Some times ago I bought an interior design book from Malene Birger and decided to make some redecoration in our house. Today, when we brought home some new framed paintings I decided to group all the paintings we had in our living room together. This is how Malene creates this kind of charming, cozy and bohemian home. The result was pretty asstonishing compared how it was before. At the same time I also got rid of curtains and let the window only be decorated by the paintings. All paintings represent modern art but I could also mix it with some other types. I am not ready, this is just beginning.....


After we returned home we still continue to have "vacation", and sometime I feel that whole my life is like a long vacation. The weather is sunny with a temperature 25-28°C and in the pool 27°C thanks to our heating pump. We spend the most time outside enjoying the last moments of the Summer. We have also embarked on few projects like the creation of a study room, some changes in decoration and also to plant new plants in our garden. We have cancelled our trip to Italy as we feel it will be too much of traveling. Tomorrow we will pick up our new framed paintings and also visit Roche Bobois, my favorite furniture shop, in order to furnish our study you see there is not much drama in our life, on the contrary:))

Road Trip Tarn, Lot, Dordogne-DAY 6

Our magic journey is approaching the end. It feels a little bit sad to leave this beautiful place. We decided to drive home in two parts and to stay an additional night before returning home. The road in France are pretty dangerous and you need to pay much attention to the traffic, which is tiresome. The decision about the route was simple, we were both attracted by the beauty of our first day- the Gorge du Tarn so we decided to take the same route home. Our first stop was Rocamadour. This historical abbey has attracted visitors for its setting in a gorge above the river Dordogne but also for its historical monuments and its sanctuary. This is the second time we visited this place and I have never been disappointed. The setting is amazing. Later on we passed by other beautiful chateaux and natural scenary before we again stopped at the Chateau de la Caze and found one room still free. We took it and recognize that it was the same room as first time.

Road Trip Tarn, Lot, Dordogne-DAY 4&5

Eating fois gras each night, drinking wine and particularly eating dinner late has some disadvantages. After these 3 days my body was longing for something light like soup, salad or just yoghurt or fruits. But I know that in France is this not an option, dinner here is an event. We checked out from Le Vieux Logis and on the parking place we met two Americans who were on the same route to Brantome and to the same hotel so we said "A bientot". Brantome is called The Venice du Perigord" located on a small river called Dronne. We arrived to our hotel The Moulin d'Abbey early afternoon, checked in and strolled around. We found a beautiful village grounded around an ancient Abbey, also the Moulin served in the past for the purpose of the Abbey. We took again a boat ride in order to get an understanding of the water system and also to learn about the main attractions. Dinner we enjoyed outside on the hotel terrace together with other 2 couples. The majority of guests preferred the cozy and warm interior of the restaurant, but we claimed our Viking origin and stayed outside in the chilly night. Next morning we both caught a cold....
Next day after the breakfast we drove to Limouges and its porcelain factory. To me the name has always awoken memories of fine dining. You remember Meryl Streep's and Robert Redford's first meeting in Karin Blixen Out of limouges... is she worried for when traveling by train to her new home and husband through Africa. The factory was established 1797 and is still private owned and runs by 6th generation of the family. I entered the factory shop empty handed and left it with a pile of plates labeled Royal Limouges. From Limoge we drove to a small village Marreil when my husband had some project many years ago. Back home, we went to a simple bistro for a fish meal. The bistro was located near the river and very soon we had company of ducks and a baby otter who also wanted to share out meal.

Road Trip Tarn, Lot, Dordogne-DAY 3

We left Chateau Mercuès after a substantial breakfast and drove to Cahors. We wanted to see the bridge Pont Valentrè from 13th century. Then it was time to say good bye to the river Lot and drive towards the river Dordogne. We stopped in La Roque Gageac, a beautiful village located on a stunning position on the north bank of the Dordogne River, and backed by a steep hill / cliffs. Beautiful sceneries, houses perched over the river and the river Dordogne itself, so clean, so magic. We took a boat ride and listened to the guide about the history of this region. The Dordogne valley has always witnessed a succession of mythical people, scholars, merchants, Lords and religious people. The river represented an important link between Bordeaux and the Atlantic ocean. Before our trip I red about The Gardens of Marqueyssac which are listed as a National Historical Monument. Designed for walking the garden overlooks the entire Dordogne valley.
Happy, tired and hungry we drove to the village of Tremolat where I booked an accomodation at Vieux Logis. This was a cute and cozy hotel with a beautiful garden, flowers, apple trees, but particularly a big lawn with boxbom bushes cut into balls. We took a glass of champagne in the garden before we were seated in the restaurant. I can say that Champagne and fois gras were our signum during the whole trip. I knew that we would compensate it with a healthy lifestyle as soon as we arrived home.....

Road Trip Tarn, Lot, Dordogne-DAY 2

After the breakfast and a short walk along the river Tarn we left the Château de la Caze. At this point we didn't know that we will stay here once again on our way home, but about this later. Today's target was the river Lot and the Château Mercuès in Cahors. 20 years ago we made a similar trip along the river Lot and discovered this beautiful hotel Château Mercuès and their wines. It was in a hot summer and we still have memories from our dinner outside in the Château's courtyard. We followed the beautiful river Lot and stayed several time for picnic or just enjoying the surroundings. It was a long trip and when we finally navigated through Cahors and arrived to this peaceful hotel, we learnt that the restaurant was closed on Mondays. There were no other alternatives in the vicinity and we were adviced to drive 20 min to another good restaurant. We decided to drive to the near supermarket and to buy cheese and pate and spent the evening in our beautiful and expensive room. The view from the windows was remarkable as the chateau is located high over the river Lot. Again, the silence, only interrupted by the sound of rushing water of river Lot was the last thing I thought about before I fell in a deep sleep.
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This was the courtyard we had our dinner 20 years ago. It is still the same but Mondays are unfortunately closed.
We visited their wine cellar and also bought some bottles of wine. Older than Bordeaux and with a reputation for darkness and strength it is the only French red wine based on the Malbec grape. If you like deep red wine, ask for Cahors wine next time you make shopping. There are extraordinary.

Road Trip Tarn, Lot, Dordogne-DAY 1

France is like a beautiful garden. Wherever you go you will not be disappointed. This time we decided to drive to the valley of river Tarn, Lot and Dordogne. We have driven 2000 km mostly on small roads , through chestnut-forests and discovered another beautiful Coin de France. There are two famous gorges around the river Tarn, Gorge du Tarn and Gorge du Jonte, both offer breathtaking views and dizzy feeling of vertiginous heights. I was jumping in and out of the car using my camera frequently. I am one of those who assume hotels as important part of any journey and therefore I carefully selected our accommodation. However, first night we changed our booking as we passed by a beautiful Chateau de la Caze which we couldn't resist. Built in 14th century as a wedding gift to a young girl it serves today as a luxury hotel. The ambiance is something very special. We arrived late in the afternoon, tired and hungry. They had only one room left and we took it immediately. In France you can only have dinner after 19:30, not earlier. This I still have difficult to adopt in spite of living in France for 2 years. However, at 19.30 we were in the restaurant having a glass of champagne. We were approaching the fois gras region and therefore we chosen this fat and delicate goose liver as the starter, followed by a fish dish, which was my best meal ever. We fell asleep that night surrounded by complete darkn ess and stillness only interrupted by a rushing sound of the river Tarn.

Fast food at home

I bought today a slice of tuna fish and 4 gambas for our dinner. I roasted the fish in olive oil/butter infused with garlic and fresh thyme. The tuna fish has to be roasted carefully and when done it must be rare in the middle. The gambas are done also very quickly. I served it with cooked broccoli and haricots verts with a dressing à la Jamie Oliver: soya sauce, mirin, sesame oil, grated fresh ginger and pressed garlic. The vegetables need to be hot when mixing them with the dressing.....simple but delicious. It could also be served with a spoon of garlic/wasabi mayo. It took only 20 min to make it.....

Back home

It is still very warm in Provence and without rain it looks that we will have a very early Autumn. Our vine pergola has already lost many of its leaves and for those still remaining the color becomes rather brown than green. We arrived yesterday and as always it is great to be home. Early this morning we went to the market and bought some fish and vegetable, but only for today. Tomorrow it is time for our road trip to Dordogne. This time is camera with me and I am looking forward to using it frequently.

Road trip to Switzerland

Here come some pictures from our road trip through France to Switzerland. We always pack a picnic for the first day of traveling and then enjoy it when we find a nice and cozy place. We drove through very high mountains and the weather varied but we saw amazing sceneries and natural beauty. Finally, we reached our destination of our first day the Auberge Letraz at the lake Annecy.

Beau Rivage Lausanne

We just returned from a short trip to Lac Leman in order to meet my daughter who is in Geneva, Lausanne to enjoy two weddings of her friends. This was my first trip to Switzerland after I resigned from IBM and moved to Provence. My daughter spent 6 years in Lausanne before she moved back to Sweden. So this was an emotional trip and we celebrated it with 3 nights at Beau Rivage hotel. This was our third stay at this creme de la creme hotel. The hotel is a destination itself, opened in 1869 and still privately owned. You soon recognize that the pace of change is slower than at other hotels, which are driven by profit rather than by value to preserve it for next generations. The service is discrete and impeccable. The location at the Lac Leman with view over the lake and the Alps is out of this world. There is a friendly atmosphere at the hotel and you feel that you are part of a world which you normally not belong least for 3 nights:))

Figues de Provence

Figs are in season and we have them on the table for breakfast, lunch and dinner. They come in different colours but all of them are VERY sweet. I use them in the salads, particularly with rocket salad and parma ham. They also taste wonderful when roasted or grilled with meat. As desert they are unbeatable, just roasted in the oven 20 min at 200°C with little of butter and a drizzle of agave sirup and few rosemary sprigs. I serve them together with creme fraiche or yoghurt without additional sugar.....the sweetness of the fig is enough. This is an ancient fruit and have been cultivated in centuries but I learnt them eat fresh only few years ago. Until that they always arrived in dried form around Christmas time and were not appreciated at all. Now, in fresh form they becomes my favorite, but again I eat them only in season in spite of the fact that they are available in supermarkets around the year but.... without any taste.

Life and Work by Malene Birger

This is THE coffee table book if you are interested in design and beautiful photos. I received it today and disappeared for couple of hours. It is a pleasure for all senses and I  have such a desire to refurnish our house completely.

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