I’m back from a two-week vacation in France, and I have so much to share! I’m going to tell it through photos and I hope you enjoy them.
I stayed in Èze, a perched Medieval village between Nice and Monaco, for three days. The balcony view I woke up to every day was absolutely breathtaking.
The Michelin starred restaurant at our hotel seated us for dinner on Valentine’s Day next to a floor to ceiling window that overlooks the coastline of the French Riviera. That view alone deserved another star, in my opinion. We were seated at 7:30 pm and, looking around, the restaurant was empty. It was nice though, because the wait staff attentively catered to us, until 9:00 pm, when the restaurant quickly filled up with locals. The French enjoy having their supper late.
In the mornings after breakfast, I let myself get lost in the cobblestone roads wandering into quaint art shops that lined the streets of Èze village.
After Èze we traveled to Aix-en-Provence. I timed our stay so that we would be able to browse the markets that flood the streets on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Clothing market, flea market, flower market, food market…
The French buy everything the day of. A baguette from a favorite baker, fresh meat and fish from the boucherie, and of course, beautifully arranged flowers from the florist. That is why walking past restaurants and cafés you will see signs that say “quiche du jour” and “plats du jour”. Everything depends on what is available that morning.
Living in the South of France is very different from living in Paris, or Lyon. Parisians are found in cafés talking on their phones while smoking and sipping espresso before heading to work. They lead a much busier and independent life than their counterparts in the South.
The sense of style in Paris is extraordinary. From elegantly dressed women walking to work on rue Saint-Honoré and the décor in hotels and cafés to the plating and design of food, I couldn’t help but love everything about it.
The French enjoy long leisurely lunches before continuing their afternoon. A three-course meal with an espresso to follow is a must, which was fine by me since I had all the time in the world.
Pastries, bread, and desserts in Paris are unbelievable, the best I’ve ever had. Is it the creamy butter or the perfected techniques? I would guess it’s a combination of both. I walked and walked, burning calories consumed at lunch and getting a taste of all the different districts and neighborhoods of Paris. On a Sunday, when the city is dormant and closed, I went to the Marais neighborhood (Jewish quarter) for famous falafels and markets. On a weekday morning, I would wander to the 6th arrondissement (Saint-Germain-des-Prés) for its bustling cafés and artisanal bakeries and shops.
Of course, the Pierre Hermé shop with its out-of-this-world Ispahan Croissant and macarons is not to be missed.
In the evenings, I visited Montmartre in the 18th arrondissement for bars and restaurants. This seems to be the spot for Parisian yuppies.
I left the City of Light to visit the gourmet food capital of France, Lyon. Locals from the South of France will tell you that they would like to dine like the Lyonnaise. You will not find another city shining bright with 22 Michelin stars.
I stayed at a converted Jesuit Monastery in Vieux (Old) Lyon, where the cobblestone roads are lined with Bouchons. Eventually, I was pretty tired of bouchons, but not before I enjoyed all the specialties.
I walked across two rivers to get to Les Halles de Lyon, a massive covered food market that was created in the 70s in celebration of the legendary and renowned chef, Paul Bocuse. The markets sell everything from meats and cheeses to caviar and wine.
Our days in Lyon consisted of… eating. Poached eggs in Beaujolais, crepes, steaks, sausages, Lyonnaise salad (of course!), and famous Lyon pink praline tarts.
I hope you enjoyed the photos. I can’t wait to visit
croissants France again.