A New Home: Paris & Normandy

Can you believe it’s already September?? I moved to Paris from San Francisco about 3 weeks ago, and strangely it feels both like forever and just yesterday that Will and I hopped across the pond with our lives stuffed into 7 luggages. We’ve been busy settling in and made the honorary trip to IKEA to pick up some new pieces to spruce up the apartment. We live in the charming neighborhood of Boulogne-Billancourt, which is right below the 16th arrondissement and towards the end of metro line 10. We’ve also been back & forth between here and Houlgate, Normandy (where Will spent summers growing up) to make the most of the amazing summer weather. After a couple weeks, it’s started to feel like a little home away from our Parisian home…away from my further away California home! Although I haven’t written very much since I’ve arrived, I have been snapping away with my iPhone–so would love to give you a glimpse of what these past few weeks have been like. 🙂

The first day after arriving, we had a reunion with our beautiful friend Paulina, who just moved back to Chile after a year here. It was so nice to see a familiar face and catch up over my first breakfast in Paris.

Le petit déjeuner dans un café parisien.

And what exactly is the “typical Parisian breakfast”? Quite simple: orange juice, tea or coffee, and a croissant or tartine with butter + jam. Pretty darn tasty.

Our apartment was a bit of mess as we unpacked and redecorated the place.

After 2 weeks, we finally got the internet up and running in our place! While waiting for the UPS guy to deliver the modem (a 2-week long fisaco on its own, and my first experience with the infamous red tape of French bureaucracy), I claimed this little corner to soak in the sun and fresh air. The red and yellow canga (a beach cover-up in Portuguese) is my favorite one from my time living in Rio de Janeiro, and I purchased the little multicolored rug for just $2 AUD during an extended trip in Sydney. I bring these 2 pieces with me whenever I move to instantly give my new place a feeling of “home”. For those with a lifestyle constantly on the road (or in the skies), I recommend this little trick to create a sense of belonging and stability wherever you may be in the world.

So cute. A pink outdoor bar by gourmet delicatessen Fauchon!

In Paris, there is trendy and charming outdoor seating as far as the eye can see…even in the rain, you’ll see crowds of people enjoying a drink or bite under the awnings.

Taking selfies in St. Germain’s Margherita.

Took this picture in the trendy restroom of a restaurant in St. Germain. Thought it was slightly creepy, but pseudo-artistically so. Do as the French do, right? I have no idea…

A prettier shot of the vintage mirror. Yeah, sometimes the Parisian bathrooms have better interior design than your own apartment…*tear*

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There’s a mall near our apartment called Les Passages, and I’m convinced this Zara Home (which I’ve never seen back in the States!) display I saw was meant for me. #tingeofblue much?? 😍

And of course, a matching table set. I really wanted those ombré prints on the wall…

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We often get off at the Madeleine metro stop during our forays around Paris. Took this shot on our way to grab SIM cards from Free Mobile. I cannot explain how much I detest USA mobile carriers for their greedy business practices (looking at you, Verizon). But coming from a $100/month bill for 2GB data, 450 minutes, 1000 texts…to €19.99/month for actual unlimited everything (data, calls, and texts) is still kind of unbelievable for me. If you’re moving to France, I highly recommend getting a Free SIM. It’s also the easiest process ever, you just buy your SIM card from a vending machine in their store, pop it into your *unlocked* phone and voilà!

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During our trips to Houlgate in Normandy, we’d eat lunch and dinners out on the balcony while watching the waves. The weather was amazingly sunny during both visits, so we’d spend afternoons on the beach reading, playing soccer and racquet. Even though Will warned me it gets cold, cloudy, and rainy during the rest of the year, I have a feeling it’s still going to be charming–just in a chillier fashion. 😉

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My diet consisted mostly of moules & frites (mussels & fries) while in Houlgate…by choice, of course.

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This is, without a doubt, officially my favorite French food.

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Cute vintage homes line every street in Houlgate!

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As well as the occasional CASTLE. This estate had an actual astronomy tower at the top. Talk about badass…

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Every night, the sun sets on the main street or “downtown” of Houlgate. There are a bunch of great restaurants, cafés, and crêperies to try, but we often did wine + cheese + baguette + charcuterie (winning combo!) at home, which is always delicious.

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Every pizza I’ve ordered in France so far has been topped with chorizo or spicy sausage…I think I have a new addiction.

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Time for your close-up, you delicious bastard.

I’ve taken so many pictures of galettes and crêpes I think I can start a photo series…In France, galettes = savory crêpes and crêpes = dessert crêpes. Didn’t know that before!

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No crêpe is complete without cider (or cidre, in French).

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Houlgate is also full of beautiful nature and lush trails in the forest and along the beach. I suppose the usual rainy, wet weather really does have its benefits, as it helps these beautiful green woods thrive all year long…

Simple, yet beautiful.

Our evening ritual: watching the sunset on the sand… Although I’ve been having my bouts of homesickness and good Asian food withdrawal, it’s been a dream come true and I try to remind myself of that whenever I feel a little lost. I feel very lucky that I’ve had Will by my side helping me adjust and teaching me some of the cultural norms that I would’ve totally overlooked otherwise.

It’s a life-changing and mind-opening experience to step outside the confines of what we consider safe and normal. There are so many different customs, cuisines, and languages around the world. How could we possibly come to appreciate or understand them if we don’t expose ourselves to it all with an open heart and mind? No matter how many places I travel or where I end up, that’s something I never want to forget.

Bisous ❤

ps. My birthday is coming up, so we bought tickets for Disneyland Paris…I’m determined to celebrate with a piece of home! So excited! 😱


2 responses to “A New Home: Paris & Normandy

    • Thanks Melissa! I’m so thankful for the internet for that reason haha…having the chance to meet you and others that we have something in common with already! Looking forward to the rooftop bar tomorrow night 😉

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