French Travel

 Champagne vineyards in Mailly-Champagne near Reims, eastern France. Photograph: Francois Nascimbeni/AFP/Getty Images

Champagne vineyards in Mailly-Champagne near Reims, eastern France. Photograph: Francois Nascimbeni/AFP/Getty Images

This week, UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee approved the vineyards of Burgundy and the Champagne region of France as World Heritage Sites. They noted the regions’ unique soil types and fermentation methods. France now boasts 41 sites on the Heritage list, including the Saint-Emilion vineyards in Bordeaux. We’ll toast to that!


Corks fly as Champagne, Burgundy win UNESCO status / France24

Unesco grants champagne industry world heritage status / The Guardian

The French have their own unique, stylish ways of celebrating Halloween traditions. Here are some Halloween photos we found in the blogosphere from different regions of France.


Witches’ Festivals take place in small towns all over France, inspired by the witch trials of the 16th and 17th centuries. From



Pumpkin- and mushroom-shaped candies and chocolates in Cannes. From


Pumpkin stand. From the Busy as a Bee in Paris blog.


Paris costume shop, from the blog Paris at a Certain Age. The shop name Au Fou Rire means “laugh out loud!”


Jack o’lantern, Eiffel Tower. From


Fine wines, cheeses. (What else does one need?) From The Travelers Collection blog.


Witch, pumpkins, Eiffel Tower. From

Chocolate Halloween2-lepetitfrance-blog

Pumpkin-shaped candies. From Le Petit France.

Paris Christmas lights on the Champs Elysées, Galeries Lafyette and Printemps.

Check out this travel blog and feast your eyes on the beautiful Parisian lights! You will feel as if you are walking through Paris at night.


Trick or Treat!

FREE trick or treating in Old Town Tustin on Halloween, this Wednesday! Put on costumes and come to our neighborhood after school from 3:00-5:00, and trick or treat with the restaurants and shops. Hundreds of people come every year. It’s a fun time to visit and people-watch.

Old Town Tustin centers around the intersection of Main and El Camino Real with lots of free parking around the neighborhood. Google Maps Link

Here are some photos from last year…

Marge Redmond Flamme of Old Town Flooring

Marge Redmond Flamme of Old Town Flooring

Marge Redmond Flamme at Old Town Flooring.

Jean-Michel and Miss Bobbie in front of Miss Bobbie's Low-Carb Shoppe & Cafe

Jean-Michel and Miss Bobbie in front of Miss Bobbie’s Low-Carb Shoppe & Cafe

Jean-Michel poses with Miss Bobbie at Miss Bobbie’s Low-Carb Shoppe.

France Today Magazine

NEW this month and available in-store only! I Dream of France now offers France Today magazine. Written in English, France Today is full of articles about French travel, food & wine, culture, design, shopping, real estate and much more. Each issue also includes the TV5MONDE listings (US cable/satellite channel of French programming).

We also offer Edible Orange County magazine for more articles about food, art, and Southern California culture. The Fall 2012 issue is all about chocolate!


Paris Fireworks

Paris Fireworks

Bonne Année! Happy New Year!

I just came across a terrific calendar you can download from that has many photos of Paris and happens to be free. The calendar was made by the owner of the Magalerie Etsy shop. (We are not connected in any way. I just think her calendar is cool.)

Free Calendar PDF Download from Magalerie


Fans of Parisian apartments, pick up the October issue of Architectural Digest and feast your eyes! Tour through text and photos the apartment belonging to Anne McNally is the Marais district (specifically, the Place des Vosges). Nearby is the house where Victor Hugo wrote Les Miserables. The building dates to the 1600s, and the apartment’s interiors (paneling, doors, marble fireplaces, and so on) go back to the 1700s.  The decor is described as “meaningful possessions, impeccable fabrics and colors, not too much of anything.” Sounds like an ideal combination to me. Special pieces include custom furniture made  by Julian Schnabel, an Aubusson rug, and Louis XVI chairs.

Anne McNally's  Paris Apartment  -- Living Room -- Photography by William Waldron

Anne McNally's Paris Apartment -- Living Room -- Photography by William Waldron for Architectural Digest


Have you heard about the Google Art Project? Google asked museums around to world to let them photograph their buildings and collections to put online for everyone to view. The museums chose which works to show (some are blurred for copyright protection) and Google did the rest. The absolutely amazing result is that people anywhere and everywhere can discover and view more than a thousand artworks online in extraordinary detail. See the 200-foot-long Hall of Mirrors online, no plane ticket or trip through TSA required.

versailles hall of mirrors

Versailles Hall of Mirrors

On a related note, our building (The Cox Market Plaza in Old Town Tustin) and boutique interior were recently photographed by Google for our place page. The Google photographer took lots of pictures of our shop, which should be online in a few weeks. I guess we got the same treatment as Versailles!

I Dream of France After Dark

I Dream of France After Dark

–Brett & Jean-Michel

Bonne Année — Happy New Year! Two of the home decor magazines we subscribe to are starting off 2011 right with pictorials of Paris apartments. Check out newsstands for the January ’11 issues of Architectural Digest and Veranda.

Architectural Digest has two spreads, one a hôtel particulier (a very large and grand second home, this one has 8,000 interior square feet) with views of the Seine, the other an apartment pied à terre off the Champ de Mars. Because the issue is so new, they haven’t put photos online yet, but here is a lovely Paris apartment from their archives:

Parisian pied-à-terre in Architectural Digest

Parisian pied-à-terre in Architectural Digest. Photo: Marina Faust

LOVE those extraordinary yellow silk drapes!

Veranda shows a Left Bank apartment (actually a wing of the Hôtel de Bauffremont). It’s a lovely study of neutral tones, painted paneling, and country checks in an opulent, grand building full of gilt chandeliers and intricate parquetry — the juxtaposition perhaps a nod to Marie Antoinette’s fondness for pastoral style in the setting of Versailles. Again, the article is too new for photos online, so here is a photo from the 7th Arrondissment, where their building is located. The Eiffel Tower is also in this neighborhood!

Paris Apartment with View of Eiffel Tower

Paris Apartment with View of Eiffel Tower -

Bonus item: Leaping ahead a month, the February ’11 House Beautiful has a review of a new cookbook called The French Country Table by Laura Washburn. Included is a recipe for the author’s soupe au pistou, and a beautiful photograph of her apple tarte, with the slices of apple arranged neatly and concentrically. Whenever I make apple tarte, I try to arrange the slices, but they don’t seem to line up right and I end up pouring them in willy-nilly. Fortunately, it still tastes good unarranged…perhaps we can call it Deconstructed Apple Tarte! Below is a photograph of apple tarte chez nous.

French Apple Tarte

French Apple Tarte - Deconstructed!

–Brett, I Dream of France

Celebrity Petanque

Supermodel Karolina Kurkova (second left) beside actors Joshua Jackson and Diane Kruger during a game of boules at the Chanel party in St-Tropez in May. Photograph: MaxPPP/

“Forget the image of boules (or pétanque, as it is more properly known) as the game of old men in string vests. Suddenly, it’s becoming the height of cool – and not just in France.”

This is so funny and cool to me. The first time I ever heard of the game pétanque was on The Cosby Show! Cliff Huxtable had a set up in the backyard where he played with his dad one episode. The next time I thought about it was more than 15 years later, driving through a small village in France with Jean-Michel. We saw a public park in the middle of town with a few games set up in the middle of the day. The players were men who looked to be retirement age. I don’t remember string vests, but maybe they were wearing them! Leave it to young Hollywood to resurrect a half-forgotten pasttime and make it cool again. Pétanque looks a little like lawn bowling from a distance, but the balls are smaller and heavier. They don’t really roll. It’s played more like horseshoes.

“The principles of pétanque are as old as history. Archaeologists found two balls and a jack in the sarcophagus of an Egyptian prince buried in the 52nd century BC. The ancient Greeks and Romans liked playing with stone balls; medieval Europeans preferred wooden ones studded with nails. Boules became so popular in France that the game was banned for commoners for much of the 14th and 15th centuries. Here, successive English kings from the time of Edward III forbade their archers to play it, and an act not repealed until the 18th century formally outlawed the game for “artificers, labourers, apprentices and servants” at any time except Christmas.”

Read the full story at:


Philippe Deshoulières Canapé Plates

This French city of Limoges would probably remain unknown to the world if it were not for the amazing porcelain it produces. Located in the central region of Limousin, the city of Limoges has a very rich history dating back to the Roman empire. Remains of a Roman amphitheater as well as many edifices from the middle ages and renaissance make Limoges an interesting destination for anybody interested in history.

However, what sets Limoges apart from other historical cities in France is its porcelain industry. A few decades before the French Revolution, supplies of kaolin clay were found near Limoges. The exact type of kaolin made it possible to produce fine porcelain to compete with the popular pieces made in China at the time. The Limoges porcelain was delicate and very white, almost translucent, making it extremely desirable.  First commissioned by the king Louis XVI, the manufacture of Limoges porcelain gave birth to various companies after the revolution. Names include Bernardaud, Raynaud, Haviland or Philippe Deshoulières.

The Deshoulières group (headquartered near my hometown of Poitiers) is one of the most renowned porcelain manufacturer since it opened in 1826 and is famous for its contemporary designs. We chose a beautiful, yet very affordable, line of canapé plates to carry in our collection. The canapé plates are six inches in diameter, perfect for dessert, salad or hors d’oeuvres served around the couch (canapé means couch in French). They come in a beautiful lavender gift box, are dishwasher safe and adorn the genuine “Porcelaine de Limoges” stamp. Each has a theme, French Castles, Wine and Cheese, Merchant Row, St Tropez Beaches, Herbs, and Walk in Provence. They make a very thoughtful gift and they are the perfect way to treat yourself to the real Limoges at a very affordable price.

Until the end of August, all our Deshoulières sets are 10% off! Use coupon code LIMOGES in the shopping cart or stop by our boutique in Tustin.

— Jean-Michel

P.S. Read about our trip to Limoges and the porcelain factory tour we took!

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