Thursday, June 23, 2016

À Bientôt, Brooklyn. Well Hello, Denmark And France!

The small village in the Auvergne I return to every summer
The famous chain of volcanoes in the background
The view of the famous Puy De Dôme volcano in the Auvergne
Sky, nothing but sky…
 Summer fields
 Cows are everywhere
My family's house 
The house in 1972, shortly after my parents purchased it.
My mother at the house in the 1970's

Will you come on a trip with me, dear Reader?  As in years past, I am heading to a small village in the Auvergne region of France to spend some time with friends and family.

Many of you already know that 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. 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, my husband and I are stopping in Copenhagen Denmark and will then travel on to Montpellier, France.  We will make our way to the Auvergne from there with a stop in Avignon.

I'll post photos of the trip along the way.  So, will you join me?


Anonymous said...

I always enjoy your reportage from France. Let us know what the EU thinks of the U.K. Exit.
I forgot about the story of your mother. God bless her.

MrsSam said...

Greetings Katia,

What a wonderful way to honor your beautiful Mother. Judging by the HARD work you guys do - the house is thriving! It looks fantastic! Yes, I am going with you on this journey. Can't wait to see the pictures!! And awaaaaaaay we go!
Safe trip, safe return!

Katia said...

Mrs. Sam, one of these summers, you are actually coming with me.

Ellen B said...

I love reading about your trip to the French countryside. I loved seeing the before and after of the lovely house and learning about your mother's love for the house. Your visit there must be a little bittersweet, but keeping the legacy alive.
I am looking forward to following this journey with a slight tinge of envy.