Sunday, October 23, 2011

Familiar Faces, New Places

Meet Yasmine.

(She’s the one on the right).

that’s us, walking the streets of Saint Paul de Vence.

It is actually because of Yasmine that I am even in France right now. So to begin, a big merci beaucoup for that! After meeting F.C. (see this post if you have no idea what I’m talking about) at the Main Bakery in Grapevine, I was introduced to Yasmine, her husband Fabien, and their almost quatro-lingual daughter, Maya—aka, the family who owns the most charming line of French bakeries in all of Texas (also maybe the only line of French bakeries in all of Texas).

If you live in the Dallas area and you haven’t been to one of their little bistros, stop what you’re doing and drive to Grapevine immediately (it’s the original). Do not stop, do not breathe, and do not attempt to accomplish anything else on your “to-do” list until you have consumed at least three of their chocolate-almond croissants.


you may have gained 5 pounds just looking at that. don’t worry, you can lose it.

Despite the fact that since knowing Yasmine I have consumed more carbohydrates than ever before in my life, I truly could not be more blessed to know her wonderful family. This week she came to France to visit, and en plus, she acted as my official tour guide. It’s been great exploring some of the sights on my own over the past few weeks, but let’s be honest…it’s so much better to see experience things with other people!

So this week with Yasmine, I saw Southern France in an entirely new way. And okay, that “new way” mostly involved eating some of the most ah-mazing French food I’ve ever had in my life.


See that little gem in the upper left-hand corner? That would be gésier, or gizzard. Let’s stick with gésier, though—it’s so much prettier! (and yes, it was tasty, too!)

On Wednesday, we re-explored Monaco together. Meaning we lunched at the Café de Paris, sipped on espressos, strolled through Chanel, Gucci, and Valentino, and even toured the Grand Casino that I was so intimidated to visit by myself!

Thursday took us to Saint Paul de Vence.

FYI, Saint Paul is officially my favorite place I’ve visited so far! I adored everything about the little village. Tiny streets, bright colors, sachets of lavender, provencal tablecloths, pots of mustard covered in checked cloths, bath salts and creams, olive oils, perfumes, and most importantly, tons and tons of gorgeous art galleries and charming boutiques tucked away into little corners of stone buildings.

For lunch, Yasmine took me to a gorgeously quaint restaurant in The Saint Paul hotel. A tiny elevator with padded walls covered in floral cloth took us down one level to the adorable little dining room. The ambiance was so charming—white tabecloths, square glass holders filled with creamy roses, a stone fountain filled with flowers, soft pink and yellow light streaming in through the windows. It was stunning.

I love the “experience” that is French food because you’re not just eating to get full - you’re savoring flavors, enjoying conversation, learning how to pair different foods and herbs and wines and breads. Finishing a meal feels almost like going to a museum and seeing a piece of art up close. The Saint Paul was extra amazing because in between each course, they brought a mini-appetizer or palate-cleanser. A ricotta ice cream with balsamic sauce, a tiny cup of frozen orange shavings…it was all so beautiful and clean and colorful and perfect.

Since I spent way too much money in Saint Paul de Vence, I settled for window shopping when we went to Nice on Friday. But will I be back? Oh, definitely. There are tons of adorable boutiques and shops in Nice, but Vielle Nice (old Nice) was my favorite to walk through. When we arrived, shops were closing up for the night. But we did manage to bring home a few squares of homemade pasta wrapped in white paper, as well as a truly incredible sauce to go with it.

The owner of the pasta shop told me that on Mondays, an antique market fills the streets. Every other day, it’s a flower market. Of course now I’m planning on going to the marche de fleurs ASAP so that I can fulfill my dream of becoming Audrey Hepburn in My Fair Lady.

On Friday night I went out for the first time with some new friends. The best part? I got to wear one of the tops I picked up in Saint Paul!

Lovin’ that gold! We had a great time. There are a string of bars and little night clubs lining the harbor that are easy to walk back and forth between. It’s a truly gorgeous little area at night, since all of the yachts have their lights on. I can’t even imagine what it would be like to casually own one of the little bobbing castles docked in the most expensive piece of the Mediterranean ocean.

My only complaint? There isn’t a Starbucks here. I think I literally just felt 100 people roll their eyes, but whatever. Look at the size of this to-go latte I got in Nice yesterday!

It’s like taking a shot of coffee…not nearly enough to get a fix! I’d be lying if I said I didn’t miss the good stuff (that’s you, pumpkin spice lattes). Yasmine and I asked around to see if there was one close to where I’m living, but alas - the closest ‘bucks is in Paris. Which is why I settled for a cafe de Haagen-Daas.

But then I see things like this, and I think that I just might be okay sacrificing a few comforts from home. Even pumpkin spice lattes. (crazy, huh?)

This was a long post, I know. So if you’re still with me, thanks for reading.

Feeling so blessed, and so incredibly thankful for experiences like these.  mes amis!


No comments

Post a Comment

Karley with a K. Todos los derechos reservados. © Maira Gall.