Spending Summer in the City

[русский текст - ниже]

I have yet to take my sandals out of the box and check whether my favourite rainbow dress still fits me (if not, blame the crazy long winter and everyone's obsession with hygge), but my inbox is already overflown with news about 50% discounts on summer collections.

The citizens of St. Petersburg have accepted the fact that it is never warm in June long time ago, however this year's weather is absolutely absurd - I spent the first month of so-called summer wrapping scarves around my neck, drinking 'Dr. Mom' syrup straight out of the bottle and walking through puddles in wet textile sneakers that clearly were not designed for such rainy days (surprise!). It seems like it is time to stop moaning about the weather anomalies and put up with the fact that summer begins on the 21st of June, not on the 1st.

To be honest, the last few weeks were so exhausting (bye-bye, exams!) that I really want to go south - both literally and figuratively. Eat cheap fruits and dance to some sort of Camila Cabello all night long. Get tickets to Tunisia, throw a few bikinis in a suitcase and in a few hours greet the sun in Africa - just like we did 3 years ago. Or take a bus ride along the coast of Marseille and listen to the stories of a local man who clearly overestimated my ability to speak French (they all seem to).

Alas, the schedule I enthusiastically created today after successfully completing the penultimate semester at university means I will have to spend most of July & August buried in books about Renaissance and lengthy tomes written by art historians who make suprematism sound like quantum physics. Summer in the city it is, then. In between assignments and presentations I plan to finally visit Blahnik and Bakst exhibitions, take a look at the vintage underwear and Hermès carrés, finish 'Au Bonheur des Dames' and watch Sofia Coppola's 'The Beguiled'. Let's hope the weather gets better and I get to see summer not just on my Instagram feed this year.

Photo edited by Sergey Povoroznyuk

Strolling Through Jardin du Palais-Royal

Hey there! It has been quite a while since I last posted here. This year has been a true whirlwind so far with countless projects and exams at university, my freelance commitments and current volunteering work at the FIFA 2017 Confederations Cup in St. Petersburg. At the moment I am home, with a big scarf around my neck, coughing and trying to cure my cold with hot tea - it is unusually cold here and I guess my body refuses to operate under these circumstances, hehe. I am thinking about my trip to Paris last summer, and although it was pretty chilly during my stay there as well, the photos I took in Jardin du Palais-Royal warm my heart.

Jardin du Palais-Royal is a lovely quiet garden in the 1er arrondissement, which is ideal for an afternoon stroll or a morning coffee together with a friend (I recommend the famous Café Kitsuné located in one of the side galleries). There are less tourists than in Tuileries or Jardin du Luxembourg, and I can see myself coming here with a good book in the future - fingers crossed local pigeons will not mistake me for a statue though!

What kind of book would you take with you to Jardin du Palais-Royal?

Photos edited by Sergey Povoroznyuk

Colonnes de Buren

You have probably seen this place countless times on photos - the art installation "Les Deux Plateaux", commonly known as "Colonnes de Buren", created by the French artist Daniel Buren in the 1980's and located in the inner courtyard of the beautiful Palais Royal. Once a subject of great controversy, it is now a beloved place for tourists and photographers alike. This picturesque courtyard is indeed very interesting: it is like walking through a museum - but the one where you are allowed to touch the works of art and even sit on them if your feet are sore. Regardless of whether you think there is a meaning deep enough or not, it is an excellent example of how contemporary art can become an organic part of our everyday lives.

Due to its geometric nature and my silly perfectionism, I have to say I found Colonnes de Buren quite difficult to photograph - as you can see, out of dozens of photos I took with my camera, I decided that only one is worth sharing, hehe. Having at least something in order and under control gives us a much-needed illusion that everything else will fall into place as well, no? However, sometimes there is just no need to chercher midi à quatorze heures - aka, to complicate.

Along with this phrase-of-the-week, let me share with you some more things that I recommend checking out this weekend: Caramel Brulée Latte from Starbucks (sweet, but with a little hint of bitterness), Lanvin Fall/Winter 2017 collection (dreamy and feminine - one of my favourite ones from Paris Fashion Week so far) and the ever so lovely Emma Watson giving strangers advice at Grand Central in NYC.


Наверное, вы уже не раз видели это место на фотографиях - инсталляция "Les Deux Plateaux", более широко известная как "Colonnes de Buren", была создана французским художником Даниэлем Бюреном в 1980-х годах и располагается во внутреннем дворе прелестного Palais Royal. Когда-то бывшая предметом горячих споров, теперь она превратилась в один из символов Парижа. Живописный дворик привлекает туристов и фотографов по вполне понятным причинам; это своего рода музей под открытым небом - но такой, в котором никто даже бровью не поведёт, если вы решите вскарабкаться на номинальные произведения искусства вместе с ногами. Есть ли в этой инсталляции действительно глубокий смысл, тот, который переводит декоративное в разряд концептуального? Это, пожалуй, вопрос личного восприятия. Но нельзя отрицать, что колонны Бюрена - прекрасный пример того, как современное искусство может взаимодействовать с пространством и становиться частью повседневной жизни.

Вся эта геометрия в кубе, помноженная на мой перфекционизм, превратила процесс выбора фотографий в настоящий кошмар - как видите, уцелел лишь один снимок. Иногда контроль над чем-то несущественным даёт сладкую иллюзию того, что и всё остальное рано или поздно сложится как надо, не правда ли? Это тот самый момент, когда нужно наклеить на зеркало листик с выражением chercher midi à quatorze heures - как напоминание того, что не нужно лишний раз усложнять.

Вдогонку этой полезной фразе - ещё несколько советов на выходные: попробуйте латте "Жжёная карамель" в Старбаксе (сладкое вроде осенних сезонных напитков, но с приятной горчинкой), полистайте фотографии с осенне-зимнего показа Lanvin (мечтательницам посвящается! пока одна из моих самых любимых коллекций на парижской Неделе моды) и посмотрите видео, в котором очаровательная Эмма Уотсон даёт советы незнакомцам на Центральном вокзале Нью-Йорка.

Photo edited by Sergey Povoroznyuk

Les Crêpes

Mardi Gras (aka Pancake Day) is quickly approaching! If you've never made crêpes before, I highly recommend checking out this video by Alex Gabriel and Jamie Oliver - it came in handy last year when I had just an hour to make pancakes (for the first time in my life) before heading out to my French school to attend its annual Mardi Gras party. Also, what are your favorite toppings? Share them in the comments down below! I love the good old Nutella - and if you fancy something posher, I advise to get a jar of Confit de Pétales de Rose de Provins chez Ladurée. Yum!


Пока масленичная неделя подходит к концу, в Европе вовсю запасаются мукой, молоком и яйцами - до Марди Гра (он же Pancake Day) всего ничего: в этом году титула "жирного вторника" удостоилось 28-е февраля. Если вы никогда прежде не делали крепы, очень рекомендую посмотреть вот это видео Алекса Габриэля и Джейми Оливера. В прошлом году оно помогло мне пройти путь от круглой лепёшки с дыркой в центре до идеально ровных, тонких и эластичных блинчиков за считанные минуты - гости нашей ежегодной "жирной" вечеринки в школе Excuse My French остались довольны. Кстати, с чем вы любите есть блины? Мне нравится классика вроде Нутеллы - но если хочется чего-то более изысканного, на помощь приходит Confit de Pétales de Rose de Provins из Ladurée. Yum!

Saturday Shopping

Spring is in the air! Which is both exciting (because we are, quite frankly, tired of snow) and terrifying (because that means deadlines and exams are quickly approaching). This season I'm feeling the need to invest in some quality essentials like a new coat and a pair of comfy sneakers, as well as a desire to add some softness - here's to pastels, cheeky slogans, and quirky details.

Don't be surprised by the fact that there are so many '& Other Stories' pieces - in the beginning of February they have finally opened a store in Helsinki (just hours away by car from St. Petersburg; Aleksanterinkatu, 42A), and I'm very much looking forward to visiting it this spring. Also, how incredible is this bucket bag by Léo et Violette? The most perfect size - and the loveliest green colour (it also comes in bordeaux, noir, camel and bleu). 


В воздухе - то самое предчувствие весны, которое заставляет просыпаться чуть раньше и улыбаться краешку голубого неба в окне над рабочим столом. Оно же намекает, что пора возобновлять поиски демисезонного пальто, которые так и не увенчались успехами осенью - и тут очень кстати новости о долгожданном открытии в Хельсинки магазина '& Other Stories' (адрес: Aleksanterinkatu, 42A).

Вообще, внезапно хочется простоты, мягкости, легкомысленности и пастельных оттенков. Ну и ещё вот эту сумку-ведро от Léo et Violette - потому что в ней прекрасны и форма, и размер, и цвет, и фурнитура, и всё-всё-всё. А чего вы больше всего ждёте от этой весны?

5 Must-Know French Phrases: Dans le Café

[русский текст - ниже]

Le Nemours - a restaurant you might have seen in such movies as "The Tourist" (2010) and "Intouchables" (2011)

Considering the fact that I'm struggling with French as I've never struggled with any other foreign language before, it's ironic that I'm here to teach you some useful phrases! Nevertheless. Last time I was in Paris I tried my best to use French as much as possible - even when the barista at Starbucks insisted on speaking English to me, I kept responding en français. And thankfully, some people were even willing to teach me a word or two! So here are some essential phrases and words that will make ordering a Mont-Blanc chez Angelina or sharing a bouillabaisse in Marseille that much easier.

№1: "Bonjour, je voudrais un café". There are numerous ways to order something at a café, but "je voudrais" ("I would like") is probably one of the most used. Just add the name of the drink / dish - and don't forget to smile (cause smiling makes any accent sound cute).

№2: "Un pain au chocolat à emporter, s'il vous plaît"À emporter is a really good phrase to memorize if you're like me and love stopping by the local boulangerie early in the morning and exploring the city with a typical pastry in hand - it basically means "to go". So if you want to take something away with you and enjoy your food in a nearby park, just add "à emporter".

№3: "Sur place ou à emporter?". If you order a salmon sandwich at a place like Paul and hear this phrase, the person simply wants to know whether you would like to eat it 'on-site' (sur place) or if you would prefer to take it away with you.

№4: "On veut partager le dessert". If you're feeling like you're too full for the dessert, but you don't wanna skip the opportunity to try something delicious, it's always a good idea to partager (or order something à partager) - get one and share with a friend.

№5: "Excusez-moi, l’addition, s’il vous plaît" - this is the phrase to use when you're done with dessert and ready to continue exploring the city: it basically means "excuse me, can I have the bill please?".

Of course, there are so many other useful phrases, but I think if you know very little French, it's better to memorize just the most essential ones - at least to avoid hearing any tricky questions that you will not be able to reply to, hehe. By the way, are there any French phrases / words that you find really funny? My personal favourite is SAPERLIPOPETTE.
And yes, it deserved to be written in all caps.

Photos  edited by Sergey Povoroznyuk

Galeries Lafayette: The Art of Living

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The humongous building of Galeries Lafayette is just as emblematic of Paris as the Eiffel Tower. With its main entrance located on the corner of boulevard Haussmann, it attracts thousands of people every day who stroll along the extravagant window displays, discover new perfumes and up-and-coming fashion brands under the majestic Art Nouveau dome or even look for souvenirs that will remind them of a vacation spent in the heart of France.

Although my linear mind has always found Galeries Lafayette a bit tricky to shop at, every time I come to Paris I make sure to stop by this splendid building, which is located just a few steps from Opéra, and pick up something - even if it's just a new Kure Bazaar nail polish or a Paperchase notebook or a last-minute gift for a friend who's having a birthday party (I even found a Star Wars-themed lamp for my friend here last summer which is probably the cheesiest present I've ever given to anyone).

In a way, Galeries Lafayette is like a Tim Walker's editorial among the photoshoots inspired by the recently popular 1990's aesthetics: it brings back the joy, the memorable experience, which is at the core of shopping and is the reason why so many people are addicted to browsing and trying on. With its mix of expensive and accessible, classic and contemporary - all under the roof of a century-old building - it is indeed a celebration of the French "art of living" which we all find so difficult to define. As much as the advertisements try to force us to believe a swipe of red lipstick will instantly make us feel Parisian, it's much more about being open-minded, slowing down and enjoying the moment. Isn't it nicer to pick up a cashmere sweater at Galeries Lafayette before meeting up with a friend for a few glasses of rouge - than to order the same jumper online during the commercial break?

I especially love the accessories and the beauty departments located on the ground floor of the flagship store - they are always very crowded, but it's a brilliant opportunity to discover all new collections at once (besides, you can find a huge variety or gloves, scarves and bags at a very reasonable price right by the main entrance). My second favourite is the 6th floor: a paradise for all the bookworms, as well as those who are obsessed with stationary and such novelty items like cute posters and shopping bags with funny slogans. Finally, if you have a sweet tooth, I highly recommend stopping by Pierre Hermé (on the lower ground floor of the main building) or Sadaharu Aoki (Lafayette Gourmet, 35 boulevard Haussmann) - the latter is perfect for those who are a little bit tired of traditional flavours, as they always have on offer wasabi and matcha macarons.

Also, if you're not planning to spend any money at all, the delicate ironwork of the balconies on the upper floors, the iconic 43 metres high dome and the rooftop terrace with a panoramic view over Paris (7th floor, from 9.30 AM to 7.30 PM) make Galeries Lafayette still worth a visit. There's truly something for everyone in this department store.


What is your preferred way of shopping? Do you "follow the list" and order everything you need online to avoid crowds and distractions or do you like spending an afternoon wandering around and trying on different things? What are your favourite places to shop at in Paris - or in your hometown?

PS Here you can find more information on the window displays and the installation inside Galeries Lafayette (pictured above) that were created for the department store last summer by the duo behind the art magazine TOILETPAPER.

Photos  edited by Sergey Povoroznyuk