Less than seven days since my last visit, Paris fell victim to terrorism.

Since the evening of Friday the 13th I have been in disbelief, scrolling through photos from my trip in tears, feeling my heart break with every new account of the attacks, and wondering how I could possibly put my emotions into words.

I adore Paris. My father and his partner live in the South of France and the capital has always felt very special to me. When two of my favourite ladies and I found out Garbage were stopping in the city as part of their very small 20 Years Queer tour, we couldn’t hop on the Eurostar fast enough.

Though we only had the weekend in the city, we planned to cover as much ground (and croissants) as we could handle. With this in mind, I decided to drag by lady loves over the beautiful hills of Sacre Coeur and surprised them with an incredible private tour of Montmartre via Trip4Real. Armed with a plethora of cultural, artistic, and drinkable challenges, Baptiste (a charming and enthusiastic local) accompanied us on an adrenaline-pumping set of tasks throughout the city, helping us not only discover Paris in an authentic way but treating us to three compassionate, hilarious, and unique hours in one of the most extraordinary cities in the world.

It was an experience like no other. One that now feels almost agonizing in its brilliance.

With less than seven days between peace and terror, I was able to watch one of my favourite bands play live while fans of Eagles of Death Metal were forced to ‘play dead’ amongst murdered loved ones. I was able to enjoy beautiful meals in Café des Deux Moulins (aka The Amelie Cafe) and the organic Hope Cafe while innocent patrons of La Belle Equipe, Casa Nostra, and numerous Right Bank restaurants were gunned down.

The events that have taken place between these photographs and this blog are inconceivable.

Paris, je t’aime. More than ever.

How to Help Paris

– You can donate money to the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), which directly supports the French Red Cross.
– If you’re in Paris, you can donate blood using this map and/or app and offer shelter using the #PorteOuverte hashtag..
– You can educate yourself. This is not the only terrorist attack that has happened this month, let alone this week. As unlikely as it seems, tragedy offers us an opportunity to band together and change the state of injustice, intolerance, and terror in our world. Start conversations, spread love, and give peace the authority.

A photo posted by Lela London (@lelalondon) on

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I was honoured to call the five-star InterContinental Geneve my home for the duration of my galavants across Geneva. Built in 1963, the 18-storey tower has recently been refurbished by world-renowned interior designer Tony Chi and now acts as the elegant centre of Geneva’s diplomatic district (it is just a 3-minute walk from the United Nations and International Centre of Congress).

Let’s take a look around…

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For over ten years my last memory of Geneva held strong as a hazy visual from the rear window of my father’s rental car as we sped down the Alps. It marked the end of my first-ever skiing holiday and my inevitable return has since become long overdue.

A lifetime between memories, Geneva completely stole my heart.

Over my recent short-but-sweet stay at the InterContinental Geneve (full review coming later this week!), I had one day to take in as much of the city as I could and managed to fill all of my memory cards while I was at it.

Click through to watch me turn on the iconic Jet d’Eau, visit Laurent Ferrier’s incredible atelier, eat an unbelievably delicious lunch, and explore the beautiful streets of Geneva (there’s even a travel vlog kicking around!)…

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As a token of my eternal gratitude to you, beloved reader, I have whittled five amazing days in Amsterdam down to a 48-hour itinerary that will allow you to experience the best of the best without falling into tourist traps.

Before visiting, I had imagined Amsterdam to be little more than a haven for the debaucherous. Friends and acquaintances had spun stories of supreme naughtiness that all ended with the same hopeful tribute – “…it is a beautiful city, though” – and I wanted to get to know it…intimately.

Sorry, that’s the post-Amsterdam in me.

Click through to find out where to stay, what to do, where to eat and much, much more!

A photo posted by Lela London (@lelalondon) on

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the lobby amsterdam
Amidst the omnipresent stroopwafels and cheesy chip cones of the city’s tourists, I was eager to find at least one amazing restaurant in Amsterdam that was still in the thick of it.

First place took the form of Hotel V Nesplein’s trendy backstreet restaurant, The Lobby.

Just a stone’s throw from Dam Square, The Lobby serves impeccable and crowd-pleasing cuisine with heart, soul, and smiles aplenty. In their own words, they stand for pure ‘gezelligheid’- the best that the city has to offer at the bar, at the table, on your plate and in your glass.

With our darling waitress’ recommendation, we kicked things off with salmon tartare (a special), veal tartare (with the most incredible curry mayonnaise & gremolata), and two glasses of Larmandier-Bernier Blanc de Blancs Premier Cru, which took two sips to become my all-time favourite champagne.

Opting for another special as one of our mains (we’re proud supporters of beef bavette and truffle), we also split the vegetarian option – a beautiful plate of pumpkin ravioli with fresh cheese, spinach, and a smoked onion & cepes sauce.

Choosing to keep the dream meal rolling, we then persuaded ourselves to order a two-course dessert; the best cheese board of all time (all from Kef) and a warm chocolate cake with salted caramel & peanut ice cream.

The Lobby is an absolute must.

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the lobby amsterdam
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