Monday, February 23, 2015

Rooftops And Chimney Pots

When I visit Paris I always seem to find myself looking up. I am captivated by the rooflines, chimneys, turrets, & towers. From the elaborate to the very plain, there is something just so Parisian about them all.

When I am dreaming of France, it is often thoughts of these very French "toits" that come into view & color my imagination. What comes to mind when you are dreaming of France? Follow the link to Paulita's An Accidental Blog & her Dreaming of France meme for more thoughts on the same theme.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Chateau de Gudanes

Those of you who like to dream big when dreaming of France, will most likely enjoy the website of Chateau de Gudanes. The story it shares reads like a modern day fairytale. An adventurous Australian couple traveled to France in hopes of finding a humble farmhouse to restore in the French countryside. Unsuccessful, they had almost given up on their search when they stumbled onto a beautiful but crumbling 18th century neoclassical chateaux hidden away in a low valley of the Pyrénées mountains.

 It was love at first sight.  Karina & Craig Waters bought the property & with the help of family & friends have begun the laborious work of bringing this magnificent relic of the past back to its former glory.

Without any previous experience, Karina was determined to spearhead the renovation  herself. Using as many original materials as possible & sometimes actually digging through the rubble with her bare hands, Karina's mission is to stay true to the authenticity of  this forgotten historical monument.

If only these walls could talk. The chateaux was built by the Marquis de Sales, who commissioned the famous Parisian architect known for the Petit Trianon at the Palace of Versailles,  Ange-Jacques Gabriel, for the design.

In its day these grand staircases & elegant rooms hosted lavish parties with guests from the French aristocracy  & celebrities of the day, such as Voltaire.

It is hard not to admire the Walkers for taking on this formidable renovation project, which is clearly a labor of love for them. It is fascinating to follow along on the official website, where you can read about the work in progress, the history of the chateaux, as well as Karina's perspective on life as an expat in France.

So if you are Dreaming of France why not dream big, & be sure to check out what others are dreaming of too.

Monday, February 9, 2015


February can be a bit of a bleak month in southwest France but usually the temperatures do not drop too low. So I was excited to see on one of the local French blogs that I follow, that not only had it snowed in Toulouse but that they are ice skating in the magnificent Place du Capitole. What fun that must be for everyone!

As this is Valentine's week, I have chosen some photos "en rouge" to celebrate the occasion. 

I have always loved these red doors of this old elementary school, where girls & boys were traditionally separated & each had their own entrance.

And who would not want to be treated to one of those beautiful red pastries from the famous Parisian patisserie, Laduree or a bouquet of red from the Paris flower market to kick start the holiday of amour.  
I am linking these heartfelt wishes for a 
Happy Valentine's Day
 to Paulita's

Monday, February 2, 2015


As it is a bit dreary here today, I chose some photos of summer green 
 to play along with 

Honeysuckle can be found growing in profusion in the countryside of southwest France. For me honeysuckle is a magical reminder of childhood. I love it's beautiful distinctive scent. So I am always delighted when I return to France & can smell it everywhere.

It is called chévrefeuille in French, which translates to English as "goat leaves". Why? I do not know, perhaps goats like to eat it. What's more, my French friends were not even aware of the tiny droplet of "honey" found inside each flower, which is of course my favorite part.

 On a more formal note, it is always a delight to discover an old but still beautifully kept garden of boxwood. 

In this case I peeked into the gates of an old Chateau. The stately building, although beautiful, was in a rather sad state of disrepair but in the garden the boxwood hedges were still neatly trimmed.

And though many of the pots on the terrace were broken, there were blooms in everyone.

That's one of the many things I love most about France. No matter how humble or run down a place, one almost always finds a beautiful spot of green.

Take a look at what other Francophiles were dreaming about today on An Accidental Blog.

 And have a happy Monday everyone!