This post has taken quite awhile to dig into. There are almost 1700 images from the trip and I found it hard to figure out where to begin, but the first day is a pretty good spot.
I had never traveled to France or used any of the language I studied for more than 14 years. At one point I could read and write in French, but apparently that was a million years ago and of course, it took almost the whole trip for any of that to return. There were minor adventures before we reached the chateau (having Javier, Penelope and Leo on our flight, losing our luggage in Toulouse, collecting our group which almost included a bewildered traveler near tears), but this post has to be about reaching the chateau itself. I'd seen so many photos of the building, had studied them closely so that I could draw it for our sampler stitching project, but I couldn't have imagined the complete picture. The gardens, the views, the history, the luxury, the grace and charm of every little thing. Most of all, the welcoming staff and the awesomeness of Kaari and her French General crew.
Exhausted and relieved to be there at last, we trundled up the path, each of us so delighted that this fantasy was finally a reality.
We waited for everyone to arrive and thankfully, our luggage turned up too. On the terrace, we enjoyed the first of many extraordinary meals and met each lovely guest.
Sleep came easily.
In the early morning we woke up to find homemade croissants, french-pressed coffee, breakfast and the excitement of our first adventure as a group.
Off to the Sunday market in Saint Antonin Noble Val!
(That cat in the window is among my favorite images from the whole trip - all of them taken with my iPhone4.)
On the way home from St. Antonin, we stopped in Caussade for a Vide-Grenier, which is something like a village wide tag sale. If you're tooling around France and see one of those signs, be sure to stop.
My treasures from Caussade. Inside the Sucre tin? Buttons!
Could be the best way to make new friends is over a pile of vintage French linens. Some for you, some for me!
Home for lunch. The day is only half over!
One more VG outing and then back home again to start stitching.
Add some wine and a beautiful evening with food, new friends and a special birthday.
Whatever Julie wished for as she blew out the candles, surely it all came true!
Day Three up next: the farmer's market with the chateau chef, a brocante or two and cooking class.