Design Mom » Love the Place You Live http://www.designmom.com The Intersection of Design & Motherhood Tue, 13 May 2014 16:00:51 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.5.1 Love the Place You Live: Abbey Restaurant http://www.designmom.com/2012/11/love-the-place-you-live-abby-restaurant/ http://www.designmom.com/2012/11/love-the-place-you-live-abby-restaurant/#comments Mon, 12 Nov 2012 18:30:30 +0000 Design Mom http://www.designmom.com/?p=26246

By Gabrielle.

The Abbey Restaurant (or Bistrot de l’Abbaye) is a place that’s been on our need-to-try-list since we moved here almost 2 years ago. I’m so glad we finally went. And I’m trying not to kick myself for not going sooner. I practically licked my plate clean!

We were told this restaurant was known for its good food and bad service. (There are expats who will say the same thing about the entire country of France. : ) But we found both the service and food to be wonderful.

This was a date, so it was Ben Blair and me sans kids. And we met 4 other friends at the restaurant. One of them, Mark, is the only other American we’ve met in town. He loves learning about the history of the area and told us the restaurant building was indeed a former abbey, and that the building dated to medieval times — approx 1100 a.d. (Wow!). He mentioned you could tell by the particular type of stone faces on the building.

He said that at the time, the little town would have been walled, and that the abbey would have been right outside the walls — with a moat between the two — so that travelers would have a place to eat and sleep if they approached when the wall was closed.

Above the restaurant, you can now find apartments. Can you imagine living in an apartment that’s almost a 1000 years old?

It was dark when we had dinner, so I went back in the daylight to snap a few photos. I also took some pictures around the restaurant’s neighborhood so you can get a better feel for the area.




Friends, I hope Love The Place You Live is helping you get out there and explore your communities. I LOVE reading the reports about your adventures. It’s so fun to see the column grow! December gets pretty crazy, so the next Love the Place You Live post will be in January. I encourage you to do something local between now and then, because I’d love to read your writeup! I’ll try to remind everyone a few days before.

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Love The Place You Live: November 2012 Linkup

Do you have a Love the Place You Live post you’d like to share? Adding your link is super easy!
-Click the “Add Your Link” button below.
-Copy in the url of your blog post.
-Name your link anything you like. For example, I would name mine “Gabrielle – Design Mom: Abby Restaurant”.
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Love the Place You Live: A Hike in the Woods http://www.designmom.com/2012/09/love-the-place-you-live-a-hike-in-the-woods/ http://www.designmom.com/2012/09/love-the-place-you-live-a-hike-in-the-woods/#comments Mon, 24 Sep 2012 21:08:49 +0000 Design Mom http://www.designmom.com/?p=23483

This post is brought to you by Time Razor. With Time Razor, get the scoop on tons of things to do near where you live, work & play. Download the FREE app here!

Fall has come in so gently and beautifully over the past few weeks, and the fantastic weather has really made us want to get outside and soak it up. So for this month’s Love The Place You Live exploration, we decided to seek out a hike through the local forest. Our town is actually very near a National Forest, and we drive through it all the time — but we’ve never stopped to hike!

fall hike

We parked near a village called La Lande de Goult and started up a path through the woods to the top of a hill. (Maybe it’s a small mountain. Living near the Rockies makes you biased. : )

weather vane

At the top, the path opened up on a clearing with a small church in the middle. There were views for miles!

fall hike in the forest

The ferns were on their way out for the season and covered the ground in a brown blanket.

Pockets of intensely green moss peeked through fallen leaves.

It felt good to be outside.

Today it has been pouring rain, and I imagine we’ll be see a lot of wet days over the next month, so I was doubly happy we’d made the effort to fit in a hike.

Friends, I hope Love The Place You Live is helping you get out there and explore your communities. I LOVE reading the reports about your adventures. It’s so fun to see the column grow! Time Razor came on as a sponsor this month and they’re a perfect fit. Their free app has a database of millions of cool local events across the U.S. — some happening right near you!

The next Love the Place You Live post will be Monday, October 15th. I encourage you to do something local between now and then, because I’d love to read your writeup! I’ll try to remind everyone a few days before.

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Love The Place You Live: September 2012 Linkup

Do you have a Love the Place You Live post you’d like to share? Adding your link is super easy!
-Click the “Add Your Link” button below.
-Copy in the url of your blog post.
-Name your link anything you like. For example, I would name mine “Gabrielle – Design Mom: Hike in the Forest”.
-Add your email address. it won’t be visible to other readers, but you’ll get a confirmation email that your link was added successfully.


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Love The Place You Live: Haras du Pin http://www.designmom.com/2012/08/love-the-place-you-live-haras-du-pin/ http://www.designmom.com/2012/08/love-the-place-you-live-haras-du-pin/#comments Mon, 20 Aug 2012 13:00:36 +0000 Design Mom http://www.designmom.com/?p=21658

Not long after we moved here, when we’d driven around a bit, we noticed signs that said Haras du [fill in the blank], all over the place. When we inquired about them, we were told they indicated horse breeding farms, and that the horse-breeding capital for all of France was right here in the town of Argentan. It’s called Haras du Pin. (You can pronounce is Huh-rah-do-pan.)



I can’t wait to tell you about our visit, but first, I need to apologize. I intended to write about William the Conquerer’s Castle in Caen for this post, because we spent Saturday in Caen running errands. But I didn’t get any photos! Not one. So I’m sharing our visit to Haras du Pin instead. It happened one year ago this very month. So the good news is: at least the photos look seasonal. : )

We weren’t sure what to expect when we arrived, but we bought tickets, entered the beautiful grounds and immediately joined a guided tour. It was in French so I didn’t get a ton out of it, but the tour took us around the buildings and into the stalls where we could see the horses.


The stalls were clean and the horses were very well tended.

Some stalls had labels indicating prizes (at least I think that’s what that is. Hah!).

And every stall listed the horse’s parents. The sign above is for Hannah Hill Kemo Sabe (rad name!), who happens to be an American horse. I’m so curious: do they get here by boat or by plane?

After the tour, we were invited to wander the grounds. At first, we thought the grounds were simply a large courtyard surrounded by buildings, but then we got a longer view:

After our visit, we all wanted to go home and watch Secretariat and learn more about horses. It definitely felt like I was visiting a world I know nothing about! Everybody know that young-girls-obsessed-with-horses is common stereotype, but I think I missed that phase. I feel much more curious about, and respectful of horses now as an adult, than I did as a child.

How about you? Did you ever fall in love with horses? Do you love them still?

One more fun fact: Last fall, Maude and Ralph participated in their school’s track and field program, and the regional track meet took place at Haras du Pin! Isn’t that a riot? Ralph also said another fun thing I should mention is that the athletes were served hot cocoa and cake. : )

Friends, I hope Love The Place You Live is helping you get out there and explore your communities. I LOVE reading the reports about your adventures. It’s so fun to see the column grow!

The next Love the Place You Live post will be Monday, September 17th. I encourage you to do something local between now and then, because I’d love to read your writeup! I’ll try to remind everyone a few days before.

Love The Place You Live: August 2012 Linkup

Do you have a Love the Place You Live post you’d like to share? Adding your link is super easy!
-Click the “Add Your Link” button below.
-Copy in the url of your blog post.
-Name your link anything you like. For example, I would name mine “Gabrielle – Design Mom: Haras du Pin”.
-Add your email address. it won’t be visible to other readers, but you’ll get a confirmation email that your link was added successfully.


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Love The Place You Live: Vide Grenier (Community Yard Sale) http://www.designmom.com/2012/06/love-the-place-you-live-vide-grenier-community-yard-sale/ http://www.designmom.com/2012/06/love-the-place-you-live-vide-grenier-community-yard-sale/#comments Mon, 04 Jun 2012 12:59:04 +0000 Design Mom http://www.designmom.com/?p=19949

For this month’s Love the Place You Live column, we visited a Vide Grenier — which is basically a community wide rummage sale. But this one was in a tiny village called Avoines that neighbors our own tiny village, and though we didn’t know many people there, it felt much like an event in our own neighborhood. We had a great time and came home with a few silly trinkets.

My favorite purchase was a handful of ceramic feves, the little tokens that are baked into King Cake. I bought several of both the white and colorful versions. Only 10 centimes each! I though they would make a fun souvenir. Or be little good-luck tokens to keep in your pocket on special days — like a big test day.

The vide grenier was centered around the town’s Mairie office. Even the tiniest villages have their own Mayor here in France, though this village is so tiny it doesn’t have a store or school or bakery or post office. Outside the Mairie, there were tables and benches set up for picniking, and there was a booth selling hot sandwiches and frites. So yummy!

The variety of items offered is one of the best parts of a Vide Grenier. You never know what you’re going to find! I’m always drawn to ceramics and crockery. The kids always end up with little toys. It was a successful outing! Everyone went home happy, we felt like good, contributing members of the community, and we didn’t spend too much. : )



Friends, I hope Love The Place You Live is helping you get out there and explore your communities. I LOVE reading the reports about your adventures. It’s so fun to see the column grow!

The next Love the Place You Live post will be Monday, July 16th. I hope you’ll get the chance to do something local between now and then, because I’d love to read your writeup! I’ll try to remind everyone a few days before. : )

Love The Place You Live: June 2012 Linkup

Do you have a Love the Place You Live post you’d like to share? Adding your link is super easy!
-Click the “Add Your Link” button below.
-Copy in the url of your blog post.
-Name your link anything you like. For example, I would name mine “Gabrielle – Design Mom: Vide Grenier”.
-Add your email address. it won’t be visible to other readers, but you’ll get a confirmation email that your link was added successfully.


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Love The Place You Live: Apple Juice Farm http://www.designmom.com/2012/04/love-the-place-you-live-apple-juice-farm/ http://www.designmom.com/2012/04/love-the-place-you-live-apple-juice-farm/#comments Mon, 23 Apr 2012 12:09:56 +0000 Design Mom http://www.designmom.com/?p=18703

For this Love the Place You Live column, I’m writing about Domain de la Galotière. It’s an apple and pear juice farm about 25 minutes from our house. This region of France produces wonderful apples, pears and all the related products like juice, cider, and a strong drink called calvados. Fun fact: this is the only region of France that doesn’t produce wine. No grapes here, it’s all about apples in Normandy.

The farm couldn’t have been more charming. Every building was made from half timber construction and the whole place was picturesque — down to the friendly dog. The inside of the shop was filled with jams and bottles and baskets and everything you might expect of a country farm. We ended up buying 6 bottles of apple juice and 6 of pear. Confession: we bought the juice on Saturday and we’re down to 1 bottle of apple and 3 bottles of pear today. It’s really good!




I know I said this last time, but I want to say it again: It’s working! Love The Place You Live is working!! Saturday was stormy and crazy and there was definitely part of me that didn’t want to leave the house — but I did it anyway, because I wanted to find something great for today’s column. I’m so glad I did!

The next Love the Place You Live post will be Monday, May 21st. [ Update: Actually, it's Monday, June 4th. ] I hope you’ll get the chance to do something local between now and then, because I’d love to read your writeup! I’ll try to remind everyone a few days before. : )

P.S. — I forgot to bring our bigger camera, so these images are all from my iPhone.



Love The Place You Live: April 2012 Linkup

Do you have a Love the Place You Live post you’d like to share? Adding your link is super easy!
-Click the “Add Your Link” button below.
-Copy in the url of your blog post.
-Name your link anything you like. For example, I named mine “Gabrielle – Design Mom: Apple Juice Farm”.
-Add your email address. it won’t be visible to other readers, but you’ll get a confirmation email that your link was added successfully.


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Love the Place You Live: L’Indiscret Brocante & Tea Salon http://www.designmom.com/2012/03/love-the-place-you-live-brocante-tea-salon/ http://www.designmom.com/2012/03/love-the-place-you-live-brocante-tea-salon/#comments Mon, 19 Mar 2012 14:03:18 +0000 Design Mom http://www.designmom.com/?p=17728

Friends, it’s working. Love the Place You Live is working! Meaning: this column is encouraging me to do some really satisfying local exploring. Which is exactly what I hoped for!

This week, I’m sharing some photos from a nearby brocante/tea salon (brocante = antique shop) called L’Indiscret. I have been meaning to check out this particular brocante since the very first week we moved here. It’s been over a year and I still hadn’t stopped in. Then, last week, when I was thinking about what I should write about for today’s post, I remembered the brocante! So Ben Blair and I dropped in on Saturday.


I was so glad we did! It’s a lovely a place — a cute antique shop up front, with a warehouse full of furniture in the back. The shopkeeper on Saturday was the daughter of the owners. She lives in Paris but comes home on the weekends to help at the brocante. The shop is currently only open on Wednesdays and Saturdays, but the owners dream about retiring from their day jobs and running the shop full-time. I love stories like that!

The shop was even better than I’d hoped. The prices were definitely reasonable — in fact, I picked up these two sweet pieces of green enamelware for 10 euros. If there’s something you’re looking for, you should definitely contact the owners — many of their items are listed online and they’ll ship! (Don’t worry, they speak both French and English. One more tip: open their site in Google Chrome and it will translate it for you.)



We were only there for a 10 or 15 minutes, and we didn’t have time to stay for food. But we snapped lots of photos and now I feel like I have another fun option to share with guests who want to pick up an authentic souvenir, or a fun place to meet friends for afternoon tea.

This Love the Place You Live series was just the push I needed to do a little exploring. Hooray! The next Love the Place You Live post will be Monday, April 23rd. I hope you’ll get the chance to do something local between now and then, because I’d love to read your writeup! I’ll try to remind everyone a few days before. : )




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Love the Place You Live: Mont Ormel http://www.designmom.com/2012/02/love-the-place-you-live-mont-ormel/ http://www.designmom.com/2012/02/love-the-place-you-live-mont-ormel/#comments Mon, 27 Feb 2012 14:04:45 +0000 Design Mom http://www.designmom.com/?p=16991


Okay you guys! You ready for my first Love the Place You Live report? Don’t laugh, but my explorations this weekend had a glitch: my camera was out of batteries. Hah! So instead, I decided to write about a local outing we made a couple of months ago to a place called Mont Ormel.

One unexpected side effect of moving to Normandy, is that we suddenly became very interested in World War II. There are signs of it everywhere, and there are plenty of local residents who were teenagers at the time and remember it well. So we’ve done our best to read up about it — at least, all the parts that have to do with this region.

Which brings me to Mont Ormel. Have you ever heard of it? I hadn’t. But if you’re a World War II buff, you probably have. A really decisive battle happened at Mont Ormel. Sometimes it’s called the Battle of Normandy, or the battle of the Argentan-Falaise Gap. It was the final battle before the Allied troops freed Paris. Kind of big deal! But it’s something only the locals really seem to know about, because the D-Day Beaches are the main destination for tourists who are interested in World War II. (And the D-Day Beaches are amazing too!)

Pretty much any drive through Normandy involves gorgeous views. In fact, one of the family jokes is that Ben Blair will say in a commanding voice: Behold: Normandy! whenever a particularly beautiful vista appears — and sometimes he says it like 15 different times on the same drive. It’s just really, really pretty here. But the views from Mont Ormel might be my favorite.

It was so hard to imagine a battle happening in such a serene place. It broke my heart thinking about it! If you ever get a chance to visit, there is a small visitor center with a well done movie — and it’s offered in both French and English. But even if the visitor center was closed, this is a great destination for a Sunday drive. Beautiful views and paths for taking a nice long walk.

I’ve got more images after the jump — and I’ve added a link-up widget at the bottom of the post. Feel free to add the url of your own Love the Place You Live report. I can’t wait to see what you found!






P.S. — The next Love the Place You Live post will be Monday, March 19th. I hope you’ll plan on doing something local between now and then and reporting on it that day. I’ll try to remind everyone a few days before. : )
——
Adding your link is super easy! Click the “Add Your Link” button. Copy in the url of your blog post. Name your link anything you like. I named mine “Gabrielle – Design Mom: Mont Ormel” as an example. Then add your email address (it won’t be visible, but you’ll get a confirmation email that your link was added successfully). And that’s it!



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Love the Place You Live http://www.designmom.com/2012/02/love-the-place-you-live-2/ http://www.designmom.com/2012/02/love-the-place-you-live-2/#comments Thu, 23 Feb 2012 15:52:03 +0000 Design Mom http://www.designmom.com/?p=6298

Last week I formally introduced a travel column, but if you’ve been reading awhile, you know I’m equally interested in adventures closer to home. Every where we’ve lived, there have been beloved landmarks, beautiful views and hip shops — and I’m sure that’s true for you as well!

I get a kick out of exploring whatever community I’m living in, so a couple of years ago I asked your opinion about a column called Love the Place You Live. The idea is that we’ll all seek out something cool in our own towns. It could be anything — a great library or museum, a new café, a terrific hike or concert, a favorite building, a local vegetable stand. Whatever you like! Then, we’ll write up our discoveries. I’ll add a linking tool to my post, so that if you’d like to share your adventures, all the links will be in one place, ready to explore.

Two years later and I still really love the idea. So let’s do it! Make plans to explore some bit of the place you live. On Monday, I’ll write up a post about what I found and I’ll include a link widget — you can add your post’s link and we can all read about some of the things people love about their towns. Good? I think it will be fun. I can’t wait to see what you guys love about where you live!!

What do you think? Is Love The Place You Live appealing to you? Do you like the idea of participating and adding your link? Or maybe just the friendly reminder to do some local exploring?

P.S. — I think it’s so important to embrace the place where you are living. Even if you’ll only be there for a short time! Learn to love it. Discover its treasures! Speaking of which, these photos are of an old-chapel-turned-exhibit-space. It’s where we saw the cow exhibit and it’s off by itself on a country road. We’re so glad we know about it!

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