Friday, October 7, 2016

Back to the Chateau

Chateau Dumas

When I went to France as part of my birthday year celebration in 2011, I thought that would be it.  I had been to Aix and Paris with my brother years before and it was nice, but I didn't think I would return.

I was much more of an anglophile.
When my dad offered each of his adult children a trip anywhere in the world, I chose England.
I knew English horse racing from reading Dick Frances, and Regenecy history from reading Georgette Heyer, and the geography from hundreds of cosy English mysteries.  It was a world I felt comfortable in.

Then my birthday year happened and different artists I admired were part of two separate week long workshops in rural France.  I had to go!

In between the workshops I spent 10 days with my husband, mostly in the Langedoc Roussillon region -- Carcassone, Collioure, Ceret.  I love that it's also known as the Spanish Frontier!

The Fauve Walk in Collioure

We discovered a double-walled medieval castle; a town dedicated to "wild" artists and the views that inspired them; two museums featuring the amazing work of Josep Reira I Arago; a full set of Picasso ceramics; amazing food.
My husband, who told me before we married that he didn't like to travel, was bitten by the travel bug!

France is a beautiful country.  But there are a lot of beautiful countries.  What touched my heart were the people.  I speak no French (tho apparently I can say that sentence in French with an acceptable accent!)  Sometimes the people I met spoke no English, like lots of the flea market vendors or the deli owner who sold us wonderful take away food.  It was a surprise to discover I know the words for different meats (as a cook, I'm a vegetarian, so that ability is odd).  Sometimes they knew English, but  weren't comfortable speaking it.  I'd ask combien (how much)? And then have to ask them to write the numbers. . . I got good at charades!

What I found were people genuinely helpful, and kind.  They made me feel at home.
I love the climate and know a lot of the plant names (interesting how similar those aspects are to where I grew up)! Oh and have I mentioned the brocantes and flea markets?

So since the 2011 trip I have been to France and the Chateau twice more.
Paper/mixed media art workshops two years ago and last year Shibori.

 Shibori at the Chateau

So it is with a great deal of joy that I will return to France next week.
I'll spend 2 weeks at the Chateau assisting my teacher friend . . . 

. . . and about 5 days in Toulouse
Walking around, paying attention to art & architecture, taking in a yoga class (the teacher is from Australia -- I'm adventurous, but yoga in French is prob too much for me!), and hanging out at my favorite flea market on as many Saturdays as I can manage! 

I have never found the chateau's internet particularly robust!  Still it is my goal to document this trip as I am on it, so come back every couple of days and see what I'm seeing and doing!


Deborah said...

Marilee, this is wonderful! I have found the people in France to be warm and welcoming as well. Your photos are enticing. Can't wait to follow your journey!


Elizabeth Hurley said...

Bravo Marilee. I''m so happy for you! Embrace it my friend. Love you, Elizabeth