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    CLAIREINPARIS   58,698
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A morning hike on my doorstep

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Friday, August 22, 2014

For most of my hikes, I drive about one hour away, and it really feels like I am on a mini-vacation. Well, not this morning, I only drove about 10 minutes to reach my starting point... I very much hiked on my doorstep! Or I should say on my mother's doorstep as I was very near her nursing home at some point.

Most of today's hike was through the woods, the gorgeous Montmorency Forest North of Paris. As I said, this is home to me, yet I really don't know this forest much. I live between two forests, Montmorency and Ecouen, and Ecouen, much smaller, I know very well. If you have seen my 'routine walk' blog, that was in Ecouen.

Anyway, back to Montmorency Forest. It is quite big (by Parisian suburbs' standards!). So I saw only a small part of it today, near Bouffémont, and the Château de la Chasse, where the kings used to stay when they came hunting (it means Hunting Castle). It is built by a lake, which I thought was quite enchanting today.

Now let me tell you the Château de la Chasse looks very strange because the towers of this 12th-century castle were cut (centuries ago), and it just looks a bit wrong in my opinion. But in a lovely way. A bit unbalanced, but fun (and hey, this isn't a Disney castle we are talking about but a proper medieval castle, so Claire, show a bit of respect please!). ;-)

And the middle part of the castle, between the two towers, looks just like a normal French house! Very strange. There is no way it looked like this in medieval times of course... But again, it is quite charming!

And I am not the only one to feel that way. I have only been once in my life to Château de la Chasse before, even though it is very close to home, and that was to post a blog about it a couple of years ago! Otherwise I never go there, because at weekends it feels like the motorway at rush hour, only with pedestrians and cyclists instead of cars. It is mad. But I only saw about 15 people there today, plus two groups of young children. So that was OK, even for a loner like me!!!

The castle was the middle of the hike and felt a bit like the purpose of it, so I was wondering whether I would find the hike interesting again after I left it behind.

Well, Montmorency Forest keeps one busy!!! Not only there is always something to look at (beautiful trees, among other things), but the steep paths keep you on your toes too!

First I stopped at Fountain Saint Radegonde. Its water was supposed to cure sterility and was a very popular destination in the 16th century. It used to be next to the Priory of Notre-Dame-de-Bois-Saint-Père
, which doesn't exist anymore. It is only the woods around the fountain now.

In the second part of my hike I also crossed an area with lots of heather... I so love heather... so romantic!

I forgot to mention the spiders! Well, this hike could have been called 'Hiking with spiders'... because I have never walked through so many webs I think!

After a long difficult muddy path...

... I reached Bouffémont's cemetery. I don't like French cemeteries, they usually look sad and don't have much greenery. Bouffémont's cemetery was different as it was right by the woods, and with lots of beautiful trees in it too.

I was almost back at my starting point, but the last part of the hike wasn't the less demanding one... my goodness, my knees and ankles are reminding me of this every minute tonight! But it was soooo worth it, a beautiful 3.5 hour-hike!

After some lunch at home I drove to my mother's nursing home to spend time with her this afternoon (aren't vacations just great?!). We had a good, peaceful time in the garden. Thank you all for asking about her lately. She has settled really well into this nursing home, which is like night and day compared to the previous, dreadful one. And look at the view when I am with her in the Alzheimer's Unit little garden (I was told by the director that they would improve the garden by the way, it is a bit bare to say the least!).

At times there are deers coming out of the forest... It is so good to be so close to nature... Now I think I'll remember today's hike each time I am in that garden with my mother and imagine all the wonderful paths behind these trees!

Thank you for reading! Have a fantastic weekend!

Member Comments About This Blog Post:
MARKATSPARK 8/9/2015 6:40AM


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WHITEANGEL4 1/4/2015 11:46PM

    Enjoyed our walk together

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1HOTFUDGEMAMA 11/10/2014 9:39PM

  I love your pictures! Thank you for sharing them, I always feel like I have taken a mini-vacation in my mind when I read your blog. Hope your mom is doing well. It's nice that you are close by.

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TERRIJ7 10/26/2014 8:27AM

    I agree that the towers on the Hunting Castle look a little odd. Was it done as a modernization project? Do people live there?

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LORIVIOLA 10/8/2014 3:42PM

And i am glad your mom's new place is much better.
x0x emoticon

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CORNERKICK 9/11/2014 2:37AM


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COOLRAIN 9/7/2014 6:18PM

    Again, sooooo BEAUTIFUL. And so peaceful. So glad you had a nice visit with your mother to end the day. Thank you for sharing. Your blog posts always make my day better.

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DNRAE1 9/5/2014 1:47PM

    Your blogs and pictures make me feel so peaceful. The beauty of the forest and paths is extraordinary.

I'm glad you mentioned how your mother is doing. It's nice to know things are so much better. Have a wonderful week, Claire.

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MRSRIGS1 9/4/2014 8:41PM


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HICKOK-HALEY 9/1/2014 1:35AM

    I am trying to catch up with all of my friends blogs etc. This month has been very busy for us. Beautiful hike. How nice to be between two forest. I see there are still pretty flowers blooming. The nursing home is beautiful. What a view indeed!! Having Deer wondering around is a plus.

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CELLA_P 8/30/2014 7:34PM

    Claire, I can never express adequate thanks to convey my gratitude for the charming natural beauty of France you've so faithfully - and artistically! - brought us :) You captured such great photos of the livestock, too! As you can imagine, we have absolutely NOTHING in the U.S. that can compare with the medieval charm of Gerberoy, so you can be sure I'll return here - via your magnificent blog - early and often...and I'll help myself to a few of those glorious blackberries whenever I do emoticon Enjoy your trip to Rome! I haven't been there since the summer of 1967 emoticon ! - Cella

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SPARKFRAN514 8/29/2014 11:58PM

    thanks for sharing its so fun to see other and learn about other countries . Spark is so emoticon we have friends and learn about where they live thanks for sharing .

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PRNCSCUP1-2FULL 8/29/2014 9:26AM

    Hi. I am blind and as I would visit my teams this week, I kept hearing the title of your blog and thinking how I need to read it! My computer talks to me..... Well, now I am so happy I did! Thank you for taking us along and for the lovely descriptive commentary! I'm glad your mom is in such a beautiful area! We've struggled lately trying to find a nice place for my dad who suffered a severe stroke a year ago. We found a nice place, but it looks out over a rather dismal street! Thank you for sharing your hike!

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GINIEMIE 8/28/2014 7:16PM

    C'est un endroit ravissant, l ou tu t'es promene. Moi, je ne supporte pas "goldenrod" mais c'est vrai que c'est joli-en photo! Tu as raison, la cimitire et jolie est bien entour de plantes.
Je suis contente que t'as maman est si bien mise. Je trouve le jardin trs simple et calme. Merci de nous amener avec toi.
Bises emoticon emoticon
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    Lovely walk thank you for taking us along. Hugs

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STEVIEBEE569 8/27/2014 4:14PM

    As usual, very beautiful pics. Thanks for always sharing!

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KAREN91 8/26/2014 11:19AM

    Claire, Your hikes always cheer me up. You have a talent for seeing the beauty wherever you are near your home and far away. I'm glad your mom is in a beautiful area where she can see nature too! You must be in great shape, I can hike for 1 hour but not 3.5 hours! Is your pace really fast? I go about 3 miles in a hour but it would be slower if I don't push myself. I think I'm a lot older then you are though. I'm also newer to walking. You inspire me to take longer hikes and find more beautiful areas to walk through. emoticon

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1HARDWORKER 8/26/2014 9:07AM

    So pretty emoticon

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CAPECODLIGHT 8/25/2014 10:18AM

    Another gorgeous hike. I like the quirky castle, too. So glad your mother is doing well in her new nursing home. How wonderful it must be to sit with her in the garden.

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ALIHIKES 8/25/2014 12:38AM

    What a beautiful woods Claire! Thank you for sharing this beautiful hike. I had no idea there are such wonderful areas to hike so close to the city! Montmorency is beautiful. I loved the trees, and the heather and flowers, the strange looking castle, the lake. But my favorite photo is the intricate spider web.

I am so glad your mom is in a better nursing home, and that there is a garden she can enjoy with you on your visits.
Hugs from,

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KALEWINE 8/24/2014 11:25PM

    So beautiful! I bet you really enjoyed your hike!

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2BDYNAMIC 8/24/2014 11:01PM

    I must admit to never seeing a castle! ........ It is most captivating and your walks thru the forest truly ARE enchanting .... and take us away ....... (from here in the states) ........ Lovely and again thanks much for sharing ....... emoticon

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DIANNEMT 8/24/2014 10:14PM

    So glad you found a place you like for your mom--a VERY important thing!

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EXPRSSBESCO 8/24/2014 9:24PM

  Thank You for the brief tour.
I live in a small city south of boston, mass usa
i am above knee amputee, along with being 52.
Means, My hiking days are long gone.
So it was nice to read something from the uk.
normally my reading is limited to local events, people & places.
it was a nice surprise, when i got to the names of your hiking trail.
be well & best regards
joe from usa

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77FLOWERS77 8/24/2014 8:52PM

    Beautiful Pictures!

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LIVEDAILY 8/24/2014 8:25PM

    I am a huge fan of Montmorency cherries - they are so delicious! I wonder if the variety was originally from Montmorency, France? Or named for that part of the world perhaps? A lovely hike Claire! Thank you for letting us know that your Mother is doing well. I am glad she has settled in well at the new home.

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AJB121299 8/24/2014 6:23PM


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DONNELDA22 8/24/2014 6:18PM

    THANK YOU emoticon

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CHANGING-TURTLE 8/24/2014 5:52PM

    Very lovely thanks for sharing

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MILPAM3 8/24/2014 4:28PM

  We moved to a house on a ravine last year. Sometimes we are surprised to look outside and see a doe or a doe and her fawn in our back yard.

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JUNETTA2002 8/24/2014 2:56PM

    Such good picture. You must love to walk in that environment.

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WALKINGCHICK 8/24/2014 2:13PM

    Thanks for sharing - lovely to see all of your pictures! emoticon emoticon

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PUNKGIRL5003 8/24/2014 1:28PM

    That was a really cool blog. Ive never been to France before, so i felt like i was on a mini-tour. Its very pretty indeed, i think i will visit there someday for sure. :)

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JMARIES51 8/24/2014 1:02PM

    What a beautiful hike and blog. Thanks so much for sharing.

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JANHRY 8/24/2014 12:55PM

  Thank you for sharing your pictures and story. Good to hear your mom is doing well. A garden would be a wonderful opportunity for bring some beauty to everyone each day.

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SUEARNOLD1 8/24/2014 12:23PM

    Hi Claire,

How lovely of you to share with us. You have a talent for catching the beauty that you see. It's very special.

I'm glad you found a better nursing home for your mother. I went through that years ago. It's more comfort when they are well cared for.

Thanks for sharing.

Have a great Sunday!

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GRANNIEC1 8/24/2014 12:14PM

    I feel like i should document the activity of your hike on my fitness page emoticon The pictures placed me right there with you. Amazing to say the least! And one would be hard pressed not to take a long hike with such scenery. Thank you for taking the time to post and such a beautiful hike to your blog.
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LADY_MARIANA 8/24/2014 11:52AM

    Just spectacular! Merci beaucoup!

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    Lovely photos

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RENATA144 8/24/2014 10:09AM

  Bon jour Claire !!! You've done it again - gorgeous photos !!!
Keep up with your beautiful hikes emoticon
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REDDOTFLYER 8/24/2014 9:47AM

    I really enjoy your blog. Thank you for sharing.

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KAWANEE 8/24/2014 9:17AM

    I enjoyed taking a hike with you through your photographs... emoticon

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ONESPOTLEFT 8/24/2014 9:11AM

    I will have to hike near home too; we have a lovely park with civil war earthworks in it close by

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MELNJAY3 8/24/2014 9:02AM

    beautiful pictures

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MUSOLF6 8/24/2014 7:15AM

    emoticon emoticon

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CHERYLHURT 8/24/2014 7:03AM


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YIWEN39 8/24/2014 6:39AM

    And thank you for sharing ;-) Beautiful scenery to have "on your doorstep" and yes, that castle does look a bit funky...
Take care and more news soon ;-) emoticon

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TENNISJIM 8/24/2014 6:21AM

    Awesome -- great photos

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BLUEJEAN99 8/24/2014 2:03AM

    emoticon and I'm so glad the new nursing home is better! emoticon

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MRSFANCYLADY 8/24/2014 1:14AM


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