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A morning hike on my doorstep

Friday, August 22, 2014

For most of my hikes, I drive about one hour away, and it really feels like I am on a mini-vacation. Well, not this morning, I only drove about 10 minutes to reach my starting point... I very much hiked on my doorstep! Or I should say on my mother’s doorstep as I was very near her nursing home at some point.

Most of today’s hike was through the woods, the gorgeous Montmorency Forest North of Paris. As I said, this is home to me, yet I really don’t know this forest much. I live between two forests, Montmorency and Ecouen, and Ecouen, much smaller, I know very well. If you have seen my ‘routine walk’ blog, that was in Ecouen.

Anyway, back to Montmorency Forest. It is quite big (by Parisian suburbs' standards!). So I saw only a small part of it today, near Bouffémont, and the Château de la Chasse, where the kings used to stay when they came hunting (it means Hunting Castle). It is built by a lake, which I thought was quite enchanting today.

Now let me tell you the Château de la Chasse looks very strange because the towers of this 12th-century castle were cut (centuries ago), and it just looks a bit wrong in my opinion. But in a lovely way. A bit unbalanced, but fun (and hey, this isn’t a Disney castle we are talking about but a proper medieval castle, so Claire, show a bit of respect please!). LOL

And the middle part of the castle, between the two towers, looks just like a normal French house! Very strange. There is no way it looked like this in medieval times of course… But again, it is quite charming!

And I am not the only one to feel that way. I have only been once in my life to Château de la Chasse before, even though it is very close to home, and that was to post a blog about it a couple of years ago! Otherwise I never go there, because at weekends it feels like the motorway at rush hour, only with pedestrians and cyclists instead of cars. It is mad. But I only saw about 15 people there today, plus two groups of young children. So that was OK, even for a loner like me!!!

The castle was the middle of the hike and felt a bit like the purpose of it, so I was wondering whether I would find the hike interesting again after I left it behind.

Well, Montmorency Forest keeps one busy!!! Not only there is always something to look at (beautiful trees, among other things), but the steep paths keep you on your toes too!

First I stopped at Fountain Saint Radegonde. Its water was supposed to cure sterility and was a very popular destination in the 16th century. It used to be next to the Priory of Notre-Dame-de-Bois-Saint-Père, which doesn’t exist anymore. It is only the woods around the fountain now.

In the second part of my hike I also crossed an area with lots of heather… I so love heather… so romantic!

I forgot to mention the spiders! Well, this hike could have been called ‘Hiking with spiders’ because I have never walked through so many webs I think!

After a long difficult muddy path…

… I reached Bouffémont’s cemetery. I don’t like French cemeteries, they usually look sad and don’t have much greenery. Bouffémont’s cemetery was different as it was right by the woods, and with lots of beautiful trees in it too.

I was almost back at my starting point, but the last part of the hike wasn’t the less demanding one… my goodness, my knees and ankles are reminding me of this every minute tonight! But it was soooo worth it, a beautiful 3.5 hour-hike!

After some lunch at home I drove to my mother’s nursing home to spend time with her this afternoon (aren’t vacations just great?!). We had a good, peaceful time in the garden. Thank you all for asking about her lately. She has settled really well into this nursing home, which is like night and day compared to the previous, dreadful one. And look at the view when I am with her in the Alzheimer's Unit little garden (I was told by the director that they would improve the garden by the way, it is… a bit bare to say the least!)…

At times there are deers coming out of the forest… It is so good to be so close to nature… Now I think I’ll remember today’s hike each time I am in that garden with my mother and imagine all the wonderful paths behind these trees!

Thank you for reading! Have a fantastic weekend!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JOL1KEY2BOL3 8/23/2014 9:21AM

    Beautiful hike and photos! I'll have to remember all these hikes when I come again. Let us know what you're reading too during your vacation. I know you wanted to read some.

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DJSHIP46 8/23/2014 9:05AM

    So beautiful and so wonderful to find such a jewel so close to home!!! Thanks for sharing.

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WORKNPROGRESS49 8/23/2014 8:44AM

    emoticon emoticon for sharing!!! emoticon

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TINY67 8/23/2014 8:39AM

    Looks and sounds like you had a beautiful, relaxing hike. Thanks for the blog.

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GOANNA2 8/23/2014 8:23AM

    Your walk lifted my spirits today. I'm really happy
that you were close to your mum's home and that
you had a nice visit. Awesome photos too, thank you.

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CARRIELYN56 8/23/2014 7:59AM


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TRYINGHARD54 8/23/2014 7:29AM

    i just love love love your walks. no reason for me to leave my house... lol

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CFMOSS 8/23/2014 7:27AM

    Ah.....another wonderful walk capturing the beauty of the area. I agree on the towers looking...well...odd...whatever.

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SONDRAJ20 8/23/2014 7:20AM

    How wonderful to have such lovely woods only ten minutes from home! I am so happy to know that your mother is doing well in the new home. I'm sure that makes a great difference for you too. Enjoy the rest of your vacation!

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BESSHAILE 8/23/2014 6:44AM

    Thank you again, for taking me along with you. How wonderful that your mother can look out over green grass and trees.

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ALEXSGIRL1 8/23/2014 6:27AM

    glad you were visiting mom and she is doing better there what a beautiful hike and lovely pictures

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MARYJOANNA 8/23/2014 5:33AM

  France has lovely scenery! You are blessed!

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123ELAINE456 8/23/2014 1:48AM

  What a Wonderful Hike. Enjoyed it very much. The Photos are Beautiful As Always. So glad that your Mother is in a Wonderful Place being Well Cared For. That means so much to the Family and Friends for the Peace Of Mind It Brings. God Blessings Always. Have a Marvelous Day. Here is Lots Of Hugs!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!For Your Mom And You. Take Care.

Comment edited on: 8/23/2014 1:50:30 AM

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JIBBIE49 8/23/2014 1:36AM

    I'm sorry I've never been to France.

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GRACED777 8/23/2014 1:03AM

    I enjoyed your latest hike...thank you for taking me along. It's amazing the beauty around us if we take time to look. You have the eye and soul of an artist. I think you'd do your best to see the beauty around you wherever you lived. That spiderweb, while yucky in a way, was also exquisite! I'm glad you captured its beauty. That castle, the way it stands now is very unique, and the forest with its vistas is wonderful!

To know your mother is in good circumstances means a lot, too, doesn't it? So glad you now have that peace of mind. God bless you with rest, joy and beauty on the rest of your vacation, Claire!

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_BABE_ 8/23/2014 12:32AM

    What a great photo of a perfect web. emoticon

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KRYSSCOTT 8/22/2014 11:23PM

    I really look forward to your hikes.

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DARLENEK04 8/22/2014 11:05PM

  Claire, again so beautiful....

As a side note, are you ever worried about personal security?

Thanks for are most generous...I know it takes time to
down/up load all the pictures....but it is so lovely there in the forest...


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ROCKYCPA 8/22/2014 11:04PM

    Claire: Thanks so much for your wonderful blogs that really describe the area you are walking in so beautifully. I always enjoy reading them!

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KOHINOOR2 8/22/2014 11:04PM

    Thank you for the beautiful hike. I'm glad your mother is doing better at the new nursing home. Have a great weekend. emoticon

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LINDAK25 8/22/2014 10:36PM

    Lovely pictures, but it's good I wasn't there with you. You would have had to duct tape my mouth or listen to my complaints about the hills, the mud, and the spiders. I really don't like spiders. That castle is indeed strange. I didn't know the towers could by cut!

I'm so glad that your mom is doing good and that this nursing home is better than the last. It less stressful when you don't have to worry about that, too. Have a wonderful weekend.

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JAMER123 8/22/2014 10:12PM

    What a wonderful memory you have left me with! Another enjoyable hike (maybe because ti's you walking and not me LOL). Beautiful scenery.
Glad your mom is doing so well. Isn't it wonderful to have a peaceful garden and wildlife to look at. It certainly helps the mind to quiet when so puzzled. i am not sure my mother in law would look at any of it as she is tired all the time and doesn't notice anything around her.
Thank you for sharing!!
emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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LIVINHEALTHY9 8/22/2014 10:00PM

    Lovely Hike.

So glad to hear your mother is doing well in the new nursing home and that she has a lovely view of the garden. Hopefully, the director will follow through with adding more flowers. .

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DOVESEYES 8/22/2014 9:41PM

    What a beautiful walk thanks for taking me. The castle is very different and unusual. So happy you are having a lovely holiday.

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NASFKAB 8/22/2014 9:38PM

  thanks for sharing your lovely hike reliefyour mother is now being well looked after

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WOOFERCOALBOY 8/22/2014 9:36PM

    a lovely walk.

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SPEDED2 8/22/2014 9:12PM

    This is walking for pure pleasure. The exercise is just a pleasant side effect.

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REGILIEH 8/22/2014 9:09PM

    Hope you have a wonderful weekend!

I'm so glad your mother is better at her new place, but it don't like her beautiful daughter being attacked!



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MADAMES 8/22/2014 8:44PM

    What a beautiful hike! I especially enjoyed seeing the spider web and the lovely cemetery with all of the plants! It seems to me that it is natural to feel at home in the therapeutic!


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VEG954 8/22/2014 7:38PM

  Really enjoyed going on your walk with you via the beautiful pictures.
Must have smelled wonderful as well.

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INGMARIE 8/22/2014 7:27PM

    This was lovely, thank you.
I m so glad your mother is well cared for in her new place.
This was very beautiful hike, the spider-web was nice to, amazing how they do that .
Thank you for sharing. emoticon

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ICECUB 8/22/2014 6:23PM

    thank you for sharing your hike. your pictures are beautiful. in the cemetery I walk some of the tombstone are beautiful. they have pictures on them sometimes of the decease sometimes their home. really unique. I am glad your mother is settling in the new home. have a great weekend.

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HOLLYM48 8/22/2014 6:17PM

    Lovely as usual! I loved the spider web, not so much walking through them or with spiders but what a lovely intricate pattern they can weave. Amazing! The castle reflected in the water was my favorite. If I could paint, that is the kind of view I would love to paint. Everything was just so beautiful today and I am so glad that you could end it with a visit with your mom. Perfect! Thanks for taking us along on your hike and I hope your ankles are feeling better tomorrow!
Big hugs!

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KATELJM 8/22/2014 6:02PM

    Once again, your eloquent description has led me to investigate more of the history of the area you hiked. I love your walks, they are so natural and beautiful.

I am glad that your mother likes the new nursing home better, that makes a huge difference!

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1CRAZYDOG 8/22/2014 5:36PM

    Very happy that your Mom is settling in @ her nursing home. and that this visit was uneventful! Seems like a pretty location from the picture you hared.

I love the heather. Gorgeous. An yes, that castle is a bit "off" but till very interesting! What an interesting life that must have been to live there!

As always, a beautiful hike and with your pictures and blog, I feel like I was right there with you.

Enjoy what's left of your vacation.


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1HAPPYSPIRIT 8/22/2014 5:14PM


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MSTWOMOONS002 8/22/2014 5:12PM

    Hi Claire; emoticon

I just love your blogs, you write so well I feel as if I'm walking along side with you. I don't know if I could do all the spider web's, I don't do spiders they make me scream, eweeee haaa. I love your photos and all the history you can include in your blog makes it so much more personal. Thank you.

I went for a long walk today to clear my head, yet the walk I took with you was so more relaxing, thank you for that.

Take care & be well.

Many Blessings Always Debby emoticon

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NAN041 8/22/2014 4:33PM

Many thanks, you never disappoint us,
your comments make us feel we are
walking along side you.

Also, good news regarding your Mother.

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LYNCHD05 8/22/2014 4:33PM

    What a lovely memory for you of times with your Mom.....

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HEALTHY4ME 8/22/2014 4:29PM

    OMG think this is one of my favorites. I LOVE paths in the woods. I wish we had more old buildings and such but we are a young country compared to Europe not that we don't have nice ones in a few cities.

Anyway will be off to my woods walk, lol paved road in the woods with peoples back yards just past the wooded area but close enough for me most times!

HUGS hope you mum has settled in.

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MBPP50 8/22/2014 4:13PM

    Wonderful! Thanks for sharing with us- I love reading about your hikes.

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JSEATTLE 8/22/2014 4:07PM

  Just lovely. I'm so glad you found a new place for your dear Mother. You are so good to persevere and press on for you and your Mother's welfare and care. Bless you and her and your Dad too.

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SHAWFAN 8/22/2014 3:57PM

    Beautiful as always. Thank you for sharing your hikes with us. And I'm glad your mother is doing well and is happy where she is.

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NELLIEH1 8/22/2014 3:41PM

    Such a good perspective! I'm sure your mother enjoyed "taking"the hike as you told her about what is behind those lovely tall trees. Now she can imagine it, too. Thanks for sharing!

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DR1939 8/22/2014 3:41PM

    Lovely. I walked on Umina Beach north of Sydney, Australia. Beautiful views and me with no camera.

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    Thank you for the hike, and yes your blogs are a mini-vacation for moi. So glad to hear your good report on Mom's new residence. Life is easier when the ones we care for are in comfy situations. I always feel a little bit smarter after partaking of one of your blogs. It has been rainy here for the last few days. This weather puts a chill in my bones. I need a good dose of sunshine. Hope Dad is doing well also... Take Care Hugs, Audra

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PEGGYO 8/22/2014 3:38PM

    Beautiful walk thanks for sharing

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NORASPAT 8/22/2014 3:37PM

    That was so very interesting, Still so any wild flowers in bloom. I am happy your Mother is more relaxed and comfortable in her surroundings. Well done you persevered and it paid off for you and your family. ((((HUGS ))))) Pat in Maine. emoticon emoticon as usual. Pat

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40PUDDLEJUMPER 8/22/2014 3:29PM

    another wonderful walk, thankyou!!

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KATHYJO56 8/22/2014 3:25PM

    This hike was indeed a mini vacation. I always show your blogs to my husband he was fascinated with the castle and the fountain. I am fascinated with all of it. I love the beauty that nature creates for us and I always look forward to the days when you share with us. Have a happy and safe week ahead. emoticon

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A hike in the Brie area East of Paris

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Jouy-sur-Morin, where I was yesterday, is a 1.5 hour drive from my home North of Paris. A bit too far away for a 3-hour hike! But today I had to go to that village to collect something I had found on ‘Le Bon Coin’ (the French equivalent to Craigslist). So I immediately looked in my booklet about Seine-et-Marne’s hikes (that is East of Paris), and guess what… there was a hike precisely around Jouy-sur-Morin! Awesome.

One of the most pleasant and different things about this hike was its many wide, grassy paths covered with dew. Hmmmm so comfortable under the feet, you almost feel like you are bouncing!

The name of the village says it all: it is built by a river called ‘Le Grand Morin’. After walking by it for a while, I turned into the woods before this big house… It was steep!

But more wide, grassy paths welcomed me at the top, with lots of wild flowers on the sides.

I thought I would take a picture of this plant to show you! This is the last stage of the canola (rapeseed). Those of you who read my blogs regularly may remember the beautiful yellow fields, then, a couple of months ago, what looked like some kind of green branches. Well, this is the last stage now, before the harvest:

In the Beauchien (‘beautiful dog’) hamlet…

… I had a lovely surprise: plums! A tree covered with them, perfectly ripe!

It was very welcome because I had only brought a few biscuits for my hike. And then of course there were blackberries everywhere (I had counted on them when I only brought a few biscuits!).

There were lots of apples too, but they aren’t ripe yet I think.

My favourite hikes are a mixture of hilly fields, villages and woods. With a river or two if possible! I had all that during this hike and wasn’t bored for a minute (I get bored quickly on long, straight paths!).

There were also some nice views on the countryside from the top of the hills.

I followed a corn field for a while, and that brought a big smile to my face. I love the sound of the wind in the corn fields!

The view on the other fields and the farms in a distance was lovely too. This is a typical farm from that part of the Paris area, the Brie (yes, like the cheese! it is the area where it is made).

I crossed the hamlet of Champgoulin…

… and reached Crèvecœur via ‘rue de la papeterie’ (paper mill street)…

The paper mill looks very different and modern today, I much prefer the way it looked in 1900 (I found this old postcard on the Internet).

The hamlet of Crèvecœur has an air of faded grandeur, which is a bit sad, and the railway nearby was abandoned a long time ago.

Another steep path in the woods, and a nice view to enjoy…

… and then I walked by the meadows and pastures for a while…

I was excited to find some crocuses on the side of the path, but it was bittersweet… You know what the (French) song says… “Colchiques dans les prés, c’est la fin de l’été”… “Crocuses in meadows, it’s the end of summer”. Actually, I am surprised these flowers are called 'crocuses' in English. In French, crocuses are the Spring flowers, very similar to these, that are found in the gardens. The wild, late summer version is called 'colchique'. Is there no specific word in English for those? "
[EDIT... Thanks to COLOR-BLUE, I got the answer... "Colchicum autumnale, commonly known as autumn crocus, meadow saffron or naked lady, is a flower that resembles the true crocuses, but blooms in autumn." (Wikipedia) Thank you so much!!!]

I was walking on another wide grassy path, enjoying the sun on my skin and thinking that I didn’t really want this lovely hike to end…

when I turned to take a picture… Would I have the time to reach my car before the rain started? I was about 15 minutes away.

Well, it took me less than 10 minutes, half walking half running, only stopping a couple of times to take a picture!

As I reached my car at Jouy-sur-Mourin’s abandoned station, it was pouring rain! Phew, just in time!!!

Thank you for reading! I love being on vacation! I hope you are having a great week also. emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MAMA_CD 8/22/2014 8:39PM

    Beautiful scenery

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LOVENHWOODS 8/22/2014 4:10PM

    Awesome! Thank you!!

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JIBBIE49 8/22/2014 8:52AM


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ONESPOTLEFT 8/22/2014 7:49AM

    your blogs are so inspiring

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DANIELLE2013 8/22/2014 2:25AM

    Your pictures are absolutely stunning!

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WRITERWANNAB 8/22/2014 12:37AM

    It sounds & looks like a beautiful hike. emoticon

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NORASPAT 8/21/2014 11:33PM

    Great job once again Claire. I had recently heard about the Autumn Crocus at the botanical gardens, I went to another garden today. HUGS Pat in Maine. I love our forests, so many animals were out today. emoticon

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EDDYMEESE 8/21/2014 10:53PM

    My, my, divine! The history of those buildings, the nature of it all...just divine.

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TREYONE 8/21/2014 7:58PM

  What beautiful pictures!!!! Thank you for sharing!!!!

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JUSTSILVIE 8/21/2014 6:40PM

    Such a lovely place to live. Thank you for sharing it.

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AJB121299 8/21/2014 5:52PM


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GRACED777 8/21/2014 3:03PM

    I love hiking with you as well. Thank you for sharing your gifts that bring it to life!

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MSTWOMOONS002 8/21/2014 2:37PM

    I do so enjoy your hikes, I feel like I went along with you, you describe the things you see very well, I could almost taste the plum & blackberries, would have loved an apple too, next time. I always take apples or oranges on my hikes with me.

Thank you for allowing me to enjoy your vacation. Take care & be well, I would have loved to dance in the rain.

Take care & be well

Many Blessings Always Debby

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2BDYNAMIC 8/21/2014 1:40PM

    Breathtaking! ........... I enjoyed the tour ......... and congrat's for another great Popular blog! emoticon (thanks for sharing) ....... I like getting away! ...

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RAWCOOKIE 8/21/2014 1:28PM

    tres belle! merci pour les fotos!
pur teg! meur ras rag an skeusennow!
very beautiful! thank you for the photos!

what a fantastic walk - I wanted to be able to step into the computer!

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ROXYCARIN 8/21/2014 12:27PM


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TATTER3 8/21/2014 11:10AM

    Honestly, just by using your pics for inspiration, an entire art show could be developed in paintings. You are so gifted with an eye to see the beauty around you! Thank you so much for posting!!! Be blessed and keep Sparkin'!!

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LYNETTEMOM 8/21/2014 11:09AM

    Wow! emoticon Oh, to be there. Thanks so much for sharing this with us.

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MAKEITBETTER 8/21/2014 10:19AM

    Merci. This morning I had my first French lesson. I will dedicate the next two years of my life to learn French. The last two I learned to speak Spanish. French will be much more difficult for me, I think. So It was a delightful surprise to find your post. Merci for the inspiration. Wish we could be friends!

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BRITISHGAL14 8/21/2014 9:42AM

    Wow, this looks so beautiful! Wish I could get there sometime... :)

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DREAMSEEKER9 8/21/2014 9:17AM

    Gorgeous as always! It's like stepping back in time. Thank you so much for sharing!

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JSTETSER 8/21/2014 5:55AM

    You are motivating me to hike in Europe.
Thank you! It is such a beautiful place!!

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MUSOLF6 8/21/2014 5:49AM


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CHARITYAK 8/21/2014 4:46AM

    Such a lovely countryside! You are blessed. Loved the berries!

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    Lovely walk

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BLUEJEAN99 8/21/2014 3:06AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

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WENDYANNE61 8/21/2014 2:42AM

    Thank you for leading us on another atmospheric hike - I love walking on springy grass too. I am in North Kurdistan just now and I walk along red volcanic dirt tracks most mornings - the cool air is so delicious at 6.30am! Hope you have recovered from the upsetting attack at your mother´s home - that was very nasty!

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BANNERMAN 8/21/2014 2:03AM

  Thanks for sharing.

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MAKEWEE 8/21/2014 1:27AM

    Stunning pictures as always. Merci for sharing them with us.


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MARYJEANSL 8/21/2014 1:13AM

  Very lovely! I always want to visit the places you photograph.

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KHALIA2 8/20/2014 11:58PM

  Such beautiful pictures! Thanks!

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KSNANA2 8/20/2014 10:56PM

    Just love following you on your hikes. You are so kind to share with us! emoticon

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CAROLJ35 8/20/2014 10:39PM

    Thoroughly enjoyed both the essay and the photos. You describe your hikes and wonderful sights just as though we were right there with you. Thanks so much!!!

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EMMACORY 8/20/2014 10:37PM

    You always find interesting place to walk. Thanks for sharing. emoticon

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GARDENCHRIS 8/20/2014 10:05PM

    such a lovely walk, thank you for taking us along

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TERMITEMOM 8/20/2014 9:47PM

    Juste à temps pour la pluie! Une fin d''été pourrie il semble... Les colchiques sont beaucoup utilisées en médecine. Merci de partager cette belle promenda.

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WOOFERCOALBOY 8/20/2014 9:39PM

    Claire, I always enjoy reading your blog, and your pictures are even prettier.

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_BABE_ 8/20/2014 9:20PM

    I always say the same thing but it's true you have such lovely storybook photos. I am curious what that bush was called at Champgoulin...very pretty.

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LIVELYGIRL2 8/20/2014 8:58PM

  Your hikes are delightful.
Some of us would love to play follow the leader with you and tag along.

Thank you for sharing such a view. So nice, Claire.

It's refreshing to see such a sight. As you know some world situations are rather serious.

BTW- hope your situation gets resolved you shared before.

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SUNSET09 8/20/2014 8:53PM

  Beauty is all around us if we just take the time and smell the roses! emoticon , as always for sharing your pics. emoticon and emoticon emoticon emoticon

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AMBER461 8/20/2014 8:12PM

  Beautiful photos and a wonderful blog, I visit Paris 12 years ago but never visited the country side. Thanks for sharing.

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FRABBIT 8/20/2014 7:51PM

  So beautiful. You are very eloquent. Thanks for sharing your hikes with us.

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JAZZII4 8/20/2014 7:33PM

    emoticon I never knew Paris, was so green! I want some blackberries, now! lol emoticon emoticon

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SPEDED2 8/20/2014 7:24PM

    I visited Paris many years ago. I think I should have traveled the countryside instead.

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WARRIORGIRL121 8/20/2014 7:22PM

    Beautiful photos and a wonderful blog! Claire, thank you so much for sharing! I love these blogs! emoticon emoticon emoticon

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FRANCES-AGAPE 8/20/2014 7:21PM



Claire, I emoticon
hiking with you vicariously


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MSROZZIE 8/20/2014 7:01PM

    What a lovely blog and wonderful photos. Wish I was there, oh the great outdoors! Thanks for sharing. emoticon emoticon emoticon

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JEFFSTUFF1 8/20/2014 5:45PM

  Some day........

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SCOTMAMA 8/20/2014 5:42PM

    As usual your blogs are breathtaking! I do wish I could speak French, and just want to tell you this blog gave me a very lovely 15-minute "vacation" to your part of the world.

You have the nicest places to hike and look around. I do so envy you!


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JUSGETTENBY42 8/20/2014 3:54PM


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Hiking under a threatening sky

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Look at the sky that welcomed me as I reached Bréançon, in the Vexin area, this afternoon…

Yet, the weather forecast was for a nice afternoon with no rain, so I decided to trust them!

I must say this weather was very nice to walk in, cool and refreshing, as long as you didn’t stop to think: “What if there is a thunderstorm?!" I decided not to think! emoticon

Yet when I entered the forest, it was like a completely different world to the one I am used to on my hikes… It was… alive. Full of noises. The loud wind, the branches sounding like they would break any minute, the animals more ‘present’ than usual.

It was interesting and fun in a way, but also a bit scary. I hard survived a dementia patient’s attack yesterday (more on that later!), I didn’t want to take a tree on my head today! emoticon

Well, you’ll be very glad to hear I didn’t. I only got my hiking boots a bit wet, but as they are perfectly waterproof, that was no problem (this is the wettest summer we have had in France since 2001!... awful for a hike lover like me to cancel hike after hike because of the weather!).

I should stop complaining because that also means we have lots of flowers…

… and it’s also a good year for blackberries! In places, the sides of the path were covered with them!

I had actually done part of that hike in the past, but was still very happy to do it again. I might try to do it again at a completely different time of the year, in the snow for example if we get some this year (we didn’t last winter).

The views on the countryside were really beautiful and serene. Who would think this is only about 40 minutes away from Paris?!

Although it might technically speaking be called the suburb, you definitely feel like you are very far away from Paris, in the middle of nowhere! This is what I love so much about my hikes.

And making new friends, of course!!!

The first part of the hike had been through the woods, but the last part was mostly through the fields.

The beetroots (cultivated to make sugar in the North of France, they are huge and white... very different from the ones you put in your salads!) were starting to look quite good.

I said earlier it was a good year for blackberries. Well it is also a good year for apples, look at this tree! :)

These horses seemed pretty content in their pasture, they didn’t even look at me as I passed them by.

I turned into one last path, avoiding the mud as best as I could…

… and I was back at my car near Bréançon’s church!

Thank you so much for reading my blog today!
Thank you also for all your kind words on my feed after I shared about my nasty experience of being attacked by a dementia patient at my mother's nursing home on Friday (I am so glad for my mother's gentleness despite Alzheimer's). The old woman screamed, pulled my hair, grabbed my shirt, and bit my arm. It was all very quick and violent. For a moment I even thought she was going to make me fall! I was focused on the pain of her pulling my hair (an unbearable pain for me! from now on I’ll put my hair in a bun when I visit my mother!), but I have the 'nice' shape of her front teeth on my forearm now! I was very glad for all the staff (it took 5 of them to get her off me!) that came to my rescue, and even more glad my mother didn't see anything as she had her back to this incident and was sound asleep. Not sure what will happen next… the old woman seemed in a good mood yesterday so let’s hope it is a one off (although she is always verbally aggressive, and even more so with me for some reason!). For those of you who have met me, you’ll see how funny this really is: I am 6ft and far from thin! Only a dementia patient could attack me I think!!! Yet her dementia made her incredibly strong!

Let’s end with a lovely scene of today’s hike, much nicer to focus on… emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ONESPOTLEFT 8/22/2014 7:51AM

    makes me feel like I am walking along with you

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NORASPAT 8/21/2014 11:24PM

    Thanks for the beautiful pictures. I love dramatic Skies. HUGS Pat in Maine.
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GETULLY 8/21/2014 10:27PM

    Great Hike! Thanks for sharing!

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WHITEANGEL4 8/21/2014 10:12PM

    Thank you for sharing your hike and photos with us. Beautiful

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JERICHO1991 8/21/2014 9:42PM

    A beautiful hike. Thanks for sharing.

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KIPSTER52 8/21/2014 8:16PM

    beautiful pics thanks for sharing.

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LYNCHD05 8/21/2014 7:29PM

    I always enjoy your blogs. Sorry about the attack!!! I hope you are ok!

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KITT52 8/21/2014 7:03PM


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WOOFERCOALBOY 8/21/2014 11:40AM

    I hope you never have a problem with one of your mother's co-residents again! That must have been terrible; glad you're fine.

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LYNETTEMOM 8/21/2014 11:14AM

    I have just discovered your blogs and I am so impressed. I look forward to hiking with you in my mind!

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STEVIEBEE569 8/21/2014 10:11AM

    Very Nice

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TINY67 8/21/2014 9:15AM

    Beautiful and thanks.

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NYKIMMIE 8/21/2014 8:46AM

    I love the pics.

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IDLETYME 8/21/2014 6:54AM

    Really lovely blog. Thanks for sharing! emoticon

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SHKIRK 8/20/2014 5:43PM

  I am always glad to see you have entered one of your hikes !!. It is sooo beautiful there. Thank you for wisking me away to the beautiful Paris countryside !! emoticon and to another view of this beautiful planet. So glad you were not hurt very bad by the woman but we know there but for the love of God we could be in her place oneday. emoticon keep walking and keep sharing emoticon soooo much !!

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40PUDDLEJUMPER 8/20/2014 4:04PM

    what a wonderful blog, I love France so much its the one other place I could see myself living if not here!

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WRITERWANNAB 8/20/2014 1:26AM

    Beautiful photos, as always! As a caregiver, I was attacked at times & having one's hair pulled is VERY painful! It is true that their rage makes them very strong. I hope the poor woman doesn't attack again & am glad your mother didn't see it happen. emoticon

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FOCUSD 8/20/2014 12:45AM

  a real treat

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QTEALADY20031 8/19/2014 11:53PM

    Claire, as always just beautiful pictures of God's nature. I had to laugh at the chickens and I think the horses were too busy eating to check you I liked the pictures of the fruits and the flowers. Just beautiful countryside. Claire, I am glad that you are okay after the attack. Seems that dementia patients can have a lot of strength. I have found the same in psychiatric patients. I hope the bite is healing. Thank you again for sharing your journey! emoticon emoticon June

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RENATA144 8/19/2014 9:19PM

  Dear Claire, you have never taken a photo that I didn't LOVE !!!!
Your stories are wonderful.
I am sorry that you were attacked by a patient you deserve all of the LOVE that you can get. Here's sending some now emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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MOONGLOWSNANA 8/19/2014 9:16PM

  Again, another good hike in the countryside. I love the flowers and the chickens as well as all the rest! Thanks!

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ROXYCARIN 8/19/2014 9:08PM


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NELLIEH1 8/19/2014 4:05PM

    What another lovely hike you had to still some of the mixed feelings within. So very, very sorry about the woman's attack upon hope the wounds all heal well..what a gift that you sweet mother was sleeping! Blessings, Nellie

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BIKINIBOTTOM56 8/19/2014 1:41PM

    Gosh, what beautiful pictures. I enjoyed every one of them...I even took a virtual walk with you what a wonderful experience. Sorry about your attack.

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SHARONCAPPS 8/19/2014 9:37AM

  Thanks for sharing you hike with us. I am sorry about your attack at the nursing home. It is very upsetting. Keep sharing those lovely hikes with us.

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DREAMSEEKER9 8/19/2014 8:56AM

    Absolutely breathtaking photos of your hike! I love Paris but haven't yet been back to France to explore beyond the city. That's my goal for my next visit!

Thanks for sharing!

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JSTETSER 8/19/2014 6:51AM

    Tres joile!

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LIVINHEALTHY9 8/19/2014 6:20AM

    What a lovely hike. I love all the flower and animal pictures.
Those roosters and chicken were especially colorful.

That had to be scary being attacked by the dementia patient. Hopefully, this is an isolated incident or the staff may need to monitor this patient a little closer.

Thanks again for another wonderful blog.

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TENNISJIM 8/19/2014 6:17AM

    Awesome -- looked like a very nice hike.

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MUSOLF6 8/19/2014 5:45AM

    emoticon emoticon

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BLUEJEAN99 8/19/2014 1:58AM

    emoticon for the beautiful pix and so sorry you were bit by that woman!

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SUGAR0814 8/18/2014 11:56PM

    Beautiful pictures! Thank you so much for sharing your journey! emoticon emoticon emoticon

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DRTOVAH 8/18/2014 10:45PM

  great photos!

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TREYONE 8/18/2014 10:37PM

  emoticon emoticon

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HYATTI1 8/18/2014 10:23PM

    Love the photos.

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TERMITEMOM 8/18/2014 10:20PM

    Oh mon Dieu, quelle terrifiante expérience! Et en effet ,heureusement que votre mère n'a rien vu. Cette femme n'était pas surveillée?
Jolie ballade, mais un ciel lourd, lourd. Les betteraves m'ont fait sourire: mon grand-père était sucrier et avait une usine aux environs de Chauny, dans l'Aisne.

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AMBER461 8/18/2014 9:57PM

  Beautiful photos, thanks for sharing.

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JAMER123 8/18/2014 9:33PM

    I so enjoyed my walk with you. Again it's in a part of the world I have not had the pleasure to visit. Love the growing fruits along the way as well as the beetroot. We have them in our state and call them sugar beets. Like you said, they aren't to eat but to process sugar.

So glad you didn't get to injured on Fri. with the attack. People, when really agitated for what ever reason, have super human strength. In my career days, we would see young to older people come in fighting and yes, it takes several staff to help them. Just a little side note, I am 6' as well and not a thin person either. We would be quite the match. Not many women grow to our height. Please take care on your next visit.

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LAURANCE 8/18/2014 9:24PM

  As usual, your pictures are lovely. But I need to learn more about the dementia patient, because I am a caregiver for a dear man in the early stages of dementia.

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CAROLJ35 8/18/2014 9:00PM

    As always, a wonderful blog with amazing photos! Can't imagine apples so thick on a tree! You certainly do find picturesque places for hiking!!!

So sorry about your episode at nursing home. Scary experience for you and cause to worry for your mom's safety. But it sounds as though she doesn't bother your mother. Be cautious when visiting the next time!

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KHALIA2 8/18/2014 8:59PM

  I enjoyed the lovely pictures.

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LIVEDAILY 8/18/2014 8:11PM

    emoticon That is a terrifying experience to be attacked when you did not provoke it. I would hope that the staff at the nursing home would take care to keep that patient away from you and your mother whenever you come to visit!

Another simply lovely walk!! You are right. The blackberries look delicious!! Do you ever think to pick them and bring them back with you to make a treat with them? A blackberry clafoutti perhaps? I really liked the pictures of the very tiny purple flowers and of the chickens. I adore chickens!!

Thank you for sharing Claire!!

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MSROZZIE 8/18/2014 7:56PM

    How lovely your walks must be. Thanks for sharing! emoticon for the experience with the dementia patient. Your blogs and the pictures are just so beautiful! emoticon emoticon emoticon

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CELLA_P 8/18/2014 7:43PM

    Thank you so much for bringing us these delicious pictures of France's considerable natural beauty, Claire! I'm so sorry, though, about the attack you received from that unfortunate woman. It's reassuring that all in all, you were relatively unharmed... how frightening and sad. I often enjoy "traveling" via Google Earth and was delighted to find Bréançon, although the few pictures there really lacked the wonderful artistry you brought to your pictures. That trail looked particularly delightful (as did the berries and apples!!). I saw one photo on Google Earth showing a very distant view of the Tour Eiffel from the area, too! Thanks again for your generosity and time! emoticon

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EGMINGA 8/18/2014 7:14PM

    what beautiful places you have for your hikes thanks for sharing all the lovely pictures. Sorry about the incident with dementia patient.

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HOLLYM48 8/18/2014 6:39PM

    What a beautiful hike regardless of the sky. Sometimes the skies are so pretty when it is overcast, a beauty all of its own. So glad you were able to make it through without getting rained on and glad your boots are waterproof as it certainly did look muddy.
I am so sorry to hear about the patient that attacked you, that is so frightening and you are so right, they are very strong. Glad you are all right and I hope she is not in the area next time you visit your mom.
Thanks for sharing the beauty of another hike outside of Paris. I loved all the wonderful pics and the chickens were the best!

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MARYJEANSL 8/18/2014 6:03PM

  I always find something interesting in your blogs, and usually many, many lovely things. For me what was interesting was that you have ripe blackberries at this time of year. Here the blackberries were done a couple of months ago. Of course, this is a much warmer climate here. I would love to still be able to get fresh local berries in August.

Thank you for the lovely pictures, as usual!

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NONNAOF2 8/18/2014 5:04PM

  I'm so glad that you are alright after being attacked, it can shake one up, but it seems as though you have a strong inner strength and soul! Once again, thank you for the wonderful pictures, I always imagine I'm on vacation during your kikes in your beautiful country! :-)

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SHOAPIE 8/18/2014 4:13PM

    Beautiful as always. Thank you.

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ROSES4ME1 8/18/2014 3:55PM

    Lovely hike and beautiful flowers. I really envy your rainfall since we are in the midst of a serious drought in California. A long shower is a luxury we can no longer afford.
So sorry about your ordeal. My Dad got aggressive as he progressed into dementia so I know how unexpected and terrifying the sudden violent outbursts can be. Dad took a large decorative wooden oar from the wall and tried to connect it to my skull during one episode. Good thing his aim was off and he only hit my shoulder. Dementia is a very sad thing when it robs one of their humanity. Glad you Mom didn't see it and that she is on the agreeable side.
Thanks again for the lovely hike and take care.

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My after-work hike

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

I had taken the afternoon off yesterday to go on a hike, but by the time I managed to leave the office, it was 2.30pm already. Too late to drive for an hour to reach the beginning of my hike! So, I decided to do a hike I had always left ‘for later’, even though it is only 15 minutes away from my office.

Why? Oh because I am prejudiced! Completely! Because the hike started in Goussainville, which is seen as a ‘difficult’ suburb town. And were my prejudices shaken? Yes! And I love that! The only people I met were very friendly, enjoying a chat in the sun, running or taking their dog for a walk.

So yes, the beginning of the hike (and the end) was through the town, which isn’t the prettiest in the Paris area. But the hike didn’t go through any of the ‘rough’ parts, and I found some nice buildings and lots of flowers to look at, so I was happy. : ) As my friend Liz told me this morning when I explained two colleagues had tried to discourage me to go on this hike, “if you expect ugliness you will see it and if you expect beauty then you will see it”. I don’t know whether I expect beauty, but I definitely look for it!

Of course I hadn’t come for the urban part and felt immediately better when I turned on a path through the fields.

Bye for now Goussainville…

Let’s be honest: it wasn’t quite bliss there. It was very near Charles de Gaulle airport, which is the main Parisian airport.

If I add that I had just been following the railway for a while and that I was about to go walk under the motorway, you’ll understand that I couldn’t quite listen to the birds as much as I would have liked to! But it didn’t last.

As I was approaching Louvres and admiring the flowers, I noticed something completely unexpected in the distance…

What is that?!!! I had to look at it closely. Well, I couldn’t because there was a gate, but at least I got an explanation: this is one of the typical medieval houses from the area which were rebuilt lately. Some ruins from 11th century Osteville’s Castle were also found. If you want an idea of how it used to look like when it was destroyed during the Hundred Years’ War in 1438, here is a short video I found:

Ahhhh it could only be a great hike then. Lots of flowers and even a castle! Who would have thought? : ) One last look at the medieval habitation from a distance, above the corn fields…

… and a lovely walk by the river…

… and an elegant horse as I entered Louvres…

Some of you have asked me whether I feed the horses. No. This is partly the reason why I don’t:

It is often not allowed (imagine dozens of people feeding these animals every weekend? They would become obese!).

Next to the meadows where the horses were, was a beautiful farm, "la ferme du Secrétain". The sign outside it explained that it has been here since the 12th century.

Let me quote it…
“At that time it belonged to the Sacristan of the large Benedictine priory of Saint-Martin-des-Champs in Paris... Part of the priory’s revenues came from operation of the farm... Its origin and size made the farm a fief in its own right... Today it remains one of the five major agricultural operations in Louvres.”

I found on the Internet a picture of the farm from about 100 years ago. It looks like a beautiful farm! (This is inside the farm’s courtyard, where of course I couldn’t go, but I suspect it looks very similar today!)

I left Louvres behind…

… and walked in the middle of the fields for quite a while, all the way to Fontenay-en-Parisis.
I had thought it might get boring (I don’t like it much when the path is all straight and flat!). But it wasn’t: it wasn’t flat but a little hilly, and there was a lot to look at!

With my camera’s zoom I took a picture of part of the skyline hardly visible in the picture above behind the flowers… You can see one of Goussainville’s more ‘difficult’ parts:

This contrast between the urban and the rural, the old and the new, was one of the main interests of this hike, and it was quite moving.

In the distance, I saw Fontenay-en-Parisis…

… and a little while later I was looking at its early 19th century castle, now part of a nursing home…

… and its lovely church…

An old lady was going on a little stroll near the church and enjoying the pleasant late afternoon heat like I did.

When I left Fontenay-en-Parisis, I walked through the countryside for a while…

… but then it was time to ‘cross’ the big Francilienne motorway again.

(In the distance you can see Goussainville’s skyline again, this time quite close…)

The Francilienne is the motorway that goes around Paris (not right next to it, which is the Périphérique, but a bit further).

Ahhhhh... nothing says 'August' like these beautiful goldenrods, which lined the path all the way to Goussainville. I love them!

Thank you so much for coming with me on this hike! I hope it will inspire you to discover your own area better and take lots of pictures to show us!
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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MRSRIGS1 8/21/2014 5:23PM

    You never let us down! Another beautiful hike!

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2BDYNAMIC 8/18/2014 7:13AM

    Yet another gorgeous tour .......... and I absolutely LOVE the church! (All are wonderful and emoticon on this Popular blog featured! ....... Lovely!

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BEAUTY_WITHIN 8/16/2014 8:52PM

    That was beautiful! Thanks for sharing!

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DWHATABOUTB 8/15/2014 5:45PM

    I loved that red tree plant looking thing. So awesome. emoticon

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WALNUTT1961 8/11/2014 3:43PM

    Lovely! I enjoyed the history of it all as well. Thank you for sharing! emoticon

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CORNERKICK 8/11/2014 1:59AM


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KAREN91 8/11/2014 12:19AM

    Beautiful hike and great pictures as always. You find the beauty everywhere you go it reminds me of a story I heard once. Two women were moving to the same area and they asked a person who lived there about what the neighbors were like. The person asked them what their current neighbors were like. One woman described noisy unpleasant neighbors and the other talked about how wonderful her neighbors were. The person told them both that the people there were much the same as their old neighborhood! I think you find the beauty of every place you go and your blogs are always a treat! emoticon

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BETZYGIRL 8/10/2014 5:56PM

    emoticon for the lovely inspiration! Your pictures are quite beautiful. I had never thought of taking a camera along to have a visual reminder of a hike. I'm going to invite my friend to join me in seeking out a hiking route in our area that will have scenery to enjoy as we hike! emoticon

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GARDENQE2 8/10/2014 5:09PM

    What a beautiful hike!
I have a cousin who has gone through life expecting to find disappointment, and she always has.
On the other hand, I have always expected something exciting and wonderful around each new corner and I have found it!
A few days ago, we were describing our recent visit to the Czech Republic, to some other family members.
Several of them were surprised to learn that we were on the same trip!!
Keep watching for the flowers.

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ANDYLIN90 8/10/2014 3:34PM

    Claire, have you ever thought about publishing your blogs? It would be a wonderful book with so many terrific pictures and lots of different places and perspectives. Linda

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OPALMOON 8/10/2014 10:38AM

    Dear Claire,
This is yet another entertaining blog - your photos are all just wonderful.
I am amazed at how a suburb town of a city as big as Paris has so much countryside so close by and so easily accessible!
Thank you for taking on us on such a lovely tour once again.
Hugs, Nattacia

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40PUDDLEJUMPER 8/10/2014 9:53AM

    what a wonderful walk I really love the photos

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WRITERWANNAB 8/10/2014 1:54AM

    Beautiful photos! emoticon

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MADAMES 8/10/2014 1:20AM

    I love Liz's philosophy to look for the beauty rather than the ugliness. As I grow older I realize how I am losing the naiveté of my youth. I don't want to become a grumpy and paranoid old lady!!

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TAMMYR1967 8/9/2014 6:38PM

    Very nice, thanks for sharing.

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REDDOTFLYER 8/9/2014 5:38PM

    Thank you - I enjoy reading your blog

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CHARITYAK 8/9/2014 4:59PM

    I soooo enjoyed that! Lovely!

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KALEWINE 8/9/2014 3:20PM

    What a beautiful hike! Your friend is right about looking for and finding beauty in the world.

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MILPAM3 8/9/2014 11:25AM

  The pattern on the church roof is done exquisitely. Such design detail rarely is seen in our modern world where speed seems to be more important than aesthetics.

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ANGELN325 8/9/2014 8:02AM

    Thank you for sharing your hike with us! beautiful! I agree with your friend. If you look for good and beauty in the world, you shall surely find it. I take walks at my work during lunch time and although it has gotten scary here and there on occasion, I still find lots of beauty to look at and most times, it's uneventful.

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ROXYCARIN 8/9/2014 12:12AM


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MAYBER 8/8/2014 11:41PM

    Thank you for sharing your adventure and beautiful pictures
Live in the inner city and do enjoy the neighbors flowers on my walks
One day at a time

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FOCUSD 8/8/2014 10:52PM

  Loved your blog.

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FITPT4LIFE 8/8/2014 10:10PM

    What a beautiful hike. Thanks for sharing.

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EGMINGA 8/8/2014 9:47PM

    emoticon thanks for sharing pictures of your country's beautiful countryside. Maybe one day I'll be lucky enough to go there.

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CAROLJ35 8/8/2014 9:34PM

    Thanks so much for sharing this lovely trip along with beautiful photos.
How long was this hike?

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TREYONE 8/8/2014 8:24PM

  emoticon emoticon

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    What a wonderful walk thank you for inviting me along. emoticon emoticon

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ANGELWINGS2580 8/8/2014 5:53PM

  Without taking a step I had a wonderful hike through your beautiful pictures. Thank you for sharing!!

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DOTTY7267 8/8/2014 4:38PM

    Beautiful scenery. . . .I felt like I was strolling along with you.

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AJB121299 8/8/2014 4:30PM


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EMMYPAT 8/8/2014 3:16PM

  Someday I would love to see it I person! emoticon

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GRANDMABABA 8/8/2014 1:11PM

    Beautiful! Thank you so much!

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DARINKA222 8/8/2014 12:04PM

    Sunny and lovely images that you have captured here. Thanks for taking us along on your beautiful hike, completely enjoyed it!

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JLPEASE 8/8/2014 11:52AM


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PURPLEBIRD63 8/8/2014 11:32AM

    emoticon so much for taking me on your hike!
Loved the countryside, the narrating history, the church, the white puffy clouds, the 'castles', the flowers... loved the whole hike!

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EFFIEANNIE 8/8/2014 8:24AM

    How long were you hiking? Looks like you covered many miles. Beautiful pictures~love the flowers.

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GRACED777 8/8/2014 7:57AM

    You do share beauty! That's a gift. Thank you. I live in an area near the city in Indiana, USA. I'm in an apartment complex between cornfields and woods here, and there are some good walks I can and do take. Thanks for reminding me of my own beauty. Helps me not be envious of yours, but just to enjoy it!


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LITESTORMX2 8/8/2014 7:30AM

    What a beautiful place to hike! Stunning!

Thank you for sharing!

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FALLNTENN 8/8/2014 6:52AM

    Thank you for sharing the pictures from your hike. I really felt inspired by what Liz said about seeing what you expect to see. It was a beautiful hike.

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BLUEJEAN99 8/8/2014 5:46AM

    emoticon emoticon

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_LINDA 8/8/2014 1:56AM

    Simply stunning scenery to enjoy! Thanks for taking the time to post it all!

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QUILTINGB52 8/8/2014 1:52AM

    Love how you can find beauty in all things! Love to find the unexpected....

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JIBBIE49 8/8/2014 12:27AM


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LIVELYGIRL2 8/7/2014 11:46PM

  Claire, I've never seen a blog of yours that wasn't pretty. It's ok, it's not all nature and old buildings. In the US, none of them are that old anyway...

As I said, this is more inviting than just walking in a suburban street.

Please let me know how your moms new place is... emoticon

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CICELY360 8/7/2014 11:19PM

  beautiful pictures

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LIVINHEALTHY9 8/7/2014 9:34PM

    I love going along with you on your hikes. emoticon
I really enjoy learning about France and seeing the country side through your camera lens.

Thank you.

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MJ7DM33 8/7/2014 9:33PM

  Lovely! Thanks for sharing!

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CELLA_P 8/7/2014 9:21PM

    Mmmm! I can't thank you enough for being so generous with sharing the beauty you saw *and* taking us along with you! You've got such an artist's eye, too emoticon

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KHALIA2 8/7/2014 8:52PM

  emoticon Such a lovely tour!

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A lovely day hiking in Normandy

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

I love Normandy. The part of Normandy I go to most often, the ‘Vexin normand’, feels almost like home as I have done so many hikes and visits there. If you are after green and picturesque (which I am most of the time!), it is wonderful.

Rosay-sur-Lieurre, the first village I crossed this morning, had a castle and a manor.

It was so charming, nestled by the river!

From there, I crossed the countryside…

… and made a new friend! The poor horse was quite lonely.

Walking through the fields, I enjoyed one last view on Rosay-sur-Lieurre’s castle…

… until I reached the Roule’s hamlet. There were only a few houses but I loved them all! Here are a few of them:

I so love these wild sweet peas! They are everywhere at the moment.

Then it was time to walk through the forest again. The woods in the area (Lyons’ woods) are well known because of their gorgeous beeches. People speak of a ‘cathedral’ of trees, and I understand what they mean: it is quite impressive indeed.

There are other species such as pines as well.

And of course lots of flowers…

… and even the first few blackberries!

I really enjoyed the part of the hike that followed, between the forest and the meadows, with also a pretty little horse farm right next to the path. I had my sandwich break nearby, in the shade of the woods looking at the meadows!

Some more walking through the woods…

… and I reached Touffreville where I had started. As I came out of the woods, I noticed a little monument on the side, in honour of two British soldiers whose plane had crashed here in July 1944.

I am so glad we have visible signs of all these sacrifices, and not just the cemeteries. Soon there won’t be anybody left alive to tell us what they saw, what it meant to be freed. I hope all these monuments throughout France will help us never to forget. (Am I the only one who cries on the anniversary of D-Day, 6th June, each year? I always remember my parents and grandparents telling me what they were doing when they heard the Allied had arrived in Normandy and how relieved and happy they were, even though they knew that the war wasn’t over yet…)

These two young men died near Touffreville’s church, in the meadow next to it. Such a peaceful place today.

What a gift it was to be able to take the day off today to go on this wonderful hike! It made me forget all about the awful heat of the previous one, and made me hope for many more in the coming weeks (we have had a very wet July so far, with lots of thunderstorms too… not ideal weather for hiking!).

Thank you so much for reading!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MRSRIGS1 8/16/2014 3:11PM

    I just LOVE your hikes! Such beauty!

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BKNOCK 8/7/2014 2:49PM

    So beautiful!

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NELLIEH1 8/7/2014 1:06PM

    Especially I appreciate your words of D-Day... emoticon emoticon emoticon My Dad served in England and France June, 1942 to December 1945 , working with the RAF.
To see the French countryside...Normandy in particular...from which my father's ancestral family came through England and then to the special to me.
Thanks for bringing your country alive to us all.

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RENATA144 8/6/2014 10:53PM

  I always Love revisiting your beautiful photos !!! emoticon emoticon

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CORNERKICK 8/6/2014 2:10PM


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ROXYCARIN 8/6/2014 1:05AM


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PURPLEPEONY 8/4/2014 11:49PM


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123ELAINE456 8/3/2014 8:31PM

  Thank You for the Beautiful Photos and Hike Tour. Love It. God Blessings Always. Have a Wonderful Week. Hugs!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Tak
e Care.

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MAYBER 8/3/2014 4:25PM

    Thank you for sharing your pictures and adventure
emoticon mm emoticon

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LISALGB 8/3/2014 10:10AM

    Beautiful, as always. I also get very emotional remembering the Great War and all those who sacrificed to keep us safe and free. My great-uncle, who had his 93rd birthday this week, fought in the Philippines under General MacArthur. He has told me many stories of his time in the war. As proud of him as I am, I am always saddened at what those brave men had to go through.
I agree with you, Claire, may we never forget.
Love and hugs, my friend.

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LIVINHEALTHY9 8/2/2014 9:52PM

    Beautiful as always, Claire.

I always look forward to your blogs.

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MAMAMOOSE54 8/2/2014 9:33PM

    Love your photos - l really enjoy reading about your hikes!!!

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TREYONE 8/2/2014 6:29PM

  emoticon emoticon

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HAKAPES 8/2/2014 4:11AM

    I love your pictures. Such a beautiful hike.
Looking forward to your next trip.
Hope your eyes get better soon!

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WRITERWANNAB 8/2/2014 1:44AM

    As always, I love the photos. emoticon

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OPALMOON 8/1/2014 2:54PM

    Dear Claire,
Thank you once again for taking us through another wonderland. Seeing your gorgeous photos, i find myself just adoring Normandy! The scenery, houses and castle are just magnificent. No wonder you love it so much! I just love reading your blogs, they are truly such a delight.
Hugs and blessings, Nattacia

emoticon emoticon emoticon

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QUILTINGB52 8/1/2014 2:46PM

    Oh you know how I love those walks through the forest!! And was glad I brought along some extra apples, so I could feed the lonely horse!! What a wonderful day for a hike!!

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    Great post

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CHARITYAK 8/1/2014 12:40PM

    I love hiking as well. I do most of my hiking within about 40 minutes of my home here in Alaska. Mountains mostly. Your photos are so lovely!

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CPATRICK9 8/1/2014 11:36AM

    Thanks for sharing your beautiful pictures and words and giving me a view of Normandy. emoticon

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REEDWEEB 8/1/2014 10:34AM

    Thank you for sharing your hike. Wow! What a wonderful place to be.

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TIMEHASCOME56 8/1/2014 8:47AM

    emoticon absolutely BEAUTIFUL.

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GINIEMIE 8/1/2014 7:45AM

    Claire desolée de ne pas avoir lu tes derniers blog. J'adore Normandy, c'est un lieu de merveille et de beauté. Merci d'avoir partager ta promenade avec nous, j'aime les vieux batiments/maisons et les fleurs.
Papa a servi en Belgique pendant la deuxième guerre mondiale et après il a passé du temps en Allemagne. Il n'était pas en France, mais il était à Bastogne.
C'etait en Belgique qu'il a rencontré maman à Liège
Les deux fois que j'ai visité la France, j'ai visité Normandie.
J'éspère que ça va chez toi.
emoticon emoticon
emoticon emoticon emoticon

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GOANNA2 8/1/2014 7:09AM

    Once again, I was able to travel alongside of you and
see the wonderful area around Normandy. thank you
Claire, I always enjoy your narration and photos. I feel
as though I am really there as well. emoticon emoticon

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MAWMAW101 8/1/2014 7:06AM

    Once again you capture such a great adventure for us. Thank you!
emoticon emoticon

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YMWONG22 8/1/2014 2:35AM

  Simply awesome! emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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BLUEJEAN99 8/1/2014 1:58AM


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    Thank you for sharing all your photos. One of the many reasons I love Europe and wish I would live there again. It's so beautiful and there's so many things to see while hiking. Hiking is awesome in Europe.

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ROXYCARIN 8/1/2014 1:22AM


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RENATA144 7/31/2014 11:53PM

  Bon jour Claire !!! You've done it again !!! Thank you for the beautiful & touching images of Normandy. What happened there must never be forgotten. God Bless their Souls. emoticon emoticon

I hope that all is well with you emoticon emoticon

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JRRING 7/31/2014 10:54PM

  just beautiful!

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NORASPAT 7/31/2014 10:00PM

    Thanks Claire, how are you and your family doing. I loved this blog and your narration was excellent. Thanks so much. HUGS and much love Pat in Maine.
Our grandson is here and we have had lots of rain and sun and he commented on our verdant world. At 16 he appreciates the natural beauty around us. Great BLOG Pat. emoticon emoticon emoticon

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COLOR-BLUE 7/31/2014 9:09PM


You're so right, this was a picturesque hike. It was so AMAZING with all the beautiful trees, the flowers and the poor horse. Even he was beautiful! The homes were so quaint, and I loved the architecture.

I just thank God that there are still some around that can tell us about Normandy. I know it was a hard time, and war is never pretty, but I sensed the relief, when you told me about your parents reaction, when the allies landed.

I remember being told that the allies made it look like there were more troops there, than there really were. If I remember correctly, they put up camouflage coverings over cardboard tanks, etc. and when surveyed from the sky my the enemy, they sent the report back that they were being overrun. I don't know if that's true or not, but that's what I was told. As most kids did back then, they just let it go. I just shook my head and asked myself if it really was true.

Thank you for the picture of the moment of the two gentlemen, who lost their lives, and thank you for the hike, today!

Be blessed,

- Nancy Jean -

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SARAWALKS 7/31/2014 8:22PM

    Wonderful hike! Love those huge beech trees...and the houses in the village...

It is sad to think that the generation that fought those wars is passing, and with it so many memories. I was in the UK on D-Day and the church that I attended had a special prelude and postlude, the praise band played a popular song from the time and everyone just sat and listened. It was quite moving...

Can't wait to come back and hike again...rain or no rain, I will be prepared!
Stay well...

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CAROL494 7/31/2014 7:49PM

  Beautiful photos!!!

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JSEATTLE 7/31/2014 7:15PM

  Absolutely beautiful! Thank you for taking us with you, once again.

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MILPAM3 7/31/2014 6:56PM

  I noticed how similar many of the fences least the ones you choose to photograph. Thank you for snapping the photos, then arranging and commenting on them, so we can enjoy your hikes as well. emoticon

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BLPRETTYGIRL1 7/31/2014 6:55PM

    emoticon for another trip through Europe.

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TERMITEMOM 7/31/2014 6:14PM

    Non, vous n'êtes pas la seule à pleurer le 6 juin, et aussi le 18 juin, le jour de l'Appel. Tellement émouvant...

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NEPTUNE1939 7/31/2014 5:59PM


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JUSGETTENBY42 7/31/2014 5:52PM


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NONNAOF2 7/31/2014 3:57PM

  What beautiful landscaping in the Normandy countryside and the variations of flowers that Mother Nature has given to those passing by to enjoy. Your hikes are always wonderful and the homes seem out of a storybook. Thank you again for giving me a few moments to pretend I am with you enjoying the beauty of your surroundings! :-)

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PATRICIAANN46 7/31/2014 1:40PM

  Hi Claire........
emoticon so much for sharing another beautiful hike with us. On D-Day, there was a special program on our Public Broadcast System, which showed the many cemetaries in France. They were so beautiful!!! I remember my Uncle telling stories of how the people of France honored them and welcomed them. They were so relieved to see the U.S. Soldiers forcing the Germans out of France.

You are so fortunate to have so many choices of places to hike.......each one more beautiful than the next. I always look forward to your hiking blogs and your photos.

Comment edited on: 7/31/2014 1:41:35 PM

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WORKNPROGRESS49 7/31/2014 12:47PM

    emoticon emoticon

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GARDENCHRIS 7/31/2014 12:40PM

    what a lovely walk ..... and thank you for taking us on it.

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MOONGLOWSNANA 7/31/2014 12:33PM

  Thank you Claire for another beautiful hike.

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ALIHIKES 7/31/2014 12:02PM

    Thank you Claire for sharing your lovely hike through the woods in Normandy! The flowers were lovely, and the forest was so green and lush (where I live, the grasses have dried and are yellow). The homes are charming! I could feel a sense of peace from the beauty of nature. emoticon

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GBSLIM 7/31/2014 11:46AM

    So peaceful...

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PATRICIA-CR 7/31/2014 11:41AM


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SCHOPPEK 7/31/2014 11:28AM

    Beautiful! Thank you for sharing!

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