July 18, 2014 – St. Leon-sur-Vezere
It has been 2 weeks since we have posted. During those two weeks, we have been very busy. On Wednesday July 9th, we got up at 4:30AM and Rita and I drove the 5 hours to Paris so that Rita could meet with French Immigration to complete her requirements for a long-term visa. We had enlisted Alain and Dominique Desmadryl to assist us with some of the more burdensome paperwork required. They were very gracious and helpful to us. After having breakfast with Dominque, (Alain was in the hospital recovering from hip replacement surgery), we drove to French Immigration to take our place in line with many others seeking immigration to France. If you remember, I flunked my first attempt to get my visa a couple of weeks ago. So, we used what we learned from my experience for Rita, and Rita sailed right through French Immigration without any problems and got her long-term visa approved. While I was waiting on Rita to get through French Immigration, I talked my way into the office and convinced them to consider my second application at the same time they were considering Rita’s first application. (I had my second appointment next week, but did not want to make the 5-hour drive back to Paris.) Surprisingly, French Immigration was accommodating to my request, considered my additional paperwork and also issued my long-term visa at the same time as Rita. Whew!!!!! What a relief. We were afraid that we would have to leave France after 90 days if we did not get our visas. Without visas we could not go to Italy for 90 days after our visit in France. That night, we stayed in Paris on the Left Bank at the Hotel du Seine and went to dinner at Au Bourguignon Marais to celebrate. Rita had bouef bourguignon and I had white, red and rose wine from Bourgogne. I also had some great avocado, crayfish and fish along with my wine. The dessert was Berthillon ice cream, the best ice cream in Paris.
On July 10th, my daughter Angela and Rita’s friend Mary Thompson arrived in Paris on the same flight, took the train and the metro to Paris and met up with us at our hotel. We did some Paris sightseeing, which included Notre Dame, Eiffel Tower, Champs Elysees and Arc de Triomphe. We had great cocktails at Fouquets Barriere and dinner at a place Rita found called Chez Toinette in the seedier area of Paris. After dinner, we walked the streets of Paris and ended the night with cognac. My daughter had come to Paris to see us because she has recently become engaged and was excited to share her thoughts and feelings with me. Mary had come to Paris because she had always wanted to see Paris and have dinner in a French restaurant.
On July 11th, we drove Angela and Mary to St. Leon-sur-Vezere, a long 5-hour drive made easier by having company and knowledge that we had our visas and did not have to return to French Immigration in Paris next week. We celebrated our guests’ arrival in St. Leon with dinner at Le Petit Leon, a nice restaurant in St. Leon. While the food was excellent, including foie gras, pork, fish and quail, all we truly remember is the wonderful ice cold cava and socializing.
On July 12th, we took our guests to the BIG market held every Saturday in Sarlat. We bought fresh vegetables and spent the rest of the day cooking a wonderful dinner. It was a scene from the Big Chill.
On July 13th, we drove our guests to St. Emilion to see the wine country. We arrived in time to take a tour of the village before a thunderstorm cut the tour short. We did do some wine tastings in shops and at a winery. The La Rose Cotes Roi was our favorite winery tour because they told us things about wine making we did not know, says Norm. The girls thought is was the BEST because the owner of the winery was soooo handsomely FRENCH!!…
They would have stayed there all day! It was a great day in spite of the rain. In the evening we returned from St. Emilion and had dinner at La Chevrefeuille, where we had taken our cooking classes with Ian and Sara.
Of course, we had a LOVELY dinner there and again, met new people!! We met a gal named Joyce, who was traveling alone……. with her three children!!! She is from Vancouver, flew to Ireland, met up with some friends, and now is hanging in the south of France for awhile! We couldn’t belive she would undertake such a hard task of traveling with three little ones, but she is doing it just fine! And she is also blogging!
On July 14th, we played at the pool and in the evening we went to see the fireworks in Montignac because it was Bastille Day in France. The impressions of the celebration were that they did not have a lot of “junk” to sell the children, there were no fireworks for sale and no one says “ooooh and awe” after the fireworks go off. But, they do all applaud at the end of each set of fireworks. For dinner, Rita cooked foie gras for dinner. It was the first time we had cooked foie gras. It is not too hard, just sauté it in a pan. But, it was really tasty.
On July 15th, we played at the pool and visited La Source Restaurant in Tursac for dinner. We considered this our farewell dinner since Mary was leaving the next day before dinnertime! Angela and I had plenty of time to discuss her engagement, wedding plans and other things going on in her life.
All in all, it was a wonderful visit. Mary went home on July 16th , so we drove to Brive for her to catch the train to Paris and Rita, Angela and I had a great meal at La Toupine in Brive La Gaillarde. Angela went home the 17th.
So, Rita and I have two days to get reacquainted before we have new visitors on July 19th. Yann Desmadryl, his wife Peggy and their children Cheyenne and Tinael are visiting us for a few days on their way to the Mediterranean Sea for the MONTH LONG FRENCH VACATION OF AUGUST. Did everyone get that!!!!
Have a great day. We miss you all.