Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Rain Day

Getting caught up with putting pictures on my Flickr page, don't forget to go have a peek!


We have fallen into bliss.

The gitè we are staying in has been filled with the wines of the vineyards and we have been told to help ourselves (and pay for it later). Trouble is the wines are so good. We didn’t even know when we booked that Saussignac was an appellation for dessert wines, which is of course my weakness in wine.

The dangers here are many; surprised peckings from disgruntled chickens, lizards lurking around every corner, and Dora, the 6 month old puppy still being trained not to jump on those wearing white.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Grand Cru

In 1855 Napoleon III decided that those wines in Bordeaux that were most sought after and obviously the best should be classified as such. These wines were called the French Grand Cru and all of the red wines that made it on the list came from the Médoc region. And it was Mèdoc that we traveled to with our host Coaroline to taste the best of the best. The two vineyards we stopped at were Chateau Palmer, in the third class of Grand Cru, and Château Pichon Longueville Baron, in the second class of the Grand Cru.

At our first stop we tasted a 1996 Chateau Palmer (a bottle of which would set you back 165 Euros, and it would be worth every penny) as well as their secondary wine a 2006 Alter Ego de Palmer (only running at 55 Euros). Both were amazing.

At Château Pichon, we tried all three of their 2004 wines. But before the tasting we were taken on a fantastic tour of their grounds. It was like we were in a James Bond movie. The Chateau guide was so passionate and the wine was so mindblowingly good, we were quickly convinced we needed to bring home a bottle of their wine. Don’t worry, we only have to 10 more years or so before we can have some.

Sticks and Stones: The Beauty of French Homes

I have become somewhat obsessed with the old stone walls, painted shutters and worn wood. I’ve managed to create a whole series all the doors, windows and walls we have seen.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Walks to Remember

We're in Saussignac, France. It's almost the most perfect place I've ever been. Our home for two weeks is a 25 acre organic vineyard. We're surrounded by walking routes linking up all the vineyards, and boy are there lots of vineyards. It's heartbreaking to think that we have almost reached the end of our adventure.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Zombie Invasion

Yes, this is where I would chose to be in the event of a Zombie attack. Those of you who have read World War Z or The Walking Dead will know about the importance of strong walls and high ground.
From the window of our place we could see 3 other castles on the surrounding hillsides, all overlooking the valley. We did tear ourselves away from our fortress to go and wander around the 19th fairy ale gardens of Chateau Marqueyssac. 150,000 sculptured boxwoods surround the Chateau, whose grounds are populated with Peacocks, lizards, pigeons and one wandering goat. In the middle of the maze you feel like you’re in Alice in Wonderland.

Stone Walls

The apartment was a great change from Paris. We stayed in an old stone house with an old worn patio overlooking the river, stone walls, steam shower, and best of all no futon (not that the futon was all that bad, there’s just something to be said for a mattress).
Spent the whole week reading and wandering thru the town, beside the river and in the castle. Our host, Madame Portier, was a wonderful lady; she was short and stout with white honey hair. She didn’t speak any English, so I got some good French practice. Most days we would walk to the local charcuterie shop and try some of his wares. My favourite was his dried sausage called Rosette. The only downside of the week was when I lost my newly purchased Parisian scarf. I am convinced that the older gentleman who served us lunch noticed its beauty and claimed it as his own.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Beynac, France

I fell off the grid for a week in Beynac, the tiny medieval town on a cliff. Everything is the colour of honey, from the cobblestone streets, the old stone houses and even our fat fluffy flat mate Julie. Although we had no car the castles were well within wandering distance of each other. Crazy to think that during the hundred years war some of the castles were controlled by the French, some by the English and yet they were all close enough to pop next door to borrow a cup of sugar and some eggs. The Dordogne River was full of swans and river rat tour boats like Johnny Depp’s in Chocolate.
You can see why we fell away from reality for a while.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Goodbye Paris, Hello Bordeaux

Paris Photo Day 29
Our train was early so no time to do much but remake our futon bed that was our home for 29 days and say goodbye Paris. Next up Bordeaux, hopefully our sleeping arrangements will be more comfortable than our Paris futon.

Not so Mini Tower

Paris Photo Day 28
Our last full day in Paris was spent with me packing and cleaning our apartment while my poor husband lay on his deathbed with what turned out to be just a cold and a sore throat. We did of course manage a walk to the Eiffel Tower to watch it sparkle. Yes, it really sparkles! I really love this tower, I even bought one of those tacky (but not that tacky) mini Eiffel Towers.

The Fabric District

Paris Photo Day 27
To try to work off all the croissants and brioche, we climbed the Sacre Coeur steps twice a day and it was always such a spectacular view every time. From here you can see the highlight of the fabric district, that lovely blue building which is the same blue as our kitchen back home.

Princess for a Day

Paris Photo Day 26
One of my shameful, shameful secrets is I love Disneyland. So how could we not leave Paris for a day and seek joy and adventure in Euro Disney? It was crowded for a Monday, and we had to wait in line for 2 hours just to get obscenely expensive tickets, but it was worth it. Disneyland is marvellous!

Golden Green

Paris Photo Day 25
The trees lining the Seine are an amazing golden green that wasn’t turning up for any day time pics I took. Luckily on an evening stroll a riverboat came by with annoyingly bright high beams on which backlit them perfectly.

Smile and Nod

Paris Photo Day 24
On the top of the hill overlooking all of Paris both locals and tourists unite every night to gaze at the city. As long as we didn’t speak, we were thought to be locals.

Protector of Pigeons

Paris Photo Day 23
So we’re strolling down a ramp to walk beside the river and there in our path is a menacing group of pigeons. Instantly we know what must be done. We had to run as fast as we could thru them, so we did. Little did we know that these pigeons were guarded by one of the many crazy drunk frenchmen of Paris, who came out of his cubby in the wall to chase us with his cane cursing loudly. So, we snuck back around to take his picture.

The Golden Snail

Paris Photo Day 22
Found a great street market near les halles metro stop, and this golden beauty above l’Escargot Montorgueil really reminded me of the snail from the second or third Never-ending Story that pals around with the rock man. Those movies are such good times!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009


This stunner is in the Luxembourg Gardens and is perched atop a fountain. The Luxembourg Gardens have over 80 sculptures but this guy was by far my favourite. Paris Photo of Day 21.

Graveyard #2

There are three big graveyards in Paris, and this is graveyard #2, the name has just escaped me. No, it's not the one with Van Morrison. This particular grave had lost its name due to the fact that a huge tree was now growing out of it. Up close it was beautiful, and so it's my Paris Photo of the Day for day 20.


The bad news is that I left my camera at home for day 18 in Paris, the good news is that it won't happen again!
This is my pick of the day for day 19 in Paris.
We went for an evening stroll along the river and when the sunset hit the water it looked like gold. This was the night that we decided to take a romantic boat cruise. It's the only really tourist thing we'd done so far (since this was taken we did hit up Euro Disney, more to come later), and our romantic cruise ended up being shared with a few dozen tourists, so not as romantic as you'd hope. Never the less, it really is a lovely river.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Fit For a King

Paris Photo of Day 17
We went to Versailles with our last day of our 6 day museum pass, which happened to be the coldest day of the week. We had been blessed with blue skies for the most part, but the one day we needed the weather to be on its best behaviour we were full of disappointment. We braved the random storms in a golf cart to zip around the grounds, became soaking wet, and I'm pretty sure I caught hypothermia, but it really was lovely.

All a Blur

Photo of the Day 16
I don't know what it is but they really love their stairs here. I love this picture ever so much! We were at the top of the Arc du Triumph on a blustery, cold sort of night, and were more than exhausted after a long day of museums, yet some how found the energy to climb all 370ish stairs up there. Sure I took a lot of clear shots of the city, but this one... it's my favourite.

Picassos Museam

Pic of Day 15
I know this may not be the most exciting picture in the world, but I was quickly scolded for taking pictures in this museum and forced to put my camera away after sneaking a handful of blurry pics. The Picasso Museum renewed my respect for him, everything looks so different up close.

Meanwhile Back at the Ranch

The bright lights in the big city have caused to to temporarily forget all my excitement back home. Anyone in the Victoria region should be sure to pop in to the two local stores that are now carrying my animals! The Good Planet Baby Company on 1005 Broad Street ordered some just the week before we flew off. They we kind enough to send me a few pictures of my little guys out for all to love them.
As well, one of my husband favorite shops Plenty, on Fort Street, are displaying a few animals for their Easter window display. They even went so far as to do up the press release below. My favorite part? Rebecca Glynn (currently in Paris).
If you manage to stop into either shop drop me a line and let me know how the look!

Press Release: March 25th, 2009


Vancouver Island Marmot featured at Local Specialty Food Store!

WHERE: Plenty Epicurean Pantry, 1034 Fort Street

WHEN: March 15th – April 15th 2009

WHAT: Plenty epicurean pantry welcomes a collection of finely crafted stuffed animals. Each animal is handmade in Victoria, B.C. by Rebecca Glynn of Smitten Studio and represents an endangered species.

CONTACTS: Trevor Walker, Plenty Epicurean Pantry, 380-7654, trevor@epicureanpantry.ca;

Rebecca Glynn (currently in Paris): http://www.becomingsmitten.blogspot.com/ COST: $55 each, includes a description, smitten pin, and tote bag.

Smitten Studio: All of the animals in Smitten are made with organic linen and recycled fabrics.

Each animal created is based on one listed on the IUCN endangered species Red List. Rebecca started out by featuring animals found close to home in British Columbia and she has since expanded her focus to include endangered animals from around the world.

We are very pleased at Plenty to be caring for some wonderful animals while their creator, Rebecca Glynn of Smitten Studio, explores Paris for the month. Rebecca uses organic or recycled fabrics and she hand-dyes and prints everything herself. She has created an eclectic array of stuffed animals representing endangered creatures from around the world including; the Western Harvest Mouse, Grizzly Bear, Northern Leopard Frog, Woodland Caribou, Nuttal’s Cottontail Rabbit, American Badger, Red Wolf, Asian Elephant, Wild Water Buffalo, and Vancouver Island Marmot. We feel very fortunate to have these wonderful creations in our midst - thanks to Rebecca for sharing them!

Vancouver Island Marmot: I am based on the Vancouver Island Marmot and am endangered in British Columbia, Canada. I am herbivorous and hibernate throughout the winter. I have been handmade with organic linen and lovely recycled velvet and have a hand printed patch on my back. Plumply stuffed with recycled polyfil.