Monthly Archives: February 2016

Hiking in Chaudefour valley (Auvergne)

It’s been a few months now that I live in Auvergne, a region in central France, and I’m discovering this area little by little.

The great thing about settling down in a city or area that you don’t know, is that everything is to discover.

And you have a brand new eye and brain to look at things and meet people too : perfect ! 🙂

So far, I’m still not desappointed by Auvergne, I can even say it’s quite the opposite actually !

And that day, with a group of friends, we went for a hike at the Chaudefour valley.

About an hour away from Clermont-Ferrand, it was a great way to check how Fall transformed trees and landscape with beautiful colors, but also a test for our heartbeat and legs too, because that hike wasn’t that easy for me, being used to hike in flat landscapes around Paris.

It will just be another reason for me to get out and check new hikes, in order to train my body for this great landscapes around me 🙂

Our guidebook mentionned about 15 km (10 miles) and 5 hours, but we did it in 6h30 (one hour pause for lunch and plenty of little photo pause, and “let’s pretend I’m taking a photo and try to get back to a normal breathing rythm instead” 🙂

We didn’t dare going all the way up to the top of the Sancy (about 800 steps to reach that, once already on top of the others moutains). We wanted to make sure we could finish our hike before night time, but also with our legs carrying us, and in a good mood.  That will just be another excuse to come back in that area and hike that part 🙂

So here are my photos of that hike, where my eyes burst thanks to so many amazing colors and textures…

Fall is definitely my very favorite season !

🙂

I really loved that hike, and hope that next time I’ll be there, I’ll manage my heartbeat and my breath better than I did that very first time !

🙂

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Enjoying the snow in the Forez area

Until I settled down in Auvergne, I’ve never heard of Forez before.

And to be totally honest, I’m not even sure how to pronounce that name. I say “Forezzzzzz”, but it seems that local pronounce it “foré”

Since I first arrive in the area, I’ve been exploring a little bit this land, especially when  hiking because I like it so much, but also thanks to photography community on Instagram, such as igersClermontFerrand, Team Auvergne  and few others…

And one day, I saw on Instagram that  igers St Etienne was organising an event in the Forez area.

Discover the Forez  area and its snow actitivities ?

YES PLEASE !

🙂

and it was perfect because my friend Valérie was also available !

So here are my photos of that day, a kind of sum up of an amazing day spent in the Forez, in the snow 🙂

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After a lovely breakfast together, helping us to introduce each other (we were about 15 people), we headed toward the ski area at col de la loge. Some of us tried the snowshoes, but I’ve decided to make an attempt at cross country skiing, because the last time I did that I was in primary school !

I do remember that I’ve loved it very much though and that’s why I wanted to try that again.

🙂

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Ok, you know me, right ? I’m a knitter, so of course, if you give me ski sticks, you should expect something silly to happen, right ?  😉

tricot neige

Cross country ski ? I LOVEEEED IT !!!!

First of all, I loved it because I wasn’t as terrible as I suspected I would be, and my sensations, as a kid, came back quickly, after so many years rollerskating, and so I get to enjoy the landscape without really be afraid to fall (except in slopes !) 🙂

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From there, we had a little test on the gyropod, thanks to Gyroforez

(if, just like me, you didn’t know what was a gyropod, I guess you’ll know better the object by one of the brands : SEGWAY) 😉

And once again : it was much easier than planned, and another great idea to try this, because I don’t think I would have tried by myself if I was in the area.

After few crushed cones, I kind of enjoyed this ! 🙂

🙂

here is a photo souvenir taken by Andre_Berthet (merci !) 🙂

I try the gyropode for the first time of my life and I reallyyyyyyy liked that. I want one !!!!

A post shared by 📷 André Berthet 📷 (@andre_berthet) on

And then, before joing the rest of the group for lunch, we went to see the sled dog, patiently waiting outside for their next walk.

Dog sledding is one activity very high ranked on my list of the things I want to do in my life…

I didn’t do any this time, but I am actually very happy that I get to see these dogs for real.

Now that I know I can find some in my area, I may come back to cross that from my list !

But I’m glad I get to hug these doggies, although they smelled pretty bad and made a lot of noise barking !

🙂

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Everything around us was gorgeous, covered with snow and each tree species was transformed into a gorgeous icy snowy sculpture. Fog made it all look even better, adding some mystery to the view

🙂

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After a well deserved lunch break, we went to  Notre Dame de l’Hermitage

Where, again, the landscape was oh sooo pretyyyy !

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Once up there, everything was even more pretty than on the way to get there (yes, it is possible !)

From the view near the main building…

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to the walk to reach the chapel, on this snowy landscape, everything was wonderful, all covered with snow !

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I’ve been told that this place is very crowded in summertime, but on that day, we only met 2 other people, and that was another reason to enjoy this place ! 🙂

After visiting that place, we left the snow to drive to the little village of  Cervières, to visit the maison des grenadières, (museum of gold embroideress)

Very informative, our guide shared her knowledge with us but also showed us how they do to create gold embroiedrey (used for uniforms and very formals outfits). It’s a skills getting lost these days, so I’m glad I get to learn about it !

:

🙂
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Cervières is also a very cute little village !

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Located just nearby the highway, so very easy to reach and leave after such a busy great day !

I loved every minute spent in the Forez, and loved the landscape I’ve seen there. Not too flat, not to scary in height level too, and I also spy a  castle on our way to Cerviere 🙂

So thanks a lot to all the organisers of this great day :

L’Office de Tourisme des montagnes du Haut-Forez,

Forez Tourisme et

Loire Tourisme

and I can’t wait for the next one  !

🙂

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Zombie Walk in Paris

This Saturday, in Paris, there was the “Zombie Walk”.

And although I wasn’t in town this year, I thought I should share with you some of my former portraits taken from this event….

A zombie walk, it’s all about make up, blood, and scary faces right ? But it worked for me : I’ve been scared !

🙂

Are you afraid of zombies ?

🙂

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Photos of my beloved Paris

It’s been 6 months now, that I live in Central France, in an area called Auvergne.

A beautiful area, full of nature and quite rural too that I really enjoy these days, after spending 10 years of my life living in Paris.

When a city girl becomes a bit of a country girl.

And although, as a traveler I’ve shared few stories of my travel in Europe and in USA, I realise these days that I’ve never  really shared with you photos of Paris.

These days, news and medias shows a lot about Paris, and sadness is spread worldwide when thinking about that city.

I wanted to share with you the good things and photos I’ve enjoyed about Paris, because even if I really enjoy not living there anymore, I spent 10 years in Paris, and had some great time and memories with that city.

So here is few things I’ve enjoyed, in photos 🙂

Jardin des Tuileries, magnificent with a little bit of snow…

Juste un peu de silence - Paris

Chinese New Year’s celebration, because what’s great about living in a big city, is the mix of cultures and its different communities

Scène de rue Nouvel an chinois à Paris

Talking about community and celebration : my favorite event in Paris has to be “Ganesh celebration” (end of August each year, in the 10th district).

It is being in Paris, and not being in Paris at the same time… although there are oftenly more photographers than people celebrating (just like in most of the events in Paris), I really love Paris for being so multicultural.

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Jardin des Tuileries, again, but most of all : Place de la Concorde.

Sitting there, staring at the view, and the traffic on Place de la Concorde is really something I love (especially at night fall in summertime… Place de la Concorde is impressive and gorgeous with it’s lights on). You barely could guess all the awful things that happened few centuries ago there…

Paris landscape view on Eiffel Tower

Remembering that photo shooting I was supposed to do on Pont des Arts (before the love locks ruined it, ruined the view and the perspective). On a very early Sunday morning in december (like 7am – freezing cold).

I still can remember this, and the cold I’ve felt waiting for my friend, late because stocked in public transportation.

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Parc Monceau, my neighbourhood for almost 7 years. on that photo on a snowy day.

A very small park, in a very fancy area of Paris…. perfect for people watching (kids running, a fancy stroller contest among new mums, grandmas chatting with each other, little cute doggies…)

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Pont Bir-Hakeim

So famous (especially after the moovie “Inception”), because of it’s gorgeous perceptive but also for its view on the Eiffel tower.

This photo is among my very favorite ones I ever took while in Paris…

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Because in Paris, we throw bra against breast cancer !

Pink Bra Bazaar organise that event every year and it’s fun 🙂

Pink Bra - Eiffel tower

La Défense

Because when I arrived in Paris, I was just back from some time in USA, and I missed NYC.

Walking around La Défense was the only way where I could be surrounded by high buildings and its architecture mixed of iron and glass.

I kind of enjoyed walking in that maze of buildings…

La Défense, Paris

Jardin du Palais Royal

Definitely my favorite park to walk and spend some time in…

This photo is one of the oldest photo I have when starting photography… yet, still among my favorite.

Paris is where I’ve started photography, Paris is where  I became a photographer…

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What’s great about Jardin du Palais Royal is… well…. everything !

A little bit of quiet and peace, while surrounded by all the busiest places in Paris

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Having a walk in Le Marais, trying to find some interesting design shops for an original present for friends

because caught by night, but still, this old architecture makes it look pretty and interesting all the time anyway…

Destination Paris la nuit

Paris, since I’ve left you, and now that I live in the countryside, really, on a daily basis, I don’t miss you.

But these days, and especially after looking at these photos, I DO.

LOVE, (and peace)

🙂

Sandrine

Destination Paris !

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Feria in Jerez

Feria in Jerez… a very different one from Sevilla, and I can not decide which one I like best.

Just to put you in the mood for this, here is in a video, the feria as if you were there

In Sevilla, casetas (little houses where you eat, drink and dance), are private accessed. Unless you know someone to get you in, you won’t get in.

Whereas the feria in Jerez, you get in, out, you dance, it’s really easy to be part of the crowd and have fun.

In Sevilla, you only dance sevillanas, lots and lots of sevillanas <3….

In Jerez, some casetas are mix with bulerias (yes, I know, you may not know the difference, but that doesn’t really matter if you’re not a flamenco, sevillan dancer…)

In the feria in Jerez, from a certain time in the evening, the music becomes more popular just like the ones they play in clubs, the ambiance is then very changing from the one you’re in during the day, much more traditionnal.

In Sevilla, people, in the city, parades, and walk in traditionnal outfit, which can lead to pretty nice photos….whereas in Jerez, you won’t meet anyone in a costume in the city, unless that personn is on her way to the feria (which takes place a bit outside of the city)

And this year, it’s in feria de Jerez that I had fun… so much fun that at some point, I had a hard time to choose between take my camera and putting my flamenco dress on to go out and dance ! I’ve tried to do both at the same time, but it’s : not esthetic at all, and quite bothering because the dress already takes a lot of space and  totally changes the way you’re mooving around 🙁

So here are, in a few photos, this feria of Jerez, where I’ve spent some of the most amazing (and happy) vacations of my life… I think I’m on that planet to grow older and be retired in Andalucia…

I won’t make it this year, and already feel how much I miss it….I can’t wait for next year to be back there 🙂

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Las Vegas by night, in photos

Las Vegas ? I really thought I will not like that place.

But that day, I’ve learnt  my lesson : I will never assume I don’t like place, unless I get there and check it by myself.

To be honest, I’m not a 800% fan, and I’ve only explored the city in terms of photography, as a reporter.

But it’s interesting to watch people, and feel that impressive amount of energy from the crowd working behind the scene to make this place alive, shiny and so full of light and glitter.

Waking up really early to watch the city getting ready, when streets are empty with people, and gambling machines are quiet, waiting for some company.

That’s from that sense of light that I’ve wanted to share with you my vision of Vegas, because also, that’s the cliché people have about it : neons everywhere, so many lights you could get blind.

Part of me hopes I will be able to go back there, to explore it a little bit more, and see its gorgeous lights 🙂

So here is my vision of the city that never sleeps 🙂

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L

Did you enjoy it ?

When do we go back there ? 🙂

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Andalucia – the land of bulls

Sometimes, in life, there are chances you have to grab…

Sometimes, an amazing moment happens just thanks to someone you’ve had the chance to meet at the right time… just a one personn…

And on that day, I’ve been extremly lucky to meet the right personn, and so to spend what is, so far, one of the best moment of my life… in the bull’s land.

A magic place, a secret one… somewhere between Jerez and Medina, in Andalucia, there was this place, a ranch where they raise bulls for corridas.

Just like Cabrel sings it in his song:  “where the lands are bordered by cactus, where the purple weed makes the landscape look magnificent…”

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Where bulls take a nap in the sun, or under the shadow of eucalyptus tree (they were 50 meters away from me : this is quite impressive – and scary !)

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Where horses share the land with bulls, and are really cherished

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Where they separates animals in the dust of their hoof …

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Under the burning sun of Andalucia…

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There, in that magic land… where I had the chance to be !

A place out of time, that almost makes me cry when thinking about it because I imagine dancers meeting, all dressed up with polkadots dresses, farmers, and toreros smoking cigars….

There, there was this place, a private arena, covered, where every wall shows a bit of history of the former glory from the past and present, of their love for what they are doing so well…

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A place where I’ve been allowed to walk, and be silly for a few minutes

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<3 <3 <3 in the bull’s land… <3 <3 <3

In the bull’s land, there is also toreadors… and as if this day hasn’t been enough amazing, I had the chance that day, thanks to my travelmate who knew him, to meet a toreador, Thomas Cerqueira, that stopped at the same restaurant as us…

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There was really something magic about that day…

🙂 🙂 🙂

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A visit to Strasbourg’s Xmas market

December is here and in France, especially in North East of France, it’s that time of year for a visit to Xmas market

and when I talk about Xmas markets, the most famous of them is in Strasbourg !

I love Strasbourg, it’s really a pretty city (a big one too!)

So here are some photos of Strasbourg’s Xmas market, because really, December fits very well that city 🙂

Hope you’ll enjoy this visit

🙂

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Grand Canyon, on a December morning

I’ve been dreaming of Grand Canyon for years.

And I think it all started in 2000, when I was a nanny on the East coast of USA.

That was my first stay in USA, and I wasn’t acknowledging the size of the country, and distances between things yet, I just thought “here I am, in USA being an au pair for a year, what should I visit during that year here ?”

But in the end, time went by, and although I kept really busy and spend lots of time exploring USA, I didn’t go to Grand Canyon that year.

And havn’t gone on my next trips in that country either : it always felt like Grand Canyon was there, in the middle of nowhere, in the middle of everything, but never really on my way. I fly on top of it when flying to the West coast, but that’s about it.

There was always too much driving or flying to reach Grand Canyon when I was on short vacation…. I had to really go there specifically for it and things around it.

And then…

One morning in December, my dream became reality. A day specifically picked :

my birthday !

(yes, I know, I am that kind of woman : the one who treats herself with Grand Canyon for her birthday !)

After celebrating Thanksgiving in San Diego with friends, I thought I should drive to Grand Canyon for my birthday.

Oh what a treat ! 🙂

I already showed you some of my photos from Las Vegas, and now is time for me to share another beautiful place with you :

Grand Canyon !!!

it reminds you, with all its simplicity, that we are just little small tiny things in this universe. And I love it when Nature reminds you this! 🙂

It also made me think a lot about pioneer, and explorers of the West. The ones who ended up there, looking for a better life (or gold), and ending in that desert, and huge Canyon… I’m sure it wasn’t such a gorgeous sight at first for them, but more a call for death, despair, hunger or at least : danger ! 🙁

(can you picture yourself there, after days traveling, in your carriage or on your horse, with screaming kids and wife, maybe some of them being sick, with snakes everywhere, and Natives tribes not welcoming, in that very hostile landscape, being hungry ??? yep, I’m sure Grand Canyon wasn’t such a great view 250 years ago !)

And I thought about it that day…

And that’s on a December early morning that I finally get to see Grand Canyon…

at 8.15am to enjoy the sweet and soft morning light at its best

(it was freezing cold, but a bit less scary that what my guide books advises me. I may have been lucky that day though : just a little bit of icy road, but no road closed, no snow storm, no ice storm, and not really ice : just a very FREEZING cold and not that many tourists.

But indeed : there was no tour, or guided visits to walk down the canyon on that day. I assume it’s all about low season and you can not have everything : no tourist and a visit… and it’s fine with me, if I had to go there again, I’ll probably will do it exactly that way !) 🙂

All these photos were taken on the 24 miles long road 64, that goes along the Southern part of Grand Canyon, with impressive and breathtaking viewpoints ! 🙂

If I remember, it took me about 3 hours to drive these 24 miles, because REALLY, I just couldn’t get enough of that view, and well, you never know if you’ll ever get a chance in your life to see it again 🙂

 
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I feel really luck for being among the ones who saw Grand Canyon !

but my “problem” now, is that, as for every places I’ve loved, I’m now really dreaming to be back there !

🙂

Grand Canyon

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Santacon in Portland

Portland, in Oregon, is known for its artistic and creative people. It is also known for its beer.

In France, in summertime, we have “ferias” in South west, known for red and white outfits and lots of alcohol.

Well Portland has its Santacon, and in many ways, it can describe perfectly what’s so awesome about that city !

Fun, creative, a bit regressive, hilarious, friendly and with a beer flavour ! 🙂

I’ve been lucky to be in town when this happened, and definitely wanted to “document” this event

(yeah yeah, taking photos was just another excuse for some fun and that was one of the funniest thing I’ve done there !) 🙂

Here, people just don’t give a f… about others, about being judged by people’s look, as long as it remains respectful, and cheerful, everything is possible, and that’s actually why I love this city so much !

Santacon in Portland ?

It’s a kind of bar crawl, with plenty of silly games in between 2 locations, and organisers “kidnap” some among the crowd for a “special silly mission” !

Not that many kids, definitely an adult event and that’s fine with me !

When celebrating Christmas doesn’t include cheesy and boring Disney setting, I have to ask for more !

🙂

And so I’ve spent my day repeating “Hello Santa !” and I just loved it !

🙂

Hello pretty Santa ! 🙂

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Hello hairy Santa  ! 🙂

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Hello phone addicted Santa !

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Hello Santa… cruz ! 😀

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Watchout Santa, a reindeer  ! 😀

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Hello scary Santa ! 🙂

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Hello my name is… SANTA ! 🙂

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Santa tubbies ! 🙂

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Bling Bling Gangsta Santa

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and that’s when a funny game happened 🙂

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and then, while on our way to another bar location …

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My friend and I were kidnapped with other Santas, for a special mission…

Here’s how funny it felt in the car, where they played very loud and hypnotic Christmas music

🙂 🙂 🙂

And I have to say that this mission was purely AWESOME !

We went to roller skate in a community center nearby, mostly surrounded by kids and their parents, so it was, beside the rollerskate, quite awesome ! 🙂

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I’ve loved it, and here is a video to proove that Santa also knows how to rollerskate 🙂

🙂

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and then, we get back to the event to join the crowd who kept drinking while we were away and was starting some silly games…

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A jumping contest, over a very scary swimming pool full of sharks !

Good job Xmas tree !

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Alcohol helping, this became more and more funny

hey… hello Santa ! 🙂

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We kind of ended the event in an old bar, where the locals there felt between being invaded and bothered by us but also smiling at the surprise… and that made it even more fun actually ! 🙂

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Santacon in Portland ? I loved every single minute of it !

I’d love to do it again  !

 🙂

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