On Monday morning Mila, Diana and I woke up very early, for it was a very special day. It would be the day of the Garden Party, organised by French Café! French Café is a very new group of French-speaking Japanese fashion lovers, existing of mostly people I know (like Mila, Marie, Diana, Lunie, Bloody, Ludwig and so on). This year they organised their first event: a garden party open to all kinds of Japanese fashion styles. The location (Manoir de l'Île aux Loups, a little mansion on an island just outside of Paris that you could only reach by little ferry) and programme (food, raffle, bingo, guests) were very promising for sure! Since the biggest part of the French Café group are Lolitas, lots of Lolitas had bought a ticket this year. ^^ As Mila and Diana had to go to the location early to set everything up, I could come along and help too! I was quite excited.
The three of us got dressed into simple clothes and packed everything that needed to come along to the party location. I made sure I had packed all my own things as well, for I would take the Thalys back home in the evening. We left Mila’s apartment and met up with another French Café member outside, Aliénor. We dragged all the suitcases and other items with us to the bus station. There, we took the bus to Gare de Lyon and from there we took two trains. I had never ridden a French train before except for going to Disneyland, so this was quite a new experience. The French trains are quite nice. ^^
We exited the train station and I just walked after the girls while examining my surroundings. We were definitely not in Paris anymore; there were lots of trees, a beautiful stone overpass the tracks of the train were on and soon, we reached the river. On our way, we got joined by Ludwig and Zoé, who had come by car and were carrying lots of things as well.
As soon as we arrived at the river, we could take the adorable little ferry to the other side. The river wasn’t very broad, but getting there by boat had such a nice atmosphere anyway!
The little boat that would take the guests from one side of the river to the other.
It was a bit of a grey morning, but as long as it didn’t rain we were all content. We reached the other side, walked up a sloped plank and walked into the front garden of the house. While I followed the rest of the people, I looked around in awe. The house was half hidden behind trees and bushes, as were the garden walls. It was as if we found ourselves in the middle of a forest! The house looked beautiful from the outside: brown stones, cute windows and stairs leading to the entrance. I already liked the outside, but the inside was even more amazing! From the entrance there were two rooms, left and right, and straight on there were stairs up and down. The stairs down led to a big room that could have been the back of the house outside, but instead it had a roof and walls, creating a ‘you’re-partially-outside-but-will-stay-dry-and-warm-anyway’ sort of atmosphere. It had a long, white hallway leading into the garden, which gave even more room to build things up. The two rooms upstairs both had a balcony looking over the inside/outside room, which was really cool. There were three exits leading to the garden behind the house, which was big and green and lovely. Sorry, I am probably very vague, but I am just very enthusiastic about this wonderful place. ^^’
Some pictures of the wonderful Garden Party location.
Soon, Marie, Lunie and Libellule arrived and everyone started setting things up, like clothing racks and mannequins for the guest. Since I wasn’t part of the staff, I didn’t want to be in the way of anything, but luckily Marie asked me to help her checking and preparing all the raffle and outfit contest prizes. Basically, I had to wrap up some sets of prizes together in transparent wrapping paper, which gave me the perfect opportunity to take a look at all the prizes. And they sure were amazing! Many indie brands had sent handmade accessories like jewelry and hats and there were also brand prizes like Angelic Prety cutsews and rings. The big prizes were really impressive as well: an Angelic Pretty dress set, a Moi-Même-Moitié set… I was really impressed by all the prizes! *_*
This cute doll and hat were part of one of the best outfit contest prizes. I really loved
While I was wrapping and checking, people were running around getting stuff done, while poor Mila was trying to arrange taxis for the visiting guests, which sounded like a very tiresome job (poor her). But somehow she managed eventually!
Meanwhile, when they could, the staff got redressed into their maid outfits. All the French Café members would be dressed as maid (or butler) to distinguish themselves from the guests, but they all gave it their personal twist. I thought it was a lovely idea!
Ludwig and Bloody preparing the drinks.
Picture by Lunie-chan
After I was done with the prizes, Marie asked me to put a little voting paper for the best outfit into every person’s badge. There were about 150 guests, so that kept me busy for a while. It did give me a good opportunity to find out who was attending. ^^
No. 99, my favourite number in French!
After I was done, I took all the raffle prizes downstairs and arranged them onto the tables. In the meantime, the guest vendors had arrived. Again, I was very impressed by French Café’s hard work! They had managed to invite two Japanese brands who had attended the Japan Expo during the previous days as well: Lorina Liddell and Neb aaran do. Lorina Liddel is a Japanese fashion shop that sells multiple brands, like Atelier Pierrot, Tokimeki and Pays
The Lorina Liddel staff and stall.
Neb aaran do is also a Japanese brand (also carried by Lorina Liddell) that sells uniform-like clothes and berets. And their staff is just adorable! The Neb aaran do staff girls looked super cute, willing to take pictures all the time (looking even cuter) and when I asked about their cute lollipop necklaces, they told me it was genuine candy! How cool is that? *o*
The Neb aaran do staff and stall.
Both brands were setting up their stalls in the inside/outside room and they really brightened the place up! Their stalls were starting to look really nice and they had both put banners onto the fences of the little balconies. Together with Marina, who was officially a guest but offered to help out, I helped arranging the Lorina Liddell accessories a bit. They had the cutest jewelry and I surely wanted to check everything out again later. I left Marina and the Lorina Liddell staff to finish up, since they were already dressed prettily while I walked around in my muggle clothes. I went upstairs and looked through the window into the garden, where Bloody (who was already dressed up) was setting up the glasses onto
Upstairs, Lunie and Libellule were getting dressed as well. And suddenly, I felt a rush of happiness. I felt so… I don’t know… honoured to be a part of the crew setting everything up, being able to help out and walk around freely backstage. I just felt so happy the crew trusted me to help them. It’s the little things in life huh. ^^
Lunie was getting dressed into a very colourful flowery outfit, but with an apron to give it a ‘maid-look’. Libellule was getting dressed into a lavender and bright green outfit with little wings and little antennae, making her look like a cute dragonfly (‘libellule’ means ‘dragonfly’)! ^^
The pile of accessories going into Lunie’s outfit.
While I was getting my things ready, I could hear Libellule saying she couldn’t tie her waist ties by herself and that she didn’t know how to ask me in English. ‘Yes, but she understands French,’ Lunie answered. I thought that was just so cute. >_< ♥ I helped Lunie and Libellule where I could, while getting dressed myself as well. Before I left for my trip, I had to come up with an easy to put on outfit, since I knew I’d help set up things first. So I decided to go with a ‘Fancy Alice’ look, a blue and white outfit with gold accessories and my new Angelic Pretty necklace. For my hair, I just brushed my hair, but put on my brown braided headband, so it looked like I used my own hair for it. ^^ Despite the fact I didn’t look super elaborate, I quite liked my outfit! The picture below was taken during the Garden Party itself, so a little later in the story, but showing it now is easier and also more fun. ;)
♠ Fancy Alice ♠
My outfit rundown:
Head bands: Claire’s
Head acessories: Claire’s and Swimmer
Jsk: Baby, the Stars Shine Bright’s Dreaming Sherbet
Necklace: Angelic Pretty
Rings: Six and Mariwest (which I had bought that day)
Guests arriving by boat.
Picture by Studio Art Création
I went outside to pick up my badge and went back inside, walked through the house and entered the back garden, where the guests were starting to come in. While they were taking their seats, I took some last pictures inside of the stalls (again, backstage privilege, hehe), since now nothing wasn’t ‘spoiled’ yet (if you know what I mean). The last of the food was getting placed on the table set up inside the long white hallway. There were lots of different little bites and they looked really good! I was very eager to taste some.
Food waiting to be tasted…
Suddenly, Mila came up to me. She told me that she had put 15 extra raffle tickets with my number on it into the box for me, since I helped so much. I was so happy, she didn’t have to do that at all! ;_; So sweet!
I went outside and stood in awe of the amount of people. There were so many guests and they were all dressed in the colours of the rainbow!
The guests waiting for the event to begin.
I found myself a free spot, next to Yuki and Yoki, who were looking really cute as usual. Suddenly, a voice through a microphone sounded and everyone became quiet. The maids and butler of French Café welcomed us to the very first French Café Garden Party!
The French Café team (minus Tiya)!
Picture by Lorina Liddell
In English and French they talked us through the programme for a bit. They told us there were also programmes lying on the tables and explained the purpose of the name bingo (you write a bunch of names onto a bingo card instead of numbers).
The programme for the day.
The staff also said that everyone could write valentines for each other. Now, this was truly a brilliant and such an adorable idea! The staff had hung a couple of wires between two trees with a hundred colourful little bags on them, each with a number and a name, corresponding with the numbers on everyone’s badges. So you could leave a little valentine to anyone you liked. The staff in general had their own bag as well. Isn’t this idea just genius!?
Colourful bags to put valentines in for every guest!
Everyone lined up in front of the white hallway to get food. The bites I tasted were really tasty, as I had expected and so were the many drinks you could choose from as well. I tasted a pink, bubbly drink which was sweet and so delicious!
I really enjoyed the food and drinks at the Garden Party.
After I had finished my food, I started to walk around to collect names for my bingo card and start my mission to take as many outfit pictures as I could. I am afraid I didn’t quite succeed due to there being too many awesome events and stalls, but I did my best and I still took quite some! So expect some lovely outfits further down this post. ^^
I talked for a bit with cuties Lou, Léa and Marie (different Marie this time). I was very happy to see them again.
I went inside to check out the stalls for a bit. It was quite busy inside! The stalls were very popular of course, plus you could buy extra raffle tickets. Since the prizes were amazing, many people did so. ^^
The stalls and lottery sale were all very popular. ^^
Picture by Studio Art Création
Despite the fact I adored the shop girls at Neb aaran do and they had super cute items, I didn’t buy anything from them in the end. Maybe some other day though, they had such cute items… But I did take a picture together with the lovely staff. Marie was kind enough to
take it. ^^
Together with the Neb aaran do staff! I really like this picture. ^^
Picture by Marie Tuonetar
Yet at the Lorina Liddell stall, I immediately fell in love with a little gold tea cup ring with a tiny crystal dangling from it and it was only 8 euros! It was too cute not to take it with me and after I had paid, the shop guy put it into a cute little box! I was so happy! They also had amazing handmade necklaces from the brand ‘Tokimeki’ with all kinds of marble-coloured animals and items, like unicorns, rocking horses, mushrooms, crowned frogs and rabbits. I decided to come back later for those, since they were a bit more pricy (but so very pretty)!
I continued my pictures hunt and just generally enjoyed looking around and talking to people. There were so many pretty outfits, I just didn’t know where to look!
Outfit pictures. ♥
There were many people I was so happy to talk to! I really talked a lot. ^^ I was very glad to see Kata again. She looked adorable in light blue with a cute hat. Vief and Diana (different Diana this time) were also there! The last time I had seen Diana was in 2012, before the Baby, the Stars Shine Bright Tea Party. She looked like a princess who had just descended from Chateau de Versailles! ♥ She also introduced me to Pauline, a sweet girl who looked like a bouquet of flowers. And I could also talk to the lovely Marlessa again, who looked so incredibly stunning with her amazing hairod and long dress!
Outfit pictures. ✿
Slowly my bingo card filled up. I mostly wrote down people that asked my name (I am somehow shy in that), but eventually I got my 25 names. ^^
The microphone got switched on again and it was time for the name bingo. There were multiple cool mooks to win, but unfortunately I had no luck. ;_;
Aliénor and Bloody hosting the bingo, while the guests eagerly crossed off names.
Picture by Studio Art Création
After the bingo, I went inside again and helped (a tiny little bit) with setting up the cakes and pastries. I spotted Lunie watching over the Neb aaran do booth, which gave the shop staff the opportunity to walk around and have some food as well. The French Café maids did this many times, which is really nice I think.
The pastries and sweet bites were looking really good as well and I couldn’t wait to try some, so I joined the back of the queue.
A close up of the maids serving pastries.
Picture by Lunie-chan
The pastries were limited, so I could choose one piece of cake and two small bites. I really had a hard time choosing, everything looked amazing! Eventually, I chose a piece of chocolate cake and two red fruits pastries. They were absolutely delicious!
Kata’s and my plate on the left, pastries and guests choosing them on the right.
After my desserts, I walked around again (I always walk a lot at events) and took more outfit pictures. I continued to do so for quite a while, but I still wish I had taken more. There were just so many beautiful people!
Outfit pictures. ✩
I decided it was time for some valentines! I wish I could have written one for each and every guest, but that would have been impossible. Instead, I wrote some for special people and put them into their little bags. I was overly happy to see many people were busy writing or posting valentines. It was a big success!
A beautiful picture of Vief preparing a valentine.
Picture by Kitch
Many people had incorporated the ‘Garden Party’ theme into their outfits, by adding lots of flowers for example. But there were also girls who had decided to dress up to the theme of ‘French Café’ by wearing… Angelic Pretty’s French Café print!
The French Café girls.
Picture by Studio Art Création
I walked around some more and almost bumped into some lovely English girls, two of them in ouji style. Now, if there is one style I love almost as much as Lolita, it’s kodona/ouji style! I was very happy to be able to take pictures with Charlotte, since we matched so beautifully in our blue outfits!
I really love this picture! Charlotte looked so stunning! ♥
I realised I didn’t take many duo pictures (which I should have), so when I saw Marlessa and Vief posing for a bunch of people holding cameras, I jumped right in. And I am glad I did. ^^
Lovely Marlessa and beautiful Vief. ♥
Then, the moment everyone was waiting for; the raffle! Everyone was very excited of course and clutched their numbers eagerly. Both Lorina Liddell and Nebaarando had added some of their catalogues as prizes as well, so the number of prizes was really big!
Unfortunately, I didn’t win anything again, but I did get the chance to take some pictures of the lucky winners!
Wendy with her big prize, girls hoping their number would get drawn and Léa examining her new necklace.
Right after the raffle, the outfit contest took place. There were would be a 1st, 2nd and 3rd place and a special winner chosen by the Neb aaran do staff. When the winners were announced, everyone cheered. They truly stood out among the guests, so well deserved. ^^
The outfit contest winners!
Finally, the event was starting to come to an end, so it was time for the group picture. Maid Sandra was kind enough to take my camera and take some for me as well. ♥ We took a normal one and of course… a derp picture!
The French Café Garden Party group pictures.
Since we were all gathered in one place now, I managed to take some last outfit pictures of Saltje, Vief and Libellule. Somehow I ended up with three pictures in the same colour schemes!
Vief, Saltje, Libellule and me. We matched well, don’t you think?
People were starting to get ready to head home, so I decided to go back to the Lorina Liddell booth. I needed to take another look at the necklaces. When I did so, I decided I needed to get one after all! They had two unicorns sitting on little spoons and don’t ask me why, but I have a thing for spoons on necklaces. Plus they had unicorns on them, hello!? After some asking for advice, I went with the pink one. ^^
Aren’t these necklaces just super cute? ♥
I said goodbye to many people, but still not everyone. I was sad to see everyone go. I am really fond of many French Lolitas and I don’t see them very often of course. Yet I can say we share this lovely day in our memories together.
One of my last pictures, with the cute Calypso. ♥
Finally, I went upstairs to change back into my muggle clothes. After I did so, I went up to Mila and Marie and thanked them for their hospitality, kindness and of course the amazing Garden Party. Then, I went back to Paris together with the lovely Diana and Pauline (I looked so boring next to them. XD). There, I thanked them, said goodbye and headed to the train tracks. I was really afraid to be late, but I was early after all, so I left the station to find a McDonald’s. After waiting for ages, I ordered and got my food and went back to the station. Soon my train track got announced and I took my food with me inside the train (sorry fellow passengers…). Not long after, the train started driving and I left Paris. I finished my food, read some Harry Potter and looked out of the window. My trip had been so amazing, but I was happy to head back home as well.
Wearing my new ring while wearing Harry Potter.
~*~ Thank you! ~*~
Purchases and gifts of the day