Last Thursday I got the 7am Eurostar train to Paris - I hadn't been on holiday in a while, (since Antwerp way back in March I think), and was in much need of a break from England. Also, "mon pére" lives in France so I thought I would visit him on his birthday. Matt and I decided to first spend the night in Paris however before heading west to enjoy the beautiful french countryside, and although we had limited time there we managed to do so much in the 24 hours or so that we had!
On arrival we checked into the hotel, dropped off our heavier bags and then got the train to Versailles. I've been to Versailles before whilst on a university trip; it was February, freezing cold and all of the trees and flowers were bare, I therefore wanted to return in summer to see the palace and gardens in full seasonal bloom! It was a bit of a nightmare when we got there, (we hadn't realised it was a french bank holiday), it was extremely busy and very unorganised. In the end we decided to skip the queues for the palace and just go into the grounds, which are stunning anyway.
Although it is a pretty magical place to explore, some of the fountains looked a bit dirty and run-down, which was slightly disapointing when they have the potential to look so beautiful. It was lovely to see all of the trees thick with greenery and the flower garden was simply beautiful - we spent quite a bit of time there taking photographs and watching the bees go about their business! We couldn't have asked for better weather, it was so ridiculously warm I felt a little overwhelmed from the heat and all of the walking after a while... strangely I think Versailles is almost more beautiful during the colder months though; there are less tourists for a start and I find scarce trees and frosty scenes much more inspiring.
I would love to return again and look around the palace as I'm sure it's incredible inside!
As Matt had his camera, I decided to be brave and not bring a digital camera at all! Instead I borrowed this Fujifilm Instax Mini, which is an instant camera that prints cute little polaroid pictures. It was so fun to use and a relief to not be constantly looking at things through my digital camera all of the time. I sometimes get so carried away trying to record my experiences to show other people, that I forget to actually enjoy them for myself! Does anyone else ever find themselves doing this? (Luckily I couldn't take snap after snap on the Instax because the film can be pricey!)
When our legs couldn't carry us much further we left Versailles and got the very busy train back to the centre of Paris where we admired the view of the Eiffel tower, of course, before finding somewhere to eat. After dinner and a rather large glass of wine each we walked back towards the Eiffel tower to see it in the evening, as I find it far more spectacular when it's lit. I love it when it sparkles!
We were staying at the Ibis hotel by the way, which I would highly recommend as somewhere cheap and easy to stay when travelling, (I stayed in an Ibis hotel in Belgium to). There were loads of them dotted around Paris, but we stayed just down the road from the Moulin Rouge and very near to Montmartre, so in the morning before our train to Redon we walked up to see the beautiful view of Paris and also treated ourselves to banana and Nutella crepes for breakfast, yum!
It took us about four hours to get to my Dad's - he lives in the middle of nowhere near a very quaint little town called La Gacilly. Despite having a great time in Paris and loving the city buzz, it was great to finally feel relaxed in the quiet, picturesque countryside and we spent the new few days enjoying lie-ins, walks, campfires, great food and wine! There was also an amazing photography festival on in La Gacilly that we went to where hundreds of stunning photographs from around the world had been displayed about the town.
Don't you just love Matt's Rayban sunglasses? As I don't wear contacts very often I've spent most of this summer squinting through the sun, which isn't ideal. I was browsing www.redhotsunglasses.co.uk and came across this gorgeous Clubmaster design in havana and green; although I love the classic style of Matt's, I love how modern and cool these look and they're more feminine to. I really want to invest in a pair and get prescription lenses! I also really like these Cathy Clubmaster Glasses in Violet Horn, they'd look super cool as daily frames don't you think!?
On our last evening a group of us went to a local village fete. It was literally like stepping back into medieval times. There was food, (some nicer than the rest), drinking, music, dancing, fireworks and then a huge bonfire to finish off the evening. The fireworks were really pretty, the bonfire was certainly something different, and Matt and I also went for a lovely walk around a nearby lake before the sun set.
Oh, let me just add that this was just after Matt and I had attempted to cut my fringe with blunt scissors and made a mess of it... uh oh.
Matt's gorgeous photography... have a great weekend!