Red Hot Culotte Pants

Cold weather is a thing of the past and I am finally starting to feel like spring and summer are in full effect in Paris. With that being I’ve been on the hunt for some new pieces for the warm weather, and to add some color to my wardrobe. These red culotte pants from Zara exactly what I needed in my life!

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The star of this outfit is definitely the red culotte pants. I can thank my boyfriend for this great find. The red hot color makes such a statement, along with the style and cut. They are extremely high waisted, which is a great plus for me since you will probably never find me in anything else.

When I found theses pants I was already wearing a grey blazer, so I wanted to find a cool t-shirt that would bring the two pieces together. I have always loved the look of a graphic tee with a blazer. It turns a causal items into something slightly more professional and vice versa. I stumbled upon this Jurassic Park t-shirt in the men’s section at Zara and knew it would be perfect. The red and yellow on the shirt matched perfectly with the purse and pants, tying the whole outfit together.

I was also immediately obsessed with this purse when I saw it. The color and size are what caught my attention since I love to wear mustard yellow and am a fan of smaller purses. The size is perfect for when you don’t want to lug around a big bag. There was enough space of an iPhone, coin purse, and keys.

Since there was a lot going on in the outfit, I choice to keep the accessories pretty simple. A pair of gold frame black sunglasses, basic black and gold belt, and black heeled booties were the exact final touches I needed to complete the look.

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Pant: Red Culotte Pants

Shirt: Jurassic Park Tee 

Outerwear: Blazer (Similar)

Bag: Small Yellow Purse

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Top 4 Spots for a Parisian Winter Wonderland

The past month in Paris has been some of the coldest times I have ever experienced in the city, and this California girl has been having a hard time adjusting to the weather. I cannot say that it was all bad though, because for the first time I saw Paris covered in snow! Seeing the city painted white has truly become my all time favorite memory from living here. It is already widely known that it is beautiful here, but somehow the snow multiplied the magic and beauty of the city by ten. And it was not only me who felt this way. The amount of smiles and increasingly positive attitudes I saw from Parisians was enormous. It was as if everyone had become children again and all we wanted to do was play in the snow. What made everything special this year was the amount that was actually sticking, so how could I have not taken advantage of it.

Normally with cold weather it takes about 5 layers of clothes to get me to leave my house. The bone chills are just not something I can deal with, but the snow gave me so much motivation to go out and explore the city like never before. Everyday after my French class I headed to a different part of the city to take in all I could before my feet became frozen blocks of ice. I had such a fascination with the snow, I wanted to share my top 4 places to enjoy a Parisian winter wonderland.

1.) PARC MONCEAU

Parc Monceau was by far my absolute favorite spot to enjoy the snow. It is a beautiful park located between the 17th and 8th arrondissement and walking through the many snow covered trees was breathtaking. The park is pretty well known amongst locals and not so much tourist so it did not feel overcrowded like some of the other locations did.  If you ever get a chance to see the park under snow, I suggest getting off at the metro stop Courcelles instead of Monceau. This way you can walk down the street, which is lined with snow covered trees on both sides. The natural beauty that I saw there was so gorgeous that I went back almost everyday for a week just to take it all in.

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2.) MONTMARTRE & SACR√Č COEUR

We cannot talk about the best places to see Paris in the snow without mentioning¬†the Sacr√© Coeur and Montmartre. The Sacr√© Coeur is a church situated atop of the highest point in Paris in the neighborhood known as Montmartre. With that being said it’s a no brainer it is one of the best places to go when it snows since the snow will hit this point first. It is the only place in Paris with some pretty big hills and lots of stairs so be sure to wear good shoes. I completely ignored my own advice and was slipping and sliding all over the place. Although it is extremely beautiful, it is also extremely touristy so go early avoid the crowds and the ugly slushy and slippery snow. I went here the first day it started snowing so the snow was not sticking to the ground yet.

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3.) Trocadéro

Seeing the Eiffel Tower covered in snow was a must for me and the best place to do that was at Trocadero. The terrace in the center overlooks the gardens and fountains of the Jardins du Trocadéro, with one of the best view of the Eiffel Tower. On this day the snow was really starting to come down. In the photos below you can see it whipping by and sticking to everything in site.

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4.) Jardin des Tuileries & Palais-Royal

Since I was obsessed with seeing bare trees dipped in snow I thought Jardin des Tuileries would be a perfect place to go. Unfortunately when I went there it was closed to the public. I have still included it in this list because seeing the untouched white snow was amazing and made for some beautiful photos. Since the park was closed, a great alternative were the gardens of Palais Royal. Luckily it was only a five minutes walk away and was open.

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All in all Paris in the snow is an absolute must. It pretty much impossible to organize a trip around such weather, but if you ever find yourself in the city during a snow storm be sure to explore some of these places!

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Local Farm Near Paris

Living in Paris has been amazing especially for a city girl like me but sometimes you just need to escape the urban life for a day. La Ferme du Logis (the Farm of Logis) is the perfect place for this. My boyfriend and I stumbled upon La Ferme du Logis online after trying to find a pumpkin patch near Paris. I knew finding anything similar to pumpkin patches in the United States would be nearly impossible so we thought a farm would be a good alternative. Our biggest hurdle was transportation since neither of us had a car. But after calling every family member we knew and offering to bring them back some fruits and veggies, we were finally able to find a car to borrow.

The farm is only about an hour drive from Paris but unfortunately driving is the only way to reach it.  We went during autumn which was breathtaking since the roads were lined with thousands of color changing trees on both sides. Upon arrival, we were immediately greeted by rows and rows of apple trees, and in the distance we could see miles of fresh farmland. The farm offers seasonal fruits, vegetables and flowers, all of which you can go and cut yourself straight from the garden! They have a list of everything that is allowed to be harvested on their website, so you can check before going.

What we liked most besides being able to pick our produce locally and organically, were the prices. I was absolutely shocked by how much cheaper everything was.¬†In the end we went home with fresh cauliflower, broccoli, blackberries, onions, sweet potatoes, zucchini, spinach, lettuce, apples, and pumpkins for around 20‚ā¨!

We also left with a huge crate apples since I knew I wanted to make quite a few apple desserts. I came across a recipe for “apple brownies” which is honestly one of the best apple desserts I have ever had. There is no chocolate so I am not sure why it is called apple brownies. Its more of an extremely moist apple cake. None the less I extremely recommend the recipe and used the gala apples from La Ferme de Logis. I loved it so much I made it three times in one week…

We made a few rookie mistakes the first time we went and forgot some important items so here is a little list of what not to forget.

WHAT TO BRING:

  • Bags or boxes: (the farm provides some if needed)
  • Old shoes or rain boots:¬†(I wore rain boots which were perfect for the super muddy areas)
  • Extra pair of shoes: if you do not want to get your car dirty
  • Knife or scissors¬†:(you can borrow a knife for the farm by giving your car keys as collateral)
  • A tarp: or something to protect the inside of your car

La Ferme du Logis hours of operation will change depending on the season so be sure to check their official website for all important information.

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Exploring a Repurposed Old Hospital

If you’re looking for a new and real local experience in Paris then you definitely need to check out Les Grands Voisins. A few years ago the Public Hospital of Paris moved leaving the grounds of Hospital Saint Vincent de Paul vacant. Today the space has been repurposed to become a place of sharing and¬†creation. It involves a mix of emergency housing, art studios, cafes, local businesses, and charity organizations. While inside Les Grands Voisins you can find¬†large sunny terraces, vegetable gardens, games such as a life size Connect Four, a thrift store, amazing art installations, unique housing options,¬†and much more. It is a space where community living and sharing highly encouraged.

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There are many aspects of Les Grands Voisins that makes it a truly interesting place. When you enter the grounds of the once hospital you feel like you are transported into a new place no longer in Paris. There is art everywhere you turn and everything had me saying “omg this is soo cool!” One thing I found compelling were all the unique accommodations available to rent. They have options such as a tiki cabin, a hammock shed, tents, and hexagon shaped rooms made out of shipping palettes.

My day there consisted of walking around for a couple of hours and admiring all Les Grands Voisins had to offer. I went from powering a washing machine by riding a bike, to swinging on a swing made out of a plastic trash can lid, to running inside a restaurant to avoid getting soaking wet in the random 5 minute downpour. I would say it was great day! While there I learned that they also¬†host several workshops (i.e yoga and massage), concerts and performances. If you’re interested you can find the program on the website.

We can all give thanks to three organizations who helped bring Les Grands Voisins to life. The first on the scene was Aurore Association, an organization that specializes in social and emergency housing. They have been able to provide housing to over 500 people in need at Les Grands Voisins. After was Plateau Urbain, who revive vacant buildings to take advantage of undeveloped urban spaces. Rounding off the coordination team is Yes We Camp, a company that specializes in building and providing innovative temporary spaces.

The incredible thing about Les Grands Voisins is that it community that is forever changing. I went for the first time a year ago and already there were so many changes. I even just checked the website and had the thought “where was that, I don’t remember seeing it” several times. ¬†It is truly a unique place hidden in the heart of Paris. It is a temporary space so be sure to check it out as soon as possible.

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Les Grands Voisins: 82 Avenue Denfert-Rochereau, 75014 Paris

Metro Stop: Denfert Rocherau or Port-Royal

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Day trip to Monet’s Garden in Giverny

Monet’s Garden in Giverny has always been something I wanted to see while living in Paris. I remember coming across some photos awhile back and couldn’t believe how beautiful the gardens were. When a friend asked me if I wanted to go with her last week i immediately said yes.

It was fairly easy to get from Paris to Giverny. We started off at Gare Saint Lazare, one of the train stations in Paris and bought tickets (15‚ā¨ each way)¬†to Vernon. It takes about an hour to get to Vernon, and once there you have to take a bus or a little train called Givernon to Giverny. The bus is 5‚ā¨ each way and takes about 10 minutes. The Givernon train only sells round trip tickets for 8‚ā¨ and takes 20 minutes, but gives you a little tour around Vernon. Both the Givernon train and bus are connected to the main trains coming in from Paris in terms of departure times. This means they do not run very often which we learned this the hard way. My friends and I wanted to have a picnic so we went to the ¬†supermarket in Vernon when we arrived, but this was a mistake as we had to wait 1 hour to take the next Givernon train or bus to Giverny.

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I would definitely recommend taking the bus instead of the Givernon train since it’s faster, bigger, and runs more frequently. The Givernon train is a lot smaller and is subject to availability, so you risk the chance of not being about to board. An even better option would be renting a bike. We did not know this beforehand but apparently you can rent bicycles in Vernon.¬†Seems like it would be the best way to get between the two towns and explore surrounding areas.

I’d also suggest taking the 8:00am train from Saint Lazare so you can get to the garden as soon as it opens at 9:30am to avoid the crowd. We left Paris at 9:15am but because of our little mishap with the bus, we did not enter the garden until 11:45am. By this time it was super crowded¬†inside.

 

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When we were finally inside, we passed¬†the house and upper gardens and headed straight to the lily pads and water garden. We were hoping we would surpass the next large flow of people that were entering. The lily pads were my favorite and them alone made the trip worth it. After enjoying the water garden we made our way back to Claude Monet’s house and the upper gardens. This was where he lived and painted for the last 40 years of his life. Inside the house you can find brightly colored rooms, many of his paintings, and painting that were given to him by his famous artist friends.

The upper gardens are also extremely beautiful and were designed by Monet himself. It is home to about 100 different flowers which bloom at different times of the year making the garden beautiful all year-long.

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We originally wanted to have our lunch in the gardens but you are not allowed to eat inside, so after out visit we walked around Giverny and found a perfect little grass area to relax in. It was an absolutely beautiful day so we were happy to be able to enjoy our lunch and relax in the sun. The day ended with us exploring  Giverny a little and then heading back to Paris. If you get to Giverny early it can easily be a half day trip allowing you to get back to Paris and enjoy the rest of the day.

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Tea Time at the Grand Mosque of Paris

Moroccan mint tea is one of my absolute favorite drinks, so when a friend told me I could enjoy it at the Grand Mosque of Paris I was excited check it out. We decided to go on a Sunday which we ended up regretting because the restaurant was way too crowded. There was a constant line at the pastry counter, and it took awhile to be served tea as there was only one server for about fifty people.

The other downside, you could only order tea by the glass for 2‚ā¨ each! I was shocked when I learned this; a tiny cup of tea for 2‚ā¨. And as annoying as I may be, I really imagined my tea being served in a teapot. I had seen pictures online of small silver teapots, so I knew it was possible but just assumed they did not use them on weekends when the restaurant was crowded.¬†I asked an employee for the least crowded time to come back, and he said any weekday at the beginning of lunch or dinner.

I told my boyfriend Julien about my experience and he was interested in going to the mosque; we went back the next day right before lunch. We arrived on Monday around noon and as I was told, there were only a few people. I picked the perfect table on the front terrance, under a fig tree, with a beautiful mosaic design behind it. But we soon learned that we had to order food in order to get a pot of tea. The restaurant only allows dining inside the restaurant or on the back terrance, so without hesitation I ran to the back terrance and found a table. I was determined to get my pot of tea.

Finally we were ready to order. One pot of tea, a chicken tajine with olives and lemon, another chicken tajine with almonds and prunes, and a side of couscous s’il te pla√ģt! And of course some bread for the Frenchie. I am not extremely familiar with Moroccan food, and never tasted tajine before but we thought it was all delicious. And the tea was so good we ordered a second pot. Each tajine was 17.00‚ā¨ which is a pretty normal price for Paris, but the¬†pot of tea was 2.50‚ā¨ and you could get about 3 glasses out of it. Way better deal than the 2‚ā¨ per glass situation on Sunday.

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After lunch Julien and I headed to the mosque. Tickets are 3‚ā¨ and 2‚ā¨ for discounted tickets. ¬†The mosque grounds were beautiful. You enter through two grand doors and are immediately greeted by the luscious green garden. Once inside you can walk around and visit the different rooms.¬†It was not huge, but it was fun to explore and admire all the tiles and archways. I believe there are guided tours but I do not have much information on this. And just an extra piece of advice, if you’re not comfortable using squat toilets, use the restrooms at the restaurant first.

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The Grand Mosque of Paris is located in the 5th arrondissement right next to Jardin des Plantes. A great afternoon could consist of first exploring the park, then heading to the mosque teahouse either for a quick snack or lunch, and finally exploring the mosque itself. I did not get a chance to check it out myself, but I know you can also enjoy hookah, an all women’s hammam, and a souk at the restaurant.

Restaurant la Mosque

39, rue Saint-Hilaire 75005 Paris

Grand Mosque of Paris

2bis Place du Puits de l’Ermite, 75005 Paris

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A Weekend in Provence

A few years ago I learned about these amazing lavender fields in the south of France close to Marseille. Ever since then, it has become one of my dreams to go there and see the never-ending lavender for myself. A couple of weeks ago, my boyfriend surprised me with a train ticket and told me to “pack an outfit that I would want to wear if I had a beautiful background.” I instantly knew exactly where we were going!

As soon as he finished work, we hopped on a train to Marseille, spent the night in a cute Airbnb and ventured to the lavender fields the next day. We ended up renting a car at the Marseille airport. The drive was beautiful as we were surrounded by rolling green hills, and took about an hour. We were visiting towards the end of July, so we knew it was going to be difficult to find uncut lavender fields, but we were hopeful. Pro-tip: try to go between the middle of June through the beginning of July if you want to have the best chance to see lavender and sunflower fields. Typically the flowers are harvested at the beginning of summer.

I originally wanted to go to Valensole, the most well-known farm, but they had already cut their flowers. They advised us to call the tourist office in the town of Bonnieux, who told us two other places to check: the road that connects ¬†Goult and¬†Bonnieux, and the road between¬†Goult and Sault¬†called “route de la lavande” (there was hope!) We decided to try the road between Goult and Bonnieux¬†since route de la lavande was another hour away. Once we made it to Goult, we found the D145 road which then connected to the D36. Along the D36 we spotted two fields, but they were not quite the never-ending lavender fields of my dream. We sensed we were getting close so we continued driving and finally, halfway along the D36, we saw in the distance rows and rows of flowering lavender. We pulled over and the minute I opened the door the smell of lavender surrounded me. You can bet that I was 100% freaking out, as everything was more amazing then I imagined. To top it all off we bought two large bunches of fresh lavender and a bottle of lavender essential oil for only 5‚ā¨!

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After spending about an hour in the lavender field, we asked a local if they knew of any sunflower fields nearby. He told us there was one about five minutes away. Lavender and sunflower fields in the same day–yes! He instructed us to drive back towards Goult and to follow the bike path on the right hand side, then turn right and continue until we saw the field. We did exactly as he instructed and sure enough we found the sunflowers. Due to their maturity the flowers were drooping from the weight of their blooms. Regardless the massive yellow blooms were breathtaking.

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The second day we planned to go to the Calanques National Park, but unfortunately the whole area was closed to the public because of a fire. Instead we stayed in Marseille and explored the Old Port neighborhood. Despite the uncertainty and constant changes to our original plan, I returned to Paris with my heart happy and my bags smelling like lavender!

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