Our French road trip

Ahh, what a fabulous, gluttonous, relaxing, and wonderful holiday! If it weren’t for arriving back into an extremely busy work and social life, I’d probably be the most chillaxed, freckled, and happy woman on earth right now.

Our road trip lasted 11 days, and took us from Calais down to the Loire Valley (Canault and Saumur, mostly), through Poitiers and Limoges, through the Lot and the Midi-Pyrenees to Toulouse, then over to Montpelier and Sète, up through the Rhone valley to Tournon and Tain L’Hermitage, then up to Lyon, and finally making pitstops in Cluny and Auxerre on our way to Paris before heading home.

Sewing-related towns driven through:

  • Alençon (that’s just a display inside a roadside rest pictured above!)
  • Couture
  • Cluny
  • (Though I swear there were more I just can’t recall right now!)

One of the best parts of our trip were staying with so many friends, who were just the best local hosts and guides! It was wonderful to finally meet long-time FehrTrade commenter Marie-Christine in Toulouse, who was such a fabulous host with an awesome Japanese sewing book collection and sewing area (okay, the whole flat was devoted to sewing, which made me supremely jealous!) and we stupidly forgot to take any photos together! She gifted me some gorgeous jersey from her stash (see below) in addition to being our restaurant and hotel for the night, too!

Isabelle and Seb played host to us in Montpelier, too, and it was just SO good to see Isabelle again after her visit to London a few years ago – it was like no time had passed at all! James and I can attest that Petite Mignon is actually even sweeter and cuddlier and more charming in person than she is in photos, and I thought that wasn’t possible! I also got to see Isabelle’s beautiful wedding gown in person, have a wonderful meal in one of their favourite restaurants, and get a guided tour of the best bits of Montpelier in the beautiful sunshine, too.

(You can’t see that we’re Jalie buddies in this photo! I’m wearing my Jalie jeans and she’s in her sweetheart top!)

I came home with quite a pile of sewing stuff, though to be fair, some of the things in this photo I brought along from home to work on while we were away!

Magazines acquired (much more on these later):

  • Idées Couture (containing La Mia Boutique patterns, but in French), a gift from Marie-Christine
  • Elena Couture
  • Fait Main
  • Fait Main Grand Tailles
  • Burda Style (en Francais), a gift for my neighbour!

Fabrics for me:

  • A gorgeous black and white trompe l’oiel lace print jersey, a gift from Marie-Christine
  • 3m of leaf-print green and white silk/cotton batiste at Coupon St Pierre in Paris, for €15 total
  • A scant 2m of turquoise bemberg lining at Marche St Pierre (aka Tissues Dreyfus) in Paris for €8/m

Fabrics James bought for himself(!!):

  • 3m white cotton drill for €10 total at Coupon St Pierre
  • 3m faintly textured black uncut corduroy at Marche St Pierre at €11.99/m
  • 3m crosscut black corduroy at Marche St Pierre at €11.99/m

Haberdashery bought:

  • Turquoise thread and invisible zipper from Mercerie St Pierre in Paris (so I’m all ready to go with the motif dress now)
  • All metal jeans buttons (holy cow!), a box of 6 for €2 at a market stall in Paris
  • Several cards of 6 buttons each at the same market stall (Some are gifts so I don’t want to state the price. Though they were bargainous.)

(Please see my post on Paris fabric shops from last year to learn more about the shops mentioned above!)

Happily, I finished both my lace basting AND my motif sewing on the final day of our trip, too! They were great projects for motorway driving, but I would’ve puked if I’d attempted them on all those lovely, twisting back roads in the countryside! Also, the French road atlas made the perfect work surface…

The lovely thing about French motorways is that there’s loads to see, even though you’ve taken the fast and easy route instead of the picturesque back roads. Every town along the highway has its own artistic sign showing the highlights of that place, whether its a particular chateau, or cave paintings, or bounteous produce, or lace, or wildlife. It makes long journeys so much more interesting, and I wish that US and UK motorways would do something similar, as it really makes you want to go and visit these places when you see their sign!

On the last day of our trip we spent the afternoon lazing in the Parc Georges Brassens near our friends’ flat in Paris, so I got a lot of work done on the motif then, too.

Everyone smiles at you when they see you’re sewing, which is nice.

One of the highlights of our weekend in Paris was seeing the superlative Madame Grès exhibition at the Musee Bourdelle, but I took so many inspiration photos in there that that’s enough for another post…

If you’re interested in photos of the French countryside or towns or just general holiday snaps that aren’t sewing related, then feel free to have a look at our general holiday snaps gallery…

Coming up: Kids clothes I sewed a few months ago but that needed photoshoots, plus a rundown of the French pattern magazines, PLUS some Madame Grès photos.

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