Posts tagged France

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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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Andrea + Christophe's Wedding - De quelle planete es tu ::1Once upon a time in a land not so far from Pars, in a small town in Bretagne, two lovers said their vows.

I just love weddings.

Andrea and Christophe’s franco-american wedding was in a small town in Brittany this summer. It was a precious weekend full of sunshine and a good old fashioned fun time. The civil wedding was in the little Mairie of Jugon-les-Lacs. As the bride stepped out of the car, everyone peeked out the window of the first floor, where the wedding was taking place, to get a glimpse. From above the detail of her vintage lace dress was not yet visible, but we could all see her red lipstick, and could see the anticipation in Christophe’s eyes. It was magic.

The reception was held in the most beautiful stone home about a 5 minute drive from the town center. The signs marked the distances to Paris and to Indiana, ’twas precious. The flowers all around were colorful and in bloom. The lights were not yet lit, but the tent covered the most precious decorations and triangle banners draped from side to site. The cocktails were ready, and the feasting began.

We danced the night away. Congratulations, Andrea and Christophe.

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