Kirsten Alana Shares Her "Best of France"
In honor of Best of France, which will be taking over Times Square September 26-27, 2015, we've asked a few of our favorite bloggers to weigh in on their "Best of France!" #BestofFrance2015
1. What is the best meal you have ever had in France? From which restaurant or French region was it from? Why is it your favorite?
The best meals I have ever had in France! Same trip! The first was enjoyed in Paris at 114 Faubourg inside Le Bristol hotel. It’s a Michelin-starred restaurant and right from the first bite, it’s apparent why. I’d never been a huge fan of artichokes but their Artichoke Bisque soup with Foie Gras changed my mind completely. I still crave it and have never found a soup I liked that much since. The interior is fanciful and yet elegant as well, making it a glorious place to stay long into the night!
Brunch at Le Royal Monceau tied that dinner though. It’s exquisite, both the surroundings and the variety plus the bounty of food on offer. They have pastries there that rival the boulangeries in the city and their sparkling wine and Champagne selection is perhaps the best I’ve experienced in Paris. It is heavenly.
2. If you are looking for a place to relax while you are in France where is your go to spot? Is it a beautiful beach or a tranquil spa? Where in France is it located and why is it your favorite?
I think the most relaxed I have ever been in France is at Musée Picasso in Antibes. There’s a lovely terrace in the back with sculptures and succulents, some cactus too I think. The sun baths that space and the view of the Mediterranean there is just fantastic. I’ve never been when it is very busy and so I think the quiet of that particular place combined with the view and the feeling of being where a master such as Picasso once stood, for a creative person like myself, that kind of history and connection to art is very stimulating in a relaxing way. Sounds silly perhaps, but it’s just wonderful. As is all of Antibes in fact. I prefer it to the larger neighboring cities most tourists frequent.
3. Where is your favorite place to shop in France? What are your “must- haves” or a favorite item you have purchased? Where did you get it?
Shopping in France! There’s no way to choose just one favorite. In Paris I adore Merci. It is a coffee shop, a book store, a clothing and home goods boutique as well as a restaurant all in one. There’s also an antique jewelry store very close to Pont Neuf on Il de la Cite that never ceases to thrill me, I always wonder about the stories behind the pieces they sell and what the former owners were like; long have I adored the idea of having a wedding ring from there if I was ever married again. There’s also Marché aux Puces de Saint-Ouen, which is divine on a level that defies description; taking a tour of it with with Riad Kneife and enjoying lunch at Ma Cocette is perhaps the one thing that I would say is a “can’t miss” while in Paris.
Of course it is also hard to beat the experience of shopping for lavender products in Provence and being able to make your own perfume in the shops of Grasse, very French somehow (in my mind at least).
My favorite item I ever purchased in France was procured from one of the Bouquinistes along the Seine in Paris, a vintage poster of Paris and New York City together. I think it was an advertisement for Air France. Alas, it was lost in a move and I’ve not ever been able to replace it.
4. What is your favorite site to visit when you are in France? Why? Where in France is it?
Oh I never tire of Versailles, no matter the season. Perhaps it is because, even before visiting France for the first time, I was always enthralled with the story of Marie Antoinette. Perhaps it is the sheer grandeur of the whole palace and its grounds; I don’t know! But I love to visit Versailles.
5. What is your favorite bar/club/music venue in France? Where do you like to go out at night? Why?
I really love going to the area around the old Les Halles market and even better, Rue Montorgueil. Actually, that’s my favorite street any time of day in Paris. But probably my single favorite spot in Paris at night is Le Consulat in Montmartre.
In Cannes, I love to stroll along the water at night, stopping when I’ve had my fill of walking at one of the bars or restaurants on Boulevard de la Croisette. It’s surely more for tourists than locals but when I am there I just feel that “magic” that people talk about, especially in summer at night with the sound of the waves and the wind moving through the palm trees.
Kirsten Alana is a full time photographer and the voice behind Aviators and a Camera. She also wears the hats of content creator, "influencer," blogger and conference speaker. A penchant for experimentation with all kinds of digital technology has led to instructing at offices such as the AOL headquarters, the Apple Store UWS and at conferences like TBEX, TBU, TBE and Traverse. She spent a decade as a professional portrait and wedding photographer before turning her lens to travel. A former nomad, she now makes her home in New York City where she enjoys discovering and documenting the concrete jungle between assignments around the world. She has been in front of the camera for CNN, Expedia, AMC and AFAR Magazine. She was the first host of the NYC web series: Bites of the Big Apple. To learn more about Kirsten's adventures, you connect with her on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr, and Google+.
BEST OF FRANCE® is a non-profit organization whose purpose is to promote the image of France abroad, through major events which highlight the expertise and “Savoir-Faire” of France. Visitors will have the opportunity to experience France in a brand new way, through events and programs which explore the diversity of the French world through its Cuisine, Lifestyle, Tourism, Fashion, Culture, Technology and Innovation.