Awaken To Collioure, France

Posted in French Painters, French Travel, South of France on February 5, 2017 by Therese Waddell

Now if there was ever a place on earth which would make you step back into your childhood, it’s Collioure. Located in the south of France on the coast just a stone’s throw away from Spain, Collioure will take you on a dreamy journey back into time, back into the playground of childish play and easy living.

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Free as a bird, Collioure swings to the beat of a childish drum, its history scribbled with crayon and its air filled with squealing, joyful children and sea salt from her lapping rhythmical tide that washes away footprints of frivolity and dance.

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Sure, there are some fancy restaurants, Art galleries and cafes lining the esplanade filled with oh so chic leather loafers and boat shoes and flapping whitest of white blouses with upturned collars under wide brimmed Helen Kaminski cane hats. You know who I mean. What you see in their eyes here though is their secret lust for freedom. And you’ll find it here too- the feeling that you get when you feel like your old self- your childhood self with responsibility gone and none taken.

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I love it here. You can’t help but love Collioure. You’ll be reminded to slap on some sunscreen while you lick ice cream and watch others do cartwheels in the sand; the same sand that massaged the toes of Matisse and his family, or Derain or Picasso and a whole bunch of sun loving, crayon loving class mates.

They stayed for so long in Collioure that they formed their own art group and called themselves “la cage aux Fauves’ meaning “The Wild Beasts’. Something tells me they may have had their own group leader and their own rules like any other groupie. With vibrant brushstrokes and the freedom to paint the grass orange and the sky red, these guys became pretty popular.You can wander round the town and walled harbour…

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and check out their original vantage points and paintings. It’s like Showcase Day at school, only outside. Pretty cool.

Go underwater too and Collioure’s bright palette of sea creatures are frolicking about your Go Pro and swim togs. Everyone’s in on the action here.

And yes, there may be brief times when you think that her playground is too crowded especially in Summer but that won’t stop you from having great fun like you did way back then.

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Trust me, the bell will ring and you won’t want to come inside.

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Visit Collioure.

For more information, visit http://www.france-voyage.com/cities-towns/collioure-26195/tourist-office-collioure-7343.htm

Au revoire!

Best Wishes, Therese Waddell

Copyright Therese Waddell@ 2017

Awaken to awesome Carcassonne!

Posted in South West of France with tags on May 29, 2015 by Therese Waddell

Bonjour friends,

You would have loved this article from The Wall Street Journal, ‘RESEARCHERS STUDY THE FEELING OF AWE’ and how great it was to discover that whatever makes us feel awe inspired will actually make us healthier and better people! We would become more humble, trusting and generous and have even better relationships!

Want to improve your life? Well then, GO DO SOMETHING AWESOME and come VISIT CARCASSONNE!

You may remember https://myfrenchawakening.wordpress.com/2010/08/31/awakening-to-carcassone-france/ but I’ll show you even more of just how awesome Carcassonne is in all her little details.

I wish you could have been there…so open this door in Carcassonne…

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and wake up to your awe inspiring day.

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With a mid morning coffee against a back drop second to none…

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And taste her succulent fruits from fine wooden boxes on market stalls…

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And delight in her specialty sweet shops,,,

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and later cruise through the afternoon on the Canal du Midi…

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To eventually walk towards Carcassonne’s sunset…

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To an inspirational evening…

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Those researchers were absolutely right. Awesome days in Carcassonne…Priceless.

Until next time,

Best wishes, Therese

Copyright@ 2015 Therese Waddell

Awaken to Carrières de Lumières- the best thing to see in Provence!

Posted in French Affair, French Travel, South of France with tags , , , , , on May 5, 2015 by Therese Waddell

Bonjour fellow travellers,

Come to Provence quarries at Les Baux de Provence and if your heart doesn’t sing, your eyes will water.

Located in the south of France on the road to Saint Remy,

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6000 square metres of limestone walls are carved from the rock of Val d’Enfer making huge walled galleries. (The limestone and bauxite retrieved was used to build the Castle outside and the city beyond.)

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Once you’ve bought your ticket at the entrance, you’ll escape into an extraordinary world of illuminations like nothing you’ve ever seen before- mesmerising art collections dissected and illuminated onto walls, floors and ceilings.

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I was lucky enough to be a witness to this month’s giants of the Renaissance Collection, showing Michelangelo, Da Vinci and Raphael’s masterpieces accompanied by heart thawing music and loads of dramatic colour. One minute you’re tormented with demons and the firey hell of Michelangelo’s “Judgment Day” and the next moment, you’re happy and gliding upwards towards the cloudy heavens escorted by plump cherubs.

With precision timing, you’re then plunged into the 3D watery depths of Jules Verne’s imaginary voyage, “Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea.” Some point and gasp when an enormous ship’s keel lunges towards us

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and others are more than content to explore the exquisite details of a watery world with germinating sea mushrooms popping left, right and centre.

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Past exhibitions include Paul Cezanne, Vincent Van Gogh, Venice, Klimt and Vienna and even Aboriginal art from Australia. We learn that the possibilities are endless in L’Carriers de Lumieres. Spend hours in there and you’ll freeze to death. Get out in time and you’ll be inspired for life.

Go! Immerse yourself in one of the best travel discoveries in Provence…and let us know what you think.

Best wishes and have fun,

Therese

copyright@ 2015 Therese Waddell

Awaken to Uzes Markets!

Posted in French Affair, South of France with tags , , , , , on April 15, 2015 by Therese Waddell

Bonjour my friends,

We are smack bang in the middle of Uzes and it’s a Saturday under a glorious South of France sun. If we had been here in this very same spot at the Place aux Herbes last January, we would have been among a buzzing throng of truffle loving fans arriving to witness the deluge of soil dropped from on high and jammed with a thousand truffles to be snorted out by local pigs and then cooked up into a massive communal omelette.

As a natural foodie, I’ll admit that it would have been an exquisite adventure into gastronomy. Curiosity set aside though for today we are very content surrounded by the vibrant warm colours of local artisans- ceramists, sculptors and painters and we listen to the wise whisperings of ham preservers and nougat makers, bee keepers and Monastery winemakers. We smell roasting chickens as they swirl in synchronised precision over hot coals and the aroma of paella and fresh, warm nuts cut through the morning light.

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Well, we missed the truffle weekend but  I can do without the truffles today.

Make sure you visit Uzes markets when you’re in the south of France. Put it on your list for either Wednesday or Saturday. It’s a great place to be when you’re not truffle hunting!

Best wishes, Therese

Copyright@2015Therese Waddell

Awaken to Provence Cheese.

Posted in Food and Recipes, French Travel, South of France with tags , , , on March 28, 2014 by Therese Waddell

Bonjour!

When I think of my experiences in Provence I think of earthly delights and the lines from ‘The Rubaiyat of Omar Kyam’ offer no more perfect description…

“Here, with a loaf of bread beneath the bough

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A flask of wine

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A Book of verse

And Thou beside me singing in the wilderness

And wilderness is Paradis enow.”

I’m certain that Omar would have included cheese in his poem had he visited the Luberon, the beautiful blue circle of  Provence which boasts an extraordinary selection of cheeses such as these…Saint Paulin, Roquefort, creamy bries and camembert, goat cheeses, Banon a la feuille, Picadon and many more.

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What better accompaniment with Provence cheeses but locally grown, plump strawberries, I will never know.

And neither will Omar Kyam.

 

Best wishes, Therese

copyright@2014 Therese Waddell

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Awaken to Provence Food

Posted in French Affair, French Travel, South of France with tags , , , , , on March 24, 2014 by Therese Waddell

Bonjour fellow foodies,

The perfect setting- Provence, south of France. The perfect scenario- lunchtime. Think dappled shade, fresh, local produce, oozy cheeses, plump strawberries, braised herby abundance, fruity wines, friends, laughter, love. It doesn’t get any better than this…

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P.S I’m now on the lookout for a stone cottage my friends… blue shutters, garden. You know what I mean.

I’d love to hear from you if you know anyone selling a piece of heaven! xx

Best Wishes,

Therese Waddell

copyright@2014 Therese Waddell

Awaken to Aigues Mortes

Posted in French Travel, South of France with tags , , , on March 16, 2014 by Therese Waddell

Bonjour fellow francophiles,

Aigues Mortes, France.

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Strange name for a place. It means dead water. That can’t be good I hear you saying but beyond the Riviera and this close to Spain, you will find a very different France which is very much alive!

Aigues Mortes is an hour from Nimes by train and it will cost you 1 single euro or travel by car for 41km.

It’s home to the Camargue horsemen and real life cowboys who rule her salty shores and its marshlands stretching  across its 900 square kilometre expanse. This territory with its nature parks and abundant wildlife is the breeding ground for bulls (destined to fight toredors in Spain and the Camargue), wild horses and hot pink flamingoes.

You can ride on the back of a Camargue horse, join in the fun at the horse festivals, listen to the stories of cow herders at the local markets, practise your photography with some bird spotting, walk the ramparts and tower built in the thirteenth century

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and even have a pedicure sitting in a fish tank while the Garra Rufa nibble away!

My french awakening to Camargue restaurants did not disappoint. The Michelin Star, ‘Le Atelier de Nicolas’  is extra special but there are so many cheap, simpler ones where you too can tuck into a bubbling good bouillabaisse or other fishy local specialty…

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and tap your fork to the rhythm of gypsy songs and lyrical guitar.

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Aigues Mortes colours are bright- in cuisine…

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and decor…

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Even the ice cream screams passion here…

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Aigues Mortes- you’re nothing but gusto!

For more information on hotels and activities in Aigues Mortes, go to http://www.ot-aiguesmortes.fr/en/

Happy travels,

Therese Waddell

copyright@2014 Therese Waddell