Cité de Carcassonne

Carcassonne is a beautiful fortified French town and a UNESCO World Heritage site…

Magpie's Nest Patty Szymkowicz Carassonne samplerduring the 3rd century A.D. a curtain wall was built and parts remain today…

Magpie's Nest Carcassonne samplerbuilding began in the 12th and 13th centuries of “La Cité”  as it is also called with 53 towers strung together by two enormous concentric walls…

Magpie's Nest Patty Szymkowicz Carcassonne Cathedralhere is a UNESCO quote about this ancient walled “city”:   

“Since the pre-Roman period, a fortified settlement has existed on the hill where Carcassonne now stands. In its present form it is an outstanding example of a medieval fortified town, with its massive defences encircling the castle and the surrounding buildings, its streets and its fine Gothic cathedral. Carcassonne is also of exceptional importance because of the lengthy restoration campaign undertaken by Viollet-le-Duc, one of the founders of the modern science of conservation.”

Magpie's Nest Patty Szymkowicz Carcassonne Hotel viewswe were excited that there was a planned overnight stay within the ancient walls…

Magpie's Nest Patty Szymkowicz Carcassonne Traveling Tea Cup with a viewand the traveling tea cup had a nice view from our second story window…

Magpie's Nest Patty Szymkowicz Carcassonne Traveling T Cupat night the fortress took on another kind of charm…

Magpie's Nest Patty Szymkowicz Carassonne at nightthe next day we were headed to the Midi-Pyrénées region in southwest France to visit Lourdes…

Magpie's Nest Patty Szymkowicz Carcassonne from Hotel joining Elizabeth’s Altered Book Lover for T Stands for Tuesday and linking two more art journal pages with AJJ’s JOURNEYS theme

Magpie's Nest Patty Szymkowicz CarcassonneI used torn pieces of peeled napkin for the starry sky… a photo that I took along with computer generated words and the Carcassonne medieval coat of arms…

 

music is the universal language…

 

Magpie's Nest Avignon Window lace curtain

in the weeks before our trip to France my mind would wander and I would imagine walking on the streets of Paris hearing accordion music played on a street corner…Magpie's Nest Patty Szymkowicz Avignon portal and marketas Mr Magpie and I were strolling the narrow cobble stone back streets of Avignon we happened upon a gentleman playing his accordion…

Magpie's Nest Patty Szymkowicz Avignon around townmy heart skipped a beat when I heard him and then we saw him as we turned the corner…

Magpie's Nest Patty Szymkowicz Accordion PlayerI was so excited and did manage to take a short video

 you can see Mr Magpie on the left and you can hear me using my best “Merci Beaucoup” to the nice workmen in the van for not running into me around that sharp turn…

Magpie's Nest Patty Szymkowicz Avignon AccordionI am joining AJJ’s JOURNEYS challenge again with this page in my French Travel Journal capturing a moment we will never ever forget…

 

Giverny in April…

Magpie's Nest Patty Szymkowicz Giverny Reflectionsgetting to visit Monet’s Garden was one of the reasons we decided on Trafalgar’s BEST OF FRANCE tour (we can not speak highly enough of our brilliant tour director Krista Taylor and great coach driver Francis and thank them so very much for a memorable journey through France)…

Magpie's Nest Magpie's in Monet's Gardenwe visited on a Wednesday and there were quite a few people there…

Magpie's Nest Patty Szymkowicz Monet's Housesuch a beautiful place both inside and out…

Magpie's Nest Monet's Dining Roomwe can only imagine how crowded the gardens would be later in the season with the parade of flowers that never ends…

Magpie's Nest Patty Szymkowicz in Monet's Gardenstanding on the Japanese bridge even without water lilies blooming was a dream come true (I wanted to bring my paper parasol but it didn’t fit in the suitcase so my fold up Monet’s Garden umbrella had to do)…Magpie's Nest Room with a viewwe lingered a little longer and then had a bite of lunch in the village under a bright red sunbrella where we also visited a cute boutique for some cards and a slice of berry tarte…

Magpie's Nest Giverny Tea Room La Capucinewe were delighted by the precious rabbit hopping freely around the garden…

Magpie's Nest Giverny Monet Quoteleaving the village of Giverny and walking back to our coach I spotted a great bird refuge sign that inspired me to create a page in my French Travel Journey linking it to Art Journal Journey for their JOURNEYS themeMagpie's Nest Giverny beginning pagesErika couldn’t have picked a more inspiring theme this month as it has really helped me keep busy working in my travel journal trying to preserve some memoriesMagpie's Nest Patty Szymkowicz Bird Refuge Giverny(French text, heavy gesso, pan pastels, French bird refuge sign photo, used tea bag, pressed Virginia flowers)

Le Château de Chenonceau

 after a picnic of crusty bread and delicious Morbier cheese we strolled through the cutting gardens leading up to  Chenonceau castle

Magpie's Nest Tulip time at Chenonceau Castle there were lots of tulips for the stunning arrangements we would discover a little later inside the castle…

Magpie's Nest Traveling Tea Cup in the gardenI was so excited about this visit we only managed to pose the traveling tea cup in one spot in the garden and then back in the box she went…

Magpie's Nest Cutting Garden Traveling T CupMr Magpie had the big camera and I was mostly using my phone camera…

Magpie's Nest Le Chateau de Chenonceauthis fairytale Loire Valley castle was built on the site of an old mill on the River Cher with its first mention in writing in the 11th century….

Magpie's Nest Chenonceau keep and doorit is sometimes called “Château des Dames/the ladies chateau”…Magpie's Nest Chenonceau Castlethroughout its history there were numerous women who influenced its destiny and design…

Magpie's Nest Chenonceau flower arrangementsthe sumptuous  fresh flowers arranged so artfully in the well furnished Renaissance rooms took my breath away…Magpie's Nest Chenonceau flower reflectionsthere is a team of florists that renews the flower arrangements twice weekly… 

Magpie's Nest Chenonceau collagethey looked especially splendid in front of the 16th and 17th century tapestries and other art masterpieces…

Magpie's Nest The Cher Riveradding water elements to the arrangements was brilliant and fitting…Magpie's Nest Chateau lightif I lived nearby I would get a chateau season’s pass so I could visit often…

Magpie's Nest Chenonceaux village windowsthe village of Chenonceaux spelled with an “X” was really charming too…

Magpie's Nest Village of Chenonceau we could not help but snap a photo of this gentleman on his bike with a baguette maybe heading home for lunch…

Magpie's Nest Chenonceaux and Chenonceau CastleI am also sharing a spread in my French journal for Art Journal Journey’s JOURNEYS theme this month…

Magpie's Nest Chenonceau Chateauxhere’s wishing you a Happy T Day along with everyone over at Elizabeth’s Altered Book Lover

Magpie's Nest Patty Szymkowicz Journey to Chateau Chenonceaumerci pour votre visite!

Appalachian Trail Update …

just as Mr Magpie and I were getting ready for our French adventures back in April our son was preparing for his thru hike on the Appalachian Trail…

Colin Szymkowicz enjoying the walksince some of you have asked how Colin is doing I thought I would give an update (a little over a month down the trail he is slathering the Snickers bars with peanut butter to add some extra calories)…

Colin Szymkowicz Hiker manhe is having the time of his life and has said: “rain or shine I’m doing fine”…

Colin Szymkowicz Blooms along ATthe photos I am sharing here are in no particular order and I combined some in mosaics…

Colin Szymkowicz heading to Mainewe are really grateful to have Facebook so we can see some of his journey…Colin S NC GA lineColin posts when he can but is really enjoying being unplugged and out in nature (crossing the Georgia/North Carolina line above with all of his belongings and approximately a weeks worth of food on his back)… Colin Szymkowicz along the Appalachian TrailI used Pixlr Express to add his name to photos he has shared on his FB page…

Colin Szymkowicz Snow in May on the ATstill some miles to go to get closer to us here in northern Virginia…

Many more miles to go till NOVAwe hope to meet for a couple days before he continues on his trek north…

Colin S Grayson Highlands State Park Wilburn Ridge VAproud of our boy for weathering storms along the trail while he keeps putting one foot in front of the other (500+ miles and counting)…

Magpie's Nest Patty Szymkowicz Appalachian Trail Collage 2inspired by our son’s journey I am joining Erika’s JOURNEYS challenge over at Art Journal Journey with a digital collage I created using one of Colin’s photos and an Appalachian Trail map and bits of this and that…

*Monday update*

16 May 2016 quarter way point

 

daily bread …

inspired by the wonderful French gentleman from a postcard I bought for myself I created a spread in my France journal for the Journeys theme over at Art Journal Journey this month…

Magpie's Nest French Postcardspart of our journey to France was about food (of course)

Magpie's Nest food samplerthe “floating island dessert” that we had in Lyon was a ball of meringue floating on a light vanilla custard within a caramelized sugar cage … it sounded innocent enough when we ordered them…

Magpie's Nest BIG floating island dessertbut when the members of our coach tour group saw the size of them we could not believe our eyes (it was delicious and would have easily served four)…PhotosWallis C. Moirenc 2004 Ste pe 13240 Septemes les Vallonsenough about food for now… here is the page I started telling you about in the beginning… “pain quotidien” means “daily bread” I believe (credit for the postcard of the French gentleman appears when you click on the photo above in the picture description)…

Magpie's Nest La Campagne the countryside we took SO many photos of the gorgeous French countryside…

Magpie's Nest PanPastel coloringthe golden canola (rape seed) fields were dazzling with the blue skies…

Magpie's Nest the countrysidethe right hand page of my spread is about “the countryside/la campagne” with a few of our photos printed out smallish to fit the page…

Magpie's Nest daily bread the countrysidemy head is still whirling from our travels and photos and life in general…

Magpie's Nest french collage

thank you for stopping by oxo

Mucha at MSV

 just about an hour away past the tiny town of Paris…Magpie's Nest Virginia wildflowers in Mayis the “city” of Winchester, Virginia

Magpie's Nest downtown Winchesterwe had been wanting to visit the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley (MSV)

DSC04319and their special Alphonse Mucha exhibit…Magpie's Nest Mucha Samplerit was really splendid but no photos are permitted on traveling exhibits so I don’t have much more than this to share…

FullSizeRender-97it would certainly be worth a return trip as there are lots of fine exhibits there…

FullSizeRender-95since it was the first sunny day out of almost twelve days of rain we were drawn to the lovely gardens…

Magpie's Nest MSV Pink PavillionI liked the Pink Pavilion and Fountain Courtyard a lot…Mutti JJJ Mothers Day 2016 Winchester t cupas you can see we brought the traveling tea cup along for my Mother’s Day outing…

Magpie's Nest Traveling Tea Cupwe enjoyed our day…

Magpie's Nest what's bloomingI hope you had a lovely weekend too…

Magpie's Nest views from the gardenhere’s wishing you a Happy T Day along with everyone over at Elizabeth’s Altered Book Lover…

“Today, just take time to smell the roses, enjoy those little things about your life, your family, spouse, friends, job. Forget about the thorns -the pains and problems they cause you – and enjoy life”. -Bernard Kelvin Clive

 

 

Saint-Paul de Vence

DSC01480a quick drive by photo of an interesting office building in Nice, France with more info here…

DSC01410can’t seem to find a link for this interesting building…

Magpie's Nest St-Paul de Vence Francenot far from Nice and the French Riveria is the medieval hilltop village of Saint-Paul de Vence

Magpie's Nest St Paul de Vence Marc Chagall mosaicthe Russian born artist Marc Chagall lived there for almost twenty years…

Magpie's Nest St Paul cemeteryhe is buried in the cemetery along with his wife and brother (there is a glimpse of the ocean at the top left)…

Magpie's Nest St Paul de Vence cobblestoneswe enjoyed walking the beautiful cobblestone streets redone in the 1950’s…

Magpie's Nest St Paul de Vence clothes hangingwith photo opportunities at every turn…

Magpie's Nest streets of St Paul de Vencearriving early in the day made for less crowded streets…

Magpie's Nest St Paulstill feeling a bit all over the place when it comes to settling down and trying to capture some of our travels in my little journal…

Magpie's Nest Wisteria St Paul de VenceI keep getting lost in our photos…

Magpie's Nest St Paul de Vence artwork collagehere is what developed in my travel journal trying to record a bit from our visit to this beautiful town…

Magpie's Nest Patty Szymkowicz Marc Chagall pgI am joining Art Journal Journey for their JOURNEYS theme…

Magpie's Nest Patty Szymkowicz St Paul journal pgsas always I appreciate your visit very much ~♥~ thank you!

In our life there is a single color, as on an artist’s palette, which provides the meaning of life and art. It is the color of love.” -Marc Chagall

Opéra National de Paris – Palais Garnier

Erika’s great theme of “Journeys” for Art Journal Journey this month is the perfect kick in the pants to do what I always “think” about doing after a trip…

Magpie's Nest Patty Szymkowicz Opera House Belle Epoque stylejournaling on vacation doesn’t seem to work for me because I am always so excited to be traveling and busy taking photos and having a good time…

Magpie's Nest Opera Garnier 1875the Palais Garnier was one of our favorite places in Paris dazzling both inside and out…

Magpie's Nest Opera Garnier insideever since seeing some of blog friend Jeanie’s photos from the Marc Chagall ceiling several years ago I have dreamed of visiting and feasting my eyes on it…

Magpie's Nest Paris Opera Garnier seats 2000his gift to the French people as thanks for the many creative years he had in his adopted country truly is glorious and not easy to capture on camera…

Magpie's Nest Opera Chagall's ceilingif/when we return to Paris someday we would take the guided tour rather than just float through enjoying things on our own…

Magpie's Nest Patty Jim Opera Mirror Selfiestill in the pinch me I’m in Paris mode after meeting with Chris and Tony a bit earlier in the day we were enjoying each moment…

Magpie's Nest French Ephemerainspired by the Opera I got busy on my first pages in a moleskin journal I’ve had for many years using bits I brought home and assorted things I already had on hand…

Magpie's Nest Patty Szymkowicz 1968 Paris Opera envelopeI used part of this envelope piece that I had in my stash to make a lift up flap on the left hand page…

Magpie's Nest Patty Szymkowicz Opera pages (2)each page is perforated so I will be gluing something in the center to help keep the pages from pulling out…

Magpie's Nest Patty Szymkowicz Opera pages (1)the pages are quite thin so I’ll be adding layers to give them strength…

Magpie's Nest Patty Szymkowicz Opera pages“The dignity of the artist lies in his duty of keeping awake the sense of wonder in the world.” -Marc Chagall

 

Meeting in Paris…

our last full day in Paris had been planned and anticipated for many months as a special blog friend from Germany took the train to Paris the day before to meet us and spend the day with us…

Magpie's Nest Patty Szymkowicz Notre Damewe were all atwitter with excitement…

Magpie's Nest Arc de Triomphe 1836I knew from corresponding with Sabine that her English was excellent and it turns out her French is great too…

Sabine Jim and Patty on the BigBus Paris Tourwe three got along like peas in a pod playing tourist hopping on and off the BigBus pinching ourselves that there we were in Paris together meeting for the first time…

IMG_5090 Sabine and Jim map readersSabine and Jim were busy reading maps on one of the 37 bridges that cross over the Seine River…

IMG_5149 Sabine t cupMr Magpie snapped a photo of Sabine and I warming up with a nice cup of Earl Grey tea (the friendly waiter was curious about the traveling teacup so we explained how it gets around)…

Magpie's Nest Jim Szymkowicz Patty Sabinefrom beginning to end it was such a delightful day…

Magpie's Nest last night in Paris April 2016as we stepped out of the cafe where we had enjoyed a memorable dinner near our hotels La Tour Eiffel was doing her hourly five minute sparkle dance which never gets old…

Gifts from Sabinethanks so very much to dear Sabine for making the trip all by herself and she came bearing gifts too sharing some delicious treats from the town where she lives YUM YUM

~♥Vielen Dank, mein liebe Freund ♥~

Magpie's Nest golden moments in Parishere’s wishing everyone a Happy T Day over at Elizabeth’s Altered Book Lover oxo

“…God knows, when spring comes to Paris the humblest mortal alive must feel that he dwells in paradise….it is the intimacy with which his eye rests upon the scene. … A man does not need to be rich, nor even a citizen, to feel this way about Paris…” –Henry Miller

 

April in Paris…

our tour of France was oh so delightful from beginning to end…

Magpie's Nest Paris lifeParis was every bit as magical as I remembered…

Magpie's Nest La Tour Eiffel it was exciting to have the chance to make new memories…

Magpie's Nest April in Pariswe began our trip with a special meetup with Chris and her husband across town at the Montparnasse Tower

Magpie's Nest Montparnasse street signit was so nice of them to take time out from their visit to Paris from the UK to treat us to coffee and treats at the Le Ciel de Paris restaurant (The Sky of Paris) on the 56th floor (Chris ordered in French!)…

Magpie's Nest Chris Patty The Sky of Parisooh la laa it was a perfectly wonderful spot and Chris and Tony were great at pointing out the sights and getting us oriented…

Magpie's Nest The Traveling Tea Cup and La Tour Eiffelour husband’s were very good sports letting us chatter away…

Magpie's Nest views from Montparnasse TowerI was so excited I didn’t take any photos…

Magpie's Nest Panoramathe views of Paris were spectacular…

Magpie's Nest Montparnasse Tower viewit was definitely a “pinch me” moment to be in Paris AND to meet a blog friend that felt like an old friend as we have so much in common…

Chris B Momento holder front and backChris surprised me with a lovely momento holder that she made (front and back above)…

Chris B Momento holder insideit was the perfect size for carrying along and keeping all of those tickets and special bits I wanted to save…

Chris B Momento holder at workthank you so much Chris for making our meeting happen and for your kind and generous ways along with your sweet anniversary wishes…

Magpie's Nest Patty Szymkowicz flagswishing everyone over at Elizabeth’s Altered Book Lover a Happy T Day as I unpack and go through photos settling  back into “real” life here in Virginia…

 

anticipation…

Magpie's Nest Patty Szymkowicz Time Mandalathe days just before a trip are a wonderful and exciting time full of anticipation…

Magpie's Nest Patty Szymkowicz Easter tulipseven though Spring is a favorite time of year here in the Washington, D.C. area the thought of April in Paris delights me no end…Lilacs starting to bloom

Mr Magpie and I will be celebrating our 35th wedding anniversary in France which is a dream come true for me for several reasons…

Magpie's Nest Patty Szymkowicz Dish mandalaever since I took a wonderful solo nine week trip to Europe as a young woman many many years ago I thought how lovely it would be to return to Paris with someone special

Patty Szymkowicz slides from Paris long agorecently I came across a box of slides from my trip and am sharing a handful that were taken in France (the ones of me thanks to strangers)…Patty Mahoney Szymkowicz Chartres, France I believeI pretty much lived in that yellow waterproof coat (funny because yellow is not a favorite color of mine to wear now at all…oooh the memories and the things I realize I had forgotten after looking at some photos)…

Patty Szymkowicz UK to Franceconsidering my camera was surely nothing fancy (no clue what it was) and certainly not digital I did get a few nice shots (thanks to Mr Magpie for scanning the slides to view as photos… hopefully we can digitize all of my slides one day)… Magpie's Nest Patty Szymkowicz Viola Muscari2

we have a couple of extra special treats in store for us this trip as we are getting to meet up with two blog friends: Chris from the UK (Metro strike willing) who is in Paris right now and Sabine who will be traveling by train from Germany to spend our last day in Paris with us (SO exciting!!!)…

Magpie's Nest Patty Szymkowicz Souvenir of Parisa few more sleeps and off we go with our traveling tea cup…

Patty Szymkowica Taking TIme to TravelI am joining everyone over at Elizabeth’s Altered Book Lover to wish you a very Happy T Day and a lovely April too…

“I am not the same, having seen the moon shine on the other side of the world.” – Mary Anne Radmacher

 

Keep it Light…

our son is home from Colorado getting ready for his next big adventure which is hiking the Appalachian Trail

Appalachian Trail

yes you read that right… beginning in Georgia he’ll be WALKING north for almost 2,200 miles (3,540 kilometers) April to possibly September/October enjoying nature and sleeping under the stars…

AT energy snacks snickers

 Snickers candy bars are a bit of a tradition on the trail because they offer high energy and calories (walking so many miles each day it is not hard to burn anywhere from 4,000 to 6,000 calories)…

Magpie's Nest Patty Szymkowicz gratitude hand silk thread

in an effort to keep down the backpack weight hikers often have additional supplies and food sent that they can collect at various points along the trail (a good bit of planning goes into that)… 

Magpie's Nest Patty Szymkowicz wheels keep turning

quite an exciting time for our nature guy and for us as Mr Magpie and I prepare for our trip to France in April…

Magpie's Nest Aristole quote with Bluets

in keeping with sharing a drink for T Stands for Tuesday here is a really nice slender water bottle that I picked up at the stationary store of all places…

Contigo water bottle

I have missed visiting with everyone lately as I have been away from the computer alot… 

Magpie's Nest Maidenhair fern planter

here’s wishing you a Happy T Day along with everyone over at Elizabeth’s Altered Book Lover… 

“Travel light, live light, spread the light, be the light”   -Yogi tea bag inspiration