today is a hot summer day in evreux.
today is also your nation’s birthday. you haven’t forgotten. happy birthday america!
today, your feet also destroyed a pair of shoes. you tend to walk a lot, and often where you walk, there aren’t pavements. the feet are okay, but your shoes suffer.
but let's walk backwards for a moment.
to the the beginning of a french spring in april. to when you still wore your coat and scarves. to when you had on three pairs of tights. to when the peonies were only just starting to bloom.
you find yourself in tours. right in the vallée de la loire, or the loire valley.
there are plenty of historical gardens and castles to be seen here.
and since it’s mid-april, cold, with school in session – you’ve practically got the entire place to yourself.
an oven. a cutting board. simple things.
lots of people might dream of living in such a place. but not you.
this is your dream. rows of cherry trees. with a bright blue sky.
but this specific dream in tours actually belongs to juliette. not you. you are a guest.
when you began this little journal, you had no idea that it would connect you to so many people. and when someone emails you with invitation to visit her home in tours… how can you say no?
her home is more than a home. it’s a dream. a restored farm bought together between five neighbors who are also friends. imagine living right next to not one, but four friends that you adore.
and the garden. or rather, gardens. grouped by color, divided by ponds, connected by steps – cold weather would be the only reason why you wouldn’t want to spend all your time here.
most importantly, this is a garden with tables and chairs where she can gather and prepare cookies and ice cream for the people she likes most.
if it were summer, you could be swimming. instead you admire the sunset’s reflection.
here, she spoils people. especially you. with what? with food.
you remember when you first came to europe you’d take notes about everything you ate. but now, you take mental notes instead about how the meal is enjoyed rather than what is being eaten.
meals with juliette and her husband in her garden, that is a taste you’ll never forget.
of course it must finish on a sweet note.
her home is in the countryside. surrounded by nothing. yet it is also a fifteen minute drive from the city. the perfect place, she says, is to find a bit of campagne that is not too far from a city – because things such as the theater, libraries, sporting events, markets, schools, etc. are also essential to live.
and for you, especially flea markets. this one is extra special not only because of the empty journal you find but also because this market takes place sous les cerisiers. cherry blossom leaves swirl and fall around you as you browse.
a tea and pastry break is always important.
back at her place, the cherry blossoms are falling as well.
she introduces you to michel bras. a chef whose adoration for photography is well reflected in his recipes. you spend quite some time curled up with her cookbooks.
oddly enough, or perhaps it isn’t so odd, this weekend was a weekend where you slept well. and that is rare, because it only happens in places where you feel truly at home. at first you’re ashamed at how much you sleep and nap at juliette’s, but she understands completely and encourages you to sleep more.
a little walk by the loire river.
also – this is a message to all ducks in the world – this place is the ideal place to live as there is absolutely no shortage of bread that people leave here. to the point where all the ducks ignore the bread floating around.
one last look at her living dream in tours. back to evreux. your current dream. to another adventure. but you promise, once you’re finished with all these adventures, you’ll give your feet a proper break with a home just as dreamy where you can nap and eat and most of all invite all your favorite people to have some amazing cooking parties.
chère juliette, merci encore pour le week-end incroyable en avril. je ne vais jamais t’oublier, ta maison, et ton hospitalité. je ne passerai pas a tours avant mon départ cet été, mais je te promets qu’on jour, dans l’avenir, je reviendrai pour te faire coucou. il faut que je goûte les cerises de l'été, non? passes de bon vacances et profites bien de beau temps avec tes amis et ta famille. cathy