with during my time off this holiday season. Watch this space.

Happy holidays to you all! Joyeux Noël à tous!






La Tour Eiffel: You never forget the first time…

IMGP2109 3

When thinking about going to Paris for the first time, many dream of the beautiful boulevardes, the famous museums, the cafés, and of course, getting your first glimpse of the Eiffel Tower.  It’s probably the most recognisable landmark in the world and is often seen on screen, in print and is replicated in many forms (it’s an essential Paris-lover / Francophile accessory!).


Once you finally arrive, it’s a surreal feeling. Dreaming about being somewhere for so long then finally getting there is an amazing experience.  You first seek out the Eiffel Tower. Virtually anywhere you are in Paris, you just have to look up to see it. The first time you see her will likely be memorable.  It’s then when you know that you have finally made it.


I still remember the very first time I saw her. I was 24 and travelled to Europe for the very first time, solo. I chose a special fare that landed in Paris then a Eurostar trip to London a few hours later.  I took a taxi from Charles de Gaulle to Gare Du Nord and remember seeing her.  She was peeking out through buildings as we entered the outskirts of the city. My heart almost leapt out of my chest, and I felt the biggest smile form on my face. I fell in love that day.

My first trip to Paris in 2005

If you have a memorable story to tell of your “first time”,  please share in the comments below.

À la prochaine!


The scent of Paris

Memories brought back by Chance. ©JoyLovesParis
Memories brought back by Chance. ©JoyLovesParis

On an impromptu two week trip to Paris in May 2012, I gave myself the challenge of packing minimally. It was a difficult task but one that I proudly conquered.  I’m usually one for options (for every mood, weather condition & occasion!) but this time I decided to choose wisely.

Chanel Chance ©JoyLovesParis

Now it may seem like quite a simple thing, and I do tend to overthink things, but the choice of scent is important to me. I have always had a sensitive sense of smell so I try to surround myself with pleasant fragrances.  Scents can help create a certain mood, can tell you a lot about a personality, but more importantly can evoke memories.  I ended up taking Chanel Chance as my chosen perfume for the trip. It was a perfume given to me as a gift, and one that took me time to enjoy.  It was discovering the notes and layers of the scent that gained my appreciation for it.

Months after my trip, I recall wearing Chance again.  The fragrance brought back memories of those two weeks. The two warm humid days in Singapore. The smell of food at Borough markets on the weekend in London. The sunny spring morning walks along the Seine. The tulips in Giverny and the Hall of Mirrors in Versailles. The Chanel sunglasses I had excitedly acquired at the boutique in Printemps. The gorgeous coq au vin I had at a nearby café.  A cool and windy trip on the Bateau Mouche. The time lost inside amongst books and history of Shakespeare and Co. And oh so many more memories.

I have since associated that perfume with Paris. To me, it is the scent of Paris.

Les bouquinistes de la Seine


One of my favourite things to do in Paris, is to wander through the couple of hundred bouquiniste stalls along the Seine. Described by many as an “open-air bookshop”, they combine my love of books, antiques, bookshops and market stalls in such a picturesque way.


At these stalls, you will find a huge selection of French second-hand and vintage books, magazines, posters and souvenirs. You get a sense of nostalgia whilst looking through the vintage posters and the aged book spines from bygone eras.

Bain News Service, Book stalls, Paris
Image source: Wikimedia Commons
Les bouquinistes on the Seine have been around for centuries and form a part of Paris’ literary history, tradition and landscape. What started out as a way of life for wandering merchants in the 17th century to sell used (salvaged) books along the Seine, the practice has evolved over time, through the revolution and the world wars. With such a history, it is no wonder that they gained UNESCO world heritage status in 1991.


Each stall consists of four boxes that are attached to the walls along the Seine. As local rules dictate, the exterior of each box has to be dark green in colour, and at least three of the boxes must contain books. These stalls are well regulated by the Paris city council, and are subject to regular inspections.  The bouquinistes are frequented by the locals (as the majority of material is in French), but the stall holders have had to adapt to the numerous amount of tourists by selling souvenirs – much to the dismay of the Parisians.  An interesting article I came across from The Guardian in 2008 describes the booksellers’ plight of needing to make a profit while trying to keep to the city council’s rules (and local opinion).

Bouquinistes boîtes fermées
Image Source: Wikimedia Commons
You can find these booksellers on the Right Bank from Pont Marie to Quai du Louvre, and on the Left Bank, from Quai de la Tournelle to Quai Voltaire. They are open every day, with the exception of poor weather.

Stars indicate bouquiniste location areas. Map made using Google Maps.
Stars indicate bouquiniste location boundaries. Map made using Google Maps.

On past visits, I’ve bought a few children’s books at these stalls (a copy of Le Petit Prince and a few French Mister Men and Women stories). Each of them were carefully wrapped in cellophane and in pristine condition. On my next visit, I hope to find the perfect vintage print from the Babar series for my daughter’s room (I couldn’t decide on one the last time I was there).

Les bouquinistes are lovely to walk through, make sure you stop to admire (or even buy) the beautiful books!

Me wandering through the bouquiniste stalls ©JoyLovesParis

Useful links:

Paris, Joy t’aime

Arc de Triomphe ©JoyLovesParis
Arc de Triomphe ©JoyLovesParis

The city of light, the city of love. There are so many clichés to describe Paris, and only once one has visited the famed city, does one know why. I have been lucky enough to visit four times, and my love for the city has developed from that of a naïve infatuation to a deep and meaningful respect.

Your first trip is like meeting someone for the first time. With excitement and anticipation you look forward to discovering everything about them. You explore the city with an innocence and your head in the clouds. After recognising the landmarks your head spins with the reality that you have finally made it there.

Some may never return, happy to have had the opportunity to have visited. But for many who do travel back, the experience may be different from the first.  You find new places to explore and return to your favourites. On your rediscovery, you may start to notice things that you might have ignored the initial time.  The dog poo on the sidewalk, the smell of the metro, and the numerous suspicious looking characters trying to sell you souvenirs or sign a petition. Reality kicks in that Paris is really just like any other city.

The last time I arrived at Charles de Gaulle in 2013, I recall seeing the Bienvenue à Paris (Welcome to Paris) sign and smiling to myself (probably looking completely mad!). Despite the numerous hours of travelling to get there, I happen to find a grin on my face on every trip.  Each trip has been such a different experience, with each one revealing something new. I have accepted all of the so-called “negative” aspects as part and parcel of the whole Parisian experience. Like with anything you love, you have to know and take both the good and bad.

The real voyage of discovery…

The real voyage of discovery consists not of seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.

—Marcel Proust

I have been a traveller for a very long time. My parents had emigrated from the Philippines to Australia when I was only a few months old.  When I was 7 years old, we moved to Saudi Arabia and lived there for 6 years. During this time we travelled overseas every year, and if not visiting Manila or Sydney, we would travel elsewhere. We moved back to Sydney when I was 15 and I have called it home ever since. Through these experiences, I have developed a boundless love of travel and discovery, a wanderlust perhaps.

Living within different cultures and exploring new environments has definitely opened my eyes.  Travel can increase awareness, and creates an understanding, if not, respect. I have developed a respect for people of varying backgrounds and beliefs, and an eagerness to learn what I can. I enjoy exploring new places, observing the architecture, and the natural surroundings. Learning a little bit about a country’s history and language when travelling is also part of the travelling experience that I also try to appreciate.

I believe that travel also brings about a discovery of self. It makes us think about how we live, our beliefs and makes us grateful for what we have. Travel opens our minds to the fact that the world is a very large place, and we are just a very small part of it.


Writing 101: Day 7

Hook ’em with a quote

A blank page can be intimidating. Sometimes it’s helpful to use someone else’s words to give you a boost. Today, use a quote or passage from something you’ve read to introduce your post. You’ll see a similar technique at the beginning of a book or chapter in the form of an epigraph.

Here’s the epigraph for Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird:

Lawyers, I suppose, were children once.

— Charles Lamb

You can write about anything for today’s post — the only requirement is that you begin with a blockquote, which you can create in your post editor by clicking the quotation mark icon:

The type of quote you choose is up to you. Maybe the passage is something you’d like to comment on, or is one of your favorite quotes. Or maybe you read a great essay the other day, and one of its lines made you think.

Pull a quote of any length, but ideally between one sentence to a short paragraph. If you can’t find one, go to the quotes section on Goodreads.com, where you’re bound to find a line that speaks to you.

Cheri and the WordPress.com Team

My revelation

I started up this blog two years ago. I chose a name, a theme and even wrote an extensive ‘About’ page. I was excited and feeling very inspired to blog about my upcoming experiences of moving abroad. We had packed up our home and were ready to move on to a new life, but then suddenly, it was no longer happening. I then abandoned the blog, without making a single post, as it had reminded me of the life that was once a possibility.

Two years later, I’ve had a few more life experiences, but am still on the look out for something new. One where I can express the creativity that I have tuned out for so some time now.

A few weeks ago, I sent out a message to the universe, to tell me in some way, what it is I should do next. Sometime later, I had a dream about my blog. I woke up the next day feeling energised and inspired. Ideas buzzed through my head, way too many for me to pursue at once!

What I came up with is to just write about what I’m all about. I have a fondness for Paris and all things French. I love fashion, travel, and food.  I may also share some of my motherhood experiences too!  I will let the blog evolve in its own way, and see where it goes.

With this blog, I hope to be able to express my creativity through writing, photography, styling and more. I’m keen to see where this journey will take me, and my blog.

Monet's Garden, Giverny France ©joylovesparis
Monet’s Garden, Giverny France ©joylovesparis

Blogging 101: Day 1