Our first Foreign Correspondent is here! Bijal Shah, her husband, and her two daughters spent ten days traveling around France this summer. We outfitted them with a suitcase full of Tea before they left, asking them to share their adventures with us upon their return. Below is Part 3 of their adventure. Stay tuned for the rest of their story this week!
The memories that come to mind about the interesting sounds of Paris and Provence are ones that my girls found the most unusual, exciting or soothing. In Paris, they loved hearing the sirens of the emergency vehicles by and the music of the merry go round. At the train station, they learned to anticipate the whistle blowing and would prepare by covering their ears.
Draing the scene outside the apartment window while listening to the street sounds.
But it was in Provence that sounds began to really become a part of the experience. My older daughter and I snuck up to the terrace and discovered a flock of “crazy birds,” screeching and flying by the dozens over the rooftops with no purpose or pattern. We sat there mesmerized by the sound of the chaotic birds.
View from the terrace, where the "crazy birds" were seen.
During the day, we heard the church bells chime on the hour and half hour. Hearing the bells was a new experience for the girls, and they enjoyed counting the rings to determine what time it was. As we left the city of Aix en Provence, we could hear the hum of the cicadas that populate Provence in the summertime.
Listening to cicadas outside the Chateau de Lourmarin
Towards the end of our trip to Provence we drove to Avignon, the site of the papal palace. We ate gelato, people watched, and listened to French folk music while my younger daughter danced. This was a moment that we will not soon forget; it touched all of our senses.
Our first Foreign Correspondent is here! Bijal Shah, her husband, and her two daughters spent ten days traveling around France this summer. We outfitted them with a suitcase full of Tea before they left, asking them to share their adventures with us upon their return. Below is Part 2 of their adventure. Stay tuned for the rest of their story this week.
Our surroundings in France were incredible. The most amazing moment we had, the one that made both of my daughters’ jaws drop, was seeing the Eiffel Tower change from a lit up tower to a sparkling beauty. We knew that it would light up at night but all of a sudden, while we were on our night boat cruise it began to sparkle and continued to sparkle for five minutes. This was their single most memorable moment.
Right outside our hotel was the beautiful and peaceful Tuileries Garden. This garden was our direct path to the Louvre, which held the Mona Lisa, my older daughter’s favorite painting. At the Louvre, my daughters used their sense of sight to match the famous paintings they were seeing with the ones on their Louvre Bingo card that I had created at home, with the pictures of the most famous pieces of artwork at the museum. The bingo game was perfect for keeping their attention (at least an hour) at the museum. On our third day in Paris, we headed to Versailles to see the Sun King’s palace. Here we once again used our sense of sight to count the number of sun symbols we saw in each room that we visited…another tactic to keep the girls excited and looking around at the beautiful decor in the heat and crowd of people. The favorite room for both girls was the Queen’s bedroom with the pink and flowery motif and total number of symbols counted was over 100.
Playing Picture Bingo at the Louvre
After Paris we headed to Provence, where we had rented a car and were able to tour on our own. We drove to a 12th century working abbey called Senanque Abbey that was located in a valley outside of the hilltop village of Gordes. It is impossible to put in words how beautiful the ancient Abbey looked surrounded by the hills and purple lavender fields.
Senanque Abbey outside of Gordes
On a whim, we decided to drive to the town of Lourmarin where we happened to come across an old chateau that was open to tours. The Chateau de Lourmarin was a beautifully restored chateau from the 15th century with amazing views. The restored kitchen inside the chateau was the favorite all around.
Chateau du Lourmarin
The next day we drove to the French Riviera coast. As we approached the coast we caught glimpses of the sapphire blue waters peaking out in between the hills. We drove to a picturesque coastal town called Sanary-sur-Mer. It had a marina full of sailboats and a little boardwalk with cute shops and cafes. We were even able to take a dip in the ocean at a nearby beach. All of the natural beauty in Provence was a stark contrast to the metropolitan beauty of Paris, but both were a feast for the eyes.
Our first Foreign Correspondent is here! Bijal Shah, her husband, and her two daughters spent ten days traveling around France this summer. We outfitted them with a suitcase full of Tea before they left, asking them to share their adventures with us upon their return. Below is Part 1 of their adventure. Stay tuned for the rest of their story this week!
The Shah family outside the Palace of Versailles
Our family vacation to France was full of so many incredible experiences which left our daughters, ages 7 and 4 wanting to come back one day and experience it all again. This week I will re-live our journey our taste buds experienced.
On our first day in Paris we came across a gelato shop on our walk back from the Eiffel tower. After a long wait and using the minimal French my husband knew, we finally sat down with our refreshing gelato. The strawberry and cantaloupe sorbets tasted just like fresh ice-cold fruit that was picked at the peak of ripeness! The wonderfully cold gelato was a truly delicious and much needed reprieve in the hot Paris afternoon.
After a few days in Paris, we took the train to Aix-en-Provence, a small town in the south of France As a promise to the girls, we woke up early and headed to an outdoor farmer’s market with stalls of produce, meats, cheeses. The first things we bought were a bag of beautiful dark cherries and a basket of strawberries. The cherries were the sweetest we had ever tasted. We couldn’t help but exclaim “wow” after the first bite of a fresh cherry. While walking back to the apartment, we nearly devoured all the strawberries.
Each morning in the apartment we would have breakfast consisting of fresh fruit and warm croissants. Directly next door to the apartment building was a family owned Boulangerie (bakery). Every morning my husband would run downstairs and buy some hot croissants and deliver them for breakfast. We would sit on our rooftop terrace, eating our warm, melt-in-your-mouth croissants, juicy sweet fruits and enjoy the view of the orange tiled rooftops, church steeples and Mount St. Victoire in the background. The food in Paris was fun for the girls, as was the experience of sitting in the outdoor cafés, but the farm fresh foods in Provence are the ones that still get their taste buds tingling.
Behind the Design Wednesdays: Every week Tea writes about our designers’ inspiration for our current collection of clothing. For more Behind the Designs click here.
Have you ever tasted coffee from Chiapas, Mexico? Chiapas is located in the southern mountain range of Mexico, near the Pacific Ocean. Coffee beans from this region are sought after for their delicate aroma and sweet, medium-bodied taste. Mexican farmers have been growing coffee beans for generations with limited technology, and due to the mountainous environment most coffee fields are small – between 2 and 4 acres large.
When visiting this region of Mexico our designers were bombarded with different brands of Chiapas coffee, each owned by a separate family company. Each bag had its own typeface and personality, some referencing vintage coffee bag aesthetics, while others were more bright and modern. Inspired by the graphics, our designers created our Jaguares de Chiapas Tee. Constructed out of our favorite slub cotton, this shirt references a rich agricultural history, and is perfect for playing sports and exploring!
“Jaguares de Chiapas” is a professional soccer club from the Chiapas region. And why number 19? Chiapas is Mexico’s 19th state.
Behind the Design Wednesdays: Every week Tea writes about our designers’ inspiration for our current collection of clothing.
To start off our new Behind the Design Wednesdays and to kick off our new Modern Mexico collection for girls and boys, we thought we’d post a video of footage shot while our designers were traveling around Mexico. We’ll release more of this collection in the coming weeks! We hope you feel as inspired as we do.
Today we have a guest post from Ana, who works in Graphic Design at Tea. Every year Tea employees receive a dividend from Tea to use towards international travel. On Studio T we’ll be sharing travel stories of our employees as they travel around the world.
This year my international travels took me to Paris to meet my first niece Sofia. She is a gorgeous half French half Venezuelan healthy baby girl. So for this particular visit to the City of Lights, it was all about family time and not about sightseeing. I’m excited to see her grow up in a mix of cultures, and right now I’m undecided about a little detail… do I want her to call me Tia Anita? Tante Ana? Or Auntie Ana? French and Spanish will definitely surround her, but in me she has a very American aunt! So she will have a little bit of everything I guess.
Ana and Sofia
There are different things I would love to share from this trip, and I have a hard time selecting which ones to share. But I’ll share highlights of my favorite things!
This trip was not about the Eiffel Tour or Champs Elysees; it was about spending quality time with Sofia and my family. So on a Saturday, my mom, dad and I walked to a local market: Saxe-Breteuil Market in the 7th arrondissement. It was a bit overwhelming because it was crowded and the locals have their way of navigating their way through their market… and there were so many different things that you just didn’t know where to start! From cheeses, to hand-made Italian pastas, to jewelry and hats… you could find anything you wanted. On this visit we got a variety of raviolis and fresh vegetables to make pasta for lunch, and of course a cheese platter for dessert.
One afternoon, my mom and I took a walk on Rue de Sèvres and visited the Hermes store there. Amazing. My family had told me about how beautiful it was inside and the minute I saw the window displays I knew I was in for a treat! The entrance had a flower section with orchids and mini flower arrangements on one side and on the other it was all about horses and the classic Hermes scarf. But what really drew me in was once you started walking down the stairs into the main floor this enormous three pear-shaped tee-pees made out of wood and in each of them a different theme: beach, home linen and home china. My eyes were flying all over every detail. The floors, the leather handles on the staircase with the wood… forget about the product the experience of being in the store was just perfect for inspiration! And right next to the Hermes store there is a children’s bookstore: Librairie Chantelivre that I definitely recommend checking out. We were lucky enough that a Chinese illustrator was signing his books and he didn’t just sign the books–he drew illustrations with ink and brush on the spot. I think the parents were more excited than the kids to see the man at work!
The highlight I could go on forever about is Roland Garros. My hobby is tennis. I’ve been playing since I was a kid and now in my free time I play competitively (and for fun of course). So to get to sit in the stand of Philippe Chatrier during the 40th anniversary of Roland Garros was an amazing treat. I was only able to go to one day, but the tennis I saw was amazing: defending champion Francesca Schiavone, Novak Djokovic – winning his 38th straight win in 2011! For a tennis fan this was one lucky day to get all this great tennis on the first round of the open. I wish my pictures could show how amazing the tennis was, but my main focus was to capture the tennis form of the players so that I could improve my game!
The last little thing I’d love to share is that on one of the walks to the metro to go from our place to my sister’s place, there’s a little park across the street from Le Bon Marché…as we were walking by I spotted a trailer and my mind clicked: they’re having a photo shoot at the park! I’ve been doing a little bit of photography at Tea and now I can’t help but pay more attention to photography so I had to go check it out. I’m a little bit shy so I didn’t go and talked to anyone, but I did take a minute just to see them work. I have no idea what they were shooting for; there were two very tall models that looked like they were wearing something straight out of Lagerfeld’s sketchbook:
Welcome to our Fall 2011 collection, inspired by Modern Mexico! Our designers traveled to Mexico City, Oaxaca, and San Cristobal, and immersed themselves in the culture to gather inspiration for this new line. Loving the bright vivid colors, intricate embroidery, and bustling marketplaces, they returned to San Francisco to design our latest collection. We have a small release and preview of what’s to come up on our site, so head over to check out our latest girl’s and boy’s clothes.
For the next few weeks on Studio T we’ll be wrapping up our Barcelona-inspired summer collection, and moving into the festivities of Modern Mexico. We look forward to taking this journey with you.