I can’t believe it has been almost a year since we were in France in the Loire valley, eating croissants, baguettes and pastries every morning and finding pretty hamlets and villages to explore each day. We decided we wouldn’t travel to France in April and May this year in favor of watching our own flowers burst into bloom in Alabama. It’s a tough time to leave someone else to mow the grass and tend the plants. We have in mind an autumn trip. Planning is my job. I have peeked into house rental information and travel websites for the Provence, the Rhone Alps and Normandy. Options of budget Ryanair flights to Ireland, Portugal and Norway are possibilities from France or Belgium. I look at all of the travel information to other areas and then I remember how good France has been to me. No final decisions are made yet. What should I do?
April, 2014 – Langeais, France – Hop on a plane to Paris. Take a train from the airport to Tours. The exact stop is St. Pierre des Corps. It was all very easy, peasey. An Avis car rental place is just outside the station. Then, it was very simple to drive around and get lost a couple of times before we found the right direction. Our destination was Brehemont for our cute rental cottage. Just across the Loire River was the beautiful village of Langeais, brimming over with character, history and one spectacular chateau!
I window-shopped along the cobblestone street looking at trendy outfits, modern eyeglasses (French people wear the coolest glasses!) and bridal outfits for French weddings. Then, I saw a bright banner on Chateau Langeais celebrating the royal marriage that took place in December 6, 1491. Anne of Brittany married Charles VIII before a small audience in the Chateau Langeais. Anne of Brittany agreed to marry the new sovereign if her husband died before she produced a male heir. Her children died, either at birth, or during childhood. Charles VIII died seven years after the wedding in 1498. That is so sad. Are you in tears yet? Anne of Brittany married the cousin of her deceased husband, and the new sovereign reigned as Louis XII. The book “A French Opportunity” has more history and memoirs of the chateau.
Jim and I paid the entry fee to the chateau. I drifted to the gardens and further up the hill to view the beautiful bridge and river below. Jim was a kid again, dreaming of his old tree houses in the woods behind his childhood home, which is our present house. But there at the chateau was a tree house worthy of royalty, or even Prince Jim! After all of the exploring and stretching our legs and minds on memory lane, we were hungry! We left the grounds in search of food. Normally, boulangeries are not open during lunch, but we found one around the corner doing a brisk trade with a line at the door. We bought a delicious meal and found a place with benches by the water in the shade. Two French families joined us, parking their bicycles and opening their picnic lunches. One of the adults rushed to the boulangerie for pastries, and I kept my longing glances at the goodies that he brought in a pretty pink box under control, almost. The children played with toys and jumped from the embankment to the benches, especially when they realized they had an audience for their tricks. I asked for permission to take pictures because the children were very cute.The stream was dotted with lily pads and it flowed under a beautiful stone bridge. Perhaps it was there when Anne of Brittany arrived for the wedding. If not, it is there for the modern bride wearing the pretty gown purchased around the corner past the Salon de The.
Enough eating and dreaming… We went to use those tickets, already bought and ready for our own royal entry. We went from one massive room to another seeing the tapestries, large enough to almost cover the front of my small Alabama cottage. Everything was familiar since this was not our first visit to the chateau, but a great presentation of the wedding of Charles VIII and Anne of Brittany was a pleasant surprise. Figurines were dressed regally to represent the clothing worn during that time period and a slide show of the historic wedding with enormous pictures was presented on the wall above the figurines. The turret walk high above the village has lovely views, but wire mesh covers the open areas to prevent tourists from falling out and spoiling their expensive vacation. Photos are a bit odd with the wire grids. I tried a trick I had read about and almost erased the lines in a few of my pictures. Photography of the wedding presentation was difficult since no flash was allowed and we were in darkness most of the time. I was not an unruly guest of the wedding. Perhaps another invitation will arrive by royal post. The question now is whether the event will occur in Provence, the Rhone Alps, Normandy, Norway, Ireland or Portugal. I need to quit dithering and make up my mind. Any suggestions?
I must apologize for not following my laid-out plan and schedule of a bi-weekly post of the blog. My job that pays for croissants in France occasionally and buttered biscuits in Alabama has kept me away from the fun of writing. Recently, I’ve been in a royal battle with computer programs that were fickle and non-functioning. Computers are miracle machines when they work! They are downright finicky if all of their connections, buttons and sweet spots are not satisfied. Now, you are likely thinking, if not saying: “Sure sounds like computers are female!” Nope! You are wrong. I’ve seen the backside of these computers, and they are not women! Samsung, Dell and Apple may not know this, but from my viewpoint, computers are the MALE of the species!
Let me quickly retract some of my computer nonsense before I get into trouble with the menfolk, especially the one that is married to me. Jim, the husband and computer repair person that I call most often, understands the inner workings and backside of my computer. I call Chris, a nice young man in a nearby town to help me with my website. Santiago is the very knowledgeable fellow who controls the computer world that I live in for my daytime job. Compliments, hugs, thanks and chocolate cookies to all of these MEN for pulling me out of many jams! I’m laying it on thick because I want you there for the next time.
That is my valuable input for the week. I may see you next week, or it could be earlier, or later. I hope everything is fine for you. Please come again. You are welcome to enter your e-mail for a free subscription notification. Just look in the upper corner. If you don’t get your notice, don’t blame me. Blame the male computer!
Happy Anniversary to my lovely daughter Jessica and her sweet husband Mark!