Sunday, August 30, 2009

France - Part 3

It's been a while since my last post. I am slowly getting caught up. France, Part 3...

We rented a van in Paris. That was brave because driving in Paris is difficult, especially in a giant Mercedes passenger van! The roads leaving Paris heading south are wonderful. We stayed on the country roads and avoided the huge highways as much as possible only because we wanted to really see the countryside and not just whiz by it.

This is an example of many of the roads that we travelled...lined with trees! Few fences, just fields.

Look how even the town bridge is decorated with hanging baskets! The French take so much pride in their villages and towns. Every little village that we drove through was landscaped with flowers!

I didn't pass up many opportunities to eat goodies. Yum!

Chateauneuf sur Loire...

Fields of grain...

Another bridge, this one with long flower boxes lining the sides.

We stayed in the Burgundy region for a few nights at a place called Castel de Tres Girards in Morey St. Denis. It was wonderful! Click on the link and see more photos. I would definitely go back to this place.

The exterior of Castel de Tres Girard...

We travelled from there to the Annecy area and stayed at Chateau des Avenieres in the French Alpes. This is another place that I would reccommend to anyone travelling in the area. The food was fabulous and the grounds were beautiful. I went hiking one day in the woods and marvelled at how pretty the property was. The road up to the hotel was very scary, though. I do not enjoy driving on mountain roads especially where there are few guard rails.

We stayed in two different rooms here. One night was in the Sonate room which was a former music room. This photo does not do it justice. First of all, it was HUGE. The wood paneled walls were lovely and the bathroom was large and luxurious. From the balcony, we could see Mont Blanc (Switzerland).

Breakfast was served on the terrace.

We stayed a second night in the "white" room. They call it the white room because it is white. This room also had a large balcony and bathroom.

The view from the terrace.

A closeup of the rear exterior.

We went to Grignan after the leaving the Alpes and stayed here a while. Grignan is a beautiful walled town. It is surrounded by fields of lavander.

The countryside in this area is more arid and reminds me of New Mexico. The annual Festival de Correspondance was happening in Grignan while we were there. There were many stalls offering antique books. It was really neat.

A sunflower field near Grignan...
While in Grignan, we stayed at Manoir de la Roseraie. The property boasts hundreds of rose bushes. This place has a pool and a restaurant and beautiful grounds. The rooms here are huge and the bathrooms are nice.

Nice was our final destination. It wasn't really what I was expecting. I probably won't visit there again. It was big and dirty and there were many pickpockets. I was warned a few times by various people to watch my valuables at all times. One of the good things about Nice is that you can do cool things like jump off a cliff into the sea.

The beach consists of rocks of various sizes. Warning - wear shoes to the beach in Nice! The rocks get really hot and are difficult to walk on. The water was wonderful - the perfect temperature and few waves. We stayed at Beau Rivage which was a nice place - very modern. This particular hotel has a wonderful beach area with lounge chairs, a restaurant, etc. We saw the Tour de France come through Nice. It was very exciting!

Cannes is prettier than Nice, in my opinion. It is much cleaner. The shops here are wonderful and the people are super friendly. Actually, the people of France are friendly everywhere. Only once did we run in to anyone unfriendly and that was a very busy waiter in Paris who could not tolerate any questions regarding the menu. Maybe he was just having a bad day.

I love France. I cannot wait to go back and explore the western region of this beautiful country. Until then, au revoir!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Winter Park Rendezvous

Oh - good grief! Blogger is really frustrating. I have collected so many great real estate photos of Winter Park and I am unable to get them in order because of this ridiculous program! I'll try to make sense of it all...
I spent the last week with my mom. We ended the visit in the Orlando area as my step-dad had a meeting in Orlando and I ended up travelling there to spend more time with her while he was in his meeting. We spent the day in lovely Winter Park. Winter Park is located north of Orlando, just east of I-4.
Winter Park was founded as a resort destination by wealthy New England industrialists before the turn of the 20th century. It really has a small town feel even though it is right on the edge of Orlando. The population is about 28,000. There is more park space per capita here than any other city in Florida.
The shops of Olde Winter Park...
Winter Park is built around a chain of lakes that are connected by narrow canals. The lakes are only 10 to 15 feet deep - perfect for sculling and water skiing. Many of the streets are brick and lined with huge Live Oak trees draped in Spanish Moss. Winter Park is the home of Rollins College - a small, liberal arts, private, college with a very high price tag. Winter Park is also the home of the world's largest collection of Tiffany glass housed at the Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art.

If you ever get to this area, you MUST take a boat tour. The tour guides were knowledgeable and the tour afforded us a great view of the gorgeous homes in this area. We took a tour and travelled from lake to lake through the narrow canals. It was really neat!

Boat houses like this one were behind most of the homes. It looked so peaceful!

OK, this is where Blogger really messed me up! I would have liked to grouped the interior photos with the exterior photos of each home, but Blogger won't let me move the photos for some reason! Ughhhhh...
Many of the homes are historic, built in the 1920s and 1930s. I like this Spanish style living room...

A few kitchens...

A beautiful new bathroom...I love the tile work in the shower.

I like the mix of light mouldings and window casings with the dark stained doors.

This Charleston style home is listed as a short sale at $1,299,000. I love this style. I like the dark pool and all the brickwork.
This house photo was supposed to be grouped with the bathroom photo above. Pretty, pretty, pretty!

This home has so many built in bookshelves, etc. Love it!

One of the rare contemporary style homes...

Bonus - Casey Affleck owns a home in Winter Park! I loved him in The Assassignation of Jesse James.

If anyone can suggest a better way to blog, please let me know. I am so tired of fighting with Blogger. There has to be an easier way...

All photos are from and Google Images.