SAINT-FRAIMBAULT, FRANCE –
“Saint-Fraimbault is a true village fleurie. Each Spring, 100,000 flowers swamp the village in color as villagers try to outdo each other’s displays.” I read these words from my travel guidebook when Jim and I were hurrying along the road in the rain in the Lower Normandy region of France in April of this year. Pointing to the suggestions in the book, I told Jim, “This lovely village with four stars for its flowers is just a short distance off the main road. Could we turn off and see the flowers?”With 100,000 flowers dancing in my head, like a Disney production of fleuries on parade, we drove into the small town. Workers were digging into the soil and planting the flower beds at the entry, surely a direction sign for beauty in the village. Up the hill in the center of town was a rather average place with a church, a few businesses and houses. We parked and searched for the 100,000 flowers. Wisteria vines of old growth clung to ancient stone walls with purple clusters perfuming the air and enticing bumblebees. Beautiful, yes, but this was not the ecstasy of flowers that lured me from the main highway.We searched the streets and found humble flower gardens, all beautiful in their own simple manner, but not the 4-star-extravaganza I envisioned. Gradually, we were won over by the village and the smiling ladies who spoke to us when we snapped our cameras at their flower gardens.
I read a sentence about the grand flower show that I had overlooked in the guidebook later when I was seated in the car: “It all culminates in a mid-August festival.” Ah, we were too early! The blooms were still sleeping and waiting for the big days in the summer. Perhaps some of the simple buildings were hiding away the full production like Disney has the parade floats under cover until it is show time. In the summer sun the bands will play, the children will laugh and old ladies will be happy with the production in the lovely village in France. I was happy with the giant, pink peonies and the promise of more to come.
Saint Céneri le Gérei, France –
“The ravishing village has a memorable setting. Crowned by a fine Romanesque church, its stone houses overlook the gentle River Sarthe as it flows around a rocky promontory on the edge of the Alpes Mancelles.” These words in my Eyewitness Travel guidebook lit passion in my Francophile heart for yet another idyllic beauty to store in my camera with the other 2000 photos. I was not disappointed. With this short description, I will leave the pictures to speak their words.As for my current plans, I will be taking advantage of this warmer weather while today is gorgeous and hoping I will have a modest fleurie garden this coming spring.
I hope you enjoyed the short visit to the villages. I thought I would be quiet about the reason for my brevity for the blog, but I will own up to the truth. As I sit here today, I have a shoulder and a knee with bandages from skin biopsies after my dermatology appointment. This isn’t the best company for writing!
It does provide the perfect time to give a reminder to protect your skin from the sun and see a dermatologist regularly. I’ve had a number of skin cancers removed including two that were close to the danger zone. I am very careful and I appreciate the excellent Dr. Boni Elewkski’s (University Medical Center – Birmingham, AL) thorough exams.
Yes, that’s Jim between the two lovely ladies on the left – proving his unbelievable chick magnetism again!
I will be away from my keyboard most of the coming days with no blog entries until 2015.
See you next year! Be safe, happy, healthy and please come to visit again!
Thank you for all of your generous kindness during this year! Ya’ll are the best of the best!!