Just last November my family and I spent about a week in Chinon, France. This charming French town is nestled along the banks of the river Vienne, snug in the hillside shadows of an ancient chateau that has welcomed Joan of Arc, Richard the Lionheart and Louis the 17th among many others. History runs deep in Chinon, and you can easily feel it wandering along the cobblestone streets.
|Flat bottom boats on the river Vienne|
To say I had developed a crush on the area would be an understatement. So of course, it seemed an excellent plan to return on my own in February to see how Chinon looked and felt in the dead of winter. The cozy apartment we'd stayed in wasn't available and though momentarily disappointed, that turned out to be a most excellent turn of events.
You see, in the space of those few months between November and February, I'd "met" a wonderful ex-pat American woman, Jamie Schler, on Facebook. Jamie and her fab French husband Jean-Pierre Dagneaux, were in final negotiations on a charming hotel smack in the heart of the Chinon historic district. Naturally, I booked my stay with them at Hotel Diderot.
|The back entrance to Hotel Diderot in the heart of the historic district|
|Jamie and I in front of the warm dining room fireplace|
It just so happened that the day of my arrival (Jamie and Jean-Pierre's first official day as owners of Hotel Diderot) was also Jamie's first jam making lesson from Laurent Dutheil, one of the former owners. Laurent knew the time had come to pass the jam baton on to Jamie. Her first assignment was orange marmalade, prepared three ways , a three day project that filled the hotel from top to bottom with the most delicious scent.
|Jamie and Laurent at the stove - this is how every single batch is made!|
|The ancient scale upon which the fruit and sugar are measured.|
|A small capture of the large armoire of lovingly house made assorted jams and jellies|
|Jean-Pierre and Laurent placing the hotel's newly acquired Michelin rating!|
We now live so much longer than previous generations - and that can truly be such a gift! I'd love to hear the dreams for your best next life - as you're now living it, or in process of creating it, or even wondering what is next. Do share in the comments below.
Jamie's Orange Marmalade Three Ways recipe can be found HERE
For more about Hotel Diderot, Click HERE
(rent a car in Paris or take the train to Tours then switch trains to Chinon)
For more about Jamie Schler:
If you have recently paid a visit to my personal Facebook page or the French Market Maven Facebook page you may have noticed information about a 7 day retreat I've organized with a couple of incredible ladies for this fall. It's about women in midlife. It's about reconnecting with our amazing selves. It's about making like minded friends and creating supportive community. Besides massage, conversation, three workshops (and the salt water pool) I've planned an outing to Saumur to shop at their incredible farmer's market. We'll have lunch in town (the enticing 3 course type including regional wine at a totally "locals" cafe) with plenty of time for some personal shopping and yes, a cooking lesson that evening led by yours truly. You can check it out here: Your Best Next Life.
Mention that you found out about the retreat from French Market Maven and I'll take $350 off your bill via Paypal. Sign up with a friend and I'll take an extra $50 off for each of you as my personal thanks (that's an $800 total savings!!).
Click right here if you want to sign up now