Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Aldi Mercredi

Shoppers were there in droves this morning for the opening of the new Aldi store in Chinon...

It is obviously as popular in France as it is in the UK - and with good reason. We were lucky to find a space on the huge car park....

And inside the store was full of shoppers and offers.. It was light and bright and certainly doing some business.

No doubt we'll visit again - even if only for its gluten free chocolate; a rare find in France these days!!

Monday, 28 September 2015

Villandry with a difference..

Thanks to Jim Craig's post the other day, see here, we had a fantastic afternoon out at Chateau Villandry on Saturday.

The event celebrated gardens and gardeners, with the addition of local produce, crafts and entertainments for the children.

Here are a few of our photos:

And a special treat for me; the sight of all the cyclamen in flower in the woods..

Simply stunning!

Thank you, Jim, keep up the good work!

Friday, 25 September 2015

Advertising Standards.....!

Having enjoyed a successful day at Faye la Vineuse back in August and subsequent interest in and sales of some of my work, I thought I would do a "plug" for it and direct anyone who may be interested to my webpage:

And on a completely different topic, can someone please reset this plants body clock for us?!

Seems a little unseasonal to us,  for the end of September!

Monday, 21 September 2015

A Most Enjoyable Traffic Jam..

We took part in the most enjoyable traffic jam on Sunday created by 200-300 old cars, on the RN10 at Ste Maure de Touraine.

The event was entered into with spirit, as you will no doubt see from the following photos. Styles from the 60s were worn by many of those taking part and we did our best with what we'd got!!

Spectators lined the route right from the start..

Along with the general mayhem of the day, there was the most amazing sense of bonhomie and fun.

Where else would you see "nuns" and "priests" rolling back the roof of a 2CV...

There were fake engine fires to be extinguished..

and Sapeur Pompiers there to respond..

Unfortunately when the handbrake snapped off in Tim's hand, Tim and Pauline were NOT faking it!

However, Susan and Simon made sure that they got safely home.

The whole event covered a course of little over a kilometre but the originality and diversity packed into that kilometre was amazing !

To finish, here are some folk who really got into the swing of things! The short video below shows them in action..

For a few more photos of the day see here on La Nouvelle Republique, (link courtesy of Simon: Thanks, Simon!)

Saturday, 19 September 2015


Our neighbours very kindly bought us a Wonderbox gift last year for our wedding. The package entitled us to a night away in a wide choice of hotels. It has taken us a year to get round to organising it but this last week we had a couple of days away, staying the night at our chosen hotel, Hotel du Donjon in Aulnay de Saintonge in the Charente Maritime region of France.

We decided to explore the wider region before going to the hotel and Saintes, some 41k south of Aulnay seemed to have a good deal to offer. On the right bank of the Charente is the Arch of Germanicus, built in 18-19AD. It was originally built in front of the bridge which crossed the Charente but was relocated and restored following the demolition of the bridge in the 19th century.

On the left bank of the Charente is another surprise: the remains of a Roman Ampitheatre (41-54AD) in a small valley. The Ampitheatre could house up to 20,000 spectators and a visit to the site is well worth the rather "undulating" walk from the centre..

The walk back to the town lead us to a vantage point where the Cathédrale Saint‑Pierre de Saintes
 stands out against the backdrop of red tiled rooftops....

The Cathedral can also be seen from the Jardin Public, a beautifully designed park, with a glorious combination of colour, texture, formal and informal planting ..

After a day enjoying the sights of Saintes we were ready to get to our hotel. Our room was very comfortable and the patron, friendly and helpful. 

We found a restaurant in for our evening meal in Saint-Jean-d'Angély. Le Petit Bouchon served well cooked, home made food - just what we needed!

Unfortunately we were beaten by the rain on our second day, but we still managed a walk along the beach at Chatelaillon plage, before making a dash back for the car and home.

Thank you, Nathalie and Jean-Noel for a wonderful Wonderbox of a present!

Friday, 18 September 2015

Musée d'Orsay, Paris

After queuing in the rain for quite some time we expected great things of the Musée d'Orsay and we were not disappointed.

The former Gare d'Orsay, (read more here) has been transformed into an elegant museum housing some of the finest collections of sculpture, art and furniture.

The following photos give a glimpse of the elegance of the building and the quality of design which has transformed it into one of the most popular museums in Paris.

The art collections are housed to the left and right of this central gallery..

I was keen to see the collection of Art Nouveau, which contained, among other things, some beautiful pieces of glassware and furniture..

The following gives a sense of scale..

The whole had been beautifully and elegantly designed....

Even the cafeteria had chairs which could only be described as art installations in their own right!
If you visit one museum in Paris, from our experience, make it the Musée d'Orsay!