Archive for February, 2011

Awaken to Burgandy, France

Posted in French Affair, French Travel with tags , , , , on February 27, 2011 by Therese Waddell

Bonjour everyone,

I’ve taken this snap while travelling through magnificent Burgandy in the north west of France.

Why wouldn’t you want to visit? Happy days await you there.

Have a great day all!

Best Wishes, Therese

copyright@2011 Therese Waddell

Awaken to French Parterre Gardens

Posted in Decoration & Design, French Affair, French Gardens, South West of France with tags , , , , , , , , , , on February 20, 2011 by Therese Waddell

Bonjour everyone,

The French really know what they’re doing when it comes to parterre gardens. My french awakening to gardens across France was accompanied by a string of magical and unforgettable images.  Mathematical by design with such precision of symmetry and order, French parterre gardens originated in the fifteenth century by the very clever Claude Mollet during the Renaissance. Today, they have made a remarkable reentry into landscaping and still exude a calmness in our modern world of chaos and dilemma.

Look at this gorgeous back garden of a home in Lautrec, down in the south west of France…

We would all like one of these! You too will find them fascinating and truly beautiful. Even  though I deplore control in most other environments, when it comes to ‘French green’ it’s another story altogether, isn’t it?

The French demand for what I term controlled greenery, does not seem to paralyze the human spirit nor my french awakening and you too will discover that they bring a reassurance and calm while otherwise flitting about on your busy tour of France. French gardens in their formality and sophistication, maintain some certainty principle in their resilience to change over time and that in itself is very comforting.

Wander through a formal French garden and you will understand what I mean.

Here’s another garden with topiaries clipped into submission outside the fabulous Musee Goya in Castres…

and some statuesque evergreen obelisks marking the corners of the parterre garden of Versailles definately giving it je nais sais quoi- that unexplainable X factor. Elegant, non?

Getting around this garden by horse drawn carriage can be loads of fun. Take a look here:  https://myfrenchawakening.wordpress.com/2010/01/14/awakening-to-versailles/

But above all, take time to smell the French roses along the way… https://myfrenchawakening.wordpress.com/2009/12/02/where-it-all-began/

and wander barefoot at least at some time!

If you’re a quilter as well as a garden lover, try my very easy quilt pattern which was inspired by the order and symmetry of French gardens.

 

Order this pattern and more online at http://www.quiltingthejourney.com or email me at therese@quiltingthejourney.com for any enquiries.

Go on. Visit a French garden.

It will inspire you too.

Have a great day everyone!

Au Revoir,

Best Wishes, Therese Waddell

copyright@2011 Therese Waddell

 

 

Awaken to Paris Sights/French Models

Posted in French Affair, French Travel, Paris, Paris Shopping with tags , , , , on February 16, 2011 by Therese Waddell

Bonjour everyone,

A short post today to greet you- I hope it’s not too early in the day to show you some French models…

Go to http://myfrenchawakening.wordpress.com/2010/01/12/awakening-to-french-models-in-galerie-lafayette/

to put a smile on your face. Unexpected things happen in Paris.

Have a great day everybody!

Best Wishes, Therese

copyright@2011 Therese Waddell

Awaken to French Restaurants

Posted in Food and Recipes, French Affair, Paris with tags , , , , , , on February 9, 2011 by Therese Waddell

Bonjour everyone,

If you’re lucky enough to be in the heart of Paris and thinking of where to eat (well why wouldn’t you be?) I have a good recommendation, so do yourself a favour and book into the cosy little French restaurant ‘Chez Paul’ at 13 Rue de Charonne. Almost forty years old, it’s located in the Bastille district of the old Paris at the busy corner of Rue de Lappe.

To get things straight, ‘Chez Paul’ is not lavishly decorated nor sophisticated by any stretch of the imagination but it has a very homey feel to it and that’s what makes it so charming! It’s really just like going to grandma’s place. Undeniable clutter and photographs hanging on aged walls in ‘Chez Paul’ tell tales of bygone days of Paris and on closer inspection are usually off centred. Of course, some of you (hopefully only a few) will have the sudden desire to straighten them as you do back home once you’ve perused the interior before being seated. Try not to here. In summer, eat at a table outside if you’re tempted to do so.

Inside, you’ll discover that seats are close and intimate. Just like at home. Be prepared to be caught in conversation with those around you during the course of an evening and recognise now that these impromptu liasons with the locals can make for a truly friendly ambience. I love that! Yes, ‘Chez Paul’ attracts more locals than tourists which is always a great sign for me to eat there! I have met some amazing characters here and my french awakening has been broadened by the experience!

Red chequered tablecloths and lace window treatments, a bustling stream of waiters swooshing along black and white tiled flooring, earthy wooden appointments which reek of history, all add up to a quintessential Parisian experience.

Their menu, as large as The Deeds of The Estate, has been handled a zillion times and more, with pages curled and browning at the edges with mostly hand written amended details. This document, foody in detail, could retell many stories and unlock the key to a superb dining experience without the formality of a Michelin star restaurant. From your cosy seat, it won’t take you long to soak in the family spirit of the place.

Eric Teyant, Alain Viel and Daniel Daussin (chefs and patissier) have to be congratulated for their fine culninary efforts, producing amazing aromas which waft towards your table from the kitchen.

There’s a huge array of delicious french food cooked to perfection to appease any appetite. Relish the choices between homemade pate, creamy risotto and duck breast, onion soup, traditional esgargots, rabbit with rosemary, herring, smoked sausages, eggs all ways, even a ‘crazy salad with foie gras’ and so much more! Take a peep at some pages of their menu…

A tasting of their house desserts are just as memorable! For wine choice, ‘Chez Paul’ will accompany any dish with a nice selection of bordeaux wines which definately made my french awakening that much sweeter.

Good value for money and substantial servings, ‘Chez Paul’ offers  guests a real taste of authentic and traditional cuisine within an unpretentious atmosphere like home. It’s surrounded by some great little late night bars too. Is this the reason for my blurred photo? (sorry)

Your ‘Chez Paul’ experience can easily be a real highlight to your stay in the City of Light.

This restaurant is a treasure. For bookings contact http://www.chezpaul.com/

That reminds me, what was your last memorable French meal?

Au Revoir,

Best Wishes, Therese Waddell

Copyright@2011 Therese Waddell

Awaken to Saint Suliac, France

Posted in French Affair, French Travel, North West France with tags , , , , , , , , , on February 1, 2011 by Therese Waddell

Bonjour mes amis,

Before you get back on your treadmill for another hurly burly crack at life with all its expectations and drama of business (or is that the business of drama?) this year, I’m going to show you where you could be, wish to be or dream about being, once you finally realise that you might do things differently (dare I suggest better?) when you may find yourself as the year progresses, yearning for some authenticity for life in general.

You know, seeking authenticity is a GOOD thing. According to Existentialist Philosophy, it is really us coming to terms with the pressures of our material world and becoming true to ones self and ones spirit in the face of all our pressures. My french awakening grew from seeking authenticity quite a long time ago.

So, it IS possible to take yourself off to France, in particular Brittany and head for the quiet, the rustic, the authentic. For this reason, Saint Suliac instantly springs to my mind. It is here in this quaint little village which gently slopes onto the banks of the pristeen Rance river, that you’ll discover a different way of life and of seeing things in general.

Saint Suliac is classed as one of France’s most beautiful villages…

and it is unmistakingly that, but it is not for its beauty that I entice you to go. It’s for its authenticity!

With plenty of holiday rentals in this area- hotels, self catering cottages, campsites and even Moroccan tents (yes, I did say Moroccan tents!), you will be conjuring your favourite food from the local produce (perhaps some mussels or paella) or painting the solitude in no time. Christophe and Eleonore have fabulously furnished tents all fully equipped with Moroccan tableware and all. What an alternative way of experiencing things and great fun along the way! Do check out: http://www.aireduverger.com/

Saint Suliac is located north of the Ille et Viliane department of Brittany and very close (about a 10km drive) from St Malo. It’s within very easy reach from four airports (Dinard, Rennes, Nantes or St Brieuc) west of Paris.

Looking around the town, its locals look content. Who wouldn’t be with magnificent panoramic views in an amazing location? The local sign in the centre of town paints a picture of tranquil living…

and any chance to walk its sandy beaches with the water lapping your toes has got to be therapeutic! No wonder there are so many hiking trails around Saint Suliac which transform the local surrounds into a real life ‘Snakes and Ladders’ board game!

The Mayor (Mairie) of Saint Suliac, Pascal Bianco and his team, look after their 190 or so inhabitants (per square kilometre) with great pride and attention to the smaller things. Bianco’s duties with the help of local volunteers, even include organising the preschool canteen meal tickets and bus transportation of children to and from school. Such is life in a very small community.

For the most part, Saint Suliac  is only intermittently awoken by the odd tourist..

searching for Notre Dame de Grainfollet, the tide mills of Beauchet or just a great local pub and then there’s the sound of flapping fish hurled onto the wharves along the water’s edge. A harbour regatta colours the bay once a year but generally things are very simple in Saint Suliac.

Saint Suliac is old. Paleolithic objects were discovered by archeologists in 1951 here. Granite cottages were built by hand from local rock and some have incorporated stone remnants of an old monastery. Many homes line the streets and bay foreshores as they have done since the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. Today,the only difference is that some homes and lamp posts sport a new lick of enamel paint from recent activity…

while others are decorated in flowers and bring a nautical theme to their facades with old fishing nets strewn haphazardly across. Even though it was once a huge fishing village the Vikings who once inhabited the place may have had something to say about this!

Saint Suliac is real and unspoilt. The pace won’t sweep you off your feet!  Its anchored in tradition amd fastened with purity and serenity.

“Arhh the serenity”, I can hear Darryl Kerrigan whisper from the Australian Classic 1997 film, ‘The Castle’.

We could all do with a bit of that!

Saint Suliac. Lord knows you’ll need it.

Au Revoir,

Best Wishes, Therese Waddell

copyright@2011 Therese Waddell