21 hours ago
Tuesday, September 18, 2012
We snuck out of Paris and took a few days to visit the French countryside.
We stayed the weekend at Madame Sharon's beautiful home located in Normandy, in the Vallée de l'Eure, only an hour train ride North of Paris.
I met Sharon last year thru her beautiful blog My French Country Home. It is worth a peak.
Sharon is like the Martha Stewart of France (only more beautiful and much nicer!!).
Her home (chateau) is amazing and she has the most exquisite taste.
From her simple flower arrangements and table settings, to her antique linens hanging out to dry (which are not staged!).
She really lives the French country lifestyle. She has beautiful perennial flower and vegetable gardens , along with apple trees, raspberries and strawberries, which she brought to us fresh each morning (delicious!).
Her family rides their horses and bicycles together for miles without being disturbed by traffic, congestion or the hustle and bustle of city life.
She is an antiques dealer ("brocanteur"), like moi, and her specialty is taking small groups on "brocante" tours (antique markets) to bring treasures back to their retail shops, as well as finding treasures for personal keep. One never knows what you might find in the French countryside.
People from Australia, Great Britain and even Hawaii have come to treasure hunt with Sharon.
I am coming home with a bag of china (yeah, good luck packing that), and a fabulous French enamel street sign.
We rented the little cottage on the estate in the back of the main house and barns.
The cottage sleeps 6, with an upstairs and 2 children's beds, as well as a small galley kitchen.
We were greeted each morning by her 2 dogs Gibson and Ghetto as soon as we opened the top of the Dutch doors.
Breakfast was delivered to our garden table in the back w/ coffee and fresh croissants each morning. What a treat to sit outside and enjoy this little slice of heaven.
One evening, we had the unexpected pleasure of being invited to dine with Sharon and her charming husband Eric in their beautiful garden for dinner.
Aperitif and "snacks" on the patio, then an amazing meal prepared by Eric. Bruschetta to start, then Eric cooked a whole fresh fish caught that morning, paired with a sorrel sauce served with a magnificent risotto. Wow, this man can cook!
Lemon cheese cake in verrines for dessert, w/ a wonderful Bordeaux being poured all evening.
Pinch me, cause I'm not in Kansas anymore.
We visited the beautiful gardens at Giverny, where Claude Monet lived and painted.
It was more beautiful than one could imagine.
We visited a chateau and their special gardens called Chateau Le Miserey. A garden designed by a woman in her 80's laid out with hybrid tea roses and tree specimens planted to represent heaven and hell. A special place, that most people would never find without a local person telling them about it.
This was our favorite part of our France trip, by far. Sharon and Eric made us feel welcome in their home and were warm and gracious.
We can't wait to return.