Giveaway from the new France Unframed print shop

French riviera, seaside, paris photography, etsy, fine art photography,

French riviera, seaside, paris photography, etsy, fine art photography,

French riviera, seaside, paris photography, etsy, fine art photography, eiffel tower carrousel

French riviera, seaside, paris photography, etsy, fine art photography, paris buildings, café

French riviera, seaside, paris photography, etsy, fine art photography, seine, left bank, right bank,

Paris dreams collection

French riviera, seaside, paris photography, etsy, fine art photography, paris street photography,

Paris dreams collection

French riviera, seaside, paris photography, etsy, fine art photography, paris rooftops

Paris dreams collection

It’s been forever since I posted anything here, and I’ve been somewhat quiet all round on social media of late. Instead, I’ve been pursuing personal projects. Whilst they involve photography, they are things that have a more personal nature to them (for me), and they don’t have a place in my public space at this time. Perhaps that will change, perhaps it won’t, but in any case, it is something that has been taking my focus away from Paris, and fueling my passion for a world that I hope will someday be a better place.

As the months and the coming years approach, I will be pursuing this personal passion with a vengence, but I also decided to put that same energy back into Paris at a time when this beautiful place that is my home, needs people to love it and visit more than ever.

There will be lots to come so stay tuned. For today, I’m going to give three people a France Unframed print for their home. Finally after two plus years on Facebook, I added some images to Etsy, where a percentage of sales will go to help those less fortunate than myself. Take a look at the collection on Etsy and leave me a comment here to tell me your favourite image. On Friday Dec 4th, three people will be chosen to receive a 6 x 8 inch print from the Etsy collection in their holiday stocking.

And … it won’t stop there, there are many more random surprises in store.  :)

Posted in Giveaway, Paris Tagged |

Christmas in Paris – activities for the family

School is officially out in France for the next two weeks throwing a monkey wrench into the plans of parents who’ve not yet organised themselves for all things Christmas (like me)! As far as holidays go, the December break is one of the best to remain in Paris for – the city is bright with Christmas spirit and numerous activities, some of which are only possible during the vacances de Noël.

In between running last minute errands and trying to shop without youngsters on my tail, we’ll be zipping back and forth across Paris making the most of the magic that the City of Light turns on to close out the year.  Here are a few favourite things to add to your list:

Carrousel rides –


Christmas in Paris, Carrousel de Paris, Paris with kids

There’s something magical about caroussels that makes you feel wonderful whether you’re five, fifty or beyond  and for the next two weeks everyone can be a kid at heart, basking in the magic of old world style carrousels. From December 20th though until January 4th many of the carrousels around Paris are free to ride between the hours of 10am and 7pm. Our favourites are at the Hotel De Ville, Place de la Concorde and Saint Sulpice.  Evous has a complete listing of where you can fill your heart with Paris carrousel magic.,1116626.html

 Christmas in Paris, Carrousel de Paris, Paris with kids

Vaux le Vicomte – The not talked about enough Vaux le Vicomte is one of the most beautiful chateaux within reach of Paris – as you might have guessed from my recent images and video :). Enchanting for children and adults alike it is a treasure trove of Christmas delights. With six rooms decked out in festive spirit, the chateau doors will open for the two weeks showcasing their 15000 holiday ornaments in fairy tale settings.  After wandering through the rooms warmed with open fires, take your place to watch this year’s holiday show, Blanche Neige. Father Christmas will even be present with treats for young children.


Christmas in Paris, Carrousel de Paris, Paris with kids

Hotel Plaza Athenee – Indulge the little people in a fabulous afternoon of goûter and ice skating that they”ll always remember. Head to Ave Montaigne’s Palace de Haute Couture for a goûter by Michalak and then hit the ice. Normally reserved for hotel guests, children ten and under who enjoy an afternoon tea in La Galerie may take to the ice afterwards. Located in the garden courtyard, the skating rink is a winter feature not to be missed.


Christmas in Paris, Carrousel de Paris, Paris with kids

Climb the Eiffel Tower – Whilst it looks daunting when you stand underneath, the reality is that a walk to the top is much easier than it looks and beats standing in a long line waiting for the lift. Count the steps as you go and in no time you’ll have reached the first  floor. Continue the climb to the second floor and keep your eye out for the historical points along the way – spots where you’ll find figures working as they would have in the early days of the Tower. If you want to add some extra fun to your visit, book a private tour with Visites-Spectacles and be accompanied along the way by an actor playing an entertaining character from a bygone time. From past experience, if you go the morning of January 1st, the lines are quiet – perhaps something to do with a lot of recovery from end of year celebrations the night before.


Christmas in Paris, Carrousel de Paris, Paris with kids

THATLou : how do you make your way around one of the world’s largest art collections, not lose your children (or your patience) and keep them interested along the way? As a parent it will seem like the world is against you on this one however one clever art aficionado has devised a way to not only save the day but to fill it with a dose of fun and inject art along the way. Daisy Le Plume’s treasure hunt challenge through the Louvre will have you racing against each other to not only beat the clock but to also accrue points and declare yourselves victors. Choose from various hunts depending on what your level of art desire or gaul is.  When you’re done with the Louvre, there’s always the option of a THATRue or THAT d’Or – check with Daisy for details.


Christmas in Paris, Carrousel de Paris, Paris with kids

Ride the wheel:  Whilst expensive for three spins, you’ll get a fabulous view of all sides of the city on the Roue de Paris. Go earlier in the day and avoid the long lines. Be warned, on the busy nights when the lines are long, anticipate a shorter spin.

 Atelier des Sens (cooking class):  The city is abundant with cooking classes for adults, however finding one for children requires a little more searching. Whilst the Ritz Escoffier remains closed for renovations, a mere hop skip and jump away children can dip their finger tips in madeleine mix at Atelier des Sens.  Tucked discretley at the back of the boutique L’Effet Maison on Rue Vignon, cooking classes are run by Atelier’s bilingual team. Parents can leave children and head to the nearby Printemps for a spot a shopping while the little ones practice their Bonjour and Merci.

Christmas in Paris, Carrousel de Paris, Paris with kids

Musee des Arts Forains:  Paris is fortunate that over the years Monsieur Jean Paul Favand has collected exquisite pieces from carrousels, fair grounds and other funfair objects – preserving them as part of his private collection.  Normally by appointment only, the museum opens to the public to enjoy at this time of the year. Stepping inside, make your way through the different theatres transporting you to a vaudeville funfair that takes place when the doors swing back for the Festival du Merveilleux 2014. Open from Dec 26 – January 4th this is one place not to be missed.

And of course, we’ll be hoping for snow so that we can take to the *slopes* out here in the Yvelines….that goes without saying. What about you, what fun things have you done, will you be doing over the holidays, whether in Paris or elsewhere around the world?

Posted in Paris Tagged , , |

Château Vaux le Vicomte – Paris

Paris , French chateau, Vaux le Vicomte

You know that old saying, the one about how times flies when you’re having fun? Well, that’s what has been going on around here… time has been flying by. So much has zipped by in the past few months and the upcoming ones are looking like they’re speeding down a motorway. Life is good, actually, life is great and that keeps me away from catching up online as much as I’d like these days. I seem to find less time to be active, emails are behind, and as for editing and sharing photos…. well, one project I shot two years ago is just undergoing a few final nips and tucks, and here I am only just now getting around to finishing my first lot of images taken at EmbraceParis back in July.

For weeks I’ve had a little voice leaning over my shoulder reminding me of these images. I kept putting them aside, cracking on to other not so picturesque tasks in those extra moments I could grab –  such as packing up house! Yes, we’re in the middle of everything being boxed up and put into storage…thirteen and a half years of French collecting is going through a major sort, toss, and into temporary cartons. I’m happy to say, it isn’t because we’re leaving France! Nothing as crazy as that!  Just a few weeks of a little facelift on the homefront and some French ‘glamping’ whilst walls and floors get their spark back. Let’s see how sparky I feel a few days into this adventure! If all goes belly up, I might just have to call on EmbraceParis friends and make my way to Le Meurice or the Plaza Athénée who made Embrace such a wonderful event. Either that, or perhaps pass the time at the magnificent Château Vaux le Vicomte – one of the magic destinations that was part of the three days of exploring some of the best of Paris.

Lesser known than some of the other châteaux near to Paris, Vaux le Vicomte should be one that everyone adds to their travel itinerary. Privately owned by the de Vogüé family and now overseen by brothers Alexandre et Jean-Charles de Vogüé, the seventeenth century castle built for Nicolas Fouquet – Director of Finances for Louis XIV, has a place in history as being the venue where one of the most magnificent parties in French history was held.  In 1661, Fouquet threw a party to inaugerate his new home, but so extravagant an event it was, by the following morning he had been arrested and was imprisoned for life as the King was upset that Fouquet might have been helping himself to treasury in order to afford such a magnificent residence. Fouquet remained behind bars until his death in 1680. Despite the jealousy, Louis XIV was clearly impressed by what Fouquet had created for he went on to request the construction of the Chateau de Versailles using the same three men Fouquet had brought together for Vaux le Vicomte, the architect Louis Le Vau, the painter Charles Le Brun, and the garden designer André le Nôtre.

Paris , French chateau, Vaux le Vicomte

Paris , French chateau, Vaux le Vicomte

Paris, French chateau, Vaux le VicomtechateauVauxleVicomteCarinaOkula7683

Paris , French chateau, Vaux le VicomteParis , French chateau, Vaux le VicomteParis , French chateau, Vaux le VicomteParis , French chateau, Vaux le VicomteParis , French chateau, Vaux le VicomteParis , French chateau, Vaux le VicomteParis , French chateau, Vaux le VicomteParis , French chateau, Vaux le Vicomte

Paris , French chateau, Vaux le Vicomte

Can you spy La Comtesse de Vogüé waiting for the EmbraceParis ladies to return to the château?

Paris , French chateau, Vaux le Vicomte


More intimate, and way less crowded than Versailles, there is something so special that lives on at Vaux – just watch and listen to the reaction in the VLOG link below as eyes fall on the château for the very first time! Throughout spring and summer months, the château and gardens light up every Saturday evening with over two thousand candles, replicating how life would have been in the days before electricity, smart phones and the world wide web. Visitors are able to stroll through Le Notre’s layout whilst gentle music plays and candles burn down. A champagne terrace overlooking the gardens is a place to sit and soak in a sophisticated evening.

Now, as the autumn kicks in and winter approaches, Vaux will become a winter wonderland, decorated with holiday magique that will wipe the Scrooge out of best of them. At the end of November, Vaux will open the doors to a palace illuminated with thousands of decorations and lights for Christmas. Festive themed apartments, gardens lined with Christmas trees, and suprises under a tree for children, I’ll be surely making a return visit to soak up the ambiance. If that has given you a taste to want to see more about Vaux Le Vicomte take a look here:

Mary Kay of Out and About in Paris chats to Alexandre du Vogüé about the château

Claudia talks about Vaux le Vicomte over on The Paris Apartment

Take a video tour of the château and listen to Alexandre talk about his passion on Andrea’s VLOG

Do tell, have you been to Vaux le Vicomte?


Posted in Paris Tagged , , , , |

#EmbraceParis is almost here

EmbraceParis, Sunset in Paris, Pont Alexandre III

You may remember late last year a post about a social media gathering coming up in Paris in 2014. Well the months have flown by and in less than two weeks #EmbraceParis will take place. Here is a snippet of what is about to happen and how you can follow along . We’ll be sharing glimpses along the way, doing our part to build a supportive world for others in social media,  highlighting some amazing places and businesses from in and around Paris.

Empower * Brainstorm * Collaborate * Engage * Social Media

Bringing creative international women together for an experience full of positive energy, there will be much collaborating, sharing and brainstorming on all things related to the wonderful and crazy world of social media. EMBRACE is about empowering each other through positive peer support. Whilst initially Embrace was to be hosted by the city’s most beautiful hotel (the Hotel Plaza Athénée), a small change has taken place and events have now been moved to their sister hotel, the exquisite Le Meurice, another of the charming properties in the Dorchester collection.
Generating a Paris inspired frisson throughout social media platforms such as : Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Google+, along with individual websites, you can follow the hashtag #EmbraceParis to see what the ladies are up to, and where they’ll be.

Of course, none of it would be possible if it weren’t for the incredible support of some truly amazing companies. You can click on over and follow them online here:

The Dorchester Group:

Le Meurice

Hotel Plaza Athénée

The House of Moynat

Marie-France Pochna of Paris Unlimited

Chateau Vaux le Vicomte:

The Dailey Method Paris:


Neal Brothers

and of course the fabulous ladies who will be Embracing Paris – you can read more about them on Norma’s post ‘Calling all social media ladies’

Norma Thiessen – co-host

Lisa Ferguson – Strengths Trainer

Lynne Knowlton

Jennifer Brouwer

Mary Kay Bosshart

Ann Garvin

Brooke Crowle

Andrea Claire

Claudia Strasser


And of course, I’ll be posting in my usual places too, on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram .  Be sure to jump in and come to Paris with us across social media – we’d love to hear from you.


Posted in Paris Tagged , |

Nice la belle

Nice, Cote d'Azur, France, Nice Tourism, Cara Magazine, Aer Lingus

Back in May I zipped off to Nice for a few days to shoot an editorial for Cara, the Aer Lingus inflight magazine.  Leaving behind the grisaille that lingered low over northern France, the approach was all blue, blue, blue as far as one could see. Easy to see what the area is known as the Côte d’Azur.

I’ll write another post in the next couple of weeks with more images, some favourite places the lovely Caterina from Nice Tourisme put me onto and detailing my charming stay at the Hotel Rivoli, a gorgeous little boutique hotel within arms reach of the beach.

In the meantime you can read the article in Cara here and get Lucy White‘s insight in how to make the most of a girl’s weekend in Nice….be sure to pack your jumpsuits! :) You can also follow along as I post random images from beautiful Nice on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.





Posted in Textures, tastes & tones of France

All you need is Paris….. springtime romance in the City of Love

This time last year, we were about to be covered in inches of snow. But something crazy is in the air. The birds have returned early from their migration south, the blossoms are popping weeks ahead of schedule and ….love is well and truly in the air! The beautiful March days are making the city sparkle!

Perfect timing for CARA , the Aer Lingus inflight magazine, who asked me to shoot images to accompany an article in their February/March issue . Subject…. a romantic springtime getaway to Paris.

Paris, romance, spring, Paris in spring, paris prints

Paris, romance, spring, Paris in spring, paris prints

Paris, romance, spring, Paris in spring, paris prints

Paris, romance, spring, Paris in spring, paris prints

If you’re flying with Aer Lingus before the end of March, pull a copy out of the seat pocket and take a look. If not, you can read the full article online, and catch up on previous copies of CARA on Issuu:




Posted in Paris Tagged , , , |

Paris photo giveaway no.10

Paris photo giveaway, Paris cafe chairs

It’s been quite some time since I’ve posted around here, let alone had a photo giveaway. Here’s to a great year ahead and kickstarting my late start into 2014 with a new image, this time one of quintessential Parisian bistrot chairs.

I captured this shot back in the autumn when leaves were falling to the ground in abundance across Paris. I loved the contrast to normality –  for a change leaves on the ground were green, not brown, yet the seats set the tone for autumn. They matched perfectly.

As in previous giveaways, leave a comment below before March 14th and I’ll email everyone a copy for personal, non-commercial use. Print it, use it as a screen saver,  frame a copy for a loved one and feel free to tell your friends.

And stay tuned – there will be more images throughout the year to add to your collection of Paris prints. To be certain not to miss them, sign up for email notifications by subscribing to the mailing list.


Posted in Giveaway, Paris Tagged , , , , |

Ready, set… let’s Embrace Paris

Empower * Brainstorm * Collaborate * Engage * Social Media

For the past few months, the cyber space waves between Paris and Toronto have been quietly yet actively working into the early hours of the morning, bouncing back and forth at each other over the Atlantic. During that time, as pieces came together, much excitement went to and fro and, as promised, today there is news to tell.

As a result of the unprecedented generosity of the opulent  Hôtel Plaza Athénée and the Dorchester Collection, Norma Thiessen of My Beautiful Paris, and I are thrilled to be able to tell you about ‘Embrace – Paris 2014’ and how you could be a part of it.

 Embrace Paris, Social media , Plaza Athénée Hotel

Bringing creative international women together for an experience full of positive energy, there will be much collaborating, sharing and brainstorming on all things related to the wonderful and crazy world of social media. EMBRACE is about empowering each other through positive peer support and will be hosted by the city’s most beautiful hotel in July 2014.

We’ll be generating a Paris inspired frisson throughout social media platforms such as : Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Google+, along with our individual websites.

Embrace Paris, social media in Paris, Hotel Plaza Athénée

Embrace Paris, Social media in Paris, Plaza Athénée Hotel

Taking place over three days and nights in ultimate Parisian luxury, this is a once in a lifetime experience, and there are two spots waiting to be filled. Would you love to be a part of an event that includes:

  • Your own luxurious room for three nights at the world-renowned Hôtel Plaza Athénée;
  • Creative breakfast, lunch and dinner sessions;
  • Discovering and aiming your strengths with Gallup trained coach Lisa Ferguson;
  • A VIP visit of Marie-Antoinette’s private apartments in Versailles;
  • An early morning stretch session with The Dailey Method Paris in the elegant Hotel Plaza Athénée;
  • A sweet indulgence  with the Hôtel Plaza Athénée pastry chef;
  • An adrenaline rush while driving the streets of Paris in your own electric Twiztour  car;
  • Dreamy and tasty welcome gifts from our many fabulous sponsors such as Moynat, and Neal Brothers, only to name a few;
  • … and so, so much more.

Embrace Paris, Social media , Plaza Athénée HotelEmbrace Paris, Social media in Paris, Plaza Athénée Hotel

To make the most of the event, it’s important you have an online profile that includes some of the following:

  • a website that has been active for at least six months;
  • a Twitter account;
  • a Facebook page, whether personal or public;
  • an Instagram account.
  • a Google + or Pinterest page.

Embrace Paris, Social media in Paris, Plaza Athénée Hotel

If you’re interested in being a part of this remarkable occasion, we’d love to hear from you. Send us an email to  and let us know how you would contribute to, and benefit from, this special experience. Remember to include a link to your website. Emails need to be received prior to January 15, 2014 and soon after you could be joining us in Paris.

Embrace Paris, social media in Paris, Plaza Athénée Hotel

The Hôtel Plaza Athénée, Paris

Dates: July 20 – 23, 2014

Cost per person for each of the two places (includes hotel/visits/meals) : 350 Euros*. Unfortunately, whilst we’d like to open this up to unlimited numbers, for 2014 at least, no additional places will be available.

Transportation to and from Paris is not included in the price.*

Additional sponsors include:

Moynat Paris

Paris Unlimited

Twiz Tour

The Dailey Method

Neal Brothers Food


For more images of the Plaza Athénée, take a look at “Sweet until the end“.

Posted in Paris, Parisian ambiance Tagged , , , |

Paris photo giveaway no.9

I apologise. B-I-G time.  I am so,  so late with the monthly giveaway no.9!! I was tempted to include no.10 together in this post as it’s already decided and ready to go, but on reflection, the next one needs to be on it’s own. And these two have a task at hand, to finish the empty frames for this set.

Paris photo, paris print, Paris image, paris black and white Paris photo, paris print, Paris image, paris black and white Paris photo, paris print, Paris image, paris black and white

Given my tardiness, and in order to play catch-up, I’m only going to leave this one open for comments for one week. By the end of November, the next one will be up…kinda like early Christmas presents landing ahead of the 25th December! :)

When I first started the monthly image, I was asked by a truly lovely and talented photographer if I wasn’t concerned about losing the rights on images by giving some away. The thought did cross my mind as occassionally some of my work, and often that of many other photographers and artists makes its way through cyber space, linking and crediting others, never a mention of the person who took the image, or created the art, or designed the poster etc.

Putting anything on line these days that someone can mimic, copy, use without asking, is a risk. Yet it shouldn’t be. The pleasure of sharing should come without concerns that there will be misappropriation of work, no matter what area or field it is in. We need to share the message, those of us who put things online, along with those of us who appreciate the beautiful things we see, to put out an energy, and set examples, that encourage correct behaviour. The same morals that stop people from walking into a shop,  leaving with merchandise and not paying, need to apply to what we see online.  In building relationships of trust, respect, and generosity, perhaps those who currently don’t want to understand that creatives need to pay bills too, will come to understand to ask, and will give value to a persons work and time. Perhaps I’m naive? But I have to hope that goodness feeds goodness.

And, at the end of the day, I have so, so, so many images. Tens of thousands of Gigabytes worth that go back to 2001.  Some of them I have destined for other things brewing deep in my mind and they may, or may never, see the light of day.  Many others will be destined for the trash can on my desktop as not every shot is worth keeping.

For me, the images I post are part of  an ongoing adventure to explore a new technique, try harder to please my own eye, fill my heart with  happiness by finding that one shot in eight hours that will leave me breathless. And thus, I share because they give me that happiness, because they are part of a journey with a couple of camera straps strung over my shoulders. They are an evolving discovery of a place I’m truly immersed in, and through thick and thin, I proudly call home.

I also understand that not everyone has the extra dollars to fill a wall with prints, or a chance to come to Paris and take images for themselves. The monthly images are my way of sending Paris to others. Everyone, each one of you who shares, comments and supports my posts, keep me encouraged. The images are my way of giving something back. A goodness feeding goodness.

As was the case with the previous monthly photos, they’re yours to print, frame, give to a loved one. They are for personal use. Commercial use, profit, and resale is not part of the giveaway. That’s it. No other strings attached. :)

Now that you’ve made it through my lengthy ramble, feel free to leave comments so that I have your email address to send through the JPEG file next week, and in the meantime, here are some other places to visit around the web:

* Alisa Morov, creator of the oh-so amazing Choco Diablo cookies (if you ever want to bribe me -> Choco Diablos are the ticket) launched her updated Sweet Pea Paris website. Author of three books with Marabout, she knows her meringues!

* Felicia’s site. She expresses herself with words in a way I can only dream. This post has been making waves and gives serious food for thought.

* Sivan Askayo takes beautiful images of international destinations from Tel Aviv, to New York, to Amsterdam and beyond. Take a look at her series Intimacy Under the Wires.

* In South Australia lives Wendy Philips, a former school teacher and now a passionate photographer. One of Wendy’s current projects is a children’s book, illustrated with her own images. I can’t wait to see her dream come true and be able to order a copy of the book.






Posted in Paris Tagged , , |

A once in a lifetime Paris experience….

In partnership with The Hotel Plaza Athénée in Paris, My Beautiful Paris founder Norma Thiessen and Paris based photographer Carina Okula are proud to announce EMBRACE – Paris 2014.

EMBRACE will bring women together to collaborate, share and engage in all things related to the wonderful and crazy world of social media.

More news coming November 22nd. Stay Tuned!

Embrace, Paris, Social media retreat in Paris

Posted in Uncategorized