A Guide to France

It's been 21 days since I've typed into my keyboard for the sole purpose of this blog and man, does it feel good. And miserable. Because I had a much-needed hiatus to the beautiful country of France, but I also was not able to blog during said trip due to the robbery of my dad's laptop (among other things). And I also would've changed 21 days to 19 days if my tonsils weren't inflamed (I guess that's what nine hours of a dehydrated plane ride does to you), but I will persevere through this sickness and write! as I lay on my couch in the same t-shirt from two days ago while binge watching Freaks and Geeks and How to Get Away with Murder. And among all this misery, I can only think of the wonder that is France.

As a fellow travel-lover, I have become a pro at packing for any trip and location. We're going to the Dominican Republic? Ok, bring a bathing suit for every day of the week, three coverups, and the best pair of sandals you own. What about California? Same with the bathing suits but take out five, change the coverups to five investment dresses, add a pair of jeans, denim cutoffs, and two going-out tops, and keep those sandals but also add your cool-girl sneakers. But then the words "We're going to France for two weeks!" hit me and the sun peeked through the gloomy clouds in the stormy sky of every trip I've ever been on because this has been my dream for as long as I can remember. And I don't even speak a drop of French. So you may think my packing list would only include stripes and bandanas, but only half of that statement is correct, which you could probably guess based off my recent obsession of tying various fabrics around my neck for both warmth or cool-girl points. In this case, however, instead of aiming for typical French-girl looks, I aimed for looks that proved ubiquity and practicality, which does seem like the French girl's motto.

Pants by Mango (try a wider cut here). Tank by Gap (or try this). Shoes by Urban Outfitters. Sunglasses by Madewell. My sister got the bag from a market in Florence two years ago, and the bandana I've owned for as long as I can remember.

This is day two of the trip, where I'm still 97% jet-lagged but 100% ready to get out and explore the beauty of France, because guess what? There's more than just Paris. Here I'm in Mont Saint-Michel, stop #1 of the trip, which is this big Hogwarts-looking-setup surrounded by water that actually used to be an Abby back in the day and is now a big tourist attraction. But for time purposes, I like to call it the French Hogwarts. While packing for my two week endeavor, I realized that France has strange temps in the summer, ranging from 60-90 degrees. This conflict forced me to pack my single pair of pants that can be worn in such climates, and of course they happened to be white (site note: do NOT choose to bring white pants as the only pair of pants you bring on a trip.) I slipped these on for this day because the French Hogwarts was further north, but continued to wear a strapless tank that reminds me of Van Gogh's Irises (how French!) and slides that my mom likes to call "Italian grandma shoes" even though I'm in the country north of that. I then tied the black bandana around my neck, Parisian style (even though I still had nine days until Paris), as if it was instinct and my brain didn't have to tell my hands what to do. This would continue to be a problem for the rest of the trip. Here I felt très Français, white pants and all, like some type of French sailor ready to sail the world (but in this case, the world is just the country of France).

Top by Topshop (similar here). Skirt by Zara (similar here). Bandana similar to the one I wore on day two. 

Now I've reached day five of the trip, unfortunately skipping the quiet town of Amboise (I was too busy château hopping to get outfit shots) to the historic and art-filled town of Arles. Along with the rich history of the Romans and Van Gogh, it was hot. 100 degrees, sweating out all of my fluids, and being exhausted by 3 pm hot. Every 20-something was extremely stylish here, in a midi dress and slides way, so wearing denim cutoffs and a tank wouldn't cut it. I hate the heat, so I encountered another fashion challenge today and decided to wear my new midi from Zara (sidenote: Zara is so good right now!!) with a ribbed crop top because showing an inch of stomach somehow works magic in weather that feels like hell. But I was in Arles, so it was more like this beautiful version of hell. I continued to tie yet another bandana around my neck, choker style this time, and because I was beginning to sweat it off, I forced myself to take it off and tie it around my bag instead. I finally slipped on the sandals I attempted to wear every day on my trip (which was a complete failure because these shoes have zero support) and was ready to take on the heat. Unfortunately, my outfit did not make me sweat less than any other look, but I still felt like I fit in with the rest of the style. And that was my entire point this trip: attempt to figure out the fashion of each town, and fit those standards to my own personal style. 

Top by Zara (or try this). Pants by Mango (remember these from day two?).

Shorts by J. Crew (or try these). 

And now I've finally reached day seven of the trip, aka the halfway mark of my French endeavor. Here I'm in St. Remy, a town similar to Arles (both in the Provence region) but more like a smaller, countryside version that also includes a rich history with Van Gogh. In the first photo, I'm wearing a top that can make an outfit and that requires no accessories (reason for the surprisingly bare neck). I paired it with my white pants, which are gradually getting extremely filthy. An hour later after this picture was taken, the grease from the pizza I'm holding dripped onto my pants, and in that moment, I really learned the lesson that white pants are not ideal for traveling. But the Tour de France was happening at that exact moment! I then continued to travel three hours to the beautiful beach-side town of Antibes, which is featured in the second, low quality Instagram photo. When I arrived, I immediately stripped off my white jeans and stripped on these shorts that you probably remember from here. And that's the beauty of this top: it magically works with everything, even though it somewhat resembles a clown's worst nightmare. I still have a heavy heart because right behind me in the photo is the town of Nice, and this picture was taken just hours before the tragedy occurred. But I realized that through tragedy, beauty will always come through the surface because Antibes is probably the most beautiful place I have ever been inside of. And all is well! We are safe! We continued onto Paris for the next four days, which will be reserved for my next post (spoiler: It's titled How to Look Parisian Without Really Trying). Au revoir!

All photos taken by my dad, who is also a photographer.

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