the francophiles

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Today is Bastille Day, and I can’t think of a more fitting occasion to finally announce the secret project that I’ve had in the works for so long. You may have seen my hints here and there, but today it is official…@thefrancophiles is live!! What began as an a-ha moment last summer has developed into a full blown concept and (soon to be) community, thanks to my friends and co-founders, Kirsten Alana and Lindsey Tramuta. Our mission is to inspire, inform, and unite those who love all things French. What does being a Francophile mean to you, and how and where do you get your “fix”? Head over to Instagram and join the community by tagging and hashtagging your French-inspired images. Bienvenue!

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hotel fauchère

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I’m forever seeking a Francophile fix wherever I am, and was thrilled to recently discover the lovely Hotel Fauchère, only two hours away from us in Pennsylvania. Situated in the historic and quaint town of Milford, the hotel is a sophisticated retreat for those seeking both relaxation and culinary delights. The bar was set high in 1852 by founder Louis Fauchère, master chef at famed Delmonico’s in New York, and his legacy lives on. The hotel is a proud member of Relais & Châteaux, a global fellowship of individually owned and operated luxury hotels and restaurants. In doing my research, I discovered that they evaluate members by the “five C’s”: character, courtesy, calm, charm, and cuisine. After visiting the Fauchère, I really think they should add a sixth C: curb appeal. Allow me to give you a little tour of this beautiful place!

 

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The Fauchére has a long and fascinating history centered around cuisine, and features two restaurants. The Delmonico Room is named after Louis Fauchere’s friends and former employers, the Delmonico brothers. The brothers, who were French-speaking natives from Switzerland (as was Louis), opened their famed restaurant in New York in the 1820’s. It was the first dining establishment in America to be called by the French term, “restaurant”, and went on to become known for some of the most famous American culinary traditions. This room is an homage to them, and is beautifully appointed with vintage treasures and furnishings. Bar Louis is the place to be in the evening, where you can enjoy a cocktail and an incredible dining experience, thanks to executive chef Michael Glatz. Gracing the bar is an incredible photograph of John Lennon and Andy Warhol, and the backstory is fascinating (you’ll just have to go find out for yourself, wink).

 

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We (my husband and I) began each morning in the sunroom, where they offer a delicious complimentary breakfast. In addition to their house made yogurt, the grapefruit brulée elevates le petit dej to a new level. I highly recommend ordering the cheddar and scallion scramble as well – miam miam! Adjacent to the hotel is Patisserie Fauchere, a charming coffee house and cafe, which supplies the delicious breads and pastries for the day. After breakfast, plan your day in the conservatory overlooking the gardens…there is so much to explore in and around Milford! With a plethora of elegant boutiques and antique shops, great hiking, stunning waterfalls, and many historic sites, there is no shortage of activities. We especially enjoyed the Waterwheel Cafe (be sure to explore the grist mill), the Columns Museum, and Francophile and nature lover’s haven, Grey Towers. It’s a fine example of French architecture and the grounds are incredible.

 

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desktop fleurish | prêt á voyager

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July tends to be a time of travel for so many of us, which is why the term Prêt á Voyager, or “ready to travel”, comes to mind. The lovely (free) wallpaper you see above was designed and penned by Lindsey Buck of The Hive Studio (who never ceases to amaze me with her talents). Each month we highlight a French word or phrase, and I’ll be honest – it’s been a challenge to choose something that represents an entire month (obviously Bastille Day is almost upon us, so that was tempting). I hope July is filled with excitement and relaxation for you…happy travels! Download the FREE designs here:

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please note that these designs are for personal use only + not available for commercial usage.

tour de france

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The countdown to Le Tour de France has begun! I started watching around 2004 (despite not even owning a bike) and my love for it has grown each year since. This is the ONLY sport I think about, look forward to, and obsess over. I’m a hardcore Francophile, so…DUH. However, there are many other reasons why this race gets me going. The lead up to it, the excitement, the preparation of all involved. The stamina and athleticism required to withstand even one day (with or without drugs) amazes me. Seeing the different regions and towns in France is a highlight for me – this year, the race begins at Mont-Saint-Michel, so I’m anticipating stunning scenery. I’ve been grooming the kids for a few years, and they’re finally old enough to watch it with me! Even if it’s for a few minutes, I’ll take what I can get. Vive le Tour!

this amazing graphic is by dave foster…you can buy the print here!

nyc with kids

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We love living in Philadelphia, and feel so fortunate to live only two hours away from New York City. Most of the time we day trip there, and find ourselves at one of our favorite spots in Brooklyn. However this time, we focused on Central Park and it’s surroundings, with the help of ZigZag City Guides! Created for young explorers, the guides have been a favorite of ours ever since Henry and Marie’s first adventure in Paris. With the help of  “Zig” and “Zag”, kids learn about a city using colorful cards and a map, featuring local history, fun facts, and short activities. I’m excited to help support their latest Kickstarter campaign, which will help launch three new maps! We found so much inspiration in their NYC guide, and chose to start our day at the Guggenheim, where the kids marveled at the architecture and buzz of the city.

 

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Henry loves to navigate, so we let him choose our first destination in the park – the zoo! They loved watching the monkeys (can you spot him?), and being monkeys. We missed the sea lion feeding, but watched a grizzly bear get playful, felt the humidity of a real rainforest in the Tropic Zone, and saw penguins and puffins galore! After exploring the main zoo, we went next door to the Tisch Children’s Zoo and fed goats, oinked at pigs, and met a Patagonian Cavy. Be sure to check out my Steller story for exclusive photos and video of our day! Up next – carousel rides and a picnic in the Sheep Meadow…

 

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