Trans-Atlantic flights, endless packing and unpacking of boxes and suitcases, and all the stress of job and apartment hunting have marked the last five months, but I can finally say we are settling into the new life ahead of us in the windy city, Chicago. I have to admit, adjusting back to the American way has been a struggle (reverse culture shock is always even more shocking…) and starting from scratch again has been trying, but I’m excited to explore this new city and make it our own, live just steps from Lake Michigan and be just a short drive away from my family.
Being in the midwest for this gorgeous fall has also helped to make the transition smoother, and my new neighborhood, Hyde Park, is brimming with places to enjoy it. This weekend we finally had a chance to stop and relax with old and new friends in one of my favorite new places, Premontory Point. Lots of people stick to the Northside of the city, but if you have the chance to spend a sunny day at this park on the Southside, it is well worth it. Jutting into the bluest blues of Lake Michigan, the park is a paradise of lush green grass, shady trees – that happened to be peaking with their golden color this weekend- and one of the best views of the complete Chicago skyline. We spent the early afternoon with a simple brunch picnic of veggie frittata, roasted squash, cheese and baguettes, and some sweet apple fritters and homemade cannelés. Can you guess what I brought 😉
Fresh air and warm sunshine, good food and golden leaves, and, best of all, great people. Welcome to Chicago!
Time has been moving way to fast, we’ve been counting down to our last days in France, and suddenly there are only days left. We’re finally making the big move back over the pond and I have to admit that my absence from the blog has been on the one hand because there has been so much to do to finalize things here, and on the other hand because I’ve felt like by avoiding the topic it would somehow stall time.
But, the days keep moving and we’ve had a last weekend to Paris, a last picnic on Lac Kir, the last wine tasting, the last nuit des musees, the last tea at Comptoir des Colonies, the last jog to the park, the last morning at the market. Every experience has been priceless, gorgeous time filled with incredible people and places; Dijon, Burgundy, and France will always hold a special place in my heart. Fingers crossed I’m back sooner than later. Merci, Dijon!
And, while I’m sad to think that Paris won’t be just a 3 hour drive away, that a bottle of Burgundy wine won’t be quite in the budget, Eric Fevre baguettes (the best in Dijon) and Pierre Hubert pastries (the best in the city!) will be a plane ride away, I am also so eager to go back to family and friends who’ve been too far away for too long, and back to enjoying all the things that have come to mean so much more to me since I’ve left. Nerves, tears, joy, sadness, excitement, suitcases…this beautiful journey continues.
With sunny weather and warm tempertures, I’m getting serious about hitting up the local flea markets for a few little things to take home. I’m on the hunt for: 1- The perfect old mirror, gilded or simple, that will add some French elegance to a corner of my home, 2- Beautiful copper wares (which are far to expensive for me to buy new), I’m keep in my eyes open for the perfect cooking set or molds for my future kitchen, 3- gorgeous old plates inspired by the plates over at Manger, and I won’t pass up some beautiful silverware either 4- French linens, for tea towels or tablecloths, a little red detail or “D” monogram would be the cherry on top.
There are a few options to find the second-hand treasures you’re looking for in France:
- The first, and easiest for a tourist to find, is the traditional Flea Market (Marche des Puces) In Paris there are a few famous ones, and in smaller towns, like Dijon, there are always the vendors out with their goods on market days. You can find old dishes, sliver, jewelry and antique postcards and stamps here on a consistent, weekly basis.
- Another easy option for a tourist are Brocantes. They can be big markets, or simple shops selling antiques in town. Take a peek inside to find beautiful antiques sold by knowledgeable vendors.
- If you have a car keep your eyes open for a Vide Grenier, literally empty attic sale. Like a garage sale, the vendors at the vide grenier are average people out to sell their stuff – clothes, bags, kitchen ware, jewelry, antique books. The prices are usually really low, but it is a toss-up if you’ll find anything good.
- If you have a car it is also worth it to find the closest Emmaus. A charitable organization that gives proceeds to help people in need, the Emmaus is the place big and little pieces. You can find beautiful old wood furniture for less than 50 euros, old books and comics for pennies, traditional baskets, glassware and dishes. The emmaus will be packed on the weekend, but is full of treasures for the finding.
- Finally, if you have an internet connection check out Le Bon Coin, and online second-hand market where you can find anything you are looking for (or furnish your apartment if you are moving to France!) for really good prices. The only thing is you will need a car or someway to pick up your goods from the vendor.
Happy treasure hunting! I’ve got my fingers crossed I find everything on my list, stay tuned to instagram for updates!