Read this updated version: March 26 at 430 AM
Luxury hotels and chateaux, Michelin-starred restaurants, and my favorite shops on sale. And excellent company. Talk about a great combination for a summer holiday.
So little by little, our nth foodie trip around France and Spain is getting organized.
There's never enough time to do everything we want, but it's a respectable two weeks of fun, starting in Paris and ending in San Sebastian in Spain, at the height of summer and Europe's sale season.
Scroll down to read more...
WHAT THE PARIS SALE SEASON
DOES TO PEOPLE
Talk about great timing.
Over the weekend, one of the guys said to me, with an air of resignation, when I reminded him that we were hitting France exactly at sale time: "I can just imagine the shopping that's going to happen."
I think he was foreseeing all the shopping bags he and someone else would have to carry, trailing after two girls with credit cards on a long summer weekend, based in a strategically located hotel in Paris.
I haven't really decided about the shopping part yet, as this is still a couple of major trips away in my never-ending Travelife.
SEE YOU AGAIN SOON,
SOUTH AFRICA AND MOROCCO
I have South Africa and Morocco coming up first, and if I didn't put the brakes on my schedule this time around, I was supposed to have New York and two other trips to Europe in the next six weeks as well. I've tried to push back whatever I can for the fall instead.
Nevertheless, I think I still have to go halfway around the world three times before this foodie trip to France and Spain comes around.
However, even if I haven't really decided to shop in Paris this summer, I always bring a spare luggage to Europe anyway, so I guess I've got things adequately covered.
CHRISTIAN LOUBOUTIN IS MY FIRST STOP
When I go to his shop a few days after Day 1 of the sales, I'm always stuck with espadrilles and all the lovely sandals with heels that are so light on the feet are gone.
These are the only heels I buy, as they are the lightest things I have ever put on my feet.
MY SHOPPING SECRET:
UNGARO IN PARIS
I also like visiting Emanuel Ungaro's shop near the Plaza Athenee and the Four Seasons George V.
The dresses on sale are reasonably priced, and there's a seamstress inhouse who will adjust the dress to your exact measurements in the most amazing and old-fashioned way, with a wooden contraption only Paris couturier houses ever use these days.
The result is the equivalent of a made-to-order couturier dress for the price of an RTW on sale.
SKIPPING THE HERMES SALE THIS YEAR
|This is just an image photo.|
The shopping bags at the Hermes sale are actually nondescript white.
Most people in the know line up here very early in the morning, but I just can't bring myself to go until after a proper breakfast so I always have to line up for this for a couple of hours. The problem with this sale is that you need to go on Day 1, or don't bother going at all.
So I'm skipping it this year. There are never any of the iconic bags I love on sale ever anyway. Although once, I heard they actually had a Kelly on sale. So usually, I end up buying shawles, scarves, coats and shoes.
For some reason, I can never resist buying shoes at the Hermes sale in Paris. But I still have to find a pair that are as comfortable as those made by Christian Louboutin.
EVERYWHERE I WANT TO BE
As usual, I'm mostly in charge of deciding on the hotels, and most of the restaurants.
I've booked a mixture of places to stay -- from the very best places in the city, to a very grand hotel, to a couple of places in the country with famous chefs.
Some of them I've stayed in before and liked, while others are hotels I'm visiting for the first time.
I've been wanting to stay here for the longest time, but I have never had the time to do so.
SEE YOU AGAIN SOON, SAN SEBASTIAN.
And today, almost all the restaurants I wanted to book in Spain happily got confirmed.
So it looks like everything's all set for this chapter in my never-ending, and never-endingly eventful Travelife....