The Luvaville Blog

The Luvaville.com Blog is ALL about travel and lifestyle for urban parents. Here, we wish to share with you some of our travel experiences as well as tips and various recommendations on fashion, great design, trendy and practical products that go along with life as parents.

Meet Gabrielle Blair - the coolest Design Mom

We recently had the chance to interview the super cool and talented Gabrielle Blair. We are huge fans! Gabrielle Blair is a designer and mother of six (Ralph, Maude, Olive, Oscar, Betty & June). She and her husband, Ben Blair, moved their family from the U.S. to the French countryside in February of 2012. The house is beyond amazing! Gabrielle is a founder of Alt Summit and she blogs daily at Design Mom.

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1. What do you like best about living in France vs. The US with children? Our life here is slower, and our food is better. But one of the things we'll miss the most when we move back to the U.S. is the French school schedule. It's basically 6 weeks on, 2 weeks off. And those 2 week breaks have been ideal for being able to travel and explore without disrupting the kids' education. It's also a longer school day, which we thought we wouldn't like. But. The longer day includes a 2 hour lunch, plus they have Wednesdays off (for 11 and older it's a half day). Which means they have 2 long days, then get a break. Then have 2 more long days and get another break. So it's actually really doable.

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2. What is it like a typical day in Normandie with your family? Our days are pretty ordinary: school, meals, housekeeping, errands, homework, etc. But the setting is extraordinary! The French countryside is stunning, and the house we live in is especially stunning. So all those ordinary tasks feel pretty special, and somehow elevated, when we stop and acknowledge our surroundings.

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3. What is your favourite city and why? New York City! I love it because it feels like the center of the universe. And I love it because I know it best.

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4. What is your favorite place in the world to go out for lunch or dinner ? We loved Il Chianti in Rome (Via del Lavatore 81). It's right by Trevi Fountain. So delicious! Nice, but not too pretentious, so it was easy to have kids there. And the food was so good we would have eaten every meal there if we could have.

5. What is your  favourite shops in the world for your self and for your children? My sister introduced me to COS. I adore it! Every piece feels special, and totally wearable at the same time. But it's not so expensive that I feel like it's out of reach. I don't know if it's arrived in the US yet -- I think of it as a European store.

6. The best play ground you know of, is situated in? Vondelpark in Amsterdam. They have several amazing play structures! Unlike anything we've encountered before. So adventurous and daring!

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 7. Your childrens' favourite cultural activity? Our kids really embrace sight seeing. I remember in London, they loved seeing the famous sites and getting a feel for the energy of the city. I'm sure it helps that we love to stop for ice cream as we explore a new place.

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8. Your own favourite cultural activity? My favorite museum is Musee D'Orsay in Paris. I think my generation grew up on Impressionism, so I feel like I recognize and connect with every piece in the collection. And it's not too big. You can spend a few hours and feel like you saw everything you wanted to see.

My favorite cathedral is Sagrada Familia in Barcelona. It blew me away. I don't know what I was expecting, but it was way better than whatever was in my head. : )

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9. Is their a city you have yet to discover? Dozens. Hundreds! Next up: During the October school break, we want to take a road trip to Venice. Ben Blair and I visited for 48 hours or so 15 years ago. But it was rainy and freezing the whole time and we didn't really get to enjoy it. So we want to rediscover it. and the kids really want to see it too! It's one of those cities that shows up in movies a lot, so they feel like they've heard of it.

10. What's your best advice for managing beeing both an entrepreneur and mom? The key for me is flexibility. Having a career that doesn't require me to be in one place, or work certain hours every day. Having flexible work means I can leave my computer to attend the school meetings I need to, without having to ask for the day off. Or work in my pajamas if I'm feeling under the weather. Blogging is especially good for this, but even before blogging existed, I had carefully sought out a career that was flexible. I was a graphic designer and art director. I could work full time when needed, or work on freelance jobs from home. It was very flexible and I loved it! Who knew blogging would be even more flexible?! It feels like a miracle.

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