The Déco-cast (my french spken podcast) has travelled!
To record my next two podcasts, I took tok the opportunity during one of my visits to my home country to chat about the Joie d’Habiter (the joy of home living) with two French expatriates in the Netherlands.
So on a rainy Thursday morning, I went to the center of the city of Haarlem, just 30 kilometers west of Amsterdam.
A little by chance, while surfing French Instagram accounts in the Netherlands, I discovered a lovely place that had just opened in the center of one of my favorite cities in the Netherlands, Ti Bisou. It’s a creperie and a boutique with specialties from Brittany and Normandy, run by Carole.
Carole was immediately enthousiatic about receiving me in Ti Bisou to answer my questions about the Joy of Home Living. It’s a conversation that’s not just about decorating of course, but moreso about living in the Netherlands as a french expatriate . She tells us, among other things, how she ended up in one of the prettiest streets in Haarlem, how Ti Bisou was created and how she went about decorating it.
It was especially fun for me to meet someone in the reverse situation of my own (Carole, a frenchie in the Netherlands for twenty years and me,a dutchie in France for almost thirty years). There were quite a few similar observations, experiences and feelings.
For those who can’t enjoy the podcast because it’s french spoken, I nevertheless translated the article to enjoy the visit and read about Ti Bisou.
Whilest enjoying a professional career in marketing and communication, Carole had an unexpected opportunity to open her own crêperie in the city (and even the street) where she and her German husband had landed twenty years before. She had already made crêpes for several events, just for fun, and when neighbour-friends said she should follow her dream when they offered her a shop that was empty, she didn’t hesitate for long.
Ti Bisou opened almost two years ago, which was not easy during the second Covid summer in the Netherlands.
And now, the people of Haarlem have become regulars and she also has a lot of tourists come in.
To decorate the interior of the crêperie/boutique, Carole called on a professional to help her confirm her choices and find consistency in the colors. The existing floor of the shop was to stay intact and Carole therefore chose to adapt the colors accordingly. It’s a blue that Carole’s customers ask about and even show Carole how they copied it in their homes.
She also thrifted a lot of items, because of the limited possibilities during Covid but also because of her limited budget. That’s how she found, for example, all the chairs, the old doors that create a semi-separation with the kitchen, an old window that she uses to write the menu on, the armchairs in the small lounge area, etc.
There was no budget to have the renovation done by professionnals and so everything was done by themselves with the help of a great neighbor.
The friendly neighborhood is in fact very important in the life of Carole and her family. The people who live in the Korte Houtstraat (not to be mixed up with the Kleine Houtstraat, if you decide to go to Carole’s one day) have a real community spirit. They help each other but also get together for small parties, barbecues, etc. in front of their homes, in the street. Carole actually resides in the same street as Ti Bisou and so do 3 other members of her staff.
Well-being at Ti Bisou
Carole has voluntarily sought to create a place where people feel at home. And it works. She tells us, with a smile, that clients sometimes feel so comfortable that they go so far as to lick the caramel leftovers off the plate with their fingers.
When I asked where Carole got the inspiration to decorate Ti Bisou she said on Pinterest and even more on Instagram, but also public places elsewhere, from Japan to Paris. She also says “I didn’t want to go for the traditional crêperie decor with red and black/white, I really wanted to feel at ease there, in my daily life“.
About the podcast
In the french-spoken podcast we find out what makes Carole feel so well surrounded in this pretty street of Haarlem and what is the score of her joy of life, that makes her want to stay in the Netherlands with her family.
Thank you very much Carole, for receiving me and for having shared your Joy of Home Living in the Dutch way. We had a lovely time chatting in the midst of music and customers in this lovely boutique/restaurant, which is as Dutch as it is French.
If you understand french, do go over to the french version of this post to listen to the podcast with Carole (or find them on the main podcast channels, Spotify Anchor Apple podcast Deezer Google podcast).
And if not, I can only recommend, if one day you have the opportunity to visit Haarlem, to not miss Ti Bisou, for a galette, a crêpe or simply a good coffee!
Photos: par Carole via son Instagram
et le site de Ti Bisou
et par Interior Crisp