Psst… Here Are the Hidden European Destinations French Girls Love
Garance Doré has always been ahead of the curve. In 2006, she started a street style blog well before any of her peers has adapted to the digital shift, and in 2012, she received CFDA's award for transforming the fashion media landscape. Now the photographer, illustrator, and achingly cool French girl has her sights set on a new foray: a four-day creativity retreat held in partnership with Mr & Mrs Smith in Marrakesh, Morroco. "I believe everyone has something to say, but people need keys to express themselves, and they need to be encouraged to find their own voice," Doré tells MyDomaine of The Art of Storytelling retreat, which will take place November 13 to 17.
Spots are limited, so if you don't manage to score a ticket, she says there are a number of ways to stoke creativity at home. "I recommend putting your ideas out there, for example, through Instagram or any other social media, with absolutely no pressure on the number of followers in the beginning," she says. "Write whatever you want, photograph the same flower every day with a different light, sing, cook, or just share photos of your life. What makes you suffer? What makes you happy? Be real, and just do it."
Doré's move into the travel world shouldn't come as a surprise—those who follow her adventures on Instagram will know that she's always on the go, unearthing beautiful boutiques, hotels, and hot spots around the globe. Given her French pedigree and her eye for design, we were curious to know about the under-the-radar European destinations she recommends to friends.
Here's how to see the best of Europe, according to one of the most iconic French girls we know.
It's understandable that Corsica, a French island in the Mediterranean, tops Doré's list of favorite European destinations—it's where she was born. "I receive e-mails all the time asking me where to go on my native island, and I'm getting the impression that Corsica is getting a lot of love right now, which is awesome because I'm terribly proud of my homeland," she says.
While it's known for its jewel-colored water, Doré says Corsica is also a mecca for adventure travelers. "If you have it in you, hike the GR20. You (and your new butt) will thank me. It's so beautiful," she says of the tough long-distance trail. Also, be prepared to jump around to explore all the island has to offer. "Rent a boat, or get a car. It's just too beautiful to stay in one place," she says.
Doré says Italy will be on her travel list "forever and ever," thanks to its diverse landscape and incredible food. "I can't pick a favorite place. I like to drive around. Even tiny villages are worth a stop and might have the best pasta you've ever had," she says. If you're looking to splash out on a hotel, she recommends heading to Porto Ecole, a town in Tuscany and staying at a celebrity-favorite spot. "Hotel Il Pellicano is a special experience."
Unsure how to pack for your trip? Follow Doré's rule for vacation dressing. "I try to find a thread and stick to it," she tells us. "Hawaii: colorful, comfortable, and light. Paris: black and white, simple, and elegant, but not forced. That way it all works together."
TAKE A DIP:
The Greek Islands
Like Italy, it's difficult to choose just one destination when planning a vacation to the Greek Islands, one of Doré's favorite warm-weather getaways. "The Greeks are known for their art of living, of course. They're super welcoming, they like to party, and they love to share," she writes on Atelier Doré.
Among her top picks is Mykonos, an island that attracts travelers in search of good beaches and great nightlife. The pace is refreshingly relaxed and slow, that is, before sundown. "You can stay at the beach until 7 p.m. no problem. You get to the restaurant around 10 p.m., you start eating around midnight, and you leave the restaurant at about 1:30 or 2 a.m. Then you go out dancing if you feel like it. Honestly, having long days like that changes your life."
While the piercing purple lavender fields of Provence, France, might seem like an exotic faraway land, Doré admits it's a familiar second home. "Interestingly enough, I spent so much time there in my 20s that I almost took it for granted. But now I know there are very few places as inspiring in the world," she tells MyDomaine. "I would recommend renting a house and touring a little bit every day, but also just taste the slow life, go to the market, have a glass of wine en terrasse, take a nap…"
La Côte Basque
A favorite among the French, La Côte Basque is a must-see, says Doré. Perched on the border between France and Spain, it's a great starting point to jump to San Sebastian and Bilbao, too. Don't miss Biarritz, part elegant resort town, part laid-back surfing spot. Cite de l'Océan et du Surf, an ocean conservation museum is also a must.
Venturing to Spain after France? Add these hot spots to your list.