Archive for the French Travel 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.



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.


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.


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…


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.



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



Visit Collioure.

For more information, visit

Au revoire!

Best Wishes, Therese Waddell

Copyright Therese Waddell@ 2017


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,


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.)


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.





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


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


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,


copyright@ 2015 Therese Waddell

Awaken to Provence Cheese.

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


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


A flask of wine




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.





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…







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.


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


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…


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


Aigues Mortes colours are bright- in cuisine…


and decor…


Even the ice cream screams passion here…


Aigues Mortes- you’re nothing but gusto!

For more information on hotels and activities in Aigues Mortes, go to

Happy travels,

Therese Waddell

copyright@2014 Therese Waddell

Awaken to Seine River Cruises

Posted in French Books, French Travel, French Women, Paris with tags , , , , , on March 4, 2014 by Therese Waddell

Bonjour everyone,

Can you picture yourself floating along here…


aboard a boat on the glassy waters of the Seine? A twilight cruise with other tourists, although cliched, can be one of the best ways to see Paris transform into two worlds; the glittering city of Paris by night comes to life at twilight as it glides by on its glorious, mirrored world of reflections.

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Go with a friend. Go without. It makes no difference here. Feel the breeze and relax on board any one of the boats referred to by the French as ‘ les bateau mouche”. Buy your ticket at the dock. Most boats dock at Pont d’Alba near the Eiffel Tower which you’ll see from here…


and it will cost you about 12.50 euros. You may want to pick up a bottle of bubbly from here…


as well. I do recommend you go a little earlier to get your tickets and be top of the queue to secure your choice seats- undercover or at the bow if you feel like doing a ‘Titanic’ with arms outstretched.

You can reserve tickets online at the official site here:


To capture the experience, my french awakening insists you give a thought to employ the lovely and creative Australian- come- Paris- resident, photographer  Carla Coulson who offers a four hour photo shoot anywhere in Paris. Her unique forte lies in photographing women in Paris. She not only highlights Paris glamour and sheer femininity but manages to intensify inner beauty so well that it makes not only for an unforgettable momento of portrait shots but an altogether uplifting experience in itself. You can see her gorgeous work at  her website gallery in ‘Carla Loves Photography’ at or her many published books.

Imagine yourself under Paris light. It’s not too difficult is it?


Best Wishes, Therese

Copyright@2014 Therese Waddell

Awaken to the Guillotine!

Posted in French Travel, Paris with tags , , , , , , on February 23, 2014 by Therese Waddell

Bonjour my friends,

Many people including Parisians, are not aware that here at ‘Place de la Concorde’ was the site of the Guillotine during the French Revolution.


In the shadow of today’s Hotel de Crillon – one of the most expensive and most luxurious hotels in Paris, was once the site that locals referred to as ‘Place de la Revolution’.

Set in a blood stained field and now dark cobblestones, it was around 1794 during the ‘Reign of Terror’ that Paris mobs, thirsty for execution and bloodshed, stood in anticipation; For when the bell was rung, (a signal to release the guillotine’s handle) and the drums would stop beating, crowds stood motionless to witness the drop of a large single angled blade which lopped off the heads of Royalty and commoner alike. It’s been recorded that over 2500 people died by the dreaded guillotine just in Paris alone, including Louis XVI, his wife Maria Antoinette, Madame du Barry-mistress of Louis XV and many more, not to mention 92 year old Mary Anne Duay and the youngest victim who was merely 14.

The sound of the blade piercing soft flesh and hitting the bloody splintered wood underneath bought momentary silence (no doubt in the case of their King), then cries of “Vive la Republique!” And the crowds  would burst forward to the dripping head held high on a pole, to dip their wiry fingers and handkerchiefs into the gushing blood of a warm, decapitated head, particularly one which was blue blooded. Sometimes the mouth and eyes gave into opening and closing while the next cage of quivering victims rattled down Rue St Honore (today, the site of luxury chocolate shops) -prized victims like white circus tigers nearing extinction, from the Conciergerie Prison.

My french awakening to guillotines went haywire when I learnt that the last death by guillotine was in 1977!  The same year that Apple released its first computer with keyboard, the same year that Elvis Presley died, the same year that Barbie Road Trip with Motor Home goes into toyshops.

Paris….always raw.


Therese Waddell

copyright@2014 Therese Waddell