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A DAY IN NÎMES

actually this post should have been called 'a few hours in nîmes' because we didn't actually spend a full day there. while we were spending the weekend in boulbon, we ventured out to nîmes on saturday morning for a little dose of culture. i was curious to experience the city after which denim was named, but i was more than a little disappointed when i noticed nîmes does not, in fact, have a museum devoted to the history of the fabric.

there were other sights to be seen, though. my favorite place had MAISON CARREE on one side, and CARRE D'ART on the other. the former one of the best conserved roman temples in the world, the latter a museum dedicated to modern art. the juxtaposition of ancient and modern architecture and art kinda blew my mind a little bit.

there's more to discover in nîmes - some nice fountains, the beautiful arena and cute little streets filled with boutiques. while overall i can't say i fell in love with the relatively small town, i did enjoy wandering through it for a bit. we ended up having lunch at RESTAURANT LE CARRE D'ART right around the corner of the museum, in the coziest little patio i ever did see. the food left us a little underwhelmed and they have a decidedly bizarre interpretation of a club sandwich (don't you hate when people manage to botch up a classic?) so maybe stick to drinks outside in the sun when you decide to go there.

photos by stephanie duval

TRAVEL ESSENTIAL // LA MER SPF

last weekend we escaped the grey weather in geneva by hopping on a train to avignon. in around three hours, we arrived at a state of the art train station and were whisked away by my lovely parents-in-law to the beautiful HÔTEL DE LA BASTIDE DE BOULBON about fifteen minutes from avignon. it is run by a belgian couple, and their classy style is evident in the smallest details, inside and outside. we fell in love with the gorgeous garden, terrace, swimming pool and facade of the building, and spent some lovely moments lounging in the sun, a bottle of viognier near.

last weekend was the first little bite of summer i have had all year, so i made sure to pack plenty of spf. last year i was introduced to the wonderful spf 30 uv protecting fluid by LA MER, which i used all summer long up to my wedding (and on the big day itself underneath my make-up!) this year, la mer introduced an ever safer update version of the product in SPF 50. the texture is a little heavier, which is understandable, given the protection it gives to your skin. it is also white, contrary to the light green shade the spf 30 version had.

the best part about this product is that the bottle is small enough to fit into any kind of purse or beach bag, so i have it with me always. it's not supposed to hydrate as it is purely spf, and because of that i find that it makes my skin a lot less oily than most other sunscreens. i much prefer this manner of protecting my skin against the sun, combining the spf with my own face lotion or cream of choice.

as for the upgrade to spf 50 from 30, i really don't mind it, as the skin on my face is prone to pigmentation and not in the cute, freckly kind of way. tanning is becoming less and less important to me, as i grow weary of the devastatingly damaging effects the sun has on skin. i do believe, however, that with the right use of the right products, you can still get a healthy glow in a safe and responsible way. and if it makes me smell as good as a la mer product, well that's just an added bonus.

photos by stephanie duval // taken at the HÔTEL DE LA BASTIDE DE BOULBON in boulbon // this blog post is a collaboration with LA MER, but of course all opinions are my own // shop for la mer online or in antwerp at PARFUMA or in brussels at SENTEURS D'AILLEURS

25 HOURS HOTEL BIKINI BERLIN

it's been a terribly hectic few weeks, as you might have guessed from the lower frequency of posting around here. not that i'm complaining - life may be busy, but it's still treating me well. after working on my book like a maniac (it's almost finished, i can hardly believe it!), i could really use the inspirational trip to berlin from last week. i went to visit the fashion trade fairs as i do every season, and this time i stayed at the brand new 25 HOURS HOTEL BIKINI BERLIN.

last time i experienced the 25 hours chain was IN ZURICH, and i really liked that location a lot. like, a lot a lot. the new hotel in berlin is very different in many ways, but at the same time it felt very familiar. i think they do a good job of translating the fun and carefree essence of the brand to each specific locale. all the modern comforts you've come to expect in a hotel are there - fast and free wifi, really nice bathroom amenities, a cozy lobby and beautifully designed, spacious rooms.

on top of that, 25 hours bikini berlin has a great bakery in the lobby with amazing coffee provided by FIVE ELEPHANT, giant hammocks and free newspapers. its restaurant on the top floor, NENI, boasts a spectacular view on both berlin city and the neighboring zoo (i could hear monkeys scream from my room, too!). and let me tell you about the food - it is SO VERY GOOD. i love their home made falafel, red beet and carrot salad and sweet potato fries so much, i dream about it all day long. the interior is pretty amazing as well, as they built a kind of greenhouse inside of the space.

bonus to the story? the hotel is located directly next to berlin's newest shopping mall BIKINI BERLIN, which is home to restaurants, a movie theater and great shops such as a mykita flagship and a gestalten space. literally the only downside i can think of regarding this hotel, is that rooms near to the rooftop monkey bar tend to be able to hear the noise from the party until late at night - but if you simply ask for a room on the opposite end of the building, that shouldn't be a problem.

photos by stephanie duval
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