le diplomate

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This week I spent two days in D.C. exploring, gathering content for @thefrancophiles, and visiting friends. Of course, I had to make time for Le Diplomate, as it’s been on my dining wish list for a long time now. As a Philadelphia resident, I’m well-versed in the world of Stephen Starr, and Starr Restaurants – you may remember the feature I shared on my local favorite, Parc. Needless to say, I went in knowing it would be amazing, but it honestly exceeded my expectations. For the record, this post is not sponsored in any way – I just feel the need to share it with you. Even if you’re not into classic French fare (as I am), the entire place is aesthetically perfect and so very photogenic. I mean, just look at these tiles!

 

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the wall of love

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We need more walls…of love. This one in Paris has become quite well-known since it’s installation in 2000. You’ll find le mur des je t’aime nestled inside the lovely Square Jehan-Rictus garden, adjacent to Place des Abbesses in Montmartre. Artists Frédéric Baron and Claire Kito created the mural using dark blue enamel lava tiles inscribed with “I love you” written 311 times, in 250 languages and dialects. The bits of red throughout represent a broken heart – the heart of humanity. The wall is a symbol of peace, uniting the globe with one simple phrase. Such a meaningful message, always.

 

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Le Mur Des Je T’aime | Square Jehan-Rictus 75018 Paris

poconos perfection

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We’ve just returned from our summer vacation at what’s become a very special place for us. Pocono Pines is only two hours away from us in Philadelphia, and Lake Naomi beckoned us there for a third year in a row. Having practically grown up on a lake, it makes me giddy to have re-created a special family tradition in our own way. I have my friend Chanee Vijay to thank for introducing us to the community there, and for so generously sharing her home with us (which you can now rent). We’re always sad to leave, but this time we won’t have to wait a full year, as we’re planning to return in the winter for our first family ski adventure! It ought to be interesting, considering three of us have never skied before, gulp.

 

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The highlight for us this year was our family bike rides! With the kids not knowing how to ride just yet, we opted for a bike trailer to tow them, and they had so much fun. We rode to the beach every day, and pretty much used the bikes as our sole transportation…we were so proud of ourselves. Of course I had it easy – mr. fleurishing did the dirty work. With quite a few private beaches to choose from, we tried to visit a different one each day. We even went to the pool a few times, which is a feat for us – we’re not pool people. But having kids makes us pool people by default, and the smiles on their faces are worth it every time. Their smiles are always biggest however, at the lake. Hashtag proud mama.

 

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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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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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zoo

 

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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