Thursday, 29 August 2019
It is very nearly ten years since we first arrived in Annecy. We will celebrate the day hopefully with a family gathering, but definitely with a touch of nostalgia as we are not the same family anymore. I don't mean that in any sort of outlandish, sensational way. Time does what it wants and children of 6, 9 and 12 need their parents in very different ways to children of, well, you can do the maths.
But, the maternal emotion of that memory can wait for another post.
Today, I remember instead the magic of seeing what was to be our new home for the first time. Even through the fog of tiredness brought about by the long journey across the world hot on the heels of the mammoth job of packing up our entire Australian lives, the Annecy lake sparkled; an inverted diamond in its mountain clasp.
I remember asking whether one day I would take the beauty for granted, not notice the mountains, or care not whether the light on the water was starkly reflective or announcing the cacophony of an approaching storm.
"No," was always the answer, accompanied with a look sometimes quizzical, sometimes stern.
They were right. The beauty of this lake and mountains will not fade like that of this ageing mother.
Nonetheless, like mother and child, we took time to get to know and love each other. We walked, climbed, skied, photographed, swam, water-skied...played together and the bond became stronger, even though we knew instinctively that one of us was always going to have the upper hand. As such, the climb to the top of the highest mountain around the lake, La Tournette, took on a bit of a mythical turn in my mind.
I made it this summer. And the photos of that day are the ones that I want to share with you.
Would I do it again? (am I talking of our original journey to France or the climb, I ask myself)
Yes. I know now that I can . That bit of fear that accompanied me would still be there, but it would not be the fear of the unknown, just a healthy, cautious instinct relating to my own capabilities.
Ten years, though. A reminder to just do it. As clichéd as it is, maybe this post will make you re-think a goal, a dream, a possibility...I hope so.
For the first part of our French adventure, as re-counted in 'But you are in France, Madame' (print or e-book) click here.
And, if you do click and purchase - thank-you.
Finally, I am linking today with #AllAboutFrance - another opportunity to travel vicariously, prepare for your next French holiday or just enjoy reading All About France.
Friday, 14 June 2019
My family would tell you that my ultimate goal was to not give away that I wasn’t French, at least not as soon as I opened my mouth. At times, I was rewarded with being given almost-French status by my French friends and acquaintances. But, on other occasions, merely uttering the single word “Bonjour” would confirm that I was a foreigner. At this point, seeing my crestfallen face, the person with whom I was speaking would tell me how cute my accent was, and that I should try very hard to keep it. Hadn’t anyone ever told them that cute had been a somewhat pejorative adjective, reserved for teenage girls like me, growing up alongside beautiful girls? I did not like the word, not one little bit.
(excerpt from 'But you are in France, Madame')
Actually, I'm not going to wait for your permission...
For those of you who know me personally, you will be familiar with the saga of the yellow tracksuit and how it shaped (scarred) me.
For those of you who don't, I'll keep it brief. As I inferred, it left a lasting...colourful...impression. They were on sale, our yellow tracksuits (no need to wonder why), at the low-cost store Target. Cleverly, my mother snapped up three bargains and had thrown in a few free years of fashion misery for two of my sisters and me (my youngest sister was spared the indignity as the only colour in her size was the passably acceptable navy blue). Let me confirm for you that in one's early teens, it is NOT cool to be dressed exactly like one's siblings... in anything... least of all badly form-fitting canary yellow.
Whether directly related to this experience, the era in which I grew up or my innate 'me', beauty and I have had a particular relationship. I have never had a facial, a manicure, a pedicure, a massage, an eye-brow shape or a consultation with a stylist or a beautician. I don't know anything about make-up, how to use it or what is age-appropriate. I sometimes wear clothes from decades past and get my hair cut at the fast-hair-cut salons with no pampering; just an in, cut and out. Yes, I have had leg waxes (with seriously undesirable effects), I did have my hair highlighted (my daughter burst into tears when she saw me) and I have to admit to sporting a perm, flared jeans and leggings (not simultaneously). I can't say it helped to pull off a girl-of-the-times look.
It did take a long while before I could see that that was ok. In fact, more than that. I discovered that I liked not conforming and it suited me better to sit on the edge of whatever was trending. Even in France, I boldly declare, whilst striking my Joan of Arc pose, in that birthplace of chic, where beauty and style are synonymous with 'any French girl', and where I observed that putting on snow boots to go out in the snow was logical but overrated, where rash vests for sun protection at the beach were not only overlooked, so were the bikini tops, where one scarf could magically be eight fashion items, where make-up was perfect and invisible, where underwear was more than a couple of pairs of solid Bonds items... even there, I was not intimidated. Non, non, non mais non.
Ok. Just a little bit.
Monday, 18 July 2016
The Tour de France is heading towards the Alps this week and will showcase our beautiful Haute Savoie region over three Stages. Take particular note of Stage 19 on Friday the 22nd July when the Tour will pass through our village of Talloires on the Annecy Lake.
- Stage 18. 21st July. Time trial from Sallanches to Megève
- Stage 19. 22nd July. Mountain Stage from Albertville to St Gervais. Passing by Lake Annecy and through our village of Talloires before tackling the Col de La Forclaz
- Stage 20. 23rd July. Mountain Stage from Megève to Avoriaz passing over the Col des Aravis that divides the Haute Savoie from the Savoie.
Here is an avant-goût (taster) of the beauty that you will see. For more images of the village and the area do take a look at our personal site: https://lecormorantalloires.wordpress.com
|The bay of Talloires|
|Looking across the Annecy Lake to Duingt. Look closely to see the castle on the tip of the promontory.|
|The Dents de Lanfon are in the background|
|Hop off and on the ferry to visit the Annecy Lake|
|The Bauges Mountains with Talloires in the foreground.|
|Our gorgeous village of Talloires|
|The Abbey - now a hotel but originally a monastery. Due to celebrate it's 1000 years in 2018!|
|The water of the lake is perfect for swimming, boating...|
|If you haven't visited - it really is worthwhile.|
And, for more information about the Tour - click here http://www.letour.com/le-tour/2016/us/stage-19.html