Backroads of Burgundy: Autun, France

Backroads of Burgundy : Autun, France // A Beautiful JourneyAutun was recommended to us by our friends here in Dijon. A quiet town in the hills, it’s got a totally different feel than other towns in Burgundy we’ve visited with the winding streets connecting the high and low parts of the town. It’s claim to fame is the Roman theater and Roman ramparts found around the city. Back in the day the first Roman Emperor, Augustus, decided to call this city in Gaul, Augustodunum. From then on it was a powerful city, where the first Duke of Burgundy came from and where the Bonapart brothers studied many years later. Today, you can see a bit of the history of France in Autun, from Roman, Romanesque, Medieval Fairy Tale (found: Belle’s house from Beauty and the Beast-see pic below), and 19th century art and architecture.

Backroads of Burgundy : Autun, France // A Beautiful Journey

Backroads of Burgundy : Autun, France // A Beautiful JourneyToday the remains of the great Roman past can be seen at the Roman theater. Said to have held nearly 20,000 people it sits on a green hill patiently offering a seat to the generations-who now can watch a soccer game in the field below. Training next to Roman ruins, pas mal.

Backroads of Burgundy : Autun, France // A Beautiful Journey
Backroads of Burgundy : Autun, France // A Beautiful Journey
After the Roman ruins, Autun is known for its cathedral. A heavy structure with typically Burgundian colored rooftops, it seemed to have fallen into the only space left in the high part of the city-the next door buildings were seriously encroaching. Inside it is dark and under restoration, one thousand years of use begs for some care. But despite it’s seeming lack of grace and space at first view, the sculptures of the last judgement on the entrance portico seem to have been carved out of air just yesterday.
Backroads of Burgundy : Autun, France // A Beautiful Journey
Backroads of Burgundy : Autun, France // A Beautiful Journey
Backroads of Burgundy : Autun, France // A Beautiful Journey
Visiting on a Sunday there wasn’t much more to see, so after a quick stroll around the cathedral we ended our visit with a café créme watching the locals head to the town hall to place their votes in the first round of the French presidential election (way back in 2012!). One last reason to remember Autun for all you design folk: Autun is home to these fab Tolix chairs.
Besos, Dianne

Hola Madrid!

Just one and a half hours flying past the Alps and over the Pyranees, escape to one of my favorite cities…
Hola Madrid! A Beautiful Journey
where breakfast is toast, tomatos, olive oil, café con leche, and orange juice
and windows filled with colorful gominolas in every shape and size imaginable…
Hola Madrid! A Beautiful Journey
where regal columns and lions guard the national congress, where Spain’s democracy was restored,
 and the sun washes the elegant streets and stautes of Cibeles…
Where noise, color, cañas and tapas are waiting to welcome.
Salut Madrid, so nice to see you again!
Besos, Dianne

Little Luxuries: Fresh Flowers

Little Luxuries: Fresh Flowers in France

Happy Spring! Here’s a little peek at the amazing, unusually warm, spring colors that have been  enjoying here in France for the last two weeks. Aside from amazing bread and cheese, another little luxury of life in France is an abundance of affordable, fresh flowers. There’s at lease one florist in every quartier whose bright bouquets are daily displayed on the sidewalk and whose doors are open even longer then the bakery for the last-minute date or hostess gift. You can get a bunch of roses for about five euros or a bunch of tulips for three; take them as they are or choose a few different bunches to create a unique bouquet. When you take them into the shop the first thing they ask is “Pour offrir?”, and with a simple oui and at no extra charge they arrange even a three euro bunch of tulips into a pretty package ready to take as any kind of gift. I’ve made it a habit to stop by the florist for a fresh bunch every few weeks, and even if it is only three euros it makes the house feel a little more luxurious. One of the little perks of the French joie de vivre. 

Little Luxuries : Fresh Flowers //  A Beautiful Journey
Fresh Flowers in France // A Beautiful JourneyLittle Luxuries : Fresh Flowers // A Beautiful Journey
Flowers may be pretty inexpensive around here, but I’ve learned few little tricks to keep my flowers fresher longer:
  • Change the water every few days, it keeps the flowers happy and keeps any swampy stink away.
  • When you notice a few blossoms are starting to get limp, downsize your bouquet. Instead of throwing all the flowers away, separate the blooms that are still strong. Find some smaller vases, glasses, or old jars, cut the stems down and make a few little mini bouquets to for around  the house to make the colors last even longer.

Happy Spring!

Besos, Dianne