Saturday, August 15, 2009

France

After looking through our holiday photos, I have decided that I am going to need to do this in 3 posts - we just have too many photos I want to share. I apologise now to anyone on a dial-up connection!

I thought I'd begin in Paris - where we started and ended our holiday. Full of excitement, nerves and adrenaline, we spent the first 4 days of our trip running madly about Paris trying to see as much as possible. Walking out of the train station that first morning was like a dream; the old buildings, window boxes full of red geraniums, the smell of fresh bread, the quiet of an early weekend morning, everything was so pretty.

We spent a long but wonderful day visiting the Musee du Louvre, where my Lonely Planet guide tells me there are more than 35,000 works of art on display. As you can imagine we only saw a small portion of these focussing on paintings and sculptures.

The room pictured above was my favourite. The sculptures were originally placed in a garden, so this room was designed to emulate that. It was quiet, filled with natural light and rather peaceful.
We also visited the Musee de l'Orangerie which houses a beautiful series of Monet's water lillies in two purpose built oval rooms.
Although Paris was filled to the brim with tourists, we discovered that there was always a quieter spot in which to enjoy the sights. Indeed, at the back of the Notre Dame Cathedral was a very pretty, quiet garden.

And just down the road from Notre Dame was Le Rouvray - a patchwork store! Unfortunately, we visited at the end of our trip and the store was already closed for the August summer holidays. I was so bummed!


There was a gorgeous tapestry store accross the street though which I did visit.

Of course, there was lots of eating to be done in Paris starting with delicate macarons from the famous Laduree.


and divine summer tarts from Pierre Herme

The last night of our 4 week jaunt was spent in Paris too - and we had a picnic under the Eiffel tower.

Another stop in France was Strasbourg in the Alsace region. Strasbourg has a most impressive cathedral - also called Notre Dame - which they light up during summer as part of a light show. It was a stunning sight.

The old town itself is surrounded by a canal and full of old half timber houses. These houses were originally built in this manner so that they could be transported - so you would literally 'move house' when you left one town for another.
It was easy to imagine I was in a fairytale, surrounded by gingerbread houses.

The wider Alsace region is also known for its wine and the surrounding hills are filled with vinyards.


This was a home in Obernai - a town near Strasbourg. Can you possibly imagine living in this? How fantastic!


Strasbourg was also home to the most glorious cheese store I have ever seen - La Cloche a Fromage. They boast the worlds largest cheese platter with 90 different cheeses! We bought just 4 to enjoy with our dinner.

Later in our trip we moved down south where we visited the medieval city of Carcassone. The old city of Carcassone is surrounded by two rampart walls interspersed with 52 stone towers, complete with witches hat roofs.

The city was full of kings and queens, knights and court jesters... ok, not really!

I am already compiling a list of places I would like to visit next time we are in France (fingers crossed - it might happen one day!).

Next stop - Switzerland!

5 comments:

Kate said...

Gorgeous photos! Bummer about the patchwork shop though. Look forward to seeing more :-)

a good yarn said...

Fantastic! Picture postcard perfect. What a shame the patchwork store was closed. I would have loved the cheese shop but the tart looked scrummy too. Bring on Switzerland! Ann :)

Leanne said...

Thanks for taking me back to France it is such a wonderful place.

Rita said...

Thanks for uploading such nice pics. They bring me back on my original places..

RITA

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Linda said...

your photos are fabulous I am sooo jealous I have dreamed of going to France for as long as I can remember. Your Switzerland post looks gorgeous too, so serene