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Visiting Granville and Christian Dior’s childhood home, which opened as the Musée Christian Dior in 1997, has been on my epic weekend getaway TO DO since I started working for Dior early last year. Most of my colleagues have been to the dreamy pink house and man, I was a bit jealous! I knew I’d have get some travel-hungry pals to join me on the little journey to the Manche to visit it. After discussing it last summer repetedly, and then all winter and then spring being like, “oh yeah, we should go to Granville…”, we enfin locked in and I was so completely and ridiculously excited. Anne, Ylenia, Lauren and I hit the road one Saturday morning in my pretty old but powerful used car and headed northwest towards the sea. The cherry on top was that the family with whom I lived when I was 16 for a year came over from Caen to discover Villa Rhumbs with us.

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Despite the fact that we’ve had a sunny and hot summer – one that actually exists this year – we did have a few cloud and rain scares that particular weekend according to la météo… OF ALL OF THE WEEKENDS, ugh. Lucky enough, the clouds cleared the sky as we got closer and closer to Granville, and gosh we had the best of luck that day. Pure sunshine! As we got even closer we rolled the windows down as we passed through little towns adorned with hydrangeas, we could actually smell the seaside air. Granville itself is a little port town, with one main street and a big-ass cliffside that wraps upward along the coast with a few cute streets filled with cafés and shops (check out rue des Juifs if you’re visiting). In the town center, we popped in for a quick and delicious lunch at Picorette before heading up the hill to CD’s childhood pad.

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That house though… It’s painted such a dreamy peachy pink, and surrounded by the greenest freshly cut grass and flower-filled gardens in every direction. Fun fact: Christian Dior actually aspired to be an architect when he was younger, but now that I’ve seen these gardens I am totally not surprised by the fact that when he ended up becoming a couturier his love for flowers is so obvious (the names and shapes of dresses or looks, perfumes… The love he had for flowers certainly made of them a key part of Dior’s world. Oh, and here’s a little photo souvenir of petit CD.

The museum fills up the whole house, there aren’t like the original rooms or anything. The current exhibition is The New Look Revolution, a focus on Dior’s iconic silhouette, notably the iconic Bar jacket and the Corolle skirt. This feminine style with a cinched waist and full bust set the pace of fashion in post-war 1947. Amongst the photographs, video clips and magazine clippings on the three floors of this precious pink house, were the actual pieces: those by Monsieur Dior himself as well as silhouettes inspired by his New Look by the House’s current and previous designers. Quite a small exhibition, but filled with momentos of Monsieur Dior’s first collection where the New Look was unveiled, the impact his vision had on fashion at the time, and how deeply engraved this silhouette is in the House’s DNA, even today.

Behind the house is a little outdoor Salon de Thé with pink metal chairs where you can enjoy a high teadiorisé (note: the salon de thé is only open in the summer months). Bref, we spent the afternoon in this lovely place, frolicking on the grass (technically we weren’t supposed to, but ended up doing cartwheels, oops), and taking one million pictures of flowers and all things pink. I think I could go on and on about how lovely this little visit was, but I’ll leave that here. Oh, and yes that’s kale outside in front of the exhibition poster.

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Our recent escapade to Brittany on the Western French seaside was as relaxing as ever. This is a very special place. Something about it is just far too charming. On the seaside in Brittany. You close your eyes and you hear the sound of the waves when the windows are open. There’s always a fresh breeze. The house was built by my boyfriend’s paternal grandfather, on land that belonged to his lover, just on the seaside. The house itself is a subject of reoccurring family feud, haha, but something about that makes it that much more special.

This house was always meant for vacation. A place to relax and be with the [big] family. There’s a whopping one and only one enamel bathtub to go along with the house that sleeps 13 or so. In the summer everyone rinses off after being in the ocean in the outdoor showers in the front yard… so bohemian they are indeed. There’s no carpet, no empty walls, and no shelf without an old photo framed or vintage trinket or some kind. There is one long table in the living and dining area, for enormous feasts with cousins, their families, and friends. Long story short, this place is filled with so much love, and has been since the 60s.

I’m not sure why, but a place with so much history and family fabulousness makes me think more and more about the future. Ironic? How we’ll come here often, hang out with the other cousins and their families as per usual, perhaps come here with our own family someday. It’s a place that’s engraved pretty damn deep into Louis’s DNA, and I must say, I don’t think I’ve been somewhere quite as peaceful. Perhaps it’s because my family in the States doesn’t have this sort of place that my childhood self knew, or that existed before the existence of my siblings and I on this crazy earth. It’s that familiar feeling of being in this kind of space that I’m not quite used to, but I sure do like it.

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So, Brussels. A city I’ve always had my eyes on. I had some weird interest in Belgium as a teenager. Maybe something about smaller cities or Flemmish men, uh hem…. But really. Even after meeting Louis we had one shared interest if we had to leave Paris: go to Brussels. Why, you ask? I don’t really know. Good beer, a smaller more spread out, less pretentious city. I find that it has a more simple charm I can’t quite put my finger on. Maybe it’s the pastel couple story buildings, the residential pockets, or the good beer everywhere. OH, and the fact that there is flea market every single day. Looking at these pictures I’m already so anxious to go back and discover more about the city and more about Belgian beer culture.

Anne and I made it out there for one weekend, I just ended up liking it even more. A short train ride from Paris, we went from city center to city center, and were immediately ready for fries and beer. Thanks to many recommendations from various travel bugs, we kicked off our 2 day trip with soft boiled eggs and tea at a fairytale café situated in the Ixelles neighborhood. Roaming the streets seemed so calm compared to Paris, with the hills and wider sidewalks with long stretches of beautiful doors before pockets of cute shops or cafés. The flea market and vintage shops were obviously up on our list, so under the blazing Spring sun we headed to the city center where I succeeded in buying too many random trinkets. Needless to say had we come by car I would have gone bonkers at the flea market. We made our way to LLB’s reco for lunch, Les Brassins, which was just amazing with the local Brasserie de la Senne on tap (Don’t forget, you pay for water in Belgium!).

Seriously, this was the longest but one of the greatest days of all time in my eyes. We were staying at the Pantone Hotel – which by the way was a great deal and location – so we relaxed a bit before hitting up the renowned Delirium Bar. It was super crowded and pub-like, as suspected for the biggest beer bar ever on a Saturday night, but a must do. I recommend the tap bar, give draft a try before opening some bottles. Marissa and her Brussels-encyclopedia-of-a-boyfriend recommended what ended up being my favorite place in Brussels (aside from the flea market): Monk. A spaghetti bar in the back of the place with an epic beer list? Yes please. So simple and so spot on. Our dishes were paired with a bottle of the delicious Avec Les Bons Voeux.

Our second and last day started with breakfast out in another suburb. The trams were so adorable, and often the old-fashioned cars, just one more thing I really enjoyed about this city, gah. We made our way to the Wiels Contemporary Art Centre (the industrial and stunning space is actually a former 1930s brewery) to check out their current exhibitions — one actually involved a moving-slowly-with-grace-quartet. It was quite impressive. Anne had knew the folks behind an awesome place called Living Room on the other side of town, so we trammed and trekked to another suburb out East. The Living Room, though. Holy moly. Located near the Parc Cinquantenaire, it’s a tasteful design and furniture store with cakes, teas a healthy and colorful lunch menu. The cherry on top, turns out we were right by the reputable Friterie Maison Antoine. I still don’t understand some of the sauces.

The end of our trip was spent at Beer Mania, a beer shop I had been eyeing, amongst the millions there probably are in that city. The guy at the shop was just the best, and told us the story about the Westvleteren beers. We indulged in a perfectly chilled Westvleteren 12. I was a happy girl. To rub it in, read more about how epic that beer is.

BRUSSELS PLACES:
Beer Mania // Beer shop
Delirium Café // Nighttime beer spot
La Mercerie // Salon de thé
Gaudron // Eatery
Les Brassins // Belgian Restaurant
Living Room // Eatery + Design and Furniture shop
Maison Dandoy // Sweetshop and Waffle Haven
Monk Bar // Restaurant, spaghetti bar + cocktails
Wiels Contemporary Art Centre // Museum

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Oh, a few pictures from a place that makes me very happy.

I’ve lost track of time this week, so no precise thoughts to share on here today… Getting home after work is a battle as it seems like the cat’s only current interest is to eat my plants. I’m contemplating a long term solution, as I lay around with the windows open to get the chilly summer breeze that only midnight can allow in the canicule. But boy, is it a luxury to have a place to go on the weekends where you can actually see the stars. Jefferson is really warming up to the place.

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My twin sister lives in Boulder. My brother works in Boulder. A human I adore is from Boulder. I didn’t realize until after I got back from my trip how much I’m actually linked to Boulder. I even took Louis to a high school friend’s frat party on New Year’s Eve there in 2010 for the perfect first-time-in-America experience. Ha. Oh, Boulder. I always hated driving up there in High School for orchestra stuff, hiking or whatever, because of all of the pedestrians! Ah!

This time it was a different kind of spin by Boulder. One where I got to get off the beaten path for some snazzy places, awkwardly spread out, which I secretly really like… we had delicious beer and the best Mexican in town. I’m anxious to get back there next time I’m home.

AVERY BREWING // Home of deliciously crafted beers, get a flight or two

BRU // Restaurant and handbuilt ales

EFRAN’S II // Best Mexican in town

THE KITCHEN NEXT DOOR // Friendly and casual spot on Pearl Street

SANITAS BREWING COMPANY // Try their black IPA

UPSLOPE BREWING COMPANY // Try their Thai Style White IPA