We spent the last few days of our time on the French Riviera in Antibes. Staying at Hotel du Cap Eden Roc was an absolute treat and, although a splurge, it is definitely recommended. You won't want to leave the hotel, but the town of Antibes is darling and certainly worth wandering around. Definitely book a table at Michelangelo for dinner – it's a classic!
Saint-Tropez was a very last minute add to our trip and it ended up being one of our favorite places. Because it was such a late add, we didn't have much time to think about or pre-plan our stay there which made for some fun surprises. I did get a few great recommendations from a lady I know in London who grew up on the French Riviera, but we otherwise explored on our own. The Port of Saint Tropez reminded me of Capri because of the abundance of high-end shopping and incredibly charming streets. It was beyond picturesque and full of color (pastel-colored shutters on every single building!) We shopped, had some delicious dinners, watched the sunset on the harbor, and walked the streets of this quaint little town.
I would recommend booking at room at Hotel Byblos, which is right in town. It was unfortunately sold out by the time we booked, but it's a darling spot in an ideal location. We stayed at Mas de Chastelas which we also really loved. It's incredibly peaceful, has a beautiful pool and excellent service.
When you're not shopping in town, you'll want to be at Plage de Pampelonne, Saint-Tropez's crown jewel of beaches, where you'll find bright blue waters and famous beach clubs. We went to Restaurant Tahiti Beach and Le Club 55 and I cannot recommend Le Club 55 enough. Live music, amazing service, charming blue and white décor, perfectly chilled bottles of rosé, fresh and delicious food... all on a vine covered patio overlooking the glistening blue water. Before and after your lunch, you can retreat to your reserved bed on the beach. With a restaurant, darling boutique and lounge chairs on the sand, it's a perfect spot to spend your entire day. (happy people watching!)
After a few days in Paris, we took the train down to Provence and stayed in Gordes. It's apparently known as one of the prettiest villages in Provence and it was easy to see why. The views of the village when you're driving in are incredible, and the village itself is so quaint and charming. We stayed at Bastide de Gordes, an amazing hotel right in the heart of the village. I would definitely recommend it to anyone wanting a relaxing getaway. We went wine tasting, explored Gordes and Menerbes, wandered through the incredibly charming cobblestone streets that make up Lacoste, enjoyed a delicious provencal dinner at Bastide de Marie, and relaxed by the pool. On our way to the coast, we stopped in Aix and had fun walking the streets filled with shops, outdoor markets and places to eat. It really feels as if time stands still in Provence...
Paris is one of my absolute favorite places. I studied there in college and have had so much fun going back to visit with my husband and friends. Here are just a few recommendations on what to do, see, eat and drink in this romantic city. Most importantly, get your walking shoes on and have fun exploring the city yourself. You'll stumble upon some neat spots along the way...
S E E , W A L K & S H O P
Musée de l'Orangerie (smaller and very easy to manage. The collection of Monet's Water Lilies here is breathtaking)
Louvre (amazing, but definitely crowded and time consuming. If you only have a day or two in Paris, I'd say skip it)
Jardin du Palais Royal
Notre Dame (and Berthillon ice cream while you're near there!)
Jardin du Luxembourg (I love getting some bites and wine at La Grande Epicerie and bringing it here for a picnic)
Jardin des Tuileries (for a picnic, walk and visit to Musée de l'Orangerie)
Arc de Triomphe
Musée Rodin (I love the sculpture and rose garden here)
Invalides (for those interested in the military history of France)
Sacré-Cœur + wander around Montmartre
Versailles (worth the day trip!)
Shop around Place Vendôme and the 1st arrondissement (lots to see around here, check out Astier de Villatte for beautiful ceramics)
Shop and wander around Saint-Germain and the 6th arrondissement
E A T + D R I N K
Ladurée for macarons
Pierre Hermé for chocolates
Daroco (we loved this spot! really neat inside and delicious Italian food)
L'As du Fallafel (for the absolute best falafel in Paris, note that it's closed on Saturdays)
Miznon (next to the falafel spot, a great lunch spot, also closed on Saturdays)
Frenchie To Go
Frenchie Wine Bar
Breizh Café (for the best crepes, both sweet and savory)
La Grande Epicerie de Paris (amazing high end grocery store, perfect for picnic snacks + wine)
Ralph's (for lunch on the world's cutest patio)
Café Les Deux Magots
Café de Flore
Berthillon for ice cream
Chez Julien (quaint neighborhood spot, great for a romantic date night)
Maison Plisson (casual lunch spot in Le Marais)
La Cantine Merci (fresh, healthy meals overlooking the garden in the Merci store)
Le Bristol Hotel (for a glass of rosé on their chic patio)
Plaza Athénée (for an alfresco lunch on their charming patio or a fancy dinner at Alain Ducasse)
We just spent a long weekend in the Cotswolds and I felt like I had died and gone to English heaven. I had high expectations since I had heard and read so much about the English countryside, but I was still blown away. It feels like fairy tale land out there... it's so incredibly charming and the views EVERYWHERE are breathtaking. Driving around the whole area was such a treat.
We rented a darling Airbnb cottage in Ampney Crucis and really loved the location as it's close to some very quintessential English villages. Barnsley was one of our favorites. If you go, check out Barnsley House to stay overnight or just to dine. We ate dinner at The Village Pub just down the road from the Barnsley House and loved it. The second night we ate at The Wild Duck which I'd also highly recommend – really delicious food and wine and such a charming setting!
We drove through Bibury to see Arlington Row which seemed like something out of a fairytale. We then worked our way up North and stopped along the way in Bourton-on-the-Water, Stow-on-the-Wold, Upper Slaughter, Moreton-on-the-Marsh, and finally to Daylesford Farm in Kingham which was absolutely incredible. An organic and seasonal stop for groceries, picnic supplies, sweet treats and wine. They have two restaurants, a cookery school, a beautiful home store and garden. They also have cottages to stay overnight and a relaxing spa to enjoy. We grabbed a bottle of rosé and some bites and took ourselves outside in the sun.
The next day we drove down to Castle Combe which is known to be one of the prettiest villages in all of England. It's incredibly charming and quaint and a definite must-see! We then drove down to Bath to walk around the town for a bit before we worked our way to Lucknam Park for afternoon tea, stopping along the way to enjoy the incredible countryside views. Lucknam Park might have been my favorite part of the weekend. The grounds were absolutely breathtaking....
These three neighboring areas of London have so much to offer – incredible and historic shopping, delicious restaurants, a fun nightlife, and so much to see and explore. My list below might include some spots just outside these areas, but all close enough to accomplish in a day. Make sure to bring a small fortune along... the day will be much more fun ;)
John Lobb Bootmaker: on St. James's street, this family run shop has been hand making bespoke boots since 1866. In 1863, John Lobb apparently sent a pair of boots to the Prince of Wales who was so impressed by the quality of the workmanship that he appointed him his personal supplier. He then opened his London shop in 1866 and it's still there today, supplying bespoke hand made shoes to people all over the world. They hold two Royal Warrants to HRH The Duke of Edinburgh and HRH The Prince of Wales. It's a classic and a must-see!
Shop along Old Bond/ New Bond Street: Tod's, Ralph Lauren, Gucci, Cartier, Rolex, Van Cleef, Ferragamo... need I say more?
Fortnum & Mason for afternoon tea and shopping for all things tea related.
Ralph's Coffee & Bar: this RL cafe just opened up in London and is a great stop for breakfast and tea, lunch and champagne, or cocktails and a little bite before dinner.
James Smith & Sons: the most enchanting shop chuck full of classic umbrellas and walking sticks that has been in London since 1830. This is one of my favorite places I've gone while in London and you really must stop in. The umbrellas are made in their shop below the storefront, which is largely unaltered since they opened. I left with a black watch tartan that I'm excited to keep for years to come! (Side note: It rains, like, every day in London. But it doesn't ever really rain to the point where you need an umbrella. That's beside the point though, you should still go buy yourself a classic umbrella from this shop!)
Rosewood London: a really, really beautiful hotel that you should consider staying at! But, even if you don't stay over night, you will definitely need to stop into their Scarfes Bar. It's gentleman's club-esque, complete with a fireplace, cozy armchairs, live music, beautiful woodwork, and even better cocktails. We went there for a few drinks and snacks before dinner at...
The Barbary: a cozy spot in the popular Neil's yard in Covent Garden for an absolutely delicious Berber-style meal. We waited almost 2 hours, and you will too unless you show up at 5. But, I promise it's worth it, especially considering you can wait inside the lively little spot with a drink in hand.
Mount Street Printers: this one might just be for this paper romantic over here. But, if fine stationery is also your thing, it's worth stopping into this classic printery. They also have a Royal Warrant and have been printing on beautiful Mount Street for over 35 years. They mostly do bespoke orders, but also have some cards and stationery on the shelves that you can take with you.
The Connaught: I've already mentioned this one a couple posts back, but since it's also on Mount Street right down from the Printery, and because it's a must-stop, I thought I'd list it again. Head here to lounge in an ultra-stylish bar and sip on your custom made martini.
Daylesford Organic: a perfect stop for a casual breakfast, lunch or afternoon tea. There are a few locations throughout London and the food is fresh and delicious. Take some bites and groceries to-go, or sit and eat in the restaurant.
Afternoon Tea at Fortnum & Mason: a wonderful afternoon tea experience! With a rich history and a store you definitely will want to shop through, I'd recommend booking your afternoon tea at Fortnums.
Drinks at The Connaught: a ritzy bar in the ultra-stylish Connaught Hotel in Mayfair. The drinks and décor won't disappoint. Be sure to order a martini which will be made to your liking table-side on the martini trolley. One gin with ginger and grapefruit, please!
The Shed: one of the most delicious meals I've had in a long time. Beyond fresh and chuck full of seasonal flavor. This is a must try in Notting Hill.
Dishoom: ok, this is also one of the most delicious meals I've had in a long time. A fun Bombay-style stop for Indian street food. Even if you don't like Indian food, I'm still fairly certain you'll love Dishoom both for it's food and vintage décor.
Barrafina: a delicious diner style Spanish tapas bar. They don't take reservations, but you can have a cocktail while you wait and the line moved fairly quickly.
Walks through South Kensington & Knightsbridge: for serious house-hunting, these two classic, high-end neighborhoods won't let your eyes down.
Peacocks in Holland Park: I recommend taking a stroll through Holland Park. Although just off the busy Kensington High Street, the park is incredibly peaceful. Plus, you'll likely run into some peacocks!
We spent the long weekend in Zermatt and it was the perfect winter weekend getaway! The town is so charming, the slopes are beautiful, the food is delicious and the people are so friendly. We stayed at a boutique hotel called Hotel Matthiol which we would definitely recommend to friends and family. It has a delicious restaurant inside, and igloos outside where they serve fondue dinners in (so fun!) No cars are allowed in Zermatt (which adds to it's charm) but there are cute little electric taxis that will take you around if you don't want to walk. We ate lunch at Chez Vrony one day which fantastic mountain dining! Very chic, delicious food and perfect views of the snowy mountains and the Matterhorn. The Snowboat Bar & Yacht Club was also a great restaurant in town for dinner.
We arrived in London about 10 days ago, and I've been walking the city ever since. From Kensington to Notting Hill, Marylebone to Mayfair, Knightsbridge to Belgravia, I've covered a lot of ground in a short period and have found some neat spots along the way. I'm far from a London expert, but I've gathered a short list of charming places that you may want to visit next time you're here. I have yet to pay a proper visit to sights like Elizabeth Tower, Westminster Abbey and Buckingham Palace, but those can be saved for a later time, right? Here are a few spots I want to archive... lots more to come!
Soane Britain: I walked through this charming showroom off Sloane Square and couldn't help but daydream up a deliciously English home for myself. Every piece is made in Britain and it's beyond lovely.
Daylesford: After you've redesigned your entire home at Soane, head on down the street to Daylesford for a cup of tea and a bite to eat.
Wild at Heart: Just down from Daylesford, you'll find this beautiful flower shop. A London favorite and a must visit!
Peggy Porschen Cakes: An incredibly chic and delicious bakeshop located near Sloane Square. It's almost Valentine's Day, so this shop is decorated quite perfectly for the occasion. I'll be taking the husband back to help me sample some more sweet treats.
Daunt Books: I visited their shop on Marylebone High Street and I felt like I was taken back in time a bit (this has been happening a lot... oh London, you're so charming!) Pick up a few good reads for your vacation and flight home.
Liberty London: Likely already on your list, this department store is a must visit for those interested in fashion. Among beautiful clothes and accessories, there's a cute cafe and stationery shop inside, and a charming flower shop (another Wild at Heart location) out front.
The Fine Cheese Co.: For all you cheese lovers, mosey on over to this cute shop in Belgravia to pick up some cheese to takeaway. Or, you can take a seat and enjoy some bites inside.
La Stupenderia: Next door to the cheese shop, you'll find the world's most beautiful children's store. You'll likely spend more on your child's outfit than you would on your own, but motherhood is all about selflessness and making sure your kids look cute, right?
Ottolenghi: Also on Motcomb Street (as the two above), you'll find this delicious deli that is perfect for a takeaway lunch.
VV Rouleaux: I will always find the local fine ribbon store! I'm a sucker for ribbons and this store has quite the collection. I'll certainly be bringing some home with me.
V&A Museum Ceramics Display: A ginger jar display is my kind of display! The top floor of the V&A has an incredible tile, ceramics and porcelain collection and it's not to miss for those interested in this type of art.
de Gournay: a beautiful shop with the most incredible hand painted wallpapers, fabrics and porcelain. Filing this one under 'dream home'.
The Parent Trap House: Ok, agreed, this one is touristy of me. But I'm such a genuine fan that it really would have been a shame if I didn't pay Annie's home a visit. Plus, the neighborhood is beyond lovely.
We just got home from spending four days in this charming southern city and had the absolute best time. I probably could have stayed a lifetime! We had a long list to do, to see, to eat and to drink, and are already excited to go back to check a few more places off. If you love history, charming and historic homes, delicious food, classic southern cocktails, cobblestone streets, genuine people and perfectly dressed windows, I would highly recommend you book your visit asap. Here is my weekend overview... enjoy!
T O S T A Y
Zero George Street: three residences and two brick carriage houses make up this incredibly charming boutique hotel. An absolute gem and highly recommended!
Planter's Inn: we didn't stay here, but recommend it if you'd prefer a (slightly) bigger hotel. Great location and decorated with charming Charleston décor. Also a must is having a slice of their famous coconut cake (on their charming lantern-lit courtyard after a romantic dinner out)
Also worth checking out: The Dewberry
T O D O & T O S E E
Historic homes along Tradd Street, Church Street, Legare Street (all South of Broad)
Charming, historic alleyways: Stoll's Alley, Longitude Lane, Philadelphia Alley
Carriage ride through the city
Historic home walking tour
College of Charleston
Head across the bridge and check out Sullivan's Island
The Battery & Rainbow Row: take a walk all along the water and look at the beautiful, historic waterfront homes
King Street for shopping
Art galleries... everywhere!
Hampden Clothing: for great pieces from Theory, Rag & Bone, Tibi, Zimmerman, See by Chloe & More...
Antique Shops: couldn't make it into all of them, but check out John Pope Antiques, George C Birlant & Co, Alexandra Designs
Mac & Murphy Stationery: chuck full of sugar paper goodness
Club Monaco on King Street: such a beautiful store – a must-see for anyone who likes the brand
T O E A T & T O D R I N K
Butcher & Bee: one of the best tasting meals I've had in a really long time. Local, fresh, and FULL of flavor
Edmund's Oast: we went for a drink before Butcher & Bee and had one of their 50+ delicious draft beers
Lewis BBQ: omg the beef brisket...
The Gin Joint: cozy spot for a cocktail. I got the pear pressure which was deliciously spicy and full of fall flavor. Snack on their famous beef jerky while you sip!
Husk: I'd skip your dinner reservation and grab a spot in their cozy, exposed brick bar. Enjoy southern bites and historic cocktails
Le Farfalle: a neighborhood osteria with incredible charm and authentic Italian food
Planter's Inn Ultimate Coconut Cake®: famous Charleston treat to enjoy on their charming lantern-lit patio
Sugar Bakeshop: cute little bakeshop full of delicious treats
Callie's Hot Little Biscuit: fresh, warm, southern biscuits. Need I say more? Zero George serves these fresh every morning, but also check out their storefront on King Street.
Hominy Grill: a delicious, casual spot for Lowcountry classics. Head there for breakfast or lunch and try the Charleston Nasty Biscuit
Black Tap Coffee: for delicious cold brew on tap
We couldn't make it to these ones, but they're on our list for next time (worth checking out!):
FIG, Magnolias, Cannon Green, Leon's, 5Church, Living Room & Henrietta's at The Dewberry, The Obstinate Daughter on Sullivan's Island
photography by josh gruetzmacher
We had the most amazing trip to Italy to celebrate our marriage. We started in Florence and stayed at the beautiful Villa Cora hotel. After a few days in Florence, we drove south through Chianti to Tuscany where we checked into the incredible Castiglion del Bosco. The property is quite unbelievable. We ate delicious food, drank wine all day, explored Tuscany, and lounged by the infinity pool overlooking Montalcino. From there, we took the train down to the Amalfi Coast and stayed at Monastero Santa Rosa Hotel & Spa, a recently renovated Monastery on the coast of Italy. It was absolutely spectacular. We explored Positano, Amalfi, Ravello & Capri and are already looking forward to our next trip back someday!