Biarritz was everything I’d hoped for — sandy beaches, inspirational restaurants, and enough linen to satisfy even my mother’s textile hungry taste. Sam and I only had three days there, and our time flew by. We ate brebis cheese with black cherry jam, played in the waves, and even made it over to Spain for lunch one day. Biarritz touts itself on being on of the premier surf spots in the Basque region, but it has recently made the news as a site of political unrest. While there’s truly nothing I love more than a little political action, the city was calm, as if taking a breath after a busy tourist season. Most of the designer shops that lined the beach walk were closed for the season, but it didn’t matter, Les Halles (the indoor market) was open, as was plenty of delicious natural wine shops and restaurants. We found our perfect little home on Airbnb, which was only about a 10 minute walk from town. Mid-to-end of September seems like perfect timing if you’re interested in catching some waves but skipping the crowds.
I can't remember the name of this place but it was super fun and honestly just pretty ridiculous. It turns out the French are really into modern design; there were mirrors everywhere and we kept running into ourselves! The burgers were delicious though. Would definitely reccomend if you ever find yourself in the 9th arrondesment.
Le Saint Jean in Montmarte is such a cute place for lunch! Walking around this area was so much fun, there are great shops and some really pretty churches.
Angelina is the most amazing hot chocolate palace I've ever been (although I can't say I've ever been to a hot chocolate palace before)! Everything is expensive but SO worth it if you like chocolate.
Ultimately our time in Paris was wonderful. We stayed in Montmarte (the 9th arrondissement) in a sweet little air b&b on Rue Douai. We walked everywhere, saw museums and shops, and drank TON of rosé. Thank you Mom and Paris for the wonderful send off, I will be back soon!
After our amazing stay in Paris, we hopped on a train headed south (a 200 mph train, mind you) and landed in the little town of Cavaillon. This town is so pretty and located right in beautiful Provence. We spent the next day assembling our bikes and packing up our backpacks, and departed early the next morning. None of us were in good biking shape, but let me tell you, biking 30-40 miles per day with a 20+ pound pack through the hills of southern France will get you there!
Typically, we would get up around 8, grab a croissant, or if we were lucky, something with more substance, and hit the road. After about two hours of seemingly endless riding (and yes, a lot of complaining) we would stop for coffee and then, an hour or two later, lunch. This was either paninis we had packed ourselves, or something from a little café in a town we were passing through. We learned that because we basically spent all day biking, we had to eat ALL THE TIME. Which worked out in the end because my family loves good food. Finally, around 5pm we would roll into whatever little town we had arranged to stay in, and crash into our beds. After showering and napping until around 8pm, we would head out for dinner. Bedtime was generally 11:30 or 12. Before we knew it, we were waking up to start another grueling day.
I feel exhausted just rereading what I wrote, so you can imagine how tiring the entire trip was. In fact, there was one day that, after finally reaching the top of the Gorge de Verdon, which is about 20 miles of climbing, I completely broke down in tears because my body was so tired. Don't worry, most of it wasn't that bad. For the most part, we were all chipper and energetic, which, if you know my family, is exactly how we like to be.
Some highlights of the trip included spending the night on a wild animal preserve (there were wild horses, pigs, bison, and reindeer), eating the best steak and potatoes of my life (also on the animal preserve), finally reaching the ocean and diving straight in, and victoriously biking into Italy (and then turning around and biking back into France because our road was blocked, lol). The entire trip was magical and an adventure I will cherish forever.
After our amazing week in NYC, we headed for Paris. It was my first time to France and despite the rain, I loved every second of it. As much as I love the country, I love big cities even more- there is just something so exciting about being in the center of such a metropolis.
The first thing I noticed about Paris was the people. We arrived at our flat in Le Marais drenched in sweat and jet lagged beyond belief, where we were greeted by Coralee, our beautiful and sweet landlord. She showed us around our little yet impeccably decorated apartment, then left in a cloud of French perfume. We spent the next couple hours wandering around the upscale and trendy streets of our arrondissement, bumping into gorgeous French person after French person until we found our way to a bustling café and plopped down for a drink and a crêpe. We were asleep in our flat before 6pm, but were able to sleep until morning, so we beat the jet lag.
We spent the next few days eating the most amazing croissants, wandering through the gardens of Versailles, getting lost in the Louvre, and trying our hardest to stay dry. By the time we had to leave, I had fallen in love and promised myself that I would be back soon.
Paris is an amazing city that combines all the things I love, fashion, art, culture, and food, more effortlessly than any place I've been before. Contrary to popular belief, Parisians are wonderful people- friendly and open and won't laugh too hard at your poor French. I wish I had had more time to explore this magical place, but like I said, I will be back soon.
Au revoir for now.