Another Trip to France! Why just go to Paris? After finishing shopping, leave Paris and head West to a wonderful region where Cider and Calvados and the best Camembert are produced. It is only a two-hour drive from Paris, and many French people leave the capitol on weekends to stay in their country or seaside homes in Normandy.
Don't stay at the famous beaches of Normandy, but explore the glorious countryside.
There are magnificent old villages, medieval abbeys, castles and picturesque towns as well as unspoiled countryside. You will learn a lot about French history and French cuisine.
Two years ago we rented a house half an hour from Rouen, a lovely city with ancient streets and buildings and a medieval Gothic cathedral. Our holiday home was an old half-timbered house from the 18th century with many original features and the old glass in the windows.
We rented the entire house from an elderly gentleman who lived next door, who was originally from Germany, and who loved visiting with his guests. We found the rental via the internet, and at a very reasonable price. The sitting room above, as the rest of the house, is furnished with antiques. The ancient church clock across the street struck every quarter hour, and we thought we had returned to the 18th century! It was heaven, and we are sure to go back for another vacation.
When we traveled to Provence for the first time in 1980 we immediately fell in love with the beautiful countryside, the ancient towns, the glorious food and the vibrant colors. Since that time we have come back again and again, at least once a year. We were fascinated by the Easter antique markets in L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, Avignon, Barjac, etc. and decided to take some furniture back home to remind us of the wonderful colors all year. Most of the furniture is painted in light blue or shades of yellow, reflecting the colors of lavender, sunshine and honey. At first we just took back some flower stands that we could easily put into our car.
But what we were really looking for was an antique cabinet to display various collections or just vases and dishes in. These cabinets often came from old shops and I remember that you could easily find the complete furnishings of a huge shop, bakery or pharmacy. Unfortunately, most of the cabinets are so tall that you cannot use them in modern houses or flats. Finally we found one in a light blue that we could just get into the house.
We have had this cabinet for almost 15 years now and still enjoy it every day, especially in the dark months when it reflects the colors of spring and summer. The small table is from an old boulangerie. It has been bought to display an antique doll house and some old French fabrics.
The old wardrobe which is in the entrance of our house, is no real wardrobe. We found the three antique doors in an antique shop in Provence, had a frame set up and built in the doors to make a wonderful wardrobe.
We are a little sad that our house is full now and we can no longer go furniture hunting, but there are still lots of small antiques to be found in these markets. In March we will be back to look for more...........
Maria & Dieter
We are a German couple living near the romantic Rhine valley and the cities of Cologne and Bonn in Germany. Three years ago we met Susan through the internet and have become great friends. We have so much in common and share a passion for antiques, good food and traveling, that it is fun to meet and do things together. Over the last 3 years we have met Susan and her sister Eileen in Paris, Germany and the USA. We are already planning our next trips to Provence and Prague and Dieter and I feel honored to provide photos, comments, reports and recipes from Europe to Susan and Eileen's blog.