wpid-20140531_171328.jpgOne of my favorite things I have done living in Paris so far was visiting Monet’s Garden in Giverny. Only 75km outside of Paris, this is a great day trip to escape the city and explore the house where the impressionist genius lived and found inspiration for his most beautiful creations. You truly feel like you are walking right into one of his paintings and see it come to life.

Already aware that visiting on a Saturday would be crowded on a sunny day, we took the train from Saint Lazare to Vernon, as early as possible. The trains for Vernon only leave about every 2 to 3 hours, so timing is everything for the 45 minute train ride from Paris.

When arriving at the station, it is easy to think to yourself, “Ok, now what?” There are several options. A shuttle bus for 8 euro roundtrip, which runs every 2 hours according to the train schedule or renting bikes from one of the local vendors across from the station. You cannot miss them otherwise there are always taxis. The bike is the best way to go because it is only about 3 miles and a very easy path out of the way of the cars. I was lucky enough to take the full bike tour through the countryside past the gardens in March.

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Arriving at the entrance, we followed the crowds of people excited to live like Monet. We enter into a back secluded neighborhood lined with cute cottage-like houses and immediately saw the sign that read, “Rue Claude Monet”. Sarcastically I asked my friend, “Hey, I wonder if this is it?”

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Overwhelmed with the impressionist museum, independent art galleries and adorable little shops, we decided to set up the picnic we brought first to prepare us for the long entrance line awaiting us. There is a cute outdoor garden cafe next to the information center with sandwiches, snacks, coffee and beer but we thought bringing a picnic is always a bit more fun.

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When we finished lunch, stood in line and paid our 9.50 euro, we were ready to indulge in the artist’s world. I had to laugh when, just like at Disney World, we had to first walk through the gift shop. Though I am not going to lie, it was one of the most impressive gift shops I have ever seen. Even Monet would have been impressed!

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Finally, after what now seemed a trek through the desert we were greeted by the beautiful, “Clos Normand”, the flower and fruit tree garden. Overflowing with green, blue, red and yellow flowers, including many flowers and even colors I didn’t even know existed.

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Spening our time walking in out of the rows in awe of how the Claude Monet foundation has kept true to Monet’s original style. Monet apparently, liked to plant his flowers using sporadic colors and no organization so they could grow freely. Seems to fit his paintings perfectly.

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After taking as many photos as we could, since I consider this garden a photographers dream world, we headed down the underpass to the water lily pond. Monet bought this land 10 years after he purchased his house in 1893 and thank God he did! The inspiration for some of his most famous paintings and the pond was more beautiful in real life. I wanted to spend hours here just relaxing and even with tons of tourists and flashing camera’s everywhere, you could see how this would be on of the most calming place in the world.

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This area of the garden was also important to me because it held the Japanese bridge where my brother-in-law proposed to my sister. I had been waiting for the gardens to bloom so I could finally see where their magical moment happened.

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Though the beauty of the lily pond was inspiring enough for me to paint my own painting, reality hit and it was already 5:30 PM. We wanted a chance to see the inside of Monet’s house and I am so glad we did. This was actually my favorite part of the entire property. His house was bright and was set up almost as he was still living there and just ran out to the grocery store. I wish I could have taken pictures but had to respect the no picture sign for inside his house. Some things are good to keep as a memory.

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We exited back into the gardens, ready to leave for the afternoon. On the way back out of the property, we met a very cool resident artist. We asked what it was like living here and he said, “Though there are a lot of tourists, I like to meet all the people from all around the world. It is beautiful here but nice when the visitors come because sometimes it is just too quiet!” I wonder if Monet would have felt the same way today.

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If you are visiting Paris during the spring or summer and want to make the day trip to Giverny, here is the information on pricing, times and how to travel from Paris. When you visit and not in rush to get back to Paris, have dinner in historic Vernon’s cute downtown with outdoor restaurants, shops and cool gothic church.

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The garden is open from April 1st to November 1st, 9:30am to 6:00pm everyday.

Adults- 9.50 euro

Children and students-7.00

You can also avoid the line by buying online here!

giverny.org/gardens/fcm/visitgb.htm

Getting to Monet’s Garden in Giverny from Paris:

1. Take the train from Saint Lazare station in Paris to Vernon. The 45 minute ride will cost about 26 euro but prices change. The trains only leave about every 2 to 3 hours so try to catch an early one if possible. Timetables are available here on SNCF. www.sncf.com

2. When arriving in Vernon, here are a few options to the gardens.

  • The shuttle bus is 8 euro round trip and departs from the station according to the train schedule.
  • Taxis are available right outside the station and will cost you about 8 euro one way. The good part is the shuttle bus is available to take back to the station should you choose this option.
  • Renting a bike across the street at one of the bike rental centers or cafe. There is also the option for a full day tour with Fat Tire Bike Tours. They offer a full day tour from Paris for 75 euro. A nice alternative if you wanted a guided tour.paris.fattirebiketours.com/tours/monets-gardens-bike-tour

3. Driving can cost around 50 to 100 euro depending on again, how much you book it in advance.

Happy Travels!

Happy Tuesday! For those of you who have been in Paris the last couple weeks you might have noticed the more than cooler July temperatures. Chilly evenings, rain storms and windy afternoons has created the feeling of fall more than summer. Making the invitation for your favorite outdoor activities difficult, let along showing off your best summer wardrobe. If I wasn’t already jealous of those who celebrated 4th of July this weekend, I am extremely jealous of those who enjoyed a WARM 4th of July bbq.

I love summer, especially for the fashion. Yet, with the weather being tricky lately, I had to find ways to still look “summery” while continuing to stay warm. This lead to this week’s ensemble for those preparing for the cooler summer days and nights. I normally don’t consider Zara for Tuesday Paris Street Fashion because they are more on the expensive side but I am not going to lie, I love to look. Luckily, when “window” shopping, I was able to find these killer pants for only 29 euro making a perfect addition to these week’s Paris essential, flat sandals.

As important as the ballerina’s are year around, so are the flat sandals for summer. Even with the cool streak, women still rock their favorite pair of trendy flats waiting for the sun to return. I am crossing my fingers that summer will reappear this weekend for the big Bastille Day celebration but until then, Parisian women will continue to look fabulous rain or shine.

Paris Essential: Flat Sandals

 Summer Storm: 76.95 euro

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IMG_0706Pants: Zara, 29 euro

IMG_0704Flat Sandals: Mango, 7.95 euro

IMG_0702Necklace: Zara, 12 euro

IMG_0646Blazer: Forever 21, 28 euro

 

IMG_0640Summer is officially here and no summer agenda is complete without a visit to the town carnival! Candied apples, Ferris wheels and all your favorite games make for a perfect summer evening. When I thought this age old tradition couldn’t get any better….what about including a view of the Louvre!

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The thing I love most about Paris, there is always something new to discover. Many of the city events I have been to were only because I happened to walk past a sign or new stage being set up to find out what was going on. It was not until the other day that I noticed the giant Ferris wheel right next to the Louvre and said to myself, “When did that show up?” At the time I noticed the addition to the Paris skyline, I was running and wasn’t able to check it out. So, finally this weekend I went to see what it was all about and was thrilled to find a huge carnival, the Fete des Tuileries setup in Jardin des Tuileries.

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The free Fete des Tuileries, is centrally located at Place du Carrousel and filled with all your favorite carnival traditions; games, rides, cotton candy, hot dogs and lots and lots of sweets.

IMG_0634Rides vary from the bumper cars to children’s swings and even an insane spinning, tower of horror. Well, maybe I am exaggerating a little but if you are brave enough, I will gladly watch you take this one on from the ground.

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Games start as simple as a claw machine to spinning a wheel for TV’s and iphones. There are some new games I am not as familiar with but one thing that was extremely noticeable was the lack of giant stuffed animals to be won. Something I had become accustomed to in the US but as I now know how small Parisian apartments are, I don’t know where you would store one!

Enjoying a Delicious Gaufre at the Fete des Tuleries

Enjoying a Delicious Gaufre at the Fete des Tuleries

I was so excited to jump right into the fun I didn’t know where to start. Carnivals have always been one of my favorite summer traditions but I never thought I would be enjoying them while staring at the Louvre! I thought no better way to start my French carnival than with a gaufre (waffle) smothered in Nutella.

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After devouring my gaufre and playing some games, I walked around to see what other French twists there were compared to the American carnival. Delicious crepes, fresh beignets, gaufres, gelato and of course, espressos and cappuccinos, were the most prominent but everything else was very similar.

wpid-20140706_192221.jpgI left the carnival excited to come back another time. Although there is so much to do in the city and so many new places to visit, it was great to find another fun summer activity with a little taste of home.

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If you will be in Paris this summer and looking for an alternative cheap night out, the Fete des Tuileries is open until August 24th, 2014, everyday until midnight. Metro: Palais Royal-Musee du Louvre

 

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It’s that time of year again. When supermen with calves the size of watermelons take on the streets of France to battle out in one of the best and most famous spectating sports in the world, the Tour de France.

Today, July 5th, riders officially commenced the 101st Tour de France with a 190.5 km first stage from Leeds to Harrogate, England. Riding through the mountains and countryside, overcoming everything from tough weather to just crazy fans, these elite cyclists got their feet wet for the next intense 22 days will bring. If you are one of the lucky ones who gets to be in front of the action, then you are in for a ride. Yet, for us at home, we are still lucky enough to watch these superheroes every step of the way worldwide. The 21 stage event will finish as it always has in Paris at Champs-Elysees. This year, the final stage through the City of Lights will be on Sunday, July 27th and as a first time spectator, I do not plan on missing one moment of the action. My father, is one of the biggest Tour de France fans in the world. I remember watching each stage of the race with him every year probably before I could even walk. If you are like me and have been waiting your whole life to finally be part of the action, here is all the info you need to track every stage of the event. There is also an app available to download, ensuring you keep up to date on stats, riders and spectator information. www.letour.fr

map_homeThe course which began in England, continues through Belgium towards the eastern countryside of France down to the south and eventually  back up to Paris, the whole time encouraging spectators all along the way. If you are visiting Paris during the race and decide you want to see these rockstars up front in the countryside, your best bet is Stage 5 on July 9th. Cyclists will be passing through towns right outside of Lille, which is only a three hour bus ride or one hour train ride from Paris. Depending on which town you want to spectate, either plan on an overnight stay in Lille or IDBus offers late buses back to Paris. When you arrive in Lille, you can rent a bike to ride to the town you want to view from. Bike rentals are available near the station and towns, such as Hem on the stage map, are only 6.84 miles  from Lille city center. IDBus is currently running a special, 15 euro each way from Paris to Lille providing several buses per day. See below the links for IDBus and the Lille Tourism center for more information.

Bike Rentals: www.lilletourism.com/info-2-0-212-gb.htm

IDBus: www.idbus.com/

Seats are Ready for the Tour de France 2014 on July 27th in Champs-Elysees

Front Row Seats are Ready for the 2014 Tour de France Finish on July 27th in Champs-Elysees

On July 27th, if you are lucky enough to be in Paris for the big finish then be ready for the ultimate party. Though the already packed Champs-Elysees will be overflowing with spectators and tourists, it will be well worth sticking around for. Stands have already been set up for use on Bastille Day but will continue to stay out until the Tour de France finish. So, how do you get one of these front rows seats and the best view of the action? Just a couple of dollars……like $400! These seats are only available by a high-priced reservation and I don’t know about you but though I love the sport, I will take my chances in the party crowd. If you are a regular Joe like myself, plan on setting up camp for a view of the race towards Grande Palais and get ready for what will be a long but very fun afternoon. From what I have heard the race, of course, creates a huge, lively crowd and as I know now how Parisians party in the streets, that means lots and lots of wine.

The main grand stand is scheduled to be at Grand Palais but other stages will be set along Champs-Elysees and Place de la Concorde. Though timing will be everything this day, here is the estimated schedule for the July 27th Tour de France finish:

6:00pm-Arrival of cyclists in Champs-Elysees

7:15pm-Last cyclists and completion of the race

7:45pm-Awards ceremony

For more information refer to Thomson Bike Tours, I found them the most helpful out of all the sites.

Thomson Bike Tours: www.thomsonbiketours.com/trips/Tour-de-France-trip-08/index.html

Place de Concorde

Place de la Concorde set for Spectators at the 2014 Tour de France

As this will be my first live Tour de France, I can’t wait to finally be one of the crazy spectators I have always seen on TV. This is truly another dream come true to check off the list and I am looking forward to giving back a full report from the Tour de France, especially for the man I wish could have flown out to be here with me, my Dad!

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Happy 4th of July everyone!  As today is one of my favorite holidays in the USA, I realized how much I took for granted the things I had at home. Walgreens, toilet seats, big cups of coffee, 7-11 and especially the American holidays. Though I love living in France and there is plenty of red, white and blue, mostly to represent France’s huge World Cup game against Germany tonight, the stars and stripes at a bbq I will surely miss today. So whether your grilling up a bbq, seeing some fireworks or drinking a “silver bullet” by the lake, enjoy every minute of it for us abroad who are missing a little piece of home.

18 Things you will Miss about the USA Living in France

1. 24 hour 7-11. The days I wish I could just stop by to grab an emergency item at 3am. There are convenience stores open late but they are normally overpriced and close at weird hours sometimes just for lunch. Doesn’t seem very convenient to me?

2. Walgreens. A pharmacy is just a pharmacy in France, medicine only. No one stop shop for medicine, snacks, detergent, beer or any weird items that you know they will have at midnight.

3. Shopping on Sunday.  If you need it for Sunday then I hoped you grabbed it on Saturday because the days of running out to the store when you forgot sonething for the Sunday bbq don’t exsit here. Everything is closed on Sundays and a lot on Monday.

4. Thanksgiving

5. Grabbing change at the bank. It would make sense to get change from the bank first but in France it’s the last place you want to go. Bank tellers do not carry any cash, which is smart for security reasons but for those of us uses to going to the bank for change, it sucks. Just plan on buying something to break your bills.

6. One dollar packs of gum. One thing I could not believe was how expensive gum was. Most gum, the really cheap one was 3 euro. That’s almost $4!! I never thought I would be begging for Wrigleys in my life. Bring gum from the US if you can.

7. Running errands on your lunch break. When you go to lunch, so does the bank. The banks (and some post offices) close for 2 hours from 12-2pm so ensure to make your coffee break your bank break too.

8. Getting your check within 10 minutes.  If you plan on grabbing a quick bite at a restaurant,  forget it. Eating in a restaurant is an event and usually when you ask for the check it can sometimes take up to 45 minutes.  Also, culturally it is considered impolite to walk up and ask repeatedly.  If your in a rush, grab a street crepe.

9. Mexican food. Burritos is not an item you think of when eating in one of the culinary capitols of the world. But when you have been living here as long as I have you want to mix things up. Though all food has been amazing here, I decided to try local Mexican food and have to say it is the one item not on the list of expertise. When I was served what tasted like tomato soup instead of salsa, I think I will stick to the fromage plate.

10. Large cups of coffee. Don’t get me wrong, I love the strong French petite coffees but sometimes I just want a nice sized to-go cup of coffee and where is the only place I can get it, wait for it…….McDonald’s or Starbucks. If you are in need of a big American cup, these are the only places you can get it.

11. 4th of July.

12. Toilet seats. In Paris, most bathrooms have toilet seats but start getting out in the country and get ready for a quad workout.

13. Doggie Bags. The great part about the smaller meal sizes is you actually finish your plate. However, if you get to a restaurant with larger portions expect to share or a long stare from the server when you ask to “wrap it up”.

14. Nice smelling gyms, trains and nightclubs. I don’t think I have to explain this one.

15. Transportation that runs on time. Normally, the transportation is great and very well organized. The one thing that is tough to get use to is the insane amount the public transport goes on strike. In the time I have been here they have gone on strike at least once per month, does not make for a smooth ride.

16. Pedestrians first. It seems the pedestrian first rule does not really apply here, only if it means pedestrians are the first to get hit.  How stupid of me to go on a green crosswalk sign!

17. Non-smoking restaurants that are ACTUALLY non-smoking restaurants.

18. Things getting fixed in a week. Any time I have had to get something fixed or repaired it always seems to take a month. Or when someone gets back from holiday or just sometime in the future…..whenever that is.

McDonald's sells Macaroons?

McDonald’s Sells Macaroons?

I have to admit, I am a fairly new citizen of the Twitter world. As new a “Tweeter” “Tweety” “Tweetster” or one of the many names I keep discovering, you need a dictionary for all the popular hashtags. Though beginning my Tweeting journey, which I am pretty certain I thought I hashtagged something about fashion and it was for horse farming, I found there is a tag for everything!  Since my focus is finding the best Parisian updates, I was about to go hashtag crazy when I found about #onlyinfrance.

#onlyinfrance is a collection of Tweets filled with pictures and quotes from travelers, along with locals, posting things that truly only someone who has been here can say,”OMG, that is soo true!” Things, you just can’t make up. I found this awesome article in the TheLocal.fr, a French news site written in English with some of the best #onlyinfrance tweets. The collection keeps growing and I can’t wait to continue adding my, “really?”, adventures.

http://www.thelocal.fr/galleries/culture/only-in-france-

This new finding, has created an enormous replay of the millions of #onlyinfrance moments I’ve had within the last 7 months. So, as I continue to add to this great collection, here are a few of my favorite #onlyinfrance moments. (Of course, all of this attempt in the best French possible).

Can I Please Have a Large Cup of Coffee to Go?

Can I Please Have a Large Cup of Coffee to Go?

1. “Are those 12 year kids smoking cigarettes and drinking espresso after school at an outdoor cafe……….and no one has called Nancy Grace?”

2. “Can I please have a large cup of coffee to go?”

3. “Will there be fruit and energy snacks for after the bike race? Oh, you are only serving baguette with pate sandwiches and Pierre.”

4. “There is foie gras on the buffet at the highway rest stop?”

5. “The trains are on strike…………….again?? They were just on strike last week.”

6. “Is that the construction crew? Each drinking a bottle of wine on their lunch break in the middle of the sidewalk?”

7. “McDonald’s sells macaroons?”

Before I Dance to the Next Song, I want to Grab an Espresso from the Bar

Before I Dance to the Next Song, I want to Grab an Espresso from the Bar

8. “Is that a macaroon dispenser?”

9. “Is that guy at the end of the bar drinking espresso at 3am in a nightclub?”

10. “So, wait if I want to print a bank balance, deposit a check, deposit cash or make a withdrawal, there is a separate machine for every single one?”

 

If you are Tweeter and have your own personal stories or see things along the way ensure to use the #onlyinfrance on Twitter. Not a Tweetster, than I would love to hear your stories here!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My favorite Parisian Brands

My favorite Parisian Brands

Dress: Etam, 15 euro

Everywhere I turn there they are, 70%, 60% off signs in every direction. The metro is actually started looking like a good sanctuary for the month of July because  my anxiety level is at a level I can barely handle because I want it all! Dresses, shoes, purses, necklaces and well anything else the store can possibly tempt your credit card with is discounted at a ridiculous rate. Though as lucky as I am to have pure access to the best Parisian fashions, I feel it is almost robbery. I feel everyone should have access to these stores especially when actually afford in addition to your grocery bill! I decided this week for Tuesday Paris Street Fashion to give you the same store access that I enjoy (but my bank card despises) by handing you the list of affordable Parisian chains.

Though my weekly assembles will be brands with easy  international accessibility, the following chains, which some many of you might be familiar with, that are French based.  All have on-line stores, some with international shipping others with availability to pickup at the store should you be coming to the City of Lights. If not, thankfully there is Videdressing.us which provides all the Parisian brands, even with the sale prices, woohoo!

Videdressing.us, offers not only Parisian but other exclusive international brands unavailable outside their country. Offering vintage clothing as well as all newest fashions shipping is available for you to enjoy on home soil. As Paris is a city meant for dreaming, you can no matter where you are in the world.

Whether you are heading to Paris this summer or want to dream Parisian at home, here are a list of the most accessable chains along with my favorites. Men, I got you covered too! After some intensive research, I got the scoop from local guys about the favorite Parisian brands.

Summer just got a whole lot brighter!

Women’s Fashion

1. Sudexpress– casual wear, accessories, shoes with agreeable solid colors and prints. From khakis, to leapord and floral designs, they offer clothing for any fun occassion. Ideal for women searching for a modern look without being overbaring. Great for picnic gear to everyday jeans.

sudexpress.com

2. Promod-casual to evening wear, accessories, perfume, shoes with bolder patterns and bright colors. This is one of my favorite chains in Paris. Not only for the fun patterns but for reasonable pricing all year. Ideal for women searching to brighten up their closet and express the perfect outfit for wine tastings with girlfriends and dresses for night’s out on the town.

Promod.fr

3. Pimkie-casual day to evening wear, accessories, shoes with tons of fun and funky prints. From shirts, shorts, dresses and leggings, get any lively pattern you desire with a pair of cute shoes to match. Ideal for the young, hip girl who wants to make a statement.

Pimkie.fr

4. Etam-casual day to evening wear, business attire, swimwear, accessories. This is my favorite of all the French chains. Why? It is my one stop shop for feeling glamorous in my thirties without leveling my bank account. Etam offers casual wear that is sophisticated and fun while bringing professional yet sexy business attire. Ideal for women ready for a sophisticated, sexy and upbeat look.

etam.com

5. Morgan-casual to evening wear, accessories, shoes with patterns and designs only the “girliest” girl would love. From polk-a-dots, florals and beautiful colored dresses, this is a perfect place to find a dress for a wedding or special occassion. Ideal for the woman who really wants to show off the most of her feminie side.

morgandetoi.com

6. Petit Bateau-casual wear, accessories, shoes. Ahhooyyy Maty! If you missed your chance as a French sailor, you now have your chance. As striped shirts are the uniform of summer, you can complete the full sailor look with all the neautical gear and colors you desire. If heading to the South of France this year is on your agenda, than you will be more than prepared. Ideal for those looking for a nautical, casual day look.

petit.bateau.fr

petit.bateau.us for USA shipping

7. NafNaf-casual to evening wear, accessories, shoes. Pretty in lace, simple designs and unique colors, NafNaf offers clothing ready for any Sunday family outing. Ideal for the women searching for a fashionable look while staying modest.

nafnaf.com

Men’s Fashion

1. Celio-casual wear, business attire, accessories, shoes. Though Celio has become an international name, it is a French based brand that regins superior throughout the Parisian streets. From polo’s to World Cup jersey’s and bright shorts for summer, Celio lets any guy feel beach ready even in the middle of the city. Ideal for men searching for a “bright” casual French look.

celio.com

2. Brice-casual wear, business attire, coats, accessories. One thing I have always admired about French men is, their ability to dress everyday for work as if they are headed for the Gucci runway. I now know how they do it without spending a fortune because of stores like Brice. Brice offers sophisticated suits and business attire for the man with a busy agenda. Ideal for men wanting to dress to impress, for work and everyday life.

brice.fr

3. Devred-casual wear, business attire, accessories, shoes. Founded in 1902, Devred is a well known French brand that offers a wide variety on a dime! At affordable prices, any design, color or accessory is at your disposale. Ideal for men searching for an all around modest look in a one stop shop.

devred.com

4. Jules-casual wear, business attire, accessories, shoes. Sophosticated designs, unique colors and impressive three piece suites, brings this upscale brand to life. Just as JT brought sexy back, so does Jules. Ideal for men searching for the true, impressive Parisian look.

jules.com

 

Summer Sales Have Arrived in Paris

Summer Sales Have Arrived in Paris

Paris may be the second most expensive city in the world, but this summer, the fashion is not! Summer sales have arrived and as France (and America) look forward to celebrating their independence this July, Paris is celebrating their freedom to shop.

This week commenced the spree of epic summer bargains all over Paris. Every single store covered their windows with the loudest and largest discount signs in stock, 50, 60 and wait….70% off!!! I had a discount blackout because I don’t know about you, but there is no better weekend buzz to me than showing off your new fabulous clothes to friends that were a killer bargain.

Me-“Guess, how much this was, just guess? You will never believe how much I got this for”

I will be saying these words for a while after stocking my closet with the newest Paris street fashion to bring to you at a killer deal. If you weren’t already sweating from the summer heat, you will be after listening to all the bargain talk. I apologize now friends and possibly to the homeless guy on the metro for all my excitement.

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Every store from international brands, Gap, H& M, Guess to local Parisian boutiques, no window is uncovered with “Soldes” signs. The best part? Most sales are the entire month of July and not finishing up until the first weekend in August! Some may vary but as a tourist in Paris, this is your chance to snag AFFORDABLE Parisian fashion.

Whether you are traveling, visiting or just stuck for a one night layover, try to make shopping in July apart of your adventure. Your best souvenir will be bragging rights.

Everyone else in the world-“Where did you get that amazing outfit?”

You– “Paris and guess how much I got it for”

Shop Happy!

Tuesday Street Fashion! As I bring you real Parisian street fashion weekly, I thought what better time to do it than to spark up the slowest day of the week. This week’s outfit is direct from my closet and I can’t get enough of it in Paris.Each individual item is a Paris essential, not even an essential, a MUST this summer.

The striped shirt has become the uniform for summer 2014. Not only here in Paris but in the south of France. Ballerina’s are adored by Parisian women for their ability to cruise past tourists with elegance. Just like JT brought sexy back, so does the Fedora. With, jeans, summer dress, shorts or just a bathing suit, it is the perfect summer accessory. Plus, who doesn’t love a Fedora, man or woman! All pieces can be worn together or mix matched. Your closet will thank me 🙂

Parisian Essential: Ballerina’s, Striped Shirt, Fedora

 Sailor Me Be: 70. 35 euro

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Photo by Varshita Chand @Varshita

 Jeans : H & M, 24. 95 euro

Varshita Chand @Varshita

Photo by Varshita Chand @Varshita

Shirt: Cache Cache, 7 euro

Photo by Varshita Chand @Varshita

Photo by Varshita Chand @Varshita

Fedora: H &M, 7.95 euro

Purse is an add on for 29 euro, Tommy Hilfiger

Varshita Chand @Varshita

Photo by Varshita Chand @Varshita

Ballerina’s : Mango, 19 euro

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Photo by Varshita Chand @Varshita

Sunglasses: H & M, 7.95 euro

Photo by Varshita Chand @Varshita

Photo by Varshita Chand @Varshita

 Earrings: Forever 21, 3.50 euro

 

 

 

Boat Ride in Bois de Boulogne

Boat Ride in Bois de Boulogne

Happy Summer Solstice! Light the bbq’s, get the beach gear ready and soak up the sun as we commence the beginning of summer. We’ve been anxiously waiting all year to kick off our vacation celebration’s and all along, strategically organizing ways to absorb the most fun for our money. Here in Paris, it’s no different. As the City of Lights was voted the second most expensive city in the world for 2014, having a strategy for your money is a loosely played word when it comes to enjoying your lion’s share. You need a war plan!

Paris is overflowing with tourist’s from around the world 365 days and when the summer months arrive, it is almost submerged. Wide-eyed families venture through Paris absorbing every memory they can grasp while Parisian’s flee from the city. The advantage to this though, is tourists get a quick opportunity to relish in the best kept inexpensive secret’s in town but the trick is where to find them.

Parisian’s, especially students, have worked diligently to find inexpensive ways to enjoy their city while not getting their electricity turned off. As for myself, after  7 months of trying to make it as a Parisian, I finally have put my time in and journeyed enough to fill my own book of inexpensive and free Parisian adventures. Discovering attractions, dining, parks, museums, movies and more,  I now share with them with you. I hope you will enjoy them just as much as I did, (and still am)!

“Cheap things to Do”, is a list which provides alternative activities I’ve found, to the “bucketlist” items such as the Eiffel Tower and Louvre for 20 euros or under. My goal is to give you ideas for afternoon and evening out’s you can enjoy without stressing about spending a fortune.

Cheap Things to Do in Paris-Summer Edition

Cheap Things to Do in Paris This Summer; Picnic in the Parc

Cheap Things to Do in Paris this Summer; Picnic in the Park

1. Picnic in the Park. Many list this as a free thing to do but it is really a cheap thing to do. You can always just bring a blanket to the parc but to have a nice picnic, you want to spend a little bit of money. Head to a Carrefour and grab some wine, cheese, your 1 euro baguette and a little picnic gear for under 20 euro, a perfect alternative for an evening out. This is by far my favorite thing to do in the city and though there are many parks, if you are only here for a weekend, pitch a night picnic at Champ de Mars. With views of the sparkling Eiffel Tower and a lively atmosphere, it is the best run for your money. Plus, if you want to stay longer and are out of wine, there are always guys selling cheap bottles. Just make sure, negotiate, negotiate! Champ de Mars,75007, Metro: Champ de Mars/Tour Eiffel

2. Boat Ride in Le Bois de Boulogne.

This is one of the largest and most beautiful parks in the city. It is a beautiful woodland that makes you believe you stepped in an impressionist painting. Take a nice walk, lay out a picnic and after enjoy a romantic (or friendly) hour boat ride for 10 euro through the picturesque landscape. Just an FYI, there is a 50 euro deposit required. http://www.paris.fr/pratique/paris-au-vert/bois-de-boulogne.  Merto: Porte d’Auteil

Le Refuge des Fondues

Le Refuge des Fondues

3. Dinner at La Refuge des Fondues. If wanna feel like a kid again, well actually a baby, then here’s your chance. This family style seating, hilarious fondue experience in Montmartre is the best 20 euro fun you can buy. The price includes an aperitif, delicious fondue with an appropriate selection of dippings and lastly,……a glass of wine in a baby bottle!  If you choose to splurge you can buy one as a souvenir bottle for 8 euro, otherwise make friends with the people next to you, (we were friends with the whole restaurant by the end) and  don’t worry when the server asks to climb over the table to your seat. Before you head in, ensure to stop next store at Chez Aime for 2 euro happy hour. 17 Rue de 3 Freres, 75018. Metro: Anvers

4. Erasmus Boat Party on the Seine. This one is for the students. If you have not already been to a Erasmus party then you need to put it on your checklist. Erasmus, an international student association, knows how to make your study abroad experience memorable and here in Paris, one way is at the River’s King. Every second Saturday of the month, the River’s King, hosts an all night party which includes a pasta buffet, from 8-10pm, a 45 minute boat tour past the Eiffel Tower and all night dancing till 5am on the boat. All this plus THREE drink tickets for 20 euro. You can’t even get a sandwich and a water most of the time for that.  Though a student based organization, it is open to everyone and the crowd is a mix of people of all age groups. I went with my language school when I first arrived and have to say, one of the best times I had in Paris. http://www.erasmus-party.com, Quai Saint-Bernard,75005, Metro: Champ de Mars/Tour Eiffel

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5.  Moulin Rouge and Erotica Museum. Possibly not on the same high standards as the Louvre or D’Orsay, the Musee de l’erotisme  in the 18th, is still worth a chance on the museum list. On your way back down from Montmartre (which is a free thing to do), grab a street crepe, take the “must have” pictures of Moulin Rouge, then stroll down one block towards this unique walk through history. Why do I insist? Mainly, because you will have the most fun pictures of your trip. The museum displays the history of erotic “artifacts”, some dating back to 400 b.c!! Once you see this museum, you will think we are prude in 2014. http://www.musee-erotisme.com, 72 Boulevard de Clichy,75018, Metro: Blanche

6.  Do-It-Yourself Bike Tour. As most cities in the US have rental bikes, Paris is no different. A rental Veilb is only 1,70 per day! Bike stations are everywhere throughout the city and the card system and drop off works the same as in the US. Safety wise, there are bike lanes along the main streets in most areas. However, bike lane or not, be a defense biker and though that picture of you with the baguette in your bike basket will look adorable, move to the sidewalk. As a fast paced city, remember, “your always in the way”, be careful! http://www.en.velib.paris.fr

River Cruise on the Seine

River Tour on the Seine

7. River Tour on the Seine. If this is your first trip to Paris, this is a must on the checklist. Depending on your itinerary and well, number one, the weather, a river cruise on the Seine is the best way to get an overview of the city, especially on your first day. When friends have come to visit, this is now one of the first things I plan for visitors and they love the hour “intro” to the city on their first day. Along with a brief history, it will make your visitation selection process a bit easier for the rest of your trip. Best time of day to do it, sunset or evening. The city truly comes alive at night and the sunset’s on the Seine, paint colors across the sky’s of Paris that will have you rushing to Instagram every picture over and over. There are plenty of companies to choose from but Bateaux Mouches provides the most tours. http://www.bateaux-mouches.fr, Port de la Conference, 75008, Metro: Pont de l’Alma