The Lou Messugo Blog - life in the south of France from a British/Australian TCK's perspective, bringing you French culture, travel on the Côte d'Azur and beyond, expat issues and a little bit of je ne sais quoi all mixed up with a hefty dose of photography.

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Sagrada Familia Barcelona: 15 years on

Posted by on in European Travel

I recently visited Barcelona for the 3rd time.  The first time was 15 years ago in May 2001, then again in February 2011 and just now in June 2016.  Each visit was very different.  The first was JF's and my first time away from our baby, let loose for an adult weekend away.  Ten years later we were back with two children for a short break en famille and this time I was accompanying my son's school trip in a group of 55 kids and 25 adults for 5 days!  Really, I don't think it's possible to experience the city in 3 more different ways and I can vouch that it's both a wonderful place for adults only and a great place to take children.  I'll go into more detail about what we got up to with 55 ten and eleven years olds another time but for now I just want to show you how the Sagrada Familia has changed since 2001.

Sagrada Familia Barcelona 2016 inside

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Exploring the walls and beaches of St Malo

Posted by on in European Travel

During the recent school spring holidays we spent a week based in Rennes, in Brittany, exploring parts of northern and western France that we as a family didn’t know.  We visited places that had long been on the “desperately want to see” list (I don’t do “bucket lists”) including weird and wonderful Nantes, iconic UNESCO World Heritage site Mont St Michel and the magnificent walled town of St Malo.

St Malo ramparts and beach Brittany France

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Nantes and its fabulous giant elephant

Posted by on in European Travel

If you like the idea of wacky giant mechanical creatures set in an edgy industrial landscape with innovative architecture, urban parks and street art then you’ll love Nantes.  France’s 6th biggest city, straddling the Loire river, located in the west of the country, a few kilometres inland from the Atlantic coast on the southern edge of Brittany, is emerging as a centre of innovation and creativity.  It has a long history and complicated identity involving whether or not it is indeed part of Brittany, but that’s not what I want to write about.  I want to focus on the fabulous and absurdly original urban regeneration on the île de Nantes (Nantes island) symbolised by a giant mechanical elephant.

giant mechanical elephant Nantes France

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Secret Riviera - La Colle sur Loup

Posted by on in Provence-Côte d'Azur

The French Riviera is a beautiful place but no one could say it was undeveloped and empty.  Its very beauty has attracted holiday makers, second home owners and new residents for more than a century resulting in enormous amounts of construction.  Recently I had guests in the gite who hadn't been to the Côte d'Azur for 50 years and they couldn't believe the change.  This didn't stop them from loving it though as the natural beauty, climate and glowing light are something special that I defy anyone not to be touched by.  And that's just the start, there's so much to love about this part of the world, but within the urban sprawl can there really be secret places left?  Villages that the tourist masses haven't discovered and yet lie only a few kilometres from Nice.  The answer is yes.

La Colle sur Loup mairie

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