Saturday, 25 February 2012

maman is visiting this week!

My mom is coming to visit today for my spring break and I am so looking forward to a week filled with cafe visiting, museum lingering, shop perusing, and back street wandering. We'll be just like the lovely French mother/daughter pair above - just a bit less, you know, French.

Friday, 24 February 2012

bretagne, day 1

Finally getting around to posting some photos from my weekend in Bretagne (Brittany, in English). An excessive amount, and this is just day one! We left for the weekend on Friday evening, five of us piling into a small car and immediately finding ourselves in the bumper to bumper traffic of thousands of Parisiens heading out of the city for the two week school break. Bad timing. We made it to Auray, our hosts home town, after about 5 hours on the road, pretty much went straight to bed, and had a lovely sleep in the next morning (shutters kept my room completely dark - heaven!).  At breakfast I had my first taste of Bretagne butter - and let me tell you, it is to die for. It has flecks, no, flakes of local sea salt embedded in it, which is the most fantastic thing. Elevates bread and butter to a whole new level. 

Our first stop the next morning was at the 'boat cemetery' close to the small town of Bono, a short drive a way. A short walk through a piney forest was lovely - the scent of trees and dirt a welcome change from the streets of Paris. 
 Bono was a picturesque holiday town filled with white (and the occasional lilac coloured) houses with pretty blue shutters. Most of the homes had their shutters drawn as very few people actually live in the town throughout the winter. We caught the last couple of vendors as they were closing up from the morning's market and bought sticky sweet crêpes filled with housemade salted butter caramel. Crêpes and galettes (their savoury counterpart) are a specialty of the region and we waited while the vendor made several of the dark buckwheat galettes for us to take home for supper.

 The road crossing to this island was covered by the tide waters by the time we made it here. In the summertime, the island is a popular place for hosting weddings - just need to make sure that everyone arrives on time!

 As we continued down the road we stopped at these sandy stone cliffs to admire the colour of the sea. Rose was a very willing and photogenic model - me, not so much.

 Our host, Thomas, being the perfect guide. "Over there is an island."
 We saw quite a few families out for a walk along the top of the cliffs. What an inspiring place to be able to take a casual weekend walk! Wish I had this kind of view on my doorstep (I guess the Eiffel Tower isn't anything to complain about though).
 For a late lunch we stopped at Quiberon, a seaside town obviously catering to scores of beachgoing holidayers, with plenty of shops and ferries heading out to the nearby islands. We had a very filling lunch of grosses patates, literally large potatoes - topped with mushrooms, ham, cream, and three types of cheese. If you ran out of cheese and sauce (an accomplishment in itself) no need to worry - a pot of warm cream will be delivered to your table to keep your potato swimming in richness.

 On our way back towards Auray, we stopped briefly at a beach where we could see the sails of kiteboarders over the dunes. They were just packing up by the time we made it there, but the view over the water as the sun was setting was well worth the detour. Also a chance to test the water to determine if it was swimmable - consensus? definitely not.

 This wasparc à huîtres - oyster park - where oysters were patiently growing into someone's supper. It wasn't oyster season at the moment though, so we didn't get the chance to try any. They sometimes have problems with people stealing the valuable oysters, so there is always someone close by to keep an eye on visitors.
 Then came a fashionably late dinner around 11 pm of galettes - the savoury version of crepes made with dark buckwheat flour. These were heated in a pan (with plenty of butter, of course) and then topped with egg, cheese, ham, and mushrooms. Camille, our master chef, did a fabulous job and they were salty, cheesy, and filling and served with bubbly, sweet cider. Perfect end to the day.

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

le flâneur

I got back from Bretagne yesterday and am working on getting some photos together to show you my fantastic weekend! Since I've been back in Paris the weather has been absolutely gorgeous though, so I refuse to squander this sunny afternoon indoors on the computer. In the meantime, here is an amazing video of Paris composed entirely of photographs. Isn't it beautiful??

Le Flâneur (music by The XX) from Luke Shepard on Vimeo.

Friday, 17 February 2012

Bastille Market

And now for a ridiculous amount of photos from a trip to the Bastille Market last weekend on a cold Sunday morning. The market can almost be overwhelming with so many vegetables, fruits, cheese, meat, fish and breads that I am tempted to buy food for a family of five for a month. 

 This weekend I am heading off to Bretagne and I'm looking forward to seeing the sea, getting out of the city for a bit, walking along beaches, and trying the local treat Kouign amann - from what I hear it basically consists of "butter and sugar, and then more butter and sugar, and then even more butter and sugar". Sounds pretty good to me. Happy weekend!

a real live package

I came home the other day to the most fantastic surprise - a Valentine's care package from my Grandparents in Calgary! Totally made my day, especially since I was feeling a bit down after being sick for the last few days. And it was complete with hand-made-by-Grandma fudge! It couldn't be better. Thank you so much for thinking of me and have a great time on your upcoming trip out west!

Thursday, 16 February 2012

louboutin love

It is almost cruel that there should be a Christian Louboutin boutique literally metres away from the entrance to my school. Currently admiring the black Vicky boots from the Fall/Winter 11 collection. If only a student budget allowed for these types of expenses....ah well I'd probably fall off them anyways.

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

copenhagen & stockholm

Just finished booking flights and accommodation for these two lovely cities at the end of May. Can't wait to visit them both with my Mom and sister! Oh yeah, and run a marathon. Maybe I should go for a jog...

Check out these two great city guides on Design Sponge to get some ideas of where we should visit: click here for the one on Copenhagen, and click here for the one on Stockholm.

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

happy valentine's day!

For a Valentine's Day treat, I visited Pierre Hermé to try some of his famed macarons. The shop had plenty of Valentine's themed confectionary in heart-shapes and pink and red, and people were lined up out the door to pick up something special. I opted for the classic macarons, but some of the others I was with were a bit more adventurous. Afterwards, we walked across the street to Place St. Sulpice where we enjoyed our selections by the frozen-over fountain.

The ones that made it home were (in order of photos) the Infiniment Caramel (salted butter caramel), Infiniment Chocolat Porcelena (Pure Porcelena Chocolate from Venezuela), Pure "Sur del Lago" Chocolate, and Lime, Raspberry and Espelette Pepper. My absolute favourite though, was the "Mogador" - milk chocolate and passion fruit. Scrumptious! Now I have an excuse to try the macarons of Pierre Hermé's rival, Laduree - comparison is necessary. Hope your Valentine's Day will be just as delicious!