France is now home, there's no going back. When the frustrations of weeks filled with 'not achieving anything going round in circles' busy-ness gets too much, its time for a day out! A day to reconnect with the reasons for making such a lifestyle change!
Laval in the Pays de la Loire is a short hop from home, but I hadn't made time to visit. There was, of course, a secret agenda which on this occasion went beyond the usual list of brocantes I wanted to spend the afternoon 'truffling' around.
I'm also a fan of Angel Adorée - her kimonos, orange hair and strong work ethic - our route took us to within two kilometres of Chateau de la Motte Husson, it would have been rude not to do a drive past! The chateau is absolutely lovely, with its fairytale turrets and moat and I was ridiculously excited to see it in reality - a visit to something so familiar on television reconfirms the power of camera angles and careful film editing. It didn't, however, loose any of its magic!
Photographs duly taken (from the car) and Instagrammed it was time to take Long Suffering Husband Needing A Coffee to the declared object of our day out: Laval.
Coffee now having reached #1 priority we squeezed into a corner of the bustling market café - the noisettes (espresso with a tiny dollop of foamed milk) were perfect and served with a tiny square of dark chocolate. As we relaxed in to our surroundings we let the chatter and laughter wash over us and realised we were the only anglicised accents in the place - and that the customers were actually engaging with each other rather than staring at a device!
The market was everything a quintessentially French market should be - fresh seasonal produce; earnest stallholders, ready to discuss the provenance of their food and offer a little goûter and some wonderful flower stalls (I miss Columbia Road Flower Market dreadfully)
Purchases made, we explored the surrounding narrow Medieval streets, eventually finding ourselves back at the market where customers at the oyster bar were spilling out into the square.
Always eat where the French eat! Facing the chateau, we shucked oysters and sipped bone dry, cold local(ish) wine and reflected on life in France: Live like a local - pause and enjoy - and for when things go wrong, well, master that Gallic shrug and order another glass of that rather good wine!