Reid and Carol in front of de Medici home of Catherine

France Day 4

July 18, 2022

“Chenonceau, a toughening labor of love”

   Carol hoped the history of the chateau as a one time home of French kings and even Catherine de Medici would lure my interest in the tour. I gave it my best, but twenty minutes in I was hoping the joint would suffer a structural calamity that would force us out into the street.

   As far as Catherine de Medici goes, she’s Melania Trump with better taste in horticulture. Royalty dallied while most Medieval populations suffered through lives of bare subsistence.

Chenonceau Home of Catherine De Medici
The gardens were a pleasant diversion

   A pox on all French monarchy, although the first French republic didn’t exactly practice the liberté, egalité and fraternité it preached.

I in turn promise myself to be a good boy and keep my whining to a minimum. I took my cues from the babies in the strollers. If they were quiet, who was I to throw a tantrum?

   Today was a Carol day. She knows my feelings about sightseeing, and remains generous in her toleration of my infantilism. I in turn promise myself to be a good boy and keep my whining to a minimum. I took my cues from the babies in the strollers. If they were quiet, who was I to throw a tantrum?

The wonderful comté is the longer pieces

   We were in and out in under an hour. Carol did the last of the tour solo, while I sat on a bench and made friends with a little guy showing off his newly developed skill of waving hello. (Later, he spotted me on the grounds in my sunglasses. He looked at me with some confusion. He knew he’d seen that face somewhere…I removed my sunglasses and he broke into a big smile of recognition.)

   But there we were sitting at a coffee shop at 1:30 p.m. with return train tickets for 4:30. I had originally questioned that in my mind when Carol booked the tickets, but remained silent, fearing that suggesting an earlier return – say 2:30 – would certify my lack of interest in the whole venture right off the bat.

movie poster of Before Sunset
No, I am not comparing myself to Ethan Hawke

   We boarded the 2:31 back to Tours after confirming the tickets were flexible as far as time went. Carol got to see all she wanted of the chateau though, and I got to see as little of it as I had hoped. Which is what makes us such boon travel companions.

   The early train meant an earlier start to Happy Hour, after a brief sightseeing checkoff of a large tree that the city had deemed landmark status. Then back to L’Univers for rosé and a cheese platter that had one of the best tasting hard cheeses we’d ever had. I had the waiter identify it (comte), and we bought a wedge of it at Les Halles for room cheese.

   We closed out the day watching the second installment of the Ethan Hawke – Julie Delpy saga, Before Sunset. The story begins with a chance meeting between the two after a nine year separation (in real time). Jesse is on a book tour, and Celine has shown up in Paris for one of his readings. Carolyn and I had reconnected after forty years, and it was also over a book I’d written that was based on our first meeting, as was Jesse’s book. In the annals of art imitating life, I don’t think the movie’s director, Richard Linklater, realized how spot on his work had turned out to be.

   Carol and I are writing a sequel of our own. I’m calling it Before Midday, and is the story of two people vacationing in France and sleeping in every day till about noon.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.