Holiday afterthoughts

Chateau de Sarceaux from the distance

My sincere apologies for the long absence on this space. First, both work and home fronts went haywire in the weeks preceding our holiday and then our holiday for almost 3 weeks in France kicked off but internet connection then became a precious commodity.

Lots of stories to tell — which would take me a while to do together with the pictures that I also enjoyed taking along the way. Just when I thought I’ve seen it all from the many travels I’ve done in the past, this recent holiday brought in new and amazing surprises.

I will take you along to a French chateau where we spent one lovely evening wining and dining with the marquis and the marquise and to our camping experience in Cap Ferret where we had the best of both the Arcachon Bay and the Atlantic Coast as well as some of the amazing vineyards which produce some of the best French wines. Then we will move on to the Dordogne Valley which at first I thought was some backwaters of France but whose charm would hook me forever from its many amazing surprises that run from its many feudal castles to spectacular gardens, sunflower fields, Medieval villages, lively markets and so much more. Capping our holiday was a side trip to Monet’s garden in Giverny complemented by a lovely stay in a very cozy bed and breakfast where we felt very much at home.

Francesca became friends with the family dog right away

Our bedroom with original period furnishings — felt like a step back in time.

The little princess at the dining room

The Atlantic coast

Father and daughter are such water lovers — this place is paradise for them.

Our family

One of the many games to enjoy in the almost empty beach front along the Atlantic coast

Oyster stalls in Gujan Mestras along the Arcachon Bay

Father and daughter with the Medieval city of Saint Emilion in the background

The little girl in Saint Emilion

Our family in Saint Emilion

Saw lots of macarons in Saint Emilion and had to buy a dozen of different flavors.

Wine chateaux abound in Saint Emilion and this is just one of the many that we saw along the way. The little girl is showing off her tumbling skills here.

Wild flower fields we passed by in the Medoc area

Vineyards in the Medoc area oftentimes stretching to as far as the eyes can see

Sunflower fields


Our family in a field of wild blooms

The little girl with her haul of dead crabs in Gujan Mestras

The Dordogne river in the afternoon

Netting young trouts in the Dordogne

Opa and Oma flew in through Bergerac for a few days, much to our delight. They stayed at a very cozy hotel in nearby Le Coux et Bigaroux.

We celebrated Dad’s birthday with lunch in Sarlat and dinner in Audrix.

Together we visited the Chateau de Hautefort and were very impressed by its gardens

Our family in Chateau de Hautefort

Monet’s home in Giverny

Monet’s pond of lillies

Lillies in Giverny

About Malou
I'm a mom to a five-year old little girl with interest in cooking, baking, traveling and photography. Castles and palaces are special favorites so when weather permits for a good walk on weekends, me, hubby and little girl are always out for a bit of adventure.

108 Responses to Holiday afterthoughts

  1. Welcome back – and stunningly beautiful photos as always. Looks as if it was a great trip.

  2. Exquisite!!
    A certain little somebody looks very at home in the chateau!!
    That must be one of Best photosI have seen of Monet’s lake!!
    And the wild flower meadow… beautiful. So glad to know these places exist!!!

    • Malou says:

      Thanks a lot, Michael. I am just as surprised that there are so many lovely places out there. If you have become jaded by the usual tourist trap, go and see ones off the beaten track. ;-)

  3. viveka says:

    Welcome back …. wonderful photos – and my favorite family ! A castle well fitted for the little princess with family. Also back from my holiday or journey. Had a fantastic time and have so much to share … too many photos – are we able to have that really *smile

    • Malou says:

      Thanks a lot, Viveka! And I’m looking to catching up with your wonderful holiday too. I know the feeling with lots of pictures. I took a lot too. Every day away was filled with adventures that were just too good to ignore. ;-)

      • viveka says:

        Don’t know … I must have – missed half the post here .. now when I found my replay – very strange, but anyhow .. you got another one now. *smile – sorry for the confuse.

  4. marysmemories says:

    Welcome back to blogging. Look forward to all your exciting news. The phot0s are lovely,telling us what a great time you all had.

    • Malou says:

      Thanks a lot, Mary. I’m looking forward to sharing the adventures of the past 3 weeks. It feels like a lifetime given the many new impressions… ;-)

  5. Wow, what a vacation, and Monet’s Garden! I saw his Giverny paintings a long time ago in New Orleans when they were “touring” the states. Your photos reminded me of them. Beautiful.

    • Malou says:

      Thanks a lot, Cheryl! It was a surreal experience to be in Giverny and to be in his home and gardens. Simply a must-do and must-see if you come to Paris as it is not so far away. ;-)

      • I would love to, but, just you love castles, so I love Africa. The paintings were huge, amazing, and I will remember seeing them for the rest of my life. But, oddly enough, the art museum in New Orleans has a Monet, a very small painting of Giverny in a snowstorm – those kind of cotton-ball snowflakes that blur an entire landscape. It’s a marvel, so different from the others.

  6. FeyGirl says:

    Such wonderful adventures, and beautiful photographs! ♥

  7. zelmare says:

    Wonderful pictures, looks like you had a fantastic time! Thanks again for sharing. :)

  8. So impressed with everything, especially Monet’s pond!!!

  9. Your pictures are always breathtaking beautiful, Malou. Loved the picture of your little princess at the dining room table and the fields of wildflowers. You blessed my heart today!

    • Malou says:

      Thanks a lot, Joy. My little girl enjoyed the princess role to the hilt especially complemented by the faux tiara and earrings. ;-)

  10. John says:

    So glad you are back! Beautiful photos as always. Monet’s home is fabulous, and his pond looks so much like the painting he did of it. Wonderful photos of your little lady, she will surely treasure them in years to come. Well done!

    • Malou says:

      Thanks a lot, John. A visit to Monet’s home and gardens is a must if you happen to be in Paris in the future. Simply a spectacular place which undoubtedly inspired his wonderful paintings. ;-)

  11. avian101 says:

    As always, you have shot a wonderful group of pictures Malou! I can see clearly the lovely family that you have and the terrific places that you visit. I’m happy for you! :)

    • Malou says:

      Thanks a lot. I would definitely recommend these places to visit if you happen to visit France. Away from the maddening crowds in Paris, there is more of the French countryside to see and explore. ;-)

  12. I would LOVE to visit the Bordeaux region of France, and your pictures make me yearn for it even more so.

    • Malou says:

      Go for it, Doug. St. Emilion, the Medoc area and many more are simply spectacular. Do that chateau-hopping and wine tasting over cheese platters and fresh oysters. ;-)

  13. Angeline M says:

    Wonderful photos of your trip. I feel like I’ve had a mini vacation with you this morning. Thank you!

  14. It looks like you’ve had a relaxing time! Beautiful pics and beautiful family. Thank you for taking me on your journey.

  15. Amy says:

    Glad you are back. Such an enjoyable tour of France! Beautiful pics of your family. Thank you, Malou!

  16. June says:

    So gorgeous–I love the princess at that huge, elegant table!

  17. Mondrak says:

    Welcome back. Glad you enjoyed your holiday, and that was a stunning place you stayed in.

  18. I was wondering what had happened to you and now I know. Looks like a delightful vacation.

  19. RoSy says:

    Thanks you for always sharing a glimpse of your great adventures! Lots of nice scenery – great pix!

  20. Happy to hear of your beautiful holiday, Malou! The photos are stunning, especially Monet’s lily pond!

    • Malou says:

      It was a lovely mix of adventure in this holiday – staying in a chateau then getting downgraded to a tent and a little upgrade to a bed and breakfast. We saw a lot from beaches to chateaus and amazing gardens. ;-)

  21. Gorgeous, Malou! Welcome back!

    That field of wild flowers looks incredible! All the photos do :-) What a great vacation!

  22. Meenakshi says:

    What stunning pictures! Your daughter looks so cute seated at the head of the table. And I have never seen so many macarons in one place! Monet’s garden is gorgeous. One can only feel inspired in a setting like that!

    • Malou says:

      Thanks a lot. If you love macaroons, visit St-Emilion because they are in every nook and corner. And I recommend Dordogne too, especially for the chateaus and formal gardens. ;-)

  23. lynnwyvill says:

    Welcome back. Your photos are gorgeous. Your little girl is just darling; love the picture of her with her haul of dead crabs! Looks and sounds like you had an amazing holiday!

  24. Don says:

    Good to have you back. Your pics are marvellous

  25. dorannrule says:

    A lovely post Malou. I especially enjoyed Monet’s lilly pond! :)

  26. EllaDee says:

    Beautiful collection of photos and memories – thank you for enabling us to share the fun :)

  27. sillyliss says:

    Wow, what a trip! I was wondering why you’d gone missing from the internet. Looking forward to more stories. :)

  28. Wonderful! I love France and could keep going back forever! The Dordogne is one of my favourite areas so looking at your photos makes my feet start itching!

    • Malou says:

      We share the same love for this country and Dordogne was a wonderful discovery, with its charm well-hidden and only after being there a while that you realize that you’ve been hooked forever. ;-)

  29. artbycamila says:

    I missed you and your beautiful photos…

  30. What a lucky little girl you have. She’s gorgeous!

  31. Mike Sinnott says:

    Lovely countryside, lovely wine, lovely family.

  32. Michael Zoll says:

    Again very nice pictures and a good report! Thank you :-)

    Greetings from Berlin,


  33. Gilly Gee says:

    What a wonderful post Malou, I absolutely adore the wild flower field and I’m very envious :-)

  34. janinevasta says:

    Lovely to see you back from such a magical holiday Malou! Francesca is growing up so beautifully. And the French countryside is the perfect setting for a young princess!

  35. foodyrach says:

    The dining room is beautiful! Great photos.

  36. Kristy says:

    What a fabulous trip and photos! I’m planning a trip to France next April for my 35th birthday. Dining in a chateau…oooh la la! Your little one is adorable, it’s making me think that perhaps my little girl would love a trip to France with me :)

  37. Hi Malou, Loved your pix of Italy and France. so beautiful. I’ve nominated your blog for the One Lovely Blog award. Go to my post What an honor on the site below to complete your nomination.

  38. Hello Malou .Missed you and glad you are back. You take the most amazing pictures. Thanks for sharing

  39. Welcome back. Amazing pictures. Next on my list is to travel to France.

  40. I love the dordogne region,having stayed once in Sarlat after reading a book about an American woman who moved there. It was one of my most scenic drives. What area did you stay? I would love to return but need some tips. Also, was the chateau a rental? What an experience!

  41. Bams Triwoko says:

    Wonderful images.. :)

  42. Fantastic holiday shots! What a beautiful place to stay at. And your little girl seems to be wonderfully cute! :) Good to have you back. :)

  43. lucindalines says:

    Beautiful pictures. Enjoy!!

  44. Ingrid says:

    Stunning photos. I love the European countryside. Thanks for sharing.

  45. Vive La France, your pictures captured the essence of that part of the country.

  46. likeitiz says:

    Lovely photos! Beautiful family. Did you have lots of wine to sample?

    From the locations of the pictures, you’ve been traveling quite a bit. Did you have a car or did you travel by train? Sounds like a great adventure either way.

  47. It’s so lovely and peaceful visiting here.. it’s been a while. I loved your wildflower photos.. it’s hard to imagine being in a country where the wildflowers grow so casually along the road.. simply stunning!! And your princess has grown:)

  48. valeriejune says:

    This looks beautiful..i must remember it for my next holiday. You also have a beautiful family, you must feel very blessed! Tbanks for sharing.

  49. ayoliag says:

    WOW! Especially loved the wild flowers! So many gorgeous photos .. can’t wait to hear of more of your adventures!

  50. lily says:

    Thank you for the warm and lovely photos as always, Malou. The shore, architecture, and flower fields are all so beautiful. Looks like you and your family had a splendid time! ~ Lily

  51. Your daughter is so precious! As always! These photos are stunning, and they really give me so much inspiration for the next time I visit France! Beautiful :)

  52. namitasunder says:

    Thanks for bringing so much color and cheer to us.The little princess brings in so much happiness.God bless her.
    Amazing places you take us to.

  53. jelillie says:

    Beautiful photos as always! While I was in Amsterdam I went to the Hermitage for the Monet exhibition and saw his portraits of the Lily Pond. Thanks for showing me the real place!

  54. Welcome back Malou !!!!!!!!!!!!!

  55. viveka says:

    I’m so envy – this is a holiday journey like my German finance and I did .. during our years together – nearly the same places too. Monet’s place in Giverny absolutely stunning – we where there too late for the water lilies – we where too late for most flowers – we always went on holiday in September. Stunning photos as always – and it’s great to see current photos of you and your loved ones. Love that meadow photo with all the wild flowers. Thank you so much – I don’t understand why I haven’t comment on this earlier, because I have clicked like. Age .. or heat.

  56. I just wanted to thank you for following my blog. Recently, my blog moved to its own domain – I’d love to have you as a follower there, so you don’t miss out on any new posts. Thanks again!

  57. cyberbonn says:


    This is just to let you know that I have nominated you for the Beautiful Blogger Award.
    If you chose to participate, please grab award and see rules here:

  58. No need to apologize.. I think that’s what summers are for.. and look what beautiful treasures you’ve brought back in your photos! I loved Dordogne when we travelled through France.. Glad to have you back!!

  59. What a wonderful holiday…and your princess is soooo precious! Thanks for sharing these stunning pictures!

  60. Love those wildflowers! And the lilys…and the buildings! In other words – many wonderful shots! So fun.

  61. John says:

    Hey, I miss your posts! Hope you are all well. :)

  62. edebock says:

    I miss you too and hope that you’ll soon be blogging again!

  63. eof737 says:

    Wonderful photos… Hope all is well. ;-)

  64. The house, the food, the beach, the flowers, the family…all so beautiful. Simply gorgeous.

  65. Welcome back to the both of us! Looks like you had a beautiful holiday with your lovely little girl!

  66. Looks like such a fantastic family holiday! What a great way to spend so much time together. And your room at the Chateau looked amazing!

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