Summer is time to celebrate . . . July /
Fourth of July and Bastille Day
PLEASE REMEMBER THAT ALL UNDERLINED ITEMS THROUGHOUT THIS TEXT ARE
Summer is here,
and people are welcoming the arrival of warm weather and the opportunity
to spend a lot
In 1776 on the 4th
of July the United States' Declaration of Independence was signed.
But long before that
France was to see
a revolution of its own begin just months following Washington's inauguration,
Granted, the above
is very simplistic, but is only meant to illustrate the birth of democracy
in our two
If you plan to be
in Paris for Bastille Day this year, you'll no doubt see the military
parade down the Champs
May in France with au Château
We had the great good fortune last month to spend time at many of the properties you will find on our web site, au Château. Despite the frequent rain on and off during May, the warmth and kindness of the château owners overshadowed any temporary gloom outside. The châteaux themselves were delightful, of course, with fireplaces crackling and comfortable guest rooms to be enjoyed.
Let's recap some of our visits -- hopefully, you will be inspired to make reservations at one of more of these inviting and unique places for your next vacation in France. Please remember that the courtesy and attention we receive from our web site members is no different from that received by their other guests -- we are all treated with kindness and our hosts are there to see to the comfort of those sharing their homes. At Château de Chauvac on the Dordogne River in the département of the Corrèze we had a lovely room adjoining the tower suite. Decorated in soft hues with a hydrangea theme, we were quite cozy as the rains came pouring down during the night. In the morning we shared pleasant conversation with other guests around the breakfast table.
Don't miss an opportunity to be a guest at Château de Crazannes, just north of the city of Saintes, in the Charente-Maritime. Although operated as a bed and breakfast, the château, keep and four-bedroom cottage are offered for week-long stays as well. Families and groups of friends would be well advised to consider Crazannes as a base for a week or two in order to visit this region of France rich in history and abundant with activities for everyone to enjoy.
The long, shaded drive through the woods ended with a sunlight-filled view of Brittany's Château de Talhouët, magnificently situated on a vast park of lawns and manicured gardens. Exquisite is the best adjective to describe this grand château. Simplicity, style, and good taste combine to create a delightful atmosphere for a stay in the Morbihan département of southern Brittany. And do spend some time in Rochefort-en-Terre, a story-book village with cobblestone streets and lovely little shops and restaurants. It will enchant you!
Laval is a lovely city in the département of the Mayenne, with the River Mayenne running through it in a manner similar to the way the Seine courses through Paris. Shops, restaurants and apartments line the roads on either side of the river, and, also like Paris, it is a pleasant city to visit on foot. In the southern half of the city, very near to the river and well-located for shopping or dining without taking the car, is Château du Bas du Gast, owned by the truly delightful M. Charles Williot. This wonderful man was our host for two nights, and we will long remember our lively conversations with him. Château du Bas du Gast is in a tranquil world of its own, shutting out the city sounds with only the chirping of birds and the wind rustling the trees to break the silence.
worth thousands of words, best describe the next two châteaux --
both enhanced by their unique gardens. Château
de la Ballue with its theatrical gardens and sculptured formal
-- looking over the vast Breton countryside spread out below -- is spectacular.
While exploring the gardens, we didn't get lost in the Labyrinth and found
refuge from the windy day in the Temple de Diane. Adding to the beauty
and interest of Ballue's gardens is the placement throughout of modern
sculptures collected and displayed by M. Schrotter and Mme Barrère.
Château de Foltière/ le Parc Floral de Haute Bretagne, is the personal pride and joy of the delightful Monsieur Alain Jouno, who welcomes you to his fifteen gardens including a maze, a Japanese garden, a poet's garden, several lovely bridges and ponds, and a wonderful little waterfall. You can wander through the parc for hours, and in May you'll always come upon colorful bursts of hydrangea or irises or a bridge overgrown in Lily of the Valley. The bookstore is heaven on earth for anyone interested in gardens and cooking -- it offers an excellent selection as well as small potpourri gifts and post cards of le Parc Floral de Haute Bretagne.
Last, but hardly least, at the end of May time was spent at Château de Canisy in Normandy. It is a place where incredible luxury can be found in the en suite guest rooms. Marble, faux painting, copper bath tubs, and mirrors create sparkling and sumptuous bathrooms. Although antiques and excellent works of art fill the rooms of the château, each guest room is a world unto itself -- and there are many rooms to choose from, as well as several rooms in the restored farm house on the property.
Each and every one of the above properties affords guests beautifully-appointed guest rooms, modern baths, delicious breakfasts (and dinners, where offered) at a wide range of prices -- most include breakfast in the room rate. We paid no additional taxes and never felt we received less than we paid for. We hope you will visit these and other properties on our web site for more information about their accommodations, special features and pricing. Once you become a guest at an au Château member's home, you will not only find the accommodations ideal but will discover each set in indescribably beautiful landscapes -- perfect for peaceful strolls, and certainly a distinct advantage over a stay in an ordinary hotel.
French Quiz 15
Translate this famous work of art, "La Jaconde", into English:
You will find the correct answer at the end of this newsletter.
International Piano Festival of la Roque d'Anthéron
In 2001 more than 65,000 spectators eagerly shared their love of the piano by attending concerts during the Festival.
and to obtain a 2002 Program, contact La Roque d'Anthéron International
Piano Festival, Parc du Château de Florans, 13640 La Roque
d'Anthéron, Phone (33) 4 42 50 51 15 or FAX. (33)
4 42 50 46 95.
Travel Tip: Protecting Your Film
If you are concerned about airport x-rays and the potential damage they can do to your undeveloped rolls of film -- especially in light of increased security and stronger x-ray equipment at airports today -- here are a few tips. First, keep in mind that carry-on bags will be exposed to a lower dose of x-rays than checked luggage. Second, buy a good lead lined film bag to hold un-used and exposed film. These are available at most film developers and camera shops. Carry this with you through airport security. Third, ask that your film be hand inspected -- the FAA allows hand inspections in the United States ('e', Sec. 108-17 on their web site at http://www.faa.gov/avr/AFS/FARS/far-108.txt ) -- but you still may face resistance, even if you are carrying a printout of the rule with you. And in foreign countries, you won't have the same right to request a hand inspection -- although it won't hurt to try! Fourth, carry your camera empty, just in case a inspector decides to open it! And fifth, keep in mind that most film under ISO 1000 is fairly safe from damage from airport security equipment. Remember that nothing is 100% safe -- even in a lead lined bag, but every little precaution helps. [Partial credit to the Los Angeles Times Travel Section, 6.23.02]
Château de Vollore
in the Auvergne
is picturesque, tranquil and a land of dramatic scenery, and Château
de Vollore, perched at the crest of a hill can be seen from miles away.
We arrived in mid afternoon and for nearly a half hour before reaching
the château, it was in view -- a distinctive wide form with
a prominent tower at each end. Winding roads brought us closer and
closer, signage was excellent, and finally we were in the tiny village
of Vollore-Ville and at the left turn in the road that would take us to
the château gate.
We were so comfortable after settling in that we knew that two days and nights here would not be nearly long enough. Château de Vollore is definitely a place to return to time and time again. The views from our windows (and there were many windows) were nothing less than spectacular. From our largest bedroom window we could see sheep grazing just below the château lawn (a little wall separating them did not keep our ovine friend from jumping over it to graze alongside the pool -- the grass is always greener), further down the hill were small farmhouses and clusters of buildings, and in the distance the rolling green countryside of the Puy-de-Dôme.
Although we could go on about the elegance and comfort we experienced at Château de Vollore, of more importance is the family who owns it. Monsieur and Madame Aubert La Fayette proudly exhibit their family portraits, antiques and collectibles throughout the house. But two rooms are special for they house letters, papers and collected objects belonging to their illustrious ancestor, Marie-Jean Paul Joseph Roche Yves Gilbert du Motier, the General Marquis de La Fayette -- the French hero of the American Revolutionary War. We had the honor to walk through these rooms with M. Aubert La Fayette as he described items to us and gave us information about how they came into the possession of the General. He also kindly told us of the line of descendants from the 18th century to the present day and his wife, Genevieve.
General La Fayette had two daughters and one son whom he named George Washington de La Fayette after his lifelong friend, General Washington. George Washington de La Fayette married and had two sons who were unable to pass the family name down through sons of their own. Subsequently, the female descendants of the General Marquis de La Fayette have taken the name.
Vollore's history and ownership are well documented and the château dates back to the mid-thirteenth century. It was in 1900 that Gilbert de Pusy La Fayette, the grandson of George Washington de La Fayette (the only son of the Marquis de La Fayette) took ownership of the château. The central and northern portions of the château had been restored at the end of the 19th century, and under Gilbert's supervision the south portion of the château was judiciously restored from 1900 until 1914. His son, Jean de Pusy La Fayette, born in 1903, died for France on the 7th of February, 1945, at Chauve near Saint-Nazaire. He had been married three years to Ghislaine de Montalivet and they had a daughter, Genevieve; she and Michel Aubert La Fayette are the current owners and your charming hostess and host!
Madame Aubert La Fayette is not only a descendant of the Marquis de La Fayette but also of Rochambeau, put in command of a French army of 6,000 to join the Continental Army in the American Revolution (1780). He joined forces with General. Washington in 1781 and they marched to Yorktown, where they besieged British forces and forced their surrender. He returned to France in 1783, where he commanded the Army of the North in the French Revolution and was made a marshal of France.
There is also a La Fayette Museum in the castle of the General's birth, Chavagnac, which we were not able to visit on this trip. Although we could not find an "official" web site about the General, we did find one that went into great detail about his life and his friendship with Washington and other Americans, and his subsequent return to France including political problems he faced there.
In 1824-25, General Marquis de La Fayette was invited to return to the United States for a long visit. He traveled extensively to each State (there were 24 at the time) and upon his return to France he took with him large amounts of American soil. He was buried at Le Jardin de Picpus cemetery in Paris next to his wife, Adrienne de Noailles, and the soil he brought home from America surrounds his casket
If you have the opportunity to visit Château de Vollore and experience for yourself the fine accommodations and pride of family history you will find there, please don't miss the opportunity. The family offers escorted tours of the château during July and August for those who are not guests of the chambres d'hôtes. For subscribers to the print newsletter, FRANCE On Your Own, there will be a feature in the upcoming Summer edition about the Auvergne and the Puy-de-Dôme.
[Footnote: The spelling of
the family name appears in reference materials as Lafayette and,
Summer Calendar - the Var of Provence
VAR VILLAGE VOICE, the monthly English language newsletter circulating to hundreds of English speaking expatriates now residing in the département of the Var, is again producing its Special Events Summer Calendar for the benefit of all the English speaking tourists about to visit this lovely part of Provence.
The Var stretches from the sunny resorts of St. Cyr, Le Lavandou, Cavalaire, through St. Tropez to Ste. Maxime and St. Raphael on the coast, up through the wonderful wine valleys of the Côtes de Provence, Côteaux D’Aix, Bandol and Cassis appellations, to the gateway of the Alpes de Haute Provence – Lac St. Croix and the incredible Gorges du Verdon – France’s answer to the Grand Canyon.
Summer events in the region range from all the traditional village festivities, the Aioli and Soupe à Pistou Fêtes taking place in the village square with everyone feasting on the local dishes and wines and dancing under the plane trees, to sophisticated music festivals attracting top quality musicians from all over Europe.
There will be jazz, pop and rock concerts, chamber music quartets, baroque and medieval music festivals, jazz concerts in the vineyards, wind quartets and opera recitals in many châteaux of the region, plus all the fun of the artisan markets, antique fairs, brocante and flea markets.
The VAR VILLAGE VOICE SPECIAL EVENTS SUMMER CALENDAR, listing all these and more, is circulated for the four months of the season – June to September -- to several hundred rental villas up and down the region. In addition, the Calendar provides helpful information on market days, vineyards, and the fixtures of the only cricket club in the Var at Entrecasteaux, which boasts one of the loveliest, and possibly the only full sized pitches in the South of France.
If readers would like to obtain copies of the Events Listing, just contact the Editor, Anita Rieu-Sicart, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Famed for its spa and Vichy
water and infamous for its association
[Photo Cold Spring Press ©-2002]
What's New on our Web Site?
Since our May / June issue, three new properties have joined au Château: Château du Guilguiffin and Château de Talhouët in April, and just last week Château de Lezhildry came aboard -- all three in the popular destination of Brittany. But each is in as diverse a département as one could imagine! Château du Guilguiffin is farthest west in the dramatic and sea-faring département of Finistère. Château de Talhouët is in the southern département of Morbihan, rich in waterways and parks and famous for its abundance of megaliths. And, Château de Lezhildry, elegant and authentically medieval, is not far from the Pink Granite Coast of the English Channel in the département of the Côtes d'Armor.
We hope you will pay each of them a virtual visit on our web site and then, perhaps, make reservations to stay at one or all -- they would each make excellent bases for a thorough exploration of beautiful Brittany! And watch our web site regularly as we will be adding more and more properties to help you find just the right château or manoir in the perfect region of France for your next vacation!
French Quiz 16
Which one of these countries does not border France?
You will find the correct answer at the end of this newsletter.
Quick and Easy Recipe: Brandade de Morue
Probably not a dish on the tip of everyone's tongue, Brandade de Morue is actually quite nice with simple ingredients and a short preparation time -- it's codfish mousse!
You will need one pound of peeled and cubed potatoes, one pound of fresh cod fillets, 2 large garlic cloves that have been crushed, 3/4 cup of mayonnaise and salt and white pepper to taste. Put the potatoes in a large (4 qt) saucepan and lay fish on top. Add water to cover fish completely. Cover and simmer until potatoes are cooked. Drain (reserve liquid) and push fish and potatoes through a food mill -- do not use a food processor. Add only enough of the reserved liquid to slightly moisten during this process. End result should firm and not soupy. Cover and chill.
Combine the garlic and mayonnaise in a small bowl, and then blend into the chilled mixture. Season with salt and pepper. Best served following several hours of refrigeration (covered) as the flavor will become more intense. Very nice presented a bed of butter lettuce. Bon appétit!
[Credit to "Cooking with Bon Appétit - Seafood" ]
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answer to Quiz 15 is The Mona Lisa and to Quiz 16 is the Netherlands.)