Thought I was going to say wine, didn’t you? I am not a wine connoisseur so here is an unexpected thing that I learned about France, there are amazing tea shops where you can find many different types of loose tea. My all time favorites are Prince Vladimir, a black tea with vanilla and lemon undertones, that you can find at the commercial tea shop Kusmi Tea and Nina’s Marie Antoinette tea, a black tea with rose petal undertones which comes in a pretty pink tin, that you can find exclusively at Nina’s Tea in Paris.
Imagine Bath & Body Works meets Sephora. I love this place because they sell wonderful affordable perfume, body washes, oils, and lotions in scents like lavender and blackberry or almond and orange blossom. Plus they have the thickest BB cream that I have ever used, and market their products with that natural woman look that will pretty much always suck me in.
Trench coats & baskets
I love the way a trench makes anything you are wearing instantly look classier. France has a knack for that. Surprisingly, the French have a thing for the trench coat and sneaker look (baskets in French), and the sneakers are pretty much always either Adidas Stan Smiths or some other type of white leather sneaker. Seriously, it seems like they all rock this look at least once a week. I never realized how much a trench can turn a simple tee-shirt and sneakers look into something elegant but hey it really works.
Say hello to the French version of Target. Although admittedly, Monoprix is a bit more expensive than Target, I love this place because they know to package their brand in a cute and feminine way. If you want to find pajamas with little mini eiffel towers on them, a colorfully patterned journal, or some dishes with mini dancing animals on them than this is your place.
Isles of cheese
Probably the first thing that I fell in love with when I moved to France was the amount of cheese that they have and sell in the grocery stores. I always envisioned cheese as one aisle in a grocery store, not three to four, plus a counter with speciality cheese, and a knowledgeable cheese seller on site; but that’s France and it’s a beautiful thing. Bleu, reblochon, brebis, camembert, compte, brie, chèvre…you’ll never get bored.
No not Monaco but monacos. It is a drink made of beer, sprite and grenadine syrup and let me tell you, it is delicious, it is shirley temple meets beer. I think monacos are great for when you want a nice bubbly drink in the sun but don’t want to have that hazy feeling from drinking alcohol. Sante or cheers!
I am convinced this is the French version of Starbucks but admittedly better, at least where food and desserts are concerned. Their logo is a bear, they have a Starbucks like atmosphere, and they have stuffed muffins… yes I repeat, stuffed muffins. They have muffins stuffed with nutella, chocolate, lemon cream, and yes they are the best muffins that I have ever tasted. Go to Columbus Cafe in France and don’t be afraid to do that laptop or book thing millennials like to do, it seems to be the only place besides Starbucks where that doesn’t look out of place.