Observations on France

90% of people smoke! this shocked us, seriously, everywhere you went people were smoking.

All cafés have seats outside, so lovely to watch the day go by. The cafe culture is part of their everyday lifestyle.
90% of vehicles are diesel, even small cars.
They don’t have an obesity problem here. You hardly ever see sugary drinks, rtds or energy drinks and not much junk food. Only people over 60 are a bit rounder but the majority of people are very slim
The countryside (and even the cities) are very green, there are trees everywhere, so lovely to see so many trees, most paddocks are surrounded by trees and little forests everywhere, no decimation of trees or centre pivots here, yet they have a massive dairy industry.
Houses, on the whole, are immaculate, especially in the country villages, and all have manicured gardens, with lots of pots of colour, beautiful gardens, so neat and tidy, also lots of vege gardens.
The majority of people we came across were very helpful, and friendly, there were a couple of exceptions but generally great.
We loved France.


Last day in France

Today we woke to rain, it didn’t worry me as I was off to Bayeux, I headed down to reception to get a taxi to the appropriate train station, only to be told that because it was raining, there would be a half hour wait, sigh, the nice man on reception said I should take the metro, I explained to him that we had difficulty understanding it, he explained exactly what I should do, and off I went, got the ticket, first triumph, got the right train, thank goodness I didn’t need to change trains until I got to the tgv station. Got to the Bayeux train with minutes to spare, yippee, I’ve mastered the metro in Paris.

A lovely train ride to Bayeux where it wasn’t raining. I was so excited to see the Bayeux Tapestry, it’s amazing, thought of you Toni when I was there. Spent a few hours in Bayeux and got the train back to Paris.
Managed to get the right metro train back to our hotel, yeusss! Made both the metro trips for €3.40 saving quite a few euro.
Trev spent the day wandering around in Paris, tried to go to the Harley shop for the second time,  ht it was closed, their website is wrong!
Went out for dinner then started packing, fun times.

Loire Valley

Today we spent in the beautiful Loire Valley, around 300 chateaus/castles there.

We stopped for lunch at Amboise, a beautiful town where Leonardo da Vinci is buried at the chateau there, we didn’t have long and literally had to run the last part of the visit.

We then went to the best chateau of the day at Chenoceau, it was beautiful both inside and out, once again we had to hurry and were disappointed we couldn’t stay longer to look around the gardens and lounge around and have a drink.

They had the most beautiful floral arrangements in every room made by two resident florists with flowers from the gardens.


The last chateau of the day was Chombord, by far the biggest but not as nice as some, still impressive just by the size tho.

Back to Paris by 9pm

Today we have mooched around the city, walked and walked to Eiffel Tower and then all the way along to the Louvre, had an ice cream and a drink or 3 on the way. We haven’t worked out the metro system here it is hard to decipher, but have the buses sussed, yay. 

No matter how many times you see the tower it is still wow 

All of the shops except touristy ones are closed on Sunday. Here is a display in a handbag shop

Mont St Michel

Back to Paris, and this morning up at sparrows to go on a two day tour, today was driving through the Normandy region to Mont St Michel, wow awesome

This bus tour is great, we got the front seat on a double bus, sensational views. We are in Angers for the night and then off to the Loire Valley to see some Chateaus.


Yesterday we left Villefranche and headed on the train to Avignon. We are staying in the old walled city, it was a lot cooler and dryer climate here.

Today we woke to rain, but as we only had one day had to box on and have a look around, we went to the Pope’s Palace, the famous bridge and around the gardens, in the rain, like true tourists.

It p’d down all day but stopped about 9pm. Just in time for us to go to a show inside the walls of the Palace in the internal courtyard, these are the walls that the show was project on, four sides, 360 degrees of show, it was amazing. http://www.lesluminessences-avignon.com/

Here are some photos from the show, it went for 45 minutes and the sound effects made the ground vibrate, even though it was all In French it was still spectacular

Last day in Villefranche

Our last day dawned hot and sunny. Trev took me for a walk to the next bay for brekky of espresso and crossaint, yum.

Got back and we all headed to Eze on the train (2 stops away) we got off and waited for the bus to take us up to the old village of Eze it was about 30 degrees and we were cursing Jeff Turner, who recommended we go there, the bus eventually arrived and took us up the hill about 20 minute ride facing backwards and so hot, felt sick and couldn’t wait to get off, Jeff’s name was total mud now. Had a wee sit down in the shade and some lunch, then tackled the walk up the hill. It is an amazing medieval village so stunning the photos don’t do it justice, and the garden at the top is sensational, thanks Jeff it was so worth it.


We got back down and realised we would have to wait an hour for the bus and then possibly half an hour for the train, that was eating into our beach time, so we eventually flagged down a taxi, best move ever, comfy ride home, and although he was from Monaco, it was 45 euro well spent, even though I was having a fit because the meter was saying $145 and I was panicking, all worked out well and we finished the afternoon soaking up the rays on the beach. 

It was my choice for dinner and we went to a restaurant called ‘G’ so delicious, Trev had recommended octopus for entree, and the other three of us had scallops, the octopus was Devine. Trev then had recommended risotto, with scallops, Jenny had duck, kelv had lamb shank and I had beef, all so yummy and one of the best meals so far, we finished off with crime brûlée (can’t come to France without having that) and a marshmallow dessert.
Tomorrow Trev and I off to Avignon and Jenny and kelvin away with friends, from switzerland, through Italy, we will miss them, but will meet up again on way home in Singapore.


Today we went into Nice for lunch and a look around



There are these car charger parks in every city and these bikes that you can hire different areas of the city you can leave them. 

The even have the odd bogan there 

Relaxing day in Villefranche …… Not!

I had a busy few hours at the quilt exhibition and didn’t manage to see all the exhibitions, I had about 30 mins left before I needed to locate the bus stop to start my journey back (I had allowed myself 40 mins to find it, experience had taught me this). So I spent my last 30 mins in the Merchants Mall – holy moley girls, think of our merchants mall at symposium and that would be a very small portion of this one, every Stall was different, some quite French, others American or English, a whole area devoted to ‘country’, I didn’t even go in there, did a quick circuit and bought a few wee bits, a lot of stalls had ‘no photos’ so I didn’t get any here. That done, I headed to find the bus stop, there were thousands of women milling around, I tried to ask one where the bus stop was but she was unsure I wandered aimlessly, hot, tired and hungry (I hadn’t eaten since 7am and it was now 6.30), I approached a guy directing traffic and asked him he directed me down the road and around the corner, off I went, found the bus stop and sat down to wait, after 15 mins I was getting concerned that no one else was waiting, out of all those thousands of women surely there would be at least one other getting the bus to the train station, I then saw a bus turning the corner down the street, so I took off running, there was some ladies waiting, the bus pulled up and sure enough it was my bus, where we got on there was no signs, no shelter nothing to signify that it was a bus shelter, WTF! Anyway, I was on my way, caught the train to Strasbourg, and then the train to the airport, yay Air France were still flying my flight, phew. Got to Nice at 11.30pm missed the last train to villefranche so got a taxi, fell into bed. This is the shortened version of my travel adventure, needless to say I learnt a lot about travel in France and have learnt to read/guess French.

Got up to a scorcher, Jenny thought it would be a great day to walk to the gardens and villa of Rothschild, man it was hot, we were little bundles of sweat by the time we got there, the place was amazing and had the most beautiful garden.

There were some stepping stones to get across the pond,

This is as far as Jenny got, I got a fit of the giggles watching her trying, and she started laughing and couldn’t go any further so had to go around the long way

They even had a New Zealand flax in the garden, labelled.

Got back, and raced to the beach for a refreshing swim, headed out to dinner at the restaurant that the others had been having breakfast lunch and dinner for two days, sensational

More quilts

These were the Russian quilts, quite folky and three dimensional
The Japanese quilters were next, they were in a beautiful big chateau.


They were giving lessons for one day only

That’s probably enough for now, I’ll show more to the Coots and layers ladies when I get back. I was running out of time but decided to squeeze one last exhibition in, OMG so glad it was the best and made the whole travel debacle worth while, 

This is Olivia, the artist

Quilt exhibition

For those who aren’t quilters, skip this post now, lol

This exhibition is massive over 20 different venues spread over 4 villages, I only managed to do 3 villages and not all exhibitions, due to my late start.
It was interesting that the Europeans tend to focus on design and not execution, their designs were fabulous but some of the execution was not quite to how we would do it, there were a few Australian quilts and they were densely quilted, like we do, compared to the European ones, although the photos of the ones I liked were well quilted.


There were lots of mono printed fabric or painted fabric, and a variety of textures used.

These couple of quilts below, are made from wool felt, and stitched by hand! They were massive

There were lots of this Yoko Saito quilt by French women, the one above is Yokos and the couple below were just two of the many variations

Here is a Kaffe Fasset one, lol

I will post more soon