Archive for France Travel

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 a New Year in France

Posted in East of France, French Affair, French Travel, Paris, South West of France with tags , , , , , , , , , on January 23, 2012 by Therese Waddell

Bonjour lovelies,

Well, well,… Christmas has come and gone and look at us, smack bang in the middle of a new year! Bonne Annee mon amis! We have a new beginning to continue the same life as last year or introduce something new. I know it’s difficult for some of you to get out of the routine for many reasons but I’m asking you to just contemplate an alternate road or patch of grass or another window of opportunity and HOLD that thought.

Can you imagine yourself here on french grass in Flavigny perhaps, in the heart of Burgundy?

(You do remember my escapades on the trek for more than chocolate? go to https://myfrenchawakening.wordpress.com/tag/flavigney-sur-ozerain/ )

or take a peep down any one of the country roads you could be driving through on your next France adventure…

or look out from some other window- a french window. Come on! My french awakening sees no harm in discovering a new view which is very different from the one you’re seeing now perhaps?

Life is sometimes greener on the other side particularly if you’re travelling through the south of France…

or the north east corner…  (remember Colmar? https://myfrenchawakening.wordpress.com/2011/01/02/awaken-to-a-new-year-in-colmar/ )

or from this window in the east, at Quemigny-sur-Seine, France…

and more views from country France from modern frames…

and ancient ones in eighth century stone as at Mont St Michel (remember Awaken to Mont St Michel? See https://myfrenchawakening.wordpress.com/tag/mont-st-michel/ )

And if you fancy yourself as more of a city mouse than a country mouse, you might appreciate looking out from the windows behind wrought iron balconies in Paris…

Or from that very special window in a beautiful french village in between.

The view’s not bad from here.

Just imagine.

Give France a thought this year. It won’t disappoint.

Au revoir,

Best Wishes, Therese Waddell

copyright@Therese Waddell 2012

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 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

Awaken to Le Puy, France

Posted in French Affair, French Travel, South Central France with tags , , , , , , , on December 2, 2010 by Therese Waddell

Bonjour mes amis,

My apologies for being away a little too long. How I have missed you! I’ve been stuck in a cataclysmic episode of The Unexpected- hence ‘my french awakening’ absence has stung my heart and I’ve had to wait for that poignant moment of bliss when someone or something rips the stinger out as quickly as it came. The time has arrived and I sit happier than ever to be writing to you again. So, how are you?

My mind wonders as to when I have experienced The Unexpected before in such earth shattering doses and I instantly recall Le Puy.

Let me fill you in …

Le Puy en Velay is a wonderful French village smack bang in the very heart of the Auvergne region of central France and full of surprises. Firstly, it’s nestled amongst dramatic landform-hilly with high volcanic protrusions reaching to the skies. South of Lyon, (about a hundred and twenty km in fact) Le Puy is a pilgrimage site on the way to Santiago de Compostela, under the protection of Unesco World Heritage and The Virgin Mary (Notre Dame de France). It is she in all her bronzed regalia, made entirely from the melting of Russian canons of the Crimean War, which is the first sight you see when you encroach upon the village. She reigns in gigantic proportions from one of the highest pinnacles of volcanic rock.

There she is in the background…

On another, you will notice the unexpectedly small yet thoughtful tenth century chapel of St Michel’s perched on top.

The walk directly up the steep volcanic plug is not for the faint hearted nor anyone suffering acrophobia but the view at the summit is worth it…

Come inside St Michel’s for some quiet contemplation and steady those wobbly legs…

On your descent…

Mingle amongst the finest lace makers of France…

and the very friendly shop keepers…

Get lost in a maze of historic streets…

and relish in surprising sights of delightfully delicious Le Puy…

amongst hidden treasures like fabulous vintage book shops and card makers who have stood the test of time.

But the most unexpected thing of all is what happens inside the Cathedral of Notre Dame on Mount Corneille where the ancient statue of the Black Madonna is housed. Many pilgrims and ordinary folk have been cured throughout history here. Fascinating don’t you think?

Le Puy is old and experienced and miracles are worth believing in.

We can choose how to react when The Unexpected rears its ugly head in our lives from time to time. It can bring upset and change or you can choose to see something else entirely.

I choose joy. Visit Le Puy. It will prove me right.

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