For Parisian-born costume and fabric designer Rolande Guizart, the holiday season calls up memories of bustling streets, crowded cafes and fairy-like window displays offering the delectable ingredients of the traditional French midnight dinner, the reveillon, served on Christmas and New Year's Eve.
To capture that ambience in Los Angeles, Guizart drops in at Santa Monica's Boulangerie, a big French Basque cafe, restaurant and deli.
Tucked away from freeways and palm trees, the cafe is planted with greenery, offers a tempting mix of wine and food and buzzes with morning conversations. "It's a little piece of France," says Guizart, who likes to watch the comings and goings of families, the nods and smiles of couples and the frowns of intellectuals behind their newspapers.
"Nobody hurries you on your way," says Guizart, who lingers over a morning's cappuccino and croissant, prolonging a relaxing moment between business appointments.