Travel

Travel Essentials

Travel essentials: AWAY carryon, L.L.Bean boat and tote, notebook, BAGGU, Cetaphil, peppermint essential oil, London Undercover umbrella, S'well bottle, Apple iPhone and EarPods, Cadence capsules, Stoney Clover Lane luggage tag and passport cover, J.Crew scarf.

Ah, the joys of trip preparation. Buying miniature tubes of toothpaste at the pharmacy. Affixing my luggage tag to the handle of my suitcase. Deciding which vitamins to pack. Curating a week’s worth of outfits. Designing my own survival kit. Setting an itinerary. I’m not going any farther than my city’s art museum for the time being, but traveling, my favorite pastime, is always on my mind.

Works Sighted

Baggu bag // S’well bottle // Cetaphil cleanser // Cetaphil lotion // Stoney Clover Lane travel pouch // doTERRA peppermint oil // Cadence capsules // J.Crew scarf

Designworks Ink notebook // Stoney Clover Ln luggage tag // Stoney Clover Ln passport cover // Colgate toothpaste // Burt’s Bees lip balm // tissues // toothbrush // J.Crew socks // Trtl travel pillow

Away carry-on // Uni-Ball pen // portable charger // Madewell pouch // RFID blocking card // Babyganics sanitizing wipes // toothbrush case // L.L.Bean Boat and Tote // London Undercover umbrella // book // Apple EarPods // universal travel adapter // phone

Escape to the Chateau

Outfits inspired by Channel 4’s Escape to the Chateau. Two dresses and gardening clothes for your visit to Château de la Motte-Husson.

You’ll recall that a bottle of Chateau du Petit Thouars Crémant de Loire prompted me to travel virtually to the Loire Valley this past November. Visiting the makers of my favorite Crémant has been on my to-do list since the holiday season, but Channel 4’s Escape to the Chateau is starting to inspire a full-scale Loire Valley itinerary. I’ve recently added Château de la Motte-Husson to the list of stops.

The nineteenth-century house is a two-hour drive from the Château du Petit Thouars, but stops in Tours, Angers, Le Mans, and Laval are bound to extend the trip north by a few days. The venue is available for hire during the wedding season, but its owners offer other opportunities to see the chateau first-hand. I envision myself taking part in the gardening days and food-filled festivities. The grounds are also outfitted with pods for glamping.

It has been a joy to see Dick and Angel Strawbridge transform this 45-room house. I’m currently on episode 3 of season 3, and there are 7 seasons in total. If you’re in the UK, you’ll be able to watch via Channel 4, but as a resident of the US, I’ve been tuning in via Peacock TV. Dick and Angel are such a creative team! I can’t predict what improvements I’ll bear witness to next, but I’m sure I’ll find myself in awe several more times as the series progresses.

Works Sighted

The Floral Society apron and glove setJ.Crew linen shirtCOS pantsSuperga 2750 Cotu Classic

Sunbody Hats straw hatJessie Zhao silk scarfKayu tote

Alex Mill dressSuperga 2750 Cotu Classic

Aurate earringsMiss Dior eau de toiletteL.K.Bennett clutch

Staud dressSarah Flint heels

Art elements from thechateau.tv

Airbnb Online Experiences: My 2021 World Tour

An aerial view of County Dublin.

In addition to my family, friends, and writing this blog, Airbnb Online Experiences have kept my spirits up during Covid time. The experiences went live in April 2020, and I discovered them this past August. Over the last four months, I’ve traveled to Lisbon, Palombara Sabina, and Paris via Zoom. (For a comprehensive list of previous posts, refer to the archive.) With the first leg of my world tour complete, I intend to take a break from Airbnb activities until the new year. However, I’ve curated a list of experiences to look forward to. My 2021 virtual trip around the world will probably look something like this:

Works Sighted: My first look at County Dublin (October 2018)

Taste French Wines with a Parisian Somm: An Airbnb Online Experience

Chateau du Petit Thouars Cremant de Loire Non Vintage

Expanding my skillset as a sommelier seemed daunting up until recently. It isn’t possible to read the label on every bottle at Wine & Spirits, so I always ask an expert to recommend a specific wine based on the purpose it will be serving. This particular bottle of Chateau du Petit Thouars Crémant de Loire was originally intended for a picnic this past summer, but I brought it to “Taste French Wines with a Parisian Somm” instead.

Each participant had an opportunity to share his/her wine of choice during the virtual presentation, and we traveled to the Loire Valley via my Crémant. Our guide, Thierry Givone, led us through a number of wine regions (such as Côtes du Rhône, Bordeaux, and Bourgogne) but I was most content in the land of the châteaux. “Anyone can be a sommelier,” the expert insisted. It was Thierry’s passion for wine that led him to establish Wine Tasting in Paris in 2014. The company introduces tourists to the complexities of French wine through classes and tours. The Bourgogne native explained that wine is tied to food, land, tradition, and culture. At a time when indoor dining has been banned for the second time in Philadelphia, his words were particularly encouraging.

There’s a story waiting to be discovered in every bottle of wine, and you don’t need official qualifications to uncork one. I started to research my Crémant in the most logical way: typing the words that appear on its label into Google. Here’s what I’ve uncovered about the Château du Petit Thouars so far. It’s located in a small village by the name of La Chaussée in the commune of Saint-Germain-sur-Vienne. According to Google Maps, it’s a three-hour drive southwest of the Arc de Triomphe. The establishment is currently open for tastings Monday though Saturday and will even take you in as a house guest if you make the proper arrangements. The estate, which has been in the same family since the seventeenth century, is run by Yves and Marguerite du Petit Thouars. Along with Wine Tasting in Paris, I’ve added the estate to my ever-growing mental list of places to visit. Although my virtual tour of Paris has come to an end, I can never stay away for too long.

Works Sighted

 Chateau du Petit Thouars Cremant de Loire Non Vintage

French Revolution Interactive Journey: An Airbnb Online Experience

A Zoom call with Parisology's Thierry Collegia.

Thierry Collegia’s “French Revolution Interactive Journey” melded my love of Paris with my passion for history. The two other guests (an American couple) visited Paris right before worldwide travel restrictions were instated, and they couldn’t wait to return. There are few things I enjoy more than discussing my interests with people who share them. I was fortunate to find myself in such a likeminded group. The participants asked interesting questions and the host answered every one.

Thierry, the founder of Parisology, is a skilled storyteller. His extensive knowledge of the French Revolution and his experiences living in the U.S. and the U.K. give his tours a unique perspective. Thierry’s complete list of in-person and virtual tours is available on his company’s official website. I’ve bookmarked the following online historic journeys for my future consideration:

I’ve been pleasantly overwhelmed by the abundance of online learning opportunities that have sprung up due to the current state of things. Finding time for all of the experiences that interest me has become an issue, but I press on. I’ll be wrapping up our month-long virtual journey to Paris with “Taste French Wines with a Parisian” next week. (I’d originally planned to complete “The Story and Secrets of Perfume” too, but it’s not available at the moment.) Bonne chance with all of your Thanksgiving preparations. Remember: there is always something to be thankful for. If you’re reading this, I’m thankful for you.

Works Sighted: J.Crew funnel neck pullover (old; funnel neck removed by me)

Shopping in Paris

Souvenirs to buy in Paris: books, Saint James Breton shirt, Eric Bompard sweater, Louvreuse bag, Hermès scarf, Sézane necklace, Veja sneakers, Longchamp bag, Chanel ballerinas

One of my favorite parts of traveling abroad is curating a selection of souvenirs for myself. My recent trip through virtual Paris has led me to the online shops of numerous French brands and museums: Chanel, le musée d’Orsay, and Saint James to name a few. Clothing, shoes, and accessories refresh my wardrobe, while books that provide a contextual layer to my understanding of the sights I’ve seen serve as sources of comfort. The next best thing to being abroad is being reminded of the time I’ve spent outside of my home country. Also, I couldn’t resist a virtual day trip to le château de Versailles—not exactly in Paris, but close enough by RER C.

Works Sighted

Le Guide du Louvre; Eric Bompard classic v-neck pullover (navy); Toulouse-Lautrec L’expo; Sézane Sara pendent chain and pendant

Le Louvre: Le palais à traver les siècles by Guillaume Fonkenell; Saint James Breton shirt (marine/neige); Longchamp le pliage top handle bag L (black); Veja campo (white/nautico); Château de Versailles galerie des carrosses tote

Louvreuse Olga croco (black); Miss Dior eau de parfum; Diptyque Eau Duelle eau de toilette; Chanel ballerinas (black); Le Guide Musée d’Orsay; Hermès boucles et galons du tsar wash scarf 90 (blanc cassé/noir)