Monday, July 13, 2009

postcards from chateau dumas, auty


Now that I'm home from my vacation and workshop sojourn in France, I have a few photos to share. After spending the first part of a relaxing week casually strolling the parks of Paris with my husband, on Saturday I flew on to Toulouse while he continued his journey to Kuwait. At the Toulouse/Bagnac airport, I joined the lovely group of 14 women from around the States who were spending the next week together (July 4-11) at the first French General Chateau Getaway with Kaari Meng. Once we all packed our suitcases into the mini bus, we headed off through the countryside in the southwest of France to Auty. Our bus driver was in full Tour de France mode as he sped and careened along the narrow curving roads, but the scenery was beautiful.

Chateau Dumas is in the rolling fields of Auty, about an hour's drive northeast from Toulouse. Just look at those delicious pink stucco walls and blue shutters!! Chateau owner Lizzie Hulme welcomed us with cooling drinks and then showed us our rooms before dinner outside on the veranda, overlooking the chateau grounds. My light-filled room on the third floor included a sweeping view of neighboring farms and a reservoir in the distance. Fields of sunflowers stretched in all directions.

Although the original Chateau was destroyed during the French Revolution (a sad tale we heard over and over as we toured the region), it was rebuilt during the 19th century. As the story goes, the Baron who owned the Chateau was a card enthusiast who continually gambled away the local farms he owned. His wife would then repurchase them during the following days.

Our delicious dinner, and most of the meals to come, was prepared by MamaJo, Lizzie's mum and a former British university professor, who kept us fortified with her cookbook-worthy specialties, lots of fresh produce from the region, and plenty of local wine. In anticipation of a full Sunday with trips to two markets, we headed (relatively) early to bed. In following posts, I'll try to recap each day for you.

P.S. I forgot to mention how this Saturday started. Since my husband (on his way to Kuwait) and I were leaving at different times from the Charles de Gaulle airport, I went there with him quite a bit earlier than my flight to Toulouse. As I sat reading in the gate area surrounded by sunny windows, a wedding party arrived, waiting for yet a different flight -- charming chattering happy people dressed for a summer wedding, some with long dress bags they hung on the nearby kiosks. Then the person in charge of treats arrived. His armloads of pastel Ladurée bags were passed out to each member of the wedding party. Not one person could resist unwrapping the beautiful boxes inside and eating the delicately colored macarons on the spot. And yes, I snagged one of the empty bags left behind -- too pretty to leave!


Lori said...

oh my, how beautiful!!! thanks for taking me with you all looks so lovely!!!

carol wingert said...

Your pictures look marvelous...and it sounds like you had such a great time. Can't wait to hear all about it.

Sue said...

Your back!!! I am LOVING the photos, and can't wait to hear more about your trip.


Debby Schuh said...

Welcome home! I been checking regularly to see when we'd get a peek at your pictures! Looks like you had a wonderful time. Can't wait to hear all about it!