certains de mes préférés choses ::some of my favorite things ~ Paris Breakfasts blog

Salut, ça va? :: Hello, how are you?

Today I would like to share one of my favorite french-themed blogs with you.

There are so many good ones out there I am limiting my sharing to one at a time ::   un à la foie. 

La premier, in no particular order, is Paris Breakfasts, by Carol Gillott.

I just love her! Not only is her blog filled with gorgeous photographs of paris style, streets, treats and special spots, her commentary is charmant and makes me feel like I am in the company of une bonne amie. 

But wait, there’s more! Carol Gillott also offers subscriptions for monthly watercolors of Paris. She has been a watercolor artiste since her mother taught her at age 5 and now she lives in Paris and creates these sweet scenes for us to enjoy.

You can subscribe at her Etsy shop.


Why not have a little taste of Paris delivered to you each month?

It’s like having une amie française, a french friend, send you an illustrated letter each month.

Sign me up :: Enregistre moi!

With love for all things French :: avec amour pour toutes les choses françaises,


The Latest News :: Dernières Nouvelles


Did you know you can follow me on Instagram? It’s easy – @dreamsinfrench.

I am also getting started on Pinterest:

I have been trying to figure out an easy way to send my Instagram posts to the blog instantly. Pas très facile. 

So today I will give you the update in one big, beautiful post.

16 juillet 

I took this photo and then used the filters to bring it to black and white – it turned out so beautifully.

I especially love the contrast of new and old and the reflections from I.M. Pei’s glass pyramid.

The Louvre

The Louvre

17 juillet

This photo was taken in the Notting Hill neighborhood in London. We were on our way to the Portobello Road market when we passed this cheeky building.

Fait vous regardez

Fait vous regardez

18 juillet

My talented fille, M., took this exquisite photo. I love the color and the perspective.


swings on the Eiffel Tower :: balançoires sur la Tour Eiffel

19 juillet 

I was inspired to try painting watercolors of  some of the gorgeous buildings and other images we saw on our trip.  I thought this would make a beautiful watercolor.  In fact, it actually looks like a watercolor already.


Here is another that would be a great watercolor :: voici une autre qui serait une grande aquarelle.

Le Fleuriste

Le Fleuriste

Perhaps someday I will have the time to live la vie de l’artiste.

Until next time :: jusqu’à la prochaine fois, 


Bastille Day :: La Fête Nationale

Yesterday was Bastille Day – La Fete Nationele in France.


Of course, I had to celebrate here, at home, even if no one else knew what was up.

I started by wearing the tricolore, bien sûr. If only I could master the outfit selfie I would be able to post pictures (perhaps I need to borrow my daughter’s selfie-stick. The one she bought in Paris and we made fun of her for.)

In any event, I had my red and white striped maxi-dress with my blue flats and office-appropriate tailored denim jacket over top. With my jaunty blue and white Paris scarf, of course. Très mignon, if you ask me.

In my way to work I stopped at a local bakery for some croissants [Stay tuned: I will be posting the results of my Quest for the Best Croissant soon.]

This stop was at The Buttery.


Flaky outer layer – yummers!

After sharing my celebratory croissants with my co-workers – and educating them on French joie de vivre – I made some small adjustments to my workspace and carried on with the day.


Spreading the joy!

After the work, more celebrating! My sweetie and I went to a local bistrot, Au Midi,  where we enjoyed  a special Bastille Day menu.

Enjoying the evening

Enjoying the evening

Première, gaspacho de cerises et les tomates :: First, gazpacho of cherries and tomatoes.


An unusual combination to muy palate, but it was good! The large shrimp brought a hint of orange and the greens were sharp and added a great contrast to the sweet of the gazpacho. The texture was welcome too.

Then, a perfectly cooked salmon dish with a sorrel sauce. So good!


Finally, enfin, a tartlette of strawberries ::  de fraiseswith lemon and basil mousse. Avec un café il était une fin parfaite :: with a coffee it was a perfect ending.



I hope you had a lovely Bastille Day and were able to add a little of la vie française to your day!

à la prochaine :: until next time,


Favorite Books and Authors :: Livres et Auteurs Préférés


Yesterday was a great day for me – I got to meet one of my favorite authors – Cara Black.  If you don’t know who Cara Black is, allow me to introduce you.

Cara Black is the author of the Aimée Leduc mystery series. Each book is set in a different arrondissement in Paris and features a strong, smart and très à la mode heroine in Aimée. 

My aunt lives in Los Gatos and was waking downtown when she saw that Cara Black was going to be doing a “meet and greet” at a small independent book shop, the adorable and charmant Village House of Books.


Knowing that I am a big fan of the series my aunt promptly called me to give me the heads up.

I was pleased to be able to make it and am so happy I did. Ms. Black was very kind and warm and chatted with my sweetie and me for quite a while.

As we had been in Paris just a few weeks earlier we exchanged stories about the city of light and she graciously shared some insider tips with us for our next visit!

When I mentioned I am embarking on a search for an authentically delicious croissant here, at home in Northern California, she pointed us in the direction of her favorite spot in San Francisco.

b patisserie, here we come!

So,  I was able to meet one of my idols:

Did I mention we both graduated from San Francisco State University?

Did I mention we both graduated from San Francisco State University?

I got a signed edition of her new book:


and got a free tote bag

Waterlogue 1.1.4 (1.1.4) Preset Style = Illustration Format = 6

This watercolor was created with the very easy, very cool app Waterlogue

It was a good day! :: C’était une bonne journée!

Now please excuse me, I have some reading to do :: Maintenant, s’il vous plaît pardonnez-moi, je dois un peu de lecture à faire,


Quelques-uns de Mes Articles Préférés Français :: A Few of My Favorite French Things

Also known as an on-going subject of my blog to include other blogs, books, movies, food, ideas, fashion, bakeries, restaurants, locations, podcasts, etc.

Phew! Je suis épuisé après que la liste :: I am exhausted after that list…

When I think about it there is so much for me to share with you about my love for France. In fact, just this morning I was thinking about where my Francophile nature began. My parents were not international travelers and no one I knew growing up was French, had been to France, nor was particularly interested in la vie Francaise. 

So where did it come from? Hmmm….something to think (and write) about for sure.

What about you? Where did your love for France begin?

Yesterday, on my Instagram page (@dreamsinfrench) I shared a small sneak peek of a piece of mail I had been waiting for…

A few friends were like, “Well, what was that? What did you get in the mail?” So here it is, a beautiful letter with a gorgeous watercolor…
 and a very sweet handwritten note from the artist.

The artist, Janice MacLeod-Lik, is also an author. I read her beautiful and sweet memoir,Paris Letters, a few months before we left on our trip. The book both got me (more, is that possible?) excited for our trip to Paris and also got me thinking about taking up watercoloring. (I will discuss the subject of watercoloring/sketchbook journaling in an upcoming post, because there is – as with most of my stories – much more to it.)

In any event, I was very excited to get my first letter from Janice. I subscribed to her letters for several reasons:

1) I love to get mail
2) I like to support fellow creative types
3) the letters are both beautiful and inspiring
4) they are fun and make me smile.

what more is there :: Qu’y at-il?

à bientôt!

French Simplicity

I have been interested in the idea of simplicity and minimalism for years. It doesn’t mean that I have been able to live that way fully, but it is a goal of mine and something I aspire to.

Our recent trip to Paris has freshly – and Frenchly – inspired me to clear away even more clutter and simplify my closet, my routine, and my life.

What I noticed as we walked the streets of Paris – and trust me, we did a LOT of walking – was the simple elegance of the Parisian woman. I noticed that what I had been reading for years seemed, to my eyes, to be true.

The women I noticed and most admired were dressed in high quality, simple outfits. Some common themes were skinny jeans with stylish flats, sandals or ankle boots; a well-cut blazer (fitted, not the oversized ones from the thrift store I wore in the 80’s); and a well-cut simple blouse or a well-made tee or tank.

Accessories were not flashy and overbearing; rather they were understated, in classic shapes, and fewer in number than what most American women wear.

NOTE: I know I am making gross generalizations here, so please pardonnez-moi, for these are only my observations and clearly I am only sharing what I saw and how I perceived it. 

I noticed that many of the younger women (let’s say, under 50) had hair that looked like their natural color – which is to say if it was colored to cover the grey it was tastefully and subtly done with no obvious ombre, highlights or lowlights.

Their hair was clean, well-kept, and moved! I am not one to talk about hair that doesn’t move, because when I want my super short, very fine hair to have any semblance of volume I have to shellack it up! In any event, I didn’t see much hair that was sprayed into submission on the locals – with the exception of some much more mature “ladies who lunch” in the swankier part of town on a Sunday afternoon.

Make-up, per se, was minimal. No cake faces!

Whatever maquillage they wore was minimal – perhaps some mascara and lip color, but not much and it looked very natural to me.

On the negative side many women were smoking – which i still find gross, stinky and unhealthy.

All in all I was inspired. And so I decided, when I got home, that I would try to simplify even more. That I would take the Parisian style I saw on the streets there and try to embody some of that here, in California. I work in a government office, so it’s appropriate for me to dress well, and somewhat conservatively.

And so, chaque matin, I look at my closet with an eye towards what is truly flattering on me and what I feel really, really good and Parisianin. I have moved out what may not fit my new, refreshed, ideal look.

I took notes in my journal, and these were the three guidelines I gave myself:

1) Is it high-quality?
2) Is it simple?
3) Does it make me feel French?

I know, it may seem silly to you – fille simple américaine! – but the truth is, to me, feeling Parisian means feeling more focused, less stressed, and more confident, and that, mes amis, is what matters.

Until next time :: jusqu’à la prochaine fois,