We descended on our hideaway in France for the Easter holidays, filled with the joyful anticipation of ten days of freedom. Our welcoming and bountiful terrace greeted us with the best wisteria display yet.
It is undeniably relaxing to gaze at a southern french blue sky, through the wisps of deliciously scented, tumbling wisteria, buzzing a happy hum.
We exploited the unusually warm April weather and spent the majority of our days right here, on our terrace where the outside world stops for a while and anything is possible. Under a wisteria sky, it is easy to pause and ponder.
Under a wisteria sky, solutions will be found.
La Maison Carré
A charming Roman city oozing sophistication, beauty and culture.
I love the tiny, twirling, twisting pedestrian streets filled with boutiques eager to be discovered; I love the cafés piled onto pavements; the shady squares pulsing with restaurants hidden around each corner. I adore the dramatic fountains which dispel the summer heat.
Remarkably preserved Roman buildings suitably bewilder at every turn and I especially love sitting in the shade, with a glass of chilled rosé in hand, gazing in awe at Les Arènes, one of the best preserved Roman amphitheaters in the world – just like being on a film set, yet better because it’s the real deal. I love gaping at the beautiful Maison Carré (above) while devouring ice-cream in the adjacent café. Strolling, exploring in the Jardin de la Fontaine.
The music of the city. The vibe, the elegance, the way of life……..
The indoor food market, Les Halles, is bursting with irresistible local food and atmosphere – better than Harrods food hall any day.
The Ferias of Nimes held in May and September every year, are unique parties celebrating bulls, music and food – not to be missed.
Forget the ghastly tower blocks on the outskirts and head straight for the pedestrian old town with lots of underground parking – easy.
Here is a new App about monuments in Nimes for when you are strolling around.
Where is Nimes?
25 minutes by car from our house via a stunning cross country route – worth the trip for the views alone.
Read more about Nimes
Like most people in this world, we need to find the money to pay the boring bills and especially with an 18th Century house, there is always something desperate for a cash injection. As soon as we decided to return to the UK, we realised that if we wanted to keep our hideaway in the south of France, we would need to rent it out. It isn’t an easy path we’ve chosen and I’m sure that we will encounter many bumps along the way but we feel it is worth it.
Worries are an inevitable part of life but we do appreciate how lucky we are. At the end of 2011, Rascal 1 fell ill with severe pneumonia and had to stay in hospital for two weeks. After many miraculous drips, frightening chest drains, incessant injections, pockets stuffed full of courage, she made a full recovery but for many children, life deals a much tougher hand.
We have decided to give away a week at our hideaway in France every year to a charity auction, to help raise money for special causes. This year we have chosen the charity Make-A-Wish to help those brave children who sadly need so much courage. Make-A-Wish will auction a week at our hideaway at The Valentine’s Ball at the Dorchester Hotel in London in February.
Here’s to a happy, healthy and exciting 2013. Carpe Diem everyone.
Living in Montreal is exciting, invigorating and refreshing as most adventures are. Since moving here in February 2012 I think we have adapted brilliantly but we do miss our hideaway in France. One of the biggest changes for us was moving from a house in the country into an urban apartment with no garden. The Rascals were brought up with the room to roam and they spent most of their precious hours in France dressing up and running around making noise.
There was space both inside and outside to create the cacophony that children love to do, to run riot and dance up a storm. The freedom to let their imaginations fly. Although our apartment in Montreal is a good size, we are on the first floor with some rather unlucky neighbours beneath us. I cannot help wincing at every little leap and thunderous thump which is probably every second of every day. They are simply not used to noise restraint and neither are we.
When friends used to visit us in France, they waxed lyrical about the space which I took for granted then but can finally now appreciate. Maybe I should be more of a Tiger Mum but what I really want to do is give them the luxury of being imaginative, curious and carefree. We could all do with a few of those ingredients in our lives. Roll on holidays, I can’t wait to let my Rascals loose at our hideaway in France.
“We don’t stop playing because we grow old;
we grow old because we stop playing.”
George Bernard Shaw