Archive for the ‘Places’ Category

Merci Shop, Paris

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I’m a dreamer; my mind is always wandering of to far off places I’d rather be… sundrenched fields of wild flowers and breezy huts shaded by mango trees. Sometimes I’d wish myself back to the memorable places I’ve loved, and moments when I’ve felt truly content.

I took a short trip to Portland this past weekend, a long scenic train ride that didn’t feel long at all.
I brought my laptop along, finally ready to tackle photos from my vacation last year – and unearthed these photos of our final day browsing the enchanting Merci store and stealing a quick breakfast at the Used Book café.

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Processing these pictures on the train amidst the spectacular landscapes of Pacific Northwest made for such a perfect moment – almost as if I was in two of my favourite places at once, and at that instant there was no need to dream.

I’d heard and read many good things about Merci and I knew I’d like it even before I set foot there.

From the café, we ate hot delicate scones slathered with thick smooth echire butter, and zesty fromage blanc with nuts and honey. And lots of café au lait

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And then we lingered, as one would in a store that carries a little bit of their favorite things, all delightful and covetable – understated and stylish clothes, functional and elegant furnishings and household wares, and dreamy eclectic products that you didn’t even know you needed.

You could wander here and never tire, the displays are beautiful, alluring, they change with the season; artsy and cultural with a dash of whimsy – Ideal for browsing and garnering design inspiration even if priced a little out of range.

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And the staff; attentive and informed, with all sorts of tips – from cute gift ideas to suggestions to check out a chic optical store on rue de Turenne.

The store is a little bit like the city it inhabits, cozy, original and conceptually stimulating.

The Fiat 500 at the entrance is adorable, a theme of minimalist elegance and cheeriness carries throughout the store.

There’s also a unique philanthropy facet to this already awesome store, profits are used to ‘finance acts of human development’

~Hope you enjoy the pictures…

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Merci Shop, Paris
111 boulevard Beaumarchais
75003 Paris

Click through for more photos!

Tea in New York, Maison Kayser

Maison Kayser

The last few years has seen a spate of French bakeries in our little Pacific Northwest city, and it’s been fun exploring them.
A few have successfully gone on to open second locations, and I recently saw a sign for a third and possibly fourth location for one of my favourites, this made me think of Eric Kayser, and had me digging around for these photos.

One of the lovely things we did this past spring was pop into the new New York Maison Kayser boulangerie on the Upper East Side for tea.

We were super excited to see this Parisian chain finally make its way across the Atlantic.

Maison Kayser

When it comes to breads and pastries, Eric Kayser is a genius; some call him a ‘superstar baker’, his bakeries are renowned and worldwide, the website lists far-flung locations such as Kiev, Dakar, Seoul, Lisbon, Beirut and of course, Paris.

Plus, he invented his own liquid sourdough-starter leavening process, they do not use commercial yeast at the bakeries… genius!

Maison Kayser Maison Kayser, New York

It’s the boulangeries on Rue Montorgueil and Place Vendome that made me a fan – I had breakfasts there… some rushed, some unhurried, of tangy crusty chewy baguettes slathered in butter and jam, and for spontaneous picnics in the park, were those colourful tempting pastries and sweets.

I’ve been so enamoured with their pain aux céréales it inspired this version.

Maison Kayser, New York

Three more Maison Kaysers have opened in New York since our visit.

The UES location is pretty much identical to the others – open and bright with large glass display cases with rows of luscious and dreamy looking desserts, and beautiful striking breads, croissant, brioches and mini cakes.

The seating area for dining is plain and classic, and towards the back is a glassed-in working bakery, where we watched the breads bake on site.

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It was a nice break from running around the city; we had tea with our pistachio financiers, St. Honore cake, flakey buttery croissants and pain aux raisins and relaxed and caught up, and agreed that tea in the New York Maison Kayser is as delightful as its Paris location.

Our delicious tea from Palais des Thés perfectly rounded up our ‘little Paris in New York’ experience nicely.

My friend L. calls Maison Kayser a bread empire… “From Kiev to Kinshasa, this is classic empire building” he says.

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An Apartment in Le Marais

An Apartment in Le Marais

In the few years that I’ve been visiting Paris, I’ve always stayed in apartments; all of them in Le Marais…

There was the tiny ‘apartment’ with huge windows overlooking Rue des Lombards, its cobblestone streets always packed with revellers – it was a busy and noisy area but I loved it!

In a charming courtyard on a quieter part of Rue de Turenne was the bright duplex furnished with vintage suitcases.

We stayed on Rue de Jarente last year, in a quaint old ivy-covered building inside an adorable cobblestone and garden courtyard

An Apartment in Le Marais

We left things too late and almost didn’t get our Le Marais apartment this year, but our friend L. came through for us at the last minute… otherwise, this post would have been about a quaint studio on the Left Bank in the 7th with views of the Eiffel Tower and Champs de Mars – which I guess wouldn’t have been a bad thing, but I prefer ‘the marsh’.

I love Le Marais; it feels very much like my neighbourhood now, I know where to get good bread (Au Petit Versailles Du Marais), a nearby place with fallafel so incredible it’s perhaps the best in Paris, and it’s open till midnight – La’s du Fallafel (except for Saturdays and Jewish holidays).
And, I just found a vegan restaurant (Le Potager du Marais).

This year, we also discovered The Broken Arm for great coffee, and the popular Marche Les Enfant Rouges is always great for lunch in the neighbourhood (try the Morracan food stall).

An Apartment in Le Marais An Apartment in Le Marais

Our apartment this time was on a narrow curved street off of Rambuteau, secluded in a quiet open courtyard on the first floor of a stately 16th century building.

The suite had a bright and open layout with large glass doors and windows, cosy and delightfully furnished offering all the comforts and amenities of home.

I loved the colourful and vibrant accents, and how incredibly efficient these small Parisian apartments are.

And with its proximity to all my favourite places, it’s one of the best parts of my vacation and why I keep returning to Le Marais.

But wait, I have more photos!

Boulevard Park

Boulevard Park, Bellingham, WA

These long days of summer… there’s just something about sundrenched days and unending evenings that make everything seem livelier.
Especially at the start of summer when the sun still feels new and the weather is just perfect, even the mundane errand feels like an adventure.

A few weeks ago, on what was our first nice summer day, we took a detour during our regular boring ‘grocery trip‘ down south and had a little picnic in a park.

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Boulevard Park is a beautiful and popular park overlooking Bellingham Bay with gorgeous scenic views, rocky beaches and a long winding boardwalk that leads into historic Fairhaven. Oh and a newly installed playground.

It’s a well used park; lively and full of people on the waterfront – kids on swings, splashing around in the water, runners on the trail, couples strolling the boardwalk, and then there’s us… it’s a wonderful place to come and sit, take a little afternoon break, and enjoy the serene dreamy views of the bay.

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We claimed a quiet spot on the boardwalk and spread out our snacks, coffee from our favourite café, pistachio and almond croissants and berries from the farmers’ market.

We ate quietly, mostly taking in the excitement of the lazy summer afternoon, and wishing we could hang out until sunset.
It was a short break, but rejuvenating in a way only a summer afternoon can be.

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A few more photos from beautiful Boulevard Park after the jump…
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Scenes from Around Here: Point Roberts

 
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I wrote about Point Roberts years ago when I discovered this unique US seaside community.

Dangling below the 49th parallel at the tip of Tsawwassen, the only way to get to it by land from the US is through Canada, it’s not physically attached to the rest of the states.

An exclave, it’s called, and it’s probably the most guarded town in the US, seeing as it’s separated from the US by two international borders.

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I go to Point Roberts often, once every one to two months – and it’s not because I’m fascinated with the town, although I am.

I use a postal service there, mostly to receive parcels from retailers who won’t ship to Canada, also, to avoid costly international shipping charges and take advantage of free and flat-rate shipping (within the US) deals and products that are relatively priced lower in the US.

It’s pretty convenient, usually a quick errand on my to-list on the weekend – although the lines at the border can get a little long on weekends, occasionally we’ll just park and walk across.

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Point Roberts mostly feels like a charming rural island, it has some wonderful parks and beaches with views of the endless sea, dramatic clouds and sunsets, Vancouver Island and mountains in the horizon

We stay a while longer sometimes… find a spot on an old driftwood on a rocky beach for a little picnic lunch in the summers, or take an unhurried long walk on one of the beaches before we head back home.

The serenity and solitude on the beaches, though quite dissimilar, reminds me of the place I grew up.

Here are a few photos from one of our little jaunts a few months ago…

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