Fairytale Trip to the Loire Valley

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10338512_458882217579980_5303507497174769851_o by Alecia Caine April 18, 2015

A visit to the Loire Valley is like stepping into a fairytale with sweet villages, winding roads, romantic castles and vineyards fanned out along the longest river in France. Only a two-hour drive southwest of Paris, there is so much this area has to offer, from goat cheese makers to wine makers. Rather than taking a day trip from Paris to see a chateau and taste some wine, it’s best to dedicate a longer excursion to exploring this region and immerse yourself in the French countryside and the culture that pre-dates Roman times.

The Loire Valley was described by Rabelais, the 16th century writer and satirist, as the “Garden of France”. It is a garden of grapes with over 50 Appellations Controlées producing over 30 million cases of wines a year and some of the most well-known wines of France such as Sancerre, Muscadet and Pouilly Fumé. I enjoy visiting small family vineyards and wineries that produce small quantities of very interesting wines, usually not available for commercial distribution, as well as the more established and well known wine houses.  Continue reading at France Today.

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Alecia Caine, founder of Find Your Self in France creates bespoke experiences with the help of her French Connections to offer you a wide range of luxury services in Paris, the South of France and the French countryside. Tailored to suit your desires in Paris, your private chauffeur brings you from the airport to your luxury accommodations and can remain with you for the duration of your trip. Do you love Monet? Perhaps a personalized museum tour and an excursion to Giverny to see the gardens he planted that inspired his masterpieces. Adore perfume? Meet with a master nose to create a bespoke perfume placed in an exquisite hand blown bottle by artisans in the South of France. For a French inspired wardrobe, consult with a lifestyle professional and enjoy a couture day with beauty experts and fashion designers from lingerie, handbags, ready-to-wear or sur mesure, created just for you, and don't forget the gastronomic delights, ou la la! In the countryside, stay in a private chateau with your very own private chef, improve your golf with a world class pro in the Cote d'Azur or curate your own collection of art and antiques with our experts, shipping arranged as well. Taste wine on boutique vineyards and dine on unforgettable regional delicacies. To discover more, please feel free to contact Alecia at info@FindYourSelfinFrance.com.

Taste the Terroir Wine Tour of the Loire Valley

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Discover the wines of the Centre Val de Loire and Pays de la Loire

Wednesday, Sept. 2 (arrive in France on Thursday, Sept. 3)-12, 2015

For the itinerary see  Current Trips – Loire Valley

Le Moulin Bregeon
Le Moulin Bregeon

 

Join us as venture into France’s finest wine producing region. Our host, Jonathan Robinson will immerse you in French culture during your stay at Le Moulin Bregeon B&B, a luxurious 19th century mill located in the heart of the Loire Valley. 16th century writer and satirist, Rabelais, born in Chinon, came to call this land the ‘Garden of France’. It is a garden of grapes with more than 50 appellations controlees. We’ll taste some of the well known vintages such as Sancerre, Pouilly-Fume, Vouvray, Chinon and Bourguiel paired with regional delicacies. We’ll discover the vineyards that fan across the hills and inlets along the longest river in France from Saumur to Nantes producing more than 30 million cases of enticing wines made from sauvignon blanc, chenin blanc, Muscadet, Pinot Noir, Gamay and Cabernet Franc. Our path will lead to small family vineyards as we are introduced to the wine making culture that dates back to Roman times. Discuss growing methods such as biodynamics, with the winemakers and witness the connection with terroir. The Valley of the Kings has much to offer from art and architecture; mushroom to antique hunting, chateaux and caves. Bike ride through troglodytes and vineyards. Take an enchanting boat ride through picturesque scenery.   Shop for local ingredients at the farmers’ market and then a hands on cooking class. Included:

  • 9 nights accommodations (6 nights at the Moulin Bregeon, 2 nights at 4 star hotel in Nantes, 1 night at the Citizen M hotel, CDG airport)
  • Entire ground transportation, including 1st class train ride, private automobile and driver
  • English speaking guides
  • 9 French breakfasts
  • 9 lunches, 1 picnic lunch
  • 7 – 4 course gastronomic dinners with superb local wines
  • Visit to wineries and tastings (1-3 per day)
  • Visit to chateaux (admission fees included)
  • Mushroom hunting
  • 1 day farmers’ market & flea market/antique shopping
  • 1 day hands on cooking class

Not included:

  • Airfare
  • Shopping and personal items
  • Alcohol except when wine is included with meals
  • Any optional tours or trip extensions
  • 2 dinners which you will have on your own to enjoy.

To see the itinerary, see – Current Trips – Loire Valley

For inquiries contact Alecia Caine at 805-218-1277 or email info@findYourSelfinFrance.com

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Alecia Caine, founder of Find Your Self in France creates bespoke experiences with the help of her French Connections to offer you a wide range of luxury services in Paris, the South of France and the French countryside. Tailored to suit your desires in Paris, your private chauffeur brings you from the airport to your luxury accommodations and can remain with you for the duration of your trip. Do you love Monet? Perhaps a personalized museum tour and an excursion to Giverny to see the gardens he planted that inspired his masterpieces. Adore perfume? Meet with a master nose to create a bespoke perfume placed in an exquisite hand blown bottle by artisans in the South of France. For a French inspired wardrobe, consult with a lifestyle professional and enjoy a couture day with beauty experts and fashion designers from lingerie, handbags, ready-to-wear or sur mesure, created just for you, and don't forget the gastronomic delights, ou la la! In the countryside, stay in a private chateau with your very own private chef, improve your golf with a world class pro in the Cote d'Azur or curate your own collection of art and antiques with our experts, shipping arranged as well. Taste wine on boutique vineyards and dine on unforgettable regional delicacies. To discover more, please feel free to contact Alecia at info@FindYourSelfinFrance.com.

***French Wine Regions Tour – coming this fall***

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344Wine makers and aficionados.  This tour is for you!

Visit the important wine making regions in France.  From small boutique, family owned wineries, biodynamic vineyards to famous domains.   Meet the winemakers and discover French wine making culture.

We’ll stay in quaint inns and private manors, enjoy delectable delicacies paired with regional wines in the magnificent French countryside.

This trip will be late summer or early fall before the grape harvest.  Please inquire for details.   Sign up early to get involved with the planning of this trip, it will surely delight your senses.

For inquiries call Alecia at 805-218-1277 or email info@FindYourSelfinFrance.com

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Alecia Caine, founder of Find Your Self in France creates bespoke experiences with the help of her French Connections to offer you a wide range of luxury services in Paris, the South of France and the French countryside. Tailored to suit your desires in Paris, your private chauffeur brings you from the airport to your luxury accommodations and can remain with you for the duration of your trip. Do you love Monet? Perhaps a personalized museum tour and an excursion to Giverny to see the gardens he planted that inspired his masterpieces. Adore perfume? Meet with a master nose to create a bespoke perfume placed in an exquisite hand blown bottle by artisans in the South of France. For a French inspired wardrobe, consult with a lifestyle professional and enjoy a couture day with beauty experts and fashion designers from lingerie, handbags, ready-to-wear or sur mesure, created just for you, and don't forget the gastronomic delights, ou la la! In the countryside, stay in a private chateau with your very own private chef, improve your golf with a world class pro in the Cote d'Azur or curate your own collection of art and antiques with our experts, shipping arranged as well. Taste wine on boutique vineyards and dine on unforgettable regional delicacies. To discover more, please feel free to contact Alecia at info@FindYourSelfinFrance.com.

Luxury Trips & House Sitting in France

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me and dogs in France

Me, Flea and Duke

champagne in the French countryside

Champagne in the French countryside

Susan and dogs

Duke and Flea welcoming Susan back home

chickens - housesitting

Thanks to House-Sit-Match I was able to experience my dream of living on a farmhouse in the French countryside.

I always loved the idea of living close to nature in the slow-paced back country of France–far from traffic, congestion, noise and pollution–but still enjoying joie de vivre and the simple pleasures of good bread, good cheese, and good wine.   The only sounds you hear are the chickens clucking, the church bells ringing and an occasional tractor.   Such was my experience house sitting for Susan on her small farmhouse about an hour’s drive from Paris, taking care of lovely dogs and a dozen chickens.

I took on the assignment when my friend Janine Marsh, editor The Good Life France mentioned this alternative way of lodging.   Instead of staying in hotels or bed & breakfasts, why not housesit in the French countryside and enjoy exploring the towns and beautiful outdoors while saving money? What a great idea! I immediately enrolled in the program and gained access to listings of homeowners searching for reliable animal-loving people to watch their homes and pets while they traveled. Seemed like a win-win situation.   Some gigs were a few days, others a few months. Luckily, Susan, a British lady living in France, needed me for the exact dates I was looking for a place to stay. She posted pictures of her lovely cottage not too far from Paris, her two border collies and about a dozen chickens that needed tending to while she visited family in Great Britain. It was a perfect match for both of us! I instantly fell in love with it all!

The company was very helpful in facilitating our match and added a personalized touch that ensured both parties were comfortable taking the next step.

While at first Susan and I had a little difficulty establishing communication, Lamia, the owner, and Wendy, the online assistant, were very responsive and helped us connect. I understand they are overhauling the website and will launch this week, but the personal touch will still be offered and this aspect of operations sets this company apart.

When I arrived at Susan’s petite farmette, the dogs, Duke and Flea, gave me a warm, wet welcome and we instantly became best friends. They made me feel protected and secure and, since I travel alone, this is important to me. The chickens left me daily gifts of beautiful, fresh, free-range eggs, which I used to make delicious omelets and practice baking techniques.   The neighbors were very friendly and welcomed me in their homes. It was truly an experience I could never have had staying in tourist areas.

I explored the medieval towns, shopped at farmers markets and took the train to Paris. It was a great way to see France! I enjoyed visiting the cities, but coming back home to my peaceful country retreat was the best.

I highly recommend house sitting as a great alternative to lodging while traveling.   You really have a chance to explore the area in depth, make new friends, and live like a local rather than a tourist.  Check out http://www.housesitmatch.com/ for listings and email Lamia, the owner/founder at:  Lamia@housesitmatch.com.

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Alecia Caine, founder of Find Your Self in France creates bespoke experiences with the help of her French Connections to offer you a wide range of luxury services in Paris, the South of France and the French countryside. Tailored to suit your desires in Paris, your private chauffeur brings you from the airport to your luxury accommodations and can remain with you for the duration of your trip. Do you love Monet? Perhaps a personalized museum tour and an excursion to Giverny to see the gardens he planted that inspired his masterpieces. Adore perfume? Meet with a master nose to create a bespoke perfume placed in an exquisite hand blown bottle by artisans in the South of France. For a French inspired wardrobe, consult with a lifestyle professional and enjoy a couture day with beauty experts and fashion designers from lingerie, handbags, ready-to-wear or sur mesure, created just for you, and don't forget the gastronomic delights, ou la la! In the countryside, stay in a private chateau with your very own private chef, improve your golf with a world class pro in the Cote d'Azur or curate your own collection of art and antiques with our experts, shipping arranged as well. Taste wine on boutique vineyards and dine on unforgettable regional delicacies. To discover more, please feel free to contact Alecia at info@FindYourSelfinFrance.com.

Great Paris Stopover Hotel – CitizenM

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 I Love My Job!

Janine Marsh offered me a writing gig for her fast growing blog, The Good Life France.  I was so honored, I love to write especially about France so I was happy when she invited me to report about the grand opening party at the CitizenM in Paris.

Here is my article: http://www.thegoodlifefrance.com/great-paris-stopover-hotel-citizenm/.  Thanks Janine!   I look forward to traipsing around France with you, Thelma and Louise style without the driving off the cliff part ;)

 

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Alecia Caine, founder of Find Your Self in France creates bespoke experiences with the help of her French Connections to offer you a wide range of luxury services in Paris, the South of France and the French countryside. Tailored to suit your desires in Paris, your private chauffeur brings you from the airport to your luxury accommodations and can remain with you for the duration of your trip. Do you love Monet? Perhaps a personalized museum tour and an excursion to Giverny to see the gardens he planted that inspired his masterpieces. Adore perfume? Meet with a master nose to create a bespoke perfume placed in an exquisite hand blown bottle by artisans in the South of France. For a French inspired wardrobe, consult with a lifestyle professional and enjoy a couture day with beauty experts and fashion designers from lingerie, handbags, ready-to-wear or sur mesure, created just for you, and don't forget the gastronomic delights, ou la la! In the countryside, stay in a private chateau with your very own private chef, improve your golf with a world class pro in the Cote d'Azur or curate your own collection of art and antiques with our experts, shipping arranged as well. Taste wine on boutique vineyards and dine on unforgettable regional delicacies. To discover more, please feel free to contact Alecia at info@FindYourSelfinFrance.com.

Well Being in the Workplace, US vs. France

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As an American in love with all things French, I always say the Americans and the French people can share the best of each other’s culture and learn a lot from each other.  We Americans take pride in working hard, being effective and efficient, but often at the expense of taking time to enjoy the simpler things in life; “stopping to smell the flowers”.   I believe the French really know how to live a good life, just take a look at the food, the wine, the cheese!  I always marvel at how the French make a simple meal into a celebration. 

But one thing the US is modeling for the French is well-being in the workplace.  In order for companies to attract and retain top talent, many American companies provide their employees with a supportive work environment and offer services to help combat work related stress that lead to illness.   As a former recruiter to Fortune 500 companies, I saw firsthand how companies invest in their employees, from the open design of the workspace built with toxic free materials and allowing for natural light and fresh air, to onsite cafeterias offering organic lunches and snacks, gyms, yoga classes and massage therapy.   Studies have proven that happy and healthy employees mean less sick hours and higher productivity.          

Yesterday I attended the first annual Vitaelia, Salon du Bien-Etre Dans L’Entreprise at the Palais des Congres in Paris.  It was inspiring to see the growing awareness of promoting well-being in the workplace.  There were demonstrations on ergonomic chairs, massage therapy, aroma therapy, coaching professionals, and self-help books on maintaining a healthy mind, body and spirit in the work environment.     

With the recent dismal news about the strict management style in some French companies that lead to widespread stress related illnesses, burnout and in extreme cases, increased rates of suicides, it’s a positive note, to see the private sector is making progress to reduce stress in the office.   

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Alecia Caine, founder of Find Your Self in France creates bespoke experiences with the help of her French Connections to offer you a wide range of luxury services in Paris, the South of France and the French countryside. Tailored to suit your desires in Paris, your private chauffeur brings you from the airport to your luxury accommodations and can remain with you for the duration of your trip. Do you love Monet? Perhaps a personalized museum tour and an excursion to Giverny to see the gardens he planted that inspired his masterpieces. Adore perfume? Meet with a master nose to create a bespoke perfume placed in an exquisite hand blown bottle by artisans in the South of France. For a French inspired wardrobe, consult with a lifestyle professional and enjoy a couture day with beauty experts and fashion designers from lingerie, handbags, ready-to-wear or sur mesure, created just for you, and don't forget the gastronomic delights, ou la la! In the countryside, stay in a private chateau with your very own private chef, improve your golf with a world class pro in the Cote d'Azur or curate your own collection of art and antiques with our experts, shipping arranged as well. Taste wine on boutique vineyards and dine on unforgettable regional delicacies. To discover more, please feel free to contact Alecia at info@FindYourSelfinFrance.com.

Morning Pleasure

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Luxembourg Gardens

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This morning, I decided to do something different, to visit Paris while this magnificent city was just waking up.   Its so beautiful and tranquil in the early morning ,when the sky is just to dawn, places are still closed and the only people out and about are bakers, you can smell the fresh baked bread everywhere, shopkeepers sweeping the floors in their small boutiques, getting ready for the day,  café owners placing tables and chairs on the sidewalk, an occasional taxi on the street, but mostly its just me and Paris.

There are so many different lighting effects in Paris, that is why its a photographer’s dream city.  I’m always asked, what’s my favorite part of Paris.  For me, I really enjoy Paris in the early morning, regardless of place, its my favorite time of day, except I also love late at night in the summer when Paris doesn’t get dark until 11pm and its still warm.

This morning, I decided to go on a mission to find the best croissants and enjoy them hot out of the oven, ah what a pleasure this is for me.  I searched for the 2013 winner of the Meilleur Croissant au Beurre, the best butter croissant award.  One of the top 10 was Anthony Bosson of L’Essential Boulangerie located at 2 Rue Mouffetard in the 5th, about a 30 minute walk from my St. Germain apartment.  I arrived just before they opened so I strolled the quiet market street which is usually bustling with people and all kinds of cheeses, rotisserie chickens, charcuterie, pastry and wine shops.  At 7am sharp, I headed back to my destination.  I ordered a butter croissant – croissant beurre and a pain au chocolat.  Biting into the still warm  flaky crunchy butteriness with soft layers within was heavenly.  What a way to start the day!  Wonder what tomorrow’s early morning jaunt will be.

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Alecia Caine, founder of Find Your Self in France creates bespoke experiences with the help of her French Connections to offer you a wide range of luxury services in Paris, the South of France and the French countryside. Tailored to suit your desires in Paris, your private chauffeur brings you from the airport to your luxury accommodations and can remain with you for the duration of your trip. Do you love Monet? Perhaps a personalized museum tour and an excursion to Giverny to see the gardens he planted that inspired his masterpieces. Adore perfume? Meet with a master nose to create a bespoke perfume placed in an exquisite hand blown bottle by artisans in the South of France. For a French inspired wardrobe, consult with a lifestyle professional and enjoy a couture day with beauty experts and fashion designers from lingerie, handbags, ready-to-wear or sur mesure, created just for you, and don't forget the gastronomic delights, ou la la! In the countryside, stay in a private chateau with your very own private chef, improve your golf with a world class pro in the Cote d'Azur or curate your own collection of art and antiques with our experts, shipping arranged as well. Taste wine on boutique vineyards and dine on unforgettable regional delicacies. To discover more, please feel free to contact Alecia at info@FindYourSelfinFrance.com.

Left Bank Chic

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Moving…. to….France is looking more and more like a reality here in Paris.   A friend of mine posted on Facebook the other day, that she was leaving her chic left bank St. Germain address.   I commented privately that I wanted to see it, if only to put the idea on my vision board.  (See here for info about vision boards)  I really didn’t think I could afford it or that it was even possible to contemplate considering how difficult it is to rent an apartment in Paris.

You need to prove income which means employment because having your own business back home doesn’t mean squat in France.  Then you need to have a French person sign as a guarantor in case you don’t pay your rent, then they are responsible.  I can’t even ask my family to do this for me, let alone a relatively new French friend.  Not to mention the steep agency fees, first and last months’ rent, double that for a security deposit.  The list of why its so hard is endless, but still, I only wanted to just see it….

Rebecca was cool about it,  Just meet me Friday night after work, “I’ll show it to you” she said.  Rebecca is one of the authors of My Paris Story.  Originally from Charlotte, North Carolina, she lived in New York and works in advertising.   It was always her dream to live in Paris so her job placed her here and Rue Cherche-midi is her first apartment in Paris and what an address it is!

I arrived 30 minutes early just to make sure I didn’t get lost and I could take a stroll around the neighborhood.  I found the large wooden porte at 25 rue Cherche-midi, just a block from rue d’Assas.   Wow, a little chocolatier store from Provence was right next door.  On the other side was a cute café and up and down the street were swank little boutiques, a little further was the famous Poilane bakery, one of the best places for sourdough bread.   I was in heaven imagining this could be my daily walk, picking up a baguette and eating it while strolling in the Luxembourg gardens.  Ahh!

When Rebecca got home from work, I met her in front of the large wooden door.  Once opened, there was a cobblestone courtyard and her place was in the building in the back, set away from the street and very quiet.

I was getting Goosebumps.

The studio apartment was on the first floor (actually one flight up in France, so our second floor).  It was small but adorably furnished with a comfortable sofa bed, a little table that doubled as a desk and grew to serve 4 for dinner.  The kitchen was not fancy but well equipped and the bathroom was rather big.  Rebecca said the best part is the large floor to ceiling windows that let light in from morning till afternoon.  She loved sitting on her couch sipping tea overlooking the sunny courtyard.   I immediately pictured myself doing the same.

Rebecca found the place through an agency and had to pay a lot to live here.  She would put me directly in touch with the owner who was part American and had lived in the states for years.  This was once her residence when she was young and single. Now a mother of an 8 year old, I hoped she would take a liking to me and want me in her space.

Well, I was smitten.  It just had to work out or else I would have to return home.   So I went back to my home in Montmartre feeling happy and excited.  I wrote down all the terms I wanted to happen and hoped for the best.

This morning I had a vision board session with the Paris Women of Success meet up group led by Dawn Bournand, our leader for the book My Paris Story. (see here for more information about thru book).

Dawn knew I wanted to live in Paris so she handed me a Paris real estate magazine for tearing out pictures of Parisian apartments to put on my vision board.   I was clipping pictures of large chic living rooms, balconies with views of the Eiffel Tower, even farmhouses in the middle of France.  Just then I got a message from Rebecca, she just spoke to her landlady about me and she was excited to meet me.

Wow, this vision board stuff was pretty powerful!

I was a little stunned but went back to clipping away.  Shortly after that,  I received a call from Karine, the landlady herself.  She sounded very nice and we agreed to talk later that night.   I couldn’t even continue with my vision board, it just seemed so freaky.  There I was manifesting as I was clipping, its not like the glue wasn’t yet dry, there wasn’t even any glue yet on my board!

A lot of things were going thru my head that moment; my lack of a visa, money but certainly no lack of ideas.  I was so inspired by the other ladies there, Yulin, Lesley, Nina, Michelle, Margot, Sabrina and Dawn.  These ladies were my virtual soul sisters for the past 5 months, meeting together in person, we have such a synergy of energy to create a whole lot of manifesting and with the book launching May 6, I just have to stay in Paris!

 

 

 

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Alecia Caine, founder of Find Your Self in France creates bespoke experiences with the help of her French Connections to offer you a wide range of luxury services in Paris, the South of France and the French countryside. Tailored to suit your desires in Paris, your private chauffeur brings you from the airport to your luxury accommodations and can remain with you for the duration of your trip. Do you love Monet? Perhaps a personalized museum tour and an excursion to Giverny to see the gardens he planted that inspired his masterpieces. Adore perfume? Meet with a master nose to create a bespoke perfume placed in an exquisite hand blown bottle by artisans in the South of France. For a French inspired wardrobe, consult with a lifestyle professional and enjoy a couture day with beauty experts and fashion designers from lingerie, handbags, ready-to-wear or sur mesure, created just for you, and don't forget the gastronomic delights, ou la la! In the countryside, stay in a private chateau with your very own private chef, improve your golf with a world class pro in the Cote d'Azur or curate your own collection of art and antiques with our experts, shipping arranged as well. Taste wine on boutique vineyards and dine on unforgettable regional delicacies. To discover more, please feel free to contact Alecia at info@FindYourSelfinFrance.com.

Oh…Le French!

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Finally in Paris!  I almost didn’t make my plane, but that is for another story, or maybe not.

Funny things always happen to me when I go through passport control.    The police officers are always so relaxed and friendly, nothing like the dryly professional types in U.S. customs, the ones using nosy dogs smelling around to confiscate my contraband cheese.  How come guns are allowed but not cheese?

French police officers are the first to welcome you to this sensual country as soon as you get off the plane.  You may think you look terrible after a 10 hour flight, but they don’t think so, these guys are so flirty and will make you smile and add a bounce to your step all the way through baggage claim. ou la la! 

One time a handsome gens d’arme took my passport and kept looking at my face and then at my picture and then he said “mais quels beaux yeux bleus” what beautiful blue eyes….. Made me blush.    The last time, the office pointed to his partner and said in English with an oh so sexy accent:   This guy thinks you’re beautiful.   His partner blushed… so did I.  Oh, I love Paris!  Women over 30 just don’t get this kind of attention back home.

This time, I handed my passport to the office, expecting to blush again (yes, I still blush, can’t help it).  a baggage sticker was stuck on my passport and made the passport stick to his finger.   He said “ce n’est pas un bon bon”. It’s not a candy, and he winked at me.  I wonder what was he thinking.

I often get asked if the French are rude.  Honestly, I have rarely experienced rude Parisians, at least not more than in any large hustling, bustling city.  But I do find Parisians to be charming, funny, and helpful and they love Americans.  This may come as a surprise and it has not always been the case (I.e. Bush era) but nowadays the French are fascinated with all things Americans which is complimentary to our fascination with all things French. Of course, it helps to know a few French words.  Saying bonjour when you enter a store, s‘il vous plait and merci go a long way when approaching a French person.

I do not travel lightly, especially when moving to Paris for at least a few months.   I had to take my luggage on the RER B train from the Charles de Gaulle airport to Gare du Nord in Paris and then two metro changes to get to my new place on Montmartre.  Coming out of the Paris metro sometimes requires climbing several flights of stairs.   I didn’t even have to ask or look too distressed before I was aided twice by Parisians who scooped up my luggage and brought them to the top of the stairs, wishing me a beautiful vacation.

My hosts, Christian and Leila and their daughter, Tess are so kind and thoughtful.  They welcomed me into their home with chocolates and a bottle of wine,  we were friends instantly, especially since they lived in Los Angeles before moving to Paris, how lucky for them!  Leila is a professional singer, she stared as Miss Saigon on Broadway and Christian is a Well Being entrepreneur.   Their charming apartment has a view of Sacred Coeur.  If you are coming to Paris and need a nice comfortable place to stay and you don’t want to be alone in a hotel, then be the welcome guests of this lovely family.  ( Just ask me and I’ll put you in touch with them)

…more to come

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Alecia Caine, founder of Find Your Self in France creates bespoke experiences with the help of her French Connections to offer you a wide range of luxury services in Paris, the South of France and the French countryside. Tailored to suit your desires in Paris, your private chauffeur brings you from the airport to your luxury accommodations and can remain with you for the duration of your trip. Do you love Monet? Perhaps a personalized museum tour and an excursion to Giverny to see the gardens he planted that inspired his masterpieces. Adore perfume? Meet with a master nose to create a bespoke perfume placed in an exquisite hand blown bottle by artisans in the South of France. For a French inspired wardrobe, consult with a lifestyle professional and enjoy a couture day with beauty experts and fashion designers from lingerie, handbags, ready-to-wear or sur mesure, created just for you, and don't forget the gastronomic delights, ou la la! In the countryside, stay in a private chateau with your very own private chef, improve your golf with a world class pro in the Cote d'Azur or curate your own collection of art and antiques with our experts, shipping arranged as well. Taste wine on boutique vineyards and dine on unforgettable regional delicacies. To discover more, please feel free to contact Alecia at info@FindYourSelfinFrance.com.

Moving….to….France

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Checklist in hand, got a storage unit, my visa application is submitted, and now I need to pack for the big move.

Ready or not, here I come Paris!   I’ve wanted this for years and sometimes the universe just gets fed up or something with all the asking and finally says, “ok, here you go!” and throws you into a situation there is no way you could have planned yourself.

The family home, I’ve been living in the past couple years (except when I was living in France) was just sold.  The strange thing is that there were no offers on this house for the past 2 years, it was ‘winter’ in California, which doesn’t really mean cold or anything but its considered not the best time to try to sell real estate.

I talked to my father about taking it off the market at least until I came back from France so I wouldn’t have to worry about dealing with moving while I was gone, just in case it sold, which he thought was highly unlikely.  I was so relieved when he agreed to pull it off the market, I finally slept well for the first time in two years!   I didn’t realize the stress of not knowing where I would live if the house sold.

I was so grateful to have a roof over my head after my relationship split up and I moved back to California from Boston.   Starting over is something I am well acquainted with, reinventing my life, making it what I want it to be.  but I felt so grateful when my father said I could move into his old home which was sitting empty waiting for a buyer.

But it never really felt like home to me.  I tried to create a homey feeling by filling it with antique French furniture that my French neighbor lent to me.  I tend to bring the things I want to me, if I can’t move to France, then I’ll invite France to me.   Like the time I had my office in a building that resembled an 19th century chateau or the time I turned my home into a petite Farmette with chickens, even.

Well what do you know, as soon as he took it off the market, he got an offer, of course!  It always happens that way!!.  It threw me in a headspin I just wasn’t prepared to deal with.   Where will I live?  Where will I put all this stuff!!?  I’m heading to Paris within a month, this can’t be actually happening now!

The timing couldn’t be worse…. or could it?  Maybe the timing couldn’t be better.

Here are the facts: I am moving.  I am going to France…. what if I just Moved to France!   Oh, what a brilliant idea!   I want to do this anyway,  what better time than now!

Well its not like this is just an easy thing to do!   I guess deciding is only the first step,  now comes the mounds of paperwork….  I got myself over to the French Consulate to appy for a Visa.

Then I drove to the beach to have a last look at the ocean, knowing its one of the things I’ll give up living in Paris.

Ah but the cheese…..

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Alecia Caine, founder of Find Your Self in France creates bespoke experiences with the help of her French Connections to offer you a wide range of luxury services in Paris, the South of France and the French countryside. Tailored to suit your desires in Paris, your private chauffeur brings you from the airport to your luxury accommodations and can remain with you for the duration of your trip. Do you love Monet? Perhaps a personalized museum tour and an excursion to Giverny to see the gardens he planted that inspired his masterpieces. Adore perfume? Meet with a master nose to create a bespoke perfume placed in an exquisite hand blown bottle by artisans in the South of France. For a French inspired wardrobe, consult with a lifestyle professional and enjoy a couture day with beauty experts and fashion designers from lingerie, handbags, ready-to-wear or sur mesure, created just for you, and don't forget the gastronomic delights, ou la la! In the countryside, stay in a private chateau with your very own private chef, improve your golf with a world class pro in the Cote d'Azur or curate your own collection of art and antiques with our experts, shipping arranged as well. Taste wine on boutique vineyards and dine on unforgettable regional delicacies. To discover more, please feel free to contact Alecia at info@FindYourSelfinFrance.com.