Photography for my DREAM OF PARIS travel book

I have created a selection of photography of the people and places of Paris that compliments my writing in my book A DREAM OF PARIS. Please enjoy the photography and I hope to inspire you to visit as soon as it is possible again – for now we still have our imagination and memories and no doubt a warm welcome awaits us in the future

GO TO LINKS : PHOTOGRAPHY FOR PARIS

Please enjoy my Travel books – LINK TO YOUR COUNTRY : http://getbook.at/FrenchTravel

Bistro St Andre on the left bank. The stroll from St Michel across towards St Germain takes you down Rue St Andre and it is a very interesting quarter of Paris.

Cremerie Restaurant Polidor Paris France – an authentic taste of Paris
Come to Paris with my Dream of Paris Memoir
Available on Amazon for Kindle and Kindle Unlimited – Also in Print

Writing a New French Travel Book in Lockdown

Please enjoy my Travel books – LINK TO YOUR COUNTRY : http://getbook.at/FrenchTravel

Monet’s House & Giverny

The story goes that Monet in his search for a house to accommodate his growing family set out one day from Paris by train and spotted what was then the tiny hamlet of Giverny. Standing out in the cluster of properties along Giverny’s long main street he saw from his carriage a long but low house set in surrounding scrubland. The railway line is no longer there although there was no halt in any case at Giverny so Monet walked back through the fields from Vernon to find this property. What made this building stand out was that unusually it faced away from the road towards the river. For a modern day visitor there is no inkling of the beauty behind the stark long wall on the main street.  He found to his delight that this property was available for rent and the rest is history. Monet eventually purchased the house and garden and you could say it is bequeathed now to all the visitors that can experience this most magical of places.

Monet was at the time a widow after the death of his first wife and mother to his children – Camille Doncieux. Before her death however he had begun a relationship with a woman of a higher social standing than himself. Alice Hoschedé became his lady-friend as they would have been discretely known and with Camille and their children they lived as a menage for some time up until Camille’s death. At Giverny Monet and Alice set up home with his two sons and her six children although they could not marry until 1892 after the death of Alice’s husband Ernest. The house would be Monet’s delightful home for the rest of his life and he was completely devoted to the property and gardens, all becoming synonymous with his name. In front of the house lies the Clos Normand, full of flowers. The other side of the road he developed into what we see today by having the waterlily pond constructed. To achieve his aim, he was decisive and didn’t hesitate to change the landscape by diverting a branch of the Epte River. We shall visit the house and gardens more than once on our stay but first we must find our accommodation for the final leg of this trip.

La Pluie de Roses is located some way past Monet’s house as you come to the end of the village. We are welcomed after our rather fraught day collecting and driving our hire car by Philippe and Elisabeth. They couple have recently sold this gorgeous property but the current owner appears from the excellent reviews to have more than maintained their high standards. Giverny is blessed with some fine Bed and Breakfast accommodation with this property exceeding our expectations. The rooms are beautifully decorated in a style that could only be encountered in France. There are some quirky touches especially in the downstairs bathroom that is adorned with theatre posters and related photos. It could be a place to linger and read the walls. Our bedroom is sumptuous and in sympathy with the period of the house. It also has a quirky feature in that the fabulous shower has to one side a full-length plain window. You get a great view out over the village and presumably someone in the right place at the right time will get more of a view than they bargained for. The odds are in your favour due to the position of the bathroom – but you just never know. The house has a wraparound garden that is lovingly tended. The grand stone steps that lead to the French doors at the rear of the house are a very typical feature in a house of this style. It has an intimate grandeur.

The hosts do not provide an evening meal but there are some good options for dining in Giverny. We contented ourselves on this first evening with a light snack before sleeping very well, only waking with the birdsong, ready for the main event of our visit – Monet’s house and garden.

Our hosts at La Pluie de Roses have an especially useful scheme whereby they can sell you tickets to enter Monet’s house and gardens. It is only when you gain a sight off the house that you realize just how much of a life saver this is. Strolling to the front of a queue that stretches back way down the main street and gaining instant admission to the accompanying despair and groans of the waiting throngs was a great relief. Actually we did not go straight into the gardens. Just by the entrance a young newly married couple were emerging after having had some wedding photographs taken in Monet’s garden. It would be difficult to beat that for a location for your photographs. They kindly obliged while I took a couple of photographs of my own and they added a touch of glamour to the scene on this hot sunny morning.

As you pass through the entrance the gardens are on first impression slightly underwhelming. I think it is because you feel that an iconic Japanese bridge should be right there in front of you. There is no question that expectations are extremely high. Initially, however, you must make your way around a grassy section complete with discarded garden tools and a wheelbarrow before you come round to your first view of the long low house that Monet so loved. Now you are completely engrossed and drawn into this magical place that Monet created and has been lovingly maintained as an incredibly special place in France. The house is gently shaded from view by the lush growth of the trees and plants as Monet skilfully teases you to explore and find the perfect view of his house. That perhaps is to be found when you reach the main pathway leading up to the house, a view that Monet captured so well. Today that pathway is flanked by a gorgeous array of flowers in the lush borders either side of the path. One of the tricks he used, one which shows his skill not just as a painter but as a gardener, is how he leads you around the pathways to continue giving you different glimpses of the house. It is stunningly beautiful. If you have done your homework and have a love of his Giverny paintings, you will also be able to imagine and indeed expect one of his children to emerge from behind a tree or shrub or emerge from the house into the garden.

The setting for painting his young ones would have been magical and inspiring for him and you can clearly understand why he painted so many canvases of a personal nature here at Giverny. Monet also liked to take himself away and be alone in the garden. He would not have lacked for any number of beautiful subjects in the garden in front of the house. Then he could go across the railway into the Japanese garden and be quite peacefully secluded to paint the images that he is most famous for. Today the Japanese garden is reached by a short subway that takes you under the road where you are transported back in time to an atmospheric setting that is beautifully tended and familiar to anyone with the slightest knowledge of Monet’s work.

The Japanese section of Monet’s garden is a delight and very sympathetically maintained. Although the lily ponds and the ubiquitous bridges are of course the highlights you have come to see it is the secluded, tucked away parts of the garden that really delight. The area shaded by the trees with a small river of water, a rowing boat tied up by the bank waiting for Monet to step in with his easel and paints.

Monet House and garden Giverny France

These atmospheric tableaux really transport your imagination back in time, giving a genuine sense of how Monet must have delighted in the construction of this gorgeous garden and then to enjoy using it to paint some of his most enduring landscapes. They are also a welcome quiet section to enjoy before embarking on the path around the Japanese garden, a path that will need a little patience to negotiate. Being one of the world’s most famous gardens you will find it busy at most times. Waiting for a loving couple to finally finish their photography on one of the famous bridges does need some tolerance on your part but it is worth the wait. The views from the bridges over the lily ponds are spectacular and do not be put off or intimidated – take your time and get the shots you want. You will be glad you endured when you get home.

Monet House and Garden – a quiet spot with the Japanese Bridge.

Photography for my DREAM OF PARIS travel book

I have created a selection of photography of the people and places of Paris that compliments my writing in my book A DREAM OF PARIS. Please enjoy the photography and I hope to inspire you to visit as soon as it is possible again – for now we still have our imagination and memories and no doubt a warm welcome awaits us in the future

GO TO LINKS : PHOTOGRAPHY FOR PARIS

Please enjoy my Travel books – LINK TO YOUR COUNTRY : http://getbook.at/FrenchTravel

Bistro St Andre on the left bank. The stroll from St Michel across towards St Germain takes you down Rue St Andre and it is a very interesting quarter of Paris.

Cremerie Restaurant Polidor Paris France – an authentic taste of Paris
Come to Paris with my Dream of Paris Memoir
Available on Amazon for Kindle and Kindle Unlimited – Also in Print

Writing a New French Travel Book in Lockdown

Please enjoy my Travel books – LINK TO YOUR COUNTRY : http://getbook.at/FrenchTravel

Monet’s House & Giverny

The story goes that Monet in his search for a house to accommodate his growing family set out one day from Paris by train and spotted what was then the tiny hamlet of Giverny. Standing out in the cluster of properties along Giverny’s long main street he saw from his carriage a long but low house set in surrounding scrubland. The railway line is no longer there although there was no halt in any case at Giverny so Monet walked back through the fields from Vernon to find this property. What made this building stand out was that unusually it faced away from the road towards the river. For a modern day visitor there is no inkling of the beauty behind the stark long wall on the main street.  He found to his delight that this property was available for rent and the rest is history. Monet eventually purchased the house and garden and you could say it is bequeathed now to all the visitors that can experience this most magical of places.

Monet was at the time a widow after the death of his first wife and mother to his children – Camille Doncieux. Before her death however he had begun a relationship with a woman of a higher social standing than himself. Alice Hoschedé became his lady-friend as they would have been discretely known and with Camille and their children they lived as a menage for some time up until Camille’s death. At Giverny Monet and Alice set up home with his two sons and her six children although they could not marry until 1892 after the death of Alice’s husband Ernest. The house would be Monet’s delightful home for the rest of his life and he was completely devoted to the property and gardens, all becoming synonymous with his name. In front of the house lies the Clos Normand, full of flowers. The other side of the road he developed into what we see today by having the waterlily pond constructed. To achieve his aim, he was decisive and didn’t hesitate to change the landscape by diverting a branch of the Epte River. We shall visit the house and gardens more than once on our stay but first we must find our accommodation for the final leg of this trip.

La Pluie de Roses is located some way past Monet’s house as you come to the end of the village. We are welcomed after our rather fraught day collecting and driving our hire car by Philippe and Elisabeth. They couple have recently sold this gorgeous property but the current owner appears from the excellent reviews to have more than maintained their high standards. Giverny is blessed with some fine Bed and Breakfast accommodation with this property exceeding our expectations. The rooms are beautifully decorated in a style that could only be encountered in France. There are some quirky touches especially in the downstairs bathroom that is adorned with theatre posters and related photos. It could be a place to linger and read the walls. Our bedroom is sumptuous and in sympathy with the period of the house. It also has a quirky feature in that the fabulous shower has to one side a full-length plain window. You get a great view out over the village and presumably someone in the right place at the right time will get more of a view than they bargained for. The odds are in your favour due to the position of the bathroom – but you just never know. The house has a wraparound garden that is lovingly tended. The grand stone steps that lead to the French doors at the rear of the house are a very typical feature in a house of this style. It has an intimate grandeur.

The hosts do not provide an evening meal but there are some good options for dining in Giverny. We contented ourselves on this first evening with a light snack before sleeping very well, only waking with the birdsong, ready for the main event of our visit – Monet’s house and garden.

Our hosts at La Pluie de Roses have an especially useful scheme whereby they can sell you tickets to enter Monet’s house and gardens. It is only when you gain a sight off the house that you realize just how much of a life saver this is. Strolling to the front of a queue that stretches back way down the main street and gaining instant admission to the accompanying despair and groans of the waiting throngs was a great relief. Actually we did not go straight into the gardens. Just by the entrance a young newly married couple were emerging after having had some wedding photographs taken in Monet’s garden. It would be difficult to beat that for a location for your photographs. They kindly obliged while I took a couple of photographs of my own and they added a touch of glamour to the scene on this hot sunny morning.

As you pass through the entrance the gardens are on first impression slightly underwhelming. I think it is because you feel that an iconic Japanese bridge should be right there in front of you. There is no question that expectations are extremely high. Initially, however, you must make your way around a grassy section complete with discarded garden tools and a wheelbarrow before you come round to your first view of the long low house that Monet so loved. Now you are completely engrossed and drawn into this magical place that Monet created and has been lovingly maintained as an incredibly special place in France. The house is gently shaded from view by the lush growth of the trees and plants as Monet skilfully teases you to explore and find the perfect view of his house. That perhaps is to be found when you reach the main pathway leading up to the house, a view that Monet captured so well. Today that pathway is flanked by a gorgeous array of flowers in the lush borders either side of the path. One of the tricks he used, one which shows his skill not just as a painter but as a gardener, is how he leads you around the pathways to continue giving you different glimpses of the house. It is stunningly beautiful. If you have done your homework and have a love of his Giverny paintings, you will also be able to imagine and indeed expect one of his children to emerge from behind a tree or shrub or emerge from the house into the garden.

The setting for painting his young ones would have been magical and inspiring for him and you can clearly understand why he painted so many canvases of a personal nature here at Giverny. Monet also liked to take himself away and be alone in the garden. He would not have lacked for any number of beautiful subjects in the garden in front of the house. Then he could go across the railway into the Japanese garden and be quite peacefully secluded to paint the images that he is most famous for. Today the Japanese garden is reached by a short subway that takes you under the road where you are transported back in time to an atmospheric setting that is beautifully tended and familiar to anyone with the slightest knowledge of Monet’s work.

The Japanese section of Monet’s garden is a delight and very sympathetically maintained. Although the lily ponds and the ubiquitous bridges are of course the highlights you have come to see it is the secluded, tucked away parts of the garden that really delight. The area shaded by the trees with a small river of water, a rowing boat tied up by the bank waiting for Monet to step in with his easel and paints.

Monet House and garden Giverny France

These atmospheric tableaux really transport your imagination back in time, giving a genuine sense of how Monet must have delighted in the construction of this gorgeous garden and then to enjoy using it to paint some of his most enduring landscapes. They are also a welcome quiet section to enjoy before embarking on the path around the Japanese garden, a path that will need a little patience to negotiate. Being one of the world’s most famous gardens you will find it busy at most times. Waiting for a loving couple to finally finish their photography on one of the famous bridges does need some tolerance on your part but it is worth the wait. The views from the bridges over the lily ponds are spectacular and do not be put off or intimidated – take your time and get the shots you want. You will be glad you endured when you get home.

Monet House and Garden – a quiet spot with the Japanese Bridge.

St Paul de Vence a beautiful French perched village

St Paul de Vence is felt by many to be the loveliest of the perched villages in the south of France. Perhaps, but I do love Bonnieux! St Paul de Vence, an attractive, compact village became a magnet for artists and art lovers in the 1920’s, when a group of impressionist painters rediscovered this sleeping neglected village. Still, today it is very much a place that thrives on its artistic connections. Please take care of your wallet, unpriced art is displayed that way for a reason, so if you afraid to ask don’t go in. Even if you are not prepared to buy there is some stunning art on display and the village itself could be considered one whole work of art.

St Paul de Vence in the South of France – the famous fountain

The photo above was taken on our last visit to the village around 2014. Recently I was watching a BBC documentary about a painting by Sir Winston Churchill of this very scene. The object of the programme was to prove the authenticity of the painting and this they achieved to about 99% satisfaction of the experts. What was interesting was that it was established for certain that Churchill did paint from this very spot and was friends with the artist owner of the studio in this square. It was fascinating to lose yourself in the history of a place you knew well and will no doubt add to the enjoyment of our next visit.

Today the village is not only home to a large artist community but a favoured place of celebrities that have homes here. You may not see any but the locals will provide some names.

The village can be exceptionally busy but we have never found it overwhelmingly so. There are plenty of places to wander away from the main street and the views from the top of the village are spectacular. As in most villages in the South of France you can with care eat very well but also there are one or two tourist traps to avoid. On our last visit we had a lovely baguette and fruit tart for alight lunch by the village walls. Perfect.

Artist studio in a shady quiet square in St Paul de Vence

St Paul de Vence is one of the Cote d’Azur’s most famous and beatuful treasures, and one you should definitely visit.

Collioure the Catalonia jewel of the South of France

Please enjoy my Travel books – LINK TO YOUR COUNTRY : http://getbook.at/FrenchTravel

On our travels around France you find special places, ones that stay with you for ever and always wish to return. Collioure just south of Perpignan on the Catalan coast is one such place – perhaps our very favourite in all of France. It was at the start of our travels and will always be a part of any visit to the south. Please enjoy some photography and the story of our initial visit is in my book – FIRST TIME WE SAW PARIS.

The beautiful harbour looking across to the Church Collioure France

On this mild clear evening the sun is going down, the scene is enlightened by the lights of the harbour front cafés and bars and the spot lights focused on Collioure’s church, Notre-Dame-des-Anges, a former converted lighthouse. There is of course in this gorgeous setting the natural moonlight sparkling on the sea and reflected on the brightly coloured fishing boats that are such a feature of the harbour at Collioure. These small boats have inspired so many artists over the years being painted and photographed so often that they are synonymous with this beautiful harbour.

Please click on photos for enlarged lightbox

Artists and artisans such as Andre Derain, Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, Charles Rennie Mackintosh along with many others have been inspired by the light and views on offer here in Collioure. Inside the Restaurant/Bar Templiers which has a particularly attractive terrace on Avenue Camille Pelleton there are copies or art works adorning the walls by Picasso, Matisse, Dali and others. The restaurant had the originals left to them by these famous artists but some of these were stolen years ago so very understandably no originals are to be seen on display today.

Hotel restaurant Les Templiers Collioure France – Interior view of the artwork.

On the quayside leading down the Avenue there are many modern day artists painting the very same scenes, some to very good effect, others perhaps are a little dubiously talented. It all makes for a lovely peaceful and atmospheric scene though. Along the front of the small half-moon shaped beach that has the church as its focal point there are many brightly lit cafés and most of these have a terrace spilling out right up to the beach, the clinking of glasses an ever present relaxing sound. The view from one of these tables is I feel as good as it gets and it is one that has to be savoured over a latte or a beer or a lovely chilled rosé wine.

Collioure Harbour

Cafe de la Poste Restaurant village of Goult Provence France

Please enjoy my Travel books – LINK TO YOUR COUNTRY : http://getbook.at/FrenchTravel

It is easy to find a fine lunch in one of the excellent cafes and restaurants in Goult. For a small village you have several choices and one of the most popular is Cafe de la Poste. After lunch you can walk to the top of the village. You are rewarded with the sight of an old windmill and stunning views over the Luberon. Please enjoy more stories of Provence in my French travel books.

The always busy Cafe de la Poste in Goult Provence France
After a fine lunch in the village a walk to the top of Goult rewards you with this windmill and stunning views
Noyers Burgundy France
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Peaceful Cafe in the Marais district Paris France

Please enjoy my Travel books – LINK TO YOUR COUNTRY : http://getbook.at/FrenchTravel

Come to Paris with my Dream of Paris Memoir

It always pays to look up when strolling through the Marais district of Paris. This is one of the most interesting areas of Paris and you will never go hungry. Take your time to walk the streets and enjoy immersing yourself in its character and history. A lot of the history is troubling of course so reflect on what you see from time to time in this old Jewish quarter of Paris. Oh, and make sure you stop for a coffee.

Please enjoy my Travel books – LINK TO YOUR COUNTRY : http://getbook.at/FrenchTravel

A restful spot in the Marais district

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Paris Travel Book – A Dream of Paris memoir

Perpignan the French city with a Catalan heart

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Perpignan is a mere thirty kilometres form the Spanish border, a city of Art and History, retaining from its past as the former capital of the kingdom of Majorca an interesting historic centre of harmonious mainly Gothic style architecture.

It is a French city but please don’t say that too loudly when you visit this endlessly fascinating city. The locals will profoundly disagree as proclaim that this is a Catalonian city with its roots firmly in that culture. I always try to use its Catalan name – Perpinyà when speaking to residents here.

I love this place. The food and wine of course but a people that are so lively and vibrant, very much in tune with the past but revelling in the city they call home. This comes over in colourful form on the regular nights where the dancing is held in the squares. In fact Perpignan was elected ‘Capital de la Sardana 2019’ and displays the official dance of Catalonia elevated to the rank of an art form.

It is a centre for the use of garnets in jewellery and in the many fine shops you will find some splendid pieces. Perpignan is a great place to shop and seems to get better every year.

Old part of town in Perpignan

The streets of Perpignan repay your exploring them and the architecture is a photographers delight. I did get into trouble by suggesting that some of the winding streets in the Old town seemed ‘edgy’ and perhaps to be avoided alone at night. A local resident took exception to that suggestion, declaring the city totally safe. I have to agree that I have never had a problem in Perpignan. I do though stand by impression but do take a stroll around the streets away from the centre. Having said this in my book I have to admit that I would never walk around my home town of Blackburn at night – I will probably get in trouble for saying that.

View over to the Pyrenees from Palace of the Kings Perpignan France
The Castillet in the centre of Perpignan
Old shopfront of a watchmakers in Perpignan France
Sheltered shady courtyard in Perpignan France
Perpignan cafe by night

My first book ‘First Time we saw Paris’ tells the story of how we found a love of France. It all started in Perpignan when we found a magical, perfect French café. We returned for many years as friends until the owner died and the café closed We never looked back and our years of French exploration began. Please enjoy my books – I hope to inspire you to visit when we can all return once again.

Noyers Burgundy France

Uphill Estuary Weston Bay Somerset A special place

A perfect morning as we look over the Axe Estuary from Uphill Nature Reserve. The path leads around to the boatyard from her at the Axe Estuary at the end of the beach at Weston Super Mare Somerset England. The land that gets the tidal flow over it is rich in wild flowers and especially sea lavender and teems with birds and wildlife. We have spotted around 50 different birds on the estuary and reserve. A very beautiful place.

Please enjoy my Travel books – LINK TO YOUR COUNTRY : http://getbook.at/FrenchTravel

French Travel guide books avaiilable in Amazon for Kindle and Kindle Unlimited

View of Brean Down from the Axe Estuary Weston Super Mare Somerset
Brean Down Somerset from the beach at Weston Super Mare Somerset
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