Ever wanted to leave your worries behind and move to Paris? That wish became reality for Sydney-born blogger Anna Dawson of The Balloon Diary. RESCU talks to the woman that spends her time carrying a pink balloon around Paris, simply because it makes people smile. Dawson inspires us to move abroad and chase our dreams, and talks about her most treasured moment, in partnering with Annick Goutal for the new “Tenue de Soirée” fragrance.
RESCU: Tell us about your first trip to Paris and the a-ha moment when you knew this was your dream city?
Anna Dawson: When I first moved to Paris two years ago I fell in love with the Parisienne lifestyle. Weekdays are not what I had known in Australia. They now included local gallery openings, dinner in restaurants with new friends usually till 1 am and walking the streets discovering something new and exciting around every corner. I rediscovered what it meant to enjoy the simple pleasures in life!
RESCU: Where do you take your friends for the best coffee and pastries?
Anna Dawson: I don’t let my friends leave Paris without experiencing a teatime at the Camelia restaurant at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel. It’s the perfect place to take a moment and indulge in the most delicious and beautifully presented pastries after strolling in the Jadin du Tuileries.
RESCU: Where is the best place to sip rosé on a warm spring day?
Anna Dawson: In the garden of the Hotel Particulier in Montmartre. You’ll find it tucked away at the end of a small cobblestone path and hidden behind a large iron gate. It’s a well-kept secret that most Parisienne’s don’t even know about.
RESCU: What are your top three favourite places to soak in the city?
Anna Dawson: Walking along the Seine from Le Marais to the famous Pont Alexandre bridge where you have an amazing view of the Eiffel tower. Le Marais because It’s full of little streets and charming old doors are perfect to take beautiful pictures. Palais Royal is also one of my favourite places, it’s just too beautiful for words.
RESCU: What’s your favourite season in Paris and why?
Anna Dawson: Spring, when the streets come to life and the city’s parks and gardens are blooming with vivid colours and scents. I love to walk barefoot on the grass in the Jardin des Tuileries or at the Parc Monceau. Paris in Spring exudes an atmosphere of freshness, and joie de vivre!
RESCU: What is the best ‘local’ hangout on a lazy Sunday?
Anna Dawson: Le Ruisseau restaurant in the 18th. Serving mainly burgers It’s the perfect place to brunch with friends after a busy week or a night out. Easily the best burgers in Paris.
RESCU: Where do you dance the night away?
Anna Dawson: The last time I danced the night away was actually in a friend’s kitchen. The best parties are always impromptu. But, if I’m not dancing in kitchens you would find me at La Mano in the 9th. Good music, good cocktails and an eclectic crowd.
RESCU: Where is the best place to shop and why?
Anna Dawson: The Marais. Using the Rue Charlot as your axis to navigate this tangle of tiny streets behind the Rue de Bretagne, discover creative little boutiques selling up & coming labels and little Parisian classics to complete that effortless low-key Parisian “bobo” (bohemian bourgeois) look. Don’t miss the Merci concept store, that has the famous red Fiat parked out front. Then head over to Rue Vielle du Temple and visit the old Jewish quarter and you’ll find my favourite homeware store, Fleux.
RESCU: Tell us about your neighbourhood and why it makes your heart sing?
Anna Dawson: I live in the 18th Arrondissement of Montmartre, the most charming of all the areas in Paris. I adore it’s artistic bohemian village style atmosphere and love to wander aimlessly in the streets and stumble upon something unexpected. I always find something new and exciting, the discoveries seem to be endless.
RESCU: What was the hardest hand about moving to Paris?
Anna Dawson: Apart from missing my family not speaking French! Some people have a knack for languages and I am definitely not one of them. Every day is a challenge as I’m still learning but I try to keep a good sense of humour and enjoy the process.
RESCU: What has-been the most surprising (in a good way) about moving to a country and city where you are a full foreigner?
Anna Dawson: Definitely the idea of getting comfortable with being uncomfortable. Naturally, I am a person who likes to be in control and moving abroad forced me into many unfamiliar situations. I learnt to be more open. Open to experiences good and bad, new friendships and new opportunities. I also learnt that it’s ok to ask for help. Something I had always struggled with in the past.
RESCU: What advice would you give to anyone who is tempted to follow their heart and dreams?
Anna Dawson: Follow them because no one is going to follow them for you!
RESCU: What’s a beauty secret that you’ve learned from French women?
Anna Dawson: Wearing Red lipstick. It always looks timeless and feminine and can transform any outfit.
RESCU: What’s your guilty pleasure food in Paris?
Anna Dawson: Cheese, cheese and more cheese.
RESCU: What was your MOST treasured moment in partnering with the iconic brand Annick Goutal?
Anna Dawson: My most treasured moment in partnering with Annick Goutal was bringing the spirit of the new “Tenue de Soirée” fragrance to life. Inspired by Parisian elegance and glamour with a hint of spontaneity we shot the film in the backstreets of Montmartre. I was running down small alleyways and cobblestone streets, driving barefoot to my favourite rooftop bar to enjoy cocktails with friends and playing hopscotch in the street at 2am. It was magic!