À Noël

It’s always a joy to be back en France. It’s only small but the minute we open the door at Le Petit Coquelicot it feels like home. By the time we arrived it was dark so there was not a lot to see. Our little (or rather large) owl has been in residence once again, leaving his/her pellets and poo underneath the front porch.imageThe grass is short but around the house is full of weeds as usual.  Paving around the house would be such a good investment I think!!

And here is is our very own Sapins de Noël at the front of the house.

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 And this is how they are doing Christmas at our local supermarket.

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Gestes français – Mon œil

mon oeil 2

I have a close friend who is a real Francophile, having worked in both Brussels and Pau she has a habit of using French colloquialisms and expressions.  One I have often seen her use is this above and the phrase mon œil, which means literally my eye.  It is used to express incredulity or disbelief at something or someone.  Great, as you can use it surreptitiously and know one will know. 🙂

Of course I have had a chance to use it quite a bit over the last 48 hours.  I mean what about the European elections?

Always in good company!

Marylin mon oeil

La neige

Fantastic skiing at Tournaboup just up from Barèges in the French Pyrenees. We stayed in Luz St Sauveur in a wonderful family run hotel called Le Montaigu. imagePerfect weather.  No lower than minus 4 and sometimes plus 4. Perfect company. Great hotel. Great dog! The children won’t forget Aslan.imageWhat more could you ask for. Well I’ll tell you. Shins and calves that don’t ache. These are the culprits. imageBoots that clamp around your feet and shins like a vice and force your legs into an unnatural forward slant that encourages you to keep your body weight over your toes which is, apparently, perfect for skiing. However, with the help of Michele, our ski instructor, it’s all worth it.  We can ski.image I just need to master getting off the ski lift. Talking of ski lifts I was so proud of Cal taking the lift to do his first mountain run. imageLuke and Evan made a fantastic snowman. imageimageCal and Luke enjoyed chewing the fat. imageAnd the scenery was stunning. Unfortunately I didn’t take any pictures high up in the mountains so this will have to do.imageBonne année 2014 from Au Carotte chez Mais.

Dune du Pilat

Dune du Pilat

Dune du Pilat

My main fear about setting off for this tourist destination was “can I take Bella, the dog?”.  I couldn’t find any information on the web that told me whether dogs were allowed or not.  So we set off anyway.  Bella had to come with us, as it would be an all day trip.

Getting to the Dune du Pilat takes about a couple of hours from where we are.  It is a straight route apart from navigating the Bordeaux ring road.

On getting closer we were slightly confused by the use of two differently spelt names for the dune. 

Signs Dune du Pilat

So Dune du Pilat or Dune du Pyla?  In official/historical documents the spelling is Pilat.  For example the official document “Mise en place du suivi de l’évolution récente de la Grande Dune du Pilat”, (Implementation of monitoring the recent developments of the Great Dune of Pilat), (Décembre 2010).

Pilat comes from the Gascon word Pilhar, which means a heap or mound.

The term of Pyla appears to come from the proximity of the seaside resort of Pyla sur Mer, which was founded in 1920 and is to the north of the dune. So the Dune has also come to be called Dune du Pyla.

Good news, as we headed out of the car park and towards the Dune there was a sign.  Dogs on leads are allowed on the Dune.

Dogs on leads are allowed on the Dune

Dogs on leads are allowed on the Dune

Steps up the Dune du Pilat

Steps up the Dune du Pilat

Climbing the Dune du Pilat

Bella , Cal & Ad climbing the Dune du Pilat

The Dune

The Dune

According to Wikipedia, the dune has a volume of around 60,000,000 m³, and is approximately 500 m wide by 2.7 km in length. It’s height is around 110 metres above sea level and it has more than one million visitors per year.

Cal mounts Dune

Cal mounts Dune

Cal descends Dune

No dog on the beach

No dogs on the beach

No dogs again

Bella enjoyed the climb up the Dune and having settled ourselves down for a sunbath on the beach to the other side of it, we were disappointed to be told that we couldn’t be there with the dog.  Shame, long walk back up.  But despite this I would recomend this destintation as a great day out.

Bella digging on the Dune

Bella digging on the Dune

Pardon my French

Dents du bonheur / Dents de la chance

Lauren Hutton
Lauren Hutton

This means the gap between your two front teeth.  Dentists call it diastema.

In France it is seen to be a very attractive thing to have and they wouldn’t dream of closing this gap as they see it as being lucky.  Hence these phrases.   Curtesy of french.about.com