Having been a passionate traveler and curious shopper most of my life, I do have some suggestions to share. Plus I’ve been in the travel business and travel writing world for nearly two decades, so I’ve accumulated quite a few experiences and have learned a lot from others. Thank you for your precious feedback!
Below you’ll find some tips excerpted and adapted from The Riches of Paris: A Shopping and Touring Guide. I’ll be posting more later.
You can also find lots of helpful information including Money Saving Ideas for Now and Always at Resort Maps, a business owned by Peter Hans, an old friend. (O.K., we were childhood sweethearts.) Peter and I summered at Lake George in the Adirondacks when we were kids. We have that and much more in common since he also lived in Europe for a long time, is passionate about travel and the great outdoors and currently resides in Waitsfield, Vermont, a National Historic District nestled in the Green Mountains, a lovely community as unique as Telluride.
Waitsfield is just the kind of quaint and historic destination that boasts a Resort Map. From Saint Augustine, Florida, to Breckenridge, Colorado to Monterey, California, you’ll discover this familiar handy tool, sure to become your friendly travel companion throughout your stay.
Ten Ways to Achieve the French Look for Your Home
I think French interiors are usually far more interesting than those in America. If you would like your home to look a little more French, let these suggestions help you.
- Mix Old with New Even if you have a penchant for le contemporain, make sure you have a few old knickknacks that will add character and charm. Old postcards and prints, for example, work well in all kinds of interiors.
- Mix Good with Not-So-Good You’ll sometimes find scrap metal pieces (wrought ironwork intended for the garden, for example) mixed in with fine antiques in French interiors. You’ll find some of the best inspiration for this sort of mixing and matching at the famed Paris flea markets. No wonder you seldom see nondescript interiors in France!
- Beautiful Fabrics This must be an influence from the Sun King, who draped Versailles in an astonishing array of rich fabrics. (Curtains and slipcovers were even replaced for the summer and winter seasons.) I’ve always been amazed by my French friends’ sumptuous choice of fabrics in their draperies and home furnishings. The quality is so good and the materials so handsome that they last for ages.
- Lots of Color The French love color and it is rarely used sparingly. Be dramatic, and while you’re at it, don’t be afraid to use lots of different patterns as well.
- Eclectic O.K. I think I’ve already established that the French have flair—it seems as though there’s a little bit of l’artiste in all of them. You can do it, too. Pick up something that was intended for one purpose and use it for another. You could, for example, ask to take home a restaurant menu from a favorite restaurant and then have it framed to hang on your wall back home.
- Use Trays There’s always a good measure of decorum in France, and serving trays are a good end result. They’re highly practical as well. You can find them for cheap or very pricey in many stores throughout Paris. Plus they’re easy to pack in a suitcase.
- Set a Nice Table After they’ve served their apéritif (with an ever so tiny amount of chips) on a tray, the French sit down to a beautifully set table—even for everyday meals. You’ll find everything needed and more to achieve this in the various tabletop shops I’ve outlined. Remember: The right backdrop is always a good start, so think tablecloths.
- Pillows and Throws The French are big on comfort and enjoy accessorizing their homes as much as themselves. Pillows and throws add the accent you need to create a cozy look.
- Silver Out The French use their finery. They don’t keep a whole lot stuffed away for “special occasions.” They’ll have silver candlesticks (heirloom or otherwise) out on a table amid some casual clutter—and it works.
- Lovely Lamps You rarely see a boring, purely functional lamp in a French home. It seems as though each one has a story—old or new—waiting to be told. Since the French possess a highly developed sense of aesthetics, they realize that the right lighting—preferably soft and low—makes everything and everyone look a whole lot better.