Poppy Collated

A compilation of intrigue and beauty

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Château de Beynac

On the banks of the Dordogne River, close to our beautiful accommodation in Sarlat, is the stunning Château de Beynac.

Perched on the top of one of the limestone cliffs, Beynac Castle was built in the 12th century and is still home to an elderly woman. Wandering through the historical monument, you will find very old tapestries and a few pieces of simple furniture. The construction of the castle is fascinating, from the windows of varying heights and sizes, the intricate stairs and high watch towers. Enemies would have been easily seen from all angles. The grounds surrounding the castle are beautifully kept and the views are magnificent.

I highly recommend visiting!

Château de Beynac

Château de Beynac

That view!

That view!

Château de Beynac

Château de Beynac

Such a picturesque place

Such a picturesque place

Château de Beynac

Château de Beynac

So many stairs

So many stairs

Stunning!

Stunning!

Château de Beynac

Château de Beynac

Château de Beynac

Château de Beynac

Château de Beynac

Château de Beynac

All photos by Carly Smith

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To The South of France!

You may have previously read my post about taking a chance, and booking my art tour in the South of France.

My boyfriend had joined me for the time spent in Spain and Paris, however now he was heading home, and I was jumping on a train, on my own, to Sarlat!

I’d spent my entire holiday with my partner, now I was on this train heading to a new place on my own, without a phone, only a small French translation book and no English speakers around me, hoping someone would be at the other end to collect me! Now, while you might expect a cruisy train trip through the French countryside, that’s not always the case! A couple of hours in to the 5 hour journey, we hit a branch. Yes, a branch. We were then at a standstill for 4+ hours while the issues it had caused were fixed! I tried not to panic when the lovely French lady next to me gave little groans as each announcement was made. I continued to keep my head in my book as I hoped we would continue soon. In the end, she was able to write down some numbers for me, an indication of the time that was predicted we’d spend sitting in that spot. In the end, a few rows down, a girl spoke a little English and was able to tell me that it had been said we were to go to another stop and swap trains! Oh dear… Eventually, we made it all the way to Sarlat, I was so thankful to have avoided the stress of changing trains and not knowing where I was going! My fellow art tour friends were on the same train, in another carriage, however we had not met yet.

The train to Sarlat! Before it broke down...

The train to Sarlat! Before it broke down…

Finally, as we got to the station, hours later than expected, we were greeted by the lovely Christoph and Sarisa of the local taxi company Taxi a la Carte. They were our guides throughout this tour and were better than you could have ever expected. They are truly lovely people and have so much knowledge of the area.

Sarlat was an absolute dream. I get inspired just thinking about it, I’d so love to return one day. It was so different to Paris, a big bustling city. Sarlat and the surrounding area was truly stunning, a historic and friendly place, one that you could stay in forever!

That night, I met the rest of the group of wonderful aussies, for a lovely welcome dinner in Sarlat. Our accommodation at Les Cordeliers was in the centre of the town, we really were right in the middle of everything. It was fantastic and I highly recommend staying at this B&B. The owners were so friendly and had a great knowledge of the area. The breakfast was delicious and the rooms were beautiful!

Our first full day included a guided tour of Sarlat. This was a fantastic way to get a real understanding of the town and its history. It was also market day, which takes up a huge portion of the town. It is such a beautiful place, am I getting across my point of how wonderful this town is?!

Sarlat, France

Sarlat, France

Sarlat, France

Sarlat, France

Sarlat, France

Sarlat, France

Sarlat, France

Sarlat, France

Selfie in Sarlat!

Selfie in Sarlat!

The main square in Sarlat

The main square in Sarlat

Sarlat, France

Sarlat, France

Sarlat, France

Sarlat, France

All photos by Carly Smith

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Paris Adventures

On our first day in Paris, we walked to the local tour booking centre and booked in everything that we wanted to do and see while there. We thought this was the best idea as we knew that many attractions would book out days before and we really didn’t want to miss out!

We decided to stay in and cook at the apartment on our first night in Paris. We made delicious tapas with local ingredients, browsed the many books lining the shelves and drank the lovely wine left for us by our greeter, Maria. This was another reason that we were so happy that we decided to book an apartment, we were able to gather amazing food from the area and cook for ourselves. Having a washing machine was also wonderful!

Cooking at the apartment

Cooking at the apartment

We spent our first full day in Paris wandering around and made our way to The Louvre. It is huge!! We needed more time than expected there and enjoyed walking through the different areas of the museum. We stopped by to visit Mona, there was always a very large crowd around her!

The Louvre Museum

The Louvre Museum

Beautiful statues around The Louvre

Beautiful statues around The Louvre

The Louvre Museum

The Louvre Museum

Inside The Louvre

Inside The Louvre

Inside The Louvre

Inside The Louvre

Inside The Louvre

Inside The Louvre

Meeting Mona

Meeting Mona

The Eiffel Tower was wonderful. We were very lucky on this day as we’d tried to purchase tickets online to go up to the top, however it said they were sold out. We decided to go anyway and try our luck, we could just wander around it if need be. It was raining that day but just as we arrived, it stopped, which meant that there was not a huge line up, and we were able to successfully buy tickets. It was late afternoon so when we reached the top we were treated to a beautiful sunset. How perfect! It was chilly, but we were very happy to have made it to the viewing platform. It was dark by the time we came back down to the ground, so the tower was lit up and stunning.

The Eiffel Tower

The Eiffel Tower

The Eiffel Tower

The Eiffel Tower

The Eiffel Tower

The Eiffel Tower

The Eiffel Tower

The Eiffel Tower

Eiffel Tower pasta!

Eiffel Tower pasta!

Our apartment was in Montmartre so we spent an afternoon walking over to the Sacre Coeur. There were quite a few people there but we enjoyed having a look, then wandering through the beautiful streets, seeing the local artists and collecting our daily baguette on the way back.

Sacre Coeur

Sacre Coeur

Sacre Coeur

Sacre Coeur

We spent a day at Disneyland and had so much fun! We made it there easily on the metro system. We bought a ticket for both parks and tried to spend half our time at each. It was a big day, but we had a great time. We went on all the rides possible (some were closed), bought some cool presents for friends and family back home and just enjoyed the time together. The food was expensive and pretty average, but everything else was great.

Disneyland Paris

Disneyland Paris

Disneyland Paris

Disneyland Paris

Disneyland Paris

Disneyland Paris

We booked our ticket to the Moulin Rouge in advance as we didn’t want to miss out. It was also just down the road from our apartment so a very short walk there and back. We decided to skip on the dinner and ate at a beautiful Italian restaurant close by. The Moulin Rouge is excellent! We thoroughly enjoyed the entire performance and would go again for sure. It was exciting, colourful and well executed, I highly recommended.

Moulin Rouge

Moulin Rouge

Have you ever been to Paris? What were your favourite things to do and see?

All photos by Carly Smith

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The Beautiful Montmartre Apartment!

Following a quick stop in Malaga, we caught a plane to Paris! This was originally the first place I was to visit, when this was a solo holiday. As you may have already read in my earlier post A Week in a Paris Apartment? Yes, Please!, I had booked a beautiful place to stay in Montmartre for 7 nights. I was so excited to arrive here as I was looking forward to settling in one spot for a week and I was dying to see this fabulous apartment for myself!

On arrival we were greeted by Maria who gave us the rundown of the apartment and the local area. Maria was lovely and helpful and gave us the most beautiful flowers and wine! The crew at Haven In Paris were so great to deal with, we were more than happy with their service and the apartment. The photos below will speak for themselves! The apartment was so beautifully detailed in it’s design and decorated. It was extremely clean and had everything we could possibly need. There was a huge array of books to read and even DVDs to watch. The bed was very comfortable and the bathroom was lovely!

I highly recommend finding yourself an apartment when you have a week or more in one place. We were able to cook for ourselves, do our own laundry and do everything at our own pace. The subway was very close by and wandering around Montmartre was wonderful. The weather was on and off, mostly raining in the mornings, but it was quite unpredictable. It all added to the Paris charm!

I’d absolutely love to visit this apartment again one day! Fingers crossed!

The amazing view from our Montmartre Hideaway

The amazing view from our Montmartre Hideaway

Can you believe this view?! So beautiful!

Can you believe this view?! So beautiful!

The stunning Montmartre Hideaway - Haven In Paris

The stunning Montmartre Hideaway – Haven In Paris

So French!

So French!

Beautiful detail everywhere you look

Beautiful detail everywhere you look

Many beautiful books to read

Many beautiful books to read

The kitchen had everything we needed, and looked stunning!

The kitchen had everything we needed, and looked stunning!

There were a lot of stairs! But the apartment was worth it

There were a lot of stairs! But the apartment was worth it

The night view

The night view

Paris rooftops - the view from the Montmartre Apartment - Haven In Paris

Paris rooftops – the view from the Montmartre Apartment – Haven In Paris

All photos by Carly Smith

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A Week in a Paris Apartment? Yes, Please!

So I booked my dream art tour to France!

Then I started to consider the fact that I was travelling all the way from Australia to Europe. ALL THAT WAY. 30 something hours! The art tour was 10 amazing days, however I decided that if I was going to travel all the way to France, I was going to spend some time in Paris!

At this stage, I was doing this travelling on my own. I never expected to meet my man and that he’d join me on this adventure! More on that later.

I often read the AMAZING blog A Cup of Jo and I’d seen a post regarding Haven In Paris. So I checked out the HIP website and absolutely fell in love with the apartments. They were all perfectly styled with a simple modern French influence and looked so homely and comfortable compared to the hotels! For not a lot more money I could get a stunning one bedroom apartment in Montmartre, a short walk away from Sacre Coeur! So I did it! I booked an apartment in Paris for seven nights prior to my art tour!

The staff at HIP were so helpful and friendly, they really influenced my decision to book the apartment. I was sent information regarding the area and special details about the rental. I couldn’t believe this was really happening!

I’ll give you the full run down of the apartment and Paris in future posts! It was a dream…

Montmartre Hideaway Apartment, Paris

Montmartre Hideaway Apartment, Paris

Montmartre Hideaway Apartment, Paris

Montmartre Hideaway Apartment, Paris

Montmartre Hideaway Apartment, Paris

Montmartre Hideaway Apartment, Paris

All photos by Carly Smith

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I Dreamt of a European Adventure

I daydream; a lot. I also get fidgety when I feel myself falling into a routine that includes limited creativity and inspiration, leaving me itching for something exciting!

This was just how I felt the day I googled ‘International Art Tours’.

As a teenager I spent time refining my portrait drawing skills until I had it down to a fine art. Since moving into the working world, I sadly stopped finding the time to spend on my art. Even when I decided to do a 4 year university degree in Interior Architecture, I still didn’t delve too far back into my drawing.

So ‘International Art Tours’ I googled. And ‘Cilla Campbell’ is what I found.

I contacted Cilla, an art teacher from Sydney, to discuss her tours and was completely mesmerised by the thought of spending days drawing in small French villages, touring around the historic towns and castles, visiting wineries and truffle farms. So I did it, I booked an international art tour to France!

Do you ever feel like you need more inspiration and creativity in your life? Obviously this was quite a big move, however I’d wanted to book a trip to Europe for some time, so I felt that joining a tour with like minded people was a good move for me.

In further posts I will tell you all about my trip, including expanding it from the 10 day tour in France, to a 4.5 week European adventure!

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France poppy
All photos by Carly Smith