Katherine Burns keeps us connected to France so beautifully through her Insta posts in @rue.dauphine.paris
Guest: Katherine Burns
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For anyone going to France at the moment it is crucial to talk to a travel agent and to your airline about any COVID rules or requirements. They can change swiftly so ensure you get up-to-date info about your own individual circumstances.
Through this podcast I have met so many wonderful people and I have continued to be in awe of the generous spirit and beautiful connection I have had with guests. Some even though we have only met on zoom during this COVID period, have become lovely friends. There’s a kind of global French appreciation community of sorts, and it’s chockablock with beautiful souls. If you’re on Instagram it is so worth following Katherine Burns’ account “Rue-Dauphine-Paris”. She has some wonderful suggestions of ways to stay connected to France. Meandering through her account is a lovely way to lose half an hour on a lazy afternoon!
I had a chat with Katherine to find out her French faves as well as some tips from her as an experienced and repeat traveler to Paris. I was very excited to hear that she is headed back there in May so I look forward to her photos once she’s there!
Katherine’s great grandparents lived in Paris before they immigrated to the US. Her great grandfather trained in Paris as a carpenter, building pianos and Katherine has recollections as a child hearing about his life and of her great grandmother always singing the French national anthem. It’s amazing how those early childhood memories can stay throughout life.
So like many others, before the pandemic, Katherine and her husband would go to France every year. As an Australian that seems crazy! But the US is much closer so a yearly trip would be a lovely treat! Something to save for and to look forward to!
I asked Katherine what is so special about Rue Dauphine Paris for her…
“On our very first trip to Paris we used a travel agent to help us find a hotel. She sent us multiple options, all large, modern hotels on busy streets, exactly the opposite of what we wanted. When I go to Paris, I want to stay in a gorgeous old building, with darling rooms, the type of rooms where there’s pretty wallpaper, beautiful bedding that matches the drapes and the lamps and the desk stationary, not stark modern rooms. So I started researching hotels on my own and found a charming, tiny 20 room hotel, on a quiet street, Rue Dauphine, in a fantastic location. We found Hotel Dauphine, it’s now where we always stay and we’ve been so many times it feels like a home away from home. I love that it’s a quiet little street. It’s not the fanciest street, but has everything you need, pharmacy, bakery, bookstore, cute shops, little restaurants. It’s centrally located, just one block south of the Seine, on the left bank.”
Katherine’s two main travel tips are…
For first time travelers, don’t eat breakfast in your hotel, rather find a local café near your hotel and sit outside for leisurely breakfast every morning at the same time, preferably early and at the same café. This will give you a whole different perspective of life in Paris. You’ll get to see the shop keepers opening their stores, sweeping their front paths. You’ll see the restaurants getting their produce deliveries, parents walking their children to school, locals walking to work, buying their daily baguettes and you’ll get to know the waiters. After several days you’ll soon recognize people and feel a bit like a local too.
For return travelers, go with a loose itinerary and spend each day in a different neighborhood or arrondissement. Get lost, wander, and let the city reveal itself. Often tourists go with such a strict itinerary and with so much pressure to see it all that they don’t actually enjoy themselves. People need to remember it’s supposed to be a vacation after all, not a race to see every museum or monument!
One recommendation Katherine had in regional France was in Burgundy, specifically Beaune. She and her husband attended the one-day Saturday market class at The Cook’s Atelier cooking school. Katherine reminisced with me, “It was an absolute dreamy day. We met at the farmer’s market, shopped for ingredients, then walked back to their gorgeous kitchen shop and cooking school, assisted preparing the lunch and then enjoyed the lunch for the next three hours, experiencing the long French lunch!”
Katherine likes the old classics and old French jazz. I loved that she suggested Charles Trenet, a French singer-songwriter, as my darling Papa often plays these songs for me! Charles Trenet composed both the music and the lyrics to nearly a thousand songs with his best known being “La Mer,” “Boum,” and “Que Reste-t-il de Nos Amours.”
When in the US, Katherine is an avid cook spending all her free time in the kitchen. She says, “Anyone who is seriously interested in food will naturally be drawn to the French cuisine.” But when away she always orders dishes that are hard to find at home. Canelés de Bordeaux are Katherine’s favorite! They’re delicious little French cakes, originally from the City of Bordeaux in western France. They’re known for their dark, crunchy caramelised exterior and soft, custardy interior. Flavoured with vanilla and rum they’re absolutely delicious. Imagine a crème brûlée but in a cake form!