13 Jul 2015

Fill In The Blanks: French Favourites

paris france

What a weekend!

Celebrating my daughter’s birthday in Provence has been the best fun ever. I can also admit to a weary Monday morning feeling and a little melancholy that the weekend is over.

Putting the party together in the last few weeks has allowed plenty of time to reflect on this on-going love affair we have with France. I think you feel very much the same about France as I do. Let’s see.

This is how I filled in the blanks.

One city in France I would revisit over and over is — Paris

That’s an easy one, Paris. I never tire of the same in Paris or making new discoveries.

My favourite season to visit France is — winter

Whether Paris or Provence I enjoy the quieter season, the more relaxed pace and the chill.

The favourite arrondissement in Paris is — the 9th.

Slowly I’m getting to know the 9th. The 9th is located on the Right bank, with many places of cultural, historical, and architectural interest.

Like a French girl, red lipstick or not — a big yes

The Red lip is the best make-up tip of all. 

My most memorable taste of France is — there are far too many to name only one

Wild strawberries, salted caramel macarons, ripe figs from the garden, ice cold champagne, fois gras and apricot confit, chevre and I can go on and on…

Boulangeries or pâtisseries — boulangeries

Boulangeries are such a unique part of life in France. Standing in line at the boulangerie, watching the French come and go about their daily life, is a simple but rewarding pleasure.

Who is your favourite French actress — Marion Cotillard

Ever since A Good Year I have been a big fan.

A French expression I love is — coup de foudre

A bolt of lightning, which evolves to mean, “love at first sight”. An expression that sums up the way I feel about France.

When you imagine Paris, what is the signature scent — fleur d’oranger

I won’t forget the first time I discovered fleur d’oranger by Serge Lutens. As much as I move around the perfume world I always come back.

My favourite French fashion designer is — Raf Simons for Dior

The Dior collections seem to become more magical each season; dresses to dream of.

Will you play? I would love to know about your French favourites?


nordstrom have opened their fall anniversary sale for early access to account customers

it is one of the best sales of the year for pre-fall fashion




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Anita Rivera

I am 100% in the game. Here I am:

One city in France I would revisit over and over is SARLAT. Slow pace, great open air market.

My favourite season to visit France is summer. Great fruits and vegetables to eat!

The favourite arrondissement in Paris is hard to decide! I love the Right Bank.

And I too love red lipstick. That is all I ever wear all summer long.

My most memorable taste of France is the bread at PAUL and the fresh peaches and strawberries of La Dordogne.

Who is your favourite French actress is Marion Cotillard since La Vie en Rose.

A French expression I love is “Tu me manques.” I love the inversion of the subject as the object here….this is why I studied and teach French: the rules and logic of the language are so unexpected.

My favourite French fashion designer is Givency from the 60s when he designed for Audrey Hepburn. Those were the days.

Donna clark

Hello Vickie,
As my husband and I will be celebrating our honeymoon soon in France, I appreciate all the info you’ve given. Please check your emails as I’ve inquired about staying in your Petite Bijou beginning on September 19th.
Donna Lovold

Victoria B

Such a perfect list Vicki. It may be added to but not bettered! Mes coups de coeur sont – in no particular order – the symmetry of a true parterre garden, Haussmann architecture, afternoon light on the vines in summer in the south, seeing the majestic Pyrenees from the French side, the 1st and the 6th, Chanel, the scent of les truffes in a simple risotto, French roses en masse, pain au levain, Cathar castles on high, Bordeaux red, bastide villages, les brocantes and finally the wonderful work/life balance achieved by most French people. Thank you for encouraging us to think!


1. Also Paris (but can’t do without visits to the Cote d’Azur and Provence)
2. Favourite season in Paris: the whole month of June – usually good weather, great time for special exhibitions at the galleries, great season for fruits and vegetables (asparagus, artichokes, cherries, peaches, melon. etc Still not too crowded. (Downsides: often seems to be the month for strikes – trains, air traffic controllers, taxis – against Uber. Thankfully not all of them this last June)
3. 1st, 4th and 6th – we always stay in an apartment close to the edge of the 1st and v near the 4th and then spend a few days in a hotel in the 6th.
4. Coral lipstick
5. Memorable tastes: truffle omelettes, champagne; flat peaches, Cavaillon melons, the Bombe Alaska flambéed with Grand Marnier at Le Grand Colbert, chevre, the salads at Les Filles du Patissier, Place Favier, St Remy, a chilled rose at lunch in Provence, etc etc
6. French actress, Catherine Deneuve (though I too loved “A Good Year”
7. Expression: Ce n’est pas grave”
8. Signature scent Caleche, Hermes
9. Yves Saint Laurent (but also loved the clothes Givenchy designed for Audrey Hepburn). On the more casual side like some of the clothes/aaccessories by Sonia Rykiel and Agnes B. Very wearable and not too look alike with Ines de la Fressange (now bored with her style – it’s become a bit of a cliché – though she herself is probably gorgeous).
Ooops! left out boulangeries. Best wishes from Singapore, Pamela

Nathalia Faribault

Dear Vicki et al,
I will be traveling to Paris Sept 25 for a week and then on to Le Mans for a Faribault family reunion.
I would greatly appreciate any and all suggestions of places to see, things to do, unique shopping, etc.
I actually lived in Paris in 1966 for 2 years and have visited twice since then.
J’aime Paris!
My niece and i are also looking for a place to stay for the week in Paris. Air B and B or boutique reasonable but charming hotels….ideas?


Dear Nathalia, Try googling the Hotel Recamier in Place Saint Sulpice. It’s small, charming, tranquil and the staff are super helpful and pleasant. Very well located. W usually take a room that looks right on to the church. The chic small salon on the ground floor doubles as breakfast room and bar/afternoon tea area. Every afternoon there is complimentary self serve tea or coffee and cakes. So pleasant to come back to at the end of the day and such a lovely ambience. There are coffee table books, magazines and newspapers there too. Have a wonderful time, best wishes, Pamela


PS You can be lucky with air bnb! This June our son and DIL and family decided at the last minute to come to Paris while we were here. They found an apartment in the actual Place des Vosges buildings that isn’t normally let. The owner was going away for a month and decided on the spur of the moment to put it on airbnb, at a v reasonable rental. Fabulous location! Our family loved it! And they were within walking distance of the apartment we always rent from a friend. Pamela

Angela Muller

My list: a) Paris as many times as I can b)France in the Spring-perfection c)9th arrondissement (only because I haven’t been to all of them) d)red lipstick, for sure e) sliced sweet donut peaches in a carafe of ice water-the best f)Catherine D., eternal g)”Je ne sais quoi” h) Chanel, forever and always.

Vanessa leak

Wonderful thoughts on Paris and Le Sud.
For me……Le Marais and the Le rive gauche. Provence especially Aix and The Luberon.
Lourmarin market on a Friday. L’Isle sur La Sorgue amazing.
Nice for Le Cours Saleya flowers and herbs. The hill villages where time stands still.
Coup de coeur sums up the whole experience. So much, so individual so totally absorbing and charming.


Writing from work so sadly no time to compile a list however Vicki you have brought back a very happy memory for me with the mention of ‘A Good Year’. Shortly after the film came out all four of us were in Provence and as it happened it was my daughter’s birthday week so for a fun day out we did what my son termed ‘Russell Crowe Day. We spend the day visiting or trying to find the locations used in the film. We had lunch in Gordes in the square under the trees. Right on cue the French Airforce did a fly over which we joked was to mark her birthday. We had the most wonderful day spent in gorgeous surroundings and so full of the joy of our family being together. We have been back to France many times since then but have not been back to Provence.I believe it is time to rectify that situation!

Karen in VA

Ok I will try this again … A brilliant post and have enjoyed seeing your responses.

1. Taking Paris out of the equation … It’s Avignon and Deauville as of late.
2. Fall … Perfect weather.
3. I’ve always stayed in the 7th … Love the St. Suplice area … But I very much like several others.
4. A soft coral for me … Not too nude and not too bright.
5. The taste of French lamb is wonderful … Like no other.
6. Catherine Deneuve … No question.
7. Boulangerie
8. “Amuse Bouche” … Something political commentators use in America for lesser candidates.
9. No scent in Paris … Keep the nose open for the next best thing … I shamelessly ask and compliment.
10. Chanel … No question

Hopefully it will take my equation answer this time. Fantastic post and comments.

Karen in VA


The Parc Monceau…the marche near the Pont D’Alba… Walking, walking and more walking, drinking in day to day life in the city. Passy- I just adore everything about it, Passy must be the birthplace of BCBG! The unique friendliness of the French- I find it delightful (most of tthe time!) the exquisite Musee Nissim Di Camomdo.
My initial nervousness about speaking French when I haven’t spoken it in a while, then feeling comfortable once my mouth forms the correct aperture in a day or so. Wandering around the 7th and occasionally getting a glimpse of a fabulous courtyard or garden. The little park of the Mairie in the 7th- it is totally hidden and absolutely magnificent.. I have never seen a single tourist there. The beautiful Place de Vosges… Observing French chic firsthand…I could go on forever.


Just returned from France–Paris and the Cote d’Azur. Luckily we are always there during the summer soldes. MY favorites are Rondini sandals… XOXOXOXO


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