We have been planning to spend most of our time in France based in Provence, but we get a call to duty from a houseminding site we joined before leaving and there is a fur family needing our attention in the south west of France.
We have never been here before and the four furry members of the family win our hearts at first sight, so off to Aquitaine we go.
We pick up a car at Charles de Gaulle airport and with great skill and steely nerves we navigate all the way around Paris heading into peak hour traffic. André is amazing despite motorcyclists hooning by at 80-90km/hour in between lanes of traffic and a GPS that pronounces our French destinations and exit points in a heavy British accent! I feel that I contribute a small amount to the team work by repronouncing the names in French ( a bit closer anyway).
As we get out into the countryside the beautiful chateaux start appearing. We make it all the way to Chateauroux and without a reservation we manage to find a nice hotel and an awesome restaurant. Our culinary experience of France begins including the little “une amuse-bouche ” to clear the palate between courses.
When we arrive to our home and animal sit we feel incredibly lucky to have been chosen. The house is a beautiful French farm lovingly restored and renovated to create a mansion with manicured grounds and beautiful gardens. A few hundred acres of forest completes the property. The animals seem to recognize that we are a good sort and nuzzle in for a greeting. Byrons nuzzle reaching accurately to my crouch!
The surrounding area is filled with vineyards and everything is bursting with new spring growth. André is already planning all kinds of photography angles. Our hosts are leaving us in charge of the house and animals while they head back to their other base in London. We get introduced to the regular walk through the forest and vineyards.
We are really looking forward to the next few days of exploring as this really looks like a beautiful area. We have sampled one of the local markets and have stocked up with a large variety of cheeses already, we have sampled the ultra sweet new season strawberries and we have sourced the best local patisserie and Boulanger to stay stocked in the fresh bake.
The local town is just big enough to have all those essentials.