Fiesta des Brocs : Sare, France

My favorite weekend activity here in Biarritz is exploring all of the local antique and flea markets. The markets usually happen once a month, but they happen in so many little local towns that one of my favorites lands on almost every weekend of the month. This weekend was special because a once-a-year brocante, the Fiesta des Brocs, was happening in Sare, a little Basque town about 30 minutes outside of Biarritz just below La Rhune mountain (which we hiked a few weeks ago). We missed it last year because we were traveling, but our good friends Erin and J went and said it was amazing and not to be missed this year. I made sure to not plan any trips this weekend so we would be around for it.

Early morning flea markets are not usually Brent’s favorite activity, but I convinced him to come with me this morning, telling him that it only happened once a year and would be a fun adventure exploring a new local town. We arrived in Sare around 9am and it was raining and vendors were still setting up. (Crazy, right? It’s not like back in the states where markets start at 6am – the vendors here like to take their time and leisurely set up their booths, so 9am at a market here is still considered ‘early’!) We stopped at a cafe to enjoy a cup of coffee and croissant, giving the vendors a bit more time to get set up and for the rain to stop – which it luckily did.

Brocante in Sare, France

The vendors were setup throughout the streets of this cute little town, and it just kept going and going, winding around and up and down. One of the biggest antique markets I’ve been to yet! Furniture, glassware, silverware, vintage linens, old lamps, jewelry, paintings, anything and everything. The markets I usual going to are somewhat of a combo of flea market and antique market, where I can usually find cheaper things that aren’t neccessarily antiques, but still vintage and French but this brocante was mostly all antiques, very fancy, nicer, and a bit more expensive.

Some people think it’s wierd to dig through old stuff, but I love it so much because for me it’s another great way to learn about a culture, take in a bit of history, and find inspiration. Whether it’s through colors of a collection of old glassware, old typography on a game, map, poster, embroidered into a linen, vintage postcards, or graphics on old china, I always feel inspired in some way. I’m always on the hunt for anything with beautiful type on it, and now especially searching for type in French. I love seeing the fonts, the colors, the way old things were designed. As a designer I’m always searching for new sources of inspiration, and antique markets are a great place to find it.

We came home with less of a pile that I usually do, but we still scored a few amazing pieces. Lately I’ve been eyeing vintage seltzer bottles at the last few markets I’ve been to, and today I scored one in the most beautiful shade of blue, with subtle type etched into the front, for about half the price that I’ve been quoted on the last 10 I’ve inquired about. I also found this adorbale embroidered pouch with a bird and ‘Maman’ (mom) on the front – again love anything with a French word on it. And this rad old wooden box with the most beautiful type on the side, for just 5€! It was an amazing morning and well worth waking up early and making the drive. Can’t wait check it out again next year!

Sare, France Antique Market Finds


Exploring Dubrovnik, Croatia : Day 1

Because I got to choose where we went for our last two trips (Santorini and Menorca), Brent said it was his turn to pick the place, and he really wanted to come to Croatia. Because of Bastille Day on July 14th in France, it was a good time for Brent to take a holiday (only 2 vacation days for a 5 day vacation!), so we decided to spend this weekend in Croatia. Tickets had been pricey for the last few weeks, but Brent kept checking and doing research and finally last weekend we were able to book a not-to-expensive direct flight from Bordeaux (about a two hour drive from Biarritz) to Dubrovnik, Croatia. It was a pretty rough morning because we had to wake up around 2am to be safe and get to the airport in time for our 6am flight, but that put us in Dubrovnik by 8am, so we didn’t loose any time to explore, we only lost sleep.

Brent had done a ton of research about where to stay, and like usual with our trips, because we booked so last minute there weren’t a ton of options, but we ended up deciding on a cute little studio available on VRBO just outside of Old Town Dunrovnik, with a cute little balcony overlooking a great view of the city. The owner of the apartment had arranged for a taxi driver to pick us up and bring us directly to our apartment, which we ended up being really glad we did because the apartment was a bit hard to find. The apartment was on the side of a cliff, in a neighborhood with the tiniest little zig zag streets heading down. The taxi driver had to go backwards down every other zig and zag because there wasn’t even enough room for him to make the turn. We watched quietly in awe as he navigated these little streets, and it was funny when he turned around and said ‘no comments?’ haha, I think he expected more of a reaction from us. But then again, we live in Biarritz where streets that look like tiny one way streets are actually TWO way streets, so that doesn’t surprise us anymore.

We got the the apartment and the owner, a cute little old lady, showed us around, told us ‘sorry no wifi here’ (insert giant panic attack because I have so much work to do while on this trip! Ahhhhhh) and also told us she had been to California and the most favorite place she had visited was Yosemite! I told her that’s where I grew up and she was so surprised – what a small world! She gave us a few recommendations to check out while we are here and then we set off to explore for the day.

Our apartment overlooks Old City Dubrovnik which is built dirctily on the edge of the water inside of a giant castle wall. If you watch Game of Thrones, this is King’s Landing. We made our way down the zig zag streets to the Old City and entered the walls to explore. We walked around trying to find an ATM to pull out some Krohns, walked through a local produce market where I bought some dried figs, wandered a few streets until we couldn’t stand the heat and people any longer. This city was so crowded, and it turns out several cruise ships stop here during the day and drop hundreds of people off, so you could barely walk through the streets. Not to mention it was in the high nineties, so we quickly decided to make our way to the beach.

Port of Dubrovnik, Croatia

Just north of the Old City, right outside the walls next to the harbor, there is a beach club called Bahje Beach Club. We rented two lounge chairs with an umbrella to chill on, where we got drink service all day. Brent enjoyed local beers and I drank cocktails like mojitos and pina coladas – the kind of drinks always make me feel like I’m on vacation. We swam in the clear blue Mediterranean water and listened to the European beach lounge mix being blasted on the beach. It was such a euro vacation moment, and I loved it!

After a long day spent lounging on the beach we stopped by a market to grab some groceries for our apartment, cleaned up, and headed back into town for dinner. The Old City is filled with tiny cobblestone streets all lined with little outdoor restaurants, one after the other after the other. It was hard to choose, but we ended up deciding on a cute little Mediterranean restaurant, where I enjoyed oysters, an anchovie salad and shrimp risotto and Brent had a delicious slow cooked beef brisket with gnocchi. I probably ended up eating more of his dish than my own – the homemade gnocchi was the best! After dinner we were exhausted from the early flight and long day so we headed back up the zig zag streets to our apartment on the hill to crash. It was a good first day in Croatia.

Blue water at Banje Beach Club | Dubrovnik, Croatia



La Rhune : Hiking In The Pyrenees

A few weekends ago in June we woke up to a gloomy Saturday (sigh) and decided it was the perfect day to tackle one of our local bucketlist items : hike to the top of La Rhune mountain. La Rhune, with an elevation of 2,969 feet, is part of the Pyrenees mountain range, located on the west end, bordering France and Spain. We can see it from most local towns and anywhere with a view. We had heard it was a great hike with an amazing panoramic view of Basque Country. There is also a train, Le Petit Train, that you can take to the top of the mountain, but we opted for the hike to the top for our first La Rhune experience.

We started our hike at the train station at the base of the mountain, which is about a 30 minute drive from our house. The trail ended up being more difficult than we were expecting – I think we expected winding switchbacks, and instead it started off heading straight UP, and up and up and up. We were pretty sweaty, but I loved the workout! The view from the trail as we headed up was pretty incredible and of course I stopped to take a million pictures. Basque Country gets so much rain that everything is very lush and green. I loved seeing all the local foliage, especially the ferns. With the forest to one side and the fog creeping down a mountain on the other, it felt like we had stepped into a scene from Game of Thrones. On the way up we passed horses, including the cutest baby horse, and fences and old farm houses built out of stones.


It took us about 2 hours to make it to the top. The fog became more and more dense the higher we climbed, so when we finally reached the summit there was no view. But there was a small restaurant where we refueled with some lemon beer, a jambon sandwhich, and some Spanish croquets. It was cool because when we started the hike we were in France, but the top of the mountain is in Spain, so everyone at the restaurant was speaking Spanish and they were serving Spanish snacks. It was very busy at the top because a train full of tourists had arrived right as we reached the summit. We were bummed we didn’t get to see the famous panoramic view from the top so we’ll have to come back and do it again when the sun is out.

The hike back was even more foggy than the hike up, and we lost the trail a couple times and had to back track. Seeing the fog creeping through the forest was pretty amazing, and we could hear bells jingling in the distance, most likely attached to livestock of some sort so that their owners could find them in the fog. We made it down in about an hour and a half, legs sore from the climb, but totally worth it! If you ever make it to Basque Country we would definitely recommend this gorgeous hike!

The Magical Balearic Island of Menorca

A few weeks ago in early June it had been pretty gloomy and rainy in Biarritz, so feeling deprived of vitamin D I told Brent “We HAVE to go find summer and sunshine somewhere this weekend!” He did a quick search for cheap flights and we saw $150 tickets available from Bilbao (a town in Spain about and hour and a half drive from Biarritz) to Menorca. We did a quick Google image search (or my favorite – a Pinterest search) of Menorca and immediately realized we had to make this trip happen, it was too good to be true. Brent’s boss was nice enough to let him take Friday off, so with only three days notice, we booked our flights, and shortly after found ourselves sitting on the white beaches of Cala Galdana, completely blown away by the bluest, clearest water we had ever seen!!!


Menorca is one of the Balearic Islands located in the Mediterranean Sea, on the eastern coast of Spain. The other more well known Balearic Islands are Mallorca and Ibiza, which you may have heard of. The drive to Bilbao was only a little over an hour (no traffic – sweet!) and the flight from Bilbao to this island was only an hour and a half. We landed at the airport Thursday evening, picked up our rental car, which of course Brent had researched and found an amazing deal on, and headed to our adults-only hotel, Sol Beach House Menorca. ADULTS ONLY!!! Who even knew those existed? We didn’t, but they do, and are amazing. It turned out to be occupied by a lot of old people, but hey – I’ll take quiet old people over screaming children any day. Our hotel was located on Playa Santo Tomas, a little stretch of beach sprinkled with straw umbrellas and palm trees. It actually reminded me a lot of our vacations in Hawaii because it was lined with nice, clean, big resorts – all connected by one long boardwalk that was perfect for evening sunset strolls and morning runs.


The view from our hotel room, at our Adults Only!!! hotel.

Brent enjoying some Spanish Rosé from our hotel room balcony.

Friday morning we set out with one major goal in mind : to find Brent a boat. Menorca is made up of tons of small, isolated, aqua-blue, breathtaking coves, or ‘calas’, that can only be reached by hiking to (not Brent’s favorite in the summer heat) or via boat, so of course Captain Brent wanted a boat. He had done some research and knew what direction to head, so our first stop was Cala Galdana. Cala Galdana turned out to not only be my most favorite beach in the world to date, but also where all of Captain Brent’s dreams came true – a small boat rental stand was setup at the end of the beach where you could rent small boats by the hour and take them off to explore the island. We put our names on the list for the next available boat and spent the next few hours hanging out on the beach until our boat was ready.


Cala Galdana is definitely one of the most beautiful beaches I have ever seen. The water was like a swimming pool – the most un-real aqua blue and so clear you could see the shadows of all the yachts on the ocean floor – words and photos cannot even do this place justice. We hiked to the top of the surrounding cliffs to get a birds-eye view which, even in person, did not seem real! Graphic, colorful umbrellas sprinkled the beach and there was a snack stand and bar where I discovered one of the best mojitos I’ve ever had, made with dark rum, crushed ice (crushed ice makes everything better) and chunky brown sugar. We swam, tanned and drank mojitos in this paradise until our boat was ready!


Birds eye view of Cala Galdana

Captain Brent was so beyond stoked to be on his boat. The boat was small but was the perfect size for the two of us, the captain in his seat and a nice padded flat area up front for me to lay. We set off and cruised both north and south to explore the coves. We dropped anchor in a few coves to take a dip, drink a beer, enjoy the view… little did we know this ‘view’ would often include naked men and topless women. We are used to the topless women now, we see that everyday in Biarritz, but the dudes… that was a new one for us – ha! Brent said he had read that a few of the coves were nude coves, so I guess it made sense. But we cracked up when we would pull our tiny boat up to a big fancy yacht in a cove and the captain of the yacht would be standing on the deck, fully nude, letting ‘everything’ just swing in the wind. But either way, nude or not, it was so epic to be chillin’ on a boat in the Mediterranean, surrounded by fancy yachts, blue water and topless (and bottomless) people. It felt like we were in a movie.


Captain Meatneck on his B O A T ! ! !

Pulling into breathtaking coves to take a dip!

After all day in the sunshine we headed back to our hotel in Santo Tomas, stopping at Mibo to get some Alvarcas – the famous sandals that are made on the island. After we headed to the famous bar, Cova d’en Xoroi, north of hotel on another side of the island to check it out. It looked cool online – built into a cliff over the water, perfect for watching the sunset, but when we got there it was super touristy and crowded and was a bit of a rip off, so we had one drink and then headed back to Santo Tomas for dinner.


Saturday morning, after a big buffet breakfast in our hotel (which included things like eggs and pancakes – so simple but SO exciting when we live in France and never get that!) we headed out to explore more of the island. We stopped at Cala Galdana for a bit for another mojito and more of that crystal clear water, and then drove to the other side of the island to explore more coves. We found a gorgeous cove where we ended up eating lunch (and Brent got complimented on his perfect Spanish – so he was excited), but the water here was filled with jelly fish, so we couldn’t swim. So off to another cove that involved a bit of a hike, but Brent was excited to discover waves in this cove, with about 7 guys out surfing. We sat and watched the surfers for a bit but there were also jellyfish in this water, so we decided to head back to our favorite Cala Galdana for one last swim.

Sunday morning was sad, I did NOT want to leave. After breakfast we went for one more swim out in front of our hotel, in the perfect water, before we had to head back home. It was one of the best summer weekends I’ve ever had, and I already can’t wait to go back to Menorca again someday. And hopefully someday soon because tickets are still only $150!!!