A Week In Provence: Part Two - Tulips & A Terrier

A Week In Provence – Part Two

Hello friends, and happy Friday!!

So..I know what you’re thinking (or were thinking when you read my last post)..that the decision to include ‘Part One’ in the title was wildly ambitious. As we all know, ‘part one’ generally implies that one or more additional parts will follow. And considering my recent lack of regular posts, you probably either rolled your eyes or had a quick chuckle thinking ‘I’m not holding my breath’.

But here I am with a part two! And less than a week later, I might add!  And I suspect you’re now thinking  ‘two posts in one week, did she get laid off or something?’. Nope. Just keeping you on your toes.

What if I told you that I’ve even reserved photos of a few places for a part three? You’re probably either hysterically laughing at the idea, or think I’ve taken the joke too far. You never know. Dare to dream, friends. Dare to dream.

Anyways. A few days into our trip to Provence, on Sunday morning, we set off to explore the villages of the Luberon valley. This charming. picturesque, tranquil region has so many beautiful villages to offer! I had a nightmare of a time trying to narrow down the choices!

Long story short, we got too late of a start to make the Sunday market at L’Isle sur la Sorgue, and had to come up with a plan B. We ended up visiting Lourmarin (wonderful atmosphere!), Roussillon (beautiful, but quite touristic), and Gordes (stunning scenery on the way in, but otherwise underwhelming).

One of my favorite pastimes while in France (in addition to the cafe lounging mentioned in prior posts) is just wandering around the old villages. I know this doesn’t sound like a real ‘pastime’.. but I could do it for hours. Days even!

A Week In Provence: Part Two - Tulips & A Terrier

Now, I’m well aware of the fact that spending a week on vacation somewhere doesn’t always give you an accurate perspective of the day-to-day, but there seems to be a noticeable difference in the quality of life.

I think the below photo exemplifies this perfectly. Driving through Bonnieux, we stopped to take in some stunning views of the valley and happened to capture this delightful family having Sunday lunch! It struck me as such a joyous occasion! We could hear lots of voila’s and bon appetit’s as we creepily looked on. What a wonderful way to spend Sunday afternoon!

A Week In Provence: Part Two - Tulips & A Terrier

I also really appreciate the fact that people make an effort to beautify their surroundings!

From an outdoor seating area..

A Week In Provence: Part Two - Tulips & A Terrier

To what I believe may be a tool shed? I mean, do you see this type of thing outside of France? This is a serious question, by the way. I’m not sure if this charm is specific to France or just old medieval villages of Europe..

A Week In Provence: Part Two - Tulips & A Terrier

We spent some time contemplating how many of these rattan (I think?) cafe chairs exist in the country of France. At least as many as there are people, in my opinion.

A Week In Provence: Part Two - Tulips & A Terrier

If I’m being honest, I don’t remember which villages many of these pictures were taken in. It’s just one charming town after another, and they start to look somewhat similar (although I don’t think I could ever get sick of them!).

A Week In Provence: Part Two - Tulips & A Terrier

The one exception to this would be Roussillon. The warm tones of the ochre this town is known for contrast beautifully with shutters painted in the sun-drenched pastel blues and greens typical of Provence.

A Week In Provence: Part Two - Tulips & A Terrier

And views like these certainly don’t hurt.

A Week In Provence: Part Two - Tulips & A Terrier

I only wish we had more than a week in the region! I suppose there’s always next time. And for those of you considering a trip to the region, we had the pleasure of staying at the absolutely beautiful Domaine & Cie. Hands down, this was my absolute favorite place I’ve ever stayed…like something out of a Procencal dream (complete with shutters!!!). Located a few minutes outside of Aix-en-Provence, the location felt remote although easily connected to the autoroute.

Well, friends..I hope you’ve enjoyed these little tidbits from our trip! And wishing you a bon week-end!

— Lusine

A Week In Provence (Part 1) - Tulips & A Terrier

A Week In Provence – Part One

Hello friends! I hope you’re all enjoying these first few weeks of fall! Sincere apologies for my extended absence, but good news..I’m alive! And having just returned from our third trip to France, I thought I’d share some photos of this dreamy corner of the world.

I’ve been longing to visit Provence for as long as I can remember. Lavender fields that go on for miles, charming medieval villages with winding cobblestone streets, shutters with chipping paint..the stuff dreams are made of.

And then we booked a flight to Nice. The months that followed were a giddy blur of research, planning, and soaking in anything Provencal I could find (as in reading multiple Peter Mayle books, and a less than successful attempt at aïoli).

Since this is quite a popular tourist destination, visiting in the summer can sometimes be a bit of a headache due to the crowds and traffic, so shoulder season (early fall) seemed like a good bet. Prices are more reasonable, crowds fairly scarce, and weather still perfect! It was sunny and in the low 70’s for most of our trip. It rained twice during our trip, but rain in this region generally tends to be a quick passing shower you can escape by ducking into a cafe for a glass of wine (as opposed to the persistent, nonstop drizzle one experiences in say Ireland).

After spending our first full day in Nice, we rented a car to explore some of the inland villages. Most of the coastal towns are well connected by public transportation, but if you’re looking to venture inland, renting a (compact!) car is definitely the best option!

Tourrettes-sur-Loup is a quick 40-ish minute drive from Nice, but feels worlds away from the bustle of the riviera. It has all the charm of the nearby Saint Paul de Vence, with a fraction of the tourists. We combined Tourrettes-sur-Loup with nearby Valbonne and Biot, which made for an enjoyable day trip from Nice!

A Week In Provence (Part 1) - Tulips & A Terrier

The medieval town was nothing short of breathtaking! We spent a few hours walking along it’s windy little streets..

A Week In Provence (Part 1) - Tulips & A Terrier

Discovering charming little alleys along the way..

A Week In Provence (Part 1) - Tulips & A Terrier

Appreciating the local gardening displays!

A Week In Provence (Part 1) - Tulips & A Terrier

And befriending dogs met along the way.

A Week In Provence (Part 1) - Tulips & A Terrier

Blooming violets give the village an intoxicating scent..

A Week In Provence (Part 1) - Tulips & A Terrier

Sigh. If this doesn’t make you want to pack up and move to France..

A Week In Provence (Part 1) - Tulips & A Terrier

This picturesque village was one of my favorites visited on the trip..and blissfully tourist free!

We had a very nice lunch at Pizzeria des Arts with the friendliest hosts! Parking was relatively straightforward in a large, centrally located lot. There were lots of little shops, restaurants, and cafes in the charming old town, and one could easily spend an afternoon wandering it’s beautiful little streets!

Hopefully you enjoyed this brief glimpse into our recent hop across the pond! Ever had the pleasure of visiting this delightful region? I’d love to hear about it!

— Lusine

Return to Paris!

Hello friends! I hope you are all having a nice weekend! I know what you’re thinking.. are they going back again?! I wish! These are actually the pictures from our November trip I promised I’d share ‘soon’ in my Burgundy post.  Better late than never, I suppose!

Anyways. We had an amazingly wonderful time in Paris on our second trip. The weather was surprisingly good (60’s!?!). And gone were the hoards of tourists we encountered on our last trip in the beginning of September. Don’t get me wrong, I doubt you will come across a completely tourist-less Paris.. but it was noticeably emptier this time around.

Surely, strolling along the banks of the Seine is delightful any time of year and autumn is no exception.  The cloudy skies seem to only accentuate the beauty of the city, and the foliage lining the banks makes you feel as though you might be walking through a postcard.

Return to Paris - Tulips & A Terrier

We wanted to experience a different part of the city this time, so we opted to stay in Saint Germain, literally around the corner from Jardin Du Luxembourg.

Of the parks I’ve visited in Paris, this is most definitely my favorite. And for a blissful 4 days, it was my neighborhood park. I love wandering around, taking in the perfectly manicured flower beds, observing chic Parisians going about their daily lives.

Return to Paris - Tulips & A Terrier

There are also these tree lined paths which look especially picturesque with the addition of leaves on the ground.

Return to Paris - Tulips & A Terrier

I loved getting lost in the streets of Saint Germain. And then stumbling across the cutest of cobblestone paths that make you feel like you’ve stepped back in time. The photo below is of Cours du Commerce Saint-André.  A lovely spot to stop in for a bite to eat, wouldn’t you say?

Return to Paris - Tulips & A Terrier

We definitely did our share of cafe lounging this time around. It’s by far the best thing to do in Paris, in my opinion. Forget those guidebooks that tell you to hit up the Eiffel Tower, Louvre, and Notre Dame on the first day of your trip. I have a better idea – pop into a cafe on a street with a pretty view, order a carafe of wine and a plate of cheese or chacruterie, and spend your afternoon watching the world go by. Oh and many of them have heat lamps under the awning, so no sacrifices need to be made in chillier months!

It starts raining on your way back from the metro? Pop in for a comforting cafe creme to wait out the rain shower.

Return to Paris - Tulips & A Terrier

I love capturing these scenes of Parisian life. Like a significantly less talented Robert Doisneau.

And if you do visit Paris. Definitely, definitely head up to Monmartre. We didn’t make it on our first trip and I had been kicking myself since.  So I made sure to set aside an afternoon to wander around these hilly streets the second time around.

Return to Paris - Tulips & A Terrier

The spectacular views of Paris, and the Sacre Coeur aside, this is a pretty awesome part of town. It’s such a contrast from the grand boulevards of the 1st and 2nd! It’s all quaint village charm and winding cobblestone streets.

Return to Paris - Tulips & A Terrier

And those stairs you saw in the opening montage of Midnight in Paris. With couples making out on them. I wouldn’t expect anything less from the city of love.

Return to Paris - Tulips & A Terrier

This is a lovely area in which to do the whole ‘carafe of wine and plate of cheese’ afternoon. Just get away from the super touristy part near Place Du Tetre. Nothing like hoards of tourists with cameras swinging from their necks to ruin your people watching (said by a tourist who opted to instead carry her camera in a camera bag which doubles as a chic purse). If you are in the market for some souvenirs, however, this is the place to get them! There are a whole bunch of souvenir shops in the streets right behind the Sacre Coeur which have a really big variety and fairly low prices!

Return to Paris - Tulips & A Terrier

Speaking of touristy things, we also made it to the Louvre this time. Yes, it is as big and overwhelming as you’ve heard. Yes, the Mona Lisa is underwhelming (although super easy to find – just look for the room brimming with tourists). A quick tip – do not enter through the Pyramid entrance unless you enjoy standing in long lines. We entered through the Carrousel du Louvre (there is a mall under the Louvre.. complete with an Apple store and a McDonalds. Who knew?!) and there was literally no line. Like, no one in front of us. I can only stand limited amounts of museum strolling so we only stayed for a couple of hours. Although the palace is beautiful and the history behind it fascinating, I admit that I enjoyed the D’Orsay quite a bit more.

Return to Paris - Tulips & A Terrier

Also, strolling along the river during a good sunset is quite spectacular. Watching the glow of the sunset reflect off of the river, the surrounding buildings, the monuments in the distance (oh, hey Notre Dame). Pretty unbeatable if you ask me.

I hope you enjoyed hearing about our last trip to the city of light! We had a magnificent time and I personally can’t wait to return. Have you ever been to Paris? What are your favorite things to see and do?

— Lusine

If you REALLY want to experience the trip, I made a little movie of all the video clips taken during our trip. Thanks Google photo, you’re officially my favorite app.

DIY Washi Tape Vase - Tulips & A Terrier

DIY Washi Tape Vase

Hello friends! I hope all has been well with you! I know, I haven’t done a DIY post in an alarmingly long period of time. And I wish I had something super impressive to share with you. Like telling you that I’ve spent all this time building a house with my bare hands or something. Well, no. But if you want a quick way to jazz up an otherwise boring vase..keep reading!

I’m sure you’re all familiar with washi tape. And while I’ve scrolled through hundreds of washi tape tutorials on Pinterest, I’ve never really felt compelled to experiment with it.

That is, until I found myself wanting to decorate my new day planner (would you have guessed I went with the glittery gold option? probably..). Anyways, it has lots of sections and I wanted to add little tabs to be able to flip to them easily. Enter the classiest looking washi tape ever! And the tabs have worked perfectly! But there are only so many tabs you can add to a planner before the whole idea becomes counterproductive. Basically, I figured I should find some more uses for the stuff.

And as far as I’m concerned, there is nothing better to experiment with than the ever versatile cylindrical dollar store vase (also seen here and here).

All you need besides the tape and your decorative vessel of choice is a pair of scissors. And like 5 minutes. Literally.

DIY Washi Tape Vase - Tulips & A Terrier

I’m not even sure that this warrants a ‘tutorial’ as I’m sure you’ve already guessed how it came together..but humor me, won’t you?

Plus I really enjoyed taking pictures of the tape.

I generally struggle with very basic things like straight lines and even spacing,  so it was easiest for me to start by aligning the tape along the rim of the vase.

DIY Washi Tape Vase - Tulips & A Terrier

Continue along the rim until you’ve gone all the way around the vase. My favorite thing about washi tape is that you can un-tape and reposition it a few times without losing stickiness. So, if you go all the way around just to realize that the stripe is totally crooked, just peel off and try again!

DIY Washi Tape Vase - Tulips & A Terrier

Luckily, my first attempt at stripe #1 was not totally crooked. Likely due to the fact that I was taping along the rim.

DIY Washi Tape Vase - Tulips & A Terrier

Continue taping around the vase until desired pattern is achieved! I would recommend starting around the same point with each row. The tape isn’t 100% opaque and you can kind of see a little overlap where the edges meet. I’m just thinking that if all of the seams are on the same side, you can angle the vase in a way to make these less visible.

DIY Washi Tape Vase - Tulips & A Terrier

And once you have achieved your desired stripe pattern, that’s it! No drying time or anything required! Fill with water, flowers (or whatever else you’d like!) and enjoy!

What do you guys think? Not a bad way to spend 5-10 minutes, huh? As I’m sure you’ve guessed, this being paper tape and all, it’s probably not dishwasher safe or extremely durable..but it peels off without any residue so you can switch up the look as often as you’d like!

DIY Washi Tape Vase - Tulips & A Terrier

I’d love to hear from you! What are your favorite uses for washi tape?

~ Lusine

Weekend In Burgundy - Tulips & A Terrier

Weekend In Burgundy!

Hello friends! Long time, no talk..how have you been? Apologies for the extended absence! I don’t even have a great excuse. It’s been a hectic few months, and when things get hectic..the blog seems to get neglected. My bad.

What have we been up to, you ask? For one, we just got back from France! Since last year’s trip, my infatuation with Paris has only magnified. So we headed across the pond yet again to spend some time in my favorite city! While we were there, we decided to head out of the city for the weekend and experience some of France’s magnificent countryside!

So we rented a car, and headed to the region that churns out some of the world’s best wine. Burgundy, or Bourgogne as the locals call it, is located a couple hours south east of Paris and was delightful beyond words!

Weekend In Burgundy - Tulips & A Terrier

Picture an endless sea of rolling French vineyards punctuated with the most charming, picturesque villages you could ever imagine.  We stopped in the town of Chablis (above) above for lunch. You may have heard of the town’s namesake wine, which is often used for wines produced outside of the region, even outside of France! And if you’ve tried these imposter wines, there’s a chance you’re not a huge fan of Chablis.

By no means am I a sommelier, nor will I attempt to give any sort of technical description of the flavors outside of telling you that the wine we had in Chablis was darn good. I mean, can you imagine that anything produced here tastes bad?!

Weekend In Burgundy - Tulips & A Terrier

No. No it does not. Especially since there seem to be a million wine producers (or domaines) in this little town. I can’t imagine you’d stay in business with a crappy product. Now that I’ve given you my two cents on the Burgundian wine industry, I suppose we can move on.

I find it kind of tough to take a decent picture out of a moving vehicle, so I don’t have many of the drive, but I did manage to get one of some grazing cows! Is it me or do even the animals look happier here? I suppose since these are French cows, they too subscribe to the notion of ‘joie de vivre’.

Weekend In Burgundy - Tulips & A Terrier

And just when I thought Burgundy couldn’t get any more charming, we stopped at Semur-En-Auxois. I know this is a strong statement, but it’s the prettiest place I’ve ever been.

Weekend In Burgundy - Tulips & A Terrier

If it wasn’t for the occasional car, we would’ve thought we stepped back in time. This place was seriously breathtaking! Cobblestones, old shutters with chipping paint.. you know,the stuff dreams are made of. My dreams, at least.

Weekend In Burgundy - Tulips & A Terrier

Obviously we had to stop for a glass of wine at a cafe on this charming cobblestone terrace. Because when in Burgundy..

Weekend In Burgundy - Tulips & A Terrier

I  know what you’re thinking – is this where Chocolat was filmed? No, that’s a couple of villages away. Is this what Belle’s village is based on in Beauty and the Beast? Perhaps. But I didn’t see any locals burst out of the windows into a spontaneous song about a strange girl that likes to read. Bummer.

But I did see a cat sitting in a window with the most delightful chippy paint shutters.

Weekend In Burgundy - Tulips & A Terrier

I could have stayed in this little town forever. In fact, I declared I was moving here several times as we were strolled around. I know that this is unrealistic given my French skills, or lack thereof..but one can dream! But rest assured, I will be back..Semur-en-Auxois!

Weekend In Burgundy - Tulips & A Terrier

After leaving Semur-En-Auxois, we spent the night in Dijon. I don’t have a ton of photos because it was dark when we arrived and I take terrible nighttime photos. Dijon has a largely pedestrian town center, which was lovely. The part we stayed in seemed somewhat sketchy, so we took of for Beaune the following day and loved it! If I had a do-over, I’d totally stay in Beaune. I had mistakenly assumed that Dijon (being the larger city) would have more to do on a Sunday. Evidently, since Beaune relies heavily on tourism, there is quite a bit open on Sunday (which is not the norm in France). We even came across a carnival! Oh, and lots of places to stop for a glass of wine. Again, when in Burgundy..

Well, I hope you’ve enjoyed hearing about our weekend getaway in France! I’ll be sure to  share some photos from our time in Paris soon! I swear, this doesn’t mean three weeks .. 🙂

Ever had the pleasure of exploring the French countryside? I’d love to hear about it!

— Lusine