At church on Sunday morning our pastor talked about this verse in Philippians.  It spoke to me on the situation here in France.  It is still a very tense time in Europe as there are raids and arrests in France, Belgium and Germany.  It would be very easy to be afraid right now, very alone.  I feel very far from home and very vulnerable.  When it comes time to plan a trip, head across town or even go to the grocery store I have had moments of fear.  This verse can apply to almost any time in life when you are afraid of something or worried about something.  Peace is something that all of us can use more of.  I know I have heard this verse before, but right now it has taken on a special place in my heart.  I took this photo on our walk home from the bus stop last week.  My hope for you all is that you have peace this week in everything that you are doing, no matter where you are in the world.

IMG_0029Philippians 4:8-9 “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy — meditate on these things.  The things which you learned and and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.”

A Visit to Porte de Vanves in January

Last week was a difficult week in Paris, as I am sure you all have seen.  We live in the suburbs of Paris and we were not directly affected by any of the violence.  It is still very difficult to see our home in so much pain.  On Friday I did head into the city for a MOPS meeting, Mothers of Preschoolers.  We meet at the American Church of Paris and when I went into the city I had to think about whether or not it was safe.  There were two security guards instead of just one outside the church itself.  The hostage situation developed on Friday, but it was on the east side of town.  The part of town I was in didn’t really look that different, but there was definitely a higher level of tension for everyone. On Saturday we had planned on going into the city so I could visit the Porte de Vanves and my family could play on a play ground.  We talked about not going in, but we decided that since all of the hostage situations had been resolved that we felt comfortable going in. The market definitely was not as busy, but there were still quite a few vendors and shoppers and it was a nice enough day.  I visited my favorite vendor first and I was well rewarded for stopping.   This whole stack of trays.  They weigh a ton and have a variety of different marks on the bottom.  I am going to have to do some research to see if I can determine their ages and origins.  The shoe forms are something I have wanted to pick up. DSC_0016   Then I found these coal scuttles.  Thankfully I had my rolling market bag, but they still made quite the statement as I rolled and carried them through the rest of the market.  I am so excited about this pair of square ones.  I don’t know how old they are, but they are in really good condition.   DSC_0017   The third coal scuttle I found, another egg basket to add to my growing collection and an enamelware ladle, red of course!   DSC_0021   I found these pink plates, there are two plates and two bowls and they have a flamingo design on them.  How fun is that?  I haven’t been able to find any information on the marks on the back yet.  The painted coffee pot is an enamelware piece that I have been looking for.  I love the hand painted design, but usually these are out of my price range.  Thankfully my patience paid off and I was able to bring these beauty home.   DSC_0015   This plate is not my usual style, but something about the colors spoke to me.  That is what I love about markets, you never know what you are going to find and what is going to jump out at you.  When I got this home I realized I do have a growing collection in this color palette and it is fun to see these collections develop. DSC_0020   Another growing collection is of linens.  This large sheet has beautiful yellow embroidery along with the initials A L .  As far as I can tell it is in perfect condition.  I found this in a plastic bag sitting on a table.  The gentleman that was selling it was so engrossed in a board game his friends were playing that I had to wait several minutes to get his attention.  I love going to markets here in France and seeing how much fun they have.  Customer service is not something they worry about too much, but they still seem to do okay.   DSC_0018   And here is the entire collection.  I was able to purchase all of this in about 2 hours of shopping.  I made one circuit through the market and all my bags were full.  My sweet husband said I could go back for more if I wanted to, but the kids were hungry and I felt satisfied with my finds for the day. DSC_0012 The season for brocantes and markets is starting back up and I am so excited to get out there as much as possible. I am always curious what YOU would look for if you could visit a French market?   Sharing at Coastal Charm; Show and Share, The Scoop, Vintage Inspiration Party, Ivy and Elephants, Treasure Hunt Thursday, and Feathered Nest Friday.

Chateauneuf Brocante

    When we drive through France we keep our eyes on the horizon, because you never know what you are going to find.  We have driven a lot of miles in the United States and not once did we see a castle on the horizon.  Here in France it is expected to see something amazing.  Usually we have to satisfy ourselves with a google search of what we see and I read the history to my husband while we keep on driving.  On this trip we saw Chateauneuf on our way out of town.  It was sufficiently intriguing that we planned our trip howe with a lunch stop here.  If you were wondering there are no less than 5 Chateauneuf’s in France.  This is the one in Cote d’Or in the Burgundy Region.


  We made our way up the side of the mountain and into a parking spot in the tiny hilltop village.  Unfortunately most everything was closed for lunch or until after the new year. We decided to walk around for a bit and stretch our legs and see what the town had to offer. I started to wander with my camera and I found this alley.


Then I saw this sign, and I could not stop myself.  I didn’t tell my husband where I was going or anything.  Off I went.  I assumed I would have to be satisfied with looking through the windows and drooling at the treasures inside.


  Can you believe she was open?! There was a large group of people in the store, and I think the proprietress had stayed open to help them, because as soon as I left she closed up shop.  I am so thankful that I got the opportunity to visit this beautiful little shop.


  And she let me take pictures too.


  I did at least 3 laps around the tiny shop trying to take everything in.


  This giant copper tub with a stand was particularly intriguing, but knowing how much space we had in the car I didn’t even look at a price.


She had several beautiful sets of dishes.


  As well as many individual pieces.


  The stemware and the flatware is always intriguing and beautiful when it is all displayed so nicely. IMG_0007

After a slightly panicked phone call from my husband wondering where I had wondered off to I finished my shopping.  We debated eating lunch in the cafe, the menu they had looked pretty amazing, but we still had several hours left on the road with the question of how terrible the Parisian traffic would be.   DSC_0373

  We had time for one more quick photo in front of the castle itself and then it was back on the road with sandwiches.


Good bye Chateauneuf.  I hope to see you again one day.


Hartmannswillerkopf, Almost



On our last full day on vacation we were hoping to see a World War I battle site, called Hartmannswillerkopf. The battle started exactly 100 years before the day we went looking for it.  There is something special in those big anniversaries.  December 30, 1914 saw the French and Germans fighting over a mountain top that afforded strategic views of the border at the time.  The battle continued for over a year with few real advancements on either side.  If you look up this battle field the images are impressive.  We headed out hopeful for an exciting trip.  And then we got on the roads and we saw all the snow.  And then it kept snowing and we realized we would not be going up into any mountains that day.  We ended up driving by this memorial site and fortified church.  The kids had been in the car for about an hour and we were ready to get some wiggles out.






Pretty much every town in France has a memorial like this, in memory of the soldiers that fought and died in the two great wars.



Down a short alley and we were at the fortified church. There was the church, that dated back to the 11th century, and the protective wall around it that dated to the 15th century.



Here is one of the turrets on the wall.



The snow was hampering our sightseeing efforts, but it was beautiful.



Most of the graves were relatively new, and very well cared for.



These were the oldest graves in the cemetery.  They were under a tree behind a fence.




“Ici repose Jean Georges Reichenecker ne le 5 Mars1795 decede le 15 Juin 1866 RIP”



We were the only people here and when the church bells started to ring it was a very peaceful time.



Here is the gate and the church tower.



In the alley from the church back to our car I loved the Christmas decorations that people had up, here are just a couple of examples.




The Mairies office was a beautiful blue.


We saw another sign for the Vieil Armand, another name for Hartmannswillerkopf.  We decided to see how far we could get. We enjoy just driving around and exploring France, you never know what you will find in these small towns.




In this picture you can see the sign for where we were headed has a black line through it.



We drove for a little bit longer until we reached this sign.  It says “Route Non Sablee Non Deneige”  This road is not salted and snow is not removed.  We decided this was as far as we needed to go.



This house, in the last village we drove through, was so beautiful.



I wish I could have gotten a closer look at this house.  I am sure it has an amazing view on a good day as well.



This building was really interesting looking.



Here is the monument for this town.



Snow makes everything prettier.



This building was one of my favorites.



These windows were part of the Mairie’s office. I love the different lace on the windows and the green shutters.



Even though we didn’t make it all the way to the battlefield we still had fun and we felt like we learned something new, and had an adventure.  When you are traveling with 4 children sometimes that is all you can hope for.

Maybe one day we will get to go back and see the battlefield itself.  If you are ever in the Alsace region I would recommend it.


A Snowy Holiday

A quick trip after Christmas took us to a small town just across the border in Germany.  We rented a house through Airbnb and our host was so sweet.  She said that they usually didn’t get this much snow.  It was beautiful and serene, except when we were sliding on the roads.




I was fascinated by all of the firewood they had stacked up around the village.


I have stacked firewood before, I know how much work this is.


More and more firewood.


All of these piles were in the area around the house that we stayed.


I got to walk through this winter wonderland.  How lucky am I?  It was great to visit, but I am thankful that we no longer live in a snowy place.



Bird watching in the snow was challenging and fun.


I love this sign, no bikes, cars or horse and carriage.


Beware of dog signs in other countries are always interesting to me.


This purple berry bush was my favorite spots.  The purple was still so vibrant.



This cigarette machine on the side of the road was interesting.  I saw several of these around town.





Snowy vineyards are a beautiful sight.



We did make one trip into Colmar, we saw a replica of the Statue of Liberty.  I ran into the Christmas market to get some things for lunch, but unfortunately it was so cold that day that we did not get to visit much.