Sunny Sunflowers Why We Love The French Tournesols

Provençal postcards, Pinterest boards and Instagram are filled with photos of sunny sunflowers. Long before the Internet these beautiful flowers inspired Vincent Van Gogh to paint a still life series called Tournesols (Sunflowers). He painted the first of the group in 1887, in Paris, and then later (1888-89) in Arles.

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Retail Nightmares Big-Box Shopping in France

Nutmeg is here to tell you that Big-Box shopping is the same nightmare in France, as it is in Palm Springs, Chicago, Airdrie and Scarborough.

Big-box retail (think Target and Walmart) has evolved as a cost effective development strategy, under the guise of offering consumer convenience.  Without boring you all with the details, this concept works well for the landlord and tenant as no party is too “invested” in the location.  The big-box retail model has evolved from “destination” single stores, into power-centres where the customer can spend an entire day cruising hundreds of outlet stores. 

Market bags

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5 Reasons You Must Visit Plan a Visit to Australia’s Noosa Headlands

Despite early beginnings (1879) as a protected area, the Noosa Headlands would not exist if real estate developers had been successful in their push for further coastal development. Luckily for visitors and residents today, park advocates won their bid to protect the natural landscape in the 1960s. Read more about the Noosa Parks Association here.

Noosa Surfers #Noosa @Noosa

So, why should you visit the Noosa Headlands?

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Not to be Missed a Brisbane City Break for a Relaxing Stop-Over

“Give me Brisbane Any Day”

After driving nearly 3000 km from Sydney to Adelaide, G&N were happy to hand over the rental car keys. Virgin Australia winged them from cool, rainy Adelaide to sunny and slightly humid Brisbane City.

Nutmeg was in semi-tropical heaven.

Lone Pine Koala Sancutary Birds #Brisbane #Australia

“Brissy” invited G&N to explore her neighbourhoods starting with Brisbane’s South Bank. On a sunny Saturday afternoon, this lively venue is where the playground collides with the bar scene. Restaurants compete for clientele on their umbrella sheltered patios and kids’ laughter, from the swimming area, slices through the odd break in the bar music.

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Liguria Italy off the Beaten Track on the Via Julia Augusta

The Italian region of Liguria borders France, Piedmont and Tuscany. The coastline is the same as that of the exclusive French Riviera and offers similar benefits; beautiful cliffs, beach areas, fishing seaports, a maritime economy and water-sporting activities. Liguria has been popular with tourists and locals for decades.

Liguria is also one of the smallest of the Italian regions, it is densely populated and relatively prosperous economically. Genoa is the capital of Liguria, a large seaport with heavy cargo and cruise ship traffic – more details on Genoa can be found in a previous post.  The famous Cinque Terre is also a large attraction for the region.

Albenga Baptistery #Albenga #Italy @GingerandNutmeg

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Visit Beaucaire for Visions of a Different Time in Provence

Beaucaire is a small Provencal town located on the banks of the Rhone river and the Rhone-Sète canal, the name means beautiful stone. There is evidence of a Gallo-Roman settlement in this hilly area as early as 11 B.C.. The ancient community gave way to a medieval town in 1067 and the establishment of a castle in 1180.

Beaucaire Castle Provence Travel

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Australia Short Visit: How to Spend Three Days in Sydney

Finally, G&N landed “down-under” on a 30-day Australian “bucket list” trip –  it had been a 25-year discussion.

Described by friends as “Vancouver without the mountains” and “Stockholm with more people,” Sydney is Sydney without any comparable. Not entirely sure what to expect of the five-million person (not including visitors) metropolis the twosome stumbled out of their Darling Harbour hotel to explore the highlights. Late morning, after the 20-hour transit including a 16-hour flight leg the only thing on Nutmeg’s mind was finding a strong flat white coffee (maybe two).

Sydney Harbour Bridge #Sydney #Australia #VisitAustralia

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Why you Need Patience at the Sous Préfecture in Provence

Nutmeg is self-admittedly not a patient person. She develops a plan, does not appreciate too much external input, and certainly is not thrilled when there is a proposed change. Living in France, with life at a slower pace, has helped with her natural inclination somewhat. Although, Ginger is certain that she may never be fully cured of her affliction.

Here, are some verbal “pictures” of life in slow motion:

  • Walks with a 12 year old yellow lab
  • Sunday morning coffee service at the village café
  • Opening hours/days for the local boulangerie and boucherie
  • Watching a dog sleep in the sun
  • WiFi access in a thunderstorm
  • A swimming pool warmed only by the sun
  • Waiting for your tax refund

Coffee Time

This post is about the ultimate lesson in patience, a heavy dose of bureaucracy, mountains of paperwork and long queues. Welcome to the world of the sous-préfectures (home of French Administration)! Nutmeg has had the pleasure of visiting a couple of these offices while in Provence, the location in Aix-en-Provence and equally attractive Arles office.

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