Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Paris Love Locks

Along the Pont des Arts, there are are nearly 2000 padlocks with
inscriptions of love. The bridge links the Left bank to the Louvre museum.
Lovers often throw the keys in to the Seine as a sign of undying love.

They are considered an eye sore these days and there are many who
would like to remove them. Not me... I saw this lock and turned the corner
to see this couple riding off into the distance.

until the day the galaxy will explode....
to Charles and Cecile...best wishes,
For ♥ Ever

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Raining in Paris....

We said goodbye to the Loire Valley today as we hopped a train to Paris. My daughters and I are having a weekend together before heading back to the real world. So far our weekend has consisted of shopping, cafe hopping, sightseeing and a few treats in between. Sweet treats :)

It is raining in Paris which doesn't seem to matter at all. It is the perfect way to transition into Autumn. Temperatures are dropping, jackets are back on in the streets of Paris and scarves are getting the double wrap around the neck. September is around the corner...

Although brief, we will just enjoy, something you can't help but do in Paris. I managed a few pics in between rain drops at the entrance to our hotel and around the corner.

Signing off on my iPad from the Left Bank of Paris..

Best wishes to one and all for a fab weekend. :)

Photographs by Jeanne Henriques

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Loire Valley Moments

 A few Loire Valley moments at the end of the day....

a roll in the grass with Cartouche and Paulette
a stroll thru the fields

a dip in the pool

admiring Queen Anne's Lace

picking blackberries

walking past the farm
feeding the geese....



Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Magnificent Proportions

"Chambord is truly royal-royal in its great scale, 
its grand air, its indifference to common considerations"
Writer, Henry James

Chambord is one of the most magnificent buildings I have ever seen. If you are planning a trip to the Loire Valley, I recommend putting this château at the top of your list. Chambord dates back to 1518 and owes it's conception to François I. Leonardo da Vinci is said to have drawn up plans that were ultimately made into a model by Le Boccador.  Many famous masters of their trade had a hand in the creations of Chambord over the centuries. The château is a masterpiece of the Renaissance period and is rich in history.  
Love, war and much more breathed thru it's walls until it was sold to the State in 1932 for 11 million francs.  Every portrait tells a story and there are plenty of them with 440 rooms to fill. I could go on and on but I will stop there and let the photos do the talking for me. It was a challenge to get it all into a single frame, both inside and out, but I had fun trying. You can read more about Château de Chambord, here.

I just couldn't resist... :)

 Magnificent Proportions.

Text reference: Châteaux of the Loire
The Green Guide by Michelin


Thank you for your words of encouragement regarding my bat story. (here)
I was heartened to hear that many are quite familiar with these
little night creatures and take them in stride. :)

Monday, August 22, 2011

A Nocturnal Encounter

We were five and now we are six. I cut these beautiful roses for Mrs. H Sr's arrival to the chateau (here) yesterday. The fragrance is intoxicating and I am feeling a bit delirious...but not from the roses.

We had what I call a 'scorcher' yesterday and today...temperatures into high 30C/90F. I opened all the windows in the chateau last night to catch a breeze. Around 4:00am, a storm came through with intense lightening and rain. I awoke and lay in bed thinking of all the windows that were wide open throughout the chateau (no screens) and made a frantic move around the house to close them all. No small feat. I am sure I looked and sounded like a crazed woman, running around in the dark, bumping into strange objects and cursing myself for not closing them earlier in the evening.

Surprise, surprise, I slipped into one empty bedroom at the far end of the chateau, turned on the lights and was greeted by a gathering of bats, flying in a circle around the chandelier. It felt like a scene out of a Daphne du Maurier novel. I half expected Mrs. Danvers to pop out of the corner of the room. 

I did what any smart woman would do, I turned off the lights, closed the door, made a mad dash back to bed and decided to think about it in the morning.

Tick, tock went the clock as I lay in bed thinking of how I was going to explain bedroom bats to the owner of the chateau. I needed a plan to catch them and felt the pool leaf scooper was my best bet. Scoop and toss was my one and only strategy.  Luckily, when I peeked in after breakfast they had departed.

Note to self....close all windows in chateau this evening and dream of the sweet sounds of nightingale birds. No bats allowed. :)  Bonne Nuit to one and all!

top and bottom images~me

Friday, August 19, 2011

Sunrise in the Loire Valley and Karen Blixen

Sunrise over the farmer's place...

I woke up early to catch the sunrise this morning. In the end, I decided it was easier said than done. In my pink silk pajamas and a well worn cashmere sweater, I set off in my black walking shoes to catch the sun.
I was ready to hop on a bike and ride past the farmers place and it appears they heard me coming first. The rooster, the horse, the hens, the dogs...the donkeys and even the cooing pigeons. I wondered how my family and the farmers family would feel if I proceeded on my journey....especially in my pink and blue bedroom ensemble. I retreated with the pigeons (it appears we have a village worth of pigeons living amongst the roofing of the chateau.)

I sat at my little table by the window and came across this post from the very lovely Carina. She posted on Karen Blixen ( author of Out of Africa), her home and her art of flower arranging. It was thrilled as it all started with a flower arrangement I posted a few months back.

You can read Carina's post here.

Of course, my next question is....have you met Carina @ We are all in the Gutter?  We have been chatting back and forth from my early blogging days...she has become a wonderful blogging friend. She lives in Copenhagen, Denmark, is a big fan of Oscar Wilde and writes the most curious and interesting posts. She is a keen reader and traveller with lots to share and think about.

I hope you stop by and say hello!

As for my sunrise....I nearly got it.

More beautiful colours from France.
In retreat with the pigeons...back to the chateau.
A new day has dawned.

I think it is Friday....we are on chateau watch again today. I am still deciding which one.  I am very excited about dinner tonight. We have had a local chef, Murielle, prepare all our dinners while we are staying here. She and her husband are chef's by trade. The food had been true to the local area, fresh and fabulous. My only regret is that she does not speak English and I do not speak French. We try....
Mr. H needs to communicate for us as he speaks fluent French. Murielle has offered to take me into the woods to pick mushrooms. I don't know that Mr. H is as excited as I am about that prospect.

Tonight Murielle is cooking a big feast. Her family joins us for dinner along with the local farmer and his wife. Murielle's husband and son speak English (phew). I hear he is an expert on wines in the region....I know where I am sitting tonight. :)

Mrs H. Sr. arrives tomorrow for a week. We have a room all set for her on the right wing of the house. We have migrated to the left wing. I am really liking this concept of wings in a house. 

A reader asked how we came across this chateau. Good question. Hang on a few more days and I will let you know. I want to make sure all goes off without a hitch before I recommend the firm we used. So far so good.....

Happy Weekend to one and all...( I would say that in French but it is too early in the morning and I have not had my first cup of coffee yet) 

Jeanne xxx

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Playing Sherlock in the Loire Valley

I wrote about My French World, here, and discussed my struggles with the French language. I seem to have developed a language phobia which I am determined to correct.

"I think of my blogging friends, Sharon @ My French Country Home, Vicki @ French Essence and Ange @ Signed by Ange. They all inspire me. I admire them for their ability to live in two worlds, their English world and their French world. Being able to live within the language of another culture opens a door that you would never see as a tourist."

In the meantime, I am finding it very easy to slip into our French world. We are staying in the far corners of the Loire Valley. Last year, my dear Mr. H mentioned that he would like to go to France for a two week summer holiday. His mission was to be as far away from the crowds as possible. As usual, my thoughts were far far away (probably blogging) and I replied with a 'yes, dear' all the while thinking that I had a feeling a beach holiday was going to be out of the picture.

A few weeks later he told me he found the perfect spot...a chateau in the Loire Valley with 10 bedrooms and the ability to sleep 14. Again....my thoughts were elsewhere, "great idea" was my reply and off he went. I recall wondering who would sleep in the 10 bedrooms but left it for another day.

Jump ahead a few months later and here we are...five of us (soon to be six) in a 10 bedroom house with more tables, chairs and beds than I could possibly count. I am not complaining, it is lovely and quiet. We are within easy distance of all the sights, yet, we are far enough removed that we feel like we are in a world of our own. It works.

We spent Sunday unpacking and enjoying the amenities of the chateau. Today we managed a trip into the local village and an outing to Chateau du Moulin, an easy distance from where we are staying. We will be picking up the pace over the next few days but have agreed that we will leave plenty of time to make the most of our two weeks of French life.

I have to admit that it has been tough pulling me away from this chateau. Every nook and cranny is filled...I have the urge to dress up like Sherlock Holmes and explore. I think Mr. H is worried. :))

Oh yes, we did this too!
A trip to the local village in Romarntin-Lanthenay

and to Chateau du Moulin in Lassay sur Croisne.

and one more from the chateau...
Did I mention the donkeys?
I call them Thelma and Louise. :)


My French travels....

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