Ouzouer-sur Trézée, France

Every wedding that I’ve been to has been pretty amazing, and uniquely representative of the couple.  But Janine and Christophe’s wedding in Ouzouer-sur Trézée, France was something spectacular.  I mean, it’s not every day that I have a friend get married in a château!  I took over 100 photos, but culled them down for their privacy.  I included a rare photo of me riding in the backseat of our car to the church!  (I like to sit in the middle so I can see out the front window, I know, it’s weird.)

J and C were married in a stunning church.  The ceremony was largely in French, and although I had no idea what was being said, my friend Emily translated.  I’m not sure how much she was adding lib, but she had me in tears–it was such a touching and beautiful ceremony.  Cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, dinner, and dancing followed at a nearby château for the next 12 hours.  I felt like I was in a fairy tale, I can’t believe places like this exist.  True to J, everything was personalized and fun.  Instead of traditional place cards, she wrote letters to each guest!  Party favors included a deck of cards with instructions for Sh*thead–which is one of the best card games and a favorite to play with her, and everyone was given a J and C mad libs.

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© Sarah Milstein 2018

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Château de Fontainebleau, France

On the way to the wedding venue, which was a few hours south of Paris, we saw signs for Fontainebleau and decided to pull over to have a picnic.  We didn’t actually go inside the Château, but the gardens were beautiful and I saw my first peony growing in the ground!

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For more information about the Château, which was a “sovereign residence for eight centuries,” possibly built as early as 1137, you can read more here.

© Sarah Milstein 2018

Paris

Realizing that it has been exactly one year since I put nearly all of my belongings into a storage unit in Los Angeles, and packed the rest to take on a plane to Paris, I’m feeling a bit nostalgic.  Here are some photos that never got any face time before.

© Sarah Milstein 2014

Loustic, Paris

I wrote about Café Loustic a while back when I first discovered it, and subsequently became a bit of a regular since it was so good.  It didn’t hurt that it was just around the corner from my apartment.  (I actually think the coffee is better than at the nearby, The Broken Arm.)

Even though the temperatures are dropping in Paris, if you like iced lattes (“latte glacé”), this is the place to go.  I won’t give away Channa’s secret, but they are pretty delicious.

Café Loustic, 40 rue Chapon, 75003 Paris, France.

© Sarah Milstein 2013

Taittinger, Reims

Champagne for days at the Taittinger Champagne House. According to the guide, there are over 3 million bottles currently being stored in Taittinger’s caves in Reims.  Apparently there is another 10 or so million bottles of Taittinger champagne being stored elsewhere.

Who knew it was being stockpiled?

© Sarah Milstein 2013

Porto Vecchio, Corsica

We spent the bulk of our time exploring (okay fine, laying out on) various beaches in Porto Vecchio.  Seeing as the beaches are all blurring together for me, and I think Janine summed them up awesomely (yes, that’s a word) on her blog, I think you should check out her posts: here, here, and here.  But I will leave you with some photographs, obviously.

Plage de Tamaricciu and Plage d’Asciaghju.  These are connected and have several beach bars/restaurants connecting the two.  I ordered a Heineken at one and received the smallest beer I’ve ever seen.

Golfe de Santa Giulia.  There was a lot of woodsy debris on the sand, leaving a small strip for the beach.  However, the water was very clear and warm.

Cala Rossa.  This was our favorite beach–we came here twice.  For one, the beach itself has more room to spread out.  Also, the water gets deep-ish relatively quickly so you can swim and there are less naked toddlers running around.  This could be a pro or a con depending on whether you have kids.

The restaurant 37.2, which is on the beach, was great–good food and amazing location.  Also, the beer is a normal size.  However, I got chased down the beach for stealing a Magnum only to explain that I paid for it.  Word to the wise, if I were to steal your ice cream, I probably would not do it in a red hat.  Just sayin’.

© Sarah Milstein 2013

GR20, Corsica

I was thinking that we would do some hiking in Corsica other than our accidental hike in Bonifacio.  One quick search on Google* would have told me that the GR20 is not some path for sissies–it’s a 180 km trek beginning in Calenzana, which “traverses Corsica diagonally from north to south,” and ends in Conca, and is recommended as a 15-day hike.**

We decided to check it out, so we drove from Porto Vecchio to Conca in Sainte-Lucie de Port-Vecchio.  Really, this was a short drive (13 miles), but with the traffic, it probably took over an hour.  But we got to see things like this.

Once we got to Conca, we saw a sign for the GR20 and parked.  As it turns out, there were about 10 forks in the road after that sign, none of which were labeled with which direction the trail began. (Answer: Pick the path towards Radicali.)

We walked up each road to the end before finding the entrance (featured above).  In the heat, I was dying before we even found the trail.  Which by the way, was pretty awesome.  However, I can’t imagine doing the other 179 km of it, at least in that heat!

*Actually, I met two guys on the RER heading to the airport who told me this, since they had just done the trek a few days prior.  Who needs Google when there are cute strangers?

**For those who are curious, this website lays out everything you need to know about the GR20.

© Sarah Milstein 2013

Giverny

Prior to quitting my job I was told that I must go to Giverny, home to Claude Monet’s famous water lilies.  Fine, fine.  What’s the big deal?  Well, now I’m going to be a nagging voice telling you to go to Giverny.  Well, at least my mom.  Mom, you definitely need to go here for a while.

I did not inherit her green thumb, just her bad eyes.  Which I guess makes me kind of like Monet.  (Apparently I’m not the only one who thinks his poor eyesight was the “key to [his] blurry style.”)

From Paris, you take a 45 minute train ride to Vernon.

Most people then take a taxi or bus to Giverny, which is only 5 kilometers or so away.  We walked.  First, you have to find your way through the town and cross the Seine.

Then head another 4 kilometers East.  Hopefully you will see some grapes and horses and cows along the way.

Then continue on and you will come to Claude Monet’s grave (which is up a hill).  I’ve never seen so many butterflies as there were fluttering around his grave.

Then keep walking and you will get to Monet’s “maison et jardin.”  Personally, I’m starting to wonder why he is so acclaimed for his paintings, and not his green thumb.

Also, I think I found the world’s bee population.  It has congregated here.

There were also some really weird looking chickens, like this one.

Finally, I took some unfocused photographs of the water lillies–and sure enough, I created a Monet!  Here are the focused ones.

Make sure you don’t miss the last train back to Paris.  Although there are plenty of adorable bed and breakfasts I wouldn’t mind staying at!

© Sarah Milstein 2013