Name: Flora Bertetti
Current location: Toulon, France (I’m leaving soon though…)
City you were born in or raised: Toulon, France
Job title and company name: PR Account Manager at Ohana Communications and Founder of Mademoiselle World blog
Please tell us more about your website! What is the concept and when did you start it? I started my blog a year ago in June 2016, just after spending a month in Valencia, Spain. I had seen many blogs about how you should leave everything behind and travel the world—and even if I absolutely love reading those stories, at the time I thought: “What if I don’t want to travel 24/7? What if I want to go to university, have a job, a family, a home, too?” With my blog, I want to show people that it’s possible to be based somewhere and still make travel a priority in your life.
Tell us more about the path to creating a travel blog. What was your ah-ha moment? I had been working on my blog for a year before actually launching it. During that time, I taught myself blog design, coding, and social media for businesses… I wrote posts (without publishing them) and I probably changed the design 10 times. I’m still not a pro at all this, but now if I’m having a problem with my blog, 99% of the time I can resolve it myself!
I learned so much that year but I was basically working hard behind the scenes and not showing it to the world. I guess I was scared of publishing content for everyone to see, scared of what people would think. I thought my blog wasn’t perfect enough to go live yet.
But one day I stumbled upon a quote, something along the lines of “a year from now you wish you had started today.” That was the moment. I decided to stop worrying too much about every little detail and I finally launched it. And it’s the best thing I ever did. Tips for anyone who wants to start a blog: don’t waste time and just go for it! It doesn’t have to be perfect, it will never be. Just do your best, you’ll learn along the way.
What are the goals for the future of your blog? How do you see it evolving? I still want it to be mainly about travelling—sharing tips, experiences, and stories—and keeping it a fun and positive place where people can go to for travel inspiration. I would also love to start a new series where I would feature people and projects worth talking about, those that are changing the world and the tourism industry.
But travel isn’t the only thing I’m passionate about. I might start incorporating some wellness, beauty and lifestyle posts here and there, too. More importantly, I want to keep producing content I’m proud of. I know that I’ll change as a person overtime because when you grow and learn new things, that’s what happens! And my blog will naturally grow up with me and follow my journey.
We also see you do travel public relations. Did your love of travel come out of your job in PR or the other way around? I’ve always wanted to work in Marketing or PR. And obviously, I’ve always loved to travel, too. But I used to see them as two separate things—it never occurred to me that it was possible to combine the two… until a year ago. Imagine my face when it clicked! Combining my dream career with one of the things I love most? Hell YES!
What do you like about the PR world and how do you think it’s helped your other endeavors? Not one day is the same and I’m constantly learning something new, whether it is from the incredible people I meet, the projects I work on or the places I travel to. I love it!
Speaking of other endeavors, you also study languages. Where did your love of languages come from? Which ones are you studying and how many do you speak? I speak 3: French (my mother tongue), English, and Spanish (though my Spanish isn’t as good as my French nor English but I’m working on it!) I also started learning Russian this year. Quite the challenge.
My love for languages started when I was 8 or 9: that’s when we start learning English in France. I remember that I instantly fell in love with it—my teacher at the time made it sound like so much fun. I find it fascinating because it’s not just about the language; it’s a new way of thinking, a new culture, and its people, too. It’s like getting into a new world!
What’s your favorite word in your favorite language? One of the reasons why I love languages is because of how words sound. They always seem to sound 10 times better in other languages compared to your mother tongue! My favourite word in English is ‘sweetheart’. I’ve always thought it sounded beautiful.
Tell us about living in the French Riviera (my favorite place in the world). What are the pros and cons? Pros: definitely the sun and warm weather. Don’t get me wrong, it’s cold here in winter, but the French Riviera is known to get at least 310 days of sunshine per year. That says it all! Another pro is being so close to the sea. It takes me no more than 15 minutes to go to the beach.
Cons: I honestly don’t see any cons… Maybe the wind—it gets really windy in winter since we’re really close to the sea. Oh, and also the traffic at 6pm when we go home after a day at the beach—it’s the worst!
What makes the area so unique to live in and to visit? It’s people. The Mediterranean food and culture. The amazing outdoor activities, from kite surfing to paddle boarding. Its landscape, too—it has everything! Stunning beaches, big cities, small towns, islands, mountains, palm trees, fields of lavenders, wineries… They are lots of different places to visit and I believe there’s something for everyone. I’ve been living here for 20 years and there are so many things I have yet to see!
Can you tell us your top 3 favorite local spots in the French Riviera:
- One of my favourite restaurants/bars is Mojito Café in the city of Hyères. You’re sure to meet so many locals there. This city is beautiful as well—it’s really worth a visit if you’re in the area.
- Porquerolles, an island located a few minutes by boat from Hyères. Not many people know about this hidden gem!
- The Calanques, a must-see in Marseille. Think cliffs, turquoise water, and amazing views. A beautiful natural spot.
Since you’re French, we are obligated to ask. Any French good beauty or style secrets you can share with us? #1 Skincare is more important than makeup. Good skin = good makeup! Find products that work best for you and your skin type, establish a routine and stick to it. Looking after your skin is a must. I cleanse and moisturize my face each and every night before bed, even if I’m extremely tired or got home late. No excuses.
Extra skincare tip for travellers: I know it’s tempting to bring new miniature products in your suitcase so you can try them out on holidays, but don’t! Changing your skincare routine drastically can cause negative reactions on your skin! Always bring products you’re familiar with and use daily. If you really want to change, do it one product at a time.
#2 When it comes to makeup, the secret is simplicity. For example, I know that contouring is a trend in other countries but I’ve never seen anyone do that in France. Keeping it natural is the key here. I always stick by a rule: when wearing a red/dark lipstick, I will only put mascara on. If I want to wear eye shadows, then bare lips or maybe a nude lipstick. Just choose one feature, enhance it and keep the rest of your makeup minimal.
If you could pack up and move anywhere else in the world, where would it be and why? The United States because I really want to experience life there for a while. Preferably somewhere hot on the West Coast, because I can handle the rain… but not the snow nor the freezing temperatures!
Out of all of the traveling you’ve done throughout the world, tell us about your favorite city to visit and why: Hands down Bordeaux, France. My parents grew up there before moving to the French Riviera so they used to take my brother and me to Bordeaux every summer for a few weeks. It has stunning architecture—no matter how many times I go there, I’m still in awe of the beauty of this city. It reminds me a little bit of Paris… only better!
Can you give us 3 must-visits spots in Bordeaux?
- The rue Sainte-Catherine (Sainte-Catherine street): it’s the longest pedestrian street in Europe. Perfect to do some shopping.
- The Miroir d’Eau located in Place de la Bourse. It’s a big water mirror that reflects the sky and buildings.
- The Quais des Marques, the perfect place for a nice walk along the Garonne River. They are plenty of shops, restaurants, and cafés.
What cities or countries are on your bucket list and why? The United States, just because it’s always been my dream to go there since I was a little girl.
New Zealand—a road trip there would be so nice. I’d love to see all the gorgeous landscapes this country has to offer.
And last one… I’d say Ushuaia, Argentina. My dad has been to over 40 countries—I guess I got my love for travel from him!—and when I was younger he would tell me stories about his trips around the world, and he’s always said Ushaia was one of his favourite places. Since then, I’ve been dreaming of going there and seeing this place for myself.
Apart from your job and blogging, what can we catch you doing in your spare time? Studying languages! But if I’m not doing that, you’ll probably catch me listening to podcasts (especially in the car), watching TV shows or hang out with friends by the sea.
Talk to us about your interests in meditation. How did you get started with this way of life and how does it help you? I first discovered meditation last summer but only really got into it at the beginning of this year. At first, I was just meditating here and there when I had the time (because I thought I was too busy for it) but I noticed a huge difference in my mood on the days I meditated. So I decided to make it a daily habit, and now I meditate 10 minutes every morning. Sometimes up to 20 if I feel like I need it. It’s a powerful mind hack! It’s a great way to train your mind not to be overwhelmed by your thoughts and emotions. It helps me handle stress and react more positively in negative situations instead of feeling angry or anxious. It also helps so much with my creativity and productivity.
What’s your summer travel itinerary looking like? Where will we see you posting from? In mid-April, I’ll be going to England and stay there for 2 months! I’m so excited as it’s one of my favourite countries and I haven’t been there in 3 years. After that trip, I’m going to take a year off to work and travel before starting my Master’s degree. I have some ideas in mind of where I’ll go but nothing is confirmed yet!