Shop Small Saturday – Featuring Et Voilà!Design jewelry from Paris

Shop Small Saturday- Et Voila Designs

Santa has made his way down 34th Street in New York City officially kicking off the Christmas holiday celebrations. The Saturday after Thanksgiving is known as Shop Small Saturday – a day dedicated to supporting small businesses in the hustle and bustle of finding that perfect gift.

I am so excited to have jewelry designer Sara from Et Voilà!Design as the featured guess blogger for Shop Small Saturday here on The Paris Itinerary…

In the days that followed after Kimberly contacted me to write a guest blog post, I wrote a light and carefree post in my mind, about my travels, experiences and how Et Voilà!Design came about. Abruptly, everything changed. What I wanted to share seems unimportant and vacant by contrast. But is it really? I love traveling, and I consider it one of the most important life altering experiences in life, if anything, I hope this post will inspire you to keep traveling, especially if Paris is on your list of destinations.

I keep that last thought as I continue writing, as traveling (thanks to my parents) has been an important element in my life since childhood. My early childhood was in great part shaped by travel and art, mostly art. Living in Florence Italy during my school age years made it easy, I had access to the most beautiful works of art ever created, and a teacher passionate enough to share it. My love of creating stuck with me. I carried it along with me all the way to the United States and eventually on to Paris, each step along the way collecting new inspirations for what would become my current creative outlet, Et Voilà!Design.

Four years ago I moved to Paris, France, with frequent travels between the United States and France I was always looking for little things to bring back to my friends in the US, souvenirs and such. After a couple years, I started making the souvenirs (how many Eiffel towers and J’aime Paris t-shirts could I really give?). My first pieces were quite simple: Eiffel tower charm, a pretty little feather, a small vintage key. With a little encouragement from a friend I allowed myself to think of this as a business, and that is how Et Voilà!Design came to be.

Two elements of my personality shaped the evolution of Et Voilà!Design, my impulsiveness and my love for collecting “stuff” (old and eccentric stuff), as well as my geographical location.  Paris is a never ending source for inspiration (not only visual), a city for everyone! I found myself taking mental pictures of colors, patterns and movement, seeking ways to capture the subtile.

Living in the northern suburbs of Paris there is no shortage of flea markets and brocante’s.
Flea markets of ParisI quickly found myself with a plethora of interesting old treasures.  Vintage medallions, buttons, rosaries, religious relics, broken earrings, bits and baubles that caught my attention, digging through the bottom of musty, rusty old boxes I came out a victor with my spoils. Most of my treasured pieces sat on display in my atelier, patiently waiting for me to shape them into something new.
Finds from Paris Flea market
Local finds from Paris flea markets

The story becomes more visual on my Instagram feed, where I post pictures of my treasure hunts, the odd little pieces I impulsively collect and what ultimately becomes of them when I create a new piece.

Creating custom pieces is what I love best.

Shop Small Saturday - Custom piece from Et Voila Designs
Shop Small Saturday - Custom jewelry from Et Voila Designs
I love working with people who are inspired by a little something they see in my social media feed, and ask me to create a unique piece based on that. That is the direction I am taking with EtVoilà!Design, along with special collections such as the Joan of Arc collection.
Shop Small Saturday - Joan of Arc collection
Shop Small Saturday - Joan of Arc collection #2

as well as the recently released éthéré collection, exclusive one of a kind bracelets made from French treasures.

Through the month of November I am including one of my most popular pair of earrings, a gift for all purchases of $50/€50.

Shop Small Saturday - Earrings from Et Voila Designs I invite you to sign up for my newsletter by clicking on this link —where you will find exclusive specials, recipes and information about what I am working on.

In light of recent events that have taken place in my beloved Paris, I have made a conscious decision not to comment or express my opinion, a form of respect but also, perhaps, for fear of being misunderstood and rendering the subject as trivial. I do, however, feel strongly about this, and want to encourage people with concerns and fears about travel, to continue on their life journey, wherever it might take them, because, quite simply, “to travel is to live” ~Hans Christian Andersen

I just love how Sara transforms her flea market finds into unique jewelry pieces.

Bises (kisses),

Kimberly

This post is part of the weekly #MondayEscapes hosted by My Travel Monkey and Packing My Suitcase.

Packing my Suitcase

It is also part of the monthly #AllAboutFrance hosted by Phoebe of Lou Messugo.

Lou Messugo

Where to eat in Paris when sightseeing

Paris-restaurants-near-tourist-sites

Paris is known for being a culinary mecca but finding a place to eat lunch at a budget price can be tricky and frustrating. Below are some suggestions of Paris restaurants near major tourist sites.

Near Notre Dame: About a 7-10 minute walk away, Café Med is located on the Ile Saint Louis behind Notre Dame. Food is good and very affordable and the atmosphere is comfortable. Traditional bistro type food like savory crepes and soups. They also offer a “formule” which are preset courses to choose from usually ranging from a entrée (appetizer) and main course, main course and dessert or all three for a set price.  Staff is friendly and for the most part understood my broken French. The place is very small and being popular, may mean you have to wait to get in. If you don’t have time to wait, across the street is a second good option of Lys D’argent. Same type of food and pricing. At Lys D’argent, they may try to up-sell you on ordering wine, dessert, coffee, etc but a polite (and sometimes persistent) “non” seems to take care of the issue.

Café Med: 77 Rue Ile de St. Louis | Ile de St Louis
Lys D’argent: 90 Rue St Louis en l’ile | 75004

Near the Eiffel Tower: About a 15-18 minute walk, Ducale Café is definitely worth the effort. Delicious food at a good price also offering formule options. I would describe this place as slightly more elevated both in terms of food and price but still a comfortable atmosphere. The formule options were more than crepes and soups.  The staff is cordial and also managed to understand my limited French.

Ducale Café : 110 rue Lauriston | 75116

Near the Louvre: About a 7-10 minute walk (if that), Café Blanc is a fun place to eat. By French standards, the service is quick but you don’t feel rushed. Food is simple but very good and reasonably priced. Many around us were ordering hamburger and fries so this might be a good option if traveling with kids. Surprisingly noisy compared to most restaurants. The staff was very friendly and spoke English. Despite using French when we entered, they still handed us an English menu. Ha!

Café Blanc: 10, rue Croix des Petits Champs | 75001

Marais: Located minutes from Hotel de Ville and about 12 minutes from Notre Dame, this Italian restaurant is fabulous food at a fairly decent price. I have eaten here for dinner and it is so good! Staff was very friendly. I’m sure lunch here would be great too.

Don Giovanni: 19 rue Francois Miron | 75004

If you are looking for more options, one of the best resources is TripAdvisor. Another great resource is Paris By Mouth.

If you don’t have time to research before you leave, take advantage of wi-fi in your hotel or apartment and search a bit the night before – will save you time, money and frustration later.

 

Bon appetite and bises (kisses),

Kimberly

 

This post is part of the weekly #MondayEscapes hosted by My Travel Monkey and Packing My Suitcase.

Packing my Suitcase

This post is also part of the monthly #AllAboutFrance hosted by Phoebe of Lou Messugo.

Lou Messugo