I am going to France in a few hours!

I cannot believe I will be in Paris in just a few hours! 
Mr. Maison Decor and I will be traveling via Air France
to the city of light and arrive for ten whole days of a vacation that is 
mostly pleasure with a little business thrown in the mix! 
 Our home and dogs will be in the capable and good hands of family members so 
we can go off with nary a worry.  My shop will be staffed by 
my right hand, Gina, and with all that in place, we will really 
be in a comfort zone on this trip!
I am so excited to head over there with my hubby and explore France 
with him and meet up with friends that I have met with my association
ever since I became an Annie Sloan Stockist.  Yes!  I will be seeing Annie
on my trip! Being invited to her European Stockist Conference is the 
main reason we are headed to France, but we plan to do a lot of other fun stuff.
First of all when our plane touches down there will be someone waiting for us in 
the airport lobby.  It will be a driver from our hotel who has a card in his hand with our
name "CHALMERS" as well as one other name:  "METZGER".
We will be traveling with the Metzgers! 
 Janet Metzger is also a Stockist in Virginia at the Empty Nest
She will be bringing along her hubby and we will
 spend this vacation as a foursome.
She is both kind and hilarious and I am sure all kinds
 of unpublishable acts are yet to happen.
But share I will, if it is fit for print, you can bet I will put it on the blog.
 The hotel driver will whisk us off to our first destination~
the Hotel de Fleurie. It is in the charming and chic St. Germain section of Paris.
We will only spend one night here, so there are a few things we must do right away.
One is to walk a block or two to this big Paris attraction: Laduree.
Laduree sells amazing macaroons.  I am almost tired of hearing about how 
tremendous these macaroons are, so I must go and get a dozen and sample them
and report back here and let you know if these Laduree macaroons are really 
all they are purported to be.
Now I will admit I won't be too disappointed if they aren't delicious because I 
am really going to buy the beautiful box that they put these macaroons in when you 
purchase them.  People wait in lines and get their macaroons and then stand out on the 
street and devour them.  Then the boxes are saved as artwork. 
 I covet these Laduree boxes. They are simply beautiful!
You can sample pistachio, caramel, coconut, orange blossom,
and a zillion other kind of macaroon flavors.  I plan to get a chocolate
coconut one for sure and the pistachio because everyone raves about those.
After we eat our macaroons and walk about St. Germain it will be evening
and we will find a lovely place to eat and drink lots of wine.  Then off to 
bed at the Hotel de Fleurie as we will wake up to get into our rental car
to head to our next destination.
I am quite sure the rental car will be tiny
 and I am hoping to heck we all fit
inside with our luggage.  Then hubs will take the wheel
 and we will set off to fabulous Dinard on the coast!
 Dinard is on the northern coast of France in the Brittany area.  
You can see it highlighted in red ink.
 It was once the playground of the rich and famous~
but then came the French Riviera and Dinard soon was a bit passe. 
 However the British Film Festival is still held here and will actually be in its
last day as we roll into town.  "No pictures please" we might have 
to say as we step from our car with our sunglasses on and scarves wrapped about our heads like Catherine Deneuve or Tippy Hedren. 
Yes they were often seen in Dinard, as were many stars back in the day. 
 With the film festival you just never know who you might bump into. 
Above is the Crystal Hotel during the summer time, 
and the whole of Europe seems to go on vacation in July and
 apparently many stay at the Crystal in Dinard when this pic looks like
it was snapped during the height of summer. 
Some of the Annie Sloan stockists will be  staying in this lovely hotel. 
 I will visit the bar for sure to check it out.  
With Janet. And our bodyguards husbands.  
Our Stockist conference is in a place right along the oceanside in Dinard. 
There is a walk that follows the coastline and it has breathtaking views.
I am most excited to reunite with my close friend Claire Chalkley, who
lives near Dinard and is a French Stockist and Distributor for Annie Sloan.
Her shop is called Les Couronne Savage and she is a florist who paints! 
And she is very witty and irreverent and never dull. Never. Dull. 
We met two years ago in New Orleans at the American conference, and now
I am excited to go to her backyard and watch her help Annie host this special event.
Left to Right: Claire, France, Justin and me, Janice, England, Sherri, Poland
This was the last day of the American conference and Justin and I went out to 
lunch with some of the European stockists.  
 It was freezing that day, and we all thought it was going to be lovely and warm.
  I think I had two thin coats and a pashmina wrapped about me. 
Fun times and fond memories of a great event with new friends.
And soon I will see all of them again at the Annie Conference in France!
I had a blast with Annie Sloan too of course!
Here I am forcing my selfies on her!! lol
I am sure we will cook up some new memories at her latest event.
This lady never ceases to amaze me, and I cannot wait for her presentations.
They often inspire me like nothing else~so I just let it wash over me
and enjoy all that creative think tank stuff that just lets your imagination
and creative muscles stretch and flex.  We will have two full days of
 conferences with presentations by Annie and and others 
she hand selects while we are ensconced in lovely Dinard.  
Now this map is for my Dad and little sister Susan.  
See where Dinard is Dad? Its up at the top near St. Malo.
When Susan was about 16 she went to live in France as 
part of an exchange program.  She had to live above a charcouterie
as I recall, and she was only allowed one shower or bath per week.
That is about all I recall as it didn't sit well with her.
 My sister Susan lived in Rennes 
 and our Dad went over and visited her because she was homesick.  
Such a good dad, he was the best!! When we go, our car ride  
will be from Paris to Dinard and we go through Rennes and LeMans
 (although I don't see that on the map).  But hubs likes to drive 
and if there are race track like roads, he will be in heaven.
Anyway, when we arrive in Dinard we will NOT be going to a hotel. 
Oh no....we will be staying in a private chateaux
So that means its a big house in France that is privately owned
 and the family will rent it out!  A group of us visiting 
American stockists are sharing this lovely manoir/chateaux.

This chateaux is on the ocean and it is going to be AMAZING to stay 
in such a place!! I can only imagine what it will be like, waking up 
and looking out my bedroom window to see the French coastline
 and then stumble down the antique stair case into the antique kitchen
 to get a cup of coffee.
There is a chef and a maid if we choose to use their services....
errrrr, sign me up please!!
From this chateaux we will go to the Annie Sloan conference 
and parties she is having, as well as do some exploring and sight seeing.
  I know the guys will be headed to Normandy, 
and maybe us ladies will join them, depending upon how the schedule unfolds.  
We have this house for a week, but Janet
and I and our guys will be leaving a bit early as our 
adventure awaits in the most amazing place of all:
We will drive to Versailles from Dinard 
and spend three nights at the luxurious Waldorf Trianon Palace
 of Versailles Hotel! I know, I know!!! Its just all too much!! 
Its like I won a big lottery and I get to do all these amazing things for ten days!  
So excuse my excitement but I have been working like a dog for 
the past two and half years and I am ready to get some vacationing on!
The beautiful and stately 4 star hotel, Waldorf Astoria Trianon Palace Versailles Hotel.  This hotel used to be a palace.  I mean it really does look like a palace, and I read it used to be a palace, so maybe it was an extra little palace that Louis XIV wanted to get rid of, so they turned it into a hotel.  I am not sure, but I will find out what the deal is.  Janet and I were looking at places to stay and first we were on the site AirBnB to find people's homes and apartments for rent. But we really didn't find anything very nice, and we just decided to splurge on this once in a lifetime visit.  So there! We are WORTH it....like the L'oreal commercial told every woman who felt guilty about spending more money than necessary on themselves.  This time I will not be feeling guilty. Not on this trip!
 This is an antique map of the Versaille area, 
and our hotel is right on the edge of the palace grounds.
Our hotel rooms will have views of the lawns and the palace which is simply amazing!  We will fling open our balcony doors to see the sun rising up over the Palace of Versailles and I will think to myself that the kings and queens walked these lands and looked over these gardens and lived their lives in this very place.  Janet and I are very excited to visit Marie Antoinettes special private palace, called Trianon.  She had a palace made for herself that was walled off and only visitors with her approval could come inside the boundaries of Trianon. 
She was a free and independent thinker and wanted to live in a more free spirited fashion inside the private walls of her own private palace.  Pretty modern woman who cast a big shadow on history and design.  Of course she also was a blonde who loved dogs and aqua and pink and chandeliers and gilded things and all those kind of things that I can relate to.  I will be taking lots of pics on my travels through the various areas in the Palaces and will share upon my return.
As you know I am fond of French style furniture and decor and this trip to 
Versailles will just be Frenchy overload for moi!  So until I get to France and hook up
 with some Wifi, this post gives you an idea of what I am up to next week. 
 My store, Maison Decor, will be in capable hands, 
run by my manager and right hand decorating assistant, Gina.  
So until we meet again on the pages of the blog, I bid you adieu!
(Upon my return, I may find I  just have the urge to redecorate....
do you think this is too much pattern and gold gilding for one room?) 


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