Archive for the French Painters Category

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 L’Orangerie, Paris.

Posted in French Gardens, French Painters, French Travel, Paris, Paris gardens and all things green with tags , , on February 19, 2014 by Therese Waddell

Bonjour everyone,

People often asked me, “If I had limited time in Paris, what would be a MUST to see?” Apart from the obvious icons, I tell them this:

“Head straight to L’Orangerie Museum on the western corner of the Tuileries garden”. You’ll need to enter through the main gates off the Place de la Concorde, pass the library…

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and a two minute walk upwards…

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to the lawn of statues outside the Museum.

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Be an early bird and beat the crowds as I do. (This pic was taken after my visit not long after opening time.)

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Go straight ahead to the white rooms at the back of this small museum – the dedicated space of Monet’s “Nympheas.” Sit down on the leather bench dead centre of the room wrapped by enormous panels of French Impressionism and the gardens of Giverny (remember, https://myfrenchawakening.wordpress.com/2009/12/26/awakening-to-monets-garden/ ) in all its serene colour.“Nympheas” It’s nothing like you’ve ever imagined.

For a small virtual of what to expect go to the museum’s own website at:  http://www.musee-orangerie.fr/homes/home_id24799_u1l2.htm (Click onto Salle One and Salle Two to see the two rooms dedicated to Monet) . This doesn’t however, impart how you feel when you’re actually in there. Trust me. I have the same reaction every time I visit. And I watch others’ reactions and wait for them to simply exhale.

It’s  as if the very breath of Paris  essence has smacked each of us in the face.

If you do have more time, wander downstairs and see amateur artists copying the real thing in the Paul Guillaume Collection. There’s a saying here that “if the imitation is too good, the gallery will keep it” and you’ll find very friendly student artists such as Frank who will allow you to chat with him as he changes a small area of his work in order to take it home.

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Because that’s really what it’s all about here at L’Orangerie….

Everyone takes a piece of Paris home.

Happy travels and Best Wishes,

Therese

Copyright@Therese Waddell 2014

Awaken to Saint Paul de Vence, France.

Posted in French Affair, French Cafes, French Painters, French Travel, South East France with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on November 22, 2013 by Therese Waddell

Bonjour my friends, If you fancy being somewhere else from where you are right now, an inspirational change of pace will welcome you in a village in Provence beyond the French Riviera. This place has always been a throbbing hub and perfect hideaway for great artists and imaginative creatures. Like bees to the honey pot, artists such as Matisse, Braque, Miro, Picasso, Mogdigliani and my favourite painter Chagall, as well as writers, (Aldous Huxley), beautifull bohemians (Johnnie Depp) and even an ex Rolling Stoner, all seem to have grown like spicy radishes in gloriously warm weather and a good watering hole. The village you ask? It’s  Saint Paul de Vence. DSC_0880 Saint Paul de Vence is securely nestled between the villages of La Colle sur Loup and Vence and it’s seven kilometres inland from the Mediterranean which you can see from the cemetery at its peak. DSC_0903 Being relatively close to the sea, Saint Paul de Vence has long been easily accessed since the year 1000 but these days the No 400 bus will do nicely. Or, if you’re going by car, you’re looking at about 45 minutes depending on today’s traffic from Nice.

Take a look at what lies ahead. You’ll get your first inkling that this village is going to be really good and colourful when standing right here beholding Chagall’s work with his Saint Paul de Vence in the background. DSC_0879 Keep walking closer and you’ll reach the boules area (Place de Joue de Boules). It’s easy to escape here with friendly locals where you can spend hours swinging low on crunchy gravel outside the rampart walls.  Or maybe boules is not your thing and if you haven’t yet shaken that competitive spirit off you from home, you may fancy a game of chess instead under these ancient plane trees… IMG_3218 DSC_0883 However, there’s a strong possibility that the warmth of the place simply lulls you and your tongue becomes a divining rod looking for a water hole. I know the perfect cafe and bar to have a cold beer and watch the game as Picasso did- it’s  just the thing… DSC_0921

From your table you’re likely to spot a celebrity outside the famous La Colombe D’Or across the road, who have come for the very reason as you. It happens. Bono, Richard Attenborough, Michael Caine, Roger Moore, X Stones rock artist Bill Wyman (who has a house nearby) and many more, have all eaten here.

Artists use to pay their drink and board bills to the entrepreneurial Roux family owners with paintings, sculptures  and drawings and so over time, La Colombe D’Or has built up an outstanding collection of  twentieth century art which now decorate the dining rooms and back garden courtyard. My french awakening to La Colombe D’Or and her history came about by reading Martine’s Buchet’s book. In fact, it made me pay a visit. Being an art museum, guesthouse and restaurant all in one, the glamorous and the beautiful-on-the-insiders fill its space in a palette of colour and expectation.

I read that the guestbook reveals the presence of Edward VIII (then the Prince of Wales) and Wallace Simpson, David Niven, Orson Welles, Cary Grant, Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, Marlene Dietrich, Sophia Loren, Brigitte Bardot, Charlie Chaplin.  Zelda and F.Scott Fitzgerald and many more- which makes me wonder who warmed my chair as I lunch with Matisse.

The ambience inside its walls is exactly what I like-disarmingly simple and very relaxed- serving regional foods like sardines, saucisson, hams, cheeses, figs, couscous, red cabbage, fruit tarts and aubergines etc. I can taste why it’s so popular. After lunch, you can take a dip in the pool and degrease yourself of south-of-France sleepiness while swimming with Calder- if you’re a guest of course. The perfect setting for a french affair! Sleeping with Bonnieu as a guest proves me right.

What to do next? Explore of course. Walk upwards along any of the meandering cobblestone lanes… DSC_0888

and listen to the sound in the artistry of a local’s world…

 

 

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Let it be said that there must be something in the clean, clear air here and the high altitude breeze brings with it inspiration. The light from a provincial sun soothes and warms and makes colours sparkle with poetry. You can see it in Chagall’s paintings and mosaics when he lived right here with a new found feeling of hope and freedom. DSC_0914 - Version 2

His canvases fill with swooping lovers and circus performers and a passion for living. I like that. Smiling goats and joy oozing from canvases- it doesn’t get better than that. He lived until he was 97 in his beloved Saint Paul. DSC_0906 - Version 2 Perhaps Chagall drank from this fountain of youth here… DSC_0896   and always found respite among the shadows, DSC_0897   and a growing clarity of thought and peace. DSC_0911

As for me, as I dawdled across the road here in the early morning, I turned around to give a wave of thanks to the kind driver who had stopped  DSC_0926

so abruptly to let me cross. It was at that instant that I too became like Chagall and all the others mesmerized by Saint Paul de Vence, those who never want to leave this place- for the driver behind the wheel …was Johnnie Depp.

AuRevoir and Best wishes (and thankyou Johnnie for stopping)

Therese Waddell

copyright@ 2013Therese Waddell

Awaken to Tourettes sur Loup, France.

Posted in Food and Recipes, French Affair, French Cafes, French Painters, French Patisserie, French Travel, South East France with tags , , , , on August 18, 2013 by Therese Waddell

Bonjour my friends,

I remember an old lady in a film who dreamt of wading in a swimming pool of spaghetti. She didn’t have a real reason for her longed for indulgence. No rhyme  nor reason. She was just convinced that swimming around in sublime squelchyness would make her feel wonderful. It’s funny what we all wish for and it’s the unexpected which sometimes make us the happiest. Places can do that sometimes and  the little village of Tourettes sur Loup nestled in Provence, proved that this is true.

The first glimpse of Tourettes sur Loup in south eastern France is…well, interesting..

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Then in the rocky chaos of life  there appears a single pop of colour and expectation…

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and the medieval cobblestones of Tourette sur Loup’s intimate alleyways slowly presents itself in all its glory…

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with quiet ecstatic moments  browsing between the fabulous galleries of paintings, ceramics, pottery and jewellery of Tourette’s well known artisans.

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and later, buy the most fragrant ice cream you’ve ever tasted from a guy with the biggest smile in the world…

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to finally lunch in one of Tourette’s cosy restaurants and find yourself perhaps swimming in pasta…

Provincial style.

Tourettes sur Loup..deceptively good.

AuRevoir, best wishes, Therese

copyright@2013 Therese Waddell

Awaken to Ornans, France

Posted in East of France, French Affair, French Painters, French Travel with tags , , , , on July 4, 2012 by Therese Waddell

Bonjour my friends,

There’s a little village nestled not far from the German border in the Franche Compte region of France known as “the Little Venice of France”. It’s ‘Ornans’- home of the artist Gustave Courbet. When I stand on its footbridge over the River Loue which snakes through this very pretty village which Courbet celebrated, I can’t help but think that her inhabitants remind me of the river dwellers in Kenneth Graham’s children’s book  ‘ The Wind in The Willows’ living on or near the river and deriving so much pleasure from it.

 

But then again this could be YOU on your journey through blessed France, soaking up the sun in Ornans beside the river as you catch a drip of escaping ice cream with your tongue or maybe watch a babbling procession of the best stories in the world with locals fishing for trout further upstream lashing their lines to a rhythm of life second to none.

‘The Wind in the Willows’ reads:

…”He thought his happiness was complete when, as he meandered aimlessly along, suddenly he stood by the edge of a full-fed river. Never in his life had he seen a river before–this sleek, sinuous, full-bodied animal, chasing and chuckling, gripping things with a gurgle and leaving them with a laugh, to fling itself on fresh playmates that shook themselves free, and were caught and held again. All was a-shake and a-shiver–glints and gleams and sparkles, rustle and swirl, chatter and bubble. The Mole was bewitched, entranced, fascinated….”

My French Awakening was and you will be too.

Go. Experience Ornans.

AuRevoir,

Best Wishes, Therese Waddell

copyright@ 2012 Therese Waddell

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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:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d2cHq00tPCI

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 www.quiltingthejourney.com 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 http://www.360cities.net/image/albi#357.80,28.40,70.0 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 http://www.360cities.net/image/albi-cathedral-cathdrale-ste-ccile-1-france#0.00,0.00,70.0

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!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EuDOlPaLnVw

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