How the French Do Coffee, Salad Dressing and Apartments

Every morning I pass by the same café on my way to work and every morning there is the same old man, sitting by the window, calmly sipping his cup of coffee and reading the newspaper. I don't know how I first noticed him, but now I almost count on seeing him there every day at exactly the same time. Another reminder that the French have yet to fully embrace to-go coffee as a concept (despite the arrival of Starbucks) and, more importantly, that sometimes just taking the time to stop and enjoy the moment is better than constantly rushing around. I feel like I've been doing a lot of the latter lately, hence the less-than-frequent posts.

Before I head home for the holidays (next week!), here's a quick list of the five things, or 5 choses, I'm loving lately around here: 

1. The homemade salad dressing recipe every French person knows about. Regardless of the season, you will find the same salad sauce on most every French dinner table. It's incredibly simple but so good, you'll never go back to the bottled stuff. Olive oil + balsamic vinegar + Dijon mustard. Use a salad shaker or a spare glass jar (I like to use the almost-finished mustard jar). 

2. Good-luck "vintage" gray blazer. Let's give it up for the wardrobe staple that somehow makes even a pair of jeans look polished. Blazers are kind of like the day version of a red lip - they just pull the whole thing together with minimal effort. I snagged this one from my mom's closet - it was one of her first big splurges when she started working "circa 1983." I Googled the brand (Saville) and results for vintage blazers on eBay and Etsy popped up. Hooray for free vintage clothes! (Thanks, Mom)

3. October in Brussels. I don't know what was more colorful: the leaves...

...or the houses? 

I went to visit my friend Paola for a long weekend at the end of October. Lots of beer, coffee shops and hipsters...not unlike Minneapolis. Brussels has a decidedly international feel to it, at least compared to Lyon. I almost heard more Spanish than French! It was perfect to visit over a long weekend. The architecture alone makes it worth the trip, but the one-euro waffles aren't bad either ;)

4. CLUSE watches. I had never heard of the Amsterdam-based brand until I stumbled across their pretty watches in a small boutique downtown. (Seems weird to refer to the center of Lyon as downtown but I'm going with it.) The Watch Lab carries a carefully curated selection of timepieces from lesser-known brands like CLUSE in an equally stylish if shoebox-sized store.

5. This peaceful, sun-drenched apartment nestled at the foot of the mountains. I recently went to visit my friends Fanny and Matthieu in Grenoble. First for a weekend hike and then again for the official pendaison de crémaillère (housewarming party). I'm kind of obsessed with their new place. And more convinced than ever that every French apartment comes with an antique fireplace-mirror combo. Okay, maybe the fireplace is a rare find but those mirrors are everywhere. I also love the parquet floors and detail around the bookcase nook. And don't even get me started on the view (mountains as far as the eye can see).

Have a lovely weekend!

x Stephanie