After returning from our trip to France last year, I vowed to share snippets from my journal, but the holidays got the best of me, and then inventory snuck up on all of us, but better late than never! I am finally sharing the intimate memories from our trip; over the course of the next few weeks I will share the details from what was one of the most amazing trips to France that I have ever experienced. Enjoy!
Sitting in the little café at the Toulouse Blanac airport, I sit and wait for 12 of our guests. Some friends, some acquaintances that I have met through Chateau Sonoma, and some people that I still don’t know. Most of the guests do not know one another, but we all have one thing in common…Our love for France!
Christopher, our host and driver is there with a rather large sign that reads Chateau Dumas. He is gracious and friendly, and helps everyone get their bags into the van, and off we go! Some people are a little quiet on the way, but most are exchanging stories of where they are from and their past experiences in France. No one has explored this part of the country; it is off the beaten path and not as touristy as other regions in France.
I selected this region of France as the location of our trip for a very specific reason - often overlooked by tourists, Toulouse and the surrounding areas embody the French lifestyle that I love so much. The area is known to be the epicenter of culinary greatness in France, especially for its frois gras and truffles – two mainstays in French cuisine. The lush greenery, markets, and incredible cuisine come together in an indescribable way; I am so happy to be here again.
Once we arrive at Chateau Dumas, we are greeted by Lizzie, the proprietress, and her amazing staff who are eager to please. They make sure we are all escorted to our rooms and comfortable in our new environment. Lizzie purchased the chateau just over ten years ago and has since completely restored it to exceed its original splendor. When she first purchased the property, it was in need of updating and furnishings, but slowly, Lizzie has turned the empty chateau into what we will call home for the next seven days.
Champagne is waiting for us downstairs before a 3-course meal out on the veranda overlooking the hills and valleys of the Tarn-et-Garonne. Everyone is excited to be here and interested not only in their new environment, but with one another. The meal is divine, and it seems as if we could all stay up for hours telling stories, but the jetlag sets in and we all settle in for the night.
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