Accidents do Happen

And they are so worth it!!

No1. Internet malfunction: Buying a train ticket to Arles on line landed me in 1st class all the way to Arles. Not sure how that happened....SCNF I love you! Such comfort in speed. Running parallel with the freeway and leaving cars for dead in our wake! Arriving around 3pm I am ready for a new day! There are advantages to wheelie bags but cobble stone streets are not one of them! 

Rue de septembre is where I am yo!

Rue de septembre is where I am yo!

No 2. Stumbling around ancient roman streets and taking photos of just about every gorgeous street adorned with wooden shutters and flower boxes, put me smack bang in front of Starry Starry Night! Van Gogh's cafe....Was I thrilled?? Ahh yeah! I am sure that if I went hunting for this cafe, as I am sure a million have before me, I would have ended up at the Carmargue. 

Café

Café

Loving the architecture

Loving the architecture

Le Café la Nuit

Le Café la Nuit

No 3. It was raining so I decided I would experience some fine dining and found restaurant L'atelier. 2 times Michelin star, award winning 'superbly crafted symphony of fresh organic tastes' I learnt two things: Ask what the meal is, have this defined even if you have to use body language, and don't believe everything you read in lonely planet. I thought I was getting pure French cuisine and ended up with a frying pan full of grisly meat. It's salads for me for a week! Over the top!!

I want to be able to buy this in OZ

I want to be able to buy this in OZ

No 4. I made my chambres booking late last year as the festival 'Les Rencontres Arles Photographie' brings artists, gallery owners and enthusiasts from all around the world! In other words no accommodation can be found. I realised on this morning that I had seriously screwed up my reservation, short staying by two days! Vee's opening is on the Friday and the book signing, so I totally did NOT want to miss that. After learning that, my host has kindly offered her own room in the house for these two days as her daughter is away! ThankGOD for daughters!! Saved!! 

L'atelier du midi, stunning.

L'atelier du midi, stunning.

The terrace every morning for coffee and croissant. 

The terrace every morning for coffee and croissant. 

My room is absolutely gorgeous and full of art and trinkets from all over the world! I love it! On the bookshelf I found a box and inside it a collection of gum prints... Such a beautiful object and this photo does not do it justice!

A little treasure

A little treasure

So accidents don't just happen, they are guides to something more awesome!

 

VIVA LA VIE!

 

Taxi

An early start to the day avoids me! However since there are forever sunsets there are absolutely no problems at all with that. Can still have a full day in France from 2pm. We set out for the Grand Palias to see the Bill Viola exposition and passed the most amazing taxidermy shop. This is where David Millet collects his objects for the Salon. Incredible! (Sonia, I read about him in the collective, have a look)

Taxi...dermist....extraordinaire!

Taxi...dermist....extraordinaire!

We walk down past the Louvre and fetch a Tuk Tuk, not sure what you would call them in Paris, to taxi us to Champs-Élysées passing tivoli and sightings of the Eiffel Tower. Have to pinch myself hard!

Oi taxi man.... Meet Irena.

Oi taxi man.... Meet Irena.

Louvre, Tivoli and our tuk tuk....Taxi:)

Louvre, Tivoli and our tuk tuk....Taxi:)

Queued at Grand Palais until we realised the 'Bill' was at another part of the Palais. There are three  shows on and Maplethorpe is one I am going to miss!! Oh to live here would be so cooooooooool!, So we queued again! 

Grand Palais presenting Bill Viola

Grand Palais presenting Bill Viola

Oh man oh man!! Fabulous does not even cut it. Check him out on God! Spent hours and hours in there trying to take it all in and then had to sit for awhile after we finished, stunned! AMAZING! Film installations on life and death. A master. The exposition spanned his lifetime and Look out! Brilliant!

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Vee, Mladin and I then ventured to this amazing Peruvian bar for cocktails and tantalising tapas then down to The Ballroom for some Parisian night life, more cocktails and a dance ...oh yeah!

Great selfie hey

Great selfie hey

TAXI! X

Delights

Vee and I caught the train back to Paris then went to get the metro back home. Massive public transport system... Incredible! As we turned the corner to our station there was a backlog of people that curtailed the entry  to the platform and the look on Vee's face said it all!! 

Trouble in paradise!

An evacuation...and with that the biggest mob of estranged passengers doing the Memphis Tennessee shuffle. Hang on to your handbags! Couldn't even get out the hassleblad!  We escaped and took a taxi across town that was crazy, zipping through traffic jams, pedestrians, bikes, trucks, sirens and all the hooting and tooting. We had a killer driver who gunned every opportunity. I put on my seat belt!

Aaaaaaaaah .....Home.

My Parisian abode, simply gorgeous!!

My Parisian abode, simply gorgeous!!

I am staying with Vee and her family in the absolute heart of Paris. LOVE - ly!!

Paris seems to be one gigantic heart though there is a real pulse to this area. We are literally 10 or max 15 minutes walk to the River Seine, Louvre, Notre Dame, Champs-Élysées, The real vibe is directly outside the front door and down the street. Culturally diverse and within minutes you are somewhere unique! Food always, bars, cheese shops, bakeries, chocolatiers, millions of restaurants, Italian, Lebanese, Turkish, African (I cannot list the countries of the world here) and the meanest hamburger joint ever. Everywhere temptations... I could eat all day long and sometimes I do!

One of the streets that pan from where I am staying

One of the streets that pan from where I am staying

Went to The Centre Pompidou and mmm mmmmmmmm, spent hours in there. So totally exhilarating seeing works by Man Ray, Matisse, Picabia, Picasso, Rothko, Calder... another list that could go forever. There was some amazing video installations that spoke about history of humans, art and design, emotion, anguish, pain and suffering. Amazing, Totally charged!! Everything is so excellent it makes me well up!! 

Une Histore

Une Histore

true got to pinch myself......brusssssssssss

From the permanent collection of greats!

From the permanent collection of greats!

did I mention bakeries??

Nglah gamin......  Prostitutes... Another street that pans from where I am staying.

Nglah gamin......  Prostitutes... Another street that pans from where I am staying.

Daily home cooking......Vee is a legend at this....I want to be like her when I grow up!

whips up a storm in the kitchen with ease!!

whips up a storm in the kitchen with ease!!

Culinary delights!!

Provençal

We extended our country respite by a couple of days. Now I understand the real meaning of RE - TREAT!!  Treat after treat. Out the back of the pavillion is a beautiful rainforest fairy garden and Sienna can scramble to the top in seconds!! So many lovely walks across dell and dale, around farmlands and up and down picture perfect laneways.

 

Fairy gardens

Fairy gardens

One morning we woke up to a heavy mist. It was so magical I felt like I was in a movie and went searching for Heathcliff.. 

Out on the wild and windy Moors, 

Out on the wild and windy Moors, 

...think I found Mr Ernshaw's car.

we'd roll and fall in green.......Heathcliff......it's me..... 

we'd roll and fall in green.......Heathcliff......it's me..... 

Every morning after a delicious feast of bread and jam (I know I never eat that stuff) we would drive out in the gangster tank to take Sienna to riding school, meandering back through the townships hunting and gathering delicacies from specialists, take walks through hobbit villages, tell wild stories and laugh and laugh. OMG!

The beasts

The beasts

Did I brag about awesome bakeries??

...with a real Frenchman and French bread stick, in front of French bakery .... In France...impressive!!

...with a real Frenchman and French bread stick, in front of French bakery .... In France...impressive!!

... handmade lace bonnets....

This is for Matilda so she can see lace making pillow in action...

This is for Matilda so she can see lace making pillow in action...

Quaint villages where fossicking bakeries is real easy

Quaint villages where fossicking bakeries is real easy

Mladin is renovating the pavillion. It is so gorgeous set back up the hill with a big open fireplace. We hung the 'Water for Object' triptych in their bedroom. I am stoked big time and it looks perfect.

 

 

The Normandy Chateau... Lords gone past!

The Normandy Chateau... Lords gone past!

Water for Object

Water for Object

And of course every afternoon we would end the days watching the everlasting sunsets over glasses of French wine and the procured delicacies.....

au revoir.X

Forever Sunsets

Bonjour!

Embracing my dear old friend Vee after 26 years erupted into emotional charges of tears and babbling.....it is SOOOOO GREAT to see her!! Champagne anybody?? Oh yeah... Fantastic!!

 What a fabulous world she has created. Working, orchestrating, weaving together an energy, the desired image, a story. 

Witnessing her creativity is an incredible inspiration...... A Master! Love her!

.......at the studio Vee conjuring feasts of passion.

.......at the studio Vee conjuring feasts of passion.

After a couple of days dodging umbrellas, bursts of rain and queues and adjusting to being on the other side of the world it hit me that I was actually in Paris!! 

 

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Vee, Mladin and Sienna whisked me into country Normandy in their big black gangster style mafia car. Touring out past the louvre, there's the Eiffel tower, Grand Palais,  on Champs-Élyées, look at the shops, the cars, the people, this view, wow, round and round the Arc de Triomphe, my eyes can't keep up.......

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Meandering out of so many lanes...?...Of traffic... The freeway... Was it here that lady Di met her fate? 

Aaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh  The country....

 

Picturesque Perche

Picturesque Perche

The driveway to Vee and Mladins pavillion

The driveway to Vee and Mladins pavillion

Right now I am sitting, completely relaxed, out the front of their pavillion (bungalow) in secluded country Parc Naturel Régional du Perche ..... south east of Paris and huddled between Chartres and Alençon......very peaceful!  Filling up on the best wines, breads, soft cheeses, Vee's excellent culinary delights and stories that span our lifetimes. Can it be yesterday? 

Delicious!

Delicious!

No tourism at all, local villages,dare I use the word: quaint! Bakeries, goat farm, milks and cheeses, happy meat farms, gorgeous architecture and more bakeries... Mmmmmmmmm I am even eating tarts! 

Goat farm for fresh milk...mmm mmmmmmmm

Goat farm for fresh milk...mmm mmmmmmmm

Goat farm

Goat farm

Goat pate perhaps... Or some soft goat cheese... Yummmmmmy!

Goat pate perhaps... Or some soft goat cheese... Yummmmmmy!

Bakeries

Bakeries

Local farm houses

Local farm houses

This entire region is the prettiest of places I have ever seen. Rainforest greens, dense, ferns, moss, ivy,  a dear, a hare, in winter the grounds are thick with snow and the trees bare only their branches.  Where do all the ferns go? I want to take photos of everything, every corner exposes more pretty vistas!!

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The house is set back, up a hill, that overlooks the forests and the longest sunsets ever! I am serious....they are like three hours long!..... Longer...

 

Oi, note the jet trails in the sky... There was actually no clouds... Amazing

Oi, note the jet trails in the sky... There was actually no clouds... Amazing

 

Sharing is caring

Sharing is Caring'.                                      

.....or is it just plain,  simple bragging? 

I am with the latter. Off to Paris to visit a very old friend, Vee, who has promised me this....

"YOU WILL BE SO INSPIRED LINDA!"

As an Aquarian artist and demented decision maker, packing for this trip has had it's quandaries. My sketchbook is too big and heavy, the DSLR is too big and heavy, I am too big and heavy, the bag is too big and heavy,  it's not my back pack, how cold is it in Paris?

Blah!

The adventure begins. 

I am going to miss this little 'gangsterinspain' grandchild of mine.

I am going to miss this little 'gangsterinspain' grandchild of mine.