December 21, 2015

2015 Holiday Decor at Galeries Lafayette

With Christmas right around the corner, there's no better time to get into the holiday spirit. Each year, one of my favorite traditions involves discovering the splendid holiday windows and decor in Paris' grands magasins.

This year, Galeries Lafayette features a truly magical display highlighting the theme "Noël d'une autre planète" (Christmas from another planet). The large tree in the Coupole is crafted of giant gold and silver "meteors", and outside windows shine a spotlight on intergalactic scenes of robots, spaceships and even Stormtroopers.

Get a sneak peek at these out of this world decorations below!

Christmas tree at Galeries Lafayette, 2015
Christmas tree at Galeries Lafayette, 2015
Holiday window at Galeries Lafayette, 2015
Holiday window at Galeries Lafayette, 2015
Stormtrooper holiday window at Galeries Lafayette, 2015

Galeries Lafayette Paris Haussmann
40, Boulevard Haussmann
75009 Paris

PS You can review Galeries Lafayette's 2014 display here!

November 30, 2015

Winter Beauty Essentials from Embryolisse

The temperatures have certainly dropped in Paris and winter is full speed ahead. And unfortunately, along with the frigid temperatures, come a variety of beauty woes like dry, sensitive skin.  

Over the last few months, I was lucky enough to receive a variety of new lotions and potions to try from Embryolisse. Together they make up the perfect toolkit to keep you looking and feeling fabulous until spring. 

Lait-Crème Fluide by Embryolisse

Lait-Crème Fluide (9,50€/ 75ml)
If you’re a fan of Embryolisse’s cult favorite Lait-Crème Concentré, you’ll love their latest product Lait-Crème Fluide. A lighter version of the original moisturizer, this go-to cream can be applied to both the body and face.

Lisseur Bonne Mine (22,50€/ 40ml)
Often our faces don’t look as fresh as we would like (Parisians’ lack of vitamin D doesn’t help!). This moisturizing booster is the perfect way to mask fatigue and get a firm, rejuvenated feeling.

Masque Confort Anti-Age (21,90€/ 60ml)
From time to time, it’s nice to give your skin a special treat. This anti-aging mask is infused with a variety of plant butters and can be used once or twice a week. Plus it was awarded the Victoire de la Beauté 2015-2016 seal!

Products compliments of Embryolisse. All opinions are my own.

October 31, 2015

Afternoon Tea at Le Bristol Paris

One of my all-time favorite ways to spend an afternoon? Tea time in one of Paris’ glamorous palaces. 

A few weeks ago, my parents and brother were in town. As an early Christmas present, my husband and I decided to treat them (and ourselves) to afternoon tea at Le Bristol.

Entering Le Bristol, we were greeted by the exquisite marble foyer that leads to Le Jardin Français, one of the hotel's renowned dining areas. Once seated, we embarked on a delectable journey that made for a very memorable occasion.

Although we were a party of 5, our waiter suggested that we order only 4 thé complet classique menus (a selection of hot beverage, finger sandwiches and sweets). Seeing the extraordinary amount of food that came out shortly after, we certainly appreciated his expert recommendation. 

At Le Bristol, one of the pleasures besides the beautiful location, is knowing that each and every member of their team is there to make sure that you have the perfect experience. When the finger sandwiches arrived, I realized that many were not ideal for a pregnant woman (charcuterie, etc.), but upon asking if there was an alternative for me, our waiter came back with my very own special vegetarian club sandwich platter! It’s this type of attention to detail and outstanding service that make visitors likely to return time and time again.

The consensus of our group was that everything was exceptional, with the highlights being the vanilla cream puffs, mini raspberry tarts and caramelized pecan financiers.

Tea time platter at Le Jardin Français, Le Bristol Paris
China and jam at Le Jardin Français, Le Bristol Paris
Menu at Le Jardin Français, Le Bristol Paris
Exterior of Le Bristol Paris

Le Jardin Français
112 rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré
75008 Paris
Note: Tea time daily from 3-6pm. Reservations not accepted.

October 2, 2015

Pregnant in Paris

Whether you live in Paris or are just passing through, the struggles for a pregnant woman here remain the same: steering clear of creamy fromage au lait cru, passing on mouthwatering slices of charcuterie and saying “non merci” to perfectly brewed cups of café. While there are a few things we sadly have to miss out on, one of them luckily is not shopping. 

Paris truly is any shopper’s dream, but as usual, when it comes to maternity clothes, things do get a tad bit trickier. So, how to navigate the City of Light’s super cool stretch pant scene? You’ve just got to know where to go. 

Check out some of the places below to keep your Monsieur or Mademoiselle Bump looking très chic

Here you can find skinny jeans, knit tops and other trendy basics to keep you looking fresh. There’s also a section for baby should you wish to start collecting pieces for your trousseau. Please note that not all H&Ms include a maternity section.

1-3 rue Lafayette
75009 Paris

The 5th floor of this department store is a true treasure trove. There is a beautiful selection of more high-end maternity wear, as well as darling clothing and toys for little ones. 

40 Boulevard Haussmann
75009 Paris

Vertbaudet has more to offer in terms of clothing and accessories for the young, however in select locations, there is a small section for future moms.

15 Parvis de la Défense
Centre commercial Les 4 Temps
92092 Paris la Défense  

5 rue Tony Garnier
Centre commercial Les Passages de l'Hôtel de Ville
92100 Boulogne Billancourt 

If you are looking to score a deal, C&A is the place to go. Their pieces aren’t always the most on trend, but it’s certainly worth checking out because hey, you never know!

Centre Commercial les 4 Temps
15 Tunnel de Nanterre-La Défense
92800 La Défense

49 Boulevard Haussmann
75009 Paris


September 21, 2015

A Long Weekend in Venice

The past few weeks have been extremely busy, hence the lack of posts, but my husband and I were lucky enough to find the time to jet off to Venice for a fantastic long weekend.

An inexpensive1 hour and 20 minute flight from Paris Orly, Venice is certainly a city within reach. Before arriving, I had notions of what this well-known Italian destination would hold. Many travelers tout its charm, while others complain of an overrated tourist trap. My impression? An incredibly beautiful, historic city that far exceeded my expectations. Yes, early September still means hoards of tourists from around the globe, however seeing this magnificent and unique city under the glorious Venetian sun was an experience that I will remember for years to come.

Below, a few of our favorite addresses and outings. Buon viaggio!

Taxi in Venice, Italy
Venice, Italy by night

One of many canals in Venice, Italy

Where to stay
Hotel Bernardi Semenzato
Cannaregio - Santi Apostoli 4363/66 - 30121 Venezia

Located in the Cannaregio district of Venice, this small family-run hotel is a great place to rest your weary traveler's head each night. Rooms are reasonably priced, clean, and include breakfast each morning. The hotel is just behind the main shopping street Strada Nuova, and within a few minutes walk of two vaporetto stops (Ca d'Oro & Fondamente Nove).

Hotel Bernardi Semenzato, Venice, Italy

Where to eat
Pizzeria La Perla
Cannaregio,4615 30121 Venice

Not far from the Hotel Bernardi Semenzato, Pizzeria La Perla is not to be missed. Having eaten our fair share of pizzas around the city, this was the last place we stopped before heading home. As they say, good things come to those who wait, and my oh my was that true! This meal was by far one of the most enjoyed of our entire trip. Their extensive menu is entirely in Italian (unlike more touristy restaurants in the area), so don't forget your mini dictionary before settling in to your table!

Cannaregio 3844 (Strada Nuova - Ca' d'Oro) 30121 Venezia

Who can resist a few scoops of gelato when visiting Italy? I certainly couldn't, and made it my daily mission to head to GROM each afternoon for my goûter. Here ingredients include fresh fruit, free range eggs and no artificial colorings, aromas, preservatives or emulsifiers. And in case you can't make it to Italy, there's even a GROM in Paris (81 Rue de Seine, 75006 Paris)!

Pizzeria La Perla, Venice, Italy

Where to visit
Besides wandering Venice's tiny winding streets and bridges (Tip: A city map is essential!), there are plenty of landmarks, museums, etc. that are worth a visit.

  • Piazza San Marco: Stop by the world-famous square both morning and evening for two very different experiences. Take in the impressive Basilica di San Marco during the day, or enjoy a quartet concert outside some of the area's restaurants at night.
  • Palazzo Ducale: Just next to the Basilica, the Doge's Palace is an extraordinary example of the superpower that Venice once was. The incredible architecture and rich history are fascinating, plus this is the only way to gain access to the iconic Ponte dei Sospiri (Bridge of Sighs)!
  • St. Mark’s Square Museums: If you have visited the Palazzo Ducale, your ticket (18€)  also grants access to several other museums inluding the Museo Correr, Museo Archeologico Nazionale and Monumental Rooms of the Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana. If time permits, it's nice to do a quick tour to get the most bang for your buck. 
  • Ponte di Rialto: To get the best view of one of Venice's most famous bridges, and many other gorgeous buildings, hop on Line 1 of the vaporetto for a scenic tour down the Grand Canal. 
  • Murano: A quick vaporetto ride from Venice, the island of Murano is famous for glassmaking. Here you'll find several glass factories and a large selection of shops selling beautiful jewelry, dishes, chandeliers and more. 
  • Lido: If you want to spend a relaxed day at the beach, the island of Lido (around 40 minutes from Venice by vaporetto) is perfect for just that. Most sections of the beach have been privatized by resorts, however a beautiful sandy public beach still remains. As with most beach towns, there are also plenty of souvenir and gelato shops to explore.
Piazza San Marco, Venice, Italy
Gallery near the Piazza San Marco, Venice, Italy
Palazzo Ducale, Venice, Italy
View from the Ponte dei Sospiri (Bridge of Sighs), Venice, ItalyBallroom in the Museo Correr, Venice, Italy
Murano, Italy
Public beach on Lido, Italy

Do you have a favorite spot in Venice? Feel free to share below!

August 20, 2015

Fall Fashion at Galeries Lafayette

Summer is winding down and busy parents and children are getting ready for “la rentrée”. While it’s been awhile since I’ve done any back to school shopping and tried to find the perfect outfit for the first day, there’s still nothing quite like discovering the upcoming season’s hottest trends.

This past Saturday, Galeries Lafayette presented a fashion show (part of their summer programme of events) highlighting  the pre fall collections from several major French and international brands: Marc by Marc Jacobs,  Zadig & Voltaire, Ted Baker, Maje and Diane Von Furstenberg, among others.

Looking to give your wardrobe a facelift? Check out some of the looks below. 

Galeries Lafayette 2015 Pre Fall Collection fashion show
Galeries Lafayette fashion show, outfit by Red Valentino
Outfit by Red Valentino
Galeries Lafayette fashion show, outfit by Maje
Outfit by Maje
Galeries Lafayette, outfit by Red Valentino
Outfit by Red Valentino
Galeries Lafayette fashion show, outfits by Jil Sander Navy and Zadig & Voltaire
Outfits by Zadig & Voltaire (left) and Jil Sander Navy (right)
Galeries Lafayette fashion show, outfit by Ted Baker
Outfit by Ted Baker
Galeries Lafayette fashion show, outfit by Paule Ka
Outfit by Paule Ka
Salon Opéra, Galeries Lafayette, Paris
Salon Opéra, Galeries Lafayette

August 13, 2015

Weeknight Drinks at Le Lucien

Nothing says luxury like a moment spent in one of the Lucien Barrière Group’s magnificent hotels. One of the stomping grounds of former French president Nicolas Sarkozy, Hotel Le Fouquet’s in Paris is nothing short of extravagant.

The hotel includes an impressive 5 restaurants and 3 bars offering a wide range of drinks and cuisine. Many tourists land in the Champs-Elysées curbside Café Fouquet's, but the real crown jewel here is the more intimate bar Le Lucien.

In summer, a tranquil terrace offers guests an escape from the lively avenue below. If you're tempted by expertly mixed cocktails, top-notch service and a gorgeous location, you'll find it all here in one fabulously wrapped package.

Cocktails and snacks at Le Lucien, Paris

Menu at Le Lucien, Paris
Terrace at Le Lucien, Paris
Terrace at Le Lucien, Paris
Art on the terrace at Le Lucien, Paris

Le Fouquet's Paris 
46, avenue George V
75008 Paris

August 11, 2015

A Modern Tea Time at Le Burgundy

In honor of our 2nd wedding anniversary, my husband surprised me with a reservation for afternoon tea at Le Burgundy.

Located just off the chic rue Saint-Honoré, Le Burgundy is one of Paris’ smaller 5-star hotels. It’s intimate size (59 rooms & suites) offers guests and visitors a welcome reprieve from the busy outside world. 

Afternoon tea is served in an elegant marble and mirrored atrium. The experience begins with a fresh glass of bubbly, followed by your choice of  a hot beverage and selection of rather untraditional sweets and savories. You won’t find clotted cream and finger sandwiches here, but you certainly won’t be disappointed. It’s in this more modern and relaxed setting that you’ll fall in love with the chef’s incredible gateau au citron. 

Tea time platter at Le Burgundy, Paris
Atrium at Le Burgundy, Paris

Savory tea time snack at Le Burgundy, Paris

Hanging orchids in the atrium at Le Burgundy, Paris

Bar Le Baudelaire at Le Burgundy, Paris

Hotel Le Burgundy
6-8 Rue Duphot
75001 Paris

For other afternoon teas in Paris, check out the Peninsula Paris, George V and Le Meurice.

August 1, 2015

Around the World with Albert Kahn

For quite some time, I have been wanting to check out the Albert-Kahn museum and garden in the nearby suburb of Boulogne-Billancourt. Recently, a beautiful sunny day gave me the perfect opportunity to discover this somewhat hidden gem.

The Albert-Kahn musée et jardin is a magical place, sheltered from the hustle and bustle of city life. Spread across the former estate of banker and philanthropist Albert Kahn (1860-1940), a modern museum explores his remarkable life, while a mix of internationally themed gardens over 8 acres represent his vision for respect and peaceful relations among the world’s people. 

Japanese garden at the Albert-Kahn musée et jardin, France

Winter garden and orchard-rose garden at the Albert-Kahn musée et jardin, France
Albert-Kahn musée et jardin, France
Contemporary Japanese garden at the Albert-Kahn musée et jardin, France
Water lilies at the Albert-Kahn musée et jardin, France

A 4€ entrance fee (free for children under 12) includes access to the museum and all gardens: Japanese village, English garden, Vosges forest, golden forest and meadow, wetlands, blue forest, orchard-rose garden, French garden, winter garden and  contemporary Japanese garden.

Albert-Kahn, musée et jardin départementaux
10-14, rue du Port 

92100 Boulogne-Billancourt

July 21, 2015

Fresh Summer Beauty with Embryolisse

The weather is heating up in Paris, which means it’s time to lighten up on the heavy beauty products and break out something a little more breezy.

Just before heading off for vacation last month, I received a surprise package from one of my favorite French brands, Embryolisse. Inside, were two essential summer products that were exactly what I needed to refresh my beauty routine.

Embryolisse Lotion Micellaire and Eau de Beauté Rosamélis
Available in a new and convenient 100ml travel size (great for vacation!), Lotion Micellaire is a light floral scented makeup remover.  It works marvelously, and retails for an affordable 4,50€ per bottle.

Its perfect complement? Eau de Beauté Rosamélis, an equally fantastic smelling tonic lotion (13,30€/ 200ml). It can be delicately swept across your face to perfect cleaning and makeup removal, or chilled in the fridge and spritzed on throughout the day for a glamorous and invigorating boost.

Interested in discovering Embryolisse's full product line? You can check it out here!

July 3, 2015

On The Rhodes Again

A trip to Rhodes is not complete without a visit to Rhodes City. Rhodes is one of the most well-preserved medieval cities in Europe, and is classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The old city is surrounded by stone walls and can be accessed through several gates. Once inside, a maze of cobbled streets brimming with shops and restaurants await. As Rhodes is a port of call on many cruise itineraries, keep in mind that it tends to get very busy. Don’t be afraid to venture out of the center and discover some of the more hidden passages. Here is where you’ll find a bit of tranquility and fantastic photo opportunities. 

Rhodes City, Greece
Sreets of Rhodes City, Greece
Hidden street in Rhodes City, Greece

For a panoramic view of the city, make your way to Minos Pension. Their rooftop terrace and café is the perfect place to relax and snap a few more gorgeous pics. (5 Omirou Street – Old Town - Rhodes 85100 – Dodecanese – Greece)

Minos Pension, Rhodes City, Greece
View of Rhodes City, Greece from Minos Pension

If you have enough time, it’s also fun to check out the modern city, including the lively New Market, and Mandraki Harbour where the famous Colossus of Rhodes once towered.

Mandraki Harbour, Rhodes City, Greece