La Louve

La Louve
La Louve...Garden of the She-Wolf, Bonnieux, France. La Louve is a private French contemporary garden, open to the public, in the town of Bonnieux in the Vaucluse Department of France. It was created beginning in 1986 by Nicole de Vésian, textile designer for the Paris fashion house of Hermès. It is classified by the French Ministry of Culture as one of the Notable Gardens of France.

6/16/11

Summertime in France...

...and I'm thinking of
cool lagoons...


...glorious flowers tumbling over ancient balconies....



...flower shops filled with baskets of summer's bounty...


...canals gently flowing through the countryside...


...little waterfalls tumbling into lagoons...


...gargoyles and dolphins and moss-covered stone...


...glorious fountains in the center of towns...


...rivers running through villages... 


...and cool breezes blowing across acres of sunflowers!


Note: all photos above taken by author and may not be reproduced

6/3/11

More meanderings through Uzes...

This wonderful medieval town has so many little twisting, winding streets - many leading to the Duchy castle - that it's easy forgetting the castle was your original destination!

As I wandered through the town, I imagined life as it was throughout the centuries. I thought about all the people who had walked the cobbled streets... shopped at the market square, Place aux Herbes.... swept the front entrance of their limestone houses... cooled themselves under the huge plane trees on a sultry summer evening... watched children play in the fountains. Uzes inspires that kind of day dreaming...


Remnants of the old fortifications



The Duchy of Uzes was established over a thousand years ago as the first duchy of France, and the castle has been occupied by the Cressol family since then. Because it is a private residence, interior photographs were impossible to obtain, but we managed to have access to the private courtyard following a tour. Besides the castle, the town abounds in extraordinary private residences dating to XVII and XVIII. Those, the Gallo-Roman aqueduct, the medieval gardens, and the cathedral lure visitors back time and time again.


Side entrance to private courtyard of the castle


View of the castle as you enter the side gate


Entrance from the courtyard to the family's private quarters and gardens


6/2/11

The Duchy of Uzes, Languedoc, France

A look back to our time in Provence when we spent a lovely day in Uzès. This medieval city is located in the Languedoc-Rousillon region about 20 miles north of Nimes, and... as Wikipedia states - "...several thousand miles east of the United States."  

Uzès is a town with a skyline that marks the region from afar…and from within holds treasures for the eyes, ears, and taste buds. Self-proclaimed first duchy of France; host to one of the most colorful Saturday markets in the south of France; site of the source for the water that flowed through the Pont du Gard on its way to Nîmes in Roman times; a cathedral boasting a beautiful organ on the inside and an Italianate fenestrelle tower on the outside; a region full of beautiful villages and all sorts of goodies for food and wine lovers; annual festivals of dance, music, pottery, truffles, gardening, and antiques; the arcade-lined Place aux Herbes, where the weekly market takes place, and where you can sit outside for a tasty lunch or a drink on a sunny day. Just a bit of heaven.

Here are some of the little streets and alley ways we discovered as we meandered through the town on our way to the palace...



 
The village square, the Place aux Herbes. We ate lunch under great plane trees, and I had a delicious grilled breast of pigeon served on a bed of wild greens. An ice cold carafe of a local white wine was the perfect companion.  I highly recommend Terroirs when you're in Uzès and hungry for good local produce and wine.
Terroirs, 5 Place aux Herbes

...then...ah, dessert....






....hundreds of delicious handmade candies in a confectionaire right next to Terroirs!
Pinch me, I must be dreaming!
Oh, I'm dreaming all right! This is too good to be real. Hand-dipped fruits in a sugar glaze.
Bundled candied lemon, orange and lime slices. I won't say how many bundles I bought...let's just say enough to give me a tummy ache. But, it was worth it!

The cure? Antiquing, of course
Some old things, some new things in a little shop off the Place aux Herbes
Hand-dipped candles inside an old wood trunk...inside a vintage mantlepiece
Vintage candle sticks from India

Tomorrow: The Grande Duchy of Uzès







6/1/11

Les Puces de Saint-Ouen, Paris


The world's biggest flea market welcomes 200,000 visitors each weekend. You name it, this place has it: furniture, pictures, new and second-hand clothes — all at rock-bottom prices (especially if you're adept at haggling). There's a jovial fairground atmosphere, with the aroma of food wafting in the air and people crowding round the stalls, hoping to pick up a 1970s leather jacket or rare Louis XV chest of drawers. Make sure to bring cash, as stallholders seldom accept credit cards and the nearest available ATM always has a line.

Address: 48, rue Jules Vallès (Marché des Antiquaires), 93400 Saint-Ouen
(between the Porte de St-Ouen and Porte de Clignancourt, just outside 18th arrondissement)
Hours: Sat. - Mon., 7:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Metro: Porte de Clignancourt (line 4), Porte de St-Ouen (line 13)

Below, random examples of what you're likely to find at Puces. This is a market that necessitates planning as it is impossible to cover one tenth of the entire location in a day. Even for dealers who shop frequently, it can be overwhelming without a clear idea of what you're looking for.

"Hello, Dollies"
"Ladies, take a seat."

One of the booths that specializes in antique clothing. There are over two dozen that do so!
"Let's see...what was I looking for again?"
"OMG!"
"I'll take those two and the one in the back, please."
"OMG! #2"
Fine antique tapestries and fabrics (with commensurate prices)

5/19/11

Balconies, doors and windows...oh, my!

Around a corner, over a doorway, tucked in a little side street, in Provence, beauty abounds....