europe

How to Look French

[trip style = urban]

Editor's note: This guest post is written by Katie Mogan Graham, a Canadian expat who is spending a year in Provence, eating her weight in discount Monoprix cheese, bread and wine. When she isn't butchering la langue française in her adopted home of Aix-En-Provence, she and her husband can be found touring Europe, keeping their eyes peeled for interesting fashion and their stomachs alert to all things gastronomically new and exciting.

French fashion is about an attitude more than an item of clothing—pout, look bored, walk with confidence, NEVER move for anyone or anything on the sidewalk. That said, it's also about the appropriate accessories: dog, cigarette {e-cigarette allowed}, large purse and sunglasses. 

My last post touched on what I observed in Paris in May. Those planning a trip to any part of France may want to consider the following "national accessories" as a way of seamlessly blending in with their surroundings. Here's my take on looking French in three easy steps.

1/ Le Chien
Dogs of all shapes, sizes and breeds are nationally adored, and are frequently seen accompanying their owners into cafés and clothing stores {and most likely even doctor's appointments}. You really can't go a block without spotting a faithful furry friend perched in a bicycle basket or straining to eat the final crumbs of a forgotten croissant. My favourite chien-spotting experience happened in Nice, where we saw a man walking with two dogs: the first, a Retriever, carried a baguette in his mouth, while the second, a Chihuahua, carried nothing but wore a snazzy red cape with the word "DIVA" bedazzled across its back. Vive la France!

2/ La Cigarette 
By no means am I promoting smoking, but the truth is if you want to look French, hold a cigarette. Despite the laundry list of health issues this pastime promotes, smoking is still very popular throughout France. Interestingly, e-cigarettes enjoy almost as much popularity here, which many claim to be good news for the environment {no butts!} and non-smokers.

3/ La Moue et La Bise
The French are very expressive and are strong believers in using the whole body when engaged in conversation. For the sake of brevity, I’ll stick to the face, and how to use it when interacting with friends—or foes—in France. If you wish to convey displeasure, indifference or any emotion other than joy, extend your lower lip {la moue, or pout} and give a slight shrug of the shoulders. If you wish to greet a friend, family member or recent acquaintance, lean forward and quickly kiss the air beside each cheek of said person {faire la bise, or kiss}. Both of these maneuvers are Gallic in origin, and will be sure to impress your fellow travelers.

If you're able to pout or kiss with a dog in tow and a cigarette in hand, you’ll be well on your way to being mistaken for a true French{wo}man.

Trip Styler Tip: If you've already read the books {literally} on how to eat and parent like the French, you may want to pick up How to Be Parisian Wherever You Are, a tongue-in-chic guide on Parisian style, culture, attitude and men written by four Parisian "it" women, including Chanel "ambassador" Caroline de Maigret.

Related
Jetset Style :: How to Dress Like a Parisian
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Jetset Style :: Scandinavia-Inspired Jackets
Paris, Now and Then

[images via @jeannedamas, the sartorialist, gq, sipa press, thelocals.dk, harper's bazaar, splash news, @valentinehello, @carolinedemaigret]

Croatia Calling :: Plitvice Lakes

[trip style = active + adventure]

For the final installment of our Croatia series, we're pulling back from the coast and heading inland. Scroll to the bottom of the post for more on Dubrovnik, the Dalmatian Islands and Rovinj.

Plitvice Lakes National Park might be the most beautiful natural wonder in Europe you've never heard of. Croatia's stunning coast receives most of the attention—and crowds—but away from the coast lies a gorgeous and unforgettable park made up of 16 crystal-clear lakes laced together by countless waterfalls. At Plitvice, the colors of the lakes are so vibrant you might think you're in Bora Bora or the Rockies. My Croatia guru Rick Steves compares Plitvice Lakes to a European Niagara Falls sliced, diced and sprinkled over a heavily forested Grand Canyon. With its lush landscape rich in deep blues and bright greens, I'd compare it to the Blue Lagoon meets the Shire. Whatever your comparison, you'll realize it's uniquely Plitvice and well worth a day or two on your Croatian itinerary.

Plan to spend three to four hours in the park if you stick to the main paths, or longer if you take the paths less traveled.

Plan to spend three to four hours in the park if you stick to the main paths, or longer if you take the paths less traveled.

A path along the Lower Lakes and the biggest waterfall in the park—Big Waterfall {seriously, that's the name}—a short walk from the main path.

A path along the Lower Lakes and the biggest waterfall in the park—Big Waterfall {seriously, that's the name}—a short walk from the main path.

Waters flowing over limestone and chalk have, over thousands of years, deposited travertine barriers, creating natural dams, which in turn have created lakes, caves and waterfalls.

Waters flowing over limestone and chalk have, over thousands of years, deposited travertine barriers, creating natural dams, which in turn have created lakes, caves and waterfalls.

The no-swimming and no-fishing rules guarantee a serene surrounding, but if it's warm, you'll really, really want to jump in.

The no-swimming and no-fishing rules guarantee a serene surrounding, but if it's warm, you'll really, really want to jump in.

Electric boats shuttle visitors across the park's largest lake.

Electric boats shuttle visitors across the park's largest lake.

During the 1960s, several "spaghetti westerns" were filmed in Plitvice because Germans and Italians believed certain sections of the park looked like the American West.

During the 1960s, several "spaghetti westerns" were filmed in Plitvice because Germans and Italians believed certain sections of the park looked like the American West.

Miles of plank walks connect the 16 lakes.

Miles of plank walks connect the 16 lakes.

Most park visitors focus on the Lower Lakes; hike all the way to the end of the Upper Lakes for a more peaceful experience.

Most park visitors focus on the Lower Lakes; hike all the way to the end of the Upper Lakes for a more peaceful experience.

It's hard to believe that in 1991, the first shots of the Croatia-Yugoslavia war were fired in Plitvice. The Serbs controlled the park until 1995, which allowed the ecosystem to recover from years of visitors prior to the war.

It's hard to believe that in 1991, the first shots of the Croatia-Yugoslavia war were fired in Plitvice. The Serbs controlled the park until 1995, which allowed the ecosystem to recover from years of visitors prior to the war.

Plitvice is one of Croatia's seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Plitvice is one of Croatia's seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

For a Euro-Disney-meets-Jurassic-Park experience, take a "train" {which the park calls its shuttle buses} from the top of the Upper Lakes back to the park entrance. 

For a Euro-Disney-meets-Jurassic-Park experience, take a "train" {which the park calls its shuttle buses} from the top of the Upper Lakes back to the park entrance. 

Things to know

  • With over a million visitors a year—up to 10,000 a day—Plitvice {Pleet-veet-seh} is a packed park. Visit during the shoulder or low seasons for fewer crowds, or before 10am or after 3pm to avoid the bus tours. 
  • Stop at a nearby grocery store to stock up on snacks and enjoy a picnic on the shores of the largest lake.
  • Adult cost: ~$10-33/day depending on the season
  • The park is located two hours from Zagreb, or three hours from Rovinj. It has three hotels, but we chose to stay in an apartment nearby.

This post is written by Trip Styler's Assistant Wayfarer/Editor Heather.

Related
Croatia Calling: Dalmatian Islands
Croatia Calling: Dubrovnik
Roam+Board: Hotel Lone

[images by @heatherlovesit]

Croatia Calling: Dalmatian Islands

[trip style = beach & sun]

It's hard to choose an island or two when visiting Croatia — especially with over a thousand to choose from. Set against the shimmering Adriatic, Croatia's islands boast romantic towns, pebbled beaches, fresh seafood and dramatic landscapes. Whether you're looking for a low-key escape or a jet-set experience, there's an island for you.

I visited two Dalmatian islands — Korčula and Hvar — during shoulder season, before the hiking sandal and bikini clad crowds {respectively} took over these otherwise sleepy southern islands. Korčula is humbler than its hipper and ritzier sister island; with an easygoing appeal. Picture-perfect as either a day trip or a two-day vacation from your vacation, Korčula — the purported birthplace of Marco Polo — is also known for its medieval old town and local dessert wine. Hvar is Croatia's answer to Ibiza, otherwise known as the "Croat d'Azur". In the summer, this fishing village turns into a catwalk as multiple yachts drop anchor in the busy Hvar town harbor. I was amused by the signs outside businesses {even the fortress} banning visitors wearing only bathing suits. Its popularity must be due to its undeniable beauty — a harbor edged with bougainvillea, crystal-clear water and an intoxicating scent of sea air and lavender.

Korčula

DO // Travel via car ferry to  Kor  čula.

DO // Travel via car ferry to Korčula.

DO // Enjoy a coffee or beer along Šetalište Petra Kanavelića in Old Town.

DO // Enjoy a coffee or beer along Šetalište Petra Kanavelića in Old Town.

A fisherman on the Adriatic Sea 

A fisherman on the Adriatic Sea 

DO // S et off on foot to explore the island and find secret swimming spots, basketball courts or vineyards

DO // Set off on foot to explore the island and find secret swimming spots, basketball courts or vineyards

STAY // Our charming apartment in Old Town , recommended by Rick Steves and found on Booking.com

STAY // Our charming apartment in Old Town, recommended by Rick Steves and found on Booking.com

Hvar

DO // Travel via catamaran from Korčula to Hvar {BYO Gravol}

DO // Travel via catamaran from Korčula to Hvar {BYO Gravol}

STAY // Our room at  Adriana Hvar Spa Hotel , a modern waterfront hotel 

STAY // Our room at Adriana Hvar Spa Hotel, a modern waterfront hotel 

View of the Hvar town harbor from our hotel room balcony 

View of the Hvar town harbor from our hotel room balcony 

Indoor infinity seawater pool with adjacent rooftop terrace

Indoor infinity seawater pool with adjacent rooftop terrace

Harbor views from our hotel restaurant, which served a champagne breakfast {included in room rate}

Harbor views from our hotel restaurant, which served a champagne breakfast {included in room rate}

Sailboats lined up along the Hvar harbor

Sailboats lined up along the Hvar harbor

DO // Hike up to Hvar Fortress for gorgeous views and tiny churches {see image at top for harbor view}.

DO // Hike up to Hvar Fortress for gorgeous views and tiny churches {see image at top for harbor view}.

Things to know

  • A little pronunciation help: KOR-choo-lah and h-VAR
  • To avoid Hvar's Ibiza-level crowds, visit before or after the height of summer in mid May/June or September/early October.
  • Don't miss out on the regional cuisine: fresh-off-the-boat, melt-in-your-mouth fish and shellfish.
  • Croatia has a very good national ferry company, Jadrolinija. Buy tickets early for peak-season travel.

This post is written by Trip Styler's Assistant Wayfarer/Editor Heather.

Related
Croatia Calling: Dubrovnik
Roam+Board: Hotel Lone

[images by @heatherlovesit]

Croatia Calling: Dubrovnik

[trip style = urban + beach & sun]

Dubrovnik is a modern city whose rugged beauty rivals the Mediterranean, as well as a medieval city that serves as a metaphor for freedom and Croatia's complex cultural past as a Republic of the former Yugoslavia. These elements, coupled with the affordability of the region in relation to the Côte d'Azur or the Amalfi Coast, make it a charming and cost-effective destination. Not quite a hidden gem, as charter flight and cruise ship crowds descend in droves over the summer months, Dubrovnik — the Pearl of the Adriatic — is still the country's single best destination. Check out our Drink and Do recommendations below. Must-do's: walk the wall, swim the sea and drink the wine!

DO // Explore the side streets of Old Town. Above left: The view from our apartment.

DO // Explore the side streets of Old Town. Above left: The view from our apartment.

DO // Rent a kayak and paddle to the nearby island of Lokrum.

DO // Rent a kayak and paddle to the nearby island of Lokrum.

Kayakers outside the city walls

Kayakers outside the city walls

DRINK // This literal hole-in-the-wall bar — accessed through a hole in the ancient city walls — boasts spectacular views and pricey beer. To find Buza Bar, follow the signs that read "Cold drinks with the most beautiful view".

DRINK // This literal hole-in-the-wall bar — accessed through a hole in the ancient city walls — boasts spectacular views and pricey beer. To find Buza Bar, follow the signs that read "Cold drinks with the most beautiful view".

DO // You may notice it's more difficult to swim in the saltier waters of the Adriatic Sea, but swimming off the rocks outside medieval city walls is not to be missed.

DO // You may notice it's more difficult to swim in the saltier waters of the Adriatic Sea, but swimming off the rocks outside medieval city walls is not to be missed.

DO // Walk the walls of Old Town [~$16] to get a feel of the place.

DO // Walk the walls of Old Town [~$16] to get a feel of the place.

City walls view

City walls view

City walls view

City walls view

City walls view

City walls view

DO // Hop a boat to a nearby island — Lokrum, Mljet or the Elaphiti Islands  —  for the best beaches and hikes.

DO // Hop a boat to a nearby island — Lokrum, Mljet or the Elaphiti Islands  for the best beaches and hikes.

The cliffs below Dubrovnik castle, included in the city walls walk

The cliffs below Dubrovnik castle, included in the city walls walk

DRINK // Try a flight of Croatian wine at  d'vino wine bar  on a charming side street in Old Town. 

DRINK // Try a flight of Croatian wine at d'vino wine bar on a charming side street in Old Town. 

DO // Ride the  cable car  high above Old Town for a history lesson and panoramic views. Buy a one-way ticket [~$10] and hike down the mountain and through the steeply set hill homes.

DO // Ride the cable car high above Old Town for a history lesson and panoramic views. Buy a one-way ticket [~$10] and hike down the mountain and through the steeply set hill homes.

Things to know

  • The best time to visit is April to October. Avoid the charter and cruise ship passengers by visiting in shoulder season or staying away from Old Town in the mornings and early afternoons.
  • Staying inside the walls of Old Town is charming, but consider an apartment or hotel up the hill or in the newer area of town for a quieter atmosphere and a view.
  • I booked our apartment on Booking.com, which doesn't charge the booking fees of Airbnb [but offers many of the same properties for rent!]. Another option is to wait until you arrive, where in the summer months you'll be greeted by homeowners advertising their suites at the city gates.
  • I still miss the lemon, lime and grapefruit beer in Croatia. Seek out the refreshing and affordable radlers from Ožujsko and Karlovačko.
  • Our best meal in Dubrovnik was in nearby Cavtat at Bugenvila.
  • English is widely spoken throughout the city.
  • A member of the EU since 2013, Croatia still has its own currency, the kuna, for now.
  • Rick Steves' Croatia and Slovenia Guidebook is a worthwhile sidekick for history tidbits and self-guided walks.

This post is written by Trip Styler's Assistant Wayfarer/Editor Heather.

Related
Roam+Board: Hotel Lone

[images by @heatherlovesit]

Hola España :: Catalonia on Film

In May 2014, the Catalan Tourism Board invited five video artists to Catalonia for seven days to travel the region and document their experiences in their own styles. Touching all four provinces and stretching from Girona to Tarragona, these short travel films satisfy the armchair traveller in all of usand may even inspire you to hop a plane for Barcelona, arriving just in time for tapas and cava. Who am I kidding? It's always time for tapas and cava in Catalonia! 

Barcelona GO! :: A hyperlapse film by Rob Whitworth (UK)

Barcelona Province :: A lifestyle film by Trevor S. Hawkins (USA)

Girona :: A tiltshift film by Pau Garcia Laita (Spain)

Our Own South :: An aerial film by AeroShots (Spain)

Lleida :: A timelapse film by Alexandr Kravtsov (Belarus)

I'm dying to explore Catalonia outside of Barcelona. Stay tuned for a full post on Barcelona, but until then, here are three picks for the perfect day in Barcelona:

  1. Start at Park Güell, Antoni Gaudí's garden masterpiece, for a mix of modernism and million-dollar views of the city {park detail shown above}.
     
  2. Navigate the narrow streets of El Born and drink cava at El Xampanyet {across from the Picasso Museum} or La Xampanyeria {closer to La Barceloneta}.
     
  3. Cap off the day with a late dinner at Luzia, in an alley off Las Ramblas, with tomato salad, potatoes bravas and cava sangria.

This post is written by Trip Styler's Assistant Wayfarer/Editor Heather.

[photos of cadaques and park guell via catalunya.com]