FOURTH FLOOR WALK UP

Brooklyn based lifestyle blog by Lauren L Caron

France

LIFE | The Hotels We Loved and The Ones We Wish We Could Have Experienced

LIFE, SPACESLauren CaronComment
Jack sleeping in at the Hotel du Cloître | Photograph by Lauren L Caron © 2015

Jack sleeping in at the Hotel du Cloître | Photograph by Lauren L Caron © 2015

For the first installment of our mini travel series, I wanted to write about the hotels that we both stayed and did not stay in. There are so many wonderful places to go and sleep in Europe but I wanted to give a shout out to the few that we felt were worth noting. For part of the trip we stayed in two none discript hotels, that I would only note for their cleanliness, very reasonable rates, centralized location and safety (I'll list those at the end of this post for your reference). The hotels I'm most excited to write about are for the ones we stayed in: The Hotel du Clîotre and Idéal Séjour, as well as those that we didn't book with - L'Hôtel Particulier, the Grand Hôtel Nord-Pinus and Hôtel Jules Cesar (all three of these were in Arles, France). 

Our favorite hotel of the trip was the Hotel du Clîotre, designed by India Mahdavi, a recently renovated boutique hotel, located in the historic district of Arles, Provence. Outside it looks as though the building were a privately owned Provençal home. Inside the interiors are modern with a strong midcentury vibe. The color palette is playful with bright pops of yellow, turquoise blues and lime greens. What is especially unique is the use of tiles throughout the hotel, creating a mosaic-like pattern on the floors that trails itself up the walls in the bathrooms. Our room, was one of the smaller floor plans, but comfortable in comparison to NYC sized rooms and it only set us back about 110 euros per night. The staff was very friendly and the small restaurant/bar on the terrace open only some of the days (we couldn't really figure out which days though) had a wonderful atmosphere and charm. I took a ton of photos of the space because, quite frankly, I couldn't get enough!

The Entrance Door Knocker | Photograph by Lauren L Caron © 2015

The Entrance Door Knocker | Photograph by Lauren L Caron © 2015

The second place we stayed in that we really enjoyed was a hotel that if it weren't for a last minute, necessary booking, we would have never experienced. The Hôtel Idéal Séjour, was very charming and surprisingly well designed. It is a bit kitchy, but the gracious host (who we believe was also the owner) made it a wonderful experience. The design concept of the Hôtel Idéal Séjour reflects inspiration gathered from famous books, stories and films. Each room design is unique to a particular theme. In some rooms, there are characters that actually emerge from the walls. Our room was the L'Instant Poetique, where a mural of Armond Renaud was painted on the wall. Overall the hotel is cozy and the rooms are on the slightly smaller side, but the garden where we had breakfast each morning and the obvious care and passion that went into creating this hotel, makes for it a very special place to stay. 

The library in the Hotel Ideal Sejour | Photograph by: Lauren L Caron  2015

The library in the Hotel Ideal Sejour | Photograph by: Lauren L Caron  2015

We found it humorous that my husband looked strikingly similar to Renaud | Photograph by Lauren L Caron © 2015

We found it humorous that my husband looked strikingly similar to Renaud | Photograph by Lauren L Caron © 2015

The continental breakfast spread | Photograph by Lauren L Caron © 2015

The continental breakfast spread | Photograph by Lauren L Caron © 2015

Lastly, there are a few hotels on our list to visit or stay in for next time. The definite front runner is the L'Hôtel Particulier in Arles. A highend boutique hotel, that oozes luxury. We passed by one evening hoping to have a drink in the bar, however it didn't seem such an opportunity was possible. 

The other two are ones also noted for their elegance and luxury are The Grand Hôtel Nord-Pinus. I find it interesting for it's history.  Apparently has been featured as a backdrop in a lot of fashion photoshoots. It's location is directly across from the cafe that Van Gogh painted, so a great location if you're trying to find something central. The Hôtel Jules Cesar was designed by Christian Lacroix. The interiors are lush and colorful, nothing short of what you would expect from Lacroix. The building is very old dating back to the 17th century. It also seems more like a getaway hotel, as there is a spa and large pool on location. 


The other places we stayed that were safe, convenient and clean:

The Duran Hotel & Restaurant - once a place where Dalí would frequent located in Figures Spain. Address: Carrer Lasauca, 5 Figueres Girona 17600 Spain

The Hotel Barcelona Universal - Easy access to the subway and there's a pool! Address: Del Paral.lel, Del 76-78 Barcelona Barcelona 08001 Spain

 


LIFE | Our Tour de France & Spain

LIFELauren CaronComment
The streets of Nice | Photograph by Lauren L Caron © 2015

The streets of Nice | Photograph by Lauren L Caron © 2015

We're back; full bellied, slightly pink and completely inspired by our wonderful vacation to France and Spain. If you follow me on Instagram, you've probably seen a lot of the places we visited. I'm not shy about sharing my experiences and if you're wondering there's actually a lot more that I didn't share. I often fall victim to #wanderlust and love to expose others to the amazing places this world has to offer to us. On the blog I thought I would expand on the details about the places we slept, ate, visited and some of things we learned. It will be a quick series - one post regarding hotels and places to stay, one on food and drink, and lastly one detailing a few activities or sights that we found exceptionally special and noteworthy. Hopefully, if any readers are planning a similar trip, our resources will provide you with useful information. 

For a little background behind this vacation. Each year we try to plan a 'big' trip to celebrate our lives together and usually it takes place close to our wedding anniversary (it just happened on Monday, 6/1/15). This year, due to unique opportunity France was the front runner for destinations. Jack's animated thesis film was awesomely accepted into the Cannes Short Film corner (a special thanks to SVA for submitting it)! We may have planned to go somewhere else, but this once in a lifetime opportunity gave us the push to plan to travel through the south of France. Luckily, due to airfare being much more affordable in Spain, we were able to slip that in too!

The carousel in Cannes | Photograph by Lauren L Caron © 2015

The carousel in Cannes | Photograph by Lauren L Caron © 2015

I'm not a travel writer and I'm definitely not sponsored, so any and all of these experiences were paid for by us. Although, I do really wish I could write it off, R&D anyone? Which means, they're possible for the everyday folks if you plan well and save a little. Overall, I would say this trip was reasonable.  For two people, including airfare, car rental, and hotels for a full 15 days we spent less than $4k. For food, gas and activities, we kept to a pretty strict budget of less than $100 per day. 

For the first installment of this series, I'm going to talk about the places we stayed, the places we didn't stay and lastly, the ones we wished we could have stayed in! Check back soon for the next installment. 

A glimpse of the Casa Batllo by Goudi | Photograph by Lauren L Caron © 2015

A glimpse of the Casa Batllo by Goudi | Photograph by Lauren L Caron © 2015


FASHION | Travel To The South of France + Spain

FASHIONLauren CaronComment

SHIRT | EARRINGS | JACKET | HEELS | HAT | BATHING SUIT | SKIRT

I've finally settled our itinerary for our upcoming trip to France and Spain this May. It's going to be a bit of a splurge, but something well deserved for the both of us. The next step is planning our activities each day. I'm set on horseback riding in the Camargue region while we're in Arles, and the theme of the trip will be based around modernist painters, ones in particular; Cezanne, Van Gogh, Chagall, Renoir, Picasso and Dali, with visits to house museums and such. Another big part of our trip will be Cannes (which is also the main reason why we're going). My husband's student thesis film was submitted to Cannes and accepted! It is not likely that we will be rubbing noses with the stars, but we will have passes to the festival and I believe access to the shows. We are still finalizing those details. Another great concern for me, being a lady, is what will I pack and what will I wear for all of these marvelous activities?! Horseback riding is dirty stinky activity (although the smell is pleasing to me) and Cannes will probably include some put-together date night ensembles. I can't help myself but pull some inspiration from my favorite classic films like Breathless and To Catch A Thief. One thing's for sure, there will be lots of horizontal stripes - and I'm preparing for that by hitting the gym hard for the next few months! 

Above is a short list of a few things I'll be adding to my staples of tees, tank tops, denim, and sandals. I'm not much of a sneakers gal, but I have to find a good pair that will be cute and not too bulky. Luckily, it's en vogue to wear sneakers for almost any occasion.