Photographs by Elizabeth, unless otherwise stated. Do not reproduce without permission, please.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Paris Shopping - Rue du Bac

Streetscape reflections in the Deyrolle window.
Mention spending time in the city of light and most peoples’ hearts give a little flutter. I'm no different.  Despite the changing list of places to visit that is always packed into my luggage, I've found one of the greatest joys of staying in Paris is aimlessly strolling its streets to discovery the Paris that speaks to me. Rue du Bac is one such place.  If you are not familiar with this narrow street and its neighbourhood, I commend you to undertake your own voyage of discovery.

Sylvie Thiriez, the distinctively unique Deyrolle and the original La Pâtisserie des Rêves are 3 places to which I always return. Endless hours have also been spent perusing, the specialist antique stores that are clustered in the surrounding streets.

Climbing the stairs at Deyrolle for the first time is like walking through the wardrobe and finding Narnia. Established in 1831, a visit here can be is an education in itself – and a wonderful place to purchase a distinctive gift. Don't be fooled by the appearance of the ground floor - the magic of "the strangest shop in all of Paris" lies above. 
Courtesy of  La Pâtisserie des Rêves 
La Pâtisserie des Rêves is the creative amalgamation of culinary art and theatre: no place for those who can't resist temptation.

When "high quality" is synomous with creativity, precision, superb materials and techniques steeped in tradition, then the textiles of SylvieThiriez are of the highest quality.  I never leave Paris without making a Sylvie Thiriez purchase - a one stop gift shop for family presents as well as the occasional present for myself.
Stroll down Rue du Bac with Ines de la Fressange while she shops for gifts.....

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

New Year's Resolutions & Bad Habits

The promise of a new year is accompanied by self-reflection and much optimism.

In attempt to avoid letting myself down, I make only a few  simple resolutions. For me, success is a better motivator than failure.


Regrettably, the last 2 years have seen every resolution I've made fail – not healthy for one’s self-esteem. Consequently, my new year's resolution list has grown, out of necessity.  It involves both forming new habits and ridding myself of some recently acquired bad habits, and unfortunately I've developed quite a few of these over the last 18 months. ........ sleep deprivation, indulging in too much chocolate and French pastries, neglecting to exercise, allowing clutter to invade my study, abandoning the pursuits that make my heart sing ........the list goes on. 

One week of the New Year has now passed and I’m happy to report that I’m on track with my resolutions for 2015 ……….. just 51 weeks to go!

Wishing you every success in fulfilling your New Year's resolutions.





Can't help myself , bad habits
Well I'm running wild, lost control
And it's a shame to see
That a girl like me
Has got so many, bad habits
Well I'm off the rails
My resistence fails, tempations got
A hold on me
And I can't refuse
Because I always lose
Can't help myself
Bad habits
Well it just ain't right
That it's something I can't fight
I can't stop going out and having spending fun.......(Christmas sales can be a curse)
Well I tried to be good,
But I knew I never could
Cause i've got more bad habits than anyone
When I get the urge
I just got to splurge ....... (France, books, gardening and technology - if only I could master it)
I'm a slave to all my desires
Well I'm in a mess
Because i can't repress all of these
Bad habits
Can't help myself
Bad Habits
Well I'm running wild ....... (relatively speaking, for a Capricorn who likes being in control)
Lost control
And it's a shame to see
That a girl like me
Has so many bad habits
Well it just ain't right
It's something I can't fight
I can't stop going out being distracted and having fun
Well I tried to be good
But I knew I never could
Cause i've got more bad habits
Than anyone
When I get the urge
I just got to splurge
I'm a slave to all my desires .......(cheese, chocolate and champagne is on the desires list during the festive season)
Well I'm in a mess
Because i can't repress all of these
Bad habits

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Joyeux Noël et une très bonne année 2015. 

Que cette année vous apporte, à vous et à votre famille, bonheur et prospérité.

Royal Arcade, Melbourne

Merry Christmas 

and 

best wishes for a peaceful, prosperous and happy 2015.

                                  


Saturday, December 20, 2014

A Message of Peace and Hope


The message of peace and hope can be found in unexpected places.

This week, 17 of my fellow countrymen have been held hostage in the Lindt cafe in Sydney, with 2 of them being killed during the final minutes of the siege. Unimaginable. Sickening. 
The gamut of emotions across the faces of those who have laid flowers at a make shift memorial outside the cafe is heart-wrenching - especially those of the family members of the deceased. An act like this tears at the heart of a community and can catalyse irrational responses. Concerns were expressed of the possibility of racial riots like those experienced in Cronulla, 2005; the first, and hopefully the last in beautiful, multicultural Australia.

Instead of this week's tragic event fuelling fear and hatred within the community, it has galvanised people of all faiths, backgrounds and heritages to come together to support each other, pray and offer the family of the victims their condolences and blessings. Truly heart-warming signs of peace, understanding and hope for the future............a reflection of the Christmas message.






Monday, December 8, 2014

Holding On When You Want to Let Go.


If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading. Lao Tzu

There has been a prolonged silence from Eiffel tells – nothing said since  mid September.
Dreaming of more of this and ...............

Pourqui you ask? A lot of self-reflection and soul searching has been going on here.

Too many years of multi-tasking and angst have taken their toll...... Then there is my newly acquired tinnitus as well as a few other body parts that no longer function properly, creating daily tests for my patience; nothing life threatening, but niggling enough to make me review where I am and where I would like to be at this stage of my life. 

Definitely time for a change of direction. 

After much thought, and unsolicited advice from friends who have already trodden a similar path, I've decided the best course of action would be to change from full time employment to part time, and further develop the skills I need in order to “follow my passions” .

......... and this 
As a mother and wife who has had a career, I’ve put the interests and needs of those whom I love, my friends and my employer first, leaving very little time or emotional energy for myself. Now it’s time for me – in theory, but alas not in practice.

Last month, my employer refused my request to work part time next year– an unusual response as many of my colleagues already have part-time status and most of those who applied concurrently with me to reduce their hours of work, were granted their requests. There has been no explanation for my application being refused. A compromise appears to be feasible, but it’s not to be an option – for me. I have been with my current employer for 25 years.

I haven’t the courage to resign, and to be honest, I’m not sure if it’s feasible and will not know for quite some months. What would you do if you were me – cautious, and nearing the end of your professional life with a burning desire to change direction, but lacking the knowledge or confidence to do so?


Yes, I know I am fortunate to have such a dilemma, but I am no ‘spring chicken’ and the other hens of my age have already flown coop. It’s lonely being the oldest chicken on my perch and I’m being sapped of energy just trying to hold on to the damn thing.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Une Célébration



Ritual is important to us as human beings. It ties us to our traditions and our histories. Miller Williams

The faint sound of car horns constantly tooting is unfamiliar. Perhaps the gendarmes or pompiers alerting the traffic to make way? The cacophony grows louder before its source is revealed.  

Unexpectedly, a Citroen 2CV cabriolet, festooned in bows, appears around the 
corner of la grande rue. Its windows open and roof folded down, defying the intermittent rain. The female passenger is frantically waving to the empty street, while her male driver has his right hand simultaneously on the steering wheel and horn while making large circular motions with his left arm. Following closely behind the Citroen is a long procession of horn blowing vehicles, each with a bow and occupants who are whooping, cheering or waving. Obviously a celebration.  



The motorcade winds through the village, past the church then down Rue Jean Brugnon while, from our vantage point in the boulangerie, Mr R estimates its length - at least 1.5 kilometres. The noise trails off into the distance long after the last car disappears, leaving us to guess the reason for ces festivités. "C'est une célébration de mariage, bien sûr," explains our neighbour a few days later.


This is the France we want to experience - away from the tourist hot-spots, hotels and charms of Paris. The reason for buying My French Folly. It's the people and rhythm of daily life in les petites villages and countryside that we find truly enchanting.


Marriage brings one into fatal connection with custom and tradition, and traditions and customs are like the wind and the weather, altogether incalculable. Soren Kierkegaard

Saturday, August 16, 2014

The Truffle Hunter

The corner of Guillaume's workshop
Guillaume is the quintessential Frenchman. Charming with a commitment to la bonne vie and a quick sense of humour.  He is well versed in many and varied topics and quite handsome.

Guillaume is also a stonemason par excellence: an old school artisan with skills that are sadly disappearing in France. His work can be found in all manner of ancient buildings across the country, including a few famous cathedrals and chateaux ……….and now in My French Folly.

An invitation to his meticulously restored maison revealed an enormous hand-built wood fired oven in the kitchen, a productive orchard and potager and a decent sized cellar systematically packed to the ceiling with wonderful French wines, (all reds) according to their origin. 

The subterranean cellar air was noticeably crisp and held a faint aroma of ripened fruits. Standing in the centre of this vast cave was a refractory table on which sat enormous, old glass and earthenware bottles of home made brandy and jars of preserved Tuber uncinatums –  truffles………. the size of tennis balls! 

Conversation quickly turned to cooking and truffle hunting.
Courtesy of wikipedia.org.

Yes Guillaume truffle hunts in the surrounding forests. No, he doesn’t forage with others, nor does he use a truffle pig or hound. And no, the truffles aren’t always located in the same area. The obvious question had to be asked, “How do you find them?’
Courtesy of wikipedia.org.


His eyes glinted as he gently tapped his nose and replied “mon nez”! A joke? Apparently not, according to his wife. Guillaume is so attuned to le terroir that he has no need for aids to root out his prized culinary gems.……..l'art de vivre à la français.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Weekend Reflections - Paris

Paris is always a good idea.  Audrey Hepburn
Establishments showcasing the understated elegance of contemporary French design can be found scattered amongst the superb antique shops of the 7th arrondissement. The artisans in the shop (above) specialise in the gilding of all types of objects - from ancient to modern. A stroll through this area of Paris offers a feast for the eyes and food for the imagination………..as well as luscious temptations for your taste buds when you your feet need a rest. 


 Visit Weekend Reflections for some interesting reflections from other bloggers.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Realise Your French Dream- House for sale

In the heart of France, midway between Paris and Zurich, within easy access to the rest of Europe is a "ready to move into holiday home in a glorious, rural location".  

If you are a lover of fine food, wine, sking, other outdoor pursuits, history or architecture, this region of 
France has it all on its door step. 

As well as the tiny asking price, 60 000 euros the current owners/ residents  are happy to act as your personal,  multi lingual (French, English and German) caretakers to watch over your French dream if required, and manage holiday lets if you want to make some money when it's not in use. 

On a personal note, during the last 12 months the vendors of this house have helped us turn our French nightmare back into our French dream. My French Folly is getting a new lease on life and starting to look loved.
Visit this website for further pictures and details. 


Saturday, May 24, 2014

French + Vintage….yes please

The bleak skies, strong winds and intermittent rain had me perplexed when Mr. R, ensuring that I was warmly clothed with a brolly in hand, unexpectedly bundled me into the car one Saturday morning. Destination unknown.
As we navigated our way past beachside cafes and through the vibrant inner city precincts, the favourite haunts of this weekend flâneur were being rapidly eliminated as possible places for our journey’s end.
My mental guessing game stopped abruptly while crossing the Westgate bridge. I was flummoxed. The mystery further deepened when the car halted at the water's edge in Williamstown and Mr. R produced my camera, which he had carefully hidden.

A short walk and le voilà - a vintage French car show staged in a shipping yard. .…. shear ecstasy for a husband who loves tinkering with motors and bliss for this lover of French vintage - well almost bliss. The crowds proved to be a definite challenge for taking 'that perfect shot'! Despite this test of my patience, I was one very happy francofilly.


For more black and white photography please top by The Weekend in Black and White,  and if you appreciate images of reflections  reflections you may wish to visit Weekend Reflections.