Eighteen years ago my Mom took me on a trip to France. I was about four years old at the time and we were visiting good friends of ours from Montreal who had moved to Aix-en-Provence. Last week we went again to visit these friends now living two hours outside of Lyon, all of us 18 years older!
We had three full days together and made those three days count! Mom arrived in Paris and two days later we were on the TGV heading to France's countryside. Rolling hills as far as the eye can see, small cottages and old houses dotting the scene with cows grazing everywhere – it was breathtaking. Gail and Francis, our friends, live in a beautiful home built in 1783 - if I remember correctly - that has been fixed up since, but has kept it’s charm and look of the pre-revolution time. It’s gorgeous!
The days were spent catching up on eighteen years of news, drinking fantastic wine, and touring the towns and chateaus nearby. Oh, I have not mentioned the food yet… Well, Gail is a fantastic cook and I did my very best to learn as much I could from her in such a short time – even got some recipes to bring home!
The only thing that made the trip better was when my friends Julia - Gail and Francis’ daughter - and her boyfriend, Malcolm, arrived the second night. When they arrived Gail taught everyone how to make pasta and we all had the fun of working the dough, turning the pasta machine to flatten it and cutting it into long strands to be ready to cook. A pasta machine is definitely going on my Christmas list!
The last day Gail and Julia took Mom and I to a beautiful Chateau. We toured the whole palace and enjoyed hearing the scandalous story of the previous owners. Only France would have history describing a Countess who was a widow and yet later on, had six children! The Chateau was exquisite. completely over the top, and we made sure to take in both the prison and glacerie - where they make ice - which were also on the land. May I just say, the gardens at all the chateaus I have seen are unbelievable?!