My trip began in Paris, where I only had 24 hours to do everything I love before leaving to Normandy and Bretagne. Obviously, sleep was off the table. One of the best things to do in Paris is simply walk around my favorite neighborhoods, taking in how pretty the city truly is, and hopping from café to café where I alternate between coffee and wine. I stayed in my second favorite area, Saint Germain, in which I began my walk, continuing through the lovely Latin Quarter, and ending in my very favorite area, le Marais. It seems like it isn’t that long, but when factoring in the time spent drinking le vin—a highly significant amount of time, of course—and eating scrumptious pastries, it’s impossible to return to the hotel before the sun has set. Dinner was at David Toutain, which currently boasts one of the finest—if not the—tasting menus in the city. Oh, how fine it was.
Post dinner drinks were at Candelaria. This tiny, but very sexy, tequila bar can only be found if you know what you’re looking for; it’s set behind the doors of a shabby looking taco bar. Ready to move on somewhere more lively after a couple drinks, my friends and I went to Bar Raidd. In typical gay bar style, everyone was energetically dancing. Exactly what we were looking for. Ready to hit one more spot before calling it a night, we did Le Montana. This is easily my preferred club in Paris—chic crowd, amazing music, and no one leaves the dance floor.
The morning was rough. After a full day and night—plus many drinks—I was off to Giverny. This is where Monet lived and planted his famous garden that so many of his paintings are inspired by. As I’m completely obsessed with Monet and his Les Nymphéas, that hang in l’Orangerie in Paris, I was in Impressionist heaven.
Chanel Velvet Mini Backpack
Straying from Normandy for a couple days, I arrived in St. Malo. This little town is too charming. It’s right on the water, allowing for ridiculously colorful sunsets. Along the boardwalk is an array of adorable hotels, restaurants, and houses—it’s hard to describe how cute the buildings are. The city center is insanely well preserved, almost too perfect. A 30 minute ride outside of St. Malo is Dinan, an equally charming little town. It’s also well preserved, yet has a bit more character. I was reminded of Hogsmeade from Harry Potter—shout out to anyone who’s as in love with HP as I am. Overall, Bretagne has an English feel in its architecture, which is made evident by the utterly attractive St. Malo and Dinan. And make sure to have the moules frites at least once!
Returning to Normandy after a brief excursion at Mont Saint-Michel, a must see that is probably the top historical sight in the region, Deauville was the next and final stop. It’s impossible to put into words how picturesque this place is. Located on the beach, filled with delicious restaurants as well as alluring boutiques, and populated by a good-looking crowd, the town could give Cannes a run for its money. Breakfast was done at Dupont avec un Thé daily, an abundance of pastries were eaten at Boulangerie de Paris, and rosé was enjoyed on the boardwalk at Bar du Soleil and Bar de la Mer. Dinner highlights include Le Comptoir, Le Spinnaker, and L’Essentiel—impossible to go wrong at. Obviously, dinner was only complete after ordering dessert wine at my hotel, Le Normandy Barrière. I’m drooling a little bit right now.
To see all of Normandy, everyday I left to a neighboring city. Rouen is known for its rich history, from witnessing the execution of Joan of Arc to acting as a source of inspiration for Monet. However, the city itself is less than impressive. I was eager to return to Deauville after visiting the essential landmarks. Caen is another city that I wasn’t a fan of, yet it is impossible to skip due to its historical importance.
In contrast, Honfleur is jaw dropping. The town itself is teeny, but the stunning harbor, enchanting streets, and delightful architecture make it one of the most beautiful places I’ve seen. Another scenic city is Cabourg. It looks rather similar to Deauville—definitely a fabulous trait. I’m a nerd and was super excited to be there because a resort that the French philosopher Proust writes about is based on Cabourg.
Clearly, I had too much fun on vacation! Bring on the next.