A frenchic place to visit: Giverny

Giverny is a small village located in the beautiful area of Normandy and it is so charming! It is very well-known because of Monet who lived there. Many other impressionist artists were attracted by the landscapes and the atmosphere as well. You can visit the property of Monet by stepping into the colourful house and by wandering around the magnificent gardens.

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Then you can go around the village and admire all the typical houses….

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You can stop by the little “Antiquités” shop….

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You can get a very good ice-cream…

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And you have to stop at the Hotel Baudy (where many impressionist painters used to gather) and drink a glas of wine, eat an “omelette” and visit their beautiful garden hidden behind the restaurant…

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Take a moment to sit on a bench and enjoy the nature, the calm and the atmosphere of the place…

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And when leaving you can admire the beautiful huge bamboos on the side of the road!

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Chic in Lille

Back in October I visited for the first time the city of Lille which is in the North part of France and it was fantastic! Coming from the south of France and living in Paris I can say that France offers a variety of landscapes, food, architecture, style. Lille doesn’t look like Lyon, Marseille or Paris. It has its own style and culture and it was great discovering what this elegant city has to offer. I stayed there a weekend and here is what I did, saw, ate, enjoyed …..

What to see

  1. The architecture

Lille is the capital of the French Flanders but was once a part of Belgium. The Flemish art had a big influence on the architecture. Buildings and monuments have indeed a beautiful and elegant”Flemish” touch. The main square and the small streets of the old city are worth a visit.

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2. La Vieille Bourse ( the old stock exchange)

The Vieille Bourse is one of my favorite building in Lille. It is magnificent and it has an inside courtyard where a second-hand book market takes place.

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3. The zoo and the Citadel park ( parc de la Citadelle)

The park is surrounded by the remparts of Vauban’s citadel and contains a nice zoo where you can see red pandas, zebras but also monkeys, birds, ….

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4. The Fine Arts Museum

It has been beautifully renovated in the 90’s and it houses wonderful collections of European painters such as Goya, Delacroix, Rubens….

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5. The Wazemmes market

It is very cosy to visit on a Sunday morning the covered market of Wazemmes, a multi-ethnic quarter in Lille. You will find specialties from the area, such as the “Maroilles” cheese!

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Where to stay

  1. Hotel

I stayed at the Mercure Vieux Lille and it is very well located. You can easily find a place to eat in the evening as there are a lot of restaurants in the area.

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Where to eat

  1. Restaurant

In the north of France and Belgium they called a small café or restaurant an “estaminet”. You will never hear this word in other parts of France. So if you want to eat some typical food in an “estaminet” please book a table at “Le vieux de la vieille”. It offers typical dishes of the North and prices are reasonable.

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2. Coffee shops

La Patronne

Before going to the restaurant we stopped at this coffee shop to have an “apéritif” as they have a wide range of beers. The owner is a nice lady who can speak English and the atmosphere is simple, “sans chichis” as we say it in french ( no arrogant attitude). You can also find second-hand books. ( I actually bought a book about Jackie Kennedy for 2 euros).

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Tous les jours dimanche

After going to restaurant we went to a nice “salon de thé” called “tous les jours dimanche” (everyday Sunday). It is an old property decorated with a Scandinavian touch. They have coffees, teas, cakes but it is also known for being the best place in town to have brunch!

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3. Pâtisserie Meert

It is a classic institution in Lille, something you need to see! It is closed to the Main square and you can easily recognize  the building which is elegant and the window displays “tempting” desserts and pastries.  They are known for their “Gaufres” (wafers) made of Madagascar vanilla. They are very sweet but I love them!

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4. Finally, Lille offers many cute boutiques

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Le jardin des plantes, part 2: le jardin des pivoines

As mentioned earlier “le jardin des pivoines” (the garden of peonies) in the botanical garden is definitely a must! I was there in May and it was perfect timing as most of the peonies were beautifully in bloom. Few of them were beginning to fade and it was also charming in a way: all the petals gathered on the floor or looking like crumpled paper…. some of them will definitely be “my models” for drawings and paintings!

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The fading peonies…

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The very pink peonies…

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The very white peonies…

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A Frenchic place to visit: le jardin des plantes, part 1

My summer vacation start today and I have been looking forward to it as tiredness has kind of “invaded” my body! So I will be exploring, discovering, relaxing, drawing and painting, reading, eating good food, visiting family and friends, etc…. But before all of that let me present you a beautiful place in Paris: the botanical garden called “Le Jardin des plantes”. (The garden of plants). It is located in the 5th arrondissement and it is the place when science, nature and history meets. It was created in 1635, project initiated by the doctor of the king Louis XIII. At that time it was called the Royal garden of medicinal plantes but became the garden of plants after the revolution. It is really worth walking around the elegant alleys, sitting on a bench and enjoying a little bit of quietness, admiring the elegant buildings and all the flowers and plants nature has to offer.

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Touches of pink….

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Touches of yellow…

 

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Buildings….

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La Grande Serre ( the big hothouse)

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And soon…. le Jardin des Pivoines ( the garden of peonies) as I would like to dedicate an entire article to my favorite flower…. stay tuned!