My summer memories

· Food, Illustration, Travel

After more than a month of absence on the blog, here I am again for a “Best Of” article from this summer 2020. I didn’t move too much from Paris except for a few days in various places in France, they were short but at least it was a change of scenery and a feeling of well-being like never before.

There was no question for us to leave France and we managed to make the most of what this particular summer of 2020 had to offer. So here is a small summer summary of different activities, which may inspire you!

 

My summer destinations

Bike ride along the Canal de Bourgogne with Lionelou <3

 

DIJON

I use to go there from time to time to meet my friend Lionel and this time was an even more precious moment since it was the first time I went there this year, after this locked down that we lived/ endured as best we could. It was the first time I had escaped from Paris since January, which was very invigorating.

If you followed me on Instagram, you saw that our reunion was sporty and greedy: Bike ride along the Burgundy Canal, picnic, stroll in a Japanese garden, dinner on the terrace… We finally took advantage of the pleasures that we had been deprived of last spring… A certain freedom found again !

 

LA CLUSAZ

3 days of escape in the mountains near La Clusaz. An escapade decided at the last minute that allowed us to familiarize ourselves with the joys of the mountains in summer.

The experience was invigorating, brought me the dose of lightness and wide open spaces that I was waiting for these vacations (with some aches and pains as well).

 

 

PARIS

My Parisian summer was rather studious but interspersed with nice days during which I played the tourist in a relatively empty Paris. This doesn’t change too much from my annual habits because you know that I like to enjoy Paris in August.

The opportunity to quietly discover exhibitions with friends, new yummy addresses, to climb aboard the Paris balloon for the first time in the André Citroën park, to visit the Disneyland Paris park without crowds or long queues. To see the capital from another angle, it has its charm!

Disneyland Paris with Jérémy is always a good idea !

 

Le Ballon de Paris at André Citroën park

 

BELLE-ÎLE-EN-MER

Lighthouse of la Pointe des Poulains

 

The bonus destination at the end of summer, also decided at the last minute to enjoy the sea air from Brittany. Here again, we mostly enjoyed nature in a wild and unspoiled setting. Add to this a calm of early September and here we are with a perfect destination to recharge our batteries!

To reach this paradise, we drove to Quiberon where we left the car in a long parking lot (Parking Kerzon, the closest to the pier) and crossed the ocean by ferry (45mn). It is also possible to cross with your vehicle on board but we did not want to carry too much and preferred to explore the island on foot or by bike

Aiguilles de Port-Coton, sunset seen from our hotel and Pointe de St Marc

 

The program: seafood, crepes, walking and cycling under the skies and bright sunshine as well as quick swimming sessions. If you would like to have more logistical or touristic information, feel free to ask me in the comments or review my Instagram “Summer 2020” stories. I won’t detail too much here otherwise the article might become way too long.

 

My music of the summer

This summer was for me rich in musical discoveries since many artists I love have released OP and pop music is back  !

I compiled a SUMMER 2020 playlist that accompanied my summer holidays, which you can find on my Deezer : Here it is listed here with some small personal annotations.

 

  1. BASTILLE : WHAT YOU GONNA DO ??? New single with the more “Rock 90s” sound of my darlings Bastille along with Graham Coxon from Blur
  2. LITTLE MIX : Holiday Spicy Holiday Ambiance with this song of one of my favorite girl bands
  3. MILEY CYRUS : Midnight Sky Catchy melody and 80s vibes
  4. KYLIE MINOGUE: Say something Elegant and airy: Glad to see that Kylie has always been renewing herself since the 80’s.
  5. DUA LIPA, MADONNA, MISSY ELLIOTT (THE BLESSED MADONNA REMIX) : Levitating “Club » remix, dancing from the original track of the brilliant album “Future nostalgia” by Dua Lipa
  6. CLEAN BANDIT, MABEL, 24KGOLDN : Tick Tock Another very danceable track from the hit maker Clean Bandit
  7. KYLIE MINOGUE : Say something (acoustic) I insist on this one because this quieter acoustic version deserves to be listened to
  8. CHVRCHES : Forever  Discovered thanks to the Spanish Elite TV show.
  9. LÉON : And it breaks my heart Broken voice and heady melody with violin
  10. CARLY RAE JEPSEN : Summer love Light Pop music from the interpreter of “Call me maybe”.
  11. THE WEEKND : In your eyes I guess you haven’t missed this addictive song this summer: simple and effective!
  12. SAVAGE GARDEN : To the moon and back lovely flashback, ode to my favorite album of the summer 98 : I still love it!
  13. WALK THE MOON : Lost in the wild Discovered thanks to “The Kissing Booth 2” Netflix movie
  14. SELENA GOMEZ, BLACKPINK: Ice cream Sound delicacy and eye candy with this pastel videoclip
  15. HARRY STYLES: Watermelon sugar Sound delicacy again
  16. DUA LIPA : Hallucinate One of the most energetic track of my favorite album of the year
  17. TRAVIS, SUSANNA HOFFS : The only thing The come back of Travis the scottish band that I adore, with the Bangles singer : So vintage !
  18. THE KILLERS : My own soul’s warning Not really convinced by their last album but I’m still a Brandon Flowers and The Killers fan
  19. AMADOU & MARIAM : Sabali Discovered by listening to it in a cocktail bar in Dijon, this collaboration between Amadou, Mariam et Damon Albarn (team Blur again !) mixes 2 different styles for a great result !
  20. MELANIE C : In and out of love Catchy song by our Sporty Spice with some rythms that kinda sound like Dua’s Lipa “Don’t start now” in the verses
  21. LANA DEL REY : Happiness is a butterfly Nostalgic and light
  22. KODALINE : Brother One of my favorite tracks of this group, a real declaration of brotherly love
  23. ÁSGEIR : Higher Islandic charm and big wild spaces envy
  24. BTS : Dynamite South korean energy booster

 

My summer readings

I haven’t read much (and no novels for that matter) but here’s what delighted my summer: :

 

GOODBYE THINGS by FUMIO SASAKI : The very interesting experience of a former manga publisher Fumio Sasaki who went from a stressful, materially overloaded life to a minimalist life with the discovery of a new philosophy of life much more fulfilling.

Even if I understand the author’s enthusiasm, I would perhaps blame him for his excessive advertising for Apple over the pages (the brand and Steve Jobs are mentioned at length in the book). Having said that, the general idea of detaching from the material is very inspiring, something I’ve been adhering to (albeit in a less extreme way) for several years now.

 

MAGAZINE B : KYOTO : Korean magazine found at Centre commercial (2, rue de Marseille 75010 PARIS), in the same vein as the Monocle book : addresses, portraits, beautiful photos of the city of Kyoto.

 

RUMIC WORLD by RUMIKO TAKAHASHI : Short news from Rumiko Takahashi (the author/drawer of Ranma 1/2 and Maison Ikkoku) always full of humor and tinted with traditional legends.

 

DIM DAM DOM : I finally decided to subscribe to this magazine since I am a faithful reader since its release in 2018 by collecting each magazine. This summer issue was perfect, with a discovery of the west of France, in all its aspects: iodine and nature at its best.

 

My summer viewings

 

Once again, I didn’t want to stay screwed in front of my TV or at the movies this summer but I have a few series/movies to share with you anyway.

THE KISSING BOOTH 2 : I was waiting for it with a haste mixed with a certain fear of being disappointed because we all know what happens with the 2nd opus in general! As expected, it wasn’t as good as the 1st movie (probably because of the “cold” relationship between Noah (Jacob Elordi) and Elle (Joey King)… on the screen as in the city) but it’s worth watching. A 3rd episode is in the works : I’m not excited about it but I’ll watch it anyway… of course !

ELITE : 3 seasons of a series that kept me on the edge of my seat at the beginning of summer : Murder, suspense and high school romances sprinkled with eroticism. It seems that a sequel is in preparation but according to me, it will probably be the season too much. The plot is gripping without requiring too much thought/concentration: Perfect for summer!

TENET : First film I’ve seen in the cinema since the reopening of the cinemas and it was worth it! A spatio-temporal plot mixed with James Bond action, with several senses of reading as is usual with Christopher Nolan. With Robert Pattinson as the icing on the cake! I even feel like going to see him a second time to check all the advanced theses.

 

My summer good addresses

Seafood with a view at Castel Clara hotel

 

Here is a quick list of addresses that caught my attention this summer. It may still be useful if you come to visit these places, preferably in summer!

 

DIJON

  • La Brasserie des Beaux arts : The shaded terrace on the square des Ducs side is a pleasure to taste their home-made dishes
  • Glacier Simone & Maurice : Artisanal ice-cream parlour with flavours that change every day: gingerbread, tangerine or yoghurt: everything is good to taste (once again on a bench in the square des Ducs).
  • Monsieur Moutarde : Cocktail bar (with or without alcohol) in a place with a neat retro decor (bonus point for the inner courtyard).

 

LA CLUSAZ

  • La Scierie : Perfect Savoyard restaurant where I enjoyed a delicious tartiflette and conchiglionis stuffed with langoustines in a warm setting.
  • L’ourson : Cozy decor and mountain specialties.
  • Pâtisserie Patrick Agnellet : Great choice of fruity, creamy and favorite sweets for the Montagnard (Shortbread cookie covered with soft caramel and dried fruits)
  • Hôtel “Au coeur du village” : Warm service, cosy atmosphere of the rooms and breakfast with delicious homemade products..

 

PARIS

  • Mama Shelter West : A terrace overlooking the Versailles exhibition center (and discreet view of the Eiffel Tower) with a sunny atmosphere reinforced by two-colored parasols. The Italian-influenced food is good without being exceptional, but you really feel like you’re on vacation there.
  • La Javelle : At the foot of the balloon of Paris, guinguette ambiance to have a drink.
  • Hank Burger : Vegan burger that you advised me to try last time with my burgers top 5 : delicious and juicy !
  • Carré Pain de mie : Japanese soft bread sooo soft ! (you have to try the delicious “crémeux matcha” as a dessert !)

 

BELLE-ÎLE-EN-MER

  • Hôtel Castel Clara : A breathtaking view, an efficient and friendly staff as well as homemade cakes and delicious oysters at the breakfast buffet (what do you mean… oysters are not you in the morning? ;-)). The decoration (corridors, rooms, indoor swimming pool) deserves to be updated but the view, the service and the quietness of the place compensate for this lack.
  • Crêperie Les Embruns (in Sauzon) : Enjoy a complete “galette” and apple and salted butter caramel pancake with a view on the port, what else?
  • Biscuiterie La Bien Nommée : Cakes and shortbread with salted butterscotch caramel to bring back as a souvenir. (English translation by Quiterie)

A summer day in Paris

· Decoration, Fashion, Food

As I do every summer, I am enjoying what the Capital has to offer, and even more this year. Maybe I’ll get away from Paris a little during this month of August, but not for very long and preferably in a remote corner in the middle of nature.

That said, last weekend I tried to spend a “getaway” day in Paris and thought it might be interesting to share it with you. It might give you some ideas, since in one day, I discovered a lot of interesting and exotic addresses! Escape while staying in Paris: we totally validate!

 

9am : Japanese reading at breakfast

Let’s start the day with some reading! I told you briefly about this “favorite” book on Instagram. Let’s flip through it together today over a tasty bowl of oatmeal and green tea.

As I was saying, I’m very happy to have gotten my hands on “The Monocle book of Japan” because besides being beautiful, it’s a good compendium of everything I love about Japan.

It explores different aspects of Japan: Tradition, culture, nature, architecture, handicraft, inspiring portraits, good addresses, all with a very neat layout.

I let you judge with these pictures: anyways it’s a nice gift for the passionate people of Japan, whether we have already set foot there or not.

 

11am : Stroll in the gardens of the Quai Branly Museum

In this particular period, moving around Paris requires precautions of distancing and wearing masks that require our full attention… especially in museums.

Having said that, the absence of people in the alleys of the garden of the Quai Branly museum allowed me to take these “naked face” pictures and to breathe at full lungs in this small corner of greenery of the capital.

The access to this garden is free but for once, I didn’t take the time to visit the current exhibitions (I didn’t want to stay inside with such nice weather!), it was very nice to be able to rediscover this luxuriant vegetation in the middle of the city.

The museum shop is also a must every time I go there: you can find items and books from the 4 corners of the world… it makes you travel!

Japanese tabi socks and Vanessa Mitrani vases

 

MUSÉE DU QUAI BRANLY
37 Quai Branly
75007 PARIS

 

1pm : A break at Yamazaki

Italian and japanese salads, chiken teriyaki panini

 

Yamazaki is a bakery/pastry group that supplies Japan with konbini (=small groceries) in the form of sandwich bread and cakes. Overseas, it is more involved in pastry shops, like here in Paris. For the lunch break, we sat on the terrace, also taking advantage of the savoury menu.

Nothing spectacular there: a chicken teriyaki panini and salads (Japanese for me and Italian for my SO). Good but no surprise.

It’s at the dessert stage that it becomes interesting since the brand offers traditional French cakes with a little Japanese twist. We can think of Aki Boulanger… it’s in the same spirit.

Matcha and yuzu cream puffs and yuki ichigo

 

I fell in love with the Yuki ichigo = a big mochi with a soft rice paste filled with strawberry whipped cream (its matcha alter ego, the Matsuri, is also delicious, for your information). It’s melting and not so sweet: I could eat several of them! My SO has been tempted by the more classic but good yuzu and matcha cream puffs.

They also offer a Mont Blanc, a Japanese strawberry short cake and other specialties that look light and tasty. An address that allows you to vary the pleasures a little.

 

YAMAZAKI
6 Chaussée de la Muette
75016 PARIS

 

3pm : Decorative inspiration in the Marais

Creations by Sylvie Delphaut at Empreintes

 

The Marais may not be the most “relaxing” district in times of pandemic, since Parisians here don’t seem to have deserted the capital, but I like to go there to fill up on decorating inspiration. The mask is therefore more than ever necessary on every street corner to discover new addresses.

Pop up store “Ceramic and ikebana” at Heureux les Curieux

 

Here are some of them that caught my attention:

  • MARK’STYLE TOKYO (6 rue du trésor) : A selection of Japanese products (utensils, incense, kits, stationery, tea)
  • EMPREINTES (5 rue de Picardie) : A concept store featuring a selection of objects by French designers, whether for decoration, crockery or fashion.
  • HEUREUX LES CURIEUX (23 Rue du Pont aux Choux) : The theme of this store changes regularly. I really liked the ceramic-themed pop-up store a few weeks ago (with the fabulous floral arrangements from the Ryukubota florist) but right now it seems that it’s more fashion-oriented.
  • BOUTIQUE GENERALE (10 Rue du Pont aux Choux) : A nice selection of plates and objects made of natural materials from artisans from various areas (Africa, England, Japan…) in this very small shop.

 

8pm : The Burger Meetup

For a reunion over a good burger, I asked for your help on Instagram to give me your best burger address in Paris. I thank you for your numerous answers because I have managed to shortlist a TOP 5 of the best burgers in the capital, according to your votes and your tastes.

Before testing others, I rushed to try the big winner which is the restaurant LE RUISSEAU (there is a restaurant in the 18th but I tested the one in Le Marais: Le Ruisseau Burger Joint, 22 rue Rambuteau)

Blue cheese, BBQ et Goat burgers

 

We came out delighted: I can see why so many of you recommended it. The meat is tasty, the bread and fries are homemade and the combination of all the ingredients melts in the mouth.

I chose the Cheddar burger (Beef, melted cheddar cheese, candied onions, iceberg lettuce, pickles, condiment sauce) but everyone around me was delighted with their Goat burger (Beef, honey, mustard, St Maure de Touraine A.O.P cheese, candied onions, spinach, pickles), BBQ burger (Beef, barbecue sauce, melted cheddar cheese, red onions, iceberg lettuce, pickles) or Blue cheese burger (Beef, mustard cream, Bleu d’Auvergne, candied onions, aragula, mustard honey, pickles).

Here is your list of the 5 best burgers in Paris:

  1. LE RUISSEAU
  2. PNY
  3. BLEND
  4. DUMBO
  5. GOKU ASIA CANTEEN

I’ll try to check your good taste: I’ll let you know when I go to one of these addresses. But some other addresses were also mentioned several times like the HANK burger (for the vegan version) or the STARVIN JOE… Curious to go and test them too (I approve of the Starvin Joe that I already know) !

 

I hope you enjoyed this day and got some inspiration. I wish you a great vacation if you are lucky enough to take some. And even if I plan to disconnect a bit, I will certainly find you here or on Instagram before the end of the summer! See you soon! (English translation by Quiterie)


My Outfit

Dungarees “Hedwige” Make my Lemonade
Tee shirt Sézane
Flats Mango (already seen here and there)
Vintage basket (already seen here)
Earrings Vanina (already seen here)

Matsuyama

· Food, Illustration, Travel

t’s time to dive back into the continuation of my Japanese road-trip (more than a year later!… sorry if I take my time but I make the pleasure last!).

On our way to Matsuyama city, in Ehime prefecture, located in the northwest of Shikoku island. We packed our bags there for 2 nights to enjoy the city but also to explore a few kilometers away, the village of Ōzu (which I will develop in a future article). For now, back to the city with these few tracks of visit!

 

Matsuyama castle

This castle, located on the heights of the town, is accessible on foot, by cable car or chair lift. Unfortunately, we had a weather mixing rain and fog: for us, the only choice was to climb “on foot” but the other two options could have been fun to try.

The castle, built in 1603, having been bombed during the Second World War, has survived thanks to valuable renovations. The fog that day only amplified the mysterious atmosphere of the place, which in the end made the route even more interesting.

We chose to visit the interior of the castle (you have to wear the anachronistic green slippers, which are kindly lent on the spot!). It is full of period objects, armor, swords and even a room where you can put on samurai armor to enjoy the shogun atmosphere even more. A bit kitschy but enjoyable!

The view overlooking the hill offers a contrasting spectacle between these old stones of the past and the panorama dotted with modern buildings: a temporal shock!

 

Dogo onsen

Back on dry land, direction Dogo onsen honkan, a building that would have inspired Hayao Miyazaki for his animated film “The Journey of Chihiro”.

These hot springs in the city are said to be the oldest in Japan and are open to the public. We didn’t take the time to relax there but you can take a bath (the water would have therapeutic virtues) and enjoy the tea room on the 2nd floor.

We were satisfied with a foot bath outside, very pleasant too despite everything. This allowed us to wait patiently for the big animated clock “Botchan karakuri clock” which comes to life every hour from 8am to 10pm with little characters appearing and dancing around this magic clock.

Foot bath at Dogo onsen while waiting for the Botchan Karakuri clock animation

 

Close by, the “Dogo onsen” station is also very picturesque with this vintage locomotive.

If you have just missed the animation of the clock, you can still occupy your 60 minutes by strolling through the Dogo arcade, a covered alleyway with many souvenir shops full of merchandise stamped with the mascot of the prefecture of Ehime, Mikyan (a hybrid between a tangerine and a bear). Local delicacies are also available. Don’t forget to come back to the clock!

Mikyan, the Ehime mascot is everywhere !

 

Ishite-ji temple

Once again, we don’t lose sight of the pilgrimage of Shikoku and its temples, especially when temple number 51 is close to Dogo Onsen: two birds with one stone!

The access to this temple is nevertheless not very reassuring when we choose to go through a small dark passage linking the road to the temple! We left the road to rush into this pseudo cave barely lit (I was screaming every meter, moving forward: me? Sissy?) but the reward is all the more appreciable: this new calligraphy is deserved!

If you’re afraid of the dark, choose the access by road to avoid a few cold sweats even if between us, you don’t risk much (…but you know, when the imagination is running wild…).

 

Specialities of the city

Botchan dango and Taruto

 

Matsuyama is famous for its production of citrus fruits and mandarins called “Mican” that you will see declined in all forms of delicacies: ice creams, cakes, jellies, juices … Refreshing!

There is also Botchan dango, a kind of skewer of mochis in 3 different colours and the Taruto, a yuzu and bean flavored sponge cake.

We also tasted the local dishes in a restaurant, SUSHIMARU HONTEN (2 Chome-3-2 Nibancho, Matsuyama) located not far from our hotel.

The signature dish of the Ehime region is Taimeshi (rice with sea bream). In the town of Matsuyama, sea bream is supposed to bring good luck, so we accept with pleasure!

This dish must be eaten according to a certain protocol thanks to the different ingredients present on the tray: Add the condiments to the rice, mix the egg to the soup, add the sea bream and onions to the soup, then place them on the rice before pouring the soup and enjoy.

Taimeshi ready to eat after mixing the ingredients and Matsuyamazushi

 

Another local dish, Matsuyamazushi is nothing else but a bowl of vinegar rice topped with raw fish and eel. More classic but just as good.

The 2nd evening, we chose to taste yakitori skewers in the restaurant KURO TENGU (2-3-4 Nibancho Sushiharu Bldg. 2F, Matsuyama). It does not seem to me that the yakitori are known to be the speciality of the region but it is a treat all the same.

We let ourselves be tempted by an assortment of à la carte brochettes (asparagus wrapped in bacon, eggplant, chicken…) and yakionigiri (grilled rice balls with a good smoked taste). So comforting!

 

Yakitori and yakionigiri

 

Our Hotel in Matsuyama

For our 2 nights, we chose a downtown hotel, very well located: the Dormy Inn Matsuyama Natural Hot Spring. The rooms are unadorned, simple but comfortable. You can also enjoy the onsen on the roof but we didn’t have time to linger there.

The breakfast buffet is copious and mostly salty, as everywhere in Japan: the opportunity to taste natto while jumping out of bed, for the more adventurous!

 

I hope you enjoyed this overview of Matsuyama: next time, I will tell you about our “hiking” escapade in Ōzu, located 50mn from Matsuyama. A village full of charm as we like them… attention, we love them ! ( English translation by Quiterie)

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