Our first review of the season appeared on Facebook after a group organised by Eloise came to stay at Chateau Vary. Apart from being our first guests there was also a very interesting connection in that Eloise once used to live in the Chateau with her family and left at the age of 2. She had been looking for somewhere to stay with two other couples and chanced on seeing us on booking.com and recognised the house. After sharing the photos of her childhood experience, we toured the house and the comparison was startling. In 1984 Benedicte’s parents lived and worked in Africa before retiring to Vary in 1986. Eloise’s family had been renting what we used to refer to as the Upper Chateau.
I digress as Ronni Corbett would say, and we were delighted with the review:
Nous avons passé un WE à Vary entre amis (3 couples) : lieu magique, hôtes adorables, je recommande sans hésiter ! La météo capricieuse nous a fait profiter de la piscine couverte : un régal ! Nous reviendrons !
Obviously, the new heat pump on the pool is paying dividends (and costing them!), keeping the temperature at a steady 33. I have loved a dip every morning for half an hour, it seems to ease the joints before more gardening. Which reminds me we were asked how many gardeners we had to keep the gardens looking so lovely? Mmm…… yes good question – any volunteer gardeners out there, where are you Louise when we need you?
Back to the group – they struggled to cram in all they wanted to do and after visiting Brissac Chateau they came back and took four bikes – models we describe as ‘less rusty’, and went to visit the closest vineyard to us Domaine de la Tuffiere which is 4k away. We suggested this after visiting ourselves and buying a considerable amount to stock the cellar. I met the family that run this at the Wine Fair in Angers in February and shared with amusement that my father in law had taken me there some 30 years ago and the wine had only been red and tasted like vinegar. When William was clearing the cellar recently I found a few bottles; the wine was so bad it had not been finished. How times change and a vibrant and energetic couple Clarisse and Fabrice have taken it on and transformed it. Clarisse is the daughter of the man I originally met 30 years ago and while doing an amazing job she mentioned she owned it ‘en indivision’ with a brother that she didn’t get on with. Crikey – what don’t the French do with this Napoleonic law? It seems that they create a chapter in every family’s life that along with the births, marriages, divorces and deaths should be entitled ‘sorting out the cock up of the endivision’.
Where was I – yes Domaine de la Tuffiere so well worth a visit. Set in tuffeau caves, lovely wines and the possibility of buying a picnic basket and walking up to a cabin in the vines to enjoy lunch with a bottle. Massive recommendation for this one and it is just on the doorstep.
The group arrived back safely – despite a circus bike front wheel on one of them, or was it the wine. I need to hide/repair this one before the litigious David & Lisa turn up in the summer.
The last few photos show aerial shots and cherry pickers. One of them was an absolute beauty, I fell in love straight away, and the other one was Benedicte. It enabled me to put the newly painted shutters back up, check the holes in the roof and then take some stunning photos. Benedicte was left dangling from a rickety ladder and picking the cherries before making fantastic cherry jam. We have two trees and reckon we could make 100 jars + but we do not have the time. Maybe we can organise this as a group activity next year?
Hoping Boris speeds up the decision and we can welcome all back to the beautiful Loire Valley.
Best wishes to all,
Paul and Benedicte.