Tag Archives: femmes francophiles

Meet Kathy, a francophile with big dreams

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I have often quoted paragraphs from Kathy Stanford’s blog Femmes Francophiles in my Wednesday’s Bloggers Round-up. Kathy’s permanent home is in Adelaide, but she comes to France as often as she can. In my contribution this month to My French Life, the global community & magazine for francophiles & French, I tell the fascinating story of how she manages to reconcile her love for France and her life in Australia. Enjoy!

Meet Kathy, a francophile with big dreams

kathyThirteen years ago, when she was preparing for a trip to France, Kathy became enthralled with the French language and culture.

This was the start of her French dilemma, because her home and husband are in Adelaide and her French connection has grown stronger with the passing years.

She began learning French at the Alliance Française in Adelaide to ressurect her dim memories of school French. She has done several courses in France; in Rouen, Toulouse and Vendôme – as well as Noumea. She has worked as a volunteer for the Alliance Française in Rouen. Read more

Barcelona: Gastronomic Dining – Things to do in Barcelona – Gaudi’s Barcelona

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The posts on my Wednesday Bloggers’ Round-Up today are all by Australians (or people with Australian connections) and all on the subject of Barcelona. Kathy Stanford from Femmes Francophiles has suggestions for both fine dining and casual dining in Barcelona, Craig Makepeace from Y Travel Blog offers lots of insider tips on things to do while Laurence from Finding the Universe offers us spectacular photos of Gaudi’s monuments that I can’t wait to visit! So let’s go to Barcelona!

Barcelona: Gastronomic Dining

by Kathy Stanford from Femmes Francophiles, an Australian who an ongoing passion for France and the French language just back in Australia after a holiday in Europe

barcelona_fine_diningI visited Spain for the first time in 2001 as part of a whirlwind tour around Europe. I couldn’t understand people who raved about Spanish food. The food served to tourists on bus trips is generally lacking flavour and unexciting. All this changed last year when I stayed with Isa and Julio in Andalusia. What a revelation.

In January this year, in addition to tapas, I was fortunate to dine in the Michelin starred Cinc Sentits restaurant in Barcelona. Read more

Things to do in Barcelona

By Australian blogger Craig Makepeace from Y Travel Blog, who, with Caz, believes  that life is about creating great memories and making it a story to tell, and they do that through travel.

things-to-do-in-barcelona-13Looking for tips on things to do in Barcelona? As part of our city guides series, we interviewed Mariana Calleja from Travel Thirst who has been in Barcelona since January 2010, fell in love with the place, and decided to stay longer. Mariana shares with us her insider tips on the best things to do inBarcelona plus where to eat, sleep, drink, shop and explore. Why Visit BarcelonaBarcelona is a very rich city in many aspects. The easiest way… Read more

 Gaudi’s Barcelona

by Laurence from Finding the Universe, of British origin who, with German-born Vera, are both travellers, into writing and photography, slowly exploring the world.

Sagrada Familia Interior Gaudi Barcelona beamsGaudí. It’s kind of hard to visit Barcelona without spending your time gaping in awe at the architectural and artistic genius that he left behind all over the city.

A great deal of my week in Barcelona was therefore spent, gaping in awe, at his many truly incredible constructions. As well as gaping, I was also taking the odd photograph, which I’m sharing with you today. I wasn’t able to visit every bit of work he did, but I’d like to think that I took in the serious highlights.

In a future post I’ll be going more into the details of what to see and do in Barcelona. For now though, less detail: more eye candy.

Lets start with… Read more

Celebrating Christmas in France – Great Resources To Help Plan Your Bike Trip to France – Wineries/les vignobles

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My Wednesday’s bloggers’ round-up this week starts with fellow Australian Kathy Stanford from Femmes Francophiles who’s been having a holiday from blogging but after a recent trip to France, she’s fortunately back on the job. So I’m starting with her authentic experience of Christmas in France with a French family. Next Maggie LaCoste from Experience France by Bike lists resources to plan a bike trip in France, including my beloved Loire Valley. Jill from Gigi’s French window, also Australian, compares cellar doors in France and Australia. Nothing could be more different! Enjoy!

Celebrating Christmas in France

by Kathy Stanford from Femmes Francophiles, an Australian who an ongoing passion for France and the French language just back in Australia from two months in France

christmas_femmes_francophilesMy love for La France is intrinsically linked with my passion for food. I have been extremely spoilt in staying with Valérie who is a generous and wonderful cook. In France the main meal at Christmas time is usually on Christmas Eve. Valérie’s son Grego offered to prepare this meal. Having lost weight for a film role he had been dreaming about an extra special Christmas Eve dinner. He devised the dishes, bought the ingredients and then he and Valérie worked as a team to create the dishes.

We started with champagne, foie gras on toast, radishes, carrot, foie gras and fig macarons from Pierre Hermé. I was rather sceptical about the foie gras and fig macarons as I have only ever known macarons as a sweet rather than something savoury. They however worked very well. I even bought some for New Year’s Eve. Read more

Great Resources To Help Plan Your Bike Trip to France

by Maggie LaCoste from Experience France by Bike, an American who loves biking anywhere in Europe, but especially France, which has the perfect combination of safe bike routes, great food, great weather and history

usseCyclotourism is getting to be big business in Europe, worth somewhere around 45+ billion Euros per year to the European economy.  This is great for you and me because countries like France, (and Germany, Austria and Switzerland) want our business.  Their improving their marketing efforts and they are rapidly stepping up efforts to provide better information on major routes.  Don’t get too excited, this doesn’t mean that you will have an easy time finding information on all major itineraries.  But it does mean that access to better information is improving, more of it’s offered in English, and the result is easier trip planning. To kick off the new year and bike trip planning season, let’s take a look at several major websites to see how they can help you decide where to go and where to bike. Read more

Wineries/les vignobles

by Jill from Gigi’s French Window, French ponderings from an Australian who must have been French in another life

lulu coco gigi 165This year I have decided to search out and enjoy all sorts of ‘french experiences’ right here in the land down under…

I made a start last weekend by  visiting a local winery…well it was an hours’ drive away, but I didn’t have to take a 2 day trip across the world!

But first some ‘pics’ to compare….

Last May, the ‘travelling bridesmaids’ and I went for a beautiful Sunday stroll along the tiny winding roads of Cassis,  southern  France.  We thought we would try a wine tasting, have lunch..you know  how it goes….well the walk was fabulous, the scenery amazing…but none were open to the public!  It seems that tourism doesn’t come into play with french vineyards..(these ones anyway) .I think it must be all too serious a business for  that! Read more (and don’t forget to read the comments as well)

Don’t walk, fly… – Christian and Islamic Cultures Come Together in Córdoba – Cooking (and Eating) French pastries at L’Atelier des Sens

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I can’t believe the week can go by so quickly! Wednesday again and time for my Bloggers’ Round-up. Finding Noon takes us to a Korean painting exhibition at the Bespoke Exhibition Pavilion in the Tuileries Gardens, Kathy Stanford from Femmes Francophiles stuns us with her lovely photos of Cordoba in Spain, which is definitely on my list of places to revisit, and Abby from Paris Weekender shares a cooking class in Paris that includes croissants. Enjoy!

Don’t walk, fly…

by Finding Noon, an American living in Paris who appreciates fine art, good music, succulent food, and breath taking scenery

So a Frenchman and an Englishman are chatting about a Korean man over lunch in Malaysia…. sounds like the start of some silly joke, but this really did happen about a year ago. Only the Frenchman is the director of the Louvre museum and he was speaking with an interior designer about the photographer Ahae, and his latest project; 2 million photos taken from the same window over 2 years. Read more

Christian and Islamic Cultures Come Together in Córdoba

by Kathy Stanford from Femmes Francophiles, an Australian which an ongoing passion for France and the French language currently on holiday in Europe

Córdoba, in Andalusia, is reported to have the highest summer average in Europe. It certainly was hot when I visited with friends, Isa and Julio. Apart from the heat, I was struck me by the Islamic influence in the architecture and decoration. I was very much reminded of my stay at Riad Sekkat in Marrakech. Córdoba, historically was Spain’s most significant Islamic city. Read more


Cooking (and Eating) French pastries at L’Atelier des Sens

by Abby from Paris Weekender, an American living in Paris who offers suggestions for Paris weekends, either staying put or getting out of town

I am often asked for suggestions for not-your-usual-tourist activities in Paris. Whether you live in Paris or are just visiting for a few days, one of the best experiences your money can buy is time with an expert who will teach you a little something you can take back home. Perhaps you would be interested in a wine tasting class, perhaps a photography class or a chocolate tasting class or a cooking class…. Whatever you choose, it is sure to be a memorable experience. Read more

Liege-Guillemins – Europe’s Most Impressive Railway Station – Fougères and the St. James American Cemetary, Brittany – Cycling the Atlantic Coast: Likes, Dislikes and What I Would Do Differently

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In my bloggers’ round-up this week, we start off in Liège in Belgium with a description of an iconic railway station by Kathy Standford from Femmes Francophiles who also shares her impressions of the Thalys train service. Abby from Paris Weekender then takes us on a trip to Fougères, which is also one of my favourites, discovered by accident on a return trip from Brittany. Experience France by Bike then sums up her recent trip along the Atlantic Coast.

Liège-Guillemins – Europe’s Most Impressive Railway Station

by Kathy Stanford from Femmes Francophiles a fellow Australian and Francophile who is spending 3 months in Europe, based in France

In just over 2 hours after boarding the Thalys train at Gard de Nord in Paris, I arrived in Liège, Belgium at the spectacular Liège-Guillemins station. It has been described as one of the most impressive railway stations in Europe – and I would have to agree. Designed by the Spanish architect, Santiago Calatrava Valls, it was inaugurated in 2009. Nestled against a tree-covered hill, the station is described to be in the shape of a woman lying on her back. It is easy to see why with its steel, glass and white concrete, wavelike structure rises 32 metres and extends 160 metres. Read more.

Fougères and the St. James American Cemetery, Brittany

by Abby from Paris Weekender, a collection of ideas for Paris weekends: staying put and getting out of town

Near the border of Brittany and Normandy in the department of Ile-et-Vilaine (Brittany), equidistant between Rennes and the northern coast, lies the medieval city of Fougères. I had often driven right past Fougères. It’s hard to drive all the way to Brittany and not head straight for the coast. Yet Fougères makes a perfect stop for a few hours on the way to Le Mont-Saint-Michel, Saint-Malo, Dinan or further west. Read more.

Cycling the Atlantic Coast: Likes, Dislikes and What I Would Do Differently

by Experience France by Bike, an American who loves biking anywhere in Europe, but especially France, which has the perfect combination of safe bike routes, great food, great weather and history.

Looking back at my recent bicycling trip along the Atlantic Coast of France, the first word that comes to mind is adventure.  This is funny because that really wasn’t what I had in mind as I embarked on this trip!  This was my first trip to explore “La Velodyssee”, the French portion of EuroVelo 1, stretching from Roscoff to the Spanish border and I really had no idea what to expect as far as the route was concerned.  I researched the route thoroughly, knew which deviations I wanted to take, and, like all cyclists, hoped that the weather would cooperate. Read more.

Domaine de Chaumont-sur-Loire’s International Garden Festival – Paris Day Two. Chantilly – The Audacity of Age

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For this Wednesday’s bloggers’ round-up, I’ve chosen Kathy Stanford‘s description of the highly original international garden festival at the château of Chaumont-sur-Loire, Denise from Bolton‘s visit to the Chantilly race course, which definitely seems a worthwhile excursion and Bread is Pain‘s very amusing story of an elderly woman jumping the queue at the Orsay Museum.

Domaine de Chaumont-sur-Loire’s International Garden Festival

by Kathy Stanford from Femmes Franchophiles, who has an ongoing passion for France and the French language

The Domaine de Chaumont-sur-Loire covers an area of approximately 32 hectares and is located between Blois and Tours in the Loire Valley.

The Domaine de Chaumont-sur-Loire is the foremost Centre for Art and Nature entirely devoted to the relationship between nature and culture, artistic creation and the impact of landscape, our heritage and contemporary art.

The Domaine not only includes the Château de Chaumont-sur-Loire (15th to 19th century), its gardens and parks, but also from April to the end of October, the stunning International Garden Festival. In addition, there are many exhibits and installations by contemporary artists. Read more


by Denise from Bolton, another francophile from the town of Bolton in the UK who spends as much time in the City of Light as she can

Chantilly racecourse is in a lovely setting, with the châteaux on one side, the forest in the distance. Even if you are not into racing it is a pleasant place to have a picnic, and the chateaux is worth a visit too.

20minutes on the train from Gare du Nord, it makes a nice day out.  On a previous trip I watched an interesting dressage show in the famous Grades Ecuries, which legend has it, was commisioned to be built like a palaceby Henry, Duc de Bourbon, Prince of Conde, because he thought he would be reincarnated horse.

My husband had “bribed” me to accompany him, with a reservation at the stunning Panoramic restaurant overlooking the course.  The set “outsiders” menu was pricey at  42 euro each, but was very good and the entrance fee to the racecourse was only 2 euro,( as opposed to a lot more for British racecourses) so we were not complaining. Read more

The Audacity of Age

by Bread is Pain, a 30-something American living in the Rhone-Alps, and slowly eating and drinking herself through the country.

Standing in line at the Musée D’Orsay with my Mother who is visiting.  We are about thirty minutes back from the front of the queue.  An old lady has recently shoved past us in line and we are watching in disbelief as she speedily makes her way through the five or six rows of people in front of us.    

Mom:  This is too good to be true!

Me:  No way she is going to pull this off.

Mom:  I think she is.  Look at her go!

Read more

Can Bacon be a Vegetable? – Free Walking Tours given by Parisian Volunteers – Sipping on Saturday

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Welcome to Wednesday’s other blogs! This week, Bread is Pain talks about the problems of weight gain and loss when living in France, while Kathy Stanford from Femmes Francophiles describes a novel way of getting to know Paris. Gwen Evans, guest posting on Like a Home in Paris, which features vacation apartment rentals in Paris, describes a wine tasting session in the capital. Thank you to my fellow bloggers!

Can Bacon be a Vegetable?

by Bread is Pain

“Mwah!  Look at me, I am a big sausage!”  I am walking through the room dramatically, landing hard on each of my feet.  “Watch out, my fat sausage tread might bring the house down!”

“Quoi?”  MB is amused but not sure why.

“What do you mean “quoi”,” I ask.  “I’m a sausage person…obviously.

“I don’t know what this is, a “sausage person”.” Read more

Free Walking Tours given by Parisian Volunteers

by Kathy Stanford at Femmes Francophiles

Always looking for an opportunity to combine practising French and to visit parts of Paris that I have not previously seen in detail I decided to do a walking tour of Paris with ‘Parisien d’un jour – Paris Greeter‘.

Contact is made through their website specifying what language you want to do the tour in, availability and interests. The walks are provided free of charge by volunteers who are all Parisians passionate about their city. You can however make a donation to the association if you wish. Offers for various tours of 2 of 3 hours based on your interests are emailed to you and you choose which one you want. The group is limited to 6 people. Read more.

Sipping on Saturday: French Wine Tasting class with Preston Mohr

by Gwen Evans guest posting on Like Home in Paris

If you are like most American visitors to Paris, one of the big pluses is being able to sample wonderful French wines at very reasonable prices.  The downside of that is that it can quite confusing and intimidating when faced with so many choices — many of which are unfamiliar to us from the States.  Add to that the fact that a lot of the wine labels have very little if any helpful information, and it’s a bit of a gamble when you are at the store. In my 20 plus trips to Paris I have tried (mostly at random) lots and lots of different wines, both red and white, and have never really had a bad bottle; for between 4 and 10 euros you can get some amazingly good wine. Even the equivalent of “2 buck chuck” here is a whole lot better than the stuff back home. Read more.


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