we’ve been in switzerland for almost ten years now, and we’ve lived in vaud for nearly six of those, and there still are still a lot of places we haven’t discovered for ourselves yet. firstly, because we are creatures of comfort and routine – once we find a place that both us and the kids like, we keep returning to it. secondly, because we tend to spend a lot of time abroad – at least we used to. now that we have cut back so drastically on our travels, we have a lot more free time to explore closer to home, and that’s how we finally ended up at nyon plage. it had only been on my to-do list for about three years…

the lake is definitely this region’s best feature, and the added advantage of our particular nook in the region is that we have a beautiful view of the alps right behind the lake. there are quite a few places where you can enjoy these gorgeous views while having dinner, but few are so close to the water as the restaurant of nyon plage. we initially headed up there just for l’apéro, but we loved the vibe there so much we decided to stay for dinner, too. there is a nice little patch of grass and a narrow rocky beach beside the restaurant, which i want to head back to one of these days as long as we’re having this beautiful indian summer.

i’d be lying if i didn’t admit that i love this place probably even more for its photogenic backdrop to spontaneous snapshots, than for its food (which is ok). i was so happy we ended up there the ONE day of the year juliet was into twinning with her sister and didn’t fight me to wear all pink and glitter instead. and i couldn’t have picked a better day for them to wear my favorite GRO COMPANY print of the past season, they matched the background perfectly. even though at the time when i was taking the photos i was frustrated because neither of them would sit still or look into the lense, but the photos ended up being perfect portrayals of who they are, and they are definitely ending up on a wall in our living room soon.

Galeria Inno rue Neuve Bruxelles Galeria Inno rue Neuve Bruxelles Galeria Inno rue Neuve Bruxelles Galeria Inno rue Neuve Bruxelles Galeria Inno rue Neuve Bruxelles Galeria Inno rue Neuve Bruxelles Galeria Inno rue Neuve Bruxelles Galeria Inno rue Neuve Bruxelles Galeria Inno rue Neuve Bruxelles Galeria Inno rue Neuve Bruxelles Galeria Inno rue Neuve Bruxelles Galeria Inno rue Neuve Bruxelles Galeria Inno rue Neuve Bruxelles Galeria Inno rue Neuve Bruxelles Galeria Inno rue Neuve Bruxelles Galeria Inno rue Neuve Bruxelles Department store movie magic

my love for department stores runs very, very deep. it goes all the way back to my childhood, when my parents used to take me to visit sinterklaas at the most beautiful and glamourous department store in belgium – then called ‘innovation’ in antwerp. every year in december, the entire top floor was transformed into a magical place where it didn’t even matter how long you had to queue to take your photo with sinterklaas, because there was so much wonderment to see. at least that’s how i experienced it as a kid – looking back on it as a mom myself now, i hope my parents were able to see the magic through my eyes. they must have, because our visit was an annual tradition, followed by an endless stroll through the gigantic toy deparment, where i would touch and feel every barbie, polly pocket and ‘my little pony’ in sight. any other children of the eighties who share these fond memories?

later, when i started traveling as an adult and visiting my favorite cities in the world, my love for department stores only grew. london, paris, new york, copenhagen and even geneva… they all have the most amazing department stores that transport visitors into another world. i get that the appeal for some people is convenience. having everything from socks to pens, perfume to lingerie, kids’ fashion to men’s shoes under one roof is appealing if you need to find what you need in as little time as possible. but that’s never what attracted me to department stores, because honestly i have never saved time by visiting one. i am the girl you need to drag out of there after hours and hours of browsing stuff i didn’t know i needed until i saw them set out in a beautiful set-up. my pace towards a department store could have been ‘outer side of the new york pavement’ fast, once i open the doors to, let’s say, bloomingdale’s, harrod’s, le bon marché, bongenie or illums, my movements dwindle to downright slow motion status.

so as you can probably tell by now, i can be talked into a shopping spree at department stores on most any day of the year, but during the holiday season is when i really feel the pull. let’s face it – gift shopping is a reason to start appreciating the ‘convenience’ factor of a department store. a toy for your nephew, cashmere socks for your grandmother and your boyfriend’s favorite aftershave? all there. you browse to find the perfect gifts for your loved ones without your coat or gloves on, because you don’t have to weather the storm going from shop to shop. you’re in the cozy warmth, in the background is an endless playlist of cheesy christmassy songs, and everywhere you look are twinkling christmas lights and gleaming decorations to fill you up with the holiday spirit even more. i may be romanticizing just a tiiiiiiny little bit, shaped as i am by my favorite christmas movies that all have iconic department store scenes (the meet cute in the glove department in ‘serendipity’! rowan atkinson’s creepy gift wrapping in ‘love actually’! santa land in the fictional gimbels department store in ‘elf’! and check out the new hallmark movie ‘christmas 9 to 5’ for an ENTIRE MOVIE set in a festively decorated department store!)

all this to say – when i was presented the opportunity to rediscover GALERIA INNO and even team up with them as an ambassador, i grabbed it with both hands. as you may know if you haven’t lived under a rock for the past decade, the retail landscape has changed a lot and has had trouble redefining itself in a drastically transformed world after the digital revolution. but honestly i think there is a time and place for any kind of shop. some things i like to shop small and local. sometimes i need something delivered quickly to my door. and other times, i want to escape normal life and wander around in another world for a few hours. and whenever that’s the case, belgians are lucky to have their very own department store to turn to.

i’ll definitely be talking more about my favorite location in antwerp – with its gorgeous, historic building. but for now, i wanted to take you along on a little visit to the galeria inno in brussels at rue neuve, that recently redid their entire home & kitchen department (spoiler alert that you may have seen coming: my favorite department in any store!) to be entirely honest – it had been a while since i last set foot in a galeria inno, traveling as much as i do and living in switzerland and all. my last memories weren’t exactly up-to-date with modern times, but i was so pleasantly surprised to see that galeria inno evolved with the times. i could discover a few of my favorite, newer home brands – think serax and bloomingville – alongside the classics that could never let me down.

our first ‘big’ buy as a couple moving in together, was a gorgeous set of ralph lauren bedding. even though we’ve moved on to a more minimal style currently, passing by the christmassy ralph lauren set-up at galeria inno almost convinced me to redo our entire home in plaid. another huge part of the space is dedicated to christmas decor right now, and i can only recommend the enormous offer of delicate, romantic and witty ‘goodwill’ ornaments. i also made quite an extensive list of items that are totally going on my wish list (those amber vases and tea light holders! the merci tableware and sergio herman surface collection for serax!), and actually picked up a few things to gift to others as well. next week, i’ll be sharing more ideas of what you can find at galeria inno to surprise your loved ones with (or treat yourself with!)

in the meantime, check out some of the cool little extras GALERIA INNO has up their sleeves – with their gift card you can get your friend-who-has-everything the gift of shopping for herself, if you go overboard with your holiday shopping at some of their locations you can have your booty delivered to your home for free (so you don’t have to carry the bajillion shopping bags on the bus or train with you) and if you’re like me and you live outside of the european union, you can shop tax-free with global blue. also, definitely don’t forget to sign up for a loyalty card so you can enjoy extra discounts and save points to exchange for shopping vouchers.

post in collaboration with GALERIA INNO • as usual – all opinions, stories and photos are my own


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my name is stephanie duval, and i am a storyteller. this blog is where i share my favorite stories about design, travel, fashion and the nice things in life.


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