Brought to you by American Express Travel
Hey lovelies! I am finally done editing my France and Spain summer family trip pictures and if you’ve been following my adventures on Instagram, then you know how lovely and enchanting this trip was.
What makes a trip unique and memorable? If you ask me, I’d say the culture, the food, the landscape, but above all, the people you meet during your trip. To me, the people I encounter during any trip are what makes the difference between a lifelong memorable trip from a just-okay one. People are the ambassadors of their country, state or city, its culture, its values, its soul. This post is dedicated to my Journeymakers, the people who went above and beyond to make my day, one kind gesture at a time.
I already mentioned my fabulous trip to Japan on this blog, and I truly fell in love with the people of Japan and their hospitality. But this trip in France and Spain was just as exquisite because I was fortunate to cross path with some good souls.
The first person that made my trip memorable was the doorman/ security guard in our Paris hotel. Fighting miserably the jet lag and a heat wave – 100+ degrees in Paris is just awfully hot and sticky – I would come down from my room in the very early hours of the morning, waiting for the sun to come up and trying to get some fresh air while hubby and the kids were still sleeping. I asked the guard at the hotel entrance what time the street’s cafes would open and we exchanged a few words. He asked me why I was up so early, so I told him I had just arrived from San Francisco and was waiting for the cafes or hotel breakfast service to open to get my dose of caffeine. He disappeared a few minutes and came back with a fresh espresso for me. Just like that. Out of simple kindness. Who said Parisians are too busy to be courteous?
We then took the bullet train to the South of France and while based there, took a road trip to Barcelona. I absolutely adored Barcelona, the old streets of the Gothic quarter, the beach, the Gaudi architecture, the amazing Casa Batlló, the Sagrada Familia, the mood of this colorful and vibrant city, the Spanish way of life, the tapas and colorful stalls at the Boqueria market. It was a short trip lasting only 4 days, but we made the best of it and we can’t wait to go back again. We headed back to Provence and made day trips to show the girls the “southern” French way of life.
The weekly farmers’ markets in Provence are really unique and worth going to if you ever plan a trip to France. Vendors with colorful umbrellas, selling French soaps, jewelry, new and antique kitchenware, old books, beach towels and table linens, spices. I stopped at a booth to buy some piment d’Espelette, a typical French spice originated from the French Basque country. I had tried it at my friend’s home and loved the flavorful, subtle chili aroma this spice features. There, I met Michel and Vanessa, a sweet couple, passionate about spices and their effects on the body. We talked for a good hour, Michel made me try his spices, patiently explaining to me the holistic benefits of each blend, giving me advice on local recipes and how to use his spices. He did not push a sale, no, he just loved what he was doing and wanted to share his passion.
These are the Journeymakers that made my trip memorable. In a few years, I’ll look back at my trip pictures and I am certain I will have a smile on my face because these people, with their authentic generosity, shared a bit of themselves to make my trip so special. Merci France and Spain and its people, you guys treated me so well. They say travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer. Thanks to the Paris hotel doorman, Michel and Vanessa, I ‘m a rich girl!
I’m thrilled to have been asked by American Express Travel to recall and share stories about my #Journeymakers. Who made your recent trip memorable?
• This post is in partnership with American Express Travel. Thank you for supporting the sponsors that make FrenchByDesign possible.
Photography French By Design ©