Monday, 16 April 2018

Travel Beyond the Crypt: Montparnasse Cemetery, Trocadero and the Eiffel Tower

On my second day in Paris, I took a trip to Montparnasse Cemetery, but not before stopping off at Angelina's patisserie on Rue du Bac (an amazing street full of highly rated patisseries) to try their famous hot chocolate and a couple of macarons for a light breakfast. I then picked up another pastry from Des Gateaux et du Pain to eat later on before heading to Montparnasse Cemetery.

Staute at the centre of Montparnasse Cemetery, Paris

Montparnasse Cemetery was built in 1824 after the Holy Innocent's Cemetery (Cimetiere des Innocents) was closed off due to overuse, which later on had its remains exhumed and transported to what became the Paris Catacombs (which I visited the day before, blog post here). Its address is 3 Boulevard Edgar Quinet, 75014 Paris, France.

Charles Baudelaire's cenotaph, Montparnasse Cemetery

Montparnasse Cemetery is the burial place of many intellectuals and artists, including Charles Baudelaire (this is his cenotaph above), Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir (the latter two are buried together).

Montparnasse Cemetery, Paris

There are over 40,000 graves in Montparnasse Cemetery. There are so many beautiful burials, mausoleums and statues but here are just a few.

Montparnasse Cemetery, Paris

Montparnasse Cemetery, Paris

Montparnasse Cemetery, Paris

A regal, chateau-esque tomb, whoever is buried here (or their family) had taste!

Montparnasse Cemetery, Paris

I love the colours of these roses left at this tomb combined with the colours of the stone.

Statue of Psyche Revived By Cupid's Kiss, Montparnasse Cemetery, Paris

A reproduction of Antonio Canova's Psyche Revived by Cupid's Kiss, an extraordinarily beautiful statue. How lovely to have it atop a grave, I wonder who commissioned it there and what significance it held? The bushes and flowers around the grave are lovely as well.

Montparnasse Cemetery, Paris

A very haunting and beautiful sculpture in the cemetery. I absolutely love the mourning and heartbreak conveyed in it.

  Montparnasse Cemetery, Paris

If you look through the ornate iron door, you can see a stained glass window in the tomb. You couldn't see the stained glass window round the other side of the tomb, it was encased inside the tomb itself - I really appreciated the fact the tombs were created with beauty fully in mind, with the inside being just as beautiful as the outside, and no need to have anyone except the family of the deceased appreciate the beauty inside.

After Montparnasse Cemetery, I decided to head to Trocadero, where you can catch a great view of the Eiffel Tower. On the way, I happened across one of the sights on my "to-visit" list, Galerie Lafayette. It is an upmarket department store, which normally wouldn't be anything spectacular to visit but this one in particular was built in 1912 and is a sight to behold, with a beautiful art nouveau era building and domed roof featuring stained glass.

Galerie Lafayette, Boulevard Haussmann

I grabbed a couple of macarons from Pierre Herme in Galerie Lafayette to enjoy at Trocadero.

The Eiffel Tower as seen from Trocadero, Paris

The Eiffel Tower is far prettier illuminated at night rather than during the day.

I had a reservation at Auberge Nicolas Flamel, a restaurant located at one of the houses Nicolas Flamel, the famous alchemist (who was never actually a confirmed alchemist, he was officially a scribe and bookseller), built. It is one of the only houses of  his that is still standing but he technically never lived there; he built it after the death of his wife to accommodate the homeless. It is Paris's oldest restaurant, as the building was built in 1407.

Auberge Nicolas Flamel, Nicolas Flamel's house, Paris

The house/restaurant from the outside. The exposed beam ceiling is still intact but much of the inside has been restored or changed. For the record, the meal was absolutely beautiful and a lovely chance to see inside the house.


Saturday, 14 April 2018

High Priestess Photo Set

A while back I had a photoshoot with a "Gothic high priestess, protector of the woods" feel to it so I thought I'd share the photos.

The photographer was Witchfinder Gothic and all make-up, hair and styling as well as editing was done by myself.

High Priestess photoshoot

Some of the inspiration I used for the shoot includes antique and vintage occult style, like those old urban legend photographs you see that are damaged and you wonder if they're real, featuring fairies, nymphs, etc.

Gothic priestess photoshoot

I got a bit of a Blair Witch feel from this shoot as well, especially post-edit.

Gothic tribal photoshoot

I also drew upon tarot card imagery and mysticism inspiration for the shoot.

Gothic tribal make-up
Close up of accessories and make-up.

Some of the make-up I used includes the Anna Sui Eye Color Palette (available here but discontinued by the brand), MAC Cosmetics Satin Lipstick in Verve (available here) and the gold shade in the Anna Sui Eye Color Palette for the stripe on my lips.

Pretty much the entire outfit is offbrand or thrifted - I'm thinking about making or stocking similar feathery capes at an affordable price in my store but I got this one a while ago from a random Chinese store. The bustier was found in a charity shop, the lace dress worn under it is vintage from the 1920s.

Antler headband: Ciciworks on Taobao (has since been discontinued)
Necklace and earrings: Palnart Poc Titania Necklace and Moon Phases Earrings
Bracelet: Paris Kids

Wednesday, 4 April 2018

Travel Beyond the Crypt: Paris Catacombs, Notre Dame

In February I went to Paris for my birthday. I did a lot of research and visitation for spooky and unusual things to do in Paris so here is day one's adventures. I also really, really like desserts so there's be a few patisserie recommendations along the way as well.

Cathedral in Paris, France

Paris is absolutely teeming with beautiful buildings and churches and cathedrals; as well as the well-known ones such as Notre-Dame, Sainte-Chapelle and Sacre Coeur, there are so many that you encounter on your travels randomly, like this one above. I found this one just whilst I was exploring, and sat down to enjoy an apple and almond croissant from Pain de Sucre, which was amazing, by the way. As well as looking for unusual sightseeing attractions, I also had a list of highly rated patisseries so this was my first stop.

River Seine, Paris and view of Notre-Dame

I was going to visit Sainte-Chapelle, but it was the first Sunday of the month, so a lot of attractions are free (like the Eiffel Tower and Notre-Dame, as well as Sainte-Chapelle), but the line was insane so I figured I'd save it for another day. On my way to another patisserie (Un Dimanche a Paris), I had a lovely view of Notre-Dame.

For my birthday, I took myself to the Paris Catacombs. I purchased a ticket online that allowed me to skip the line, which was more expensive but the feeling was so satisfying to walk past the line, which again, was huge.

Corridors of Paris Catacombs

The Catacombs were absolutely beautiful and macabre - it's hard to believe over 6 million remains are in these catacombs. Obviously a lot of the catacombs are closed to the public so you don't get to see all the remains but these walls of bones are very striking.

Paris Catacombs

Paris Catacombs

I didn't kiss the skull, by the way, it was like that when I got there!

Paris Catacombs

I loved the contrast of half of this skull covered in moss due to the humidity and dampness from some of the tunnels.

Paris Catacombs

Paris Catacombs

Paris Catacombs

Paris Catacombs

Paris Catacombs

I got the audio guide with the ticket I purchased, which was very interesting. I highly recommend a trip to the Catacombs if you visit Paris! There are a few websites to purchase tickets online, and I had to go pick mine up at a tourist centre near the Louvre, so if you'd prefer just to show your ticket on your phone or something, there are other websites that allow you to do that so I'll leave you to find which website you prefer to go through.

 Notre-Dame at night

When I got out of the catacombs it was dark, and Notre-Dame was illuminated beautifully. I stopped off to snap a photo before heading to dinner.

Have you been to Paris before? I'd love to visit again so if you have any recommendations, feel free to let me know in the comments section!

Saturday, 24 March 2018

Look of the Day: Infinite Future Girl (Perfume Mugen Mirai MV inspired)

The other day I watched Perfume's music video for their new song "Mugen Mirai" (無限未来, Infinite Future) and although the song is just okay to me, I did get super inspired by their styling and outfits for the video and decided to channel that into my look for visiting a friend for afternoon tea.

 Everyday alternative make-up

Rather everyday make-up for me; I left it "natural" rather than vamping anything up as Perfume's makeup is always quite natural as well. Notable make-up used is Cezanne CC Lip Balm in 02 Red and Majolica Majorca Honey Pump Gloss Neo in RD441, both of which I purchased in Japan. I would attach links to purchase each product but they're from eBay/Amazon/Yesstyle which usually end up unusable at some point due to expiring or running out of stock so I'll leave you to Google them if you really wanna check them out.

Perfume Mugen Mirai inspired gothic outfit

Harness: My brand, 8th Sin
Blouse: My friend's vintage shop, Charoll Vintage

I'm always thinking of new ways to wear harnesses, since some people think they can only be worn in either very skimpy outfits or, well, with nothing else on! I'm glad the Neo-Victorian/modern harness fashion mash-up turned out really nicely and will definitely use this styling again in the future.

Perfume Mugen Mirai

Here is a shot of the outfits Nocchi, A-chan and Kashiyuka wear in the music video. I was mostly inspired by Kashiyuka's outfit and I don't wear my O Ring Harness very much so it was a great way to style it differently.

Here's the music video below if you're interested in checking out the song.

Monday, 19 March 2018

Travel Beyond the Crypt: Highgate Cemetery, London

Last week I went to Highgate Cemetery with a friend (outfit post here). It is one of the Magnificent Seven cemeteries built in a ring around London in the 1830s (Highgate Cemetery was built in 1839) to ease the city's overcrowded cemeteries after burials in the city had been banned and provide park space in the capital. I visited Brompton Cemetery last week, another Magnificent Seven cemetery, so perhaps eventually I will make my way around all of them.

Highgate Cemetery is on Swain's Lane, Highgate, London N6 6PJ and the closest tube station is Archway tube station on the Northern line. Don't get off at Highgate station as it's actually a much longer walk! You can walk through Waterlow Park if you take the Highgate Hill exit of Archway tube station which is a pleasant walk.

Highgate Cemetery is split into two sides, the East Cemetery and West Cemetery. Highgate Cemetery charges £5 admission fee to enter the East Cemetery, and the West Cemetery is only accessible by guided tour, which runs twice per weekday at 1.45pm and 4pm and needs to be booked, and up to every half an hour on the weekends and can only be purchased on the day. The West Cemetery tour admission fee is £12 and includes the admission fee for the East Cemetery, so really you're only paying £7 extra to view the extremely beautiful and private West Cemetery, which I highly recommend. In fact, I'd probably say the West Cemetery is the main attraction of visiting Highgate Cemetery and would question why one would make the effort to visit Highgate only to visit the East Cemetery (unless you were visiting a grave, of course).

Egyptian Avenue, Highgate Cemetery, London

Egyptian Avenue, pictured above, is probably the most famous and admired area in Highgate Cemetery. In the Victorian era, Egyptology and archaeology were at the height of its popularity so Ancient Egyptian inspired architecture was all the rage. They constructed Egyptian Avenue, and inside it the Circle of Lebanon, and sold the vaults inside to families to be buried in.

Egyptian Avenue was my absolute favourite part of Highgate Cemetery, as it combines my love of the Victorian and Ancient Egyptian periods and architecture.

Highgate Cemetery, London

Highgate Cemetery, London

Looking out from the gates of Egyptian Avenue.

Egyptian Avenue, Highgate Cemetery, London

The vaults inside Egyptian Avenue. It would have been amazing to have been able to purchase the right to be buried in one of these plots. Fun fact: You don't actually buy the plot or buildings to be buried in, you buy the right for you and your family to be buried there.

The Circle of Lebanon, Highgate Cemetery, London

The Circle of Lebanon

Highgate Cemetery, London Highgate Cemetery, London

Sleeping angel on grave, Highgate Cemetery, London

This tomb is home to the only angel lying down/asleep in the entire cemetery, signifying her purity. Here is an interesting blog post going more into detail about it and the tomb.

Highgate Cemetery, London

In the West Cemetery, you cannot see the end of any path in the cemetery, so it really feels like you are in another never-ending world of the dead.

Mausoleum of Julius Beer, Highgate Cemetery, London

Statue of Ada Beer in the Mausoleum of Julius Beer, Highgate Cemetery, London

Another famous monument in Highgate Cemetery is the Mausoleum of Julius Beer, which was built mainly to bury his daughter, Ada and the rest of his family, including himself when the time came. Its creation was inspired by the famous Mausoleum of Halicarnassus, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. There is an absolutely beautiful statue in the mausoleum, which isn't normally open to visitors, but you can see it through the windows of the building. It is of Julius' daughter, Ada, being carried to heaven by an angel, and the depiction of Ada is copied from her death mask, a casting made of a deceased person's face. Her peaceful face is so beautiful, the first time I saw the statue, I actually teared up a little. The grief and love the Beer family must've felt to create this mausoleum and statue is indescribable. A very interesting article about the cemetery and its occult tales can be found here, whose photo of the Mausoleum of Julius Beer I have shared, and the photo of Ada's statue as well as more information about the mausoleum can be found here by fellow Cemetery Explorer.

East Cemetery photos below

Angel statue at Highgate Cemetery, London

Highgate Cemetery, London

Very old, very simple tombstone in the East Cemetery

Highgate Cemetery, London

Highgate Cemetery, London

Highgate Cemetery, London

Highgate Cemetery, London

Karl Marx's grave at Highgate Cemetery, London

Karl Marx and his family is buried in the East Cemetery and has a memorial/monument at the place of his burial. The cemetery was quite quiet but the largest concentration of people were at Karl Marx's grave.

Jewish and Christian grave at Highgate Cemetery, London

I found this grave very beautiful and poignant, as this couple were of different faiths but were buried together and combined them on the tombstone.

Highgate Cemetery, London

A lot of the cemetery is overgrown, but the gardeners do try to keep it maintained, and most of the overgrowth looks quite nice and old, unlike Brompton Cemetery's overgrowth that just looked a bit unkempt and uncared for.

I really enjoyed my visit to Highgate Cemetery and highly recommend it if you love Gothic travel attractions, cemeteries, Victorian architecture or history.