Edit: My Summer Uniform
 
Edit: Summer Uniform | Monica Francis Design

Banjanan dress, Anya Hindmarch bag, Soludos espadrilles.

I've developed a bit of a summer uniform this year - maybe it's because of RTR Unlimited or because this season has been so busy. But pretty much every day, I'm wearing a dress with fun earrings & sandals or espadrilles. Here are a few versions of my summer uniform that I would wear right now:

lemon orchard dress, $148
how perfect is that print?

 

silk hoop earrings, $148
other colors available.

 

striped lace-up espadrilles, $50
on my second pair of these; originally $65.

 

knit midi dress, $98
I have almost this exact dress in black and wear it all the time, so I might need to pick up this green one. other colors available.

 

linen shirtdress, $148
also available in pink.

 

monochrome espadrilles, $130
other colors available.

 

floral-print wrap dress, $250
love that print & there's a skirt version here.

 

stone drop earrings, $168
other colors available.

 

 

P.S. Shop more of my favorite finds on the shop page >>

bon week-end!

Visiting Versailles | How to Plan a Day Trip to the Palace & Gardens
 
 Visiting Versailles: How to Plan a Day Trip to the Palace & Gardens | My best tips for a self-guided tour of the royal chateau, with a custom google travel map and outfit ideas for what to wear. | From the Hall of Mirrors to Marie Antoinette's Petit Trianon, plan the perfect Versailles day trip from Paris, France.

On my first visit to Versailles, I got hopelessly lost in the acres of 'countryside' near Marie Antoinette's Hamlet. It was raining and, after a lot of wandering, we eventually stumbled upon the English Garden of the Petit Trianon and found our way back to the road. Versailles is not such a terrible place to wander, but it is a terrible place to lose time when you only have a day to spend.

For our return visit last fall, I determined to be prepared. I made a map of all the spots I wanted to see and researched the best days to go along with plenty of other tips. This time we were lucky enough to visit on a perfectly sunny autumn day, and didn't get lost once. Below, I'm sharing what I learned and how you can plan your own day trip to Versailles.

Visiting Versailles: How to Plan a Day Trip to the Palace & Gardens | My best tips for a self-guided tour of the royal chateau, with a custom google travel map and outfit ideas for what to wear. | From the Hall of Mirrors to Marie Antoinette's Petit Trianon, plan the perfect Versailles day trip from Paris, France.
Visiting Versailles: How to Plan a Day Trip to the Palace & Gardens | My best tips for a self-guided tour of the royal chateau, with a custom google travel map and outfit ideas for what to wear. | From the Hall of Mirrors to Marie Antoinette's Petit Trianon, plan the perfect Versailles day trip from Paris, France.
Visiting Versailles: How to Plan a Day Trip to the Palace & Gardens | My best tips for a self-guided tour of the royal chateau, with a custom google travel map and outfit ideas for what to wear. | From the Hall of Mirrors to Marie Antoinette's Petit Trianon, plan the perfect Versailles day trip from Paris, France.
Visiting Versailles: How to Plan a Day Trip to the Palace & Gardens | My best tips for a self-guided tour of the royal chateau, with a custom google travel map and outfit ideas for what to wear. | From the Hall of Mirrors to Marie Antoinette's Petit Trianon, plan the perfect Versailles day trip from Paris, France.
Visiting Versailles: How to Plan a Day Trip to the Palace & Gardens | My best tips for a self-guided tour of the royal chateau, with a custom google travel map and outfit ideas for what to wear. | From the Hall of Mirrors to Marie Antoinette's Petit Trianon, plan the perfect Versailles day trip from Paris, France.
 Visiting Versailles: How to Plan a Day Trip to the Palace & Gardens | My best tips for a self-guided tour of the royal chateau, with a custom google travel map and outfit ideas for what to wear. | From the Hall of Mirrors to Marie Antoinette's Petit Trianon, plan the perfect Versailles day trip from Paris, France.
 Visiting Versailles: How to Plan a Day Trip to the Palace & Gardens | My best tips for a self-guided tour of the royal chateau, with a custom google travel map and outfit ideas for what to wear. | From the Hall of Mirrors to Marie Antoinette's Petit Trianon, plan the perfect Versailles day trip from Paris, France.
 Visiting Versailles: How to Plan a Day Trip to the Palace & Gardens | My best tips for a self-guided tour of the royal chateau, with a custom google travel map and outfit ideas for what to wear. | From the Hall of Mirrors to Marie Antoinette's Petit Trianon, plan the perfect Versailles day trip from Paris, France.

Planning Your Visit

Visit on Wednesday or Thursday. It can feel like a game of Tetris when choosing a day to visit Versailles. On Mondays, the buildings are closed, so you can only tour the gardens. Tuesdays, when many of Paris' major attractions are closed, are by far the busiest days. On Saturdays, Sundays, Tuesdays and holidays through the high season, an extra ticket is required to visit the gardens. Wednesdays and Thursdays are usually best - fewer people, no garden fee - but check the calendar to make sure a special event isn't planned.

Plan to arrive early. Try to arrive when the palace opens at 9am to beat the 10am tour groups. Buying tickets in advance will save some time, but not even the Paris Museum Pass lets you skip the long security line. A ticket with timed entry allows you into a priority line as long as you're there on time.

Don't schedule anything else. It's hard to overstate how vast and opulent Versailles really is - photos do not do it justice. Six hours should be enough to explore the palace and the gardens, but don't rush yourself and certainly don't schedule anything for the evening.

Be prepared. Between the sheer size of Versailles and the millions of visitors per year, being prepared for the day is sure to save you a lot of frustration. Get an early start and eat a filling breakfast. Pack your bag with water, snacks, and maybe a picnic lunch. Save the map at the bottom of this post to your phone, or download the palace's official app. If you're catching the RER C train to Versailles, be sure to buy round-trip tickets to avoid the long return-ticket lines - or take the 30-minute taxi ride from central Paris instead. 

 Visiting Versailles: How to Plan a Day Trip to the Palace & Gardens | My best tips for a self-guided tour of the royal chateau, with a custom google travel map and outfit ideas for what to wear. | From the Hall of Mirrors to Marie Antoinette's Petit Trianon, plan the perfect Versailles day trip from Paris, France.
 Visiting Versailles: How to Plan a Day Trip to the Palace & Gardens | My best tips for a self-guided tour of the royal chateau, with a custom google travel map and outfit ideas for what to wear. | From the Hall of Mirrors to Marie Antoinette's Petit Trianon, plan the perfect Versailles day trip from Paris, France.
 Visiting Versailles: How to Plan a Day Trip to the Palace & Gardens | My best tips for a self-guided tour of the royal chateau, with a custom google travel map and outfit ideas for what to wear. | From the Hall of Mirrors to Marie Antoinette's Petit Trianon, plan the perfect Versailles day trip from Paris, France.

A Day at Versailles

It's easy to know which way go when you arrive in Versailles; just follow the signs and other visitors up to the gilded gates. The experience truly begins once you're through security and making your way through the many ornate rooms of the palace. Each space is so extravagant, it's no surprise that this place incited a revolution. The famous Hall of Mirrors is incredible to see, but always crowded with everyone reaching their phones up into the air - and you'll probably do the same for a moment. I personally enjoy the side rooms and royal apartments most, finding a glimpse of a gilded hallway or a view over the black-and-white marble courtyard. 

You'll notice things getting busier around lunch, which is the perfect time to head out into the gardens. There's a patch of grass along the Grand Canal that's a great spot to roll out a turkish pestemal towel for a picnic with wonderful views. Nearby, the restaurant La Flottille has a lovely terrace next to the water. You can also escape to the hidden courtyard of La Petit Venise, or dine inside the palace at Angelina.

After lunch, spend the rest of your visit exploring the gardens, the Trianon Palaces, and Marie Antoinette's Hamlet. It's about 30 minutes by foot out to the Grand Trianon, but you can rent a bicycle, a golf cart, or catch the Petit Train if you'd rather not walk. Tour the refined Grand Trianon Palace and take in the wonderful views outside. Take your time walking through the gardens on your way over to the Petit Trianon - these gardens and their tiny buildings are my favorite part of Versailles. 

 Visiting Versailles: How to Plan a Day Trip to the Palace & Gardens | My best tips for a self-guided tour of the royal chateau, with a custom google travel map and outfit ideas for what to wear. | From the Hall of Mirrors to Marie Antoinette's Petit Trianon, plan the perfect Versailles day trip from Paris, France.
 Visiting Versailles: How to Plan a Day Trip to the Palace & Gardens | My best tips for a self-guided tour of the royal chateau, with a custom google travel map and outfit ideas for what to wear. | From the Hall of Mirrors to Marie Antoinette's Petit Trianon, plan the perfect Versailles day trip from Paris, France.
 Visiting Versailles: How to Plan a Day Trip to the Palace & Gardens | My best tips for a self-guided tour of the royal chateau, with a custom google travel map and outfit ideas for what to wear. | From the Hall of Mirrors to Marie Antoinette's Petit Trianon, plan the perfect Versailles day trip from Paris, France.
 Visiting Versailles: How to Plan a Day Trip to the Palace & Gardens | My best tips for a self-guided tour of the royal chateau, with a custom google travel map and outfit ideas for what to wear. | From the Hall of Mirrors to Marie Antoinette's Petit Trianon, plan the perfect Versailles day trip from Paris, France.
 Visiting Versailles: How to Plan a Day Trip to the Palace & Gardens | My best tips for a self-guided tour of the royal chateau, with a custom google travel map and outfit ideas for what to wear. | From the Hall of Mirrors to Marie Antoinette's Petit Trianon, plan the perfect Versailles day trip from Paris, France.

The Petit Trianon was Marie Antoinette's estate, and the interior is just as beautiful as the gardens. Between this little palace and the Queen's Hamlet you'll find an English garden dotted with the beautiful Belvédère building and the Temple of Love. End the day in the quiet thatched-roof village where the young queen would famously escape to pretend a simpler life for herself, complete with farm animals and pumpkins. 

If you really want to avoid the crowds, plan your day in reverse:
Spend the morning out in the gardens, explore the Queen's Hamlet, then the Trianon Palaces as soon as they open at noon. Tour the Palace of Versailles at the end of your visit when the crowds are fading.

Back in  Paris, finish out the day with whatever you have the energy for, like a simple dinner and Sofia Coppola's Marie Antoinette or an evening stroll along the river.

 

what to wear: 

 

'star' the map below to access it from google maps on your phone.

 
The Best Summer Espadrilles on The Internet
 

gingham tie-up espadrilles, $128 
selling out quickly, but more sizes here!

In summertime, I spend most days running around in espadrilles. I'm on my second pair of these striped ones, and with the trend of midi-length dresses my espadrille wedges are getting more wear than ever. Below, I've gathered the best of the espadrilles available online right now - these are my personal favorites.

carina espadrille wedge, $130
love these! also available in black, blue, red, and khaki.

 

louboutin gingham espadrilles, $695
for those who do NOT mess around with their espadrille game.

 

ric-rac espadrille wedge, $207
originally $295, selling out quickly!

 

star-studded leather espadrilles, $357
originally $595, selling out quickly!

 

rainbow ric-rac wedge, $165
originally $295, and (you guessed it) selling quickly!

 

striped espadrille wedges, $90
originally $180, also in navy.

 

 

bon week-end!

 

Edit: & Other Stories
 

I shop at many different places online - you can see them all at the bottom of my Shop page - but & Other Stories has so many good pieces lately, I had to give them an edit of their own. The brand is an H&M company, though certainly a few levels up in quality and design. I love the tie-front top ($55) above, and so much more!

double-breasted linen-blend blazer, $149
my favorite thing in this post - it's in my cart! 

 

sleeveless frill dress, $65
the kind of dress that works for almost anything on your schedule.
other prints available.

 

printed dress, $85
also available in a dark floral print.

 

striped cap, $29
if I were ever going to wear a baseball cap, it would probably be this one.

 

floral midi skirt, $65
also available in red.

 

leather toe espadrilles, $95
also available in pink and black.

 

 

bon week-end!

Èze | The Most Charming Hilltop Village on the French Riviera
 
 A Day Trip to Èze: The Most Charming Hilltop Village on the French Riviera | Things to do, from shopping and exploring the Jardin Exotique to visiting the best hotels and restaurants. | Èze, France Travel Guide

Heya! This post was updated on  July 3rd, 2018.

A tiny medieval village perched high above the sea, Èze was perhaps my favorite town along the French Riviera. Right on the coast, midway between Nice and Monaco, Èze looks out over the Mediterranean and the neighboring towns below.  It's so small and walkable that you can explore the entire town in an hour or two. Wind through the web of stone streets, stairs, and hidden alleys - every turn holds an amazing view or a vine-covered stone wall.

A Day Trip to Èze: The Most Charming Hilltop Village on the French Riviera | Things to do, from shopping and exploring the Jardin Exotique to visiting the best hotels and restaurants. | Èze, France Travel Guide
 A Day Trip to Èze: The Most Charming Hilltop Village on the French Riviera | Things to do, from shopping and exploring the Jardin Exotique to visiting the best hotels and restaurants. | Èze, France Travel Guide
 A Day Trip to Èze: The Most Charming Hilltop Village on the French Riviera | Things to do, from shopping and exploring the Jardin Exotique to visiting the best hotels and restaurants. | Èze, France Travel Guide

As you make your way into Èze, you'll pass the busy local Fragonard perfume laboratory - your first indication that this little village is a bit more chic than you might have thought. This town is also home to two Michelin-starred restaurants, each part of a luxury hotel: La Chèvre d’Or (The Golden Goat, on the east side of the hilltop with private gardens and sea views) and Château Eza (on the west, with stunning views out towards Nice). You'll want to make reservations well in advance - for now these both remain on my 'someday' list! Luckily, the views from casual Crêperie Le Cactus let you peek at the sprawling La Chèvre d’Or gardens. 

You'll also find art galleries, gift shops, and cafes peppered throughout Èze. Deli' - a salad bar and olive oil shop - is a great spot for lunch, and I had an amazing pistachio ice cream sandwich from Le Glacier (6 rue Plane). 

 A Day Trip to Èze: The Most Charming Hilltop Village on the French Riviera | Things to do, from shopping and exploring the Jardin Exotique to visiting the best hotels and restaurants. | Èze, France Travel Guide
 A Day Trip to Èze: The Most Charming Hilltop Village on the French Riviera | Things to do, from shopping and exploring the Jardin Exotique to visiting the best hotels and restaurants. | Èze, France Travel Guide
 A Day Trip to Èze: The Most Charming Hilltop Village on the French Riviera | Things to do, from shopping and exploring the Jardin Exotique to visiting the best hotels and restaurants. | Èze, France Travel Guide
 A Day Trip to Èze: The Most Charming Hilltop Village on the French Riviera | Things to do, from shopping and exploring the Jardin Exotique to visiting the best hotels and restaurants. | Èze, France Travel Guide

The town is topped with the Jardin Exotique d’Èze, an exotic garden of cacti and succulents designed among ruins of an ancient castle. Follow the paths through plants and sculptures as you make your way to the top. It costs a few Euros to get in, but is worth it for the amazing views out over the sea and the surrounding hills and villages. 

The beach below the village is Èze-sur-mer, a 45-minute hike down the zigzagging Nietszche Path. If you want a full day in Èze, explore the village all morning and make your way down to the pebbly beach for the afternoon. If you don't have a whole day to spend, making a dinner reservation and exploring the village before you dine would be a magical way to spend an evening. Either way, Èze is an essential stop for your itinerary on the Riviera!

 

What to Wear: