April 13, 2018

le weekend à Chicago

*All opinions and recommendations shared in this post are mine and mine alone, shared out of a genuine desire to share my love of all things French. 

It was almost a year ago that I posted about a weekend in Chicago with a little French flair. Tony and I have made several visits to the windy city since, but this last weekend in Chi was particularly full of the French flair que j'adore. ♥ I was amazed at the quality experiences we got out of a 24 hour get-away. 

Where we stayed: I had recently heard about the Sofitel in Chicago as Rebecca of Every Day Parisian reviewed their restaurant, Café des Architects. When we found a room on Priceline for less than $100 we couldn't pass up the chance. The Sofitel is designed by a French architect,  and seeks to bring "Parisian savoir-faire to Chicago". We were greeted with a bonjour from Chloé who got us all checked into our room with a view and gave me an authentic opportunity to parler en français. Even the room was adorned with petit French touches including an issue of France-Amérique and bath products by Lanvin. While we didn't eat at the restaurant this trip, it's on the list for future visits along with the Petit Margeaux at the Waldorf Astoria. 

A few special events: A good hotel deal is enough of an excuse for us to spend a weekend in the city, but it was doubly exciting that Jesse Kanelos Weiner of the Francofly was hosting a watercolor workshop at one of my favorite Chicago bookstores, Read It & Eat. (It is at this same shop where I heard Lindsey Tramuta speak about her book, The New Paris.) If you've been following along you know I dabble with watercolor. I have a style that isn't at all based in any official technique, so it was a lot of fun to learn more about light, shadow, and the use of complimentary colors from Jesse. 

I saw Jesse again on Saturday where she had a book signing and discussion with Rebecca (I mentioned her and her blog above) at 57th Street Books. Her latest book Paris in Stride is choc full of her beautiful watercolor illustrations, and features different self-guided walking tours that can jump start your days in Paris. My favorite thing about Jesse's book is that she gives you a place to begin and encourages your own exploration from there. It's truly a chance to be a flâneur. While Lindsey's book sheds light on the new, Jesse keeps her Paris walks a bit more timeless. The books are beautiful companions for planning a trip to Paris with a balance of both.


During the discussion Jesse described what she loves most about living in France. She highlighted the work/life balance, the value of time for family and leisure, and the ability to simply slow down. I truly admire the way Jesse took her passion and made it her career. She shared advice about being your own person and pursuing your passion by working toward it little by little, every day. This is advice I very much cherish and wanted to pass along to you!

A few more tastes of France in Chicago: Ever since we first visited La Fournette, an authentic French bakery in Old Town, no visits are complete without it. I changed up my order this time, adding a raisin roulade to my traditional croissant aux amandes. The roulade will definitely become a part of my regular order. It was absolument délicieux. 

What's more? I finally made it to Vosges Haut-Chocolat for a decadent chocolat chaud. I was purchasing a bag of their matcha petites on the way out and ran into Rebecca in the shop! Connecting with Rebecca and Jesse, two people who very much share my interests and passions, was a joy.

Do you seek out a French connection when you travel? I would love to hear about where you've been and the touches of French flair you've discovered.

Warm wishes and bon weekend from me to you,


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