Hello friends! If you follow any of my social media, then you would know that for twelve days this past month (end of May/beginning of June) I was on vacation in France! It was the journey of a lifetime, and I got to experience it with one of the most important people in my life- my mother. Together we explored the coast of France, the countryside (and we’re talking COUNTRY), and of course, Paris! It was absolutely beautiful, and I don’t know where to begin.
First off, I’ll explain why France as our big trip before I leave for college. I’ve been taking french for over four years now, and we’ve both had a desire to go to the country. We’ve talked about it for years, and finally put it into action. Our flight to Paris landed early in the morning, and we had about a seven hour layover. Thus, we decide to store our luggage, and explore! We were extremely jet lagged, but we still made the most of it. My mom and I saw a ton of cute side street venders, and some of them sold very interesting things (like six different types of olives, for example). While in Paris, my mom and I split what we agree to be… the best macaroon- and possibly the best thing we’ve ever eaten- ever. It was coffee flavor, and my mouth is watering just writing this post. Gah I want ten more.
One word: heaven.
We also saw the Pont des Arts (a week before they tore it down- we saw them destroying it when we returned a week later and it was so sad!), which is famous for holding locks that couples place there to symbolize their love. It was adorable to walk by and see all the couples writing their names on locks and chaining it to the bridge.
Once we got to Nice, we stayed at the most adorable hotel! (La Blason) The deck where we ate breakfast was one of the prettiest places, and defiantly a good thing to wake up to in the morning. Plus, the coffee was amazing!! (We quickly learned that most French coffee is amazing, however). The man served us homemade croissants and boy, were they amazing. One of the best things I’ve ever eaten. So light and fluffy, not like the ones in the United States, which are very heavy and buttery in my opinion. That hotel was defiantly in the top two of my favorite hotel’s we stayed at. While we were in Nice, we went to Monaco and Monte Carlo. We accidentally went the day of the Grand Prix, and that made it very crowed. It was still incredible and we got to see some of the race going on while we were walking!
While in Nice, I indulged in some of the best gelato ever. Plot twist: it was vegan!! I feel that as a die hard foodie, it was fitting that I found vegan gelato in a country like France. I got the hazelnut flavor, and it tasted like straight up Nutella. In between our next stop, we made a tiny detour in Cannes. It turns out we went the day after the film festival, which meant that it was ver crowded. it was still super cool, as I got to walk on the famous red carpet! The town was extremely pretty, and a nice little detour.
After Nice, we explored the extremely small (and windy!) city of Arles. It was an extremely small town, but it defiantly had it quirks. Arles is where Vincent Van Gogh painted some of his most famous works, which meant the city was filled with his art. In Arles, we developed a habit that we kept up with everyday of the trip, which was to take a one hour (at least) morning walk before we had breakfast and got ready. These morning walks were a great time for my mother and I, as we both workout as soon as we get up back home. While it wasn’t an intense weight lifting session, it was still good to wake up and get some form of exercise. It was also quiet whenever we went, as it was still the morning, so we could talk with each other and have great conversations. Those morning walks are times I will cherish forever, and I’m so great full we did them everyday.
While in Arles, we drove to Les Baux, which is a hillside chateau. It was incredible to be able to walk up and down it and look at everything. The shops were adorable, and the views were heavenly. After we explored the castle, we took a little side hike, where we saw even more beauty.
Of course, we had to get another gelato. This had to be the best one (even better than the vegan one!!) My mother and I split, of course, and we got a mix of Rocher and Parline. We learned that if the gelato place says “Master Artisan”, it is authentic and much better quality than your average gelato. Often times the master artisan is not crazy expensive, as one might think!
Once we left Arles after two nights and three days, we spent a night in Beynac after a five hour drive that included lots of country songs (that my mother kindly put up with) and the occasional mother-daughter duet of “And I Will Walk 500 Miles”. We mostly walked around and explored all the area had to offer, as tiny as it was.
We decided to take a little walk (turned out to be three miles) to a local chateau up on a hill! We went at sunset and the view was out of this world. All the chateaus we saw on this trip were different and interesting. I highly recommend you see them if you go to France one day!
Before the trip began, we agreed to one very nice dinner, and we had that hre. I had the most amazing sea bass in a lemon sauce with creamy potatoes, zucchini bites molded together by cheese, and some delicious squash on top. Two words: Food. Baby.
After Benyac and another long drive, we ended up in Chenonceau, which is also known as Chateau country. We stayed at the prettiest hotel (my other favorite) and had the cutest lawn area. I sat outside and worked on the blog for a while ( 😉 ) and ate breakfast out there as well with my mother. The roses were to die for!
Our reasoning for staying in Chenonceau for a night was to see the Chateau Chenonceau. It is an extremely famous Chateau, and took over two hours to explore. It was worth it though, as it was absolutely gorgeous. I’m not much of a tours and royal history person, but I was still fascinated by everything.
After the Chanonceau, we drove two hours back to Paris. We stayed there for five nights (the rest of our trip). Our hotel was very tiny, but was right next to the “Jardin des Tuillerise,” which was perfect for our morning walks everyday. Our first full day back in Paris, on Saturday, was full of exploring. We went to the Eiffel Tower (the epitome of tourism) and climbed to the second floor. The view was breathtaking, and one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen. I say that if you ever go to Paris, you must walk up, not take the elevator. Yes, it is tiring, but you feel so much more satisfied when you reach it.
Once we finished that, we noticed that they were offering a free live stream of the French Open down by the tower! As my mother and I are both tennis players ourselves, we had to stop and watch for a bit. We watched about one match before we continued on!
Once we watched for a while, we walked into the left bank, which is more of a local place. We found the most amazing market called Le Grande Epicurie. Think Whole Foods, but waaaaayyyyyy more expensive. I spent way too long in there (about two hours, if we’re counting), but I got to try the most amazing samples. Some of the best included an aged cheese (you’ll see in the photo below, I almost started crying because of how beautiful it was) and a banana dipped in melted caramels. Absolute foodie heaven. And don’t even get me started on their prepped meals- I could write another blog post on those. We went back, as you’ll see later in the post 😉
My mother thought it was necessary to capture my pure joy about aged cheese. I was over the moon about this store.
The next day, Sunday, was one of the best days in Paris. We slept in and around 9:00, we walked about an hour and a half to Pere Lachaise, which was really interesting! It started raining as soon as we got there, which was disappointing, but considering we walked more than three miles to get there, we were going to stay. Afterwards, once we walked back (in the pouring rain) and took a break, we went to see Notre Dame. It was breathtaking the views we saw, and I highly recommend it. I thought that the views from the top of the Notre Dame were better than the views from the Eiffel Tower, if that is even possible. It’s about a forty minute wait outside to get inside to walk up, but trust me, it is completely worth it!
Ps- No, my mother is not that tall. Yes, I am THAT short. Monday started off like always- with a morning walk. We walked across the Champs Elysee and towards the Arc de Triomphe. It was gorgeous for as busy as it was, considering we went during rush hour. After that walk, we got ready and went to the Louvre for most of the day. We saw the Mona Lisa (tip- if you’re short, squeeze yourself towards the front. Worked perfectly for me!) and much more. I’m not into paintings or sculptures, but it was still an amazing experience. Afterwards, we walked back to our obsession, Le Grande Epicurie. We had gone in there a few days prior and tried all the samples possible, as stated above, and promised ourselves we’d go back and get food for a picnic. Oh boy was it god. My mom picked out a goat cheese with herbs and olive oil brushed on top, I picked out a whole grain baguette (it had poppy seeds and caraway seeds) [!!!!!], and we decided on some fresh baked salmon. We ate it at a local park, and the result? Best bread I’ve ever had (I ADORE tough breads like baguettes), the goat cheese was TO DIE FOR, and the salmon was baked to perfection.
Our last full day, Tuesday, began with sleeping in and then a walk to Montmartre, which is a small, artsy area filled with shops and food. We could see the entire city from the top, and it was a perfect day for it!
We went into a nearby church, and walked around a bit. It was filled with beautiful stain glass art, which made it even better. I loved all the detail in every window!
Once we came back to our hotel, we watched a bit of the French Open (we were both so sad by how expensive all the tickets were and thus, couldn’t go!!) and relaxed for a bit. After a while, we decided to go to the Musee d’Orsay and see the impressionist art. It was interesting to see their interpretations of everything, and I loved all the color. Since that was on the last floor, we could see the city of Paris from the clock!
Here are some of the other eats in France, because this is a food blog after all 😉
Nann Pizza with mozzarella cheese and tomatoes. Best pizza I’ve ever eaten, and I didn’t even eat the entire thing.
France had an abundance of fresh fruit wherever we went! All the fruit I had was so juicy and fresh- I could tell they take their fruit very seriously. Especially their apples and berries- I tried to have some every day as an afternoon pick me up! Not all meals were fancy by any means. For lunch we mostly stopped at little stands or, in this case, fruit markets. We had lots of days that included long hours of driving, so for those days, I usually picked up a bunch of fruit to snack on along with the other snacks I had with me. For today I had a delicious apple, banana, and pear!
My mom and I may have gone a little crazy over our road trip snacks for a five hour car ride to Benyac (Ignore the croissants, we wanted to save money on breakfast so we bought a lot just in case!!) Knowing me, I got a bunch of fruit and some greek yogurt.
Mom and I wanted some chocolate, and the local Monoprix (aka the French Target and our second home while in Paris) had a sale on chocolate. Of course we made it a dessert one night!
Story time: On Sunday in Paris I woke up an hour later than I was planning to, so we didn’t have time to eat breakfast before we left for the day. On the way to Pere Lachaise, my mom and I stopped at a boulangerie. We got the most amazing, and I repeat, THE MOST AMAZING, croissant ever. It was absolute heaven, and we enjoyed every second of it. I was very glad we split it, because if I had told myself I was only going to eat half of it, my self control would be out the window. It was crusted with toasted almonds, and had flakes of powder sugar on it. Ugh. TO DIE FOR.
While in Paris, one must try a macaroon from Ladureé. My mother and I split the salted carmel one. If we’re being completely honest, I thought the one I featured up above from the other bakery was MUCH better. However, I am glad I tried it.
In Paris I told myself that I would try some sort of tart. After our picnic, we stopped by a local pastry shop, and split this lemon tart. As you know, I’m not much of a chocolate person (even though I’ve started to really like it, especially on this trip), while my mother is a chocolate connoisseur, so I was happy she split something not chocolate related with me. I loved the tartness of this, and the crust was the perfect size- not too thick, but still there.
Stopped by what became our go-to for breakfast, Eric Kayser (aka the place I got the best macaroon ever) for a nice meal one day. We got an almond croissant (good, but nothing will ever beat the one we had gotten a few days prior) to split, as well as an apple type pastry, which I loved. Coffee was on the side, of course, as no breakfast can be complete without coffee.
Last indulgence of the trip was this beautiful bowl of goodness. Tiramisu and hazelnut (I was on a hazelnut kick on this trip clearly!) artisan gelato from a place in Montmarte. I’m so glad this was the last treat of my trip, as it was absolutely amazing. As mentioned above, it was artisan of course, as that is the best kind to have!
My moms last treat was one of the coolest creations I’ve heard of. It was a meringue and praline mouse tower covered in chocolate. I tried a bite, and it was heavenly! She said that it was delicious, and while it was not the original thing she wanted, she is very glad she tried it and would get it again.
I am so incredibly great full for this trip and the fact that I got to experience it. The time I spent with my mom is time I will forever cherish. From our long car rides to spending thirty minutes in the chocolate isle at the Monoprix looking for different types of chocolate bars to simply talking while we walk everywhere, every moment was special. I am so blessed with this trip, and would not have changed a thing about it. I hope that whoever is reading this gets to experience any part of the world outside of their home country, as it is extremely eyeopening. Once again, I am still in awe of the trip and will never forget it.
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