Today I am returning to my favorite blog activity with this new apartment visit. Please meet Franck. I was fortunate to stay ten wonderful days as a guest in this lovely space over the holidays.
Franck welcomed Delphine and her daughter in his living space officially since last summer but today I chose to interview him specifically since I had already featured Delphine about a year ago in her own environment and didn't want to be redundant. You'll forgive me!
When time came for the two to move in together they naturally found common grounds in the decor department. Having to merge two homes in one forced them to scale down and keep the essentials. From furniture to art pieces and textiles they decided to opt for an unassuming, simple interior. They already shared an obvious taste for quality designs (that couch!) and both agreed to keep the space minimal to preserve its open flow. The rooms of living all lead into one another and give the space a grand lofty effect. The main source of light is east-facing, bathing the space with glorious morning sun. I am thrilled today to invite you in this home and the mindset of its original dweller. Thank you Franck and Delphine for making this Holiday season the best I have had in a long time!
Franck's interview is available in English and French. Enjoy!
Delphine, Line and I live in Strasbourg, in the Neustadt district built in 1880 during the German occupation. We have the chance to be living very close to the Parc des Contades and the no-less remarkable Place of the Republic. I have been living in this neighborhood since 2007 and at this specific address since 2012. I particularly appreciate the architectural richness of the neighborhood and its proximity to the city center.
A daily ritual that defines your lifestyle
Ride my bicycle! Without a doubt the best means of transport in this beautiful circular city that is Strasbourg. I save a lot of time riding my bike, I breathe deeply and I never fail to re-discover my city over and over again.
You have a fine eye for anything décor, Art, furniture etc... Have you always been interested in design?
I have always been interested in Technique or the art of summing all the parts used to achieve an architectural design, may it be mechanical or artistic. My interest in Design is the organic inclination of my already keen interest in architecture and the concept of object layout.
From all your travels, is there a place that holds a special spot in your heart?
I had the chance to travel a lot in my life but the place that transformed me the most -and still does- is Corsica, the place where I was born. There I can breathe, I recharge. The island never ceases to blow my mind.
Is there a country or a city that seduced you in particular? somewhere you could see yourself live?
I might well be attracted to New York City dear Anne-Claire! I was able to feel great energy when visiting. But I can't really answer your question to be truthful, I am always eager to explore more of the world. And I might never stop.
A moment, a detail that comes to mind when you think back to your childhood home?
The family house where we spent our vacation as kids nestled in a small Corsican village. I specifically remember how much I loved the ancient, noble quality of the grounds, the Mediterranean vegetation, the river, the scents, the sound of silence.
A favorite activity when at home?
Simply spending time and enjoying the apartment with my darlings is a great thing to do. But my favorite activity is cooking. It is fun, creative, it makes everyone participate and engage with each other. Being in the kitchen vectors moments of joy with the girls.
You co-own a charming café-brasserie in the city, how did you get started in the restaurant industry?
Sort of randomly. Before Strasbourg I lived about 10 years in other cities. By the time I moved back in 2006 I first created a small business which had nothing to do with the industry of food. But quickly, in late 2007 I got the opportunity to acquire and operate a brasserie* in the historic neighborhood of the Cathedral of Strasbourg. I took the plunge and have poured myself into it ever since.
Delphine, Line et moi vivons à Strasbourg, dans la Neustadt, quartier construit à partir de 1880 lors de l'occupation allemande. Nous avons la chance d'être très proches du parc du Contades et de la non moins remarquable place de la République. J'habite ce quartier depuis 2007 et à cette adresse depuis 2012. J'apprécie particulièrement la richesse architecturale du quartier et sa proximité avec l'hyper-centre.
Un geste du quotidien qui définit ton style de vie?
Enfourcher ma bicyclette ! Sans aucun doute le meilleur moyen de transport dans cette jolie ville circulaire qu'est Strasbourg. Je gagne beaucoup de temps, je respire et je découvre encore.
Tu as un très bon oeil pour les objets déco, l'art, le mobilier. As-tu toujours été interessé par le Design?
J'ai toujours été intéressé par la technique, soit la somme de tous les moyens mis en oeuvre pour faire aboutir un projet architectural, mécanique ou artistique. Par extension le Design est rapidement arrivé avec quelques domaines préférés tels que l'architecture, l'objet ou la simple notion d'agencement.
De tous tes voyages quel est l'endroit qui t'as le plus transformé, marqué?
J'ai eu la chance de pouvoir beaucoup voyager mais l'endroit qui m'a le plus marqué et transformé tout au long de ma vie puisque j'y suis né, c'est la Corse. J'y respire, m'y ressource et m'y émerveille toujours autant.
Y a-t-il un pays ou une ville ou tu te verrais vivre si l'occasion se présentait?
Je pourrais être attiré par New York où vous résidez, ma chère Anne-Claire, j'ai pu y sentir une belle énergie ; mais sans réellement répondre à votre question, j'ai surtout très envie d'aller ailleurs encore et encore.
Un moment précis, un détail qui te vient à l'esprit lorsque tu repenses à la maison de ton enfance?
La maison familiale où nous passions nos vacances, nichée dans un petit village corse : la pierre, le maquis, la rivière, les odeurs, le silence.
Ton activité preferée lorsque tu es à la maison?
Outre passer du temps en profitant de l'appartement avec mes chéries, mon activité préférée est la cuisine, c'est ludique, créatif, participatif et vecteur de moments agréables avec les filles.
Tu es co-propriétaire d'un restaurant charmant en centre-ville, comment t'es-tu lancé dans le milieu de la restauration?
J'ai vécu 10 ans dans d'autres villes que Strasbourg et y suis revenu en 2006 où j'ai créé une première petite entreprise dans un autre domaine. Puis, fin 2007 l'opportunité d'acquérir et d'exploiter une jolie brasserie* aux pieds de la cathédrale s'est présentée. J'ai sauté le pas...
During my last stay in France I took a sweet little walk in a neighborhood I had yet to discover. The neighborhood is called Tivoli and hosts the most exquisite spectrum of traditional French homes combined with timbered architecture Alsace is known for. The entire neighborhood was built at the break of the 20th century and used to be back then residence of German military administration.
Preserving its treasured historical heritage is one thread today's residents have in common. Everything was flawlessly tended and cared for. This little slice of wonderland is only a bike ride from the center of the city of Strasbourg if you ever dare to venture outside the touristic paths.
I was in for a treat this afternoon. It was the day after Christmas, there wasn't a soul in sight and the air was holding the most noble scent of burning fir.
It was the first time in almost 17 years that I experienced snow in France again. I am freshly returning form a joyous time with family in Strasbourg where my sister lives. It was just perfect.
Nowadays it only snows on rare occasions in this part of the country but this year I was in luck. All the childhood memories were rushing back to me. The anticipated spectacle of powder-sugar covered streets in the morning after it snowed all night and the blissful sound of silence everywhere. I feel so privileged to have been there at this special time of year.
In my book, gathering home to cook and relax with your loved ones after a day out in the snow is one of those precious moments in life to call perfection. I wish we could all relate to this experience in some sort of ways in a place we call home, wherever we are from.
Although I am not the type of person that wants to live a life of accumulating and obsessive buying, I can always appreciate the gift season when it comes to beautifying your living space. Anzu online store allows you to achieve this. Pretty and functionnal things can be found there to help you make better choices when it comes to gifting. I was pleased to be the one chosen to shoot few images for their timely Holiday shop update.
Since we are on the topic, I highly recommend this read to my francophone readers: L'art de la Simplicitéde Dominique Loreau. I couldn't find an English publication of it yet unfortunately. The book is a beautiful tribute to learning how to live a more balanced, simple and essential life. Would make a lovely gift as well and can be purchased here.
It's been a while since I have last met you here dear readers. Sorry for this hiatus! Sometimes in life, you do things your heart doesn't necessarily align with, but you have to in order to get to your next goal, as futile as this goal might be. The past two months were all about going against my true nature and I am happy to come out of it. I did shed some feathers in the process. But it gave me great clarity of mind. The clarity that hat I want to keep perusing what makes me happy most as a person, and that is to create images. I actually never doubted that fact, but life doesn't allow me to ONLY do this unfortunately.
Being quite out of the loop, I was so delighted to find out Julia Hetta was behind some of the new Toast campaign this fall (below, indoor pictures). The other images created for Toast this season (the outdoor ones) are by Nicholas James Seaton which I am equally delighted by. What a stunning lineup of talents for this campaign.
This past weekend I went upstate New York for my dear friend Isabella's wedding. There is something so special about seeing a long time friend in such happy times, when things finally settle into the place you always wished her they would. It was a stunning backdrop for a late summer outdoor wedding. Fresh mountain air and lush meadows, everything the doctor prescribed!
Congratulations to Isabella & Tanguy! And thank you for making me part of it.
I am grateful for our friendship and all the ones that accompanied me on this trip ♡
I hit this time of year when I start thinking about change. Every time I spend time away from NYC, I wonder upon my return why I insist on living here. Of course the exhilarating culture, variety in people and open-mindness, the sense of freedom in being a creative and the opportunities to meet the ones that could possibly lead to what you define success. All that plays a big role in my decision to be and stay here. But it is tainted by lots of "could" and "one day" and "maybe" and for all I know, that gold rush is starting to wear off of me as I head further into the years. I wake up and fall asleep way too often with the fear of not being able to keep sustaining a living here. Maybe it's just me? I do not know how to manoeuvre this hell of a city to my advantage anymore. So I retreat, in my mind and my unproductive daydreaming. Things have got to change or this is not going to make me happy anymore.
But of course changing your life around is not an overnight affair, it takes courage, determination, sacrifices and a certain dose of fearlessness which I can't grant myself in the state of things right now.
As I write this post, a couple is arguing down the street words that I can't not even comprehend. Insults, shouting and spitting are involved, until someone finally intervenes. It's 11 in the morning. Really? Could it be that I find balance in all of this chaos? If you have found it, please share your experience with me. I think of myself as someone pretty strong and grounded, but lately, I am at loss.
The other day, I took the camera and walked around a bit. I could still see beauty around me, concealing the unapologetic filth and poverty that New York throws at you on a daily basis.
I heart you, I hate you. I want to give you a chance but I don't know if I still can.
You might remember the wonderful home of Veronica and Pablo featured on Petits Papiers few years ago. Back then, they were already running a successful environmentally conscious company called Dr Cow providing artfully crafted innovative artisan foods.
Their success has now grown into the cutest storefront that opened last month in South Williamsburg, Brooklyn and I couldn't resist introducing it on the blog. Everything in the store is a welcoming piece of healthy living. I am personally completely sold on their cheeses made from 100% raw, organic nuts. Yes, even me, the hardcore cheese-loving french bred, I am a convert! Their products are incredible; Cashew milk drinks and deserts, vegan cookies and granola, jams and spreads etc... all crafted to delight your taste buds and give you energy at the same time as no processed ingredients or animal by-products are used. Sort of a super-food mini revolution in the neighborhood! I highly recommend you try them if you happen to be in Williamsburg.
When I was shooting, Veronica was swamped with inquiring customers with whom she patiently shares her process and recommendations while Pablo was handling production in the back Atelier. To me, they are the perfect example of what a sustainable lifestyle in a city like New York and a society like ours today can be, it is tangible. It takes passion and discipline but it is not as difficult as we think. I have so much respect for their craft.