Tag Archives: Travel

Frenchie and Amsterdam

20 Nov

How is it even possible I’ve never traveled to Amsterdam before?

I am in love!

And I am still thinking about this trip and our time walking around the canals last month when it was still 65-70 degrees outside.

A mere 3 hours away from Paris by train – it is beyond me I have never thought about spending some time in Holland before.

But I should really thank my friends from the Midwest for moving to Amsterdam and giving me this opportunity to stroll through the city and absorb as much as possible le temps d’un week-end.

By bike, by boat, by feet and by tram, we went around and around like mice in a maze of bridges, picturesque water views, tiny streets and cool cafés.

And Paris should definitely be scared because when it comes to cafés Amsterdam is in my opinion winning.

A few of my favorites and best discoveries are listed below.

Café van Leeuwen - a lunch outside sitting at the terrace with views of the canal? Yes please! And you cannot go wrong with their spicy butternut squash soup with a kale salad and a local beer.

De Koffie Salon on Utrechtsestraat – drinking a tea or coffee upstairs with oversized pictures of old European movie stars make you feel like you are in a black and white movie. And eating a blackcurrant pastry with Sophia Loren watching over you is my definition of indulging.

Museum Van Loon - a private maison bourgeoise to visit while picturing a time when rich merchants ruled the city and the canals. Time capsule Amsterdam style.

- TwoForJoy - and who wouldn’t want another pastry from a place where people sit outside and drink their coffees while playing cards or focusing on a coloring book?

- Vinnies - the space is what attracted me first. An old piano next to a refurbished Louis XIV style sofa on painted white wood boards. And the organic mint tea to soothe an aching body from walking too much in the city.

- Ibericus - it is not often I get to stop on the side of the road, dismount my Gazelle Dutch bike, and walk into a place to order jamón ibérico to go. This place has it all!

- De Taart van m’n Tante - like stepping inside a doll house or your worst kitsch nightmare, the colors will surprise you, the fake flowers will make you smile, but the appeltaart will make you want to have a second piece.

- Sama Sebo - when in Amsterdam, eat Indonesian food! And when it’s rijsttafel night, make sure to come hungry.

Frenchie and a Colorful Adventure

23 Oct

I feel lucky!

Lucky to have amazing family and friends who took care of me for 3 weeks.

Lucky the weather smiled at me throughout the trip with warm temperatures and a bright golden sun.

Lucky to still discover unknown streets and areas – nooks and crannies to stumble upon.

Lucky to have readers who push me to share more of my experiences, tips and addresses.

Some of you asked me to include new addresses I’ve noted along the way, which I have done in the past but apparently not enough.

So without further ado, my Top 10 list in no particular order of my recent French trip.

1. Lunch at Buvette to share small plates, a slice of pâté, a glass of rosé, a tartinette and a pastry. Little, cosy and rustic. And if you cannot make it to Paris, there is a location in the West Village in New York City.

2. La campagne à Paris in the 20th. A small parcel of land with plant-covered houses, small gardens and picket fences – in Paris! A quick magical instant resembling more la province than the capital we all know (rue Irénée Blanc, rue Paul Strauss).

3. Tucked away in the 1st is Verjus with a tasting menu that would most likely thrill the pickiest eaters. French in spirit but American to the core, it is a unique experience.

4. Did you know that 55 minutes by train from Paris there is a town where the old city is so well preserved that the Roman wall surrounding it is still partly standing and dates back to the 3rd century? How could I not encourage friends visiting France to spend a day or two in Le Mans. It is picture perfect for anyone looking to snap pictures of a cathedral built between the 11th and 15th centuries and to walk the tiny narrow streets where the oldest houses are from the 14th century and the newest from the 15-16th centuries with people still living in them.

5. My friend Lindsey took me to La Pulperia one night for a meal I won’t forget anytime soon. And dragging this Rive Gauche boy to the other side of the world in the 11th is not easy, trust me!

6. If there is one thing that I absolutely love about Paris is the small non-touristy streets with lots of plants, colors and charm. Rue des Thermopyles in the 14th, Villa Santos Dumont in the 15th, la Cité Florale in the 13th (rue des Iris, rue des Glycines), and the stunning rue Crémieux in the 13th where Notting Hill meets Paris – truly a feast for the eyes.

7. Is there a prettiest name for a hotel than Hôtel Amour? The courtyard in the back is a must-see, especially before winter and before the leaves fall and disappear from the trees, for a goûter or an apéritif with friends. A peaceful serene greenhouse-like ambiance away from the hustle and bustle.

8. While I mentioned this bakery several times already, it is always a stop for me when I am in town – Au Petit Versailles du Marais. And I decided to mention them again because they won 2nd place in the baguette tradition competition this year. First place next year? I hope! Even if you’re not hungry when you walk by it, the Belle Époque ceiling, the tiles and the mirrors will give you a stiff neck from looking around, up and down.

9. Even though I only had a kir there during their happy hour, I was fascinated by the space at Le Jules in the Carreau du Temple. Truly creative and impressed by the renovation they did of that space. Very spacious and modern, yet chic and warm with a voluminous design soothed by the wooded light framework. Bravo!

10. If you like the New York High Line, you will like the Paris Coulée Verte. They are still working on it as I am writing this so don’t expect the same length of green path through the city. However, the Petite Ceinture in another area of town also offers a walkable green promenade.

Frenchie and the Colors of Summer

15 Jul

A chair and a plant in Georgetown

The greatest of all mistakes is to believe that summer looks the same wherever you go.

And I got to experience this first hand through my travels in May and June.

Urban summer to beach summer.

Sparkling blue waters to sweltering concrete jungle city heat.

Different landscapes offering the best antidote to the travel itch.

A tonic for both mind and body.

Quel bonheur !

Summer food and nature

Always room for a rhubarb tart

Coast to coast, inspired by food, friends and long walks, I decided to devote lots of time to mental and physical inactivity.

Appreciating the world as it presents itself to me and snapping away those photos I love to take.

There is something to be said about this instinctively honest feeling of leaving without a plan and relying on strangers and your gut to find the best a new place has to offer.

Developing new friendships along the way.

Finding new great pleasures.

Et arrêter tout.

A dinner at the farm

Green with envy

Many places proved to be great resting spots for a quick bite or to get away from the summer heat.

Huertas in the East Village.

ABC Kitchen near the Flatiron Building.

Toro in Boston’s South End.

Le Diplomate in D.C.

Heirloom and Luna’s in Charlotte.

Food and places that melted my heart and satisfied many cravings.

California ocean view

Blue tints and summer heat

Georgetown beauty

Summer and the opportunity to witness love in the making.

Young beach goers in California witnessing the first signs of summer love as they spread their towels on the hot sand with their friends.

Friends getting married on Cape Cod as a private recital in the small cramped living room grabs everyone’s attention lulled by Debussy’s Clair de Lune.

Home-made summer jams and jellies lovingly made by a friend – a gift so sweet I could not avoid trying all 4 of them right the second in his beautiful lush southern green garden.

Pêche, framboise, fraise et mûre – un délice.

Red summer spots

Bright yellows in the city

D.C. Dupont Circle market

But while summer does not look the same everywhere, the enthusiasm for it is infectious.

Can you tell I learned to like summer since I moved in the southeast?

Wasn’t I blogging about my preference for fall and winter last year before moving?

Oh the changes you’ll see when you move!

Presque incroyable…

The good cat

Boston's South End

At the farm

A summer from coast to coast

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