When this become common knowledge, Marie-Andre offered to tour me around the ones she knew. Several of which were not on my pre-tour research radar.
And so, since Bernard was off to play golf(active retirement, remember?) I was willingly kidnapped.( After all, how can you refuse your hostess?)
What impressed me most that day were not the chateaus. But the attitude of Marie Andre. She was never bored or fidgety while I trolled for photo opps. Happily doing her own thing, enjoying the scenery AND pointing out possible points of view overlooked by the exotic stranger from the far away lands. Contrast this to one of my ex -girlfriends who always brought a book along on our wilderness walks!
After several marvy Chateau gems, Marie Andre suggested lunch. (my arm twisted again!) Happily our “petite resto” had an outdoor terrace. The deserted kind. Perfect for a weary, hungry photographic team.
On the route home, we scooped up some REALLY fresh butter and milk from a local farmer. One of the great joys of country life. Food treated with respect – not chemicals. (interesting concept -wot?)
The fact that Marie Andre’s enthusiasum for my “pile of ancient stones” project had not waned, came when I discovered what appeared on the internet to be the Mother of all ruined chateaus. It was a decent train ride away. Outside of a major city. When I announced my intention to add this jewel to my photographic crown, Marie Andre ‘phoned a pal in that town, who then offered to treat me to a resturant meal and, more importantly, a bed. High Cotton! No long train ride TWICE on the day!
That was the good news. The bad, was the Chateau. It was a total LLLLLLLOSER! Bearing almost NO resemblance to it’s internet counterpart. And to add insult to photographic injury, surrounded by a high wire fence. WHY? Who would want to go on anyway?
But that wasn’t the worst of the bad. The worst was that I would have to, and did do the long train ride twice on the same day. Because my hostess -to -be was not off work until 7pm, and it was now barely noon. With (now) no other reason to be here, and facing 6 hours of nothing, I decided to return to villa Toussaint.
Bad decision. I never met my gracious hostess-to-be. Who that night, dined alone.
As Mr. Sinatra warbled : “Regrets…..I’ve had a few.”
Part Four -Next Time.
THROW ME A BONE HERE, PEOPLE!
What are ya thinkin’?