Most of the time when we travel the goal is to get from point A to point B in the fastest time possible. Being on the train is nothing like being stuck in traffic, but when we arrive at the station, I’m never quite ready to get off. I often find myself wishing the ride was longer so I could get more work done (or another nap in). The Eurostar trip between Paris and London is something like 2 hours and 20 minutes, and only 20 minutes of the time are in the dark (when you’re going under the channel) – the rest of it is beautiful countryside. And to think, some people actually do this as their daily commute! On May 9th my gnome and I traveled from Paris to London for Blogtacular (yes, he was part of my talk). I felt very much like Amélie in Gare du Nord for our Paris photo opp. The other great thing about the train is you don’t have to wake up crazy early like you do to get to the airport 2 hours before a flight. You do have to leave enough time to go through customs and security, but shoes and jackets can stay on, and laptops are fine in bags, so it’s much faster. Eurostar says to check in 30 minutes before departure, but I always get there early because I like train stations. Eurostar trains board from a separate platform than the mainline trains, so you have to wait for the announcement to board once you go through all the check points. [Note: returning to Paris on a Sunday afternoon, give yourself a lot of extra time. Trains from London go a lot of other places, and I barely caught my train because the lines were so long to get through security and customs.]
On the way to London my gnome and I managed to be the first on board – at least on our car – so took advantage of the photo opp. Funny, I have a brown and grey striped shirt like the chairs, which I’ll have to wear as a joke next trip!
My other favorite thing about the train is that I love the Eurostar magazine, Metropolitan. You may be surprised to know that none of my favorite travel magazines are available on newsstands. I really love all the publications under Ink Global (who is behind Metropolitan, easyJet Traveller and many more). I thought the May issue was particularly striking because they commissioned a illustrator Megamunden – author of The Tattoo Colouring Book – for the cover to celebrate the new tattoo exhibit at the Quai Branly museum in Paris. You can read the full issue online.
The funny thing was on the return trip I found myself waiting in a line. One of the Eurostar attendants checked my name off a list before I got onboard. I passed a rack of great magazines, sat down and noticed I had a seat completely to myself, and I saw an outlet (which I hadn’t on the way over). By golly, I was so busy planning the rest of my trip, I didn’t even realize that Eurostar had bumped me up to Standard Premier class for my return trip! Not long after we were on our way, they came by with a tray with two light food options (I went with the cheese plate even though I had stuffed my face with a M&S sandwich in the waiting terminal). And it came with my choice of wine. It was a Monday afternoon at this point, and wow, did this hit the spot. I definitely could get used to this (the waiting room looks nice too, and after interviewing the Creative Director of Eurostar for Fast Co. Design, it sounds like more is in store).
When I posted some pictures on Instagram, it was interesting to see a comment that the train seemed dreamy, but way out of their budget. Au contraire! While Eurostar was kind enough to give me this ticket, my last two tickets have been 69€ round-trip. My secret is to sign up for their newsletters and follow Eurostar on Facebook and Twitter (FYI, their Twitter account is great with customer service and is how you find out if your train is having delays). One thing I’ve discovered the hard way in Europe is that trains tend to only go up in price the closer you get to a trip, so I highly recommend booking in advance if you can. Also, flexible travel times will help you get better deals.
Gnome in London St. Pancras station. Once you arrive, it’s easy to get anywhere in London from the Kings Cross / St. Pancras Tube station, which is much closer and cheaper than trying to get into the city from the airport. Note too, that you can count on free wi-fi in the station. :)
Eurostar fact box
Eurostar operates up to 18 daily services from London St Pancras International to Paris Gare Du Nord with return fares from £69. Eurostar also offers connecting fares from more than 300 stations in the UK. Fastest London-Paris journey time is 2hr 15 minutes. Tickets are available from eurostar.com or 08432 186 186.
With the option of flexible fares, Standard Premier offers the freedom to work, think, or simply unwind. You will be presented with calm, spacious surroundings with on-board staff offering a light meal and a selection of magazines. Standard Premier fares start from £189 return.
Thanks for the ticket, Eurostar!
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I teach MAPS, InDesign, and Designing Professional Documents on Skillshare, and give Paris tours through Vayable!
A few weeks ago I spoke at Blogtacular in London. My talk was all about valuing yourself and making it as a blogger (aka not working for free). When I was putting together my talk I realized that much of my success, and the opening of many doors, has stemmed from my blog and overall online presence. I’ve never aspired to be a “pro-blogger” but I love having my blog as a creative outlet. When applying to jobs my best friend always would say “show, don’t tell,” and a blog can help you do just that; the reality is that more often than not people find me rather than vice versa these days. In having a blog, you’re not only proving that you have the skills to blog – and everything that goes with it – but you’re showcasing your knowledge about a particular topic, along with taste, and style at the same time. I still struggle to explain to people what exactly it is that I do, but I think the updates to my new portfolio site – anneditmeyer.com – help highlight the range of projects I do and kind of client I’m drawn to. I can barely keep up with everything I’m working on these days, so I’m very excited that my new portfolio site is finally live. (Note: it’s always linked on the top toolbar of my blog as well!)
p.s. In order to start saving money to pay next year’s speakers Blogtacular is selling tickets to their “virtual conference” where you can watch professional quality videos of my talk and the talks of all the speakers/panels. You can buy your ticket now, and they hope to have everything online by June.
p.s.s. I moved my portfolio site over to Squarespace — I highly recommend it for people who don’t want to have to deal with coding.
Over the weekend I had a bit of a surreal moment when Meg texted me to say she saw my photo from Monaco on the @katespadeny Instagram account. I knew it was happening at some point, but lost all track of time, and then my own Instagram started to explode a bit as the Fathom team took over the Kate Spade account, posting 6 of my images from my Monaco trip. It was funny to see my top picture get 15k likes – ha! hardly what my own account gets.
Let’s back up. It all started back in December when the gals at Fathom reached out to me to see if I’d be up for writing a Monaco guide. I’d never been but jokingly responded that I’d happily go if they wanted to send me. I never imagined in a million years that there would be a budget (it’s embarrassing how many requests I get from big brands to do free work), but this time there was. It was winter and I was aching to get out of Paris, so less than a week later I was on my way to Monaco for 4 days and 3 nights to do what I do best – explore for hours. I loved being there off season, and the city was so festive for Christmas (even though I barely needed to wear my trench coat). I actually was able to keep my expenses down in one of the most lavish places in the world (and took advantage of two Vayable tours to help get me oriented), but I’ll save all that for another post.
Fathom has created a series of guides for Kate Spade as handy PDF downloads (Kate Spade is behind all of the graphic design of the guides). Each is divided into two neighborhoods with a map, but Monaco is only one square mile, so there is definitely a bit of overlap in neighborhoods. (Disclaimer: I am well aware that Cap d’Ail – the Cape of Garlic – is technically in France, and not in Monaco, but it’s literally over the border, and I think the Kate Spade girl would LOVE the Philippe Starck designed restaurant there). Overall, I’m really proud of the guide, and happy that it’s not one of the typical guides a tourism board expects to see.
For any upcoming trips, I recommend checking out the full list of Fathom x Kate Spade guides. They’re all “anonymously” written – including mine – by the team of collaborators, but the Fathom girls are my kind of travelers. . . For the record, I’ll gladly accept other paying gigs of this kind!
Images: Fathom x Kate Spade Monaco guide
Follow me on Instagram + Twitter! I teach MAPS, InDesign, and Designing Professional Documents on Skillshare, and give Paris tours through Vayable!
Ever since Grace Bonney (aka Design*Sponge) started her radio program, After the Jump, I’ve been an avid listener. I may not get to listen live, but I definitely go through sessions where I listen to past episodes back to back. Thirty minutes is perfect amount of time to get a dose of inspiration and After the Jump is such a great name – it references when there’s a jump in a blog post, signalling more, deeper information and conversation. I know I’ve contributed to Design*Sponge for 6 great years and over 500 posts (this month I’m stepping down to make time for other projects), but it was still such an honor to be invited onto the show. This morning Grace and I cozied up in the Heritage Radio Network studio out of Roberta’s [pizza] in Bushwick, Brooklyn. I was kind of nervous, but the time flew by, and Grace totally knows what she’s doing. She and I chatted about my life in Paris, the importance of global connections and making and maintaining contacts. I talked about creating a job I can do from anywhere, teaching on Skillshare, giving Vayable tours, how I’ve made so many of my amazing friends (who are my best contacts), and how travel has influenced what I do now. As with anything, I came up with many more things to say after we were done, but that’s how the cookie crumbles. One thing I will add that I’ve learned this week is that if you have international clients or work on an international team make the effort to meet in person – it seriously makes a world of difference to have that human connection behind you. The story online and through email is only half the story.
In addition to my episode, I also really loved Grace’s recent shows with Julia Turshen (on business lessons) and the full Design*Sponge team –Amy and Max – talking about hard work. A new episode of The Lively Show with Grace just went live too. Even though I’ve known Grace for years, I learn something new every time I listen to her on a podcast. All are great listens while you get your work done!
Images with text courtesy of Design*Sponge.
Last week I was lucky to get to check out the Etsy Haut en Couleur spring preview put together by the Etsy France team to feature all French designers. Besides seeing some new work I was most excited to finally check out La Cartonnerie event space (keep on scrolling). I’d seen pictures online and it looked great. Little did I know until I got there, that I walk by it nearly every time I walk to the pool. Paris is always full of surprises. I didn’t have a ton of time, but it was fun to see the space and the way the different goods were laid out. I didn’t have any intention of sharing all the color collections, but everyone on Instagram reacted so well, I couldn’t help but share them all. It also made me happy to see people spotting their own products, and connecting with each other in the comments. I thought it’d be fun to put together a post with all the images in one place. Unfortunately, I don’t have a key to all the items featured, but if you can’t find them online, I’d suggest reaching out to @EtsyFR on Twitter. If you’re new to Etsy, it’s a great platform for discovering and supporting independent designers – happy exploring!
In the space there were also a few featured artists working on their products during the event (in progress is always so fun to see), as well as workshops. The table above was set up to make tissue paper pompoms.
p.s. Speaking of French design, I’m happy to share a beautiful new sneak peek inside the Parisian home of French illustrator Noémie Cédille on Design*Sponge today! If only my apartment looked like that!
Follow my adventures on Instagram + Twitter! I teach MAPS, InDesign, and Designing Professional Documents on Skillshare!
I’m excited to announce the reason behind my recent blog silence – I’ve been busy working on my latest Skillshare class: Designing Professional Documents. I like to think of it as “making boring documents beautiful.” A well designed document can change how a client perceives you and make you stand out from the competition, not to mention, make it easier for the reader to digest the content.
All Skillshare classes are project driven and the assignment for this class is to redesign your résumé, a document everyone has. I was inspired by my friend Zoe who asked me to help her with her CV, when I realized it’d make more sense to teach her a few skills that she can apply to any document, rather than me making the changes for her. I share this example in class, along with many more. One of my favorite units is when I share documents – résumés, cover letters, proposals, invoices and more – from many of my favorite professional designers in the field. There is such a thing as “over-design” but these examples show the perfect balance between content and design. Then I walk through various concepts to help you redesign your own résumé with a style of your own.
I intentionally structured the class in a way so anyway can apply the skills regardless of what software you’re using. I review the concepts, followed by a lesson where I use InDesign to showcase the tools in action. For those that are interested in building skills in InDesign, this class is for beginner/intermediate level and will give you a lot of practice working with text.
As always, anyone can sign up for Skillshare classes any time, and once you’re in a class you have lifetime access. All lessons are pre-recorded online so you can watch them as many times as you want. Students are encouraged to share their work in the classroom and participate in class discussion boards. It’s a really wonderful experience. (Trust me, I’ve taken 30 classes now!)
I’ve created short links to make it easier to sign up (or share) all three of my classes:
- Map Design:: bitly.com/makemaps
- Intro to InDesign:: bitly.com/learnindesign
- Designing Professional Documents:: bitly.com/resumeredesign
If you have any questions about any of my classes, ask in the comments below!
P.S. Code BORING will get you $5 off Designing Professional Documents when you sign up through the referral links in this post!
This year marked the inaugural year of Fête du Graphisme, a festival celebrating graphic design (graphisme = graphic design). It kicked off a couple weeks ago with Paris-themed posters by designers around the world appearing in place of advertising at bus stops around the city. There have been various events, projections and happenings around the city, and most notably a large temporary expo at Cité de la Mode et du Design along the Seine in the 13th (the large snake like building, which is also where Wanderlust happens and where the new digital/entertainment Musée Art Ludique is housed). It features 350 posters from designers on 45 countries and five continents, a “tour de France” of young French designers (a personal highlight in my opinion), 150 underground American “gig” posters, and more. The show is quick and fleeting – only on January 30 to February 2nd, but many of the posters are still on view near Champs-Élysees Clémenceau and Concorde through February 5th. I’ve long been inspired by the posters I see in the Paris metros – particularly for French cultural institutions – so it was such a treat to get a peek into who is behind many of these works, and some of my favorite products too. There is also a book commemorating the event (it’s 39€ but I’ve been pouring over all my new discoveries!). The expo is free and open to the public.
Don’t miss the Vine at the end of the post for a fun tour :)
“The station, where I said, I love you.” By French designer Alain Le Quernec.
Jardins poster by Des Signes.
Poster by My Name is Wendy.
Posters by Brest, Brest, Brest.
Poster by Les Graphiquants.
Anyone who has been to Monoprix has seen the work of Cléo Charuet aka Cleoburo.
Nuit Blanche Metz poster by Frédéric Tacer.
Work of SA*M*AEL.
Posters by Dugudus.
Posters by Studio B-C.
Colorful designs of Atelier Muesli.
Work by Akatre.
Packaging design (2 images above) by Les Bons Faiseurs. They’re also behind many of the wine labels for Nicolas.
Colorful work of Brazilian illustrator Kiko Farkas.
Les Docks Cité de la Mode et du Design
34, quai d’Austerlitz
I’ve never officially met Naomi den Besten aka Pretty Unexpected, but she was one of the early students to sign up for my Skillshare map making class. For the hand drawn map exercise [below] she made a series of simple marker maps of Amsterdam to document how she and her boyfriend were going to spent their 5 year anniversary that she put on five different cards, which at the time she put in separate envelopes to reveal how they were going to spend their day. Together all the cards fit together to form a complete map. My students are awesome, right!?!
Little did I know that she had another, bigger map cooked up. In late November I received an email from Naomi telling me she’d been hard at work since she took the class and wanted to send me a copy of her latest project, an illustrated map of Amsterdam with 36 of her favorite locations. Dubbed The Creative Guide to Amsterdam, she had the map professionally printed on waterproof paper and added small stickers so people can also add some of their own favorite places, which she sells in her online shop, and it’s completely delightful.
One of the most amazing things about Naomi’s project that you’d never know from looking at her work is that most of her graphic design “education” is mostly self-directed. She claims to still be figuring it out as she goes, and credits online classes helping to push her own limits. Naomi charted her progress – and frustrations – on her blog, which is refreshing. It’s so true that great work doesn’t just happen like magic, but so much goes into it behind the scenes. What I loved even more is that Naomi thought to share her work with me. It made my day to receive her email.
If you’re interested in signing up for my Skillshare map making class, sign up here: http://skl.sh/11RQ8Ig (code HIGHFIVE for a discount!). Like all Skillshare classes, you can sign up anytime and the course is self-paced. You can follow Naomi’s class project here. Her Pretty Unexpected blog is wonderful and inspiring, and of course don’t forget to pick up a copy of the map in her shop! (Such a steal at 4,95€).
All images courtesy of Naomi den Besten of Pretty Unexpected.
In case you missed the decree, not once, but twice yesterday I was declared Queen for the year during our annual galette des rois (king’s cake) celebration for Epiphanie (Epiphany). Eating one cake is never enough, as it’s always more fun to taste test.
Once you have your cake, traditionally, the youngest person has to go under the table and point to shoes to decide who each slice will go to. As our youngest last night was a new arrival from the U.S. we had her turn her back to the table instead. That’s when the magic happened. She picked my name to receive the last slice for the first cake. Even the server didn’t know who received la fève (lucky charm, that literally translates as “bean”). Then I saw something white in my slice. I was a bit disappointed at first only seeing a white ceramic square and thinking perhaps a piece of the mixer had broken. Alas, after a bit of archaeological digging, I uncovered the cute slice of galette on the other side. Not only did I get la fève, but I also became la reine (the Queen).
So then we were ready to try the second cake – a nutella/speculoos variety. As I had been the last pick for the first cake, the youngest this time figured it’d be funny to give me the first slice this time, which was quite hilarious as the server and I immediately saw a bit of blue in my slice and started cracking up. What luck! I now became the Queen for the second time over.
Galette des rois is something that you’ll typically find in French boulangeries in late December and early January. In France, most boulangeries – or the frozen food store Picard, who tends to have the most adorable fève dolls – include a crown with each galette. So in addition to my two new fèves, I had two new crowns as well.
You can always make your own galette des rois as well – David Lebovitz shares the recipe on his blog, and Clothilde Dusoulier has one too (and gets into more of the history). And check out these awesome fèves that Le Petit Atelier de Paris designed for Poilaîne this year. Even if I wasn’t Queen, I’d still think this holiday – an excuse to eat cake – was great.
French Lessons is an ongoing series where I teach you French words and cultural lessons while beefing up my Illustrator skills.
If you’ve ever watched Midnight in Paris you’ll understand Gil’s (Owen Wilson) fascination with Paris of the past. I didn’t realize that it was possible to still travel back to 19th century Paris until I took a recent trip to the Musée des Arts Forains in the Bercy area of the 12ème arrodissement. In fact, one of the party scenes was filmed here – you’ll recognized the cycle powered le manège de velocipedes below, as well as the swinging boats in the background. This “fun fair” is more like a ghost town most of the year, and only open for private tours, but for two weeks around the holidays they open their doors to the public. The entrance fee is 12€ for adults and 5€ for kids (cash only), which includes one ticket for an “amusement,” whether it be a ride on the carousel or a game of the waiter chase, with additional tickets for sale for French onion soup or a vin chaud. While the rides won’t be up and running during most of the year, I still highly recommend trying to get on one of the private tours if you can’t make it before January 5th. It probably will be easier to photograph then (it’s really low light if you can’t tell by the photos) without all the crowds. However, one of the joys visiting during their annual “Festival du Merveilleux” in the winter is seeing how excited and engaged all the kids – and adults are – without their typical iPad and video games. Great fun and I can’t wait to go back [in time]!
This ride dates back to 1897 and once the ticket taker has all the tickets he gives it a good push and then it’s human pedal powered from there. It’s kind of amazing how fast it goes! (Check out the Vine below).
This isn’t full speed. It goes faster!
I suspect this Venice boat swing is a bit old for current usage, but you can catch it in the background of Midnight in Paris. I didn’t mind thought – it’s still fun to see and think about how much rides have changed over the years.
If you’re into movie locations, also check out Set in Paris movie tours that will take you past many movie locations in central Paris in the comforts of a luxury tour bus where you get to enjoy movie clips along the way. I went on in this weekend and it was fun to experience the city in a new way!