While on one of my searches for beautiful settings, I found Ville de Coeur and fell in love with the ambiance. I began at Citadel Gardens and then moved toward Harbor Square, a tranquil setting to meet with friends, have a latte, and simply chat. The view from the Harbor shows distant estates on various levels creating a realistic perspective.
Ayla Panacek-Guisse and Bedrich Panacek-Guisse are the owners of the French-themed sims. Ayla is from the Isle of Man, Irish Sea, and Bedrich is from Maryland in the U.S.
How serious are they about recreating a French theme?
“I have been to France twice,” Bedrich informs me. “Once for the original intent of the sim, which was to create the countryside in the 17th and 18th century in France. So I saw Versailles and the surrounding area.”
For seven years, the sim was known as “Languedoc Coeur” which evolved into an independent 18th-century role playing sim named Duche de Coeur.” Role play requires a continuous effort to keep focused on a specific time period storyline, knowledge of the etiquette and what is taboo, and above all maintaining a cast of characters. All the elements have to be in play. If interest diminishes, so does the role playing community.
“Ayla was one of the merchants 6 years ago. Her products were slightly different from what the sim was about, but I really liked where she was going with them,” added Bedrich. “She had a theme of a 19th century French countryside. And so seeing that after 7 years, this sim was not working well with an 18th century theme, I decided to change it to a more timeless view of France. And, most importantly, she made more of an effort to make her store work than anyone else. She brought people here through her marketing.
“I always loved the sims, but refused to run about in all the habit and curtsy permanently,” Ayla admitted after sipping her beverage.
Bedrich would have liked to see the role players focusing on a set theme, or looking at the facts, instead of being more interested in fashion and hairstyles.
He created the idea behind Ville de Coeur and blended it with Ayla’s desire for it to be France in the South, today. The charm of the past, it’s unique architecture, shops, cafes, the curve of the roads and its regional landscapes, were woven into the new version. This would bring about new traffic, more residents and interaction. A new community.
According to Bedrich, the buildings in the Duchy (the regions south of their sim) were made by SkyeRyder Varriale. One of their houses was built by her in the Ville de Coeur. Many Duche de Coeur buildings were built by TatianaDokuchic Varriale. Many of the buildings are by Bedrich with Ayla responsible for making some of the furniture and doing the interior decorating. The regions in Ville de Coeur include: Aquitaine Coeur Nord, Poitou Coeur, Normandy Coeur, Coeur d’Azur or Coeur de Bourgogne. Ville de Coeur resembles the Dordogne region in France. Azure is based on fishing villages in southern Provence. Bourgogne is based on Chateauneuf-en-Auxois in Burgundy.
“We consider it a romantic version of what we know about the area,” said Bedrich. “For example in the Bourgogne village, the hotel is actually across the street. But that building did not work for us, so we put it where a gallery is located. We also open the interiors of the buildings more because we don’t use first person cameras in SL.”
When Bedrich departs, Ayla tells me that he is a technical genius. She often presents her ideas to him and what she can’t work out, he is able to. As an example, she mentioned the fountain in front of the Hospice de beaune. Once completed it will be an exact copy. But creating a realistic atmosphere is as important to them as representing the real regions.
Asked what were the elements they wished to include in the design of their five sims, Ayla replied that they wanted to keep the original and old world character. They wanted to make it easy on the eye and keep the prims as low as possible. Of course, bring it to life with details. For this, one must look closely at the glass top of the patio table where brave little sparrows are stealing the croissant beside your coffee. Or listen to the sim’s birds. Then they wanted to introduce as much personality as possible.
In Harbor Square, past the arch, is a carpet of fallen leaves. Choose a Latte, Mocha, or Cappuccino from the bistro coffee cart. Gaze out into the harbor by standing near the decorative wrought iron railing.
Their goal is to create a sense of community to bring together people from all walks of life and different countries. They have hosts from the U.S., Australia, Netherlands and Denmark. Merchants and renters are from France, the U.S. and U.K. The events they create are geared towards involving all. They have held a champion horse competition, a photo contest, classic car races, a Tour de Coeur, and soon a film festival.
In terms of rentals, Normandy, Poitou and Azur are full. You can find their available properties on their website. Aquitaine and Burgundy have places available.
In addition to the residential and commercial aspects of the community, you can also be entertained at the beach at Azur. Here you will find sailboats, jet skies, volleyball or you can ride a Vespa, a bicycle, or even rez a horse.
“We have a riding cross country path from the stables in Burgundy going to Aquitaine and back,” said Ayla. “There is weekly live music, at least on the weekends, and themed music events in between. Shortly, we hope to start an open mic. We’ve had a tribute to Glen Miller, French-themed nights, a Grease Night and regular quiz nights.”
Follow my tour and then visit Ville de Coeur yourself. You’ll need at least an hour because there is so much to see. Don’t forget to save landmarks for your favorite places.
An inviting French restaurant awaits guests in Harbor Square. Checkerboard tablecloths are ready for dinner for two. Tonight’s special is posted on the chalkboard beside the door. Barrel tables and stools allow for ample seating in the attached patio. Inside, candles flicker on the tables and wine bottles are ready to be selected. Have dessert at one of the outdoor tables so you can watch the sunset.
To the right of the restaurant is a spacious market with fresh fish, vegetables, fruit and mature plants. Behind it is the old village church with a history of its own. Floral vines crown the stained glass windows of the church. White rustic pews flank the gold runner leading to the altar. On its simple stone surface is the Sunday passage to be read by the pastor, a white cloth under it, and the generation’s old cross brought back from the pastor during his last pilgrimage to Rome. Fresh tea roses grace the stone vases on their pillars.
Penelope is part coffee house and gallery. Inside you’ll find glamorous photos by Miky Oyen.
You’ll find elegant jewelry at BB-Jewelry store. Everything from a Lace Treasure Necklace in Platinum to a Divine Ruby Necklace.
A panoramic view of the mountain side demonstrates how terraforming can appear very realistic. Space is used in a natural setting allowing for several elevations.
Annette Seranade performed in the outdoor venue on Saturday, November 14 in Marche de Chateau de Bougogne near the vintage Ice Dreams Gazebo.
Horses await their riders in the local stables.
Dressed in winter white, one of the shopping districts looks lovely. A sign announces the photo competition.
A lovely stop on the tour is an elegant French restaurant called Chez Pierre. A green awning shades the first two bistro tables beside the stone building. Wine and cheese has already been served. Large potted Topiaries add a decorative touch at the front door. In the dining room, dinner has been arranged for the guests. Three tables are dressed for a wedding party. The wine cabinet features both affordable to an expensive wine selection. Delicate wine goblets are within the cabinet. Champagne chills in the gold cooler beside the main table. Plan your next celebration here.
Purchase a bottle of red wine to take home for an intimate night for two. A wine shop is directly across from the restaurant.
Before you head home, take a walk with your partner in the Citadel Gardens.