Disgrace, Princess of Monaco

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Nice Panorama

Traveling is both an agony and the ecstasy. Everything is a pain in the arse until you get to your destination, and once you get there – everything is rainbows and unicorns. Last week I set off to explore Cote D’Azur. I desperately needed a break on my own – an escape to a fantasy land where every step has a potential to grow into adventure of a life time. Being a francophile as much as I am there was no need to wreck my brain about which destination to go for.

Early on Wednesday morning, I kissed the moody London goodbye and jumped on a plane to Nice. Only a short sleep later, I woke up to the most beautiful dream I ever seen. Recent weeks in London weren’t the best weeks I had since arriving in UK ten years ago. With the impeding gloom and doom of brexit which was progressively getting worse with each news headline, it was effectively completed with perpetual rain which was affecting me on the emotional level. This trip was so overdue,聽I was ready to run away.

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C么te d’Azur

Mediterranean air instantly brought me back to life. I craved for nothing else than to stretch out on the beach and forget about everything that burdened me over the past six months. Like a new born baby, I baptised myself in the Mediterranean sea, smeared some sun lotion and reborn as a pilgrim on the journey for inner peace and fulfilment. I had six days of freedom and I was going to use them to the max potential.

Like any brit tourist who hasn’t seen the sun for the past 100 years, I was doomed to get coup de soleil within first 3 days of my beach session. I also granted myself a permission to do two things which I rarely allow myself in London 聽– smoke and drink to an excess which came naturally in Nice since smoking and drinking wine even in AM hours was a conventional thing to do. Long walks around the city, the promenade, the train journeys along cote d’Azur 聽were soothing.No wonder this region was favourited by worlds elite and royalty over the decades. It’s picturesque landscapes and vast horizons became synonymous with happiness and good life. It has a certain quality of indulgence, a permission to celebrate each day as a gift, rather than living in struggle hoping for the better times ahead. Living in a moment has never been easier, better yet, it was inescapable.

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Monaco, C么te d’Azur

Of course, I was aware of my budget and I could not deny the fact that in order to live the life of fairy tale which is so beautifully advertised on instagram, you must be wealthy. Wealth is another synonym of cote d’Azur. It’s hard to be oblivious of it because it’s stares you directly in the face where ever you go. Luxurious hotels, cars, yachts, designer shops, restaurants, fancy dames with pampered pooches, villas with private swimming pools – all makes a fantastic parallel universe which is equally attainable and lightyears away for ordinary human beings. Yet I have never been to a place which would motivate me more to pursue the good life, to follow my dreams and to make cardinal life changes. And I wasn’t the only one.

There are always two sides of the coin. I was always susceptible to harsh truth which I still greeted with pragmatism. While I was feeling completely free and independent enjoying this trip alone, I had to endurea certain level of abuse which was totally underserved on my part. Not many people will relate to this because majority of people don’t travel alone, but I felt constantly subjected to a judgement which only a young woman can be subjected to on the occasion. I discovered that people in Cote d’Azur have a rather savage perspective on female travellers, especially if they arrive unaccompanied. In my case, I was constantly seen as a prostitute which was at first infuriating to the point I wanted to hide in my room just so I don’t have to explain another man I don’t wish to have his home address or pretend I didn’t hear how group of guys just called me une pute. Must say, you do get used to it after a while.

While I never had to face this type of judgement while living in London since the concept of the prostitute can only be applied to women in west end night clubs, a guy I met in Nice explained to me that south of France, especially places like Monaco and Cannes, is a magnet for women looking to gnaw the piece of that cosmic wealth accumulated in the region. C’est terrible after dark. Meeting a wealthy man is an aspiration for many women and while the cinderella phenomenon was possible few decades ago before dating apps came into place, now it’s so rare, it’s practically impossible. However it doesn’t stop flocks of young Eastern European women from traveling to Monaco looking for a better life.

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Streets of Monaco, C么te d’Azur

This realisation repealed me from even entertaining the idea of meeting the prince charming with a yacht on this holiday. Even if I could compete with model looking 聽courtesans, I would be seen too unsophisticated in my appearance and attitude, leave alone my hostility towards this exchange economy. What I saw instead, under the veneer of endless luxury and sophistication, lies rotting culture of exploitation and objectification. I stayed walking around Monaco until the dusk and left right before, once I again I was subjected to further abuse.

Cote d’Azur still puts me in a dream like state. If you choose to close your eyes on everything what happens in the privacy of luxury apartments, you will witness the beauty of the landscape, joyful holiday makers, and never-ending celebration of life which is so appealing to people around the world. I came back refreshed and full of ambition which I never had before. I am not the one to demonise the wealth, it’s not the money that’s bad, it’s what you can do with it. Princess, Grace of Monaco is a wonderful story indeed which is still being seen as the greatest cinderella story there ever was, but in the changing world we must look for new stories. Stories where women are able of creating their own fairy tales by creating a dream life for themselves without having to sacrifice their ambition or dignity. Until next time, C么te d’Azur! Merci and 脿 bient么t!

A NOTE:

This post 聽was written day before tragic events in Nice this Thursday so please don’t treat it as insensitive. I was still deeply in my holiday mode when I heard the news. I am experiencing immense sadness and regret for all the lives lost. The fact that was walking down the promenade des Anglais only two days ago was the closest I have ever been to a tragedy. Every one I met on this trip are safe and sound. #prayfortheworld

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Disgrace, Princess of Monaco

The Parisian Sensuality

e8357271cd0cc6adfbea61ce1caea9ffAfter yet another long break,聽I am back with a new post about Paris. So yes, I am obsessed with this city! Paris is the city of my dreams and I take it in with all it’s poverty and flamboyance, arrogance and sensuality, and let’s just throw in a dash sleaziness for the good measure.

Couple of weekends ago my friends and I, yet again, jumped on the train and traveled to the city of love. We had 4 fabulous days ahead of us, full of great events and lots and lots of wine. Although I have been making little Paris trips every few months, I never really experienced Parisian night life. 聽Except may be that one time when I tried to go home with a Belgian equivalent of Spartacus, which happened to be a total fiasco on my part as he decided not to get involved in a聽dysfunctional m茅nage 脿 trois with me and my friend, calling it the act respect to my male friend as opposed to blinding rejection. Anyway, new year – new me. This time I finally got to go out in a chat friendly environment where I felt my french was strong enough to introduce myself at the very least.

7433e3597a6294b9d124a2fa99a18fb8Saturday night was the opening of the club night season at the l’ Opera Garner restaurant La Boumette. Hello glam of my life! The event itself was organised through a french version of the meet up. To this day I still don’t know whether we walked into a mingling event or was it a pure coincidence we were mobbed by four parisian guys within minutes. The event was held sur le ciel du Paris in a fashionable L’Opera area.

Parisian events are slightly different to London. You still have your mixture of rich arabs and their blond bombshells girlfriends, but you also get creme de la creme of the parisian style front runners who look like they have just stepped down from聽the Montblanc ad campaign – perfectly groomed, sleek looking and of course, the look wouldn’t be complete without vintage tortoise shell frames. They all look equally nonchalant and self aware at the same time, which was incredibly pretentious聽and sexy.聽Perhaps parisian social scene hasn’t moved far from 19th century Dandyism which has always put image ahead of morals, the scene inspired聽Baudelaire himself.

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Of course, I didn’t get to meet any of these classy guys that night. As it usually happens, there was another type of men who prefer to overcompensate their absence of creativity聽with pushy enthusiasm and sleazy confidence which cannot be combated with anything except for a change of location. Efficient yet very impractical. These guys don’t wait around bombarding you with subtle hints, they go straight in for the kill, latching onto any possible flare of interest or mere politeness to spark the proverbial flame of passion. It was like a romancing the stone on my part. Despite my best efforts of assuming the role of cock block聽in vain hope I may have a chance to have a great night with the girls, I lost the battle to the latter group.

Despite all that drama, what is refreshing about parisian men, however, is you can have a pretty decent conversation, which can be both a fun banter and an existential debate. I got relatively lucky with one of guys at the party. Ryan was a half french half Arabic blue eyed blond hair mec who had quality flirting skills, who also聽introduced himself as a stripper for Chippendale. It wasn’t hard to believe because he certainly had the body for it. After 10 minutes of conversation and vivid x rated fantasies (taking聽place exclusively in my head!), he finally announced he works in marketing which left me both aroused and furious, but I didn’t mind to be played like this at all. As the night was getting busier, I found myself talking to new men who were all equally interested in me. If it wasn’t the dating event after all, 聽I would definitely say, in Paris, we were more popular than a kebab place on Saturday night. I was on fire! Trailblazing across the room, feeling fabulous. All a gal need to shine is a guys attention.

This may as f6a8641fcb42540d6881c9669306699cwell be a parisian thing. And just as other parisian things I like, I like the straight forwardness and confidence which parisian guys have. British guys may have a great sense of humor (which is a truly great advantage), but when it comes to making a move, it’s usually so subtle, almost like a metaphorical dog whistle perceived only by a certain type of women, if any at all.

Parisian sensuality felt like a breath of fresh air. In a modern world, plagued by extreme feminism, seduction has become closeted聽part of romantic interaction to the point where men decided to skip it all together. Of course, french guys don’t linger too long on platonic chit chat either and they don’t call if french banter after all.聽It wasn’t really my intention to meet anyone that night because I only had 2 days left in Paris and I wanted to spend them wandering the streets, drinking wine and daydreaming about how one day I book my one way ticket to Paris.

 

 

The Parisian Sensuality