Memories of France


I am joining Anita at Castles crowns and cottages to take part in her link party, so pack your bags and join us in a journey to France!

 When I think of France I immediately think of delicious food,wine, fascinating people and places, beautiful language, amazing architecture and lots of artistic inspiration.

Although my first picture was of the Eiffel Tower we will leave the delights of Paris behind for others to mention and concentrate instead on places close to the sea, (did you expect anything else from me!) My first memory of France was visiting the South of France in the early 70's staying in a motel near Frejus. The sea was so warm - the photo must have faded over time as it doesn't look the Mediterranean blue that I remember ! The beach looks deserted apart from me standing at the waters edge.

Four years later we returned to the South of France, but this time rented a chalet up in the hills above Cannes. It was amazing how popular the stretch along the coast had become in just a few years. We sat in traffic jams to get to the beach, only to find everyone squashed together like sardines. For once I much preferred the attractive villages in the hills away from the crowds. There it was just the company of olive trees with the sound of crickets, and the smell of lavender. The smell of lavender even today takes me instantly back to those hillsides.....


A school day trip to Boulogne was my next visit where we practiced the French we had learnt at school, and bought French food to taste and take home. French baguettes, cheeses and croissants weren't common-place in England then!

My husband and children's first encounter with France was a long coach trip to Disneyland Paris, which didn't show them much of the true spirit of France.A few years later we had a chance to appreciate this in Brittany with its amazing shoreline, Celtic connections and the  traditional music all of which reminded us so much of Cornwall.

A French fisherman launching his boat in Brittany

View over Concarneau Bay

 Traditional Breton costumes

Rather than  revisit the busy South of France, we also took the children to the less crowded Languedoc region. The colours, architecture and warm climate were wonderful and also the wine from the grapes grown in the region were very good too! 

The wine from a small local wine producer  was only a short walk from where we were staying.


France is such a huge country and there are still so many other places I long to explore... do you have any favourite places? I also enjoy reading books about France and those that have followed their dream and made a new life there, these are among my favourites :-

A year in Provence - Peter Mayle
Extreme pale rose: A very French adventure by James Ivey
Narrow dog to Carcassonne - Terry Darlington
The Olive tree - Carol Drinkwater
C'est la folie - Michael Wright
Chocolat - Joanne Harris

I have just finished reading Joanne's Harris book titled "Peaches for Monsieur Le Cure" which is a 3rd book in the triology  following her book and  the film "Chocolat". It bought back for me the scents, colours and tastes of France. I hadn't read the second book but  this did  not detract from the story. If you would  be interested in winning this book please leave me a comment mentioning it and I will pulll out a name at the end of the week.

Thank you for taking this short journey through France with me. There are many others taking  part in this journey so if you still wish to explore see other participants postings see Castles crowns and cottages. If you haven't visited Anita's blog before you will discover a wonderful world of inspiration, music and artistry  Thank you Anita for arranging this great party and allowing me to share my memories of France with you.
Sarah x


  1. ~ Ooh I enjoyed this trip, with you Sarah! soo very much...Like you we visited Disney Land, when the children were small and had a picnic lunch under the Eiffel tower..I had the children's port-rate drawn by a street artist....20000, was the year! so a great reminder, we still have it displayed here in our lounge... We have our fingers and toes crossed to hear whether Dean has been selected for the world Championships next month, which coincidently is in Lyon! ~ A lovely post! ~ with kind thoughts....Maria x

  2. Brittany is the only region of France I've seen It is sooooo beautiful! Amazing coastline! I'd love to see much more of France though. My husband has been biking through big parts of it and each time I'm so jealous I can't join him but I'm the one staying home with the kids, because the 'normal' life goes on of course. I can't just take off and leave everything behind.
    Living so near the border we've of course been in the Northern region of France a lot, with Cap Gris Nez and Blanc Nez, also beautiful coastline as well where we saw the white cliffs on the other side of the North Sea, England! It looks so close then. Never been there either. We don't really live so far from Lille but I've never really visited that city, I'll really have to plan that in sometime somehow!

  3. My precious Sarah and Daisy!

    Of course the seaside! YES! And may I say that I am in love with your book choices; for every season, I have a favorite French read that I engage in, for reading a particular book must be enveloped by the senses of a warm summer day, or a chilly winter night. I'm currently reading for the fifth time, LA GLOIRE DE MON PÈRE, as I sit in my garden with gravel paths, lush green bushes and the sound of a singing fountain. THANK YOU for participating and taking ME to parts of France I have yet to see! MUCH LOVE, Anita

  4. This was a really nice visit to France, thank you for sharing. In my youth I always went to Italy with my parents, and in my twenties I visited Paris at least once a year. I didn't take photo's then. And I lived for a few months in a kind of commune somewhere in the Ardeche. Oh, and I visited the south, and Marseille some time in my early twenties. I never took my children there, they did visit France often with their father. We mostly stayed in Holland and went sailing or so.Oh, I visited Paris with eldest when he got 18 years old. Will look for the photo's. Enjoy your weekend, groetjes, Gerda

  5. Oh, and I loved the film Chocolat!!

  6. I will have to check this out. Love your look back at your travels to France which remind me of a variety of French visits from camping to a romantic break in Paris to recent family holidays. Hub's Dad lives in Le Havre with his French partner and his Mum has a holiday house in Burgundy so France is a place we visit regularly. Can't wait for our summer visit. Would be interested in the book as Chocolat was wonderful. Happy weekend Sarah. Claire xo

  7. My old photographs of a school trip to France make me appreciate digital cameras even more than I already do! Cannes, Paris, Monet's garden at Giverny - my experience of France is very limited. I've put me in the mood. And a read of 'Peaches' would be good too. Lovely post idea.

  8. Hello Sarah, I visited France a couple of times. Once in Provence and once to Metz..Your photos are lovely especially Down by the Sea photo of the fishermen and his boat in Provence Blue.. When I came home from living in Europe I painted my shutters on the House Provence Blue.. VBG Thanks for reminding me of my lovely time of living in Europe. Hugs Judy

    1. Hello Sarah, I worked in Giessen Germany at the American Military Base and lived in Ettinghausen about 14 miles from the base.. I traveled to about 11 countries while there and went back to many twice. Hugs Judy

  9. A Year in provence is one of my favorite books! How lucky you are to have travelled to France several times!

  10. This was a fun virtual trip, Sarah. I would love to go to France, someday. Thanks for sharing your photos.

  11. Oh, that sunsset is just beautiful. It looks very mysterious with the clouds. I heard the french crossaints are the best - flaky and buttery and yummy.

    It's nice to meet new friends.

    ~Sheri at Red Rose Alley

  12. Theoule sur Mer is where we spent several incredible vacations. It's on the coast just south of Cannes. Our time was late August and early September, so the crowds were not so bad. It was a magical time for us! Normandy, Brittany and the Loire Valley are also favorite areas, and then there is always Paris. Thanks for sharing your lovely photos. I feel as if I've been on a wonderful getaway.

  13. Oh what a lovely post, I felt I was there in France with you. Lovely photos and brought back many memories of nearly annual trips to France as a child and many more since! Thanks for sharing. I shall check out the other blogs too,:)

  14. I love Joanne Harris's books, she really makes you feel like you're there. Must get that latest one. The Narrow dog book appealed to me too, because of the whippet! xx

  15. So many lovely memory's, such a lovely place.

  16. Good morning!
    Photo Felicidadespor full of inspiration, this is a magnificent Tour.
    let me follow your blog from today.
    I wait on mine

    Luisa Maria

  17. What a lovely party! Thanks for sharing with us, oh it brings back memories for me as I was lucky enough to live in Friance some years ago. It's a beautiful country. I have read The Olive Tree, but not the others so I'll check them out. Off to take a look at Castles Crowns and Cottages now.

  18. SARAH! DAISY! Are you two holding up during this most fabulous tour? I am so happy that you are involved and are enjoying your views! It really is fun to see everyone's photos, efforts, humor, recipes, travels and more. I literally went to be exhausted yesterday after I spent a lovely day going to all the blogs.

    Enjoy yourself dear Sarah, and thanks again! Anita

  19. So so happy you joined in. I love the simplicity you describe and now I know I must visit the countryside too. xx's

  20. Welcome in France...nice to see you to do this together...Anita is such a good friend to all of us...enjoy the weekend love

  21. It's so sweet and nostalgic go back in time, close the eyes and be transferred to places which keep nice memories for us...
    France is a beloved destination, I'm sure you are enjoying this party !
    Sending you hugs and kisses, dear Sarah...

  22. Lovely images and your personal stories make it come to life. I adore France and it's wonderful to connect with other bloggers in the lovely link party!
    Cheers, Heather @stylemindchic

  23. Dear Sarah - the French link has given you a great opportunity to remember happy holidays and then to be able to write about them and show the photos from the trips. I always think it is surprising how once you start looking back to particular times the memories quickly come flooding back.
    Collioure is a favourite of ours. We stayed in a lovely hotel fronting onto that promontory shown in your photograph, so thanks from me too for the memories you have rekindled with me.

  24. Thank you for sharing all your beautiful photos.You must have had a glorious time.Its fun to share with people who actually went to France.Your post...Lovely.
    It has been a pleasure,
    Marie Antionette

  25. I love France, but really know very little of the country with the exception of Paris. Thank you for sharing it's delights :)

  26. Hello Sarah,
    Thank you so much for sharing your journey of France. I'm like you. Seeing a few travel shows here in the U.S., I would vacation in a small unknown village and drive through their countryside. The book sounds amazing and if I'm not late, please count me in.
    Thank you for you comment and I'm glad you enjoyed my roses. They bring me joy every year. If I Visited France I would make it a point to buy a bouquet or two of roses. : )Have a wonderful day.

  27. Beautiful!!! Thanks for sharing in Anita's party!!!
    ~ Violet

  28. So nice to meet you through Anita's party.. I just love Daisy and Twinkle... They are adorable.
    Thank you so much for sharing these beautiful photos... I have not been to France, but I am truly enjoying it through the eyes of others.

  29. I have never been to France but I would love to one day.Gorgeous photos and lovely memories.

  30. Hello Sarah. I just found your blog and I like it very much. Thinking of France, we are there now in the Eastern part. Every day I enjoy the silence and the fresh air. It special to read your memories. Thank you. If you will join my blog too, your very welcome. I'm writing about the things I like here and sometimes I take you all with me on a little trip in nature or the little villages. Bye, Lilian

  31. Thank you so much for your visit Sarah.. I am so pleased you enjoyed Bebe

  32. I shall be enjoying some of those books I think. Thank you for sharing them. What a lovely trip down your memory lane and varied experiences with France! They sound amazing! Isn't it incredible how a smell or taste can become so intrinsically associated with a specific place, person or event? Powerful stuff! x

  33. Sarah, how wonderful all of the special experiences you have had in France. I also love, love the sea!

    Come with me on my adventure in France.
    life, possibilities, grace
    a beautiful dream...

    Art by Karena

  34. Thank you for sharing your personal experience of France - so enjoyed it! I share your liking for Joanne harris books!

  35. Sara. ...lovely what you have shared! I so enjoyed your pictures and memories of France. I have also taken interest in te book you reccomended!

  36. As you have shown us, there is so much more to France than Paris. Thanks for such a beautiful tour.

  37. What a nice series of photo's I also love France and I have lots of memories there. Nice idea.

  38. Hi Sarah,

    It was wonderful to hear about your trips to France and seeing your lovely photos. We enjoyed travelling through the Languedoc region too.
    It must have been great going over on a school trip to learn your French.
    Thanks for sharing and also the books - have read Peter Mayles A year in Provence, which I enjoyed.
    Also loved the movie Chocolat and will have to look out for the other books.

    Happy week

  39. I loved your tour! Thank you for sharing...

  40. Dear Sarah, this short trip to France was fabulous and very interesting. While reading I got carried away and many wonderful memories came back! One of them is the first holidays of Paul and me in Avignon and Arles - another one was the memories of cycling the whole of Brittany and eating all the wonderful food like fish soup and of course drinking the wonderful wines! You are correct - France is huge and there are many places which are worth visiting (not only Paris - there is a lot more...). I will check out Anita's blog it sounds promising. Thanks also for your reading tips. I have the book of Peter Male (so warm and soul-and-heart-nourishing) the others are not familiar to me. Christa PS. Many thanks for your comment today. I appreciate your visits very much.

  41. I have only seen Paris and Giverny. We need to visit and stay for at least a month. I have read all of Peter Mayle's books which makes me want to live in Provence for a spell.

    Lovely photos as usual.

  42. Liebe, kleine Meerjungfrau,

    was für eine schöne Retrospektive. Ich habe ja französische Wurzeln und meine Freundin Annemarie wohnt in der Nähe von Paris und kommt mich bald wieder besuchen. Im Gepäck hat sie immer die kulinarischen Schätze Frankreichs. Macarons, duftender Käse, Moutarde de Violette oder Rilettes, dazu ein guter Wein, ach das Leben kann so herrlich sein.........

    A bientôt, Babsi

  43. Merci, chere Sarah...for taking us through your wonderful memories and photos of La Belle France! She really does cast a spell...
    I have been blessed to travel throughout France a few times....
    How kind of you to have a giveaway! I saw the film, but have yet to read the I shall! :) I've read Peter Mayle, and the others will be going on my list! :)

    Thank you so very much for visiting and leaving a kind message....
    I am intrigued by your life near the sea (I was born in a port city on the Black Sea) it's a near, dear, and emotional subject for me...
    You live in a magical place!
    Wishing you a splendid weekend...
    - Irina

  44. How lucky that you got to visit France on a few occasions. I have never been there, but it's been fun taking the tour via Anita's link party. Thanks for sharing your post. :)

    Heidi @ hi-d's place

  45. Bonjour Sarah,

    Merci beaucoup! Was so happy to read that I was the lucky winner of your very generous giveaway. The book looks great and I look forward to reading it.
    I do not seem to have your email address and wonder if you are able to please email me on mine, which is on my blog.
    Thanks again.

    Kind Regards


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