GRIGNAN, FRANCE: MEMORIES

Every trip has at least one event, one moment, one experience that stands out above all others. Do you agree?

Whether the trip is a weekend long or several weeks or even months there are one or two experiences that become THE memory forever. Many things can make this moment or event stand out, and those things can vary greatly. For me, on this trip, it was our day excursion to the town of
Grignan.

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Let’s start with this short video I did and had posted on Instagram that day:

The town is built around, and famous for, the Château du Grignan. I first encountered the name when, in studying French with a tutor in 2003, we (very slowly and haltingly) made our way through the book of Madame de Sevigné’s letters to her daughter in the mid-1600’s. It is definitely an uphill climb to read them in French (English versions are available!) but the “story” is fascinating. The loneliness, the isolation, the separation and, more than anything, the Mistral wind sweeping down the Rhône Valley was enough to cause depression and physical malaise in anyone.

We had been there years ago…maybe ten years?…. but it was rainy and cold that day so we hadn’t been into the château or done much exploring. I just remember having lunch in a lovely cafe and knowing I wanted to come back.

So off we went. This year we had gorgeous picture-perfect weather. And by early October the crowds are gone.

If you noticed the last few photos in the above video you can see the outside of the shop we discovered….

 my find of the day:
Poterie Du Chateau
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I fell in love with almost every piece here. I did know, from past experience, that it is just about impossible to have anything shipped from any small retailer in France. It’s such a shame. Anything you want you must hand carry home…or arrange, i.e. pack it yourself, for direct shipping. Ten years ago we had brought home eight dessert plates, pitcher and bowls from a small shop in Dieulefit but somehow I just couldn’t deal with doing that again. So we bought a few small pieces, and spent time in the shop with one of the owners. We watched her work at her wheel, with me overwhelming her with questions and not knowing the vocabulary in French for such technical work! It was a challenge and I loved it!

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We were looking for un sucrier (sugar bowl) with une couverture (top) but with a cutout for a spoon. This almost fit the bill, but not quite.

 

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I am loving my pitcher filled with my gorgeous red dahlias. And the packing paper made a perfect backdrop.

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There were other defining moments on our trip, bien sûr, that I will write about. But next up here, I will give you some travel tips and some of my dos and don’ts for what I ended up taking with me, what I found useful, and some new discoveries.

P.S. To read more about Madame de Sevigne’s life and her relationship to her daughter, whom she adored, here is a brief summary.

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Comments

  1. EAch trip always does indeed have one or two incredibly special moments that stand out above the others. With us they always start with one shared memory around the kitchen table and then someone else will add another memory and then someone else another and within minutes all seven of us are talking at once, everyone has their own special moment, Treasured memories, that can be terribly simple, the best part of any trip.

    • And, of course, the pictures! I have so many to organize and this time I’m going to print out, not just keep on the computer..what a job!

      • I have lovely photo albums from as little as 16 years ago and then it all changed. Now everything is stored on the computer, no more albums of holidays, carefully labelled. Digital photography is fantastic but I do miss the printing and sorting of photos. Bravo to you for going that extra mile and continuing to print and sort!!!
        Our French Oasis recently posted…Time to Stand and StareMy Profile

      • To combat the digital photo effect (never looking at the photos) my husband searched for an old postcard display carousel when we returned from living in France and then had printed out several hundred photos to group into each slot. It is on display in our living room (in fact, there is a photo on my latest blog at But you are in France, Madame) and we are always stopping to take a bundle, flick through them and reminisce. It never fails to prompt great discussions amongst the family. I love it and it makes a great feature and talking point when friends are over.

        • Oh Catherine, what a wonderful, fabulous blog and story you have!!! So glad you commented here and led me to it. I’ve skimmed a bit and am going to subscribe and go back and read carefully. Wow, what a time you have had. I’ve never been to Annecy but daughter said it is beautiful and so lovely. I can’t imagine moving three children etc to the other side of the globe! (and surviving….) I love that huge poster over your desk: we were just thinking of blowing up a lovely picture of Vaison and doing the same thing. Will post here if/when we do it. Anyway, thank you so much for visiting here and commenting. A bientot!

  2. Sublime!

  3. LOVE THE YELLOW WARE!
    LA CONTESSA recently posted…DRESSING FOR YOURSELFMy Profile

    • Elizabeth: I only wish I could have brought more home but it was just too much. Italy is so much easier: they pack and send!Well, I guess it’s a good reason to return, right?

  4. Grignon looks lovely. Where exactly is it situated. I must look it up. If we drive to the South of France we often stay the night half way down around Beaune.

  5. What a darling village – your post just makes me more excited to go next year! That display outside the shop would have enticed me in the door for sure. That pitcher is just so cute, I might have picked up one of those butter dishes to go with it.

    About all those photos – I too take tons of them to preserve the memories. Storing on my computer lets me enjoy them whenever I want, but my husband rarely sees them, so I add some to our digital frame – so now we can enjoy them as well as other memories all the time.

    • Cyndi: I’ve never done a digital frame: what a good idea! Do you have just thousands of photos on your computer? Mine are piling up there much too fast. I’ve offloaded some to the external, but then it’s frustrating to find them again…ah, the problems! When is your trip? Next fall?

      • Yes, I’m just starting to plan again. We were going this fall but I had some commitments that got in the way, so we have pushed it back to next year. I’m really looking forward to going – I’ve never been and probably will only go once (husband tends to say, been there done that). I’ll be planning carefully to see as much as I can in three weeks.
        Cyndi recently posted…Enhancing Practical ThingsMy Profile

  6. Such wonderful photos. My suitcase was packed coming home from France…not room for much else. I should have taken less!!! Butter dishes with the lids always make great gifts…I’ve given them to friends over the years and it’s great to see them in use in their homes.
    Mary Ann

    • There is no way I would have fit everything in my suitcase..so had to buy another one! It’s just so tempting to buy, knowing you might not be back for a while. But those butter dishes just seemed to fragile. Of course, now I wish I had tried.

  7. OH my that pottery is gorgeous.

    • Hi Esme:
      I only wish I could have brought more of it home!! How are you? Haven’t “seen” you in a while; hope all is well!