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I am home. Or what I like to call “my parents home”. I have always been happy where they live now but I left my heart in the South when we moved to be closer to my grandparents. I do however like their present close proximity to Paris and the surrounding areas. I am spending a week there in the lush and cool climate of the Yvelines before heading down to Provence where I grew up.

As I was heading out to the Boulangerie-Patisserie the other day and took a few snapshots of their town. So typical of the area. A mix of old and new. Hope you enjoy the tour…

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I know I am by the greenery around me. When we first moved here, we were mesmerized by how green and different trees and gardens were compared to Provence. You can bet I still have the same reaction now in South Carolina where things.

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You know you are in France by the road signs and the very messed up unusual intersections.

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I think I can safely say that every small town in France is built around the church and here is no exception. This is where I spent many Sunday mornings wondering if sermons were this long the world around!

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Old stones always bring about respect. Last time I said that my grandfather laughed that himself was an old stone. I can’t even begin imagine what he thinks as he looks at the Veterans Monument. The guy is a century old. He’s seen both wars. He’s got stories. That’s why we are all gathering. We can’t stop listening. And learning.

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I remember sitting on this bench outside the church impatiently waiting for my parents to stop chatting with their friends and to take us to the patisserie for a little Sunday treat. Today I thought what a great background for my pictures this piece of old wood could be!

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That afternoon, instead of coming straight home, I decided to take my niece Lea on a little walk through the park around the corner from my parents’ house. I handed her a little point and shoot and hop we went.

Lea


We walked for a few minutes and then I looked behind me and the picture before me filled my heart with love and pride. A budding photographer…

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The ducks at the castle were there to welcome us. As kids we used to take them day old bread. I completely forgot about it this time that I was with Lea and they figured it in no time and turned around.

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Yes, there is a castle in their town. One that lived through the French Revolution and that has been used after that in many different ways. It has been the City Hall for many many years now.

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Everywhere you walk around the castle you can spot remnants of times long gone. A mix of overgrown and preserved.

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One side of the castle used to be a primary school where I spent one year there. It was downright awesome… Going up stone cold stairways to get to our classroom. Daydreaming while looking through the windows over looking the water underneath us.

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The doors are the same. The paint chips the same. Even the cobblestone have remained.

Nieces


I will be back and show you more of the trip. Other places where I grew up and lived. In the meantime, I promised my two adorable nieces to bake a tart and a cake.

Note: from reading the comments there seems to be a misunderstanding: this is not the place where I was born and grew up.

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Comments


Jessica @ How Sweet August 26, 2010 um 4:15 pm

Those pictures are just breathtaking! What a beautiful place.


Unknown August 26, 2010 um 4:23 pm

How lovely. Thank you so much for sharing with us.


Abacaxi & Hortelã August 26, 2010 um 4:26 pm

What a beautiful scenery and apparently close to where I live 😉 (Versailles). The French countryside is absolutely gorgeous, can't get enough of it!
Enjoy your holidays to the fullest!
Bisous, Chantal


RamblingTart August 26, 2010 um 4:26 pm

Your nieces are so beautiful. No wonder you can't help baking for them!! I love this walk so much. I needed a peaceful stroll like this today, even a vicarious one. 🙂


Asha @ FSK August 26, 2010 um 4:27 pm

Beautiful post Helene.. Love the comments for each photo..esp the bench one 🙂

So, are the sermons as long elsewhere?


Nina Timm August 26, 2010 um 4:34 pm

So different to not see desserts on your blog, but you did leave us with a promise….


Rachel (Two Healthy Plates) August 26, 2010 um 4:51 pm

Wow – these photos are stunning – everything looks so beautiful and peaceful!


KJ August 26, 2010 um 4:57 pm

Beautiful.

Post more!


Jessica Reed August 26, 2010 um 4:58 pm

Beautiful! Are the hazy, dreamily-lit photos computer-altered, or did you do some creative camera work?


DessertForTwo August 26, 2010 um 5:02 pm

Beautiful! Thanks for sharing 🙂


Margarita @ WestCoastMama.net August 26, 2010 um 5:04 pm

The pictures are absolutely beautiful. What a wonderful day!


Amanda August 26, 2010 um 5:21 pm

Thank you for sharing your home with us. It's so beautiful.
And those girls!! Adorable!


Unknown August 26, 2010 um 5:30 pm

What a special sneak peek into your childhood. I can't imagine how awesome it must have been to grow up there. Beautiful!


Anonymous August 26, 2010 um 5:37 pm

This place is so beautiful and the photos are amazing!
xoxo


strawberriesinparis August 26, 2010 um 5:42 pm

I love these pictures Helen!! And could your nieces be any cuter??


Karen from Chookooloonks August 26, 2010 um 6:05 pm

Oh, man. I can tell I'm about to really enjoy your vacation. 🙂


SPRING OF LIFE CHURCH August 26, 2010 um 6:54 pm

No wonder why you're always so romantic and sweet. Anyone who's born in a place you were from has to have those qualities in their character.
Say hi to Lea and her sister from us!


Salt Lake Sugar August 26, 2010 um 6:59 pm

It looks almost like a fairytale there!


Erica Jackson Curran August 26, 2010 um 7:18 pm

Thank you so much for sharing these gorgeous photos! You satisfied my wanderlust for today at least.


oneordinaryday August 26, 2010 um 7:27 pm

Beautiful photos. Thank you for sharing them and your memories!


Anonymous August 26, 2010 um 7:47 pm

Beautiful images, thanks for sharing. Can't wait to see Provence photos. I visited the area for 10 days years ago…one of these days, I'll have to come back. Best wishes
PS–thanks again for the chocolate hazelnut tarte recipe. I made it for my BF's bday a few wks ago and it turned out great (even if it didn't look quite like in your photos 😉


El August 26, 2010 um 8:09 pm

Gorgeous, gorgeous photos of your nieces. They are both beautiful (and I'm sure smart too!) That's quite a spectacular school you attended. Looks like something out of a Louis Malle film. Glad your having fun!


Unknown August 26, 2010 um 8:32 pm

Beautiful photography, and your nieces are just so adorable. Thanks for beautifying my day!


Soma August 26, 2010 um 11:56 pm

Beautiful post. Thanks Helene for this wonderful tour!

The children are so lovely.


Vanille August 27, 2010 um 12:22 am

Elles sont adorables tes nièces, Hélène !
J'attends la suite du périple avec impatience !


Marinka August 27, 2010 um 12:26 am

Your photos are really lovely, I love the first one and the one with the church


Marinka August 27, 2010 um 12:26 am

Your photos are really lovely, I love the first one and the one with the church


Jen August 27, 2010 um 1:22 am

gorgeous!!! thanks for taking us along on the visit! 🙂

Hope someone HD videos your grandpa as he relays his war stories!! What a treat it would be [even if I don't understand french!]


Larissa August 27, 2010 um 2:06 am

That first photo is perhaps the most beauitful that I have ever seen, and I am not often guilty of hyperbole. Enjoy your trip. I studied in Aix-en-Provence in college…those were among the happiest 6 months of my life, even if all I did was hang out with other exchange students!


Chocolate Freckles August 27, 2010 um 2:19 am

What a beautiful place!! It seems that you really enjoyed it!


vanessa joie August 27, 2010 um 3:34 am

Such a magical place! Thank you for sharing with us. xo


Kitchen M August 27, 2010 um 4:49 am

Even though there were no food photos this time, I absolutely love this post! I can't wait to see more!


Valentina August 27, 2010 um 6:20 am

Helen, gorgeous photos.and how great to get a fellow photographer together on a walk. Have a wonderful time in France with your family. Can't wait for more photos.


Finla August 27, 2010 um 7:20 am

So much enjoyed the pictures and reading this post and i kow yourtwo nieces are going to enjoy your baking i wish i was them to enjoy it too.


Delphine August 27, 2010 um 7:41 am

It's very funny because i'm french, and i've been following your blog for a while, actually. Then I came to the USA this summer, and i understand you when you talk about intersections ! It's not so clear in france 😉 Have a nice stay in our country, profite de la baguette, et du paysage provençal 🙂


Kathryn August 27, 2010 um 10:32 am

beautiful photos


clotilde August 27, 2010 um 11:36 am

Tes nièces sont ravissantes — quels beaux portraits !


Unknown August 27, 2010 um 12:11 pm

So beautiful.

More please.


linda August 27, 2010 um 1:21 pm

wonderful photos that truly captivate!
i love france…south of france & your photography makes me hope that return will be very soon…
enjoy your family & have fun baking with your cute nieces!


Monika August 27, 2010 um 1:30 pm

Beautiful photos and great post. i wish I was in France now as well!!!


Angharad August 27, 2010 um 2:04 pm

Beautiful photos! I laughed at what you said about weird intersection. I'm from England and yep, it's exactly the same!


Barbara | VinoLuciStyle August 27, 2010 um 2:10 pm

Thank you so much for the beautiful tour; I've had, I'm sure like many, an idealized image of France that your photos did nothing to dispel. Charming, filled with old and new and a history we've only read of in books. Les infants c'est magnifique.


shaz August 27, 2010 um 2:22 pm

What a breathtaking tour, and your nieces are so gorgeous! looking forward to more pics of your travels.


Unknown August 27, 2010 um 3:23 pm

Helene, I've been following your blog for a few months now after your feature in White on Rice Couple. The soft, cool lighting and stillness of your images invokes a peace rarely seen – you have a lovely technique. If you happen to see any vegetable gardens while on your trip, would you capture just one image? I design edible landscapes and would love some authentic inspiration from the French countryside. Sending Aloha from California!


Helene August 27, 2010 um 3:28 pm

Asha: yep! They are long everywhere I hear 🙂

Pictures of cake: it's a preset I used in post processing.

Lindsay: I will do my best, promise!


Amber August 27, 2010 um 3:41 pm

Very beatiful pictures…


Punctuation Mark August 27, 2010 um 3:50 pm

what a beautiful place… love those hydrangeas and their beautiful color… love also the beautiful architecture and the fact that you have preserve it… have a nice weekend


MrsLittleJeans August 27, 2010 um 3:53 pm

Thanks for sharing these photos and you have the most adorable nieces! Have a lovely weekend, all of you!


Cindy August 27, 2010 um 6:21 pm

such a gorgeous place for your parents to call home and for you to visit. your photos are wonderful from the buildings to the flowers to the ducks and your adorable nieces. enjoy yourself!


Mary August 27, 2010 um 6:43 pm

Your blog has been a steady diet for me for at least 4 months, now.
I am a francophile and I have visited many parts of France because of the people and the places. You have a keen eye for showing the best! What a treat to open you blog and view your photos – not to mention the recipes! Fantastique!


Eléonora August 27, 2010 um 6:52 pm

Que dire de notre belle France, que tout simplement partout dans le monde, on l'aime.


Unknown August 27, 2010 um 7:19 pm

Georgous images. Isn't it grat to go back home from time to time.


The InTolerant Chef ™ August 27, 2010 um 11:09 pm

When you were at school in the castle, did you daydream you were a princess waiting for her prince?


Amanda at Enchanted Fig August 28, 2010 um 4:54 pm

So very lovely. Wish my parents lived there. Instead we all live in the hot, dry, oldstone-less Valley of California. A different charm, I'm sure.


Gen August 28, 2010 um 7:37 pm

C'est très joli! Je vis en région parisienne mais je ne connais pas ce coin. Les photos sont belles, comment obtenir tous ces tons de couleurs façon photo vieillie? En tout cas j'ai hâte de voir les prochaines en Provence!


Cosy Bake August 29, 2010 um 3:52 am

What an awesome pitures you have taken. It's such a soothing feeling looking at all your great works here. Thank you….


Nicole August 29, 2010 um 5:26 am

These photos are so beautiful! This area looks amazing. So lovely!


marla@familyfreshcooking.com August 29, 2010 um 12:49 pm

Helen, thanks for sharing your trip to France with us. The castle where you spent a year at school is gorgeous.

Love what you say about that old bench—waiting on it for your folks to get a treat. Now it would have so many uses! Bet you wish you could have one in your studio.

Looking forward to reading more about your adventures. xo


Serene @ MomFood August 29, 2010 um 10:50 pm

Your photos are SO gorgeous!


a. maren August 29, 2010 um 11:04 pm

oh such pretty pictures, i want to live there! thanks for sharing!


~ Chef Louise August 30, 2010 um 2:04 am

I feel like I'm on vacation as well… thank you for sharing such lovely photos. I especially like the first tree with red flowers and the red fire hydrant.
~Chef Louise


Sriprae August 31, 2010 um 2:23 am

Thank you for sharing your pictures. They are lovely to look at, and I felt like–if just for only a moment–I was there enjoying the sights, sounds, and smells.


Anonymous August 31, 2010 um 8:27 am

Wonderful pictures. The actions you used fits the photos well.
It's good to visit places of your childhood..brings memories back..♥


maricel August 31, 2010 um 8:29 am

Wonderful pictures..
It's nice to visit places of your childhood..brings back memories..♥


Anonymous August 31, 2010 um 10:16 pm

Beautiful post, Helen. Thank you for sharing it with us.


Heather from WhipperBerry September 1, 2010 um 1:41 am

Love, love love all of your AMAZING pictures. I spent some time in Paris twice last year and yes, the road signs really confused me. The one that I especially had a hard time with was the one with a car that looks like it is blowing up. Can you explain that one to me? Again, I am in love with your blog!


monica September 2, 2010 um 3:36 am

I am breathless by the beauty of your photos, I almost feel like I am on your journey with you…I am taking notes for my trip to Paris, your sounds perfect! Grandpa is adorable!


Angela KL September 2, 2010 um 3:42 pm

Great photos and thanks for the lovely trip.. albeit cyberspace ;))


Kelly-Jane September 3, 2010 um 2:03 pm

Thank you for sharing, great pictures.


Scarlett September 13, 2010 um 11:20 am

What amazing pictures-I could look at your blog all day just for them!!


Silvia1230 November 30, 2010 um 1:37 pm

Thank you for sharing… and enjoy your holidays!


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