Les Journées des Plantes in Chantilly
One of the biggest European plant fairs... on our doorstep! In one of the prettiest locations in my Oise region: le Château de Chantilly. I visited Les Journées des Plantes de Courson on a drairy Saturday and what I experienced was a big fair in the English garden of the castle with thousands of plants. With a real focus on garden plants. My favorite stand was the one where I found this gorgeous Musella lasiocarpa, a Chinese dwarf banana. The Pépinière Nature & Tropiques had a wonderful selection of tropical plants. They are based in Hyères and I'll definitely visit their nursery when I'm in the South of France.
On the entire fair I looked for carnivorous plants (that I didn't find by the way) but I found some other pretty varieties, like this Black Tree Aeonium:
Or these gorgeous Proteas flowers:
Urban Jungle Bloggers #19
Voilà, this is my personal plantgang! For the May edition of Urban Jungle Bloggers we are celebrating plant diversity by showing our collections of plants. It's almost impossible for me to show you my entire plant gang... well actually I did it a while ago and it litteraly took me an afternoon to gather them all in one place: 150 plants is just too much ;) So today I'm showing a selection with some of my favorite plants.
My Euphorbia trigona rubra is a fairly new plant (I adopted it last month) and because she looked so sad & dry I wasn't sure if she would survive. But the other day I saw her fresh green tips! Hurray!
The fan palm tree on top of my sidetable is actually one of the palm trees I grew from handpicked seeds. It's not mine anymore but a temporary resident at Studio Sapique! I love how it looks amongst my plants.
From all the plants in the world, I love Opuntia cacti the most. They grow so easily, can get really big and grow in impressive and strange ways. Oh and it's not the one in the front, that's another Euphorbia succulent, but the right one in the back:
What do you think of this bubbly cutie? It's one of my other favorites because it has the prettiest blue-ish pale color:
Playing around with your growing buddies is a lot of fun: making a playful composition with bigger and smaller plants, in all their rich variety, just like a regular "gang". Will you show us your #plantgang too?
Urban Jungle Bloggers is a monthly series hosted by 2 bloggers: Igor (Happy Interior Blog) and Judith (JOELIX.com). Every month we share ideas to create an urban jungle through styling ideas, DIYs and green tips & tricks. You can find additional inspiration on our Urban Jungle Bloggers Pinterest board and keep up-to-date via our Facebook page. Want to join? Find out how on our website and use #urbanjunglebloggers on twitter and instagram. Let's bring some green into our homes and blogs!
► For more Plant Gangs, check out the gallery!
A night in a straw bale house
Before heading to the biggest Plant Fair in Europe that took place on our doorstep this weekend (more on that soon!), we spent a night in a straw bale house. Without running water and with an outhouse, a sauna, a lovely Orangerie and a nice table d'hôtes. La Chaise Verte, the green chair, is the only straw bale B&B in France and it was surprisingly nice! My entire experience will be on the blog of the Oise Tourism Board later this week, but I wanted to show you these images of the Orangerie, the little glass atelier in the garden, next to the straw house. It was decorated with lots of recycled objects but I particularly loved the end-of-the-day sunrays.
A très bientôt !
Dutch color therapy
Have you ever seen the most colorful extravaganza in the Netherlands? Until a few weeks ago I only ever saw the tulip fields from a train or car but when I found out I had a meeting at 10 minutes from Lisse, I knew I had to see this from up close.
When there's such an abundance of color (and smell! really I wish the Internet had smells, it's impressive!) I cannot stop making photos... so I decided to show 'em all for a huge dose of color therapy. Enjoy!
Don't you love the stranger in the crowd?
More than 3000 varieties of tulips exist and really: no two flowerbeds were alike. Tiny mini bulbs, two-tone tulips, wild peonie tulips and crown-like spiky flowers like these:
Another little stranger:
What do you do when you have 90 minutes in Amsterdam and you want to visit a really nice store? You visit Restored, on the Haarlemmerdijk. In a gorgeous old Fish and Fruit warehouse you'll find a beautifully curated collection of design products: from backpacks to ceramics and preserved flowers.
What I love about the store is that Restored is not just a nice collection of goods, they also like sharing the inspiring stories behind the makers of the products they carry. The lady in the store asked me if I had heard of Herman Verhagen, an Amsterdam-based pottery maker that made a capsule collection for Restored of cups and storage jars. I loved the glazings!
And in my book, you cannot go wrong when you sell plants (including the clean machines by Ogreen), Urban Jungles terrariums, watering cans and the second edition of Strange Plants:
Restored also carries lots of beautiful independant magazines like Gather, Desegno and my favorite The Plant:
It's a new day, a new life a new dawn... fooooor you!!
The Alocasia Cucullata plant also loves the shop window:
Intriguing preserved flowers by Nienke Sybrandy and beautiful geometric jewelry by Turina:
In the same street, the Haarlemmerdijk, you also find beautiful shops like Sukha, Store Without a Home, and Tenue de Nîmes (with super friendly staff!)... and after all the shopping, treat yourself to a delicious French mini pastry at Petit Gâteau.
For more interior and design hotspots in Amsterdam, you can also download the Amsterdam Next app!
Restored /// Haarlemmerdijk 39 /// Amsterdam, the Netherlands /// +31 (0) 20 337 6473
Open mon 13-18 and tue - sat 11-18
La Vallée des Singes
After lots of island fun on l'Ile de Ré we drove through the French countryside to a valley that I have been wanting to visit for years: la Vallée des Singes, the Monkey Valley! I heard it is a place where monkeys live in near wild conditions. And actually that's pretty much it! We had a lovely afternoon walking around the park in close (very close!) presence of over 400 monkeys.
La Vallée des Singes opened its doors in 1998 and is completely different from a "regular" zoo. There is very little "entertainment", unlike anything Disney, and you experience a complete immergence in the monkeys' territory. You can walk through the 16 hectares park with several different areas and where the larger species live on their own islands, separated from you by water. There are hardly any fences and just a few panels with information about the different breeds of monkeys. They want you to really watch, observe, experience and become aware of the importance of protecting these beautiful animals. Through their Primate Conservation Trust they fund conservation programs for populations of wild primates.
Capuchin monkeys, gorillas, bonobos, makis, gibbons, magots, mandrills, chimpansees... I think my very favorite monkey was this male Saki monkey with his beautiful bangs and haircut:
The most wonderful experience in the park, was that at some moments it was just like a regular walk in the park although we realized there were dozens of monkeys above our heads in the top of the trees. It makes you so aware of how we are part of nature and not the masters of the universe like we tend to behave like.
How many Maki eyes can you spot:
A quick and quirky Squirrel monkey (a.k.a. Mr. Nilsson) making a rude gesture:
One more gorgeous monkey that I had never seen before is the Black and White Colobus with a wonderful drapey tail and jacket:
Another facinating thing was that most of the monkeys completely ignored us. They didn't interact with us or any other visitor and lived very independently. Through movies and media we get a very human impression of monkeys and sure: we look very much alike, but these are wild animals and the Vallée des Singes created a very natural environment for them where the balance between "nature" and "zoo" is particularly well respected.
Several times a day the team of La Vallée de Singes feed the monkeys in front of the visitors. A unique moment to observe the monkeys up close:
And yes, we also saw a lot of baby monkeys! In 17 years there were over 500 births in the park! Look at this cute South American Titi:
Or this adorable baby Magot monkey (the only free-living primates in Europe by the way!) that held on to his mama:
I also loved it when they fed the chimpanzees some fresh endives: they just came out of the trees (not all of them, one was having more fun in the top of a tree!), just ate their veggies and went back into the forest. No show or "entertaining the audience", just food. Well, it was actually very entertaining to watch them and their movements, sounds and interaction, but it felt all very natural ;)
La Vallée des Singes /// Le Gureau /// 86700 Romagne /// France
Open from February to November, all opening hours on the website.
The park is located at less than 4 hours from Paris, in the Vienne region, not far from Poitiers and Angoulême and totally worth the time spent in the car to get there. For an extra special experience, you can spend the night in a beautiful tree hut in the nearby Les Cabanes de la Belle and/or visit Futuroscope.
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