Yet more holiday rantings …

Hello France, hello beautiful weather, hello expanding waistline!

Flying into Toulouse our destination was a village called Najac which is about 1.5 hours away. The reason for our trip was to meet another blogging friend, Annette.

The motorways in France are well signed which is great, however their speed limit is 130 km which hubby was extolling the virtues of as we zoomed by, me clinging madly to the door admonishing the French for traveling on the right hand side of the road and their speed limit or should I say, lack thereof.

Our first night was spent in Albi which is a small provincial city about 45 minutes from Toulouse.  We motored on in the morning, leaving the picturesque city behind.

I had my nose glued to the window as we disappeared into the countryside driving past farms with freshly cut rolled hay or fields of beautiful sunflowers.  Stone farmhouses dotted the landscape with wooded hillsides tucked in-between .. a photographer’s paradise.

Needless to say, I was thrilled when we arrived at our destination Hotel Belle Rive which was tucked in next to the Aveyron River. Visiting our room I flung open white shutters to be greeted by a stunning postcard view. Perched high on the ridge above us was the Royal Fortress of Najac a commanding castle overlooking the medieval village of Najac.

Royal Fortress Najac – iPhone

Village of Najac – iPhone

Hotel Belle Rive

Let me introduce you to Annette Lepple. She writes a special blog called Annette’s Garden. The beauty of her property is conveyed in her blog as she is adept with her camera … her photography is wonderful. Annette is a passionate gardener who has studied garden design, written books and is happy to share her garden knowledge. I had been looking forward to meeting her and being able to wander about her property.

Arriving that afternoon, I felt so privileged to at last meet Annette and her partner George. We were given the guided tour accompanied by their happy pooches Laney and Nahia.

This wonderful image of Annette and George (Laney in the middle) is from Annette’s book ‘Gartentraume Garten Mit Gefuhl’
I wish I had taken this shot!

We left with a list of charming French villages that Annette thought we should see, and an invitation to join them for dinner,  I also had a copy of her beautiful book tucked under my arm.

Chateau de Penne

Restoring Chateau de Penne

Saint Antonin

Have you been to France? It is not only a beautiful place but it is a connoisseurs delight!

My French is lacking so I relied on hubby’s ‘school boy French’ and Google to assist us with our dining selections. There is nothing much better than sitting in a local café, sipping on a glass of Rosé, savouring local cheeses and crusty bread while listening to French banter.

Rosé Day – iPhone

Our last night in France was spent outdoors enjoying the warm weather and generous hospitality of our new friends, a delicious home cooked dinner (I have forgotten how many courses), matched with superb French wines was served and many stories were shared. Thank you both so very much!

The next day we were leaving France … a quick trip to the UK to see friends and family and then back to Frog Pond Farm!

82 thoughts

  1. Wow! woW! WOW! All fantastic photos of a really great time. I love all the photos, and you captured the countryside, villages and castles perfectly.

  2. Hi Julie stunning photos you certainly captured the French country scenery. Well the speed limit is ok for most passengers. But not as fast as on the M25 with me! Looking forward to the next chapter of your travels. All for now love ❤️ to you both. Bill xxx

  3. You nailed this post – the descriptions, the awesome awesome images, the feeling and the great location. You really shared us what it feels like being there.

  4. Hi Julie! Glad you had a wonderful time in France! My favourite place in France is the Provence area and especially the Hautes-Alpes department.

    • Hi Herman … oh we did have a wonderful time, it is such a beautiful place. Hautes-Alpes looks amazing .. I can see why it is your fav place there. Thanks for stopping by, lovely seeing you here. Hope Mr B is doing well!

  5. Well looks as if there is another great place to live as well as Crete, Looks as if we are spoilt for choice.
    Great pictures.

  6. We’re so lucky to be able to live here, Julie, and you’ve captured it –the spirit of France– so beautifully. You’re so good with your iphone, bravo. Again, what a pleasure it was to meet you, and here’s hoping we’ll meet again before too long. Big hug from us both ❤

    • Hey Annette .. oh yes, you are lucky living there. The beauty of France never ceases to amaze me. It was an absolute pleasure meeting you both too. And I’m sure we will meet again. Glad you like the iPhone shots. I just love the one of Najac and the castle. 😀 Big hugs to you ..

  7. France is another country I have lived in for a couple of years, and after reading your post I now feel quite homesick!

    It never ceases to amaze me how clean and beautiful French streets look in comparison with the average English one. Even on my own ‘well-kept’ road there are still fag ends and sweet wrappers which are not in bins.

      • I’ve lived in several places: Belfort, Pau, Nancy and Marseille. I also worked very briefly as an au pair in Lyon and as a holiday rep in the Alps. I would like to go to the North West as I’ve not been there – the centre also, but the North West interests me more.

  8. Sounds fantastic! Again how wonderful to meet another blogging friend. Your photos are stunning, as always. I especially like the sunflowers with hay bales in the distance and the mules ‘parked’ along the curb. The wine doesn’t look too shabby either!

    Happy Travels 🙂

    • Hi Julie .. oh it was fantastic. And it was so good catching up with Annette. Glad you enjoyed the photos .. that one of the sunflowers I took with my iPhone, it is so handy 😀 Ah that wine … certainly was not shabby! Thanks for stopping by

  9. OH! Stunning! Stunning! Stunning! What a huge delight! I kept wondering what it would be like to live in the shadow of a Castle…I think I could do it! Live in the shadow!

  10. Beautiful photos and memories of your amazing trip, Jules. Makes me wish I was back there about to travel around France with Siggy in a week’s time as we’d originally planned. But I it has given me something to aspire to, perhaps next European summer if she’s still there.

  11. Beautiful photography of a beautiful landscape, Julie. But that whipped cream looks especially nice! 🙂
    Looks like a perfect holiday. No wonder you’re ranting about it. 🙂

    • Hello Mr Draco … glad you enjoyed the photography, nice to share the French countryside. As for that dessert, I do recall helping myself. Only one more rant to come … then my holiday will be well and truly over. 🙂

  12. A lovely day out and so nice to meet up with some locals on tour. Did you visit the cathedral in Albi? A glass of chilled rose` in the sun in France sounds so inviting Julie.

  13. Wait. What? You traveled all the way to France to meet a blogging friend? That is great. I have an open door policy here and have met a few blogging friends when they’ve been in town. It really is a treat to finally meet someone you follow online. And your photos are beautiful. I love the towns and would not mind at all living in one. Of course, I think I would prefer Italy only because my father’s family comes from there. But your photos make France look very special and inviting. And what great people Annette and George appear to be.

    • Hey Emilio … we love France and given that our holiday started in the UK, it seemed like a perfect place to go and meet a great blogging friend who I have been following for ages. Great girl! Just loved finally meeting her. Oh yes, it is such a treat to meet someone you follow online .. really special. Thank you, so pleased you enjoyed the pics. Italy .. such a wonderful country. And as for the pasta … LOL

  14. My reaction is the opposite of yours. I found the 100km/hr speed limit in NZ frustratingly low. Here in Alberta, where we’re visiting, the main highways have a 110km/hr speed limit. The 120km/hr you mentioned for France is similar to that of the main highways in rural areas of the United States. In some remote places in the western United States, including west Texas, the speed limit can reach 130km/hr. Here’s to speed!

  15. France is such a beautiful country, Julie, and I enjoyed seeing it again in photos. 🙂

    Rick and I were in Provence back in 2000. The people, food, wine and views of the countryside were all wonderful experiences for us.

  16. Some stunning photos – superb French countryside and the photo of the castle viewed down the main street in Najaf is unreal! Between Crete and France you’ve had an amazing time – thanks for sharing.

  17. Wow. It sounds and looks like a wonderful time was had by all. How nice that you finally met Annette and George. And I always enjoy your photos, Julie, especially, this time, number 4. The land of counterpane!

  18. So So jealous. Not even saying a word pressed here 🙂 Apart I had it 35 years long. Europe was my backyard so to say. Gosh all these sweet memories looking at your great pics, thanks for posting Julie. Good you are back.

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