In September I had the pleasure of meeting Lauren for a drink (or three) at Le Perchoir
, a recently opened rooftop bar. I had been reading her blog Folies du Bonheur
for a few months and was charmed by how friendly and interesting she seemed (plus her photos of Paris are gorgeous). So I plucked up the courage to email her with the suggestion of coffee and a little Q&A session, explaining my attempts to feature more of Paris on my blog. Luckily Lauren was game so we worked out a time to meet. It was such a positive experience for me to put myself out there and to be met with such enthusiasm and warmth! The evening was an absolute pleasure as we both like to chat, we also like to chat about food, we're both bloggers and of course we both moved from our own countries to Paris in 2009, so there were lots of experiences to compare and exchange. It came out that Lauren's first blog during her time in Paris was called...Lou in Paris! I have to say that I found (and still find) Lauren's enthusiasm for Paris both adorable and infectious. Sometimes Grumpy Lou needs a reminder about the greatness of the city she is living in...
I would like to say a HUGE thank you to Lauren for sending me some of her beautiful photos and for taking the time to answer my questions!
So ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce you to Lauren Lou Bate. Pull up a seat, find yourselves a warm beverage and settle down for what I promise to be an interesting and funny read!
Why did you move to Paris?
The quick answer is always "because it's pretty".
The long answer, should anyone have the time, is because when faced with the prospect of redundancy, and the healthy severage package that came with it, or a merged role that doubled my workload and not my salary, my brain immediately told me to take the money and run... so I did. To leave my fabulous job in marketing at a magazine publishing company thereby taking an enormous detour from my career, moving anywhere other than glorious Paris wasn't an option.
What do you do in Paris?
30 hours a week, Monday through Friday, I'm nanny / big sister / cook / teacher / third arm / crafting queen rolled into one for four gorgeous Swedish / French kids and their fab mum in the 16th. When I'm not with them I'm usually eating, taking pictures or walking the dog, frequently all three at once.
Paris in 3 words?
Grey, stunning, melodic
Your idea of a perfect day in Paris?
A little sleep in, Skype session with the family over breakfast, then coffee at Ten Belles for some more breakfast, a quick trip to a museum/ expo/ gallery/ shopping on my onesies then meeting up with my Mr M and our pup for take away hot chocolate from Angelina's and a run around the Carousel du Louvre with all the other dogs, or a wander around a 'vide-grenier' (car boot sale) if there's one on nearby. A glass, or three, of wine with friends for apéro and then to a cheep and cheerful brasserie for steak and frites. In the winter this is my usual Sunday, and I adore them.
Could you share with us your most amusing/frustrating French experience?
As always, the language is the most frustrating. Not being able to express myself properly especially in situations where I'd love to tell certain people where to go as witty and eloquently as I can gets really annoying. I've become a master at the facial expression, I have several for disdain.
What motivated you to start blogging?
I'd wanted to blog since before I arrived in the city, and even started one as soon as I arrived, that I ended up hating. My most recent blogging venture was born out of a desire to start documenting all the things I saw and did that I thought were pretty special and share them with whoever would see it on the other side of the interweb. I was also yearning to start being creative again with writing and photography and knew that blogging would be a good outlet for that.
What have you learnt since you started blogging (both about yourself and the blogging community in general?)
That it's a great unifier, you immediately have something in common with another person that blogs, and those that don't just don't get it. So it's something I share with just those that do and these people are very special to me. It's also unleashed my creative side in a big way and I'm much more a happier person from doing so.
Where do you find inspiration for your blog?
At the moment it's travel, as I'm running all over the place right now (I'm on a train between Brussels and Bruges as I type!) When my travelling calms down, and the weather gets colder it might be some recipes and cooking, and then for Christmas a whole heap of crafting! So I guess it depends on what I'm getting up to in my life, as my blog is a reflection of me and not predetermined publication.
If you could hop on a plane right now, which destination would you choose (and why)?
Sydney, home. My boyfriend's there visiting his very sick Grandmother and I'd like to give him a hug. If he was with me it'd be to Crete and Turkey to take up two offers by friends to stay in their second homes there and maintain the tan I managed to develop over summer.
One thing on your bucket list?
Before we leave Europe for good Mr M and I want to get ourselves a tiny, battered Fiat and drive around Italy for 6 weeks while our stuff is being shipped home. I'm already dreaming off all the pasta I'll eat.
How do you handle being so far from home?(Sorry, not to make you sad!)
Skype, Viber, Facebook, all these cyber modcons that make the world a smaller place. Knowing that it's not forever helps, too. I plan on bringing up my kids - should I be blessed with them - in Australia among their large extended family.
You’re a creative lady who enjoys crafts and deco – do you have any tips or advice for people wanting to discover the creative side to Paris?
See as many exhibitions, museums, galleries as you can, but don't sick to the large, 'famous' ones - the more obscure and out-of-the-way the better. Keep an eye out for all the very excellent fairs, workshops and weekend-long festivals to look around and visit 'Ultramod' in the 2nd, it's amazing.
Then blog about it!
And now for some Parisian themed quick fire questions:
No brainer, pain au chocolat - although the chocolate and banana one I have recently discovered at Du Pain et des Idees may have nudged the humble, plain one to second place.
Favourite metro line
3. My metro stop was Sentier when I first moved to the city and now it takes me from where I currently live (close to Villiers) to my favorite arrondissement - the 3rd - and my favorite craft store.
Rive Gauche ou Rive Droite
Red, white or rosé
Red in winter, rose, in an enormous piscine, with ice cubes, for summer.
Favourite French café
I go to Ten Belles by the canal almost every morning for my coffee. Although its not your typical French cafe, it is run by a Frenchman, so I think that that qualifies?
The cafe of black and white Brassaï photographs that I like to go to would be Lux Bar on rue Lepic - they do a killer roasted Camembert in the winter.
Favourite French film
2 days in Paris (but, most of it is in English, does that count?!)
Favourite French museum
This one's hard, because I've not been to them all, but I do think the Musée Marmottan Monet is pretty special.