August 31, 2011
old town + sacré coeur
It's strange to think that I can visit Paris and say, "oh, I saw that last year." When I visited the City of Lights with David last year, we did as many touristy things as we could (i.e. Versailles the first day, 5 museums the next). This time it was different.
a little friend
pretty vanessa
Serendipity introduced me to Vanessa-- David's older sister's friend that she'd met in Ireland a few years back. When I found myself with a month to travel and no place to stay, Vanessa welcomed me into her home and we wandered through Paris together.
mushroom + cheese crepe
au petit creux
Our first stop was Montmartre- the area that David and I stayed in last year but that we hardly got to know. Instead of rushing off to do as many touristy things as possible, Vanessa and I took leisurely walks and ate a lot of crepes.
street-side vespas
montmartre apartments
parisian skyline
The first time around, I didn't think that Paris lived up to the hype around it. Sure, it had some pretty old buildings, a tower, and a lot of good bread. This time, I felt differently. I think Paris is most beautiful when you're not rushing to cross items off a "to do" list. To me, it's most enjoyable while people-watching, eating slowly, and sharing good company.

paris, first things first

August 29, 2011
chocolate + banana crepe
the last, perfect bite
- I had very important priorities while in Paris
- these photos were taken almost a month ago
- I'm heading back to SAN FRANCISCO (home!) today
- which means a lot of travel posts are coming your way

Happy Monday!


August 26, 2011
After spending lots of home-time with the Soriots, the girls and I finally made a trip out to the city to explore. Along with the beautiful red buildings, my favorite things about the city were the myth-inspired statues all over the place. (Penelope (my favorite) and a centaur are shown here). We wandered, we took photos by the river, and we enjoyed the afternoon in a cute little city. Montauban is a lovely place to spend an afternoon.


August 22, 2011
the tiny townhot springssunshine
purple and green shutters
the soriots
While staying in Montauban, we took a day trip to Andorra (coming soon) and on the way back, stopped in Ax-les-Thermes at the bottom of the Pyrenees. I don't have a lot of beautiful photos to show for the day in the Pyrenees, but here are the few that I was able to snap. Since the town was at the bottom of the the mountains, there were little hot spring areas open to the public all over the town-- all you had to do was take your shoes off and enjoy After 4 hours in the car, Ax-les-Thermes was perfect with its colorful wooden shutters, natural hot water, and sunshine.

homemade crêpes

August 18, 2011
like a mille crêpe
Along with welcoming me into her home, Therese taught me how to make crêpes! She seemed to have the recipe memorized since their family eats them pretty often (wouldn't you?). Of all the things I'd dreamed of doing in France, learning to make crêpes from a French woman was at the top of my list. I can hardly believe I was lucky enough for this opportunity and I can't wait to try these at home.

crêpes à la therese

Note: This recipe was for 8 people, each eating about 3-4 crepes. In most cases, you'll want to split the recipe in half... but I won't judge you if you don't.

500 grams (~ 4 1/2 cups) flour
10 eggs
pinch of salt
one tablespoon of oil
1-2 tablespoons of sugar
1/2 liter (~2 cups) beer
1 liter (~4 1/4 cups) milk

Mix the flour, eggs, salt, oil, sugar and beer together. Once combined, add milk and mix for about two minutes. Place a greased pan onto the stove at high heat. Ladle the mixture onto the pan and let the batter smooth over so that the entire surface is covered. Use a crêpe or an offset spatula to partially lift and check the bottom of the crêpe as it's cooking. Once the edges begin to brown, flip the crêpe (try to stick the spatula underneath the middle when you flip it). Let it cook for another minute, or until the bottom is golden brown. Add more oil or butter before making each crêpe. Stack crêpes together on a plate to keep warm.

Serve with whatever your heart desires. (I'm sure it'll be delicious).
therese + ty
secret ingredient
work station
It was pretty clear that Therese was a crêpe expert, so she and Ty cooked the crêpes with two pans to cut the cooking time in half. In case you're feeling adventurous, here's how to cook crêpes at double-speed.
gas stoves are better
double pan "how to"
1. Use two stove burners- the first at high heat and the second at medium-high heat. Place greased pans on each burner.
2. Add batter to the first pan at high heat.
3. Allow the bottom to cook.
4. Flip the crêpe.
5. With one hand on each pan, return the first pan to the second burner at medium-high heat, then take the now-hot second pan and ladle batter in. Place on the high-heat burner.
6. While the new crêpe is still cooking, take the first (finished) crêpe off the pan and begin stacking the crêpes on a plate.
7. Repeat until you have no more batter left.
my first attempt
simple, delicious
some of the toppings
the last blissful bite

montauban home life

August 16, 2011
from the garden
Somehow, everything seems to work out. It may not be the way you planned, but sometimes what happens is even better than what you planned.

Before coming to Coly, I was told that I'd have my own room in my au-pairing-family's house. Imagine my surprise when I found out that not only was I sharing a room, but I was living in the back of the hotel with the rest of "the staff."

This turned out to be the best part about being in Coly. My roommate, Oanh, was one of the nicest people I met in Coly. We'd stay up nibbling on chips, take walks during our time off, and even took a day trip to Terrasson.

Rooming with Oanh became an even bigger blessing when I found out that I wasn't staying in Coly anymore, and that I had to leave before the end of June. With no where to go, Oanh asked her French host parents in Montauban if I could stay with them, and they graciously welcomed me into their home.
lace curtainshomemade
I still can't believe there are people like this. I wasn't surprised that I was being overworked as an au pair, but I was shocked that a family could be so sweet as to welcome an almost complete stranger into their home for several days solely on the recommendation of their host daughter.
tiny strawberries
every day
stuffed tomatoes
fresh from a local forest
new love
These are some bits and pieces from life at home in Montauban. The family had a beautiful garden with their own fruit (including fresh tomatoes that we ate every day). They taught me how to play Rumi in French, we took walks at the local park, and they introduced me to vanilla fromage blanc (one of my favorite French desserts to date).

I can't even begin to express how grateful I am.