L’Atelier Blanc, Valbonne – France

If you’re passing through the old village of Valbonne in the area of Nice-Antibes on the French Riviera, pop in to L’Atelier Blanc (12, rue de la Mairie), a newly-opened boutique by two friends seeking a fresh adventure. You will find myriad inspiration for interiors, exteriors, gifts, and accessories for all ages, within a stylish decor. Plus, a selection of rare products from one of my faves Côté Bastide. And while you’re in town, be sure to indulge your sweet tooth at le glacier (26 Rue Eugène Giraud) whose artisan Patrick Provo perfected his skills at Lenôtre.

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Si vous passez par Valbonne dans l’arrière pays de Nice-Antibes sur la Côte d’Azur, poussez la porte de L’Atelier Blanc (12 rue de la Mairie), une boutique ouverte il y a un mois par deux amies à la recherche d’une nouvelle adventure. Inspirations maison, jardin, bureau, cadeaux pour tous les âges, dans une ambiance élégante – en plus, on y trouve des produits de ma boutique aixoise chouchou Côté Bastide. Et profitez-en pour vous laisser tenter par une douceur chez le glacier (26 Rue Eugène Giraud) dont l’artisan Patrick Provo est passé par l’école Lenôtre.

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Tried it. Loved it. Shared it.
Valbonne Village
www.tourisme-valbonne.com

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Lodge Eco-Friendly Home, Bordeaux – France

Voici une de mes adresses favorites de Bordeaux.

Une boutique dans le quartier Saint-Pierre qui éveille nos envies de maison – déco – cadeaux avec des objets joliment mis en scène, et qui donne du sens à nos emplettes. On imagine quasiment le paysage d’origine de chaque produit artisanal.

Située dans une rue qui regorge d’endroits où il fait bon s’arrêter (ex : LECARREAU pour dîner au n°30), c’est devenue une étape lors de virées entre la Place de la Bourse et l’Opéra.

Déco – art de la table – petit mobilier – artisanat – linges – commerce équitable.

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Here is one of my favorite addresses in Bordeaux.

An inspiring boutique in the Saint-Pierre area, offering artisan designed home accessories and gifts, plus which gives sense to our shopping urge. One can nearly picture the landscape of each product’s origins.

Located in a street with a handful of places to scout (i.e.: LECARREAU for dinner at #30), it has become a stop along my itinerary from Place de la Bourse to the Opera.

Home – tableware – furnishings – crafts – linens – sustainability.

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Tried it. Loved it. Shared it.

LODGE
Quartier Saint-Pierre
6, rue du Pas Saint-Georges – 33000 Bordeaux
www.lodge33.fr

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HOTEL de NELL, Paris 9 – France

Last week, I stayed in an independently owned boutique hotel located on the south side of the 9th arrondissement in Paris. From the moment the taxi dropped us off, the feeling was right.

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Tall glass doors, fireplace, design interiors… The styled reception area showcased comfy chairs, modern books, candy jars and MacBook Pros. Three smiling faces of which the GM greeted us as if regulars; one guided us to our rooms while bags were handled with care.

The corner room on the second floor was uplifting with high ceilings and windows, natural light, japanese bath, balconies and architectural views. My smaller room of similar design on the third floor faced a Church and pedestrian alley. Ah, Paris! Champagne Gosset and chocolates from La Maison du Chocolat topped off our arrival.

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On the street level, La Régalade Conservatoire is their bistro-restaurant opened two years ago. The third by the same Chef Bruno Doucet. The vibe and hospitable staff continued to make us feel at home. We enjoyed dinner, especially the family style terrine passed from one table to the next, the risotto with squid ink and oeuf mollet with escargots. The craquant de fraises with vanilla chantilly was a fine finale. The place rapidly filled with Paris’ generation Y, loyal to this area filled with good eateries. The breads by Chez Michel Paris – soft, fresh and savory – were a true discovery.

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The next morning, same place – new atmosphere. Our business day could start. A special mention goes out to the cappuccino, and array of fresh ingredients lining the bar.

Welcome to Hotel de Nell, a design hotel with a homey personality for Parisian moments!

La semaine dernière, j’ai découvert un boutique hotel parisien: l’Hôtel de Nell dans le 9ème arrondissement. Dès la descente du taxi, je sentais que ça allait me plaire. La grande porte d’entrée vitrée, la cheminée, les luminaires, le comptoir épuré, les MacBook Pro devant les étagères remplies de livres modernes, fauteuils en cuir, trois personnes pour nous souhaiter la bienvenue dont le Directeur… Tout était dans le détail.

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Nous sommes invitées à nous installer en chambres pendant que les sacs sont pris en charge. Au deuxième étage, la chambre du coin avec une belle hauteur sous plafond donne sur un bâtiment ancien depuis ses balcons. Le bain japonais attire l’oeil et le jazz en musique de fond donne le ton. Champagne Gosset et chocolats de La Maison du Chocolat complètent l’arrivée. Quel accueil délicieux.

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Au rez-de-chaussée, le restaurant La Régalade Conservatoire, ouvert il y a deux ans, est le troisième sous le Chef Bruno Doucet. Design et personnel. Le dîner nous a plu, à commencer par la terrine qui est passée d’une table à l’autre, puis le risotto à l’encre de sèche et l’oeuf mollet avec escargots. Le craquant de fraises avec une chantilly vanille était pour la touche gourmande. L’endroit s’est vite rempli de la génération Y, fidèle à ce quartier animé de bons restos. Les pains de Chez Michel Paris – moelleux, frais et gouteux – étaient une découverte.

Au petit matin, même lieu, ambiance nouvelle. L’heure est aux affaires et aux discussions de comptoir. Une mention spéciale pour le cappuccino, et la sélection d’ingrédients frais proposée.

Bienvenue à l’Hôtel de Nell, une maison design et personnelle en plein Paris.

Tried it. Loved it. Shared it.

www.hoteldenell.com

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Simone à Paris

Tout juste créée il y a quelques semaines, l’appli Simone propose des rendez vous sur mesure pour vos Mani/Pedi @home @work ou même @hotel autour de Paris. Testée hier à Paris 9 et la qualité était 100%. 1h30 rien que pour soi dans son écrin de choix. Je dis bravo! Longue vie à Simone.

  

Merci AsYouLike Magazine pour la trouvaille! Et la version papier du mag, on adore!

Download the just launched app Simone when you are in Paris. A la carte Mani • Pedi direct to your home, office or hotel room. Tested last night and 100%quality! Thanks to @asyoulikemagazine #beaute #nails #girly

Tried it. Loved it. Shared it.

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My bike and I, from NYC to Saint-Estèphe

Moons ago, I purchased my very first bike from a girl who lived in New York City and who was moving back to France. She had bought it from a boyfriend who departed for France a year earlier. I rode it up and down Manhattan Avenues, through traffic across town from East to West, at the side of joggers in Central Park, over bridges, and along the rivers for hours; whether morning or night, I loved to watch people from all parts of the world strut the sidewalks, doormen greet tenants with a smile and buildings scrape the sky up high.

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In the summer of 2003, I broke the “chain” and packed my bike – along with the rest of my belongings -, headed back for Paris. I could not imagine leaving it behind, after all of the hours spent soaking up the New York life.

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Ten years later, considering the countless wheel spins over cobble-stoned streets, through the tree-lined Bois de Boulogne -rain or shine-, along the boulevard extérieur in pursuit of a burger truck, to meet up at a café or for an art show, or headed to the market; I again could not leave it in place.

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The funny thing is, there is nothing “special” about this bike. It accommodates to country or city rides; it comes with 12 or more speeds; there is no fender on the back – as a colleague once remarked from the back on my dress as I waltzed in to work; and the paint needs refreshing. Actually, it is well out of fashion.

Two years ago, we moved to the South-West of France. It has found its place in the garage of our historic stone house, a quick hop from vineyards and the longest Estuary in Europe.

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This weekend, I wanted to ride alone – the 17 kilos of our gorgeous little boy at the back is an exercise. Mind you, à deux is also very special.  I headed to the Pauillac harbor and followed the road along the Estuary to Saint-Estèphe, allowing time for a click of the shutter and a lens change of my camera along the way. The light and nature just don’t look the same when spinning wheels. I believe I “soon” shall change its color.

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Which reminds me of a book I had loved several years back : “Bicycle Diaries” – one of my favorite reads.

Pauillac to Saint-Estèphe, is a lovely 20km ride round trip. I recommend following the Estuary one way, and taking the Chateaux route the other – bypassing Lafite-Rothschild, Cos d’Estournel, Cos Labory, Le Crock, Montrose, Phélan Ségur, Tronquoy-Lalande (my favorite in terms of architecture), and Meyney along the way.

Tried it. Loved it. Shared it.

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Biarritz living for a day… or more, France

This weekend, we were in the coastal city of Biarritz in the Basque Country of France. Each time I have visited in the past years, the vibe, the oceanic breeze, the shades of light, the views, the people, the bistros and the spirit move me. Here’s why.

Marché des Halles: open daily; the sheltered market is my pick for breakfast and to soak up the atmosphere. The zinc counter at one end is a spot to mingle with merchants and catch the latest news. In less than 10mn, we heard of the city’s very first Belle Époque festival (fashion, Basque songs and dance, the traditional les ours blancs dip in the sea, classic cars…), about the newest exhibit at the Guggenheim in Bilbao, and we met Olga, who was recommended for her AOC Ossau-Iraty cheese that she generously samples with black cherry jam. Once the market closes, head to either Café Jean or Café du Commerce for drinks. Guaranteed fun, and wait standing around – part of the tradition. For lunch,  we chose Puig & Daro maison de tapas just close enough to enjoy the crowd but not regret being in it (#34 rue Gambetta). On the opposite side of the food halls, the Epicerie Arostéguy (5, Avenue Victor Hugo) offers local produce at the eldest gourmet store in town.

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Late afternoon, after a seaside walk or swim at the beach, take a tea break at Miremont (1, bis place Clemenceau) to indulge in a patisserie. This salon de thé opened in 1872 offers wonderful views of the sea in a historic decor. Or, pop in to Paries (1, place Bellevue) to pick up Kanougas, a chocolate-caramel fondant created during the Russian era of the resort. You’re at the heart of the shopping district.

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Rue Gambetta has taken an urban edge, nowadays animated by independent boutiques and eateries. US-inspired Wilbur Shop (#13) and Jazz the Glass (#44) are recent and eye catching for the bobo type. Our friend who lives on this street mentioned that the new Comptoir à Burger – CAB prepares a memorable burger and home made fries. If you desire bread to pair with your cheese bought on the market, pop in to the tiny Le Fournil du Marché further up the road. Creative breads of all types have the entire city lining up. And after all of this meandering, you may feel like slipping on a traditional – or not so traditional – pair of espadrilles from Art of Soule (#28) that has a wild selection.

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For aperitif at sundown, the legendary Hotel du Palais standing proud over the Grande Plage is a classic.

Guéthary: under 15 minutes drive South of Biarritz lays this quaint and shabby chic village, renowned for its surf and seaside vistas. Below its traditional homes, tucked along the promenade, is the cabana Kostaldea bistro-tapas-bar. One can spend hours here contemplating the view and simply enjoying life in a no-fuss style. And when night falls, climb back up the hill to Heteroclito for sunset, music and cocktails.

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Bidart: in this bigger seaside town 10 minutes drive South of Biarritz, la Tantina de la Playa is our favorite eatery on the beach with a casual ambiance, serving incredibly fresh fish. Le Blue Cargo restaurant and beach bar is fun for dancing on tables after dinner. Also a fave, bello horizonte (430 avenue d’Espagne), a home and interiors boutique opened by a Dutch couple who moved to the area a few years ago. This is a place to scout creations by Belgian and Dutch designers, including large clay lamps revisited from antique urns, photographs and vases.

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For more insider finds (French only), pick up a copy of the 2015 Pays Basque le guide idéal, by altantica book house. Humor and good taste combined for off the beaten path travelers.

Tried it. Loved it. Shared it.

Guethary – Biarritz – Bidart

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Côté Bastide – Aix en Provence, France

I have discovered and shared rare finds in Aix en Provence, and sadly realize over time that curated independent boutiques are often succeeded. This April, a stroll through the Mazarin neighborhood on the South side of the Cours Mirabeau comforted me. Welcome to Coté BastideDepuis plusieurs années, je partage mes découvertes à Aix en Provence et je réalise avec regret qu’au fil des saisons les jolies boutiques indépendantes se transforment. En avril, ma promenade dans le quartier Mazarin au sud du Cours Mirabeau m’a réconfortée. Merci Côté Bastide.

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The location on the quaint rue pierre simon laplace, the atmosphere, the tall ceilings, the home interiors product lines… all make you dream of a picturesque Provence home. And across the street has withstood for two decades one of the very first Agnès B boutiques in France – my favorite. Thankfully, the graceful architecture, doors and fountains remain.

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L’emplacement sur la jolie rue pierre simon lapalce, l’atmosphère, la hauteur sous plafond, la sélection d’objets et de matières… tout un univers pour rêver d’une jolie maison en Provence. En face, résiste depuis plus de 20 ans une des premières boutiques Agnès B en France et ma préférée. Heureusement, la grâce de l’architecture, des portes et des fontaines reste intacte.

PS: Each picture is linked to more info. Chaque photo est reliée à plus d’informations. 

Tried it. Loved it. Shared it.

www.cotebastide.com

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