round portico of a stone church Santa Maria dell Pace Rome

The Sibyls, Santa Maria della Pace, Rome

Tucked between the Piazza Navona and via dei Coronari, in my favorite area of Rome, sit Santa Maria della Pace and the Chiostro del Bramante. After visiting these two gems, my slow travel itinerary would include meandering through the lanes, visiting antique shops on via dei Coronari, and enjoying lunch at an outdoor table while admiring Renaissance and Baroque...

park pink petunias stone urns balustrade chairs trees Jardin du Luxembourg

A Day in the Jardin du Luxembourg: Part 1

We enjoyed another amazing brunch of avocado toast, bright green vegetable-laden risotto, juice, and coffee at Judy Cantine Qualitarienne. Sitting next to the window we watched the Sunday rhythm of the street, people walking dogs, families on their way to a day of fun, people sunning themselves on the terrace across the street. As we left the restaurant the...

cobblestone street pastel houses and shutters Arles

A Day Trip to Arles

As the train pulled into the station at Arles on a mild November morning, I found myself entirely unprepared. I’d set off for a day trip to Arles from Montpellier on a whim, intending to go where the wind blew me, finding joy in discovering things for myself, a true flâneur. Usually, I do more planning, but it had...

Castel Sant'Angelo Rome river bridge angels ancient Roman building sunset

A Winter Day in Rome

One night, I dreamed that I was alone in the darkened streets of Rome. Rounding a corner, there was the Pantheon, lit up in the night, its enormity and beauty breathtaking. Stunned, I couldn’t believe how lucky I was to see it if only in a dream. What was I doing there? Why was I alone? It would be...

Chocolatería San Ginés, Madrid ©ruedevarenne.com

Chocolatería San Ginés

Tucked in a pedestrian passage off of the Puerta del Sol and attached to Iglesia San Ginés, the Chocolatería San Ginés has served chocolate con churros since 1894. This interpretation may not be what many are used to, but the combination is divine. The hot chocolate is similar to a rich, dark pudding; rather than a beverage, it’s used...

rue de Sévigné Paris dusk church

L’heure bleue in Paris

L’heure bleue, or the blue hour, is a French concept. It’s that magical time between the sun setting and nightfall, when the angle of the sun below the horizon line bathes everything in a suffused, bluish light, creating a dreamlike quality. It’s more specific than “evening” because it refers to the quality of light, not just the time of...

wooden doors surrounded by stone arch

Welcome to Rue de Varenne

The Rue de Varenne is a beautiful street lined with hôtels particuliers built mainly in the 18th century. It’s long and, except for a slight curve at one point, quite straight, with few shops or cafés. Many of the mansions are now private schools, government ministries, or embassies. The French Prime Minister’s resides at number 57. It’s jarring to...

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