My Summer Trip

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.

Les Gorges du Verdon
Les Gorges du Verdon

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.

Strolling in the streets of Aix En Provence
Strolling in the streets of Aix En Provence
A student practicing her art in a street in Aix en Provence
A student practicing her art in a street in Aix-en-Provence
Typical Provence facade
Typical Provence facade

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 view from Pont Neuf
The view from Pont Neuf

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?

Lavender fields on the Moustier area
Lavender fields in the Moustier area

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 colorful markets in the South of France
The colorful markets in the South of France
The smells of Provence
The smells of Provence

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.

Michel, from Epice & Love, sharing his passion for spices
Michel, from Epice & Love, sharing his passion for spices with a client
The colorful spices Michel sells
The colorful spices Michel and Vanessa sell

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!

Maya at the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, by the gorgeous carved wooden door
Maya at the Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, by the gorgeous carved wooden door

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 ©


13 thoughts on “My Summer Trip

  1. Oh, it looks like you had an amazing time, Si! The pictures are amazing! Now I want to visit the gorges du Verdon as well, it looks so beautiful! Thank you for sharing!

    1. Ah yes, the gorges are my happy place, one of my favorite spots on earth, along with the Sahara desert. Thank you for your comment Kaitlyn!

  2. This is really touching — an homage to the journeymakers. So true! They can make or break a trip away from home. What a great shout-out to all the journeymakers. Cheers Si!
    P.S. And yes to Barcelona! Id’ go back any day too :)

    1. True that! A visit to a country without [a good] interaction with the locals is a true miss. I was so lucky to come across such good souls, they made my trip! Happy new week Yvonne!

  3. Oh wow, you are killing me with these images, they are beautiful. Provence and that gorge is where I should be with my kids (and my camera). Just wish I was there….next year!

  4. What a wonderful trip! Looks like you must have had an amazing time. The architecture, the lavender, the shopping!! Wish I were there!! Cheers!! Leslie

  5. Oh what a serious case of travel envy I have! These pictures make me want to pack my bag right now. And the people are what make each trip SO unique! Love that you took the time to learn about them and incorporated them into your own experiences. Thank you for sharing!

    <3 Haley @

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