Archive for October, 2010

Awakening to Paris on Foot

Posted in French Affair, French Travel, Paris, Paris Shopping with tags , , , , , , on October 29, 2010 by Therese Waddell

Bonjour mes amis,

There is no lovelier city to amble about than in Paris. Walking through historic Paris sent my french awakening into euphoria. Imagine just for one moment (or more for some of us francophiles) that you are part of the pedestrian crowd in Monmartre…

Gazing all around from time to time to catch a glimpse of another person’s life behind wrought iron…

And having real opportunities to sneak into areas which lead you to fascinating pleasures like reading other peoples tales…

or perusing the latest in materialism if that’s for you…

Walking allows you to really soak up the atmosphere and study the beautiful and historical City of Light up close and personal. You will even discover tragedies of love here that you most certainly would miss by car…

At the end of a long walk when steps bring inspiration, there will always be places to put your feet up…

to discuss your new beginnings.

Maybe it’s time for Paris to inspire you.

Au Revoir,

Best Wishes, Therese Waddell

copyright@2010 Therese Waddell


Awaken to French Philosophy

Posted in French Affair, French Philosophy, French Travel with tags , , , , , , on October 26, 2010 by Therese Waddell

Bonjour mes amis,

Last week I went to see the new Julia Roberts film ‘Eat, Pray. Love.’ Not a lot of films which come out of Hollywood can actually TEACH you something. For me, this one did. It reminded me that when we have a balance of the social, spiritual and the physical, then our lives become more complete.

Whatever you’ve been doing today my friends, give a thought to spending some part of your day like the Italians and the French who have cultivated the “sweetness of doing nothing”. The Italians call it “Il dolce far niento”. The French have mastered this art too…

and my french awakening has grown into learning to cultivate this philosophy into life’s remedy. I’m certainly not great at doing nothing either, unlike some of my beautiful friends…

Are you? Have you given yourself the opportunity to do absolutely nothing somewhere in your day so far?

No one said it would be plain and simple and I imagine it could take years for some of us to strike a balance but there is so much pleasure in giving it a go.

The famous French philospoher Voltaire once said, “God gave us the gift of life; it is up to us to give ourselves the gift of living well”.

So enjoy your food and wine, your family and friends, and especially try to entwine some snatched moments of pure sweetness in your day. TODAY.You’ll be very glad you did!

Cup of tea anyone?

Au Revoir,

Best Wishes, Therese

copyright@2010 Therese Waddell



Awaken to Saint Antonin Noble Val

Posted in French Affair, French Painters, French Travel, South of France with tags , , , , , , on October 19, 2010 by Therese Waddell

Bonjour mes amis,

I hope you’re doing really well this week. It’s been perfect chaos here with birthday celebrations (a twenty first and a twelfth) both at home- indulging with fine friends, food and late nights. I have come to understand the meaning of no truer words than that of French painter Paul Cezanne when he announced that “we live in a rainbow of chaos”.

We’ve had great times- much laughter, love and also confirmation that sometimes everything can be found within the sanctity of ones own nest or at least in the vicinity of ones own backyard.

This realisation propelled my french awakening to Saint Antonin Noble Val- a tiny town much tinier than the name of the village itself, but a village in a “noble valley” which seems to have it all.

Saint Antonin Noble Val has not much bigger than a postage stamp of inhabitants; about 16 persons per square kilometre- a far cry from the original 6000 inhabitants who lived inside its ramparts in the 16th century! Most of them were at Saint Antonin’s great bustling pub ensconced in courtyard chairs the day we arrived!

This small village (a” Green Resort”according to French Tourism) is nestled in the Tarn et Garonne department in the Midi Pyrenees region of south west France, beneath a backdrop of cliffs offering spectacular scenic views and some of the purest mineral water in France. Limestone cliffs on one side and the National Forest of Gresigne with the beautiful Aveyron River which snakes through the town on the other.

Cast your eyes across le Pont sur l’Aveyron…

Saint Antonin Noble Val has history too. Locals profess that their Bell Tower at Maison Romane is the oldest civil building in the whole of France, built sometime around the 9th century and was originally the residence of the Viscount in 1125.

Within Saint Antonin and its environs, life can be exceptional. There are over sixty different types of activities which are offered to locals and tourists alike. Music, dance, white water rafting and even sports which take full advantage of the rock formations (Roc d’Anglars) above the village. Climb the Gorges of the Aveyron or check out what some of you can do on good soaring days at:

If you’re looking for calm on the other hand, wander the winding streets lined with Medieval stone houses- streets so narrow which make driving through impossible. Have a drink or lunch in the sunny courtyard of Antonin’s pub. Visit the covered marketplace (Place de la Halle) on Sunday morning market day or take in the Museum (Musee du Vieux Antonin) to see all sorts of prehistoric artifacts.

Imagine the tranquility of paddling upstream in your hired canoe, observing others in the shadows of ancient trees at campsites- a popular choice for locals particularly during the Summer months.

If you have more time, a little further afield you can discover the beautiful grottes (caves) such as la grotte du Bosc- a cool enlightenment to escape the heat.

This tiny town is going nowhere. It’s just waiting for you to realise that it offers a passport for a rich and happy way of life.

Just like any good family.

Au Revoir,

Best Wishes, Therese Waddell

copyright@2010 Therese Waddell

Awaken to Quilt Designs and Albi, France

Posted in Decoration & Design, French Painters, French Quilts, South of France, South West of France, Therese Waddell's Quilts with tags , , , , , , , , , , on October 2, 2010 by Therese Waddell

Bonjour mes amis,

What a nice thing to see my quilt design make it to the front page of the latest ‘Australia’s Patchwork and Quilting’ Magazine again. I’m so happy and truly honoured.

My quilt inspiration is the French term, ”joie de vivre’ which means ‘joy of life’. Its circular formation represents the circle of life which we all undergo and it’s really a celebration of the simple things of life with the bursting of blossoms and birds in flight.

Anyway, if you like this pattern, perhaps you may be inspired by my other quilts at Do have a peep…

So how are you today? Feeling over the moon myself.You know when I’m most happy I seem to migrate to France simultaneously. So, fancy being taken all the way to Albi?

Oh come on! Don’t be like that! You’ll love it when you do!

You just have to firstly release the clenched muscle grip on the vacuum cleaner, or saucepan and wasabi mayonnaise (Carolina) or vintage camera (Graham), quilting thread (yes, you CAN do it Quilary), or your quirky collections of shells and flea markets (Claudia), your touches of whimsy and pretty frippery( Hope Ava) or even your bike, (which means you Richard Tulloch) and any other restraint or temptation just for a while. OK?

Here we go then…

My french awakening to quilt designs actually began in the south west of France, so we’re going to the Tarn region directly to the very old (we’re talking Bronze Age) city of Albi.  Check out Christophe Bouthe’s amazing panoramic photo of the city at,28.40,70.0 radiating such a feeling of warmth because of its predominantly rosy pink hue.

The massive brick cathedral dominating the city is the imposing structure of the Gothic Cathedral de Sainte Cecile d’Albi. It’s actually the largest brick building in the world!

If the outside doesn’t take your breath away, draw breath at Viden Natzev’s panorama exposing the sumptuous interior at,0.00,70.0

It is so intricately detailed in colour and design with enormous frescoes (you can’t miss the Last Judgement frescoe under the organ- given it’s one of the world’s largest frescoes) and the interior is so totally unexpected given the monsterously bland exterior.

Like the outside though, everything is big here. HUGE. Saint Cecile’s bell, pipe organ, frescoes, screen of stone carvings, flying buttresses and ornate walls will quite possibly give you some neck strain but hey, this could counteract our posture at the computer, non?

So much for looking up…

Cathedrals like Saint Cecile always give me inspiration for my quilt designs. The famous French fashion designer and grand couturier John Paul Gaultier has made Albi his home. I wonder whether St Cecile, with her decoration, colour and architectural lines was ever his

muse for his sculptural costumes such as those seen on Madonna or in one of my favourite films, ‘The Fifth Element’ where the blue alien diva pours her heart out (literally). Take a look and I defy you not to notice those flying buttresses and window shapes in her head piece!

Looking across the city now, the view from the bridge over the Tarn river which dissects Albi offers beautiful views. Fancy yourself here?…

See Saint Cecile’s Cathedral in the far distance.

The Pont Vieux (Old Bridge) was constructed in stone way back in 1040 where at the time, toll charges were issued. Later on, houses were built on it and over time it’s been rendered in brick and still in use today as you can see.

Walk back over the bridge and enter the world of Albi’s rustic market place. There’s another Marche Couvert (or covered market) in the Market Hall at 14 Rue Emile Grand selling the produce of generations of fine foodies and farmers,  but I like this one too oozing organic produce as well as flowers, French rattan baskets and sometimes fabric with a backdrop of the blue water of the Tarn! It’s really nice.

There are plenty of good quality boutiques, shops, restaurants and cafes in which to nestle…

Spend your time after a coffee walking through the winding streets of the old city to discover more fabulous places. The added wing of the Palais de la Berbie, with its lovely french gardens has been transformed into the Toulouse Lautrec Museum housing his fabulously famous posters which he painted in the red light district of Montmartre. The infamous Lautrec was born in Albi and his work is epitomised in scarlet inks with inner passion.

There’s also the Laperouse Museum commemorating the sea faring Jean Francois Laperouse, a must for any history buff. Laperouse’s family originated from Albi also and his expeditions to places including Australia before being shipwrecked in the Pacific, are very well documented here.

Many of you will prosper in Albi- you’ll be inspired and invigorated with the wealth of artistic and cultural affairs ready for the taking.  Others will find solace in its fantastic food and restaurants and local gourmet produce. For me, it’s definitely a must see when you travel to France  with its beautifully simple way of life. You’ll feel so good, especially at sunset when Albi is caressed in its warm glow.

Life doesn’t get better than this.

Au Revoir,

Best Wishes, Therese Waddell

copyright@2010Therese Waddell