The Walk to the Boulangerie

We have just returned from a holiday in France.  I got into a habit whilst we were there of walking to the Boulangerie for bread and croissants each morning.  Before anyone else was awake.

I woke up at about seven, pulled on my clothes oh-so-quietly, made a cup of tea oh-so-quietly, and crept across the gravel drive oh-so-quietly.  Which is not easy to do.

We were staying in part of this farmhouse.  I love the blue shutters.

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The owners live in this part of the house.  They weren’t up yet.  Only a slightly strangulated cockerel was up at this time.

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First I had to walk down a long driveway lined with Hibiscus.  I love Hibiscus.  It is the red splodge at the centre: a sense of careless abandon and wind up your skirts.

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Perfectly coiled petals, and new buds ready to burst.

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And the fresh spriggy growth, at a time of year where the garden can be starting to look tired of summer.

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We were surrounded by vineyards and fields of sunflowers and maize.  Oh, and a few polytunnels.  Which look kind of mysterious at dawn, don’t they?

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As does this field of newly planted grape vines.

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I could see that these grapes weren’t ripe.  But do you think that stopped me from trying one or two?

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It seems that wherever I go in life, there is always a little Salvia to accompany me.  Today it was this one.  It hasn’t quite woken up.  It has sleep in its eyes.

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The vineyards and sunflower fields were pretty much weed-free, but along the verges were a few wildflowers.  I think this is Daucus carota, (Wild Carrot), or a close relative.  Whilst those I see on roadside verges at home are very green, the foliage had completely died back on these, and so the colours are muted.  The stems are chartreuse to straw-coloured.  The background is variations-on-buff, with a hint of soft pink and apricot, and the unopened flowers are burgundy.  It gives a warm, fuzzy feel as the sun is coming up.

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I love the spidery, curled calyx at the base of the umbel.

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I think this is my favourite photo, because it looks like a cosy little nest.

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There were also some rather handsome teasels.  Again in tones of buff.

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Another good habit I got into on holiday was doing some yoga every day.  It might just be a couple of sun salutations, or some standing postures.  I felt the difference in my posture and my walking.  I was conscious of where my shoulder-blades were and where my hip-bones were.  It is this awareness that I love about yoga.  It makes me love what my body does for me.  Just the simple act of walking is a miracle when you think about all the bones and muscles and tendons working in synchrony.  I breathed deeply and felt the blood pump to my fingertips.

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A couple of kilometres on, and we are approaching the village of Cravans.  This is the rather lovely cemetery.

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This is the little village of Cravans.  Whilst the surrounding fields are golden, in the village there were pops of colour from the green lamp-posts and pots of flowers.

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I loved this rusty bike with its basket of flowers.

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The crepe myrtle was spectacular.  I am used to seeing these explosions of colour in spring.  Spring blossom tends to cascade, or bubble in all directions.  Crepe myrtle shoots up into the sky, as if reaching for the stars.

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It explodes from the centre, like a firework.  The sparks fly outwards.  The flowers are held on the end of the stems; I’m guessing from this year’s growth.  This gives a lovely ombre effect as the flowers fade.

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There were some lovely textures walking along the main road.  I loved this wall with its roof-tiles.  That’s Hibiscus again!

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And shutters.  Lots of shutters.

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And beautiful Oleander.  It seems to pop up everywhere.

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I enjoyed this Campsis too.  It just can’t contain itself.

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The sun had come up now, and there was a clear blue sky.

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With a baguette in my bag, I made my way back.  I got a strong whiff of Lavender when I passed here.

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Is this tree Robinia?  I love its lush growth.  There were three growing in the school playground.

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Past the cemetery again, and this house looking down over its vineyard.

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Seedheads are beginning to outnumber flowers.  It gives a shimmery, burnished quality at this time of year.

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Back on the open road.

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I seem to be having a texture day.  I love these weathered and worn posts.

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Even the twists of plastic twine lit by the sun look pretty.

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Oh. I’ve got company. I feel I have a natural affinity with cows. There is little in the world you can do to upset them. Where horses can be skittish, there is little you can do to upset a cow’s docile gaze. Moo.

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Pesky flies. They did seem to be a particularly tenacious type of fly. I had the same fly follow me, buzzing around my ear for half a mile. I wish I had the equanimity of this cow. I didn’t.

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It was an uneventful but satisfying yomp back.  This field of sunflowers seemed to go on for miles.

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Then back up the drive of  sunlit Hibiscus.

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The diaphanous Gillenia.

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And sweet-smelling honeysuckle.

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Blue skies, and the smell of fresh coffee.

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Do you ever enjoy walking alone?  Do you notice more of the world around you?  Do you have a favourite time of day to take a walk?  

I aim in this blog to tune into my senses and give thanks for what we have in this world.  If you know someone who might like this post, feel free to click on the social media or email icons below.  Or, if you would like to receive a regular pop of wonder, you can click on the ‘Follow’ button at the base of this post to receive an email each time I publish a post.

I made a typo with ‘lick on the Follow button’.  Don’t lick it.  There are much nicer things to lick.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

48 Comments Add yours

  1. antsuxx says:

    What a brilliant uplifting morning read and it’s just what I enjoy and will be doing next week while away in Northern France,thanks ,Best Regards,Ant

    1. Ali says:

      Hope you enjoy it, Ant.

  2. Emma Cownie says:

    Ah, the morning light is superb!

  3. A real treat. Beautifully photographed, with much nostalgia for me. You might be amused that the response from both Jackie and a friend to my picture of the Boulangerie in this post was “Good haircut”. I was mystified until they explained the reflection in the window. https://derrickjknight.com/2012/08/01/aaargh/

  4. What a gorgeous place to stay. Your morning walks were filled with beautiful finds. I enjoy the stillness of the morning. Walking alone at times allows for discovery. What a wonderful trip 😊💗

    1. Ali says:

      Yes, I think it is that. No distractions, just discovery.

  5. shazza says:

    Looks like you noticed a lot on your way for croissants! Beautiful photos. X

    1. Ali says:

      Thank you Shazza.

  6. Claudette says:

    What a lovely holiday morning wak – thanks for sharing the beuatiful light

    1. Ali says:

      Thanks Claudette.

  7. janesmudgeegarden says:

    A gorgeous morning walk with you.. I can almost taste those French croissants! There are softer colours in the morning too. I rarely walk on my own, though I used to when we lived in Sydney. We are just planning a trip to France ourselves and finding it very difficult to make choices when there are so many places to choose from.

    1. Ali says:

      That’s exciting. Yes, it is a beautiful place. And huge, so lots of choice!

    2. fredgardener says:

      Wherever you go, you will have croissants for breakfast! …otherwise, if you need help choosing …

      1. Ali says:

        We were spoilt for choice! Brioche went down well with the kids too!

  8. I love crepe myrtles! They don’t grow here in Ohio because the winters are too cold, but they were everywhere when I lived in Maryland and you’ve made me miss them and their beautiful color this time of the season.
    Looks like you had a lovely holiday.

    1. Ali says:

      They are beautiful, aren’t they?

  9. Heyjude says:

    What a delightful place to stay in. I would love to be able to walk to a shop to buy croissants! The Crepe Myrtle is unfamiliar to me, though I believe they grow in Australia and southern USA. But I do like Hibiscus and Oleander. I might even try growing an Oleander or two. As for walking alone, that is something I do a lot and I love to do it slowly and mindfully, absorbing all that is around me.

    1. Ali says:

      I never see Oleander in Kent. Is it tender?

      1. Heyjude says:

        I should imagine so. Grows in Cape Town so I assume it doesn’t mind the wet, but hates frost. Mediterranean climate.

  10. Heyjude says:

    Oh, and don’t get me started on shutters. Especially blue shutters…
    🙂

  11. Penny Post says:

    Lovely images from your walk. I’m surprised there was any bread left by the time you got there, if you took all those photos on one walk. I often walk alone but my pictures then are of the wider scenery and I’m afraid I don’t share your affinity with cows as I walk through too many fields where they are out with young calves and the mothers get very protective

    1. Ali says:

      Stevie tells me this. He is nervous around cows, whilst I am nervous around horses.

  12. Susan Beard. says:

    I enjoyed our walk. Coffee now. Bye.

  13. Its not advisable to eat grapes from the vineyards (even “just a taste”) as they are heavily and regularly sprayed and you could be quite ill.

    1. Ali says:

      Uh. I forget about spraying.

  14. bcparkison says:

    We have had a good morning walk. the sunflowers by the way look like they are about ready for harvest.

    1. Ali says:

      Yes, they did look quite crunchy!

  15. Ali, Your creativity is inspiring! One gorgeous post after another! I love walking alone and I do believe I see more on my own. You’ve inspired me to share my next walk!

    1. Ali says:

      Thank you, Michele, that’s a lovely comment to receive. X

  16. fredgardener says:

    Nice overview of a part of my country. We can already smell the scent of flowers and imagine the “baguette et croissants” …😉

  17. Jenny says:

    A beautiful walk on a beautiful morning with gorgeous scenes, but I have to say a long walk for croissants. We stayed in the medieval village of Tourette sur Loup last summer and our boulangerie was just a few steps away. We probably could have done with a long walk to burn off those calories.

    1. Ali says:

      That’s what I told myself!

  18. No, I won’t lick any of the buttons! 🙂

  19. Eliza Waters says:

    A lovely holiday – I love France!

  20. Caro says:

    A lovely way to start the day, especially with sunshine and fresh bread at the end of your walk. Reminds me when I stayed with a friend near Carcassone many years ago – so many photogenic walks along the Canal du Midi and I always started with a visit to the boulangerie.

    1. Ali says:

      That sounds sublime.

  21. Ann Mackay says:

    I enjoyed accompanying you on your lovely walk and am smiling now at the advice not to lick the button…don’t worry, I won’t!

  22. Gorgeous photos and what a lovely and mindful way to start the day, taking your time and noticing all the beauty around you. Hope you had a refreshing holiday. X

    1. Ali says:

      I did, thank you!

  23. I just LOVE the French countryside – and your photos capture it so beautifully! As someone above said, it felt like we were walking with you. I also love the little separate shops – the boulangerie, the boucherie, the fromagerie, etc each with its own specialities. Vive la France.

    1. Ali says:

      Yes, it is a lovely way to buy food.

  24. Ali, your blog posts really do my soul good. I am so excited because on my walks at the arboretum, I have been seeing these amazing flowers, and I didn’t know what they were, and you helped me identify them: hibiscus. I love them so much, too. Oh my goodness, but I loved those pictures of blue shutters, and I love it that you walk each morning to get bread. That sounds so perfect. I have been doing yoga daily, too, even if just a bit, and it helps so much. Thanks for your blog being a breath of fresh air.

    1. Ali says:

      That’s lovely to hear, Shelly. X

  25. Absolutely love those blue shutters. Oh how I would love some of those on my house. Yoga sounds a good idea Im wanting to start , I meditate a lot and really find that beneficial. Walking alone gives you the chance to notice things that you dont see when your in company.

    1. Ali says:

      Yes, that is what I find.

  26. That was exactly the walk I needed! What a beautiful walk!

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