Planning a summer trip to France ?

                              It’s not too late to plan that summer trip to Europe  !!

Paris is always a great idea !IMG_1603 (Large).JPG

Strasbourg was a wonderful day stop IMG_0970 (Large).JPG

Provence is home …IMG_1736 (Large).JPG

San Diego has now some good non stop flights not only to London on British Airways but to Germany on Lufthansa as well . Avoiding LA nightmare or a connection is the way to go when you are not 25 years old anymore :  11 hours trip versus 25 hours …I’ll fly non stop !  My recommendation would be a night flight so you can rest and relax in the plane as you are already tired from your day , you arrive late afternoon in Europe and it is time to sleep again . Next morning you are ready to explore and enjoy your vacation . The opposite is flying during the day time from SD , witch mean you cannot even snooze for an hour . When you arrive in Europe , it’s morning  again and you have to go on for the second day in the row without sleep …the next day you are totally pooped !

We went last June and it was unusually warm for the season …they had already started harvesting  the lavender !! It is with July our favorite time to go because the days are super long and you can do so much more than in the fall season … like go out late for an ice cream on a balmy night …

Here are some photos to inspire you ! 

First stop breakfast …This is anywhere and everywhere in Paris !

IMG_0101 (Large).JPG

When you match your guidebook and you did not even plan it …this is Parisian chic  😉

IMG_0102 (Large).JPG

Morning walk from the Invalides IMG_0110 (Large).JPG

Pont Alexandre III , The most beautiful bridge in Paris

IMG_0119 (Large).JPG

Walking along the Seine IMG_0132 (Large).JPGWork out time

IMG_0141 (Large).JPG

A fleet of Bateaux Mouche is lining up the Seine …a great way to see the city .

IMG_0149 (Large).JPG

Le Jardin des Tuileries …perfect place to take a break

IMG_0155 (Large).JPG

The window display of La Duree pastry shop and their world renowned macarons

Its too early to start a sweet binge so we just pass…but the shop is already packed !

IMG_0169 (Large).JPG

Place Vendome …where the serious jewelry shops are …you can do some damage there ! Creativity is at its best and it is fun to just do some window shopping AKA in French  “lèche vitrine” witch translate literately as “licking windows”….we are drooling !IMG_0171 (Large).JPG

Place Vendome is also the home of the Ritz . Tell the majordome at the entrance that you want to go to the “galerie” , this is your way to sneak in …Behind these doors is a garden, a  world of peace and quiet like suspended in time . The “galerie” is just incredible : a very narrow hallway with small shops with the most fabulous fashion and jewelry of course …

IMG_0189 (Large).JPG

IMG_0187 (Large).JPG

IMG_0181 (Large).JPGThat morning we saw a couple seating quietly in one of the hall …they were in formal black tie, long evening gown , loaded with the type of jewelry we had seen in some of the fancy stores just minutes ago …like they were going to  “Oscar night” ….Only at the Ritz Hotel…

IMG_0190 (Large).JPG

You are then just a short walk away from the Opera Garnier …We have yet to go when they have a Ballet or Opera but I would highly recommend to book your stay around that …the right way to experience this incredible place .

IMG_0192 (Large).JPG

You can also just get in to visit the inside on days where there is no rehearsal …witch is not today so we go across the street to “Repetto” the authentic ballet store …the one where the ballerinas go to to buy theirs outfits and where we can get real ballet flats or the most comfortable dancing shoes to wear everyday …

IMG_0204 (Large).JPG

IMG_0196 (Large).JPG

IMG_0200 (Large).JPG

Rainbow ! I can’t decide ….IMG_0203 (Large).JPG

Time for lunch …

IMG_0210 (Large).JPG

With dessert of course !

IMG_0215 (Large).JPG

 A quick look at the Gare de Lyon train station …where you should get a coffee at “Le train Bleu” upstairs …this is how traveling must have been like before …

IMG_0233 (Large).JPGIt’s a restaurant, bar, lounge , a salon where to smoke …

IMG_0230 (Large).JPG

IMG_0232 (Large).JPG

Heading back to Saint Germain where we like to hang out , shop for Mariage Freres teas or traditional Petit Bateau t-shirts for example

IMG_1589 (Large).JPG

Lots of great food to buy and take for a picnic on The Champs de Mars near by with the view of the Eiffel Tower aka  ” La Grande Dame de Fer ” IMG_1593 (Large).JPG

Hotel du Champs de Mars …steps away from the Eiffel Tower ; the rooms are tiny but it is very Parisian anyway and the best deal in this neighborhood .

IMG_1586 (Large).JPG

Very close to so many great restaurants …like the famous” Fontaine de Mars” , but we are not looking ; we know we want to eat at “Les cocottes ” tonight …updated comfort food executed perfectly in a more contemporary setting …

IMG_1590 (Large).JPG

IMG_1591 (Large).JPG

At les Cocottes IMG_1595 (Large).JPG

We crave their simple desserts like ” mamia” a Basque type sheep milk “yogurt” that taste so sweet and is lighter than air …and there is always room for a rhum baba too …

IMG_1598 (Large).JPGIMG_1599 (Large).JPG

One last morning walk today before to head to the American Embassy for our Visa interview ( here we go again …gotta do it every 5 years …) Paris is such a walkable city …you do not need special shoes and you do not want to look like a tourist either 😉 Just wear flats to be comfortable all day , a light purse and off you go !

IMG_1606 (Large).JPG

Isn’t Paris the most romantic city in the world ! IMG_1604 (Large).JPG

IMG_0127 (Large).JPG

Le Grand Palais …they usually have temporary exhibits that are always worth going …specially to be able to check out the inside of this place built at the same period as the Eiffel tower .

IMG_1612 (Large).JPG

We are going to Angelina for a real Parisian breakfast in a real Parisian institution . We have had tea and deserts here but never experience their famous hot chocolate . Today is the day ! 

IMG_1624 (Large).JPGDelicious croissants, pain au chocolat with extra butter and jams , a St Honore just because we are not coming back for lunch and THE hot chocolate ! So thick and creamy , you probably won’t need the extra rich whipped cream on top …but after all why not !? We are walking this off on our way to the Embassy and doing some more shopping !

IMG_1622 (Large).JPG

IMG_0162 (Large).JPG

IMG_1662 (Large).JPG

French women do wear sneakers and a baseball hat …IMG_0166 (Large).JPG

IMG_1642 (Large).JPG

New Visas granted , we can now settle down for dinner with good appetite ! La maison de la truffe sound pretty good but we feel like meat from one of our favorite place in France . We are going to  “La maison de l’Aubrac” . Here they serve  beef from cows they raise in their own farm in the region  of Aubrac where famous Laguiole village is . It is flavorful beyond imagination .I never had ribs like this…dry aged and slow cooked to perfection , bone marrow with fleur de sel, rib eye and potatoes….no guilt …it is perfect for my paleo diet !

IMG_1647 (Large).JPG

IMG_1646 (Large).JPG

IMG_1650 (Large).JPGWith 2 desserts and a drink …88E service compris !

IMG_1652 (Large).JPGTomorrow we are driving south waiting for our passports to come back with our visas …

IMG_1679 (Large).JPG

Next stop Strasbourg !