Les Volets Bleus

Over-tired, frustrated, hungry, we arrived in the small town of Monts-sur-Guesnes.  The farmhouse we had rented is called Les Volets Bleus (The Blue Shutters).  It is a two-story farmhouse primarily built of stone around 150 years ago.  The house has a superbly equipped kitchen and can accomodate 10 people.  The town of Monts-sur-Guesnes has an ancient chateau at its center, now occupied by the municipal government and tourism department.  There is a small farmer’s market on Saturday mornings which, unfortunately, we were unable to attend, having arrived too late.  After depositing our luggage in our bedrooms and surveying the house and grounds, we set out to find some sustenance.  Another flaw in our planning—-it seems that lunch is the primary meal of the day in the French countryside.  The local store opened at 9:00AM, closed from noon to about 2:30PM, then reopened, closing for the evening around 8:00PM.  Naturally we had arrived during the time it was closed!!!  The restaurant in town only served customers with reservations so there was no succor there either for the weary hungry travelers.  Not an auspicious start to our dream vacation…………

After a little research on the internet and a frustrating journey to find an open supermarket, we succeeded in acquiring food and wine.  We each went to seperate rooms to relax and get control of our frustrations, then assembled on the covered patio in the rear of the house with several bottles of local wine and cheeses………..a very continental way to re-establish our friendly familial relations…..

What we could see was very pleasing and finally we experienced some positive omens for our sojourn:

The house is situated at the edge of the village, surrounded by fields and open land.  About a kilometer to the south is la ligne verte, a trail covering some 14 kilometers interspersed with various trail-side markers which facilitate a self-guided nature walk.  The shopkeepers and service providers we encountered were all friendly but there were few words of English to be had from any of them.  What little French we possessed, mainly from guidebooks and the iPhone translator app, was totally insufficient for our needs.  But with some tenacity on our part, and a willingness to be of assistance on theirs, we were able to procure groceries, wine, and even get the tires on the bicycles (available at the house for our use) pumped full of air.
We thoroughly loved the experience of living in the country-side, away from the madness of Paris and the tourist areas.  Hopefully we can spend two weeks in Monts-sur-Guesnes next year…….

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