Saturday, June 18, 2016

The Kindest Invitation...



6/18/2016

Bonjour mes amis!

How are you doing today?  I hope you've had a good start to your day!  I know I have!  Dr. J got me another one of those delicious Almond Croissants for breakfast!

One of the real perks of having been to France a number of times over the last years, is that we actually have friends here.  Honest to goodness, care to spend time with us, Friends!  It's awesome.  We are friends with a number of Dr. J's Colleagues here!  We have friends at the little Church we attend here!  We even have friends that we've met through friends!  And, as you've seen, we've even become friends with Strangers! (By the way, come back on Monday so I can update you on the Dinner Invitation story at the Carrefour Market!)


One gentleman we've known over the years, Jean-Michel, has been so dear and so kind, and he extended an Invitation to us recently that we could not pass up!  He inherited his parents/grandparents home out in the country a couple hours from where we are, in a tiny village.  The home had been his Grandfather's blacksmith shop, and Jean-Michel and his wife updated the home for their family's needs.  Did we want to drive out to the country to spend the day with him?  You bet!

First, we had a quick look around...


This is more of a weekend/Summer home for Jean-Michel...


Jean-Michel had planned a nice long, French meal for us!  After an Apéritif, we had one of his own creations, and it was so delicious, we finished the whole thing together!


The wine selection for our meal was from the region!  Really yummy!


Then, we enjoyed some potatoes and fish with lots of buttery sauce and the most delicious baguette!



Then, came a selection of cheeses, and finally, we each stuffed ourselves with a fruit tart for dessert!  It's a wonder any of us could get up and walk around afterward!



There were so many cool, old family pieces scattered throughout the home.  Look what the family did the butchering on, back in the day.  Oh, and this knife was the one they used too!


The family converted the upper space into a loft for bedrooms!


We also stepped outside to view all the barn areas too.  The opening where the candlestick is, and the one to the left were actually used from the other side to pass hay to the animals!




A few Iris' were still blooming...




We were having a great time hearing all about Jean-Michel's family...


Ms. Sapphire and I could have explored all afternoon, but Jean-Michel wanted to take us to a few places!  First, to see the old Church and its grounds in his town...





And a place that some English people are renovating...



Well, they're not renovating this next area, but Jean-Michel said that a bunch of folks in the Village want the guy who owns this land to sell it.  It's causing problems for the Church, and looks unsightly beyond this stone because it's not being cared for...


As we were headed to see a Château in the region, Ms. Sapphire convinced Jean-Michel to stop at a Winery to taste wine.  He obliged very kindly.


And we left with a few bottles after the tasting...


Back on the road again...




The weather wasn't very cooperative, but as you can see, we were in beautiful wine country!


Château de Ladoucette!


Impressive!


This Château is privately owned, like so many of them, so we could not go inside.  Hopefully we weren't trespassing, but we figured we were with Jean-Michel...


Incidentally, I didn't mention that just down the road from Jean-Michel's house is a rather historical area.  There was a very large American Hospital there during World War I, taking up much of two villages.  If you would like to read a short interesting article about the Hospital, you can visit a good site HERE.


There is even a road named Route du Camp Américain in the small village!


Jean-Michel told us all about this Hospital and showed us a power point presentation he prepared of its history and the history of his town over the years with pictures of old and recent. It amazed us that so much of the village is unchanged.  It was all so interesting.



Jean-Michel definitely had lots to share.


I asked him to share his parent's love story with Ms. Sapphire, since his parent's relationship was interrupted by war for some 10 years before they got married.



It's amazing to hear family stories, especially those that survived such hard times as War.


How we can appreciate those who keep records of ancestors!  The stories are gripping.  I know my own Father worked hard to know his family ancestry and recorded lots of stories from Aunts and Uncles first hand, so he could share it all with his Children and Grandchildren!


How about this panoramic photo of the Château that Ms. Sapphire took?


Time to head back through the vineyards...



Of course, Jean-Michel wanted us to come back to his home so he could feed us again!  Thankfully, it was a light supper of melon and omelet, and more baguettes...oh, and of course, wine!


It was a very late night for us with our two hour drive back, but it was the best day and the kindest Invitaion!


See you again tomorrow!
Jan

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