Margaret Furlong Blog | Everyday Life & Porcelain Design Inspiration



Archive for HOLIDAYS

Caitlin and the neighborhood kids are all grown up. So fun to have them home for Mother’s Day!

One of my daughter’s best friends was married in Yelapa, Mexico on March 21, 2015. Our darling Haydn married Maciek and family and close friends celebrated with them in the remote paradise of Yelapa, Mexico. This was a precious time for all to cherish and remember, thanks to the bride and groom who made this happen!

I have included pictures of the wedding as well as the beach and bay of the village of Yelapa. Yelapa is a 45 minute boat ride south of Puerto Vallarta, accessible only by boat with no cars and no roads. Our lives were touched by the sweet love of Maciek and Haydn and the joy of being together far from the madding crowd.

My last image shows the limpet shells I collected on the beach. So along with the wonderful memories and images of this time, I also have my shell tokens to inspire new designs.

Mont Saint Michel, a tiny granite rock island off the coast of the border between Normandy and Brittany, is one of the most famous and enchanting sights in France. It is home to a preserved Benedictine Monastery that dominates the summit with surrounding village houses.

Its humble beginnings were in the 6th century when Christian hermits settled there and by the 10th century it had evolved into a Benedictine Abbey. It has had a dramatic history of ups and downs and now has evolved into a national monument that attracts almost a million visitors a year. It really is a must see if you are touring the west coast of France.

When we arrived on the island by bus along a raised road, we climbed the steep steps up to the monastery in the rain and then toured the medieval monastic buildings circling and climbing up to the abbey church. The interiors were at once monumental and spare, grand and gray. There was certainly an eerie almost transcendental quality that impressed and oppressed.

Relief from the gray stonework that dominated the interiors and exteriors were the outside pockets of green. The cloisters around a garden created an emerald jewel in the gray and cold stonework.

The views of the bay from the windows, cloisters and other outdoor spaces were amazing. You felt as if you were viewing the bay from the eyes of a sea bird.

*First photo is from the Mont Saint Michel guidebook cover.

On December 31, the last day of 2013, we left Paris.

We took a cab to the car rental office, claimed our black Peugeot and off we went into the Paris traffic. Oh my, the roundabouts were like carnival rides; no one stayed in a lane, each car wove in and out to make their getaway out of the intersection and onto their chosen street.

Our saving grace was Allen, one of the best drivers I have ever ridden with. He had the driving skills of a race car driver and the navigational instincts of a homing pigeon. Never having been in Paris before, he drove right out of Paris and connected to all the right highways on our way to the west coast of France. It was actually fun.

Because I was the “assistant navigator” in the passenger’s seat, I wasn’t able to shoot too many of the views as we left Paris. I did however have time to shoot La Grande Arche in the business district on the western edge of Paris. The immense arch seemed to hover on the horizon line for so long as we were speeding down the expressway. The arch was dramatic and spare and modern with a huge hollow center creating a powerful focal point among the skyscrapers.

La Grande Arche was built in 1989; the hollow area of this enormous cube-shaped frame is large enough to hold Notre Dame Cathedral. The arch is on a direct axis to the Arch de Triumph so far away in the middle of Paris. What a connection and contrast between the old and the new in this famous city of history and design.

Most mornings we made two stops; first at a patisserie for a quick and oh soooo delicious pastry and then again for coffee.  This particular morning we sat down for a leisurely breakfast at a small, classically French restaurant.

When they served my breakfast, it was so attractively arranged and the butter pot was covered in vellum, printed with the name and address of the restaurant. I had to photograph it!

It all tasted as good as it looked and we were off to see the fine sights of Paris.

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