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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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Giverny is a magical place. I went for the first time with my mom in 2007, as she is a big fan of Monet’s work. Went and it was the opening day of the season I remember, we forgot to check when it opened and by chance it was that day. Anyways, I had been wanting to go for a stroll through the gardens since, and finally with some friends we made our way up towards Vernon.

We went by car – only a short ride from Paris – but there is also a train and a bus that can lead you to darling Claude’s beautiful green and pink home surrounded by floral inspiration. It can be a bit touristy, so to avoid a crowd I suggest to avoid a weekend, but nonetheless it’s just as beautiful. Pop by one of the local café afterwards for a bolée of cider, to make your trip to Normandy absolutely perfect.

There are so many treasures within a couple of hours of Paris. It’s certainly worth it to get away for an afternoon.

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Summer is rolling out. I’m hoping this Indian summer will stick around just a few days more before the leaves fully turn and fall from their branches and the rain falls more often.

This summer Louis and I didn’t get vacation. I know, surprising being in France, the country with 5 weeks paid vacation which is often unheard of to most hardworking Americans. As I had just started my new permanent contract (paid vacation days have to be earned throughout the first year for the following year… vivement next year!) and Louis just started a new project, we had to swing through summer working full time on our mix and match schedules. We have nothing to complain about though; we are loving what we do, and this summer we took in slow, enjoyed Paris, but also hopped on the highway just a short ride to the countryside for a breath of fresh air with the in-laws whenever we could. An excuse to get out of Paris on the weekends certainly made summer feel more real.

A la campagne it feels like summer year round. Not because of the weather, but because it’s relaxing and just so beautiful. We dine even with the chills outside, with light gardlands lit and candles topping the table as soon as the sun goes down, it is as charming as ever. With the foggy mornings and flowers for every season in bloom throughout the year, it’s safe to say that the countryside is pure magic. My father-in-law’s garden was at its peak later than expected this year, so our fruit and veggie explorations were the cherry on top of a good weekend away during the Indian summer.

I suppose with age and wonderful experiences I’m realizing that summer doesn’t only consist in getting away for vacation to a beach somewhere. A weekend away in good company, delicious and quality grub in a beautifully cozy home can certainly suffice. What makes your summer feel like summer?

Caen-De-quelle-planete-es-tu-12Every November, Louis and I go to celebrate birthdays with the family that I lived with when I was 16, where I caught onto French and fell in love with French culture. This marvelous family that I adore has since moved to Caen, and I was so excited to discover their new city and the sea on our little weekend getaway. On the sunny winter afternoon we drove up to the historical seaside, popping by the fish market to prepare for the lunch that followed.

On our way back to Paris, we spun through Pont Audemer, the town where I lived for a year with them, for a little dinner date before heading back to the city life.

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The-Countryside-Montargis_De-quelle-planète-es-tu-1Going to the countryside to visit the in-laws is one of my favorite things in the world.

When the weather is nice, like in these pictures from a trip in late August, we eat outside and enjoy the nature, feasting on goodies from the perfection of a garden that is out back. Although we just got back from a cozy autumn weekend here- and the berries, tomatoes, lettuce, peppers, etc. are no longer in season- I was daydreaming of the heated summer days and rays at this beautiful home before accepting the change of the seasons. Sidenote, this is also the garden where my father-in-law is growing yummy kale thanks to the seeds that I ordered from The Kale Project.

This particular weekend at the countryside we had some visitors, so it was the perfect opportunity to introduce them to the wonders of kale with a delicious kale salad garnished with mint, lemon and spices. King of salads, as a set designer by trade and passion, Louis’s father’s salads are also a work of art with the most delicious mixture of flavors and colors.

When I say salad, I’d like to point out that I mean any kind of salad. Not even a joke. There truly is a perfected method to the mixtures that this family makes. My favorite have an impeccable homemade balsamic vinaigrette dressing with a smidgen of mustard, heaps of spices and new flavors that I discover with every salad. The core ingredients often vary, from what’s in the house or in the garden (like possibly every shade of tomato from yellow to black). The add-ons can be just about anything from nuts to cheese to berries, even a few edible flowers- like nasturtiums- for a peppered flavor.

The art of the salads in the family was passed on to my partner, who wooed me and warned me from the very beginning that I’d fall in love with him when I tried one of his salads that he learned to make from his father. It wasn’t the only reason for which I fell, but boy are they delectable.

An ode to a summer meal of salads. Cheers, folks.

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