France in May is absolutely stunning. Gorgeous spring air, beautiful weather, fresh produce – and, most importantly, public holidays every weekend.
Thursday was Ascension (I have no idea what it means, but I do know that it equals a day off, which is what matters here), so, on Wednesday night, the family packed up everything into the car and drove for four hours to a gorgeous little cottage in the countryside.
My home for the long weekend.
We stayed there for four days with two other couples and had a lovely, relaxing time.
Georges Sand, a funky little church and a dilapidated château
The first day in the Berry region, we decided to go to Georges Sand’s house. For those who don’t know (e.g. me at the start of that day) Georges Sand was a female French writer who had a lot of influence over art and social change in the 19th century. I’ll have to do more research on her, because she certainly seems like an interesting person.
On the way to her gorgeous house, we stopped off at a unique church in France. Built in the 3rd century (I think that’s right. I know it was a long time ago) the site is know for its strange shape.
It’s kind of spooky. I love it!
Georges Sand’s house was incredibly beautiful. The original layouts of the rooms were preserved – although, some of the painting was restored – so it didn’t feel much like a museum, but more like a well-loved and well-lived-in home. Most of the rooms were brightly coloured and very modern for the time. I would give anything for her incredible library; unfortunately, I have no pictures of it (as photography was forbidden) to share with you.
The tour guide was fantastic, as well. I had a bit of trouble understanding a lot of what was spoken, but I felt she really brought the house to life. The small details, like how George was friends with Chopin, or why she had a male name, really stood out to me and made it entertaining as a whole.
After leaving George Sand’s mansion, we stumbled across a fantastic castle, complete with drawbridge and moat. A man bought the castle about twenty years ago and started the incredible process of restoring the run-down château. The result was fantastic: a four-storey structure with a chapel, all original furniture, and gorgeous machicolated roofs.
Pretty cool, huh?
It was fantastic to explore the castle, because it was completely free of security cameras or guards. It was very run-down and dirty in some places, but you could run around and touch things, play with the ancient weapons and climb up to the top of the about-to-fall-down turrets.
So old, dusty and interesting.
I think, sometimes, that the accidental discoveries are the best ones.
Gargilesse and a beautiful lake
On Friday, the group ventured out to Gargilesse, a gorgeous, rustic, old village set by a river. It was absolutely stunning, with cobblestone roads and lovely old brickwork, and very different from Pérouges.
It’s super cute.
We spent an hour just strolling around Gargilesse, taking photos of the incredible scenery. A highlight of the day for me was the church, famous for its beautiful, painted crypt.
I loved the stained glass windows, so you can have a photo of them instead.
When the leaders of the party finally grew tired of Gargilesse (although I really don’t know how that could be possible) we drove down to the third largest dam in France. I think the most impressive thing about the structure was the rest of the group’s reaction to it, because it was, well, just a dam.
It did, however, produce a mighty fine lake.
Apart from that, we didn’t do much except eat far too much food, play Rummikub and relax. I did play quite a bit of badminton with Alice, and proved how absolutely shocking I am at the game. I think I’m going to have to work on my aim before I try and join the university team.
Featured photo is of the beautiful view from the top of the castle we visited. *photo*