Belle Inspiration Magazine March-April 2019 FINAL COPY


March/April 2019






’s All in the Details



“Because a woman Loves

March/April 2019

arch and April is a special time of the year.

Winter’s cold is ending and the warmth and

blooms of spring are arriving slowly but surely.

In Paris, we are dreaming of a city bursting

with color.

Inside you’ll meet three courageous women who have followed

their dreams of living in France. American Julia Willard is a photographer

who started the bicycles in Paris trend.

Gina Hunt is another American who fell in love with Paris on her first

trip and made it her number one priority to return as a resident. Ten

years on, and she is thriving in her new French life.

Jane Webster is an Australian whose love for France is rivaled only by

her love of cooking. Château Bosgouet is in the heart of Normandy

and was the final push that moved her and her family into the

Château Life.

First a look at the the introduction to a new series on Village Passy.

Passy is in the 16th arrondissement of Paris a few blocks from La

Tour Eiffel. It’s an elegant neighborhood with a very Parisian vibe.

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So Many Things…”

Passy is the place I’ve called home since 2016 when I first arrived

in Paris to marry my French Honey. We walked and shopped our

way down the charming rues and cobblestone markets - it was

where we built our life together, and fell in love a little more each


This past November my love went to Heaven. My Jean-Pierre.

Unexpected and devastating. I haven’t been able to talk about it.

I still don’t feel ready to say the words. But I feel I need to share

our love, our life. To let everyone know… or maybe just one person

who needs to know that love is real and when you find it, not

to let one second go by without telling that person how you feel.

Join me in the next several issues for a new series about this

village called Passy in the heart of Paris. The series will be a small

part of our long-awaited feature, Paris Stories. It’s all about

Paris, love, women in Paris, women in love… you get the idea.

We all have a story.

I want to share the charming rues and side streets with you along

with my insider pointers on where to go, what to see and what

to do in this exciting and very Parisian neighborhood that is so

special to me.

Editor in Chief

Mimi Bleu



16 Running Away to Paris with Gina Hunt

Photographed by Krystal Kenney

26 Village Passy - A Paris Neighborhood

Text & Photographed by Mimi Bleu



34 Falling Off Bicycles with Julia WiIlard

Photography by Julia WiIllard

44 Château Life at Bosgouet with Jane Webster

Story by Mimi Bleu & Photography by Krystal Kenney

Cover Photo: Krystal Kenney

Château Bosgouet


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Mimi Bleu

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Writers & Photographers

Krystal Kenney is a Maryland native, who

followed and achieved her dream of

working full time as a photographer.

She’s now the owner of the Paris-based

photography company, Miss Paris Photo.

Krystal’s expertise and photography skills

have made her one of the top photographers

in Paris. Her easy manner puts her

clients at ease and makes her shoots

natural and fun, no awkward poses and stiff smiles.

She stays on the move traveling the world to photograph weddings,

events and special shoots for both business and private clientele.

Mimi Bleu is the founder and editor of Belle

Inspiration Magazine. She moved to Paris

after falling in love with her perfect Frenchman.

Exploring the nooks and crannies along the

rues of Paris has become a hobby and of

course, braking for brocantes and the mandatory

café stops to refuel and soak in the


When she's not discovering some new/old find in the city, she designs

digital projects as well as creating and leading private travel experiences

in Paris and all of France. Exciting new projects are on the horizon for the

Belle Inspiration brand.


Running A


Ever feel like running away to Paris?

Gina Hunt did just that and ten years later

she is a Parisian in every sense of the word.

Photos by

way to


Krystal Kenney


Belle Inspiration Magazine

ina, you’re an American in Paris. Is living in the City of

Light as exciting as it sounds? And do you think romantic

is the best way to describe her, and why?

Even after ten years of living here, I can honestly say that yes, it is

as exciting as it sounds. Paris is fascinating, and living in a different

culture means never getting bored!

And I think Paris is romantic in a broad sense. There’s so much

incredible beauty here, and the city never stops flirting whether it’s

with the alluring smell of some divine pastry or just the sparkling

reflection of light on the Seine, almost everything about Paris is


What was your journey like from your hometown of Raleigh,

North Carolina to Paris?

Ha-ha! Complicated. I’d fallen in love with the city while on vacation,

and I’d come back a couple of times to see what it was like to be

here alone. It sounds odd to say, but I always felt very at home in

Paris – even before I could speak French. The decision to move was

relatively easy, but I didn’t have a job here, didn’t have the right to

work here, and didn’t speak the language, so making it happen was

a challenge.

The only way to do it was to come as a student, and since I needed

to learn the language anyway, I enrolled at La Sorbonne. I rented a

25 square meter studio, quit my job in the US, sold my condo and

my furniture, and didn’t sell my car until the morning I left to come

here! Although in retrospect, getting here was the easy part!


n 2017, you launched your travel business, Paris Personally.

Your specialty is small group trips with no single supplement.

Tell us more.

Since moving here, I’ve loved showing people around this enchanting

city, so when I got the opportunity to turn that into a business, I

jumped on it. Paris Personally offers both customized tours of a halfday

or a full-day and week long small group trips.

These days, so many people are traveling on their own, but many

prefer not to be completely alone and like some structured time with

a group and the feeling of connectedness without having all their time

planned out. We’re here to help them figure things out, and everyone

stays in the same hotel, so they’re part of a group but not with the

group all day long. Another thing that solo travelers love about our

trips is that there’s no single supplement, and everyone has a private


Can you give us a peek into one of your upcoming small group

trips? What do travelers have to look forward to?

One of the trips that I’m most excited about is new this year. It’s

our “A Week with the French” trip, and it’s a unique opportunity for

travelers to go further in their understanding of French culture. Our

group activities include cooking with a French chef in her beautiful

Parisian apartment, taking photographs with a French photographer

somewhere in Paris, a Champagne tasting led by a charming Frenchman,

a visit to the Paris flea market with our favorite flea market

expert, and a few other surprises including art, perfume, and who

knows what else! All with a French touch, of course.

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o you have a favorite spot in Paris that is on your not-tobe-missed


I love rue Montorgueil. It’s an old medieval street full of charm, and

although it’s smack in the center of the city, many visitors never see

it. But my happy place and the place that I most love taking people

to is Montmartre.

When you have a free afternoon where will you most likely be

found in Paris?

I like to get on the metro or bus and just stop wherever the mood

strikes then just wander and marvel at the architecture and little

surprises everywhere. I also like to wander by the river or relax in

a garden when I need to feel a bit closer to nature.

Do you have any words of wisdom for some of our readers who

may be contemplating a move to Paris?

Before coming here, I read that the first answer the French give is

always no, but often that just means “convince me.” I’ve found that

to be true, so be prepared and practice using your powers of persuasion.

Describe yourself in two words?

Positive, tenacious.

Learn more about Gina and her travel company, Paris-Personally.

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Paris Stories


Belle Inspiration Magazine

Paris 16

Village Passy

Passy is an elegant district on the western side of

Paris. Village Passy was annexed into the city in

1860. Passy is just a few blocks south of La Tour

Eiffel yet most tourists miss this vibrant area which

helps keep this a hidden gem of authentic French


This chic neighborhood has it all - food and flower

markets, fashion boutiques galore, fine dining and

fabulous café terraces, one of Paris’ best museums

(in our humble opinion), and boasts gorgeous Art

Nouveau architecture.

Photographed by Mimi Bleu


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Belle Inspiration Magazine

assy is where I’ve called home since 2016

when I first arrived to marry my French Honey.

Jean-Pierre and I walked and shopped our way

down Rue de Passy, stopping at his friendly men’s

store where they greeted us by name and kept his

measurements in a little black book, and he waited

patiently while I stopped at my favorite brocante

tucked at the end of a courtyard. “Take your time,”

he would say as I disappeared inside.

He taught me how to order in French, the best cuts

of meat and the freshest fruits and vegetables on

the cobblestoned Rue de l’Annonciation, a fabulous

food market street that we thought was the best in




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On our almost daily walks, Jean-Pierre and I got to know our

neighbors, trusted shopkeepers, waiters, and friends as we

snagged prized people-watching seats on our favorite café


People knew us. Greeted us. Smiled at us as we sauntered along

holding hands. I was surprised at how many people commented on

that. The French are tuned into amour and all that goes with it.

They love a good love story. Maybe that is why I feel so at home


This is the introduction to our new series, Paris Stories. It’s all about

Paris, love, women in Paris, women in love… We all have a story.

In the Next Issue: Paris Stories - Passy


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Photos by Julia WIllard

Falling Off Bicycles

ulia Willard is a photographer in love with Paris and


Born and raised in Kansas City, Missouri, Julia Willard had

lived in many cities in the U.S. before moving to Paris in

2006 to pursue several loves. Her adoration for the French

way of life only deepened, and after completing her MBA

program in Paris, she remained in the City of Love and Light.

After a few years there, she moved to Amsterdam for a new

adventure, where she again fell in love with a way of life,

an attitude toward life, and her new city.

Through her attraction to color, light, movement, and all

things beautiful, she continued to capture yet another city

that had become a true home to her.


ou have been traveling to Europe regularly for

extended stays and now you’re settled in Paris. Do

you remember the moment you decided to pack your

bags and head off on this photographic adventure.

Would you do it again?

My love for France began well before my love for photography.

The first time I remember hearing French was in

my Kindergarten French class, and I still remember being

intrigued by and drawn to the language.

Once I had spent time in France (not until I was in high

school), I was always eager to get back. As I’ve come

more often, been educated in France, and made friends

and my own little community here, I have fallen more

and more in love with the country. I can’t imagine not

calling it home.

How does Europe influence your photos?

Europe’s charm, its architecture, and its character are all

key elements to my photos. When I am in the U.S., I don’t

shoot very often at all. I am just taken with the beauty

and style of European buildings and scenes. After all

these years I’m still drawn to the charm and overall vibe


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Château de la Verrerie


Each bedroom is prettier than the next, but we chose to stay in the Parma,

mainly because it was in my favorite colors, lilac and lavender...

38 Belle Inspiration Magazine

here and how did the bicycle become your brand


I love this question! I know many people think “what a

strange name for a brand” when they hear Falling Off

Bicycles. The truth is, I was living in Amsterdam at the time I

started to work on a new project. I wanted to create a website

to share all the new places and scenes I was enjoying in my

new city. There are hundreds of thousands of bikes in

Amsterdam, and I saw that they are like their own characters

on the stage that is that wonderful city. But I needed a name

for this site where I was showcasing the photos and city info.

Sitting in a café one day, I listed several potential names for

the site. ‘Falling Off Bicycles’ was among them and felt the

most whimsical, which is what I was going for. And for those

who are wondering about my cycling abilities, I have fallen off

a bike only a couple of times in my life, so it’s not autobiographical!

You can read more about my brand name and logo

on my website.


I’ve spoken to a few photographers who say they ‘get into the

zone’ when shooting. Do you have a particular routine when you

go on a photo shoot?

I have never spoken to other photographers about this, but I personally

have times when I’m out shooting and I come across the ‘perfect’

scene or the perfect light, and I get butterflies in my stomach. It’s a

similar feeling to when you’re about to see someone you adore or

are doing something you love. It feels like I’m in a perfect flow.

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Do you have any words of wisdom for the next person who

is chasing their dream across the ocean?

I now get this question fairly often from younger people, and it

reminds me of the strife I went through trying to figure out how I

could come here. I would say write your dream down in great detail,

vision it, take inspired action and trust that it will all play out for your

best interest. I am an avid studier of the Law of Attraction and

always remind myself that what I desire must happen first in my

mind, and only then can it happen in my life.


o you have a favorite shot or memorable

shoot? What goes through your

mind when you find the perfect shot?

Perhaps my favorite shot ever is one I took in

Martigues, France. It has so many elements

that I love: a bicycle, color, water, and whimsy.

It was even made into a puzzle a couple of

years ago. Aside from that, my favorite shot

changes with the season, Spring and Fall being

favorite times of year.

Your favorite to shoot - people or places?

Places, hands down. I will wait 10 minutes to

try to avoid having people (or at least clear

faces) in my shots. Sometimes I wonder if I

would feel differently about having people in

my photos if people dressed better these days!

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Describe your photography business, Falling Off Bicycles,

in one word.


Shop the Falling Off Bicycles Online Boutique

Instagram: @fallingoffbicycles




Jane Webster made the exhilarating trek from

Australia to France with her family and created a

beautiful life in the countryside of Normandy in a

place called Château Bosgouet

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Photographs by K



rystal Kenney


It is the red brick that first catches your eye when

Château Bosgouet comes into view.

This is the kind of place that has a starring role

in a fairy tale.

The twin sweeping staircases to the front entrance

is made for showing off wedding dresses and

ball gowns.

ou may know Jane Webster from her first book, At My French

Table. Her French story of making the move from Australia to

France in 2005. Her latest tome is Château Life and is truly a

celebration of l’art de vivre. It is a beautiful collection of traditional

French recipes and stories offering a glimpse of everyday life

in a château.

The Webster’s French saga began in 2015 when Jane and her

husband Pete made the huge leap of purchasing a grand château

deep in the heart of Normandy.

Pete especially had his heart set on the elegant lines of the Napoleon

III style with red brick and quoining. It was a long way from

their homeland of Australia, but Château Bosgouet ticked every

box. They jumped into la vie Française with both feet. And never

looked back.

Château Life is published by Assouline

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Jane Webster



Belle Inspiration Magazine

Château Bosgouet



Belle Inspiration Magazine

he large hunting table in the

foyer was found in the basement

ironing room where twelve irons

dangled from the ceiling ready for

servants to tend to the household’s


After the death of Jane’s mother, her

father traveled from Australia to live

with them at Bosgouet for seven

years. His first question when he

arrived, “Let’s see about this table.”

He was an antique dealer for years in

Australia, so he had his mission. The

problem was getting this huge table

from the basement to the foyer by way

of a small spiral staircase.

He found the table was put together

with wooden dowels and took the

table apart piece by piece.

He stripped, waxed and shellacked this

important piece and was proud when it

found its perfect place in the grand

foyer where his daughter had long

envisioned it.



Belle Inspiration Magazine

The boiserie in the main salon is original and a

highlight at the château.



Belle Inspiration Magazine

Happily, the four must-haves on Jane’s list, the original boiserie, the

parquetry floors and French doors and windows were all intact on the

first floor. The decision was made to leave them untouched except for

basic maintenance. The aged patina gives a warm glow to this

beautifully symmetrical room.



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Belle Inspiration Magazine

Jane hosts The French Table at Bosgouet

throughout the year - a one week stay

where you can have a taste of

château life for yourself.

Visit The French Table for more info.



Belle Inspiration Magazine

The simple sweep of the staircase says a lot about Château Bosgouet,

elegant but comfortable and lived in.



Belle Inspiration Magazine

Thoughtful details in the

ensuite guestrooms


The Bosgouet Potager provides

fresh fruits and vegetables for

seasonal cooking, and Jane relishes

gathering the day’s ingredients for her

delicious meals and cooking classes.


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Belle Inspiration Magazine

C h âtea u Details



Belle Inspiration Magazine

A closeup view of the elegant Napoleon III style

which features red brick and quoining.



Belle Inspiration Magazine



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