Paris is my favorite place on earth—hands down. I’ve written guides for how to experience Paris the way I do when I go there. Still, when I’m home doing my day-to-day activities, there is always a little Parisian in my heart. From hunting for vintage denim to shopping for groceries in small batches, it’s pretty easy to incorporate a bit of the la vie française into your life, even in the heart of the North.
Thanks to Oui by Yoplait, I’m excited to share with you just how easy it is to replicate that je ne sais quoi that makes Paris one of a kind. I’m sharing how I created a France-inspired staycation with a guide to finding Paris in Minneapolis. You don’t have to wait until “someday” to enjoy the little things we love so much about French culture. Want a chance to experience the real thing? Oui by Yoplait is giving away a trip to France. Click here to find out more details.
9:00 a.m.: First stop, Patisserie 46—arguably the best pastry shop in the Twin Cities. I’m heading to south Minneapolis today to pick up a new old pair of jeans and a couple of tops from my favorite clothing brand. But first, I need coffee, breakfast, and a little sketching time before Mille opens.
Patisserie 46 is just a block away from my favorite shops and it’s always bustling with families, students, and freelancers—activity from all walks of life, just like a café should feel. If you see me out in the wild, I’m forever traveling with sketchbooks and my little box of pastels. I’m intentionally not looking at my phone, and these days, I never know when sketching inspiration may strike. Much like sitting at a café in the artistic left bank, I find just sitting and people watching gives me a bit more joie de vivre than my typical Insta scroll.
10:30 a.m.: Mille opens! They have a couple of blouses I’ve been eyeing for months and FINALLY—a pair of vintage denim I asked them to set aside because they’re in my size. The fit is perfect, and so is the blouse. I also walk out with one of those “forever” dresses that look good on you no matter what age or stage of life you’re in. I’m going to pair it with a pair of white sneakers. Parisian-inspired, but grounded in Americana.
11:00 a.m.: The Foundry is the next destination on my list. Much like the arrondissements in Paris, this south Minneapolis neighborhood is filled with various stores and coffee shops tailor-made for spending long afternoons wandering. The Foundry is my go-to shop for extra particular home goods and little bits and bobs like beeswax candles and natural cleaning supplies.
I find a couple of treasures for August and Birdie for Valentine’s Day and pick up some beeswax cream for my nightstand. I also buy a tortoise hair clip because I’m always twisting my hair up with a pencil—it feels cool and effortless, much like the French girl style I long to emulate. I purchase two—one for my desk and one for my car.
11:30 a.m.: I have an early lunch at St. Genevieve. When I was in Paris, we spent most of our afternoons wandering and we always forgot to order lunch. However, the midday meal is my favorite reason to take a break and do a little work over some light bites.
Because I’m spending the day with our photographer, Chelsey, we catch up over a glass of wine—Jura for me, Gamay for Chelsey. It’s a nice break, and I still can cross a few things off my to-do list.
12:30 p.m.: We make our way to the vintage shops on 50th and Xerxes. I’m updating the kids’ rooms and have been hunting for vintage toys and treasures that would bring a whimsical feel to their rooms without feeling too themed or corny. I score a gorgeous wooden swan and super unique unicorn bookends for my daughter. For August, I find a metal tray for his little treasures and a vintage print of Peter Rabbit. Creating rooms that have texture and history is part of making a home feel unique and inviting. I also find a painting of pink roses before we leave, which reminds me of the one I regret leaving behind while peeking around the flea markets in Paris back in 2013.
2:00 p.m.: I’m close to my favorite cheese shop: France 44. They have a fantastic selection of meats, cheeses, and ready-to-serve meals that put takeout to shame. I grab a baguette (my kids devour them) and our favorite house-made chèvre and fruit spread to surprise Joe. The best meals aren’t often complicated or fancy ones—all they take is the right ingredients. I try not to devour all of the goodies before I get home.
2:30 p.m.: No French-inspired trip would be complete without a trip to a museum. In need of some inspiration for new prints for my shop, I head on over to Mia, the Minneapolis Institute of Art. I often sit in the Impressionist wing and look for color, light, or subject matter inspiration. No place in the city fills me up quite like this one, and I leave with a head full of inspiration and new ideas in my sketchbook.
4:00 p.m.: I’m back at the office and ready to create, but I’m FAMISHED. We keep a few things in the fridge to grab when we need a little afternoon break. Today, it’s Oui by Yoplait Black Cherry, a French-style yogurt made with simple ingredients inspired by their traditional French recipe.
There are days when I sit in front of a computer and then there are days like today. While I may not have checked many items off of my to-do list, my emotional batteries are recharged. What can you find in your city that embraces la mode de vie français?
Thanks to Oui for making this guide possible.
Ed. note: This post was sponsored by Oui by Youplait. The compensation we receive in exchange for placement on Wit & Delight is used to purchase props, hire a photographer, write/edit the blog post and support the larger team behind Wit & Delight.
While compensation was received in exchange for coverage, all thoughts and opinions are always my own. Sponsored posts like these allow us to continue to develop dynamic unsponsored content.
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BY Kate Arends - March 5, 2020
Thank you for being here. For being open to enjoying life’s simple pleasures and looking inward to understand yourself, your neighbors, and your fellow humans! I’m looking forward to chatting with you.