Before I get started on this blog of my trip to the French Countryside, I must warn you, there are A LOT of photos within this post. If you love looking at photos, fantastic. If you don’t, feel free to flick through really, really fast or not at all!
I spent five of the most relaxing days in France over the Christmas period, miles away from the hustle and bustle of city life. My fabulous friends happen to own a gorgeous home in the French countryside, and invited me to stay with them for Christmas. Some of you may recognise the place from this post a year ago – yeah that trip where I ended it with a mad dash to hospital on New Year’s Day!
We left London on December 23rd before the birds were even awake. When my alarm started shrieking at me at 2.30am, I’d managed just a couple of hours sleep, felt groggy and knackered, and then perked up rather quickly at the thought of heading to the French Countryside for five days of fun with friends.
We didn’t fly or take the train to France. No. We drove! And it was great! With so many bags, Christmas paraphernalia and three dogs amongst the group, driving was most definitely the sensible option. We drove to Folkestone where the entrance to the channel tunnel is, waved our passports at security and then literally drove on to a train carriage! It was quite a surreal experience, sitting inside a car, which is inside a train, going under the English Channel to France.
The train journey took around 30 minutes, and then Bonjour! we were in France and suddenly driving on the other side of the road. We turned up the Christmas music, and made our way towards Tallant, Etrigny, the sleepy little village north of Lyon where we would be forgetting about our busy city lives for five days and making the most of fresh air and silence in the French countryside.
With a couple of pitstops for snacks along the way, we arrived at the house mid afternoon, unloaded the cars and got settled in. I had the luxury of my own super large room, with en suite, and the cosiest bed one could ever wish to sleep in. After unpacking and pulling on some cosier clothes – aka tracksuit bottoms, I explored the house, checking out all the gorgeous interior work that had been done since I was at the house last. If you love interior design, you’ll love some of these photos below!
My favourite room in the house was the kitchen, with this super chic dining space.
There’s even a library/study, which is the perfect place to spend an hour or two getting lost in a book.
Upstairs was the snug, which would end up being the place we would end most of our evenings watching the craziest television series called Nighty Night. Anyone seen it?! It’s hilariously mad.
Our first evening was spent eating dinner at the dining table, then retreating to the sitting room to relax by the fire, before we all felt the effects of getting up super early, and called it a night.
My mornings always started like this. Pyjamas, cashmere socks, a strong cup of coffee and the fire on. The ultimate lazy way to start the day.
I wasn’t the only one to start my days lazing about. My little four legged French friends Vera and Alfie, were also a fan of this routine.
On Christmas Eve, we whizzed around the local supermarket where I left with armfuls of amazing chocolate, spending the rest of the day lazing about, eating and decorating the Christmas tree, with dinner in the evening and drinks in front of the fireplace.
This slow pace of life is such a contrast to the one we all live in London, it took a day or two to get used to just doing nothing. And then I felt all of life’s stresses melt away, and I became something akin to a sloth for the remainder of the vacation.
I woke on Christmas morning and being the giant kid that I am, jumped out of bed and grabbed all my gifts that I’d managed to stuff into my bag, staggering back to my bed to open them. We ate breakfast in pyjamas, opened more gifts to each other and then pulled on some clothes for a countryside walk.
The weather was mild for winter, in fact it was so mild I’d wished I hadn’t worn my coat.
The dogs loved being outside with all the space to run around, so much so, Jack got a little worn out and needed his dad Robert to carry him for a bit.
We arrived back at the house with three tired pups and five adults ready to sit down and get our Christmas chill on.
Christmas dinner was prepared and cooked by Scott and Anthony and we all dressed for the occasion, including Jack, Vera and Alfie.
The table was set, and it looked so beautiful!
And then this epic meal was placed in front of us, Merry Christmas to us!
We ate, we drank, we found a second stomach for dessert, we pulled Christmas crackers and had the most amazing Christmas evening together. How lucky I am to have friends like these to share Christmas with.
Christmas 2017 ended with our usual routine, drinks in the sitting room, followed by episodes of Nighty Night, all sat around in pyjamas upstairs in the snug. A perfect end to a perfect day.
A short walk along the country road from the house, is the cutest little village, and I spent a couple of hours one afternoon wandering around and exploring.
It looks like something out of a fairytale.
The day before heading back to London we visited the town of Cluny, wandering the quiet streets and in my case, taking lots of photos!
My final evening in France arrived all too soon, and before I knew it, myself and my friend Damien were wheeling our suitcases through a train station, changing trains in Paris and arriving back at London St Pancras. Our French countryside getaway was over, but the relaxed feeling remained, and all was okay because those armfuls of chocolate I’d bought in the supermarket on Christmas Eve? They were sitting in my bag just waiting to be eaten and help with any post holiday blues!
PS If you want to take a look at our video I made of our France trip, check out my YouTube video….