Tuesday, July 20, 2010

AUREVOIR PARIS

We drove around Paris today. We went past the Eiffel tower and said good bye. We had to return the car to the area of La Defense which is on the outskirts of Paris where the business district is. We were travelling fine with the GPS until we had been travelling along a tunnel for a few kilometres and at the last minute realized that we had to get from the far left lane across five lanes to the far right lane within 50 metres. Well....it just could not be done and we headed down some freeway and ended up paying 10 euros for the wrong turn!
So what have we learned about France and the French....?

  • Not all french people wear berets, I only saw two.
  • People who drive motorbikes really are crazy!
  • People who ride bikes don't wear helmets and are also crazy!
  • If you drive in Paris...you're a bloody idiot!
  • French drivers are very patient and tolerant
  • Big paris roundabouts do not have lanes
  • Do what you want on big Paris roundabouts
  • You definately need a GPS and a navigator to drive in Paris
  • Square European pillows are not as comfortable as rectangle Aussie pillows
  • The French people are quiet nice and are not rude
  • France has a washing powder called "colon" and lemonade called "Pshitt"
  • Baguettes...baguettes and more baguettes
  • Washing machines don't work if you don't empty the water out of the filter every 10 minutes
  • Bottled water tastes like dispirin has been dissolved in it
  • When parking on the street nose to tail, you only leave 1cm between the cars. On exiting the parking space you reverse into the car behind to get out. I watched this happen multiple times.
  • No such thing as an ice chocolate. They have "cacolat" in a bottle and you have to ask for ice.
  • Houses have shutters not curtains
  • Old apartments have creaking floors
  • You must never wear broad shorts into a public swimming pool
  • A 40 degree day in France is not as hot as a 40 degree day in Australia
  • They employ good-looking males as police officers
  • They employ not so attractive males to drive ambulances
  • When driving in Paris and your desination is 50m away you must drive for 5km up and down oneway streets to get to you destination
  • You always say "Bonjour" when you enter a shop and "Merci, Aurevoir" when leaving
  • There is heaps of mustard satchets but never enough ketchep satchets at restaurants
  • Roads in villages and towns are not wide enough for 2 vehicles
  • When you hit a kerb you puncture your tyre
  • Tollways are a good way to get rid of small change
  • Very few people use their mobile phone in public
  • The metro is very easy to use
  • French bread really is delicious.
  • The Eiffel tower lit at night is magical
  • Women wearing high heels ride bikes
  • We rarely saw children or babies in Paris or anywhere for that matter. (Where do they keep them????)
  • It is not hard to fill a whole suitcase when sales are on in Paris
  • I never saw a person wearing a track suit
  • France is a beautiful place
  • Home is where your family (and cats) and friends are

Sunday, July 18, 2010

BACK IN PARIS

Well, we are on our last week. We are sprinting down the front straight heading for the finish line...feeling a little weary.
We decided to leave Dijon 2 days early and have now arrived back in Paris. We cannot believe that it was over 4 weeks ago that we were here. It has gone pretty fast. It took us 3 hours to drive to Paris, and Art's first experience of driving in the centre of Paris went well. (He still has to drive up the Champs Elysee and past The Arc De Triomphe to return the car....that will be interesting!
We decided to have a real french dinner tonight and popped into Hard Rock Cafe. The manager was an Aussie who lived in Caulfield before coming here and his parents live in Ringwood (just down the road from Mum and Dad). It is a small world!

Friday, July 16, 2010

DIJON

Market day in Dijon.





So many vineyards driving to Dijon.



Nougat in a shop window. This photo is dedicated to Monique and Glen and their passion for nougat!


We are now in Dijon, the mustard capital of France. I was surprised they did not have a huge mustard jar in the city like we have "The big pineapple" in Queensland. That was a big disappointment. (hee hee). Dijon is a reasonably large town. It is quite picturesque.

The day we arrived there was a storm with heavy rain and thunder, which was a big change from what we had been use to. The storm came and went with the following days back to 30 degrees.

We visited a small flea market today. I managed to pick up a few old tin chocolate molds and the nice man through in 2 more for free. I am going to stick them all in a big french glass jar and take them out and make you all wonderful chocolates that you can have with a cuppa when you visit me. We are thinking of leaving Dijon early to have a few more days in Paris before we leave.










Wednesday, July 14, 2010

LYON - FRANCE.

The city of Lyon.


The view from the apartment.


The traffic driving into Lyon on a Saturday.


The traffic driving down south as we were heading north to Lyon. This was a 130km/hr zone. They were stationary for many kilometres. We were glad we did not head south over the European holidays. We now understand the true meaning of the French vacating the city for holidays.


A French ambulance.


The kitchen.




What was so fantastic was that Stefanie (the owner who looked like a super model) had lots of french interior magazines. Every night I would grab a cuppa and sit and flick through them.


We have spent the last 4 days in Lyon, which is one of the largest cities in France. The traffic was unbelievable driving from Provence. Those heading towards Provence were banked up for many kilometres.
The apartment we have stayed in is beautiful. I think it must be the penthouse. I felt like I walked into an interior magazine. The family who own it live in it but rent it out when they go to their holiday house in the summer.
We have visited the miniature museum and gone on a bus tour. I managed to fill a suitcase with clothes for the kids. The sales are on here so shopping is great!
Lastnight I thought I saw a mouse scurry under the door. When Art went to catch it, it was a little bat that had flown through the window.
Art took the kids to the public swimming pool which is beside the river. You are not allowed in the pool wearing broad shorts, and you are not allowed to wear a t-shirt when you are out of the pool. We found this quite bazaar in a strange curious way....
Still eating baguettes, crossiants, paninis. The temperature is in the mid 30's. Only 13 days till we get home.

Friday, July 9, 2010

LUBERON VILLAGES AND ABBEY SANAQUE

LUBERON VILLAGES AND ABBEY SANANQUE

...and catching butterflies. Here is Zac holding his catch for the day. No insects were hurt in this picture.
The kids enjoyed running amongst the lavender.

This is Abbey Sananque. We saw this on many postcards. It is a famous abbey near the village of Gordes which was founded in 1142.


The village of Menerbes is also perched on the side of a hill.




This is the view from the top of the village. Many vineyards and old established orchards.


A gorgeous house in Lacoste.

We bought a baguette and croissants and found some steps to sit down and eat.

We parked at the top of the village and walked down narrow stone roads to the village.



This is the castle perched on top of the mountain in Lacoste which is owned by Pierre Cardin.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

CHATEAU CANORGUE AND PONT JULIEN

After leaving the Chateau we drove a couple of kilometres to this bridge called Pont Julien. This bridge is over 2000 years old. It is incredible that it is still standing intact.






More of the vineyard.



The vineyards driveway.

The view from the chateau.

The chateau. It was absolutely gorgeous. Unfortunately we could not get up close as it is a private residence.

Chateau Canorgues vineyard.

The gates to Chateau Canorgue.

Today we finally went to visit Chateau Canorgue. This was the chateau that Max inherited from his uncle in "A Good Year". It is situated about a kilometre out from the village Bonniex. Unfortunately the chateau is a private residence so I could not peak inside. I felt like i was in the movie and that Russell Crowe was going to walk out at anytime.