Original Story Travelers

Slow Traveler: Marie-Joëlle Parent, author of the city guide collection “300 reasons to love…”

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You live in…
New York in a little apartment in TriBeCa, close to the World Trade Centre, but I spend a big part of my time in San Francisco where my parents-in-law live. It’s difficult to decide which one I love most.

Your job…
Freelance journalist, author and creator of the travel guide collection “300 Reasons to Love…“.

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While traveling, you enjoy listening to…
When I travel by train, car or plane, I listen to Sade, Erykah Badu or Frank Ocean, but when I explore new places, I rarely listen to music. I pay a lot of attention to noises around me as they are an important part of the experience. When I think about New York, I hear car horns and sirens. I hear tramways, wind and waves when I think about San Francisco.

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Best travel advice…
Don’t be afraid to visit off-the-beaten tracks places and to get out of your comfort zone. Meet local people and learn where they eat, where they go out for drinks or spend their weekends. Explore cities by bike and travel light. I explored Indonesia, Japan and Thailand with only a cabin suitcase. Absolute freedom!

If you had a sabbatical year…
I would spend an entire year in Japan, rent an apartment in Tokyo and write “300 Reasons to Love Tokyo”.

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A fashion item, always in your suitcase
My Perfecto jacket and my Nike Flyknit, they are so light and comfortable. Perfect for long walks!

Best travel partner
My husband, Geoffrey. He is a big traveler as well. He loves planning, booking and organizing our next adventures. I prefer to improvise and I am eager to see everything in one day. We complete each another perfectly.

MARIE-JOËLLE’S  SLOW SAN FRANCISCO GUIDE

A hotel…
Inn at the Presidio, a historical bed and breakfast, set in a former army residence with only 22 rooms. The hotel is in Presidio park and it’s surrounded by big trees. If you look carefully, you notice the Golden Bridge. I love this place.

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A restaurant…
The Perennial, located in the SoMA (South of Market Street) neighbourhood where you can find most of the tech start-ups like Twitter. It’s the most eco-friendly restaurant in the United States. The decor is made of recycled materials, all the kitchen equipment was chosen depending on the level of energy consumption and even the bar water system was rethought. Most of the cocktails are cask-conditioned to avoid water waste. We hear a lot about the Farm-to-Table movement but, in this case we can talk about Table-to-Farm. Karen and Anthony, the two adorable co-owners, perfectly embody what San Francisco has to offer: eco-conscious people who pay a lot of attention to minimizing the impact on the natural environment and its habitats.

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A place to visit…
Lands End, the only wild area of San Francisco at only 20 minute drive from downtown. It’s my favourite place: a magnificent park in the North-West of the city. You can hike for hours and explore ocean view paths surrounded by cypress pines (it reminds me of Cinque Terre in Italy !). It’s the ideal place to stop of a while, admire the ocean and meditate.

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A shopping destination…
The General Store is a typical North Californian boutique, a bit hippie, vintage, nature inspired and chic at the same time, located in the Outer Sunset neighbourhood. Every article is carefully curated. You choose from local handmade jewellery, leather sandals and organic beauty products. If you look carefully, you’ll find a hidden little greenhouse where they grow vegetables with a beautiful wooden table in the middle. An oasis of calm.

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A coffee shop…
Saint Frank Coffee, a beautiful place with minimalistic Scandinavian design. During his travels, Kevin Bohlin, the owner developed close relationships with coffee cultivators in Honduras, Guatemala, Bolivia, Kenya and India. He also had the idea to hide the coffee machines under the counter to facilitate the discussions between baristas and clients. You need to try their almond milk and macadamia nuts coffee and their Kaffe Tonic, a surprising mix of espresso and sparkling water, served on ice.

Slow Travel Saint Frank Coffee San Francisco

A bar
Trick Dog in the Mission neighbourhood. The menu and the theme of the bar change every 6 months. The menu can sometimes look like a Pantone palette, a city map, a dog themed calendar, a zodiac wheel or a Chinese menu that guest need to decode. This funny way of presenting cocktails is really unique.

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Credits: William-Yan, Marie-Joëlle Parent, The Perennial et Trick Dog.

Contest

The Slow Journeys team gives you the opportunity to win the “300 reasons to love San Francisco” (in French). To participate, go on Facebook, like our page, tag a friend and tell us what makes you dream about San Francisco on the designated contest post. The contest starts on January 9th and ends on January 15th at midnight. To be eligible, you need to have more than 18 y.o. and live in Quebec region. The winner will be designed by random draw and announced January 16th on Facebook. Good luck!

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