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It’s been a tough few days here in Paris, but I wanted to squeeze out this little post that has been ready for quite some time, documenting a weekend away to visit dear friends.

I made it to London weekend before last to visit a close friend for a very special crafty couple of days. She is an avid sewer and is getting married next summer in her homeland of Sweden, and one of the cutest details to date is that she’s having all of us bridesmaids sew our own dresses! Basically she chose the fabric of her dreams and we all chose a pattern to whip up when in Londontown.

Obviously, being the beer obsessed lady that I am, the weekend started out with dinner at a newish brew pub called The Temple Brew House, where I indulged in a big fried fish with heaps of chips (you know, fries, ehhem) and of course… BRITISH CRAFT BEER. The trip was short really only having Friday night to Monday afternoon, but since I don’t really know London at all – aside from the touristy stuff I did when I was a preteen – I was happy as a clam with some strolling.

We attempted the super popular Breakfast Club restaurant and failed (the line was twice as long as the meal would have lasted), so we continued on to have eggs elsewhere at one of London’s infinite trendy-open-all-the-time-with-gluten-free-options-and-fresh-juice places. When you’ve got good company, any spot will do. Brick Lane was packed with both the young and the old, punks and preps, feasting on grub at what used to be the Truman Brewery, now turned street food Oz. The vintage shops were underground and vinyls were everywhere. I could definitely get used to this type of daily life, on the condition that the currency I earned was pounds (fudge, so expensive…). Before heading back on Sunday evening for a dinner in, we popped by BrewDog, where I basically consumed a full meal in beer: Pumpkin King followed by Siren’s Caribbean Chocolate Cake. Pure magic.

Something about London made me very happy. A certain je ne sais quoi. I’m not quite sure if it was the savory breakfast everywhere, the unpretentious pub culture or the brick buildings and markets… I guess I’ll have to go back, hehe.

LONDON PLACES:
Brewdog // Tap room
Brick Lane // Vintage clothing & vinyls hotspot
Canteen // Grub spot
Kew Royal Botanical Gardens // Big lovely park
The Temple Brew House // Microbrewery, pub & restaurant

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3 and a half hours from Paris’s Gare de Lyon. I had seen so many pictures of Provence on fellow expat’s Instagram’s accounts, visits to see the lavender fields. It seemed like the “to do” thing this spring and summer. We didn’t make it to the Provence lavender fields given the autumnal season that had arrived every so justly, BUT we did get to discover Aix-en-Provence for a weekend away with my lovely aunt who was in town. The tones of the city are different from Paris, a different kind of magic. I could literally feel how much more relaxing the lifestyle there must be as soon as I took in a breath of the mediterranean air.

Provence is known globally also for their food. I remember even the French restaurant I worked at in Denver when I was 16, the sadly no longer Le Central, it was a “Provencal French Restaurant”. Even then I didn’t really realize where Provence was, or what its specialities was, anything French seemed exotic for a Denverite! Ratatouille, stuffed vegetables, aioli, pesto soup, fig tarts, calissons… it’s all just so good an world renowned.

The city itself deserves a good old fashion stroll, mainly because it is just so adorable: pastel colors, little balconies, tiny pedestrian streets and warn down old advertisements on the sides of buildings…

If you’re in Aix for a quick trip like we were, I suggest giving lunch a try up at the Place des Cardeurs, then stroll down through the adorably tiny and pastel streets to pop in for a caffeine recharge at Mana Espresso (ex-baristas from Paris’s Loustic!). After more wandering and buying things like herbs and soap, sit on a terrace and try a glass of Pastis, the local apéritif, paired with some people watching. I obviously wanted to make the mini detour to see that big Petit Prince book statue that has been all over social media, and I found out it’s actually the entrance to a library called La Cité du Livre, how cute is that? You’ll have to try to local sweet confection, le calisson (pssst Pâtisserie Béchard makes a darn good one!) Dinner is a must at Les Deux Garçons, the staple brasserie du coin that sits on the main drag, if the weather permits, reserve a table on the terrace. Paradise.

Quick side note—- if you take the TGV you’ll arrive at a train station about 20 minutes from the center of Aix. We didn’t know that until AFTERWARDS. There are busses that go to the city center, and also taxis which run for about 20-30 euros. Bref, to keep in mind more precisely for your departure!

AIX EN PROVENCE PLACES:
Cité du Livre // Library, Oversized Book Statues
Chez Féraud // French Restaurant
La Compagnie des Savons // Soap Shop
La Route des Bières // Beer Shop
Les Deux Garçons // French Restaurant
Mana Espresso // Coffee Shop
Pâtisserie Béchard // Candy Shop, Calisson masterminds
Place des Cardeurs // Place with heaps of restaurants
Santons Girault // Santons Boutique

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To wrap up the summer season, Louis and I were so excited to bring some friends to the house in the countryside. It’s the kind of place that is certainly worth sharing- and besides, who doesn’t want a weekend getaway outside of the stress of the week and Paris? (I mean, we all adore Paris, but let’s be honest, getting to somewhere calmer for the weekend is fabulous and anyone who tells you differently is lying).

So, Haleigh, Marissa, Ylenia and their beaus came down for a weekend amongst the flowers. It was a weekend to enjoy some nature, and to make some time to cook delicious things with garden finds, to pair with our perfect BBQ goodies.

Sharing such a beautiful place and a place we love so much with friends really made my heart all fuzzy. It’s kind of like sharing a little part of yourself in many ways, a place where so many memories are made and where more will continue to be made with dear friends.

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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.