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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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When flying through Dallas home for the holidays last year, I knew I had to make a pit stop in Dallas to see my doll and favorite Texan, Annie, with whom I went to Uni in Paris. Depsite the super duper early morning flight after a snow storm hit Denver that previous evening, I was perky as can be and so stoked to finally go outside of the DFW airport walls.

Annie was one of my main partners in crime in Paris, the girl is passionate about good food with quality ingredients and homegirl knows her history. It was damn exceptional to finally get to her hood and see her fav’ spots. Our day was a quick one: around 9am to 4pm when had to be back at the airport. We kicked off the morning right: with coffee and breakfast tacos in the Deep Ellum neighborhood. Super wide streets bordered by brick buildings and precious storefronts and colorful street art… damn, in my eyes Dallas is incredibly charming! Downtown we made a quick pit stop so I could buy some cowboy boots (when in Rome, right?) before heading up for pie and a stroll in the Bishop Arts District. I was rather intrigued by the deserted areas with bail bond shops and supersized billboards and Texan flags blowing in the wind… it was the perfect speedy tour of Dallas. The southern draw truly brought a smile to my face. Of course, the trip couldn’t wound off better, as we headed to chill a bit at one of Annie’s favorite places, the Katy Trail Icehouse in Uptown. This magical venue is an outdoor beer garden with fried jalepeños. We sipped Deep Ellum Brewery’s IPA and chatted away until I had to head back to the airport to get my bum back to frogland. Le sigh, next time for more than just a layover, Dirty D.

All Good Café – Deep Ellum – Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner Magic
Emporium Pies - Bishop Arts District – Pie Stop
Katy Trail Icehouse - Uptown – Beer Garden Hangout/Lunch/Dinner/Late night

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One of my closest girlfriends, Ana Clara, moved to Munich with her honey for work. Naturally I just had to make it over there to see her life there one weekend. Don’t forget that Munich is freakin’ cold. A February weekend in Munich was a brave choice on my part. Going when it’s balls cold made me even more excited to pop by when the sun is out and we can stroll through the English gardens.

Back to the point: I had been to Munich before twice, once when I was studying abroad for a year in France when I was 16 for a couple of days, and again during my Bachelor’s for Oktoberfest (obvs). This time was more about actually seeing the city. I’m a lucky lady cos Ana eats sanely and loves adorable places with quality products, so every place she took me was just wonderful. Did you know that Germans are super open to vegetarians and vegans and that faux sausages exist all over the place? Even at beer festivals?! High five for the Bavarians.

Ana Clara and Yann-Yves’s close group of friends in the city were so precious and organized a traditional Bavarian brunch when I was in town, which did involve include Witbier before noon, wurst, pretzels and the works. These fine people then accompanied us to the local Starkbierfest that was that exact weekend, ha, which made for the most Bavarian day possible. If you’re planning a trip to Munich and like beer and beer culture, definitely check out if there are any small beer festivals going on, nothing like a liter of beer and pretzels and men in Lederhosen!

Strolling through the Munich streets, I was constantly in love with the pastel buildings, and the wideness of the streets and spaciousness of the interiors. Something about it was just so charming. For a city that had been basically rebuilt, even the modern buildings keep their original architecture, which I though was pretty cool. BTW, don’t jay-walk in Munich, apparently it’s a no no.

Boogie Donuts – Donuts To Go
Daddy Longlegs – Healthy/Coffee/Breakfast/Lunch/Snack
Dallmayr – Specialty Shop/Chocolates/Tea
La Taquéria – Mexican/Lunch/Dinner
Joon – European/Dinner/Bar/Cocktails
Wirthaus Hörreshof – Traditional Bavarian/Lunch/Dinner