Sunday, April 22, 2007

Weekend in the French countryside

A friend from high school, JL Gray, came to visit us this weekend after having spent a week in Nice for his job. Fortunately for us, he had already visited Paris plenty of times, and was happy to let us show him some of the local sights. We like to take advantage of our guests' visits to discover new places, so this was our first time to visit Longpont and Fère-en-Tardenois also.

We started our day Saturday with a picnic near the old abbey in Longpont, a town about 15 minutes from where we live.

After exploring the village - which didn't take long, given that it may be even smaller than our own village - we went to visit the ruins of the Château de Fère, at Fère-en-Tardenois. This town should be about 40 minutes from where we live, but we took's suggested directions. In following those, we ended up with closed roads and detours, so it took us quite a bit longer than planned and a number of U-turns before we finally found the castle ruins. We did find them, though! And we have made a mental note to buy a map of the region before our next outing!

The castle has a hotel just on the other side, so we visited the hotel/castle gardens.

Benjamin was in rock heaven in the gardens. As in most French gardens, you walk on pebble pathways rather than on the grass. He couldn't decide which ones to pick up, he had so many choices!

(thanks to JL for these 2 photos!)

After the castle, we drove back to the house -- this time we took the longer, but much more straightforward route! We had Burgundy fondue for dinner and enjoyed the sunshine and our new patio furniture. We had a great weekend - and you can look forward to at least this much fun if you come visit us!

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