On Saturday, Cliff drove us out to a little village called Chateau-Landon, about 65 miles from Paris to have lunch with an old work mate of his at his country house. Cliff’s friend has been retired for several years and he and his wife have a high-rise apartment in Paris and a few years ago also bought this century-old house in the country. Since then they have spent much time beautifully restoring it with the help of an amazing Ukrainian family of construction workers who speak only Ukrainian. Cliff”s friend is an expat, born in Germany and raised in Boston, and his wife is from Venezuela; they are 4 years into the process of getting their French citizenship. Cliff’s friend teams up with a few random others from among a big group of other unaffiliated musicians to play in rotating jazz clubs in Paris. They’re an interesting couple.
The house is amazing. Also amazing is the fact that neither Chuck nor I managed to get a good photo of it, which we didn’t realize until after we had left. How is that possible?! The house is 2 stories plus a walk out basement and a full furnished attic. The front of the house is very close to the street and has a big tree in front of it, hence it’s difficult to photograph. The back of the house has the biggest sloping lawn I’ve ever seen and includes the back lawns of a couple their next door neighbors (not sure how that happened) and by the time we got to the back property line, you could barely see the house. But all of the houses on that street are built on the side of a hill where their back yards slope down to a little river with fabulous walking trails along the river and through the adjacent wooded area.
It’s a lovely little picturesque village with a whole lot of history. For example, there’s a huge basilica which was built in in 545(!) and later became the Royal Abbey of Saint-Severin. Today it’s a retirement home. The business district is on the top of the hill where there are 2 large churches, a city hall, 2 pharmacies, a flower shop, a grocery store and a handful of restaurants.
After lunch, we went for a walk down the back lawn through a gate into a stone wall and into another walled area with fruit trees and then through another gate to the river. From there we went along the river and then up through the main village. It’s got natural fortification since it’s built into the side of a hill and the streets are interesting and steep and all the houses have great views. Here’s a bit of what we saw.
What a wonderful day in the country!