August 16th, 2010 comments
“if you want to build a ship, don’t drum up people to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.” Antoine de Saint-Exupery
I’m longing for the immensity of the sea. To me it symbolizes the vastness of potential at the inception of a new creative adventure, the moment where tout est possible –anything’s possible.
Les vacances of August have relaxed me into a state of yearning accompanied by an all too recognizable uneasiness. It usually appears towards the end of a “house project” -of which we’ve had six in our lives. Six times building the boat, so to speak, with six sets of before and after photos. While realizing our house dreams has brought immense satisfaction, oh how I love the open water and the limitless creative possibilities it represents…
What about you? Are you happiest dreaming or doing?
August 6th, 2010 comments
les Soldes -the sales – are a twice yearly phenomenon in France,
They’re a much anticipated social event and almost impossible for me to resist. Avignon is on my solde radar every season so yesterday a friend and I braved the August crowds to see what the final markdowns might offer.
Girlfriends, shopping and sales inevitably leads to at least one new pair of shoes. And so it was, with bags of shoes in both hands, we wound our way behind the Palais des Papes for a celebratory afternoon tea at La Mirande.
La Mirande is my dream hotel and the perfect post (or pre) shopping rest stop. There’s a pair of 18th century chairs tucked up to a small table in the corner of the intimate bar; my favorite spot to savor a glass of red wine on a fall day.
In the winter, the sunny atrium is the place we often stop for hot chocolate. Yesterday we popped in for a cup of Gyokuro and an assortment of pastries they offer at tea time. Alone or with a friend if I’m in Avignon, I make my way here.
The hotel’s decoration beautifully blends 18th and 19th century styles. It’s flawless and old world and not the least bit stuffy. The woodwork, the brilliant panes of undulating hand blown glass, the stone pavers, the period antiques, the wall coverings and fabrics. I walk away longing to redecorate my entire life.
They even offer cooking classes and intimate dinners in the kitchen prepared by the chef as you look on. It’s only 45 minutes away from my home but I’m thinking that it just may be this year’s preferred vacation destination!
August 4th, 2010 comments
Continuing with the before and after photos of this little Maison de Village…
At the street level entrance to our house we originally had a space that was referred to as a garage. It wasn’t quite big enough for a car and it certainly wasn’t a welcoming entry. “Off with the roof!” we cried, “Let there be light!”
We think it’s much happier as a courtyard.
An old stone puis sat awkwardly in the middle of the vaulted cave; not original to the house, it was a decorative touch the old proprietaire had added. I thought that it could be re-purposed into a lovely fountain and drew a little sketch on the proverbial napkin. Voila! Our skilled stone masons made it so.
New doors crafted by our iron worker enclosed the vaulted stone space. It’s cool in the summer and warm in the winter. My antique habit claimed this room early on.
From my desk I look back towards the gate. I love this view. See that little bench under the watering can? It covers all of the not so attractive necessities: the water meter, the drip apparatus….My husband and son made it from old ivy vine twists they collected in the forest. Clever non?
Every time I climb the steps to the front door I smile as I look down on the transformation and I think about the many feet that have worn these treads before me. Better to think of that than the snap crackle pop in my right knee….