Summer Wardrobe

10 Jan 2017

Three Cities to Visit in January

This time of year, holidays, or just the prospect of sunlight, looms far into the foreseeable future and the last time you absorbed some decent vitamin-D seems like a distant memory. Alas, if this is a reality, downtime doesn't have to come from somewhere on the end of a five-hour flight, and there's dozens of beautiful cities on the doorstep to soak up and get you, at least temporarily, out of the daily grind that's wearing us down in the notoriously bleak month that is January. During a month where motivation is short-lived and something outside of diets and resolutions is needed to occupy stress-laden thoughts, being amidst a culture outside of your own doorstep ignites much-needed inspiration and feeds your brain, if you will, to fuel that get-go back into your way of life. For once, it might be refreshing wandering around a capital not sweltering in heat, giving more opportunity to take in the sights and relish in the crowd-free capitals that have so much to offer. As they say, a change is as good as a rest and there is no better way to start a new year. 


PARIS
Once infatuated with this city, Paris truly is incomparable and somewhere you'll want to visit any time of year; renowned for being as beautiful in the rain as it is in the spring and summer (I know this for a fact having experienced the city in both June and October; both equally as enchanting). Perhaps an obvious choice, but no definitive city-break recommendation would be complete without Paris head-lining. Take this time to breathe in the quartiers of the city that are often left unexplored; venture into Montmatre to watch a show inside the Moulin Rouge or gaze at the walls of the Musee D'Orsay and it's former-station interior to get your culture-fix, as indoor to-do's are a plenty in Paris. I'm keen to explore the Latin Quarter of the city, to visit the infamous hangout of Hemmingway and Stein in the 20's; Shakespeare and Company (where better to find a bookshop)The city come nightfall illuminates into a city of lights, and the eiffel tower is at it's most irresistible during the darker hours. Crisp, fresh mornings wandering down the Champs-Elysee's for croissants and coffee is a lot more alluring wrapped in coats and scarves without the hoards of crowds that flock to the city in the sunnier months.


Three-cities-to-visit-in-January-Paris
Three-cities-to-visit-in-January-Paris
Three-cities-to-visit-in-January-Paris

Hotel Particulier Montmatre in Montmatre, 18th Arrondissement, Exteriors alluding to Monet's watercolours with an oasis of greenery outside your window-sill and interiors meeting all my Pinterest-fuelled dreams (red velvet chairs and powder-pink walls at breakfast for starters), captures the essence of Paris. With in-hotel yoga classes and with only five, individually named and conceptually original suites, it's no suprise that this hotel is immensley popular judging on interiors alone. How you can choose between the suites is beyond me.


Three-cities-to-visit-in-January-Paris
Three-cities-to-visit-in-January-Paris
Three-cities-to-visit-in-January-Paris

MARRAKECH
If heat is what you're craving this month, a warm climate can be found when headed toward the African continent in the vibrant city of Marrakech. A city where culture pulses through the winding, pastel-washed streets whatever way you turn, where better to escape January-blues than visiting a capital that exudes life from every corner. The bustling medina stops for no-one, and this time of year is preferable for many to visit the country to avoid the sweltering temperatures that can render you riad-ridden for days, sometimes reaching the late-thirties in summer. On return, I am heading to the cobalt-cove and succulent-haven that is the Majorelle Garden's and attempt to successfully navigate my way through the souks (not sure if this is even possible). Hand-luggage-only is not recommended when visiting Marrakech, as you're more than likely to want to bring half of the souks back with you, with beautifully-embroidered rugs and leather goods that you decidedly must have are at every corner. To bring some colour and vivacity into your life, I could not recommend this beautiful city more.  


Three-cities-to-visit-in-January-Marrakech
Three-cities-to-visit-in-January-Marrakech


The beauty of the city does not stop outside the medina. One of my favourite thing about visiting Morocco was the beautifully-designed riad's that are the hotel-norm for a stay in Marrakech. To release the oppressive heat, riads are built purposefully and with authentically fitting interiors that provide an experience in themselves. Woven into the fabric of the city, an unassuming door found down an unassuming alley withholds some of the cities most luxurious riads, like Riad Orangeraie and El Fenn.






If you want to venture out of the city for a night or two, I've had my eye on the Beldi Country Club, just outside the capital, for years now and the photographs of the hotel are self-explanatory as to why..



Three-cities-to-visit-in-January-Marrakech
Three-cities-to-visit-in-January-Marrakech

LISBON
Portugal is somewhere I find it hard to put my camera down, with every street exposing unique decor (it really is all in the detail here), be it in the tiles, windows or door frames; it's beyond me why more cities are not presented in this way. Lisbon has an atmosphere that's uplifting, off-beat and enchanting; a breath of fresh air during this gloomy month back in the UK. Although the temperatures not much higher, it's twice as sunny as London or Paris; essential for those happiness levels that are currently dwindling and Portugal's famous custard tarts are not to be missed. Spend the day exploring Lisbon's cathedrals and castles, and known as the city of hills, there are a lot of viewpoints to capture the attractions from a distance. In the evening, head to Bairro Alto to experience the bohemian distrist of the city, transforming come nightfall to a lively and exuberant night-scene with bars and restaurants lining the streets. It's one of those cities where you can discard the map and wander, getting as much out of the city as you would with an itinerary. 


Three-cities-to-visit-in-January-Lisbon
Three-cities-to-visit-in-January-Lisbon
Three-cities-to-visit-in-January-Lisbon


Lisbon's oldest district, Alfama, has winding cobblestone streets to get lost in and, in my opinion, the most authentic part of the city and somewhere I'd like to stay on return. To emulate life of a local in Lisbon, staying in Santiago de Alfama would suffice.. white-washed interiors as you'd find in the city with splashes of colour to bring the place to life. Detail is never overlooked in Lisbon. 



Three-cities-to-visit-in-January-Lisbon
Three-cities-to-visit-in-January-Lisbon

Photos taken from Pinterest, my own archive and i-Escape.
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