My small village in the AuvergneI slip away to France for a stretch of time during the summer. So, while I am away from Brooklyn, I invite you along on my vacation, if you would like.
I am currently in Barcelona, Spain, then will travel to Andorra, through the Pyrenees, and then on to a small village in the Auvergne, France, where my family has owned an old stone farmhouse for the past 40 years.
Here is a bit of background:Since 1971, my parents have owned a stone farmhouse right in the center of France, four hours south of Paris, five hours North of Marseilles. They bought the house as a week-end place when my family was living in Clermont-Ferrand, France. It needed an incredible amount of work, so for five years, all they did was renovate it to make it livable.
When we moved to the United States, my mother insisted she wanted to keep it, though my father wanted to sell. She won that argument. So every year since purchasing it, my parents spent four summer weeks there. That is until 2003, the year my mother became gravely ill en route to this, her favorite place on earth. She was in a french hospital for four months and had five operations, during which she was unconscious for most of the time. One of the last sentences she whispered to my father before slipping into a coma was: "Take me to my house and I promise you, I will get better in a few days, I promise you."
She never saw her beloved house again.
After she passed away, my father, sister and I scattered her ashes under her beloved linden tree in the courtyard of the house. Since then, my husband and I have made the trip to France every year determined to keep her memory alive by keeping this old house in one of the remotest places of France in the family. It represents lots of work and time spent there means lots of repairs and projects, but it has been tremendously I think my mother would have been proud of us.
The Auvergne is one of the most beautiful areas of France. The famous Bleu D'Auvergne cheese, Michelin tires, as well as Volvic water, come from there. It is a rugged, volcanic area that is so lush that it resembles Ireland, except with better food and spectacular mountains. The landscape is breathtaking. Curvy roads wind their way through beautiful valleys. They lead through small century old villages with beautiful stone houses, and right out again through fields of wheat and sunflowers. It is a magical place.
I will reach my little village and the house in just a few days, but first, Barcelona…
I hope you will drop by often, as I will post on my travels and adventure as much as I can. I will occasionally post about Brooklyn as well. So if you have a tip or a photo about Carroll Gardens, I would be more than thankful if you send it my way. Because Brooklyn is never very far from my mind.