Provence in winter

Dear friends , clients , clients who have known us through all these years , new readers this post is more personal than usual, but this year is not a usual year .  Today we should be flying back from Provence with tons of sunny photos of summer days , lavender fields in bloom and bustling farmers markets loaded with ripe fruits . But this year is not this kind of year . As many of us had to cancel our travels abroad and still have to shelter in place , I will bring you instead the last part of Alice and I trip to France in January …a bit of winter in the middle of summer ! We knew we were lucky to have gone then when Covid 19 hit us …but I did not know yet that this would also be the last time I would be with my mother , celebrating her 90th birthday surrounded by her entire family …the happiest of times … These memories fill my heart with so much love and I am so grateful to have had that time . As France got into a very tight confinement , nursing homes closed down to all visitors and as many other elderly through out the country , my sweet little mom started suffering from the isolation , eat less , lost her grasp on life , lost weight and within an unimaginable 4 weeks she was gone . I cannot lie that not being able to go and be with her hurt a lot until I accepted the circumstances and made the most of the last times I could speak with her and have a beautiful conversation that will stay with me for ever .IMG_0998(Edited) (Large)

Provence was colder than Paris . The Mistral was blowing . We had flown down to Marseille at the end of our day at Maison et Objet Show and by the time we arrived home near Orange it was already 10.30pm …just to realize that the furnace had stopped working some time ago and the radiators were cooling rapidly . We immediately started working to prepare for the next day Birthday Party …Alice decorating , cleaning dishes and glasses while I was hauling wood up to the second floor to feed the fireplace first thing in the morning . We had 20 people coming over !

IMG_3483 (Large)
Orange Roman Arc de Triomphe at night

 

IMG_0917(Edited) (Large)IMG_1022 (Large)We played Bingo , eat delicious cakes , she opened presents and the 3 of us ended the day by the fire to recover from a busy , exciting day . Tomorrow Monday , I had to find a repair guy for the furnace …Well Monday turned into Tuesday , which turned into Wednesday late afternoon until someone could come and get the heater going again . We survived with an old electric heater , confining ourselves in the kitchen with my mum giving Alice her first cooking classes all in French !  Not only she was learning how to make a proper black truffle omelet but she also was getting a crash course in French ! We laugh , we eat and despite spending most of our time with our wool coats on , we had a great time ….maybe more than Alice was bargaining for but this was real life in Provence , Peter Mayle style more than Patricia Wells style …

Vaison la Romaine is a lovely Roman town as the name say … big enough but not too big   very charming . I took Alice for a little hike up to the castle ruins one afternoon . The cobblestones were slippery , moss was growing everywhere , the light was winter grey just like all the stones …even the local seemed to be hiding !

IMG_3538 (Large)

IMG_3536 (Large)

IMG_3535 (Large)

IMG_3533 (Large)

IMG_3532 (Large)

IMG_3543 (Large)

Time flies …we drove to Avignon to buy some crepe pans at a big supermarket so i could ship them before to fly back to San Diego and took a quick tour of the city … L’Hotel d’Europe was quiet this time of the year …

IMG_3552 (Large)

I cooked one last Japanese meal with my mom , packed all the flowers , photos to decorate her room , took the chocolates and cookies left so she could share with her friends at the nursing home , her home away from home . We talked about her next big birthday party when she would turn 100 ; the sky was the limit … One last hug and I was gone once again .  Love you Mom , you’re in my heart , always .

My mom’s favorite legend of the hummingbirds

IMG_2384 (Edited)

Let’s talk soaps !

Le Savon de Marseille :  The Grand Father of all soaps from Provence !

Pictured below are bars of this iconic soap we found at the back of a shelf in Pascal’s grand mother’s pantry …they looked so cool we brought them with us when we moved and use them as a display in the shop …now in plain site for people to see !

Grandma Gratienne had gone thru the first World War so when the 2nd World War started , she stocked up on soaps so they would not miss it this time around . They were using it for everything , from laundry , hair and body to cleaning furniture or floors .  Today French people still use Savon de Marseille for everything . We have sold it since the day we opened our shop in 1996 . We’ve had to educate our clients who have now discovered how wonderful it is too !  Yes it is the best soap and I will give you a full course on it so you will be able to appreciate it even more .IMG_2319 (Large)

Marseille soap has been produced in Marseille for about 600 years. The first documented soap maker was recorded there in about 1370.  By 1913 production had reached 180,000 tons , and in 1924 there were 132 soap making companies in Marseille but now only four remain …Traditionally, the soap is made by mixing  sea water  from the Mediterranean Sea , olive oil, and the alkaline ash from sea plants together in a large cauldron . This mixture is then heated for several days, stirring constantly. The mixture is allowed to sit until ready, then poured into a mold and allowed to set slightly. While still soft it is cut into bars, stamped, and left to completely harden. The whole process can take up to a month.

IMG_2317 (Large)
Unscented 14.11oz cube of savon de Marseille olive oil or palm oil $12 , Unscented Liquid Hand Soap $27 (16.9 fl oz) , $32 (33.3fl oz)

There are two main varieties of Marseille soap , a greenish hued made with 72% olive oil  and a white made of palm and coconut oil . At the time the common size bar was 1kilograms ( 2.2 lbs ) easier to rub on bed linen and clothes that were being all washed by hand in a ” lavoir ” a public basin  . These soaps are unscented , free of coloring agents , preservative and additive , hypoallergenic and biodegradable ! What else can you ask for !?   We prefer the liquid versions  and use the bar only to treat wine stains or other kind of red stains in particular  . Pre wash by hand the stain area making the soap foam ; let  set for 10-15 minutes , do not rinse and put in your washing machine with your regular detergent for a cycle . Stain is gone ! Because there is no synthetic components to the soap you can use it to clean leather bags and sofas , swede shoes …wash with a soapy sponge and rinse well . Just make sure you wet the entire area or it will leave some wet marks when drying out .

The same wonderful liquid soap also come scented , a gentle wash for your hands that will not dry them out ! We carry all the liquid soaps in 14 different scents all created in Grasse and in 3 sizes : a small plastic pump bottle 10 fl oz $22 , a glass pump bottle 16.9 fl oz $27 and a refill bottle 33.3 fl oz $33

IMG_2299 (Large)
Perfect for the kitchen : Grapefruit or Lemon verbena : Small plastic pump bottle 10 fl oz $22 Glass pump bottle 16.9 fl oz $27 and a refill bottle 33.3 fl oz $33
IMG_2301 (Large)
Wild rose and Lavender , 2 big classic that never disappoint
IMG_2303 (Large)
Mimosa is a yellow flower blooming on the hills of the French Riviera in winter ; it is light , floral and in the family of Orange Blossom which we also carry .
IMG_2306 (Large)
Fig scent is leafy green, fresh , perfect for a kitchen too

Using this high oil content hand soap will not dry out your skin . You can wash your hands over and over . We have a lot of request for a good hand cream from people with dry skin but truly it all starts by using the right soap !

Something nobody really talks about is that the use of hand sanitizers removes the hydrolipidic film (our skin natural barrier to bacteria )   making our skin more permeable and vulnerable to virus . Washing your hands as often as possible with a gentle soap is the recommended way to stay healthy .

IMG_2309 (Large)
Olive wood : light , slightly more masculine scent yet not musky

Marseille Soap has gone hip and sophisticated with these 3 scents that are perfect for a bathroom or powder room ! Come in a small glass pump bottle ( 10 fl oz )  $26 and a refill $37

IMG_2313 (Large)
Anis patchouli , Incense Lavender , Black jasmine

Black and white tea come in a matte glass bottle (16.9 fl oz ) $32  or refill $ 37

IMG_2312 (Large)
For the modern interiors

Last but not least this new version comes enriched with shea butter . Delicate notes of white flowers over a sweet musk scent . 16.9 fl oz matte glass pump bottle $28 , Refill $32 , lip balm $10.95 , Hand cream 20% shea butter $9.95 ( 1oz) IMG_2310 (Large)

IMG_2325 (Large)
Poppy Flower Smells amazing ! ( Guest Marseille Soap 150grs $7.50 ) embroidered pouches $15 , $18.75

Panier des sens organic Olive Oil and Honey /Propolis  lines have a very light scent without being scented . Both soaps are so gentle they can be used on the face . Favorite are the body butter and hand cream which we carry in a regular and purse size .

IMG_2321 (Large)
Soap $10.50 , Body Butter $37 , Hand cream $19.75 , purse size $8.50

Mistral soaps are made with natural and organic ingredients and original perfumes from Grasse, France. These triple-milled bar soaps are long-lasting, luxurious and exquisitely fragrant. Here is our current selection wrapped in beautiful paper .

IMG_2255 (Large)
7oz soaps in best selling verbena , citrus and peony $11.50
IMG_2248 (Large)
Blackcurrant and  Lavender

IMG_2254 (Large)

IMG_2256 (Large)
Rose from Grasse and Lemon from Menton $10.50
IMG_2262 (Large)
Say Thank you with white flowers $12.50
IMG_2260 (Large)
Live your dream …Lavender soap $12.50

Mistral also has come up with a special line dedicated to men . We carry the large soap bars as well as the hair/body wash , after shave , Eau de Parfum and candles in 5 scents

IMG_2259 (Large)
Cedarwood marine , Bourbon Vanilla ,Black amber , Royal cypress and Sandalwood Bamboo $13.50
IMG_0248 (Large)
Eau de Parfum 3.3 fl oz $75 , After Shave  3.4 fl oz $25  , Hair and Body wash 13.5 fl oz  $29.95

Keeping it masculine but not musky , this is Pascal’s favorite and I love that it makes the bathroom smells like a Japanese spa !

IMG_2332 (Large)
Elizabeth W shower gel $24 , Shea butter hand cream $27.50 , Cast iron mustache
IMG_2347 (Large)
Magnolia Bath salts $18 , Hand cream $27.50 , Linen heart lavender sachet $22.50

Elizabeth W uses pure Lavender oil from Provence , it is natural and straight forward that’s why we carry it . We love the hand cream and I use the salve at night or take it on trips because it is compact and solid .

IMG_1795 (Large)
Shower gel $24 , Shea butter hand cream $25 , Salve $11.50 , Candle from Maison Louis Marie $35

Panier des Sens also makes great scented shea butter purse size hand creams and triple milled soaps . We are often asked the difference in between Mistral and Panier des sens . Both are all natural , hard milled , creamy and long lasting soaps . Mistral uses some organic ingredients , complex scents and more fragrance than Panier des Sens which is more about the natural scent of the actual flower or fruit…Many love how fragrant Mistral soaps are but if you prefer a lighter scent  go for a Panier soap . We carry different scents for that purpose , things like old fashioned Violet and linden , rose nectar , lemon blossom , peony , tuberose and best seller cotton flower .

Pair a soap with a purse hand cream or a soap dish to have a little hostess gift always ready !

IMG_1813 (Large)
Metal bird dishes $17.50
IMG_1662
Glass soap dishes $13
IMG_2045 (Large)
Set of 2 assorted soaps tied with a ribbon : coco palm and grapefruit , cherry blossom and matcha green tea , white flowers and water lilies $15
83852F93-ED34-4345-B1EC-C039AF5A3382
Tin Box set of 3 assorted hand creams $27 ( cannot mix or match )

Not as gifty , just simply wrapped in cellophane these are bigger 8.8 oz $9 and will last you a very long time …

IMG_2346(Edited) (Large)
Mirabelle ( fruity plum ) , sea salt , linden and milk are some of the favorites

IMG_2372 (Large)

We started carrying Ode about 12 years ago . We had just discovered Mc Evoy Ranch olive oil just north of San Francisco . We loved that they grow their olives organically , and make their olive oil which they are using  for Ode body line …plus the fact that the lavender oil is from Provence , true , pure essential oil and we were sold ! I have been using the hand and body lotion since . It moisturize deeply without feeling greasy which makes it perfect for a daytime hand cream . Combined with some of their body oil on those dry weather day and you will never feel more comfortable in your skin . I use the scrubs that contain so much oil on my feet all summer to keep my hills smooth and soft . The quality of all the natural ingredients and essential oils they use makes it a stand out and we have since added the Bohemian rose and Citrus Oro . Their scents are light and will dissipate after your put it on so it is not overwhelming to wear with your own perfume .IMG_2361 (Large)IMG_2370 (Large)

Sea salt scrub 10 fl oz $ 37.50, Tube hand cream $2.4 fl oz $16, Body oil 3.7 fl oz $45 , Body lotion with pump 10fl oz $33 , Balm 2oz $22IMG_2374 (Large)IMG_2369 (Large)IMG_2366 (Large)IMG_2367(1) (Large)

Ask us about their facial line made with tones of skin loving ingredients …we carry it as well . All my friends and I are using it now …it does not make me break out or cry like all other creams and is truly that wonderful !  Moisturizer cream , cleanser and  face oil …the best of all ! IMG_2371 (Large)

Looking for Bath products ?  Here are the ones from Mistral : Bubble bath , salts and shower gel in lemon verbena , lavender and sweet white flowers

IMG_2382 (Large)
Bath salts $17 , Bubble bath and shower gel $23
IMG_1797 (Large)
Pre de Provence bath salts $ 17 , Mistral Bath Salts $17 Shower gel $23 , Bubble bath $23 , Sonoma linen water $16.50 , Soy wax candle $12.50

Fragonard perfumed embossed soaps make the perfect gift as they come with a matching soap dish and a beautiful box $29.50  ( Eau de Parfum available in all scents  $ 59 )

IMG_1852 (2)
Jasmine Tea , light floral ,perfect summer scent
IMG_1856 (2)
Top : Peony Pomegranate Right: Linden Cedrat Bottom left: Citrus Jasmine
IMG_1858 (2)
Perfect balance of floral rose and bright crisp lavender , woodzy tonka bean , incense and cedar ( left ) Light earthy sandalwood cardamon ( bottom right )

The shop is now open again ! For your safety and ours we ask you to wear your mask  . We are making all the efforts to keep all of us safe by limiting the amount of clients to 4 maximum and by giving each of you gloves to keep you safe . Private shopping appointments available as well !

You can always order anything for pick up or shipping :  maisonprovence@sbcglobal.net Call or text 619 518 0401

Maison & Objet Paris

Can you believe we are on our 8th week of confinement ?!  Things are easing up a bit , our door is open but we still cannot let anybody in and only take orders via phone or text  on my cell ( 619 518 0401 ) Thank you for keeping us alive in this context  ! Mother’s Day was a great day under this new normal ; we are grateful for your support , for having each other  and just being healthy . Taking it a day at a time is all we can do and the best we can do sometimes …

I am taking a break from taking photos of products ( which I will post later to bring you more things that are hiding in here )  so that I can write this post to follow up on our trip to Paris . We thought January was not the best time to go when now looking back we realize how incredibly lucky we’ve been  to have that time , totally unthinkable now …who knows when Maison et Objet will happen again or how ? Well , I am glad I can take you there now !

IMG_3354 (Large)With the strikes going strong , we are lucky to even have a metro to take us to the show…it is packed like rush hour in Tokyo . First day and the world is coming to visit M&O …a scene from the past ?? IMG_3285 (Large)IMG_3287 (Large)IMG_3288 (Large)This show is huge , many gigantic halls well organized in sections and despite not being able to see the end of it , we are planning to see it all in 2 days ! IMG_3441 (Large)

IMG_3431 (Large)We start slow at the Object section where we can find things for our Maison …No matter if we carry the brand already or not , there is always something to discover  . Tissages de l’Ouest is one of the brand we carry and we love to see what’s new !IMG_0943 (Large)

There is a map for “Made in France” and we are following the thread  …

Some ideas are very clever like these drinking straws being actual real straws !IMG_3332 (Large)Some still clever but not for everyone …IMG_3301 (Large)The French stationary line I fell in love with and that we will carry soon …a mix of Rifle paper and “Anthropologie” , a little bohemian “French style” ! IMG_3296 (Large)

IMG_3297 (Large)

IMG_3295 (Large)Whether we call the trend Bohemian or vintage , prints are everywhere from wall paper to slippers ! We are very tempted to start the trend here too ! IMG_3327 (Edited) (Large)

The new and improved market rolling bag folds so you can carry it easily when on your way to the grocery shop or to store at home or in your car ….and it comes in fun prints bien sur !IMG_3306 (Large)

IMG_3307 (Large)Price was the only issue that was and is still making me hesitate to order some …same for the bow ties ( noeud papillon or “noeud pap” )  that also came in so many prints !

Time for a quick break and for Alice to finally have her first “jambon beurre” sandwich IMG_3329 (Large)Color color color …rich and deep just like we’ve seen at Merci shop the day before ! IMG_0949 (Large)Unfortunately these twin sisters do not want to export yet as they are already too busy with the European market or we would have these already !

 

The original lavender sachet , Made in Provence just like my mom taught me …I use to make and sell mine during the summer at my parent’s gas station . I have been trying to give a class to show how to make these special wands but have a hard time finding enough fresh lavender to buy from the local farms who want to keep their production for their own sales or distillation …maybe this summer ! Let me know if you would like to attend and I will start a list .

IMG_0885 (Large)

Everything is inspirational …so much creativity ! IMG_0880 (Large)

IMG_3442 (Large)

IMG_3402 (Large) (2)

Day 2 …we made it again with our suitcases this time as we will fly to Marseille tonight . Air France had a counter at the show where we could check in our bags and avoid hauling them around from the convention center to the airport just 10mns shuttle away . This allowed us to stay at the show until the last minute without stress . IMG_3481 (Large)We are starting with the Metiers d’Art which include artists as well as artisans perpetuating century old traditional crafts like the Anduze vases IMG_3383 (Large)

IMG_3480 (Large)

Or contemporary expressions of French style

IMG_3380 (Large)

IMG_3398 (Large)3D frame of Gustave Eiffel in his studio working on a big project …

 

IMG_3376 (Large)

Taking a quick break before to move to the home section of the show . The trend is very much into 20’s style …small rounded shapes , lots of velvet , brass , funky browns, dusty pinks and copper tones . Every living space has to look like a bar or boudoir , even the contemporary brands like Ligne Roset are showing it . It is not my thing but I can see young hipsters going crazy for it ! IMG_3446 (Large)

On the other side , natural , linen and soft pastels  are still current IMG_3349 (Large)

IMG_3348 (Large)

IMG_3414 (Large)

IMG_3412 (Large)

Love how creative the displays are …IMG_3434 (Large)Showcasing farm style dishes in matte finish  and muted colors

IMG_3436 (Large)

Even the traditional cafe chairs are coming in pastels too IMG_3473 (Large)

We cannot resist a little Christian Lacroix inspiration again …IMG_3455 (Large)How cool are these platters !IMG_3457 (Large)

Merci Louis is still for me  THE brand with the most unique style and creativity  keeping a French identity and giving it a twist  “The brand’s concept consists in juggling with the classic style codes of 17th and 18th century France and using them to create contemporary objects ” We carried some of their trompe l’oeil candle holders , whimsical chandeliers , trays, file boxes when they first launched the brand in 2013 IMG_3449 (Large)

IMG_3451 (Large)
Parchment paper chandelier
IMG_3452 (Large)
Trompe l’oeil candle holders
IMG_3450 (Large) (2)
File boxes

IMG_3454 (Large) (2)

IMG_3423 (Large)Just for Alice … IMG_3420 (Large)IMG_3419 (Large)

IMG_3468 (Large)IMG_3467 (Large)This is the inspiration for a window Alice did after coming back ! It is still up even though the leaves have started to wilt but it reminds me of Paris so I have a hard time giving it up . We might have to do an other fresh one for you to enjoy …soon we hope !IMG_3475 (Large)

IMG_3476 (Large)

Handcrafted jewelry by French Designer

My friend Lisiane is from the south of France just like us , but we met here in San Diego over 20 years ago . She makes beautiful dainty jewelry , all handcrafted right here in SoCal …local with a French flair ! Each piece is unique but since you cannot come in right now , I will bring our selection out of the case for you to choose from the safety of your home . These make wonderful gifts , birthday , graduation , mom …

Lisiane uses gold-filled , a much better quality than gold platted allowing her to hammer the thread and shape it as she wishes . She also uses sterling silver , semi precious stones and  fresh water pearls . Necklaces unless specified are about 16″ long with an extension chain to adjust it to about  17″ .

Call or text me if you have any questions about a particular piece or to place an order : 619 518 0401   Marielle Giai

Lilipo Jewelry

We never plan it but we often twin with matching looks !

Gold and silver rings on chain $59, Wire heart $50 , Briolettes necklace $89
Star necklaces : single star $55 , trio $59
Bracelets $ 39-$49
IMG_1602 (Large)

Gold filled necklaces with side details , from the left : Apatite $55 , Turquoise $62 ( sold ) , Single stone $50

Mix Matched Hoops $39  but if you really want matching , Lisiane can make you an other set so you can wear them paired or not !

IMG_1592 (Large)

Gold filled Nuage Hoops with side pearl $50 ( sold )

IMG_1590 (Large)

Gold filled and fresh water pearls with tiny turquoise detail $50 , Hammered gold filled hoops with tiny turquoise detail $42

IMG_1623 (Large)Bracelets with adjustable length  from the left : Nuage Sterling silver ( sold ) , Paper clip Gold filled both $45 , Sterling and gold filled beads $50 , Heart ( sold ) and Nuage  ( sold ) both $45

NEW DELIVERY !

IMG_1596 (Large)

Paperclip necklace $55 (sold)  Stormy cloud $59 ( sold ) Lightning $55

IMG_1608 (Large)

Sterling silver necklaces Lightning  $55 , Paperclip $55

Earrings Sterling or Gold filled $39

IMG_1622 (Large)

Paperclip studs $39 ,paperclip drop $45

IMG_1594 (Large)

Tarnished sterling silver necklaces with gold filled accents :  Paperclip $62 , Heart shaped front clasp and sterling medal $150 , Lightning $55

IMG_2073 (Large)

Small hoops with wired blue amethyst $49

IMG_1456 (Large)

Long ” Nuage” drop necklaces with cloud detail : Left Larimer stone $76  ( sold ) , Right sleeping beauty turquoises $72

IMG_1452 (Large)

Gold and silver intertwined hearts on tarnished silver necklace $59 (sold) Gold chain with gold and silver hearts $59 ( sold ) Sterling chain and heart $55 ( sold )

Sterling small heart necklace $55, Sterling large heart necklace $68, top nuage/pearl hoops $42 , lightning /crystal hoops $42 , small cross /pearl hoops $35 . Sterling Nuage necklace $55 ,Sterling Nuage /pearl earrings $42

Woman Accesories

Here are some of our latest accessories . I will keep uploading photos on our site/blog so you can see what is in stock !

Graf lanz bags : Light weight felt wool, leather handles , beautiful details and craftsmanship , Made in LA  , waterproof , does not pill…my favorite bags and why I made an exception to the French made Large felt tote from G&L $220 and wool pouch from Inouii $60 ( gold panther )

Large felt tote also comes in charcoal $220 . Perfect to accent with contrasting accessories like a fun beret ( $19.50 )

More wool pouches from Inouii ; silver and gold panther $60, Black Yack $60

Stylish felt cross body bags $229 ( moss sold )

These are also some of my favorites. I discovered this brand while traveling. Uashmama bags are made by a family in Tuscany …the best thing is that they are made of washable paper which make them feather light ! Many colors and 3 shapes to choose from ! From $69 for the clutches to $149 for the large totes

New Baskets in bright fun colors ! $89

Sisal Natural /Black $69
Sisal Natural/blue $59

Baskets lined so you can close the top : Horizontal stripes $70, Vertical stripes with pompom $85, two tone medium size $49 , small black ( not lined ) $37.50

Large boat style $79 , My pick for travels …fits behind car seats with this shape , great leather reinforcements at the top so the basket won’t fray , a very convenient basket ! The classic : Medium size two tone basket $49

Large boat in grey $79 , Vertical stripes ( sold out ) , Medium classic 2 tone $49

Year round classic and best sellers Kimono robes in super soft light weight cotton voile $75 Unique size . ( Made in India ) Did you know that Provencal prints were called “Indiennes” because originally the fabrics were imported from India before they were printed in Provence the same way with wood blocks !

Bird Coral

Sardaigne in Sky blue or Natural

Aix Gris

Papillon Hazel above and Aqua below

Avignon Framboise

Cap Ferret Aqua

New and already best seller these Tunic /Dress , night gown or cover up in the same soft and light weight cotton . Sizes S M L XL $69.95 in Navy or coral

Wrap, poncho or scarf, this one can be either ! $69

Also comes in a blue pattern

L’Ile St Louis ~ Le Marais ~ Le Haut Marais …What a day !

Dear friends and clients ,

Already 4 weeks that our shop has its doors closed to the public …it is still surreal but we have been able to stay in touch via our social medias , emails , shipped birthday gifts and care packages to loved ones , have put in place a curbside pick up hotline on my cell ( 619 518 0401 ) and have received lots of heart warming support by our tight community of long time customers . It is overwhelming to feel so much love and we are forever grateful .  In the meantime I will try to take you away from it all with this post ….lets walk and discover the hippest neighborhoods of Paris together. IMG_0798 (Large)Sunrise from our room …traffic is already heavy as people cannot rely on public transportation and so can’t we . We’ll start with a nice breakfast at the hotel looking at Notre Dame before to head out  . This hotel location has really been the best in these conditions , we can just step outside and stroll along the Seine . All of Paris is within reach !

Notre Dame reconstruction seems to be on the way IMG_3151 (Large)We are crossing onto l’Ile Saint Louis oh so well known for its ice cream shop “Berthillon” but it is no weather for that right now and this little island has a lot more to offer ! IMG_3152 (Large)We have just put a foot on the island and here is Alice’s favorite …Stationary ! IMG_3154 (Large)I recognize some lines we sell and find a new one I love …reminds me of Rifle Papers with an “Anthropologie” bohemian look …

How cool is this “fan” journal ! So you can  write in secret …

IMG_3155 (Large)Fun old fashion surprise gift pouches IMG_3158 (Large)There is even a Youth Hostel on the Ile and not so shabby too  !

Around the corner some young high school kids are getting ready for some protest . In France you learn early to barricade and fight …it’s in your blood , our national anthem!

2nd on Alice’s list of favorites : Antique shops . L’Ile St Louis is also well know for that . You just wander and find hidden squares with shops everywhere but a whole remodel is going on right now , lots and lots of construction witch will make for an even prettier re-opening of all those shops . http://www.levillagesaintpaul.com/index-en.html

The ones we found open were well curated and so very French ! IMG_3170 (Large)IMG_3173 (Large)Au Petit Bonheur La Chance …Try out your chance …you may be lucky ! http://aupetitbonheurlachance.fr/

IMG_3181 (Large)IMG_3180 (Large)La Mâle d’Effeenne concept store , the concept of 2 very creative minds : clothes, jewelry, home accessories , part Couture , part steampunk , eclectic and probably the most unique, stylish beautiful shop we came across ( it was still closed when we walked by so google them to see photos of what’s hiding inside )  http://www.lamaledeffeenne.com/ IMG_3185 (Large)One bridge crossing and we are stepping into the Marais . Fashionable Le Marais …little brother of New York  SoHo,  AKA  SoMa ( South Marais ) versus even more hip Haut Marais  / NorMa ( Northern Marais ) often compared to Nolita in NYC …you already get the picture !IMG_3195 (Edited) (Large)And here it is …my new favorite : combo chocolatier and patisserie , Japanese flavors and French know how !!! Never heard of them but it was love at first sight . You read about my love for Aoki patisserie in Day 1 blog post in Paris but this is the new updated and improved version of a French/Japanese patisserie . It has all the attention to details and finesse without the feeling of being overly fancy … totally approachable . You just want to eat that delicious cake ! IMG_0749 (Large)

http://les-trois-chocolats-paris.com/IMG_0751 (Large)Yuzu lemon , Hojicha (roasted green tea ) , Sakura ( cherry blossom ) , shiso ( a leaf with very unique flavor used like cilantro garnish ) wasabi ?? so many discoveries to be made , if this does not excite your taste buds ?!IMG_3189 (Large)I picked a bunch of chocolates for the road but I could seriously have bought the whole store ! How about these matcha “almond tuiles” . Tuiles are my mom’s specialty …no shop in Provence made better ones than hers …and she taught me how to …I just have to blend some matcha in mine now … Leaving inspired !

IMG_3196 (Edited) (Large)Popelini : I am not sure their Cream puffs are fabulous but the display was very clever and fun! IMG_3197 (Large)We pass the elegant Place des Vosges and make our way up . Shops are getting interesting , more eclectic  not that we would buy one of those shirts for our husbands but patterns , bow ties and old fashioned men’s underwear seams to be the new hype ! IMG_3199 (Large)IMG_3200 (Large)

Made in France is also a big trend ! There is a “carte Francaise” that link all the small businesses who pledge to make everything in France to support french craftsmanship and old manufactures on the verge of closing . I will support France’s underwear industry and will buy a very well made old fashioned “slip” for my Valentine …after all why not ?!

Even the packaging is really well made ! But are American men ready to spend $40 for a brief to have ” La classe ” even under their jeans  ??

https://www.leslipfrancais.ch/fr/nouvelle-collection-401

Cute window ! Daddy Chick Mommy Chick  Mini Chick …

IMG_3246 (Large)Just 5 mns away from the newly re opened  Picasso Museum is Breizh Cafe  . Whether you want a traditional crepe , galette or try one of their creative take on a crepe ( this Breton French man is married to a Japanese women and they had this idea of crepes like sushi rolls ) No matter what , the products are authentic and I think  a great place to have a crepe in Paris either French or Japanese way   https://breizhcafe.com/fr/la-crepe-autrement-crepes-galettes-bretonnes-creperie-paris-saint-malo-cancale-tokyo/.

Slowly but surely we are moving into the Haut Marais and you can tell . La rue du Pont aux Choux is where hip is starting to take shape . All the sudden you have an “appointment only ” showroom ;  “Heureux les Curieux” a concept gallery that represent a new designer or artist every month   http://www.heureuxlescurieux.com/  We miss the Made in France expo by a week but there is always something unique to see. Next door is an old shoe shop ” Cordonnerie” transformed into a coffee shop , a “Boulangerie” now a secret Boutique Hotel  also designed by Christian Lacroix as the matter of fact http://www.hotelpetitmoulinparis.com/en/   and also what looks like the hottest place to eat some fried chicken Japanese curry bowls just by checking out the line of hipsters waiting … https://www.timeout.com/paris/en/restaurants/pontochoux

IMG_3249 (Edited) (Large)IMG_3204 (Large)Merci is THE concept store that started it all , where trends have been made , where you see what’s in now , what’s cool . Despite having diluted the concept and becoming a bit more commercial due to its success , it remains a must go to .IMG_0831 (Large)IMG_3211 (Large)

IMG_3234 (Large)

IMG_3230 (Large)

IMG_3222 (Large)IMG_3226 (Large)My dream coffee shop ~ library

IMG_3210 (Edited) (Large)Recommended by the locals we keep walking north and encounter more professional showrooms where new up and coming designers are looking at making it in Paris fashion scene . IMG_3247 (Large)But what made the Haut Marais a cultural destination is “le Carreau du Temple”. Once a  semi-abandoned 19th-century covered market has now found new life as a beautifully redesigned center for exhibitions, performances, sports, exercise, eating, drinking, and people-watching ! And it just happened that there is a fashion show about to open …watching people waiting to attend the event is just as much fun as visiting the hall itself but I am too shy to take photos even though they all look editorial ready ! IMG_3242 (Large)IMG_3241 (Large)We figured out how to find a very coveted clean public bathroom without having to drink more or eat more … Public Administration Buildings ! City Hall , Libraries all have really nice ones and nobody goes there . We stop at the corner library which also offered a nice respite for our tired feet .IMG_3256 (Large)Now we are on the hunt for one more specialty shop …a notion store because we both love to sew and get into craft projects of all kinds . Google shows one so we decide to give it a shot even though it had to take us back near the Opera . We sure did not regret… what a find !! Ultramod opened up here in 1832 and not much has changed . We are like kids in a candy shop but only have 15mns before they are closing for the day …IMG_3259 (Large)IMG_3267 (Large)

Actually there are 2 shops on each side of the street , the 2nd is all about hat making !

IMG_3263 (Large)IMG_3264 (Large)IMG_3260 (Large)Here is a link to an article with the whole story about this piece of France Fashion history . https://www.rebeccadevaney.ie/blog/2019/6/3/ultramod-the-oldest-haberdashery-in-paris IMG_3270 (Large)Galerie Vivienne is a covered street or “passage” like you find all over Paris . This is one of the prettiest with cute shops like Mad Et Len selling my ultimate favorite pot pourri if you like deep earthy scents .IMG_3271 (Large)

IMG_3273 (Large)You probably know of the Jardin du Palais Royal right by Le Louvre Museum because of its “Instagrammable” striped columns courtyard . Yes this is the way some people travel …in search of Instagram spots !!  I always walked through the Jardin  not the covered alley surrounding the garden but at night only the Gallerie is open to foot traffic witch led to more discoveries . This is where the famous perfume creator Serge Lutens perfume house is …mysterious and enchanting …https://www.sergelutens.com/us/ IMG_3276 (Large)And next door a costume jewelry boutique IMG_3278 (Large)IMG_3277 (Large)It’s been one of those extra long and exciting day and as we make our walk back across the bridge we know there is more excitement to come with dinner at this little Bistro On L’ile St Louis …We eat in one of their sister restaurants the day before …but this one is a step up ! Normally we would have had to make a reservation , specially for a Friday night , but the transportation strikes have hit restaurants hard …people just try to get back home somehow and eating out is not on the schedule . Tonight we will eat at “Les Fous de l’Ile ” IMG_3358 (Large)Bistronomy is an etymological blend of “bistro” and “gastronomy”  , a new breed of bistros run by creative young chefs with formidable haute cuisine training  serving quality food at gentle prices instead of reaching for Michelin stars. Tonight will be all this and more . A casual cozy setting , tight seating so you can start conversation with the eater next to you ,wonderful food for an unbeatable price compare to anyplace in San Diego . For the 2 of us , the bill came up to 66E tax and tip included  , that is barely $75 US . OK we did not drink wine just bottled water but still…I would drive miles for the same meal here !

https://www.lesfousdelile.com/en/

IMG_3364 (Edited) (Large)
Ossau Irati sheep milk cheese with citrus cream, shaved persimon and tangerine

Dessert was incredible as well !

IMG_3368 (Edited) (Large)
Made to order Napoleon with home made ice cream

The place is filled with locals and our only wish is to eat tomorrow at their other sister restaurant just a 10mns walk from our hotel too . Le Christine is more Gastro than Bistro , a casual elegant place witch 3 course menu will cost you 46E /$50  taxes and tip included  Still a Steal !  https://www.restaurantlechristine.com/en/  Eating in Paris has been surprisingly reasonable if you avoid the tourist traps or tourist places in general …ask your hotel always and people in surrounding shops , they know best !

Tomorrow is a big day . We are going to Maison & Objet , one of the largest and most influential home and gift show in Europe …but this will be an other post on its own !

Merci for reading ! Until next post please Stay Safe and Stay Home !

Philarmonie de Paris and Saint Germain

To all of you who take the time to read my blog I wanted to thank you for doing so .   I enjoy sharing our culture , our experiences , a bit of France with you . The hardest part for me is always to find the time to do it….and then overnight , here we are , confined at home with all the time in the world …Pascal and I are very fortunate to be able to take this pause and try to make the best of it . Is this a preview of what retirement could feel like ?? We love having this time for us , time to rest , to connect with friends in France via video chats , repaint the shop …but we realize that for many it will be a period of stress , pain ,  financial struggle so we will keep bringing you some happy images to brighten your day during this time of turmoil .    Stay Safe   Stay Healthy  Stay Home please .

Philarmonie de Paris and Saint Germain :

I always look for special installations when going to a big city …I got to see  some fabulous photo exhibitions : Richard Avedon in New York , Helmut Newton at the Grand Palais  and  these have made lasting memories . So going to Paris I was hoping for something special again . L’atelier des lumieres ( the Parisian version of the Carrieres de Lumieres we have in Les Baux de Provence ) was closed in January to prepare its new show . This is always fabulous and I would recommend you to see it   https://www.atelier-lumieres.com/ or even better in the quarries of Les Baux .  https://www.carrieres-lumieres.com/en/whats-on

The Cité de la Musique “City of Music” known as Philharmonie is a group of institutions dedicated to music and situated on the outskirts of Paris . It consists of an amphitheater, a concert hall that can accommodate an audience of 800–1,000, a music museum containing an important collection of classical music instruments dating mainly from the fifteenth- to twentieth-century and a music library . The architecture itself is worth going and the exhibition they have now is right up my alley !IMG_0636 (Large)IMG_0632 (Large)IMG_0633 (Large)

IMG_0643 (Large)IMG_0642 (Large)

Next to the concert Hall is the Music Museum

The exhibition from Pierre et Gilles is designed as a musical and visual installation through an assembly of more than a hundred of their photo-paintings .  The 2 French artists have a vision that is unique to them . Since 1976 iconic musicians , singers or actors have come to their studio . Pierre takes the photo in a set they create , then Gilles paints over it ….all over it !  The final image float in between photo and painting in a bright color haze with crazy  frames they also make. I’ve been a fan since the mid 80’s and always thought these were collages, mixed media  when in fact it is all real props in a studio set up . What was so cool for me is that you would listen to the music from the artist photographed at that time . It gave a whole other dimension to this pop culture exhibition . IMG_0651 (Large)

Fashion Designer Jean Paul Gauthier and his boyfriend below :IMG_0653 (Large)IMG_0668 (Large)

IMG_0664 (Large)

IMG_0688 (Large)IMG_0657 (Large)IMG_0687 (Large)Some of the props from their studioIMG_0660 (Large)IMG_0661 (Large)The exhibition is following us back to Paris IMG_3209 (Large)It took time and some help from the locals to figure out how to get back “intramuros” The line we took to come had closed until 4pm due to the strikes , the other we could take just 10mns away was not stopping to all stations right now and not going all the way to the left bank …a couple of hours later we were finally in St Germain ! We had missed lunch but thought there would be plenty of  temptations along the way…

Now is actually time to confess …that I delete ALL my photos from that day except for one I took with my phone .Why is the trash button next to the import button ? and why did it never asked if “I wanted to delete all 86 items” ? It only took 2 breaths to realize the check marks were not turning blue a usual when importing but just checked and all had vanished from the memory stick of my camera within 4 seconds . So now i will have to rely on my poor writing skills and a few photos that thankfully Alice took !

I always love St Germain . It has historical cafes , brasseries , bookstores as well as chic boutiques , designer shops big and small , Le Bon Marche department store , La Grande Epicerie de Paris , The Conran shop and many of my favorite patisseries from Pierre Herme to Angelina and Pierre Conticini’s Patisserie des Reves . But Pierre Herme fell short for me this time . His encyclopedia of pastries recipes is my bible but the shop felt corporate ,the half empty cases had pretty generic macarons …so we kept on going but we needed something to fuel up . Nothing better than a hot chocolate from Angelina . It is pretty small but I promise there is no way you can drink more . It is that rich , thick and creamy !  https://www.angelina-paris.fr/en/homeIMG_0705 (Large)I discovered Angelina when I was modeling for a couture line showing during Fashion Week at the Intercontinental Hotel rue de Rivoli ( now the Westin Vendome ) I did not care for macarons much and sure had to stay away from them at the time… that was until I tried the XL version from Angelina . It was the smoothest texture with  more ganache or creme au beurre, a real cake , decadent and addictive ! Now when I make macarons at home , I make them large as well …not to mention it is also easier to pipe IMG_0696 (Large)Wondering through Le Bon Marche in search for products for our shop …I was happy to see that we sell some of the Brands they carry  .

Their coffee shop had a real impressive table .

Wondering through the Conran Shop is always interesting .IMG_0700 (Large)A lot of my favorite shops have changed style, some have closed like Blanc d’Ivoire (we sold their quilts and beautiful candles for years) , Christian Tortu the famous florist had closed and La Patisserie des Reves had closed just a few weeks ago …Things are changing and evolving … you can never rely on your success and let your guard down … people move with the flow and you have to be able to bring it or stay behind where you may die . Out the blue we stumbled onto this new store : Des Gateaux et du pain . A breath of fresh air in this world of traditional pastries . We are tempted by every single cake and after much deliberation , we finally settle for this beautiful and delicious one combining pistachio and rose . It was as delicate in flavor as it looked  !  https://www.desgateauxetdupain.com/IMG_0801(Edited) (Large)We walked 25 000 steps with a matcha latte , 2 croissants for breakfast  , half a coke at noon to get some more caffeine , a hot chocolate at 4pm to warm us up as it is rainy and chilly … We are jet lagged , pretty drained and we need some dinner witch we found by accident along the way .  Across an Alain Ducasse restaurant ( serving  all things Alice will not dare to eat) Le Colvert is a tiny little bistro bustling with local patrons . We are happy to just seat down and enjoy some simple comfort food casseroles . The young couple who owns it also owns 2 other restaurants nearby .This one is the most basic , the others are bistronomie and gastro-bistro . We are intrigued and happy to think that we could have some real good food close by . Many of the places I wanted to go are way to far to walk to;  taxis and Uber are slammed and it takes twice longer to drive than walk with all the traffic ! https://lecolvertbistrot.com/

We crash in our comfy pad with pretty fantastic views . Paris will always be Paris !IMG_3372 (Large)IMG_3280 (Large)The next day will bring a lot more fun and exciting discoveries as we spent the whole day in Le Marais and Haut Marais , the SoHo of Paris , the brewing area for new designers, small brands and shops , trend setters …we’ll have the best meal of the trip and I have ALL the photos !! Next post will have more visual and less talking so I hope you will stay tuned .

 

Paris is always a good idea …strikes or not !

Paris is magical even to us us French . Whether it is on your bucket list or not at all , this city will sweep you away . I rarely have the opportunity to go so I totally feel like a tourist when I go and that makes me appreciate this place even more ! This January was calling for a visit . The Show Maison & Objet was just days before my Mom’s 90’s birthday … Even though I research for new things outside of conventions a lot , this Show has always been amazing , a fantastic source of inspiration and on Alice ‘s bucket list . Paris in winter and during public transportation strike …that won’t lessen our excitement ! It will be cold and we will walk a lot so we will NEED to eat a lot …all indulgences allowed !IMG_0772 (Large)Alice has been working for us for 10 years and her creativity transforms the shop with her beautiful windows and displays . I am sure this trip with get her creative cells in overdrive and she’ll come back with more fabulous ideas for our little shop . It is about time we go to France together ! IMG_3010 (Large)We just landed and yes it is confirmed …the strikes are still going on ; but there is always one going on and I’d rather be that than protests with shops boarded up , so we decide to take the shuttle bus from the airport and then a taxi from the Opera to our hotel . And here we are in the heart of Paris …got to take  at least one tourist selfie ! But the best is that we will have that same view from our hotel window for the next 5 days . Now I am really glad I switch from my old favorite tiny hotel l’ Hotel du Champs de Mars near the Eiffel Tower ( https://www.hotelduchampdemars.com/  ) for this one . I’ve been a huge fan of French designer Christian Lacroix  probably because his fashion creations were always inspired by his roots from Provence . Not everybody gets it or like it but I love it ! And the central location is key specially when you cannot rely on public transportation .

The hotel revamp was done a few years ago and since there are plenty of new hip hotels , the prices have gone down.  I found it very affordable with nice size rooms . Plus when the subway is reliable the line goes straight from here to the airport in less than 40mns . https://hotelnotredameparis.com/en/hotel.htmlIMG_3006 (Large)We dropped our bags and head out …we are seriously hungry and it is time for lunch . Serious lunch ! IMG_3012 (Large)I’ve been dreaming about a real choucroute Alsacienne since we missed out when in Strasbourg a couple of summers ago ( there were no way we could eat this kind of food when it is 95F )  Brasseries serve a very typical french menu and in general serve NON STOP all day and that is a big difference with restaurants that will only serve lunch from  noon to 1.30 pm . I still like to go at lunch time so you get the ambiance with the locals who will certainly not go out to lunch at 2 … We love Brasserie Lipp in Saint Germain (https://www.brasserielipp.fr/en/ )  had wonderful meals at Le Wepler before to go to the Moulin Rouge  ( https://www.wepler.com/en/la-carte/ ) and we really enjoyed our meal here at Brasserie Flo ( https://www.floderer-paris.com/?locale=en )

We tried both the regular choucroute and the one cooked in beer …loved the rich flavor it brought to the sauerkraut . Ad some real hot French mustard , thick smoked bacon, sausages , knacks, pork shank, potatoes and this will fuel you for the next 10-15 miles you are about to walk ! Ad bottle of mineral water for a total cost of 43E for 2 … amazing to have such great food for only $46 .

IMG_3021 (Edited) (Large)Now we need to walk off these calories … window shopping or “lèche vitrine ” as we say  ( literally “licking window displays ” ) Le Printemps is a bit old fashioned …

The Galeries Lafayettes are always a stand out . You have go to the old building to see its glass dome and the art nouveau architecture . Plus you can find all the top fashion brands . IMG_0783 (Large)IMG_0785 (Large)The roof top offers magnificent views of the Opera Garnier , the Eiffel Tower and to the other side Montmartre Sacre Cœur . They even have an outdoor bar / snacks in summer .IMG_3033 (Large)Next door is also the Galeries Lafayettes Home decor and Food Hall …a concentrate of all the best pastries and chocolatiers like Alain Ducasse

IMG_3043 (Large)One of my favorite is Sadaharu Aoki who opened his very first shop in Paris in 2001.  Using traditional Japanese ingredients and flavors in French-style pastries was a real novelty back then . His style is defined as a combination of minimalistic aesthetics with rigorous French techniques .

King cakes are everywhere right now and eclairs are way more fancy than ever

You cannot miss Laduree …they are everywhere ! All over Paris all the way to the airport . I don’t think you can leave France without buying a box ; even I did after resisting  dozen boutiques, stands in various corners of town until the very last cart inside the gate terminal in Charles de Gaulle ! After all the box alone makes a wonderful souvenir gift that your friends will adore !

The Prada windows were already very spring like …IMG_3031 (Large)While Repetto was all about Valentine’s day IMG_0790 (Large)An other of our favorite designer , Celine Wright  had a whole display of her paper clouds lights  . I find her work poetic and inspiring …an other French made with some Japanese influence

Our first day after just landing here has already been very fullfilling and it is time to head back to our hotel …on foot ! Traffic is crazy at this time and it takes 40mns by car versus 25 by foot . As we are making our way down from the Opera to Place Vendome I remember The Ritz hotel having a cart during the Holidays , selling pastries from their newly crown Best Pastry restaurant of Les grandes tables du Monde . ( https://www.sogoodmagazine.com/pastry-blog/pastry-news/francois-perret-winner-2019-prize-best-restaurant-pastry/ )  The cart is no longer there so we wonder inside the galerie and into the patisserie . Cakes look like nothing we’ve ever seen so we decide to buy a couple to take back to our room …we had no idea these 2 would cost us more than lunch …Oh well c’est la vie a Paris and they were delicious !

https://www.instagram.com/francoisperretpatisserie/?hl=enIMG_3059 (Large)IMG_3058 (Large)Please subscribe to the blog to get the next blog post on Le Marais , Maison et Objet …

La Saint Valentin

Here at Maison en Provence we keep  Valentine’s Day merchandise classy with beautiful clutches from Japan , bags from France, Jewelry by our designer and friend Lisiane ….but since I was in France in January I will give you a taste of  how Valentine’s  windows looked liked in Paris already and what is the big new thing when it comes to underwear ! IMG_1221 (Large)IMG_1219 (Large)IMG_1222(Edited) (Large)IMG_1225 (Large)

IMG_0104 - Copy

Paris’s windows are always beautiful and I will write more about this past trip soon but here is what’s the new trend when it comes to underwear …after all it’s Valentine’s Day and a lot of froufrou lingerie is “de rigueur” that day ! But I’ve never seen such an enthusiasm for men’s underwear …shops popped up everywhere in Paris , young men proud of their  All Made in France brands , showing off fun , revamped underwear . Let me tell you ,  your father’s brief is making a come back big time in Paris ! IMG_3251 (Edited) (Large)

Well made , very nice packaging , all together a perfect Valentine’s day gift for him ! But I am not sure American men would spend 45Euros ( $50 ) for their father’s brief 😉

Repetto shop was all dressed up in soft pinks and reds IMG_0790 (Large)

LaDuree macarons were all kisses and hearts IMG_0781 (Large)And my new favorite chocolate shop in Le Marais had the most beautiful chocolate bars I ever seen !

IMG_3191 (Edited) (Large)Subscribes to our blog to stay in the know 🙂 A bientot

Crepes fourees au Grand Marnier souffle

What’s best ? A crepe ? or a Grand Marnier Souffle ?

A crepe stuffed with Grand Marnier Souffle !!!! The French favorite Holiday of the Chandeleur is coming up February 2nd ( read more about it on the blog in a previous “recipe “post ) and you are just in time to master the art of crepe making ! Here are some tips from my kitchen .

I served mines with some home made Grand Marnier gelato ( just ad  Grand Marnier to a gelato cream base ) and it was the perfect hot , cold , fluffy and chewy texture …amazing and sure to blow your mind and your guest’s mind !

img_3526 (large)

This recipe will make 6 small individual crepes .  ( The ones on the photo were big : 11″ diameter and big enough for 2 people )

First you need to make the crepes ( see recipe under “La Chandeleur ” ) and put aside . It is best to make them just before not too long in advance .

Then make a pastry cream ( This can be done in advance )

250 ml of milk , 3 egg yolks , 50 grams of granulated sugar ( about 3 1/2 Tbs) 15 grams ( 2 small tbsp ) of corn starch . 1/2  vanilla bean .

Mix the egg yolks with sugar and corn starch  . Ad the warm milk infused with the vanilla bean . Return to the pan and cook until it bubble mixing with a wooden spoon all the time ) . The boiling process smooth the pastry cream . Remove from heat and reserve with a plastic wrap covering the cream ( it has to touch the cream or this one will make a “skin”  ) You can keep in refrigerator for a couple of days .

Prepare the souffle batter just before to cook or it won’t rise so well .

Beat with an electric whisk 4 large egg whites with a pinch of salt . When getting firm , ad slowly 2 tbsp of sugar . and continue to beat until firm and shinny .

Incorporate gently the egg white mix into the pastry cream ( the cream cannot be hot , if you just made it . let it cool down at room temperature ) Do not over mix .

img_3521 (large)img_3522 (large)

Stuff the crepes while setting them up on parchment paper . img_3523 (large)

Cook 10-12 mns in hot oven 375-400F  until fluffy . Do not open the oven or the souffle will flop .

img_3524 (large)

Sprinkle with confectioner sugar and serve immediately with the Grand Marnier gelato or home made “creme anglaise ” ( see below )  flavored with Grand Marnier . I made a little hole into the middle of the crepe and spoon a scoop of gelato that melted and worked like the sauce does when you eat a grand Marnier souffle. If you do not want alcohol you can serve this with vanilla gelato and  chocolate sauce .

Basic creme anglaise : It is almost the same principal as the pastry cream with the difference that this one cannot boil or it will curl .

4 egg yolks + 80 grams of sugar + 400 ml of warm milk. return to the pan and cook on low to medium low heat turning constantly with a wooden spoon until it coats the spoon ( this can takes around 10-13 mns ) Ad Grand Marnier to your liking ; I like about 40 ml

img_3525 (large)