September 28, 2020

Vote! Vote! Vote!

It seemed vital last time around... back in 2016... when it was hard to believe that Donald Trump would actually win the US presidential elections... need I say more?

This time around casting my vote seems even more important. New York State has voted Democratic in national elections since 1988 so I am not sure how much of a difference my ballot will make but I have the freedom as well as the right to vote - a privilege not every citizen in this world can claim - so, I WILL VOTE!

A few months back, my teenage daughter asked me if she could participate at a black lives matter demonstration in Paris... after we had just been confined for 3 months due to Covid outbreak?!? Honey, get real! 

Instead I sat her down and asked her to join me while I registered to vote. There are ways and ways to make a difference and timing is everything! This weekend we sat down in front of the computer together casting my vote. However, Expat daughter was not impressed with the format and I don't blame her. 

Having to print your electronic ballot is one thing but having to tape your printed template of an envelope to send the other end of the pond seems mighty old-fashion for the world's leading technology power. Whatever the process might be, whatever nationality you are... if you have the privilege to vote.. USE IT!


September 27, 2020

Paris in the fall







Matin d’Octobre

C’est l’heure exquise et matinale
Que rougit un soleil soudain.
À travers la brume automnale
Tombent les feuilles du jardin.

Leur chute est lente. On peut les suivre
Du regard en reconnaissant
Le chêne à sa feuille de cuivre,
L’érable à sa feuille de sang.

Les dernières, les plus rouillées,
Tombent des branches dépouillées :
Mais ce n’est pas l’hiver encor.

Une blonde lumière arrose
La nature, et, dans l’air tout rose,
On croirait qu’il neige de l’or.

François Coppée (1842-1908)

September 26, 2020

If it weren't for the Eiffel tower...

As usual we hit the ground running upon returning to Paris after a long summer break... however, it all took a turn for the worse last week... tons of administrative backlog, various water leaks, annoying neighbours, schedules turned upside down, forgetful suppliers, and unexpected motoric limitations had me come to a screeching halt. 

Furthermore, the limitations due to sanitary protocol have put a big damper on French laissez-faire lifestyle. It was all hunky dory while the sun was shining but with the first rainfall and cool temperatures the mood seems to have changed. Don't get me wrong Parisians are still out and about but the city has definitely lost its sparkle... at least for the time being! 

September 20, 2020

When Paris welcomes me...

When you return from your summer holidays and reality hasn't quite hit you yet... when you get an extra bonus in form of a sunny, hot September week... when Paris is still void of tourists... when it all seems to be too good to be true... THIS is when I fall in love with Paris again!

 

Enjoying a bike ride to St.Germain de Prés 


Starting the day with a Cappuccino at Café de Flore


It's one of Jean Paul Gaultier's boys!!!


Not a single person queuing in front of the Louvre


Art for all: Jef Koons' tulips in the back garden of the Petit Palais


Terrasse ephemère equals extended terraces allowed!


It's time for a treat. 27°C in September!


A little rest in M. Balzac's garden


Tête-à-tête dinner with a view 

September 19, 2020

B&W weekend

It might be that the locals are all still escaping town while the weather is nice, it might be the travel restrictions banning oversees tourist from visiting the city, it might be the partial Saturday lockdown in preparation of the gilets jaunes, it might be that people are still weary of wondering around outside... whatever the reason the city is spectacular to flaneuse around this month. Even in black and white Paris is still stunning!


La grande Dame de Fer


Paris' Russian Orthodox church


Abandoned river banks


When in Paris do as the locals...


Open or closed for business?!?


The heart of Paris is empty


Not a soul in sight


Place de la Concorde, France largest square and completely deserted 


A glimpse up the empty Champs Elysées

September 18, 2020

Coco Chanel Tour

My first week back in Paris and - thanks to a tip from my girlfriend in Tokio - decided to meet up with a Dutch friend for an "after-work" guided tour on the theme of Gabrielle Chanel. How to resist an invitation to retrace the history of the Chanel brand, from the creations of Coco to the legendary tailors of Karl Lagerfeld in preparation of the biggest Chanel exhibition ever to be inaugurated at the Palais Galliera, Paris' Fashion Museum on October 1, 2020!

During our tour we took a closer look at the secrets of rue Cambon, the Parisian address where Coco put her suitcases in 1918 before settling in at the Ritz place Vendôme where she died in 1971.

As the story goes, there was once upon a time a young woman named Gabrielle Chanel who masked her peasant origins and created her own Haute-Couture legend with a little help from Boy Capel, her British sweetheart. Symbol of French elegance across the globe, Coco Chanel broke codes and liberated the bodies of modern women in more than one way.

Founded in 1910, the house of Chanel created the new feminine silhouette, a stylistic revolution. The ankles became visible, the waist was released from the corset, the skin featured a tan, and hair was cut shorter. During the Roaring Twenties, the young designer redesigned the Parisian silhouette which resisted fashion trends and the passage of time. The chic sportswear outfit, the famous little black dress and her daring Chanel “N°5” fragrance all became the pledge of the timeless and the epitome of French elegance.

As Coco would say: "A girl should be two things: classy and fabulous." However, my favrourite Coco quote is: "You can be gorgeous at thirty, charming at forty, and irresistible for the rest of your life."

September 13, 2020

I'm back

It has been a while. Yes, I have been busy and all is good!

This summer might have been the longest we have ever spent away from Paris but it has definitely been the most productive one as well. Between suntanning at the beach and enjoying a freshly grilled seabass with a glass of Albariño at the chiringuito with family and friends, I was working hard at my computer coordinating a series of projects.

My kids thought I had gone made, my hubby felt a bit abandoned but business needed to be taken care of and emergencies handled.

Searching for new tenants, setting up contracts, reflooring a flat, replacing broken 20-year old dishwashers, polishing wooden doors, managing not one but two water leaks, concluding two kitchen projects,  preparing a house refurbishment, visiting a uni campus and leading an important school mission, all while being PA to my family and supporting them in their new projects.

Let's just say there were a lot of balls to juggle and most of it needed to be done virtually to add an extra layer of complexity. But hey, as of yesterday I am back in Paris and ready to hit the ground running...

So, what else is new?

September 12, 2020

Heading North

It has been 11 weeks... 11 weeks since Spain opened its border with France and we jumped into our car and hit the road. For the first time we drove the 1250km in one go without a pit stop along the seaside at San Sebastian. 

It was a smooth ride, not a single tourist car in sight, no French trailer, no Dutch caravan, no Moroccan overloaded car only kilometers of trucks heading South but they all stuck to their lane so we cruised along and made it in 12 hours.

The way back was equally easy. The school holidays were over and many travellers had decided not to leave their country this summer. So, no overnight stop in Arcachon but due to an administrative glitch we needed to stop along the French border for a "contrôle téchnique" during which we had lunch in a rather dull industrial area but ... the Lemon Meringue pie was delicious! Lunch menu for two at 12.- Euros... you cannot beat that?!?


August 27, 2020

Just can't get enough of the beach...


Hues of Ibiza blue on my last day


I will miss this island vibe


Every perspective is picture-perfect 


A beach all to myself on Ferragosto


Pretty shells everywhere


Lunch with a view


A romantic morning swim... all I'm missing is the D&G model

August 25, 2020

Artistic Ibiza

Strip away Ibiza's image of being a hedonistic party-island where just about anything goes and you'll see the real Ibiza, a laid-back spot of natural beauty, nestled softly in the western Mediterranean. 

Since the sixties, Ibiza has been known to a few for its magical aura. Aside from its more famous and wilder reputation, its hippy vibe beats quietly along under the radar of its louder neighbours. Flower power is definitely alive in Ibiza.

People have always been drawn in by the island's charms, its laid-back locals and its stunning scenery - and that doesn't look set to change any time soon.


Arte en Ayianna


Earrings from Antica Sartoria


Missoni beachware


A gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles


Stone sculpture by Expat with Kids


Francesca Fontana art


African vibes


That Ibiza feeling

August 24, 2020

Taste of ibiza

As blissful as a warm beach day can be, it can also come with its own supply of stressors. Applying sunscreen evenly, finding a parking space, and generally ensuring that a swimsuit stays in place can all be enough to make our temperatures rise.

But what could be more indulgent than sitting on a white sandy beach, gazing out at the turquoise waters and sipping a sangria de cava? Eating wonderfully delicious beach food, of course.

Ibiza's chiringuitos and restaurants are going the extra mile with amazing and delicious local specialties because good beach food can be as important an experience as the actual beach itself...

 

Nothing like a "jarra de sangria de cava" with some pan con aioli

The perfect beach "chiringuito"


Watermelon mojito... need I say more?


Latest discovery... 7 Pines lounge bar with a view


A cocktail called L'Orange with passion fruit


More Sangria de cava


A simple glass of Terra Gauda enjoyed with friends


A romantic dinner spot


Chocolate mousse with a twist


Lunch with a view


Where do I start?


It's "Mamma Mia" all over again


Homemade orange marmalade with greek yoghurt

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