Letters from St. Fréchoux:

Sunday, September 26th, 2004: St. Fréchoux, France

N 43
E 003
Calonge to St. Fréchoux: 267 kilometres

Dear Gary:

Bet you are sorry you closed the pool so early this year! We hear you are having a wonderful September. Say hi to Louise, Kim and Shannon for us.

St. Fréchoux is as we remember it: quiet and peaceful and Monika and Dittmar’s house is a cosy and charming retreat from the hectic pace of our over-paced trip. We had a lovely and relaxed time with our neighbours David and Kathryn last week. We left them to 4 more days in the Costa Brava at an exclusive hotel and then a flight to London. We are so glad to be their friends. They have offered us their house in January for our (hopefully) soft landing in Toronto in December. They are truly generous and wonderful people. We wish them the very best of luck and love in the next part of their lives.

Our mobile magically rings this quiet Sunday morning in the vineyards and it is the rental agent in Paris who we have been trying to secure and apartment from. We finally have booked an apartment in Paris for our time there. Our best buds Bob and Bill will be in Paris roughly the same time and we have bent our already flexible schedule to spend at least 4 days with them. Bill and Bob hosted our stag the night before we got married last New Year’s eve.

It is sunny and blue skied. Our petit chateau is full of sun in the mornings and the wild roses continue to bloom on the small, shaded terrace off the front door. We have unpacked some of Monika and Dittmar’s summer furniture and set ourselves up. There is a mighty wind blowing that chased us up the Spanish coast and into France yesterday and it lingers today. We listen to the gentle droning and humming of the grape picking machines doing their annual thing.

Monika tell us that the house is 208 years old and was once the summer-residence of the archbishops of Lodève. They built it in the vineyards close to a romantic river, the Lergue, which is easily seen from the balcony. The original massive cooking hearth remains as does the first stone sink and large water pumping apparatus. The kitchen is warm and welcoming, especially at night, where, I expect, we will congregate around the table with one too many glasses of the local wine.

Today we must get out and view the hamlet and its residents, saying hello to any and all who dare to poke their head out and say bonjour to the new strangers in town.

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