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In Travel on
August 26, 2017

The City of Lovers is Glowing this Evening: A Parisian Love Affair

Oh Paris.

 

We had a love affair with this beautiful, magnificent city and I am counting down the moments until I am back in her arms.

“Paris was a universe whole and entire unto herself, hollowed and fashioned by history.” – Anne Rice

There is something effervescent about waking up in the city of love …the art, the history, the intrinsic beauty.  No matter where I go in the world, my heart will be here in this beautiful city built for the prolific heart. The creator, the innovator, the beautiful minds.  I have a deep love for history and art, it is a very extensive part of who I am and this city is filled with everything that makes my soul smile.

Eiffel Tower - Paris, France

View from our balcony

We spent our days going from stop to stop like crazy people.  There is so much to see and one trip just can’t encompass it all.  We squeezed lots of culture and history into our short stay à Île-de-France.  We saw Monsieur Eiffel’s metal marvel and Leonardo Da Vinci’s smiling beauty and the Sun King’s elaborate palace.

Louvre Paris France

Looking out of the Louvre pyramid

Versaille Paris, France

Versaille

As insane Disney lovers, we even took le métro all the way to Marne-la-Vallée to visit the mouse and it was all wonderful and awe-inspiring but the most amazing times spent were the times spent walking and seeing, smelling and listening.  Taking in this city with its wild mix of tourists, denizens, and citizens displaying a wide range of cultures and traditions.  An evening walk down the Seine shows the true Parisian spirit, a joyfulness and appreciation of life.  Every night is party, no one is dreading Monday, every one is enjoying the moment that they are in.

Disneyland Paris

Disneyland Paris

We learned so many things on this trip but more importantly we learned new things about ourselves.  We activated the deep wanderlust that lie dormant within us.  We had our very first experience with a world outside of our own and it opened our spirits to an understanding that you can only have by exploring cultures outside of your own.  Paris will forever be mon amoureuse, the place I steal away to in my head and heart.

Paris, you lovely lady, jusqu’à ce que nous nous reverrons.

Paris France Architecture

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In Boston, Travel on
August 23, 2017

4 French Bakeries to Visit in Boston

If you haven’t noticed this is French week on the blog in commemoration of my beautiful trip to Paris a year ago!  I started the week with the best methods to learn French and now I am combining my hometown with my hearttown and sharing my favorite French bakeries in Boston!

Cafe Madeleine

I had to start on my French bakery trek with a trip to Cafe Madeleine for, you guessed it, a croissant.  I have heard rave reviews about the croissants at Cafe Madeleine and so I went in knowing exactly what I was going to get.  I ended up getting it as a sandwich with ham and swiss and that croissant did not disappoint.  It was perfectly flaky and buttery and the only thing that would’ve made it better was if it would’ve been hot.  The cafe has a strict policy about using cameras inside so I snapped what I could of the inside with my camera phone.  I love how there is a glass window where you can see the bakers making all the delicious pastries.  If you find yourself grabbing a quick snack in the South End definitely stop into Cafe Madeleine to give it a try!

Cafe Madeleine Boston

Cafe Madeleine Boston Counter

 

Tous Les Jours

tous_les_jours_boston tous_les_jours_boston tous_les_jours_boston This small little shop that has a blend of French and Korean pastries.  I was with my family when visiting the cafe and so I got to try quite a few things!  It was lunch time so I had a pork rib sandwich which had good flavor.  It was a little on the peppery side but still good.

tous_les_jours_pork_rib

Then we dove into the pastries.  Many of the pastries are an amazing blend of the tastes of France and Korea.  We tried classic macarons, Milky Bread, Chocolate Shell Bread, and Honey Toast.   For the macarons we had coffee, chocolate, raspberry, and vanilla.  They were all very delicious.  Sometimes I don’t love macarons because they can be very sweet but these were not overly sweet at all!  The chocolate had a good amount of milk chocolately filling and my favorite was the coffee! The Chocolate shell bread was filled with a DELICIOUS chocolate mousse.  It was so smooth and lightly flavored and the bread is soft and sweet. Perfect combination.  The Honey Toast was similar to a french toast but with a strong honey flavor to it instead of cinnamon.  It was good but I would love to taste when it’s warm.  I think that would take it over the top.  The Milky Bread was by far my favorite.  It almost tasted like a sweetened croissant.  It’s huge and killed pretty much the whole thing by myself.  I had it with a hot vanilla latte and it was just heaven!  This was by far my favorite bakery for their variety and overall deliciousness!

touse_les_jours_pastries

 

Patisserie on Newbury

Patisserie, I just love that word and I just loved the setting of this Newbury St cafe.  This is a great little lunch spot as they have lots of deli options.  I decided to stick with pastries and go traditionally French so I tried this pretty little lemon charlotte.  If you love lemon cake this is the dessert for you! Perfect blend of sweet and tart.

patisserie lemon charlotte

Next time I go back I would definitely like to try the a savory breakfast pastry or something from the deli as this bakery has lots of very traditionally French treats!  They also have a small outside sitting area that is perfect for a sunny day with a coffee and a pastry and really good book!patisserie on newbury

 

Finesse Pastries

finesse_pastries_boston

Finesse is located inside of the Boston Public Market and they specialize mainly in French macarons so of course I had to try some here as well.  I also decided to get a cream puff.  The cream puff was less like the French equivalent, a profiterole, and more like a classic Italian dessert topped with rich dark chocolate.  The dough was not too sweet but the pastry cream inside was delicious.  Not so much pastry cream but more of the classic Chantilly cream known to French desserts.  It was perfect.

finesse_cream_puff

The macarons were a little more like an American version of a macaron than a classic french one in that they were very sweet and brightly colored.  They were a little more like eating cake and the outer shell separated fro the macaron a little too easily.  I tried four flavors.  Watermelon which tasted more like a sweet cream that was decorated to look like watermelon, Chocolate which a yummy gooey dark chocolate, Rose which definitely tasted very floral and rose-like, and Blueberry Pie a la mode which was my favorite.  It tasted like ice cream!  I’m sure their flavors change all the time but if you are ever taking a stroll through the Boston Public Market, making sure to grab the Blueberry macaron for dessert!

finesse_macaron

 

Boston may be a big jump over the pond from beautiful Paris but we have some lovely classic (and not so classic) French bakeries that will having you dreaming of a walk down the Seine!

Have you been to Boston?  Do you live here?  What are your favorite bakeries to visit and what’s your favorite treat?

4 French Bakeries in Boston

In Lifestyle, Travel on
August 21, 2017

The Best Methods for Learning French (or any new language)

learning french

I have been learning French for like 100 years.  I started learning French when I was 13 and studied it for like 6 years straight but when you’re that young sometimes you don’t take things as seriously as you should and I don’t think I realized just how much my love for the language would stay with me.  So I stopped studying it after college and when you don’t submerge yourself in a language, you start to lose it.  So last year I went to Paris and it was the most beautiful life-changing experience …and I never wished more that my French was better than it was.  I got by.  I can read it really pretty well but to speak it is still quite rough.  I have the memory of a goldfish so vocabulary goes in one ear and out the other.  Since returning I have vowed that I will speak this language fluently and emerge myself in it in every way I can.

 

Podcasts

Podcasts are awesome for learning French.  Hearing a language is a really big part of being able to speak it and so hearing native speakers speak and having them teach non-school versions of French is super helpful!  My favorite French podcasts are:

French Your Way Podcast: Learn French with Jessica –  Jessica is so cute!  She’s funny and informative and I love listening to her not only speak French but speak English in her accent.  Jessica’s French lessons are really relatable and she’s really awesome at helping with all those little things we get stuck on as English speakers. She has a really informative website too.

Coffee Break French –  I usually have no idea what’s going on in this podcast, lol, but its very helpful in hearing French and pulling out words and training your ear.  They go through news stories and other stuff I can’t fully understand 🙂

Real Deal French – I like this podcast because it gives lessons at all different levels. They bring in real life scenarios to help you to relate and it’s awesome for the very beginner all the way to the more advanced French speaker.

 

Apps

Duolingo – Duolingo is set up like a series of games that you play and your basically being taught French and then tested on it.  As you pass levels you move up in difficulty.  I love this app because it really touches on all different parts of speech and French grammar which is really important to get down so you don’t sound crazy with wrong verb tenses and adjectives that don’t agree.  They also have a whole bunch of languages so if French isn’t your thing, pick your fav!

Learn French in 24 Hours –  This isn’t a very comprehensive app but I like to put it on just to hear vocabulary works repeated again and again to help drill them into my memory (because Mom brain!).

Rosetta Stone – You can’t talk apps and leave out the big guns. I don’t currently have this app activated on my phone but I do have the older downloadable version on my computer.  I haven’t delved into it as deeply as I should because it is repetitive and I get distracted easily but now they have a new app that you can listen to on the go which is pretty awesome.  It is mildly expensive though but the good thing is they now offer monthly subscriptions and you don’t have to pay all at once!

 

Meetups

This is actually new for me.  I know the only way I’ll learn is to immerse myself in the language.  When I was in college I was a communicative disorders minor for awhile so I took a year of ASL and had to go to many silent dinners.  I learned SO MUCH just having to use the language constantly and not having the option to speak.  The same applies to French so I recently joined a meetup group for people who get together for the purpose of using the language and learning it better.  I haven’t been to my first meetup yet and I’m scared!! Lol.  But I know it will be an amazing experience!

 

 

Have you learned a second (or third) language?  Comment down below and tell me what some of your favorite techniques were to becoming multi-lingual!!

À bientôt!

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