Happy Spring! Here’s a little peek at the amazing, unusually warm, spring colors that have been enjoying here in France for the last two weeks. Aside from amazing bread and cheese, another little luxury of life in France is an abundance of affordable, fresh flowers. There’s at lease one florist in every quartier whose bright bouquets are daily displayed on the sidewalk and whose doors are open even longer then the bakery for the last-minute date or hostess gift. You can get a bunch of roses for about five euros or a bunch of tulips for three; take them as they are or choose a few different bunches to create a unique bouquet. When you take them into the shop the first thing they ask is “Pour offrir?”, and with a simple oui and at no extra charge they arrange even a three euro bunch of tulips into a pretty package ready to take as any kind of gift. I’ve made it a habit to stop by the florist for a fresh bunch every few weeks, and even if it is only three euros it makes the house feel a little more luxurious. One of the little perks of the French joie de vivre.
Flowers may be pretty inexpensive around here, but I’ve learned few little tricks to keep my flowers fresher longer:
- Change the water every few days, it keeps the flowers happy and keeps any swampy stink away.
- When you notice a few blossoms are starting to get limp, downsize your bouquet. Instead of throwing all the flowers away, separate the blooms that are still strong. Find some smaller vases, glasses, or old jars, cut the stems down and make a few little mini bouquets to for around the house to make the colors last even longer.
The chill of winter has hit the air here in Dijon this week. I finally got out the winter clothes, pulled out my hats and gloves and traded the trench for something more substantial. The cold has also brought boxes of bright orange clementines to the market and fruit aisles; reminders of the sunshine and warm of the tropics, a subtle hint that Christmas is just around the corner, and a postcard of memories of my first trip to Europe when I landed in the bright sun filled, orange tree-lined streets of Seville, Spain.
I can still remember walking from my house in the city center to my university classes. Starting at the legendary Calle Sierpes, I walked past the impressive cathedral and Giralda tower, through the tiny shadowy streets of the old town Barrio de Santa Cruz until making my way into the University of Seville, whose elegant corridor were once home the tobacco factory that inspired Bizet’s passionate opera, Carmen. It was a long walk marked by the colorful corners, horse carriages, and the orange trees dripping with heavy fruits .
It’s been ten years since I was in Sevilla, but every time I see a little citrus tree I can’t help but fall back into daydreams of Spain. Lately citrus trees have been popping up all over decor magazines and blogs, adding a touch of life and color to kitchens and gardens. Lemons, oranges or kumquats are easy to grow and care for in pots, so why not put a little one in your kitchen if you live a cold climate, or add a bigger plant to your porch or terrace if you live somewhere warm. A little citrus tree will add the perfect dose of sunshine, color and warmth to bring the bright streets of Sevilla home.
(Photos from pinterest, fantasticfrank.se, lingerdupon, and weheart.co.uk)
I love the way that these rooms turn bold black and white words into an unexpected travel memory. A favorite phrase on pillows, a list of metro stops or cities on canvas, or a favorite poem written on a mirror – these are mostly in French, but could easily be translated to any other language. Such an easy and understated way to add a bit of your favorite places to your home.
See more at Small Shop Studio, Camille Styles, and The Diversion Project