Knock, Knock… Who’s There? A Two Part Tale
19 April 2010 | VA Notes Provence

Knock, Knock… Who’s There? A Two Part Tale

We have been reminiscing about our time spent in France in 1995. We had taken our three young children and travelled to Europe for six months from Australia, where we were then living. This is well before we had any thoughts of living in France permanently but on reflection this is probably the moment when my

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Arrondissement… Name Change
27 March 2010 | VA Notes Paris

Arrondissement… Name Change

  The Francophilia Gazette published this interesting little titbit about the original names of the 20 Parisian arrondissements. Each area was known by name not by number as they are now – in fact the arrondissements have not been called by name since 1859. Bit of a shame really….it sounds so much cuter to say…I

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The French Gardien
18 March 2010 | VA Notes Provence

The French Gardien

As much as I love travelling, I love home more. Life on this farm turns with or without me. That is the thing about nature, she won’t wait and in my absence routines run, new plans must be put in place, the olives tended and the garden maintained. The French gardien, the caretaker, makes this happen. Our

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Shaken Not Stirred
2 March 2010 | VA Notes Uncategorized

Shaken Not Stirred

  I have had a little crush on martini tables for a while now and am collecting them whenever I have the chance…the philosophy that, ‘you can never have enough’ applies very well to these dear little tables. The French variety are made of beaten metal and finished with either a dark bronze or a

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Ladies who Lunch…L’Avenue
26 February 2010 | VA Notes Paris

Ladies who Lunch…L’Avenue

    To see how the very glam French women ‘do lunch’ I would never look further than L’Avenue in Paris. L’Avenue, This Jacques Garcia designed eatery is in the heart of what is known as the golden triangle.   The upmarket shopping area around Avenue Montaigne, Avenue Georges V, Rue Marbeuf and Rue Pierre Charon

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Thinking of Paris… Scarlett Haute Couture
25 February 2010 | VA Notes Paris

Thinking of Paris… Scarlett Haute Couture

  Thinking of Paris… Scarlett Haute Couture is a favourite vintage find of mine in the eighth arrondissement. It is a teeny tiny shop that has a penchant for vintage Chanel – jewels, jackets, belts and bags. Shopping here is like playing Where’s Wally …   Difficult at first and very hard to find what you are

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Thinking of Paris… Vintage
24 February 2010 | VA Notes Paris

Thinking of Paris… Vintage

  I have often pressed my nose against the window of Didier Ludot in the Palais Royale and dreamt of the red carpet occasion where I might be royally frocked in vintage haute couture.   It’s funny how the imagination can run wild with a small glance and thoughts can multiply into a thousand different

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Thinking Of Paris…Le Coude De Fou
22 February 2010 | VA Notes Paris

Thinking Of Paris…Le Coude De Fou

  There are many reasons to spend time in Le Marais, the third and fourth arrondissements of Paris on the right banks of the Seine. Shopping, shopping and more shopping, history and museums, taking tea at Mariage Freres, a coffee at Le Petit Fer a Cheval or dinner at Le Coude Fou, all perfectly good excuses

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Thinking of Paris And How To Get Around
16 February 2010 | VA Notes Paris

Thinking of Paris And How To Get Around

There is public transport and then there is public transport. I would be untruthful if I told you I was a fan of the London tube or the New York subway but I am absolutely telling the ‘cross my fingers, swear on the lives of the children’ truth when I say I love the Parisian

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Thinking of Paris: Department Stores
12 February 2010 | VA Notes Paris

Thinking of Paris: Department Stores

  Paris should be less about shopping and more about beauty, art and culture. We all know that, but sometimes a girl has to do what a girl has to do. The most famous Parisian department stores are the Galeries Lafayette and Printemps on the Boulevarde Haussmann. They are grand buildings full of good stuff

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Chez Julien
10 February 2010 | VA Notes Paris

Chez Julien

Chez Julien goes with Paris and romance; mention one imagine the other.  I think Paris has to be the most romantic city I know – even on the most freezing of nights the Parisian streets throw a glow that melts most hearts.  The restaurant Chez Julien is one of the prettiest and romantic dining rooms.

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Thinking Of Paris And The Macaron
9 February 2010 | VA Notes Paris

Thinking Of Paris And The Macaron

I don’t think there has ever been a gateaux more talked about than the French macaron. A day does not go past that I don’t read about these delectable little morsels. These light as air cookies seem to conjure up all that is romantic about France. They might not be an official symbol of the French capital

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Thinking Of Paris And The Cligancourt Flea Market
5 February 2010 | VA Notes Paris

Thinking Of Paris And The Cligancourt Flea Market

Everyone who loves the hunt for trashy treasure has their own flea market story. My fabulous finds have more often than not taken place at Cligancourt in Paris or Ile sur la Sorgue, a small town about 20 minutes away from Saint Remy de Provence.  I love the hunt. Antiquing (that’s what I call it)

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Thinking of Paris: Best French Fragrance
3 February 2010 | VA Notes Paris

Thinking of Paris: Best French Fragrance

Thinking of Paris and’Best French Fragrances’ not ‘Best Friends Forever’ although I think I would be very happy to call Paris a BFF. There are many, many superb French fragrances and each one is special to those who wear them so my small list is simply those fragrances and perfume houses in Paris that I

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Thinking of Paris… Gare de Lyon
2 February 2010 | VA Notes Paris

Thinking of Paris… Gare de Lyon

  Le Train Bleu is the reason I want to visit the Gare de Lyon in Paris. This restaurant, upstairs in the train station, was built around the same time as the Grand Palais, Le Petit Palais and the Alexandre III bridge to celebrate the Universal Exhibition in 1900.  It is totally over the top and

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