Archives for the month of: August, 2013

We were in Paris for only two nights, and so had to squeeze in our adventures to a relatively short time. Hence on the first morning we set off to find a perfect breakfast bakery, with tables outside, and delicious creations inside. The Rue des Martyrs was freckled liberally with award-winning cake shops and bread shops, sushi bars and wine bars, delicatessens and cheese emporia, sawdust-sprinkled floors in butchers and punnets of fruit and veg spilling out of greengrocers onto trestles on the pavement.

Stocking the pavement with five-a-day supplies

Stocking the pavement with five-a-day supplies

The only seated refreshments we saw initially were the wobbly plastic chairs outside tabacs. Parisians seemed content to perch on these to enjoy their early morning espresso, but we were after the holiday dream (always a dangerous aim with children in tow), and bakeries weren’t obliging with seating as we traipsed up the hill.

Roll up, roll up! Get your posh ham here.

Roll up, roll up! Get your posh ham here

Thankfully at the top was a tiny cobbled square with trees, benches, and a few local people stretching the legs of their minuscule dogs. At the corner, some artfully arranged painted chairs and rickety tables heralded our boulangerie holy grail.

The colour shop next door. How to match your soft furnishings with your floral arrangements

The ‘colour shop’ next door. How to match your soft furnishings with your floral arrangements

Each boy chose an inordinately enormous cake for his ‘second breakfast’, whilst Tim and I enjoyed a simple croissant each with black coffee, so everyone was happy.

It's not muesli. But it is second breadfast.

It’s not muesli. But it is second breakfast

Our meander back down the hill was slightly less single-minded, and we found some dear little treasure shops nestled between the cafes.

What lovely crockery you have! Quirky little interiors shop

What lovely crockery you have! Quirky little interiors shop

I pretty much wanted everything in here.

So many nice things, so little interest from my tourist companions....

So many nice things, so little interest from my tourist companions….

And through this murky window some existentialist toys contemplated their future.

Don't jump, Claude. Playmobil figures close to the edge

Don’t jump, Claude. Playmobil figures close to the edge

Thus set up, we went on our way to the Metro, and headed to our next, even more magical destination….

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Well, we’ve been en vacances! It was lots of fun: a few days’ city break in Paris, a luxury week in a manoir near Bordeaux, and a stay in a mobile home on a campsite near Rochefort.

I loved the understated glamour of our converted manor house, which was typical structurally of the region’s low, cool, rambling old buildings. The owners had made clever work of their renovation, retaining the character of the place with original beams, walls and flooring, and adding elegant furniture pieces and fittings which were not ostentatious.

Check it out; sartorially speaking, it's ok to leave your footwear lying around if it looks this cute

Check it out; sartorially speaking, it’s ok to leave your footwear lying around if it looks this cute

The stair carpet was in a jazzy check, which looked smart and classy against the rough stone walls.

Another thoughtful juxtaposition of old and new was the way that the doorways and windows were framed. Rather than plaster smooth right up to the edges, the large stone blocks surrounding the windows and doors were often left exposed. The kitchen featured an even more inventive form of this, with the regular tiling being cut at the same angle and curve as the plaster.

Curvy: plaster and tiling take part in synchronised wave

Curvy: plaster and tiling take part in synchronised wave

Nifty, huh?

I wasn’t very excited by the tiling in any of the bathrooms, which all featured bleurghhh shades of murky green or rust, but I did love this feature:

Framed: maybe you could hang a shower curtain from it?

Framed: maybe you could hang a shower curtain from it?

I don’t even know what it’s there for, but it does add to the quirkiness and detract from the ceramic faux pas.

Stone walls make an appearance again

Stone walls make an appearance again

Finally, some additions to our selection of Things to Put on Your Walls, French holiday home style.

Farming yoke hovers above Toulouse-Lautrec pieces

Farming yoke hovers above Toulouse-Lautrec pieces

Yes, there is a little line of keys, just right to adorn a bare beam.

And a bemused Bordeaux fermier is wondering just where he put all his spare clefs....

And a bemused Bordeaux fermier is wondering just where he put all his spare clefs….

I know I promised to tell the tale of my living room curtains, but I do also have the most amazing Paris shop for you to discover as well. So we’ll see where we end up… à bientôt.

 

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