Morning Walk at Breuillet Village

We fully adhere to the famous lines of the Roman poet, Juvenal who said: ‘A sound mind in a sound body’ (Mens sana in corpore sano) so we have been doing the routine of going for a morning walk before starting work. This way, we shoot several birds in one stone: Getting to enjoy the natural beauty around us which gives us the inspiration to do a good day’s work, at the same time, keeping a fitter and healthier body and well-being, and… I, achieving my ‘photos a day’ for this blog.

Breuillet village is practically just next door to us plus, there is a pleasant promenade around the lake, it’s quiet and is surrounded by matured trees – hence it’s the perfect choice for the day.

In Breuillet, even the ducks love the place for their ducky meetings

 

 Impressive tree sculpture

It’s the perfect place to go Springwatching for flowers!

 

There is also the flavour of a museum as garden statues like this remind you of the Roman Section of the Louvre

At the end of the walk, you go back to the car park to redeem your car and this is the mural you see at the nearby bakery

And on our way home, this is just one of the exciting scenes we see – glad I always have my camera handy!

~ ~ ~

I love morning walks!

Domaine de Chamarande

About three weeks ago, we were supposed to do our Sunday hike at Domaine de Chamarande  but it was continuously pouring thin horizontal rain  so we ended up ambling through the interiors of this glorious 17th century castle where a Contemporary Art Exhibition was ongoing.  This, we did not expect as we only planned to explore the immense 99-hectare park but we did not complain as it was actually a blessing in disguise and we adored it!  Imagine meandering about the ground floor of this exquisite building, just one of those moments when I could cry and shout to High Heavens “how lucky I am to be walking on the same ground as the Nobility of the 17th/18th century to whom this castle was built for!”

Anyway,  we promised ourselves to go back,  on a better weather, to explore the park, the gardens, the outbuildings which I have read so much about, and of course, to take good photos of the castle itself!

 

 The glorious Royal Gate, entrance to the park and the chateau grounds.

An inner Royal Gate, direct entrance to the Chateau

The garden of Domaine de Chamarande is listed as one of the Remarkable Gardens of France

The Domaine is now the property of the Essone Department (91) and the buildings next to the chateau
houses the Essonne archives which includes records dating all the way back to the 12th century.

Aside from the art exhibition which is regularly held inside the Chateau ,
the grounds have also become a showcase of works of modern day artists.
This truck is one of those works, although I initially thought it to belong to
one of the park’s gardeners who was just out for lunch.

 

This is the Glaciere built in 1740.  It was used to store ice or snow collected in the winter,
to make as ice cream,  frozen desserts or to cool drinks in the summer.
This is one of the best preserved Glaciere in Ile-de-France.

The Divine Involtini

Last Sunday, I talked about the Mediterranean Feast which we concocted out of the different hors d’oeuvres we bought at the market in Les Ulis.  It was then that H and I had a blast!  How could life be so good with these Ambrosia of little snacks!  So we promised ourselves to do a repeat.

And repeat we did today, Sunday.  Today, we tried the divine Involtini…

 

Dollop of ricotta cheese rolled in thin slice of Italian prosciutto….goodness gracious, so delicously good!

 

Optional:  Have it on a slice of baguette.  Dip it on a plate of taramasalata…excellent!

 

 

Tracing the past – La Norville

La Norville, Essone, Ile de France

One of the reasons I am wild about hiking in Europe is that I get  ecstatic everytime I stumble upon structures, architectural fragments or building ruins of  a bygone era.  Indeed getting up, close and personal to these vestiges of the past is definitely more fascinating than reading history books, although I also love doing the latter and I have built up a huge collection of books on European history bought mainly from Charity Shops in the UK (they sell as cheap as 50pence, mind you!) but the problem is, I can’t seem to finish even a chapter due to the many activities I do in life!!!   So what I do instead, with photographs taken on my walks,  I try comparing them with those of ancient postcards, research the story and voila… I am slowly creating my own history blog!

By the way, I shall be focusing more on this theme,  Tracing the Past,  in future posts as I do love history so much!  Don’t you?

Come and let’s browse on this pictures of  Norville, a village of 4,000 inhabitants situated 32 kms southeast of Paris.

After and Before:  Iron-grilled gate which used to protect the  Chateau de Norville (1662)…but the Chateau seems to have disappeared!

,

 After and Before:  The bollards protecting the (disappeared) Chateau are still standing!

This is a vestige of an old water pump which is given pride of place in someone else’s property.

Another ancient water pump that is now used as decor

Le Mairie or Town Hall, not that old but I am showing you this
as it is where you can find a cute litte ‘gargoyle’-like plumbing fixture on the side

Here is the gargoyle!  Wonder what era is it…

A charming stone house would show up once in a while

Or an antiquated archway entrance  that had been given a fresh look

Good thing about Norville is, even the residents have a sense of history.
This plant holder reminds me of the Roman-age sarcophagi on display at the Louvre or at the Vatican Museum.

 But sometimes, modern decors also give a touch of character to a building!  It creates a WELCOME-y atmosphere!

 

 We got lost in the back alleys and saw this garden of cabbages and brussel sprouts – a great winter provision!

 

 

And last but not least, this beautiful old plane tree who has witnessed the comings and goings and the many transformation of this village
– still proudly standing at the Town Hall park despite the signs of aging.

Valentine’s Day morning rush

The day before Valentine’s Day, I read that there was  a Conference about Edward Hopper’s art at the library near our town.  Edward Hopper is one of my favorite painters and the last time I went to see his exhibition at the Grand Palais, the queue was painfully kilometric so when I found out about this conference, and possibly an exhibition of his art would follow and lasts for several days here in this remote little place,  I thought it was too good to be true!

And being Valentine’s day, I suggested to H that we start the day of love with a quick fix of Art and Culture!

So right after breakfast, we drove towards the Conference/Exhibition venue not realizing that a Valentine morning rush on the High Street was ongoing!

I must have photographed this corner a lot of times!  I get curious about this narrow 19th century building sandwiched by more modern buildings.  New housing developments are always rising up in this town we call a dormitory town for people working in Paris.


The medieval church, just one of the few remaining old structures left standing.

But you can see a scattering of traditional houses like this one

At the High Street, there must be a high number of roast chicken orders expected this Day of Hearts.  Cheaper than eating out!

Business as usual at the Town Hall.

And this is the Valentine’s Day rush I was talking about!

People doing their last minute shopping of flowers and hearts!  Glad that there are loads of shops open for the purpose..

“Juste deux minutes!” (Two minutes only!)…This flower delivery man seem to have the right to block the road of his van for Two Minutes as he drops his delivery from one flower shop to the other!  Luckily, we were able to drive through while he was protesting…

 

We went back home empty-handed as the Conference Venue was still closed and locked up, no sign of any exhibition whatsoever!  Maybe it was just a one afternoon meet up!  As I said, it was too good to be true!

Meanwhile, as I was getting through our gate, I noticed that my daffodil plants are looking heavy with their flower buds!

They say the first sign of Spring is the coming out of daffodils.  But, as is always the case, I won’t have the chance to enjoy the flowers as we will be off again soon…..

 “I am always planting vegetables that I never get to eat, and flowers that I never see flower.
I have always moved around the world”
~ Helen Mirren