September 19, 2014

L'église du Vieil Baugé.

There is Baugé and there is Vieil Baugé. The newer one has a château that dates to the 15th century, so I guess Vieil Baugé must be really old. My niece, Louise, and I went for a walk and found the old church with the twisted steeple and, for the first time, went inside. The walls were frosted with coats of time. The place felt heavy. It was really beautiful.

The walk there was also memorable. The sky was bursting while Louise and I walked along talking about her new adventure of lycée (high school), intense French exams and the problem of superficiality in high school kids. She is a French teenager, much wiser and more articulate than her age. We stopped to notice climbing vines and small châteaux and the sky.

September 15, 2014

Château du Lude.

Next was Château du Lude, just down the road a bit from Baugé. The thing I liked most about visiting this place was Colette's stance, above. It is one of my favorite things about her generally. Aplomb 100%. Little body taking up lots of space.

We also loved soaking in our French family - Jules, the calm, wise, attentive cousin Colette and Romy both adore.

This lady has some serious locks. She was perfect in this setting.

Château labyrinth...out of hedges

Sister walks in a great setting.

Piles. Colette is obsessed with creating piles. Spare dust anywhere is magically ordered into a Colette-hill.

The inside of the château was photo-forbidden, but I stole a couple of the best views. That staircase and entry were really something else.

September 13, 2014

September 11, 2014


While we were in France, we visited several châteaux. Baugé (a town situated in the heart of La Vallée de la Loire) is boxed in on every side by these royal abodes and we could simply hop in the car, point our finger in one direction or the other and wind up in front of a castle. This one, Villandry, was all garden. Shockingly garden. These Frenchies. My dad took us to this château when we were young and while I appreciated the points, lines, angles of the plants, I didn't really take it all in. This time it popped.

(As you probably know, accents are important in French. I wasn't going to include the circumflex in château here but Xavier encouraged me to do so. He said, "Please! Pronounce chateau and then pronounce château! Such a difference" Honestly, I had a good laugh - the difference was inaudible but very real to him).

Colette, as you can see, was very thoughtful about the beauty around her. She sat down and put on a good, sober French face.

A good place for a chat.

Or for tasting some sweet grapes.

A chat between sisters and swans.

This is where the French are truly classy. Their restraint. One might accuse these gardens of bragging. Flamboyances. Exhibitionism. But alas, here - the court intérieure of Villandry is bald, divested of glitter. Just one large urn and those tiles. Contrasts so nicely with the rest.

"Cam I see mama?" (Please do note the little crossed fingers).

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