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Sunday, October 19, 2014

Chateaus and Villas

By Car through France and Italy.

Part I

Chateau De Chesne
Nohant En Gracay, Le Chesne, France.

Day one.  About 3 hours South of Charles de Gaulle Airport.

Perfect distance to get acquainted with our new rental car. 

Chateau De Chesne is located in a beautiful country setting.  The perfect stopover for the first night in France.

Here is a tribute to the longevity of hand made ceramic tiles.  

Owned by a charming and handsome French Aristocrat. 

A beautiful breakfast awaited us the next morning.  

On to La Pouyette.

Yes, the charming Karin we know from the blog with the same name. 

Karin and Mr R welcomed us like old friends.  

We stayed at La Pouyette in 2012. 
La Pouyette is located near the town of Perigueux.   

This very special spot is the perfect guest house from which to explore the very interesting and unique Dordogne region.

When we arrived Karin was shelling walnuts which she had gathered from her ancient tree.  

I joined in.  It reminded me of my younger days when I would sit in a circle with the older village women shelling peas, listening to the newest gossip.


As before, Karin prepared for us a most delicious French dinner.  

No one does it better, it is always a feast for the eyes and the palate.

La Pouyette is about a 6 to 7 hour drive from Paris.  The drive is  beautiful with many interesting sites and ancient villages to admire along the way.  

On to Arles, our longest drive, with many side trips.

By now I had figured out how to program our Mercedes Benz navigation system.  Much superior to my hand held GPS I brought from home.  

The Jules Cesar, is part of the "Small Luxury Hotel of the World".

We stayed at the Cesar more than forty years ago.  

Some of it looked familiar.

Some did not.

Don't remember these colorful tiles in our bathroom floor. 

Bright greenish yellow walls and colorful upholstered pieces in public spaces.   

No wonder, all recently designed by famous French fashion designer Christian Lacroix.

On to the French Riviera and to 

 the Hotel Le Roquebrune Cap Martin, France

Not even the  GPS could find this place clinging to the side of the Mountain and overlooking the Mediterranean, near Monaco and Monte Carlo.

Ah,  the Cinque Terre and Monterosso al Mare.

We stayed at the La Serra Sul Mare 


The La Serra Sul Mare B & B  is located above Monterosso.  It has easy parking and reliable and frequent bus service into town. 

Excellent views, super friendly staff and some of the finest breakfasts in Europe.  

From the center of Monterosso it is only a short and picturesque walk to the train station. 

Once on the train you can visit the other famous Cinque Terre towns.  My favorite town is Vernazza.  Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore are also on the same line.  

Next stop. 

The lovely Etruscan town of Bibbona in Tuscany.

And one of the loveliest Hotels in all of Italy.  

More to come in a day or two. 

Have a great Sunday my dear friends.


Joining  http://ourworldtuesdaymeme.blogspot.com.au/


  1. Dear Gina,
    how lovely to have you back. It was well worth waiting for your return and it seems like you had a wonderful trip to France and Italy at unusual and most inviting accommodations. Love your photos and even discovered a certain gentleman with a hat in one of them. Thank you for sharing so many great glimpses of what seems to have been an extraordinary vacation.
    Warm greetings, Sieglinde

    1. Dear Sieglinde.

      As you know so well, it is great to visit the other side of the big pond. Likewise, it is so good to be back home.
      I made a bet with myself that you would pick out the mysterious figure in one of the collages. It must be the hat that gave him away and having an eye for detail also helps. I thank you for your visit.

  2. My Sunday is definitely better after seeing all this beauty and now dreaming of returning to Italy! Wishing you a wonderful week ahead, dear Gina.

    1. Dear Georgianna, I thought of you often while in France...to mind come your beautiful photographs of roses and romantic Paris.
      Thank you so very much for your good wishes and your visit.

  3. I love everything in your post, specially the furniture all around; just my type!!! I love Italy too and it's my fav place in Europe, although I love them all, lol!
    Looks like a wonderful time was had, I am so happy for you and happy to see you back as well, Gina.
    Thanks for sharing this luxury!

    1. Dear Fabby, It's great to be back. This was an especially nice trip because all of our accommodations were planned in advance. No more frantically looking for a place to overnight. It is now so easy to let the computer be your travel guide.
      Thank you for your visit and sweet comment.

  4. Welcome back Gina - it is lovely to see you here again following your travels through two of my favourite countries. The ambience of your photos from the many charming places you stayed, the wonderful meals you must have enjoyed, and the beautiful sights are a feast for the senses.

    1. Thank you Rosemary. No matter how long we stay in Europe and how much we enjoy being in France and Italy, especially, we do get anxious to finally get home. It feels wonderful to be back.
      I had made a pact with myself to have a gelato every day but somehow didn't get around to it. Too many wonderful places to keep me otherwise occupied. Thank you for your visit and comment. It is always great to see you here.

  5. Oh Gina! Your pictures are always perfect moments in time. Thank you for making the day a little brighter.

    1. Dear Theresa, I was thinking of you when I took a painting lesson in Montelupo, Italy. I met the most charming Gentleman and he would have made you feel right at home.
      Your refrigerator makeover is a brilliant idea. Only you would tackle such a difficult project.

  6. Dear Gina,

    It's good to have you back safe and sound, and to be able to share in your lovely trip. I like Rosemary's word ambience — there is so much charming ambience in all these spots, and from that first photograph, I see a look that reminds me of your own house. Gold frames, sconces, abundant flowers — it's all there!

    1. Thank you Mark for your welcoming words. It is amazing how easy it is to plan a trip via the internet. I didn't expect everything to be perfect but it was. We really liked the idea of staying in chateaus and country villas. They are easy to find, parking is not a problem, and taking a walk in the open country is always welcome after driving for several hours.

  7. Gina, I've greatly enjoyed seeing this first report of your holiday trip.

    What beautiful places you've visited...I admire your ability to drive those roads, with or without GPS or MB guidance.

    I agree with a prior comment about how how your very own home is beautiful and clearly found inspiration amongst other beautiful European buildings.

    I smiled at your return to the hotel in which some things were familiar and others, not so much.

    The tiles and color you've show us so far are lovely. I am now greedy and want to see the second installment. xo

    1. Dear Frances, We have visited by train and we have visited Europe by car. Still, our favorite way to travel is by car. This trip was different in that we had every accommodation planned in advance. All we had to do was wander about, take a few side trips and then make our way to the next stopover. We try to stay away from large cities. Those are best visited by train. It is the big cities that are difficult to maneuver if you're an infrequent visitor.

  8. Dear, dear Gina,
    what a wonderful post about your Europe-trip! With all the beautiful pictures - es is als wäre ich dabeigewesen! Now I understand why you had to "hurry-off" from La Pouyette. Every place, every house/hotel has its own charme and personality. Simply GREAT.
    Nevertheless - although your visit here was short - we loved to see you both and we had a few very good moments together, not to mentioned the "walnut-shelling" :) :) :) - Miss you!!!!
    Thank you so much for the introduction to our place and the lovely photos!
    And thank you to share all with us.
    Herzlichst, Karin

    Love the image with Gene in it!

    1. Dear Karin, Once again we had the most lovely visit with you. I could see us spending a couple of weeks in your charming Ferienhaus. It is so beautifully appointed. So perfect for a traveler and located in one of the most interesting and fascinating areas of France.
      Thank you for treating us like family. Even though we had a very short visit with you, it felt like we were visiting with old friends. Thank you also for a most delicious dinner. You excel in everything you do.

  9. Thanks for taking us on a lovely tour! We came last year from Italy (by car) to Cingue Terre - love the landscapes, especially from an art perspective, but too many people out there!

    1. Hello Jeannette, We were lucky. We visited in early October. There were just enough tourists around to make it interesting. You are right, the scenery is breathtaking, almost too much to take in all at once.
      Thank you for stopping by. It is so appreciated.