What do you say when you meet your ultimate mentor? What do you say when it is a place – not a person? Well it happened, we finally arrived at our premier destination, Chateau Villandry! I was giddy with excitement, not knowing which direction to go first. My father and I had just flown from Newark, rented a car, drove to the Loire Valley, had a lovely dinner with our hosts Adriaan and Joke, in Esvres-sur-Indre. We planned our first day: primary goal visit Chateau Villandry and Russeau for a small vineyard.
Of course, it always takes us longer to reach our destinations because there are so many things to do FIRST! Most of my friends know that breakfast is my absolute favorite meal. Seat me at a European breakfast table and I am in heaven – so our first morning in France was ideal. Warm croissants, french press cafe, fromage, charcuterie, confitures – figs, seville orange marmalade, black raspberry, granola, yogurts; je suis une fille tres heureuse! Not only did we have a quintessential french breakfast but Adriaan and Joke set a beautiful dining room table over looking their terrace and grounds in their petit chateau. Part of the charm included meeting the other guests, Juliet and Maxim from Chambord, who were visiting the same area as we were during their 4 day weekend. We shared plans of destinations and trials of travels. Needless to say, we were enjoying ourselves so much that we were off to a bit of a late start. Donc, we finally set our path and drove on our merry way – to Chateau Villandry! We were finally off to our destination but FIRST…we just had to stop at a cute little town because I saw a beautiful window of a florist shop next to a Boucherie & Charcuterie next to a patisserie next to…we must park for just a moment! We stopped, I took a few pics, experimented with speaking my french to shopkeepers and set off again. Of course I had to restrain myself because every town was cuter than the next and we MUST get to Chateau Villandry! We smiled as we passed through the towns and promised that we could stop on the way back. Finally, we arrived in Villandry!
But FIRST… Adriaan had suggested a restaurant in the village and it was close to 1 pm (deja?!) so we must find a bite to eat. A few places were open in the off season so we peaked in windows. A few people in most places but then one was completely full. We knew right away that it was the perfect place because the fashionista woman who greeted said “Il faut que vous ATTENDS dix minutes”. Parfait, we sat and waited for our premier dejeuner on this visit. Once again, it is not only the food that makes a difference while you are in France but the fashion – the attitude – the love is always present. In this case, it was represented in different ways at each table. I know you can picture the love birds next to us, the large table of thetrendy set and the smartly dressed elderly couple in the corner – probably regulars from the village. Nous attendons, nous mangeons et nous sommes tres contents. NOW onto the Chateau ET Les Jardins!
The wind was blowing and it was a very cool day but we were happy to arrive FINALLY! They advised us to go through the chateau first because it closed earlier than the gardens but I had a very hard time restraining myself. I quickly raced through the rooms and noted how fun it would have been to live in a gorgeous home overlooking the most inspirational gardens. But were they really happy (I always ask:)? Judging from their family photographs, yes, I think so… I raced through and found a sign for Donjons – which must mean tower. I climbed the narrow staircase and found myself at the most incredible view. Roberto Carvallo said that the design should be planned to be viewed from terraces above. From this point, you understand the masterful plan of the colors. Share with me, my excitement of viewing this scene in person. I did not know what I would say when I first met my mentor, now I remember, it was “Oh my goodness”… (video clip) then to see it up close and personal… (video clip)
(Also, we did not make it to our wine tasting destination this day but we will be back at the end of the week before Paris)

Je vais faire…plant a golden celery, apple or pear espalier hedge and tree roses in my garden next year.
Je souhaite…that I could wear chic shoes on cobblestones.

View from a bedroom window

A view from aboveVillandry Gardeners The Gardeners who made it happen

Villandry potager design plan
Villandry potager design plan
Golden celery, snow ball cauliflower, bulls blood beets, and leeks paint a beautiful garden.
Golden celery, snow ball cauliflower, bulls blood beets, and leeks paint a beautiful garden.

View from an apple espalier hedge
View from an apple espalier hedge

A Linden Allee...hmmm...where should we put one of these?
A Linden Allee…hmmm…where should we put one of these?

Yes, I am inspired! Now where do I begin in my own garden?
Yes, I am inspired! Now where do I begin in my own garden?

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