Wednesday, April 30, 2014

A Day in Champagne

Reims Champagne Tour Outfit
Jacket: Zara | Blouse: J.Crew | Jeans: J Brand | Belt: kate spade | Sunglasses: Karen Walker | Scarf: H&M | Shoes: Manolo Blahnik | Bag: Coach

From Paris, we took a day trip to Reims, the biggest city in the Champagne region. We headed out early from Paris on the TGV, the high-speed train system that reaches speeds of about 200 mph, so what would've been a two-hour drive was a quick and comfortable 45-minute train ride. I loved taking the high-speed trains throughout France and would definitely recommend traveling this way in Europe.

Our first stop was the cathedral in Reims, the place where French kings were crowned for centuries; it was absolutely gorgeous.

Reims Cathedral Collage

After wandering around the city and seeing the cathedral, we went to a couple of the big champagne houses for tours and tastings, including my personal favorite, Veuve Clicquot. It was so interesting to learn why the Champagne region is the perfect place for champagne-making (lots of moisture, temperate climate, and chalk soil). We loved touring the cellars and seeing how they've made champagne for centuries. Oh, and the tastings were pretty great, too.

Veuve Cliquot Visit

For this day of wandering around, sightseeing, and journeying into champagne caves, I decided jeans and my trusty leather jacket would be best. It was chilly underground, so I was glad I had layered a blouse and thin cardigan under my jacket and brought a lightweight scarf (which conveniently doubled as a blanket on the train!). I again wore my favorite Matt Bernson flats for most of the day, and changed into heels when we stopped at a restaurant to eat.

Reims Sightseeing Outfit.jpg

Hope you enjoyed these--photos from Provence are next on the schedule!

x, Tam


Thursday, April 24, 2014

Paris in Bloom

Wandering in St. Germain
Top: H&M (last seen here) | Skirt: ASOS (last seen here) | Sunglasses: Karen Walker | Shoes: Manolo Blahnik | Necklaces: Brian Gavin, Theresa Mink | Bracelets: David Yurman | Watch: Michele

In my last post, I mentioned that we really lucked out with the weather in Paris. I could not believe how warm and sunny it was on several of days we had there--definitely did not need the rain boots, turtlenecks, and heavy scarves I packed. Luckily, I was a typical nervous bride and kept checking the weather forecast multiple times daily before we left, so I threw some warmer-weather items in my suitcase, too. The skirt I'm wearing is one I picked up from ASOS last year and love for travel. It's super-comfortable, doesn't wrinkle, goes with almost everything, and takes up very little room in my suitcase.

Midi + Crop Top in Paris

We spent a lot of time the first couple days we were there looking for flowers. After reading a few blogs and talking with my photographer, I decided I would order my bouquet once I got to Paris. I checked out a bunch while we were wandering the city, including the ones at the big flower market on Île de la Cité. Parisians take their flowers seriously, and they definitely did not disappoint! Below is a rare photo of my now-husband (on one of the chillier days) checking out the selection at the market.

Ile de la Cité Flower Market

Not far from the flower market, we found this little cafe, Au Vieux Paris d'Arcole, which had its own set of charming florals--as this was the beginning of the growing season, they didn't have the full complement of flowers and vines they have in the summer, so they supplemented the lilacs with some faux chickens, lambs, and tropical birds.

Au Vieux Paris d'Arcole

Even on the grayer days, the city was just as charming. I love the typical architectural style of Paris, and it's so much more enchanting when streets wind around and buildings, sidewalks, and intersections aren't perfectly straight. (And yes, while it's delightful to wander, it can be maddening to be lost when you're trying to get somewhere--we found this app and this one, both usable offline, to be lifesavers when trying to navigate the Metro and the streets.)

Along the Seine

We ended up finding pretty blossoms even when we weren't looking for them--the two photos below were taken at a park in the St. Germain neighborhood, where there were piles of pink petals carpeting the walkways and more floating in the air whenever the breeze picked up.

Paris Blossoms

I'm wearing heels in these photos, but I definitely did not walk any great distances in them. If you ever run across me in person, you'll probably discover I almost always have a change of shoes in my bag, and I didn't deviate from that in Paris. I love the put-together look and extra height that heels give me, but I usually put off throwing them on until I arrive at my destination. For commuting and sight-seeing, I love my Matt Bernson flats, and I wore them consistently throughout our vacation (they're also on sale in select colors right now--for reference, I go half a size up from my usual).

Blowing Petals

Hope you enjoyed this set of photos--more to come soon!

x, Tam


Monday, April 21, 2014

Paris in the Springtime

Paris Balcony
Dress: Byron Lars via Anthropologie | Sunglasses: Karen Walker | Bag: Jimmy Choo | Shoes: Manolo Blahnik | Bracelets: David Yurman | Watch: Michele

If you've been following my Instagram feed, you already know that I spent the last couple weeks in France. My sweet fiancé and I decided to run off to Paris and elope! Well, sort of elope, in that it was just the two of us there, but our family and friends very much knew we were getting married and gave us their blessing. Plus, I had been doing some covert planning for a while (I'm sneaky like that).

We decided we wanted to rent an apartment in Paris to give us a little more space for wedding preparations and meals and such. We found the loveliest place through Airbnb, and for the same price as a much smaller hotel room, we had a one bedroom pied-à-terre on the Left Bank, just across the Seine from Notre Dame. It had a kitchen, a big living room, and a wraparound balcony with a perfectly Parisian view that made me swoon every time I glanced out the window.

View from Paris Apartment
{Our little neighborhood}

We had an abundance of sunny weather and warm temperatures throughout our trip--very atypical for Paris in the spring (it rained pretty much the whole time I was there in April two years ago), and a very pleasant surprise. We tried to walk as much as possible and to sit outside at cafés or on our balcony whenever we could. Mimosas and pastries from the renowned Maison Eric Kayser down the street were de rigeur for the mornings.

Anthropologie Carissima Sheath

We were a stone's throw away from Notre Dame, so we wandered around Île de la Cité and Île Saint-Louis quite a bit. Upon walking over to the islands our first day out and about, I realized that the cherry trees were blooming by the cathedral and all over the city. I had never seen the cherry blossoms in Paris before, and I was hoping that they might be in bloom for our wedding. The pink petals everywhere made the whole trip seem that much more magical.

Cherry Blossoms at Notre Dame.jpg

On one of our strolls, we went back to the spot pictured below--the love lock bridge right near Notre Dame, where two years ago we thought it might be sweet to get married on a bridge over the Seine (more on how that little idea turned out in future posts).

Notre Dame + Pont de l'Archevêché

The outfit I'm wearing in this post is definitely not a sightseeing-friendly look, but it was perfect for a romantic "engagement" photoshoot we did with our Paris-based photographer the day before our wedding. Anthropologie has carried several iterations of this Byron Lars dress over the last year or so, and upon its arrival shortly before we left for Paris, I realized right away why it has been so popular. I truly can't say enough about the quality and level of detail on this piece. A 00P fit me well right out of the box. Currently available in three colors plus another version in a more eclectic mix of materials, a glance at the reviews on Anthro's page shows how well it works on a variety of different shapes and heights.

Mimosa on a Paris Balcony

Stay tuned for more Paris posts later this week!

x, Tam