This is the view from the car window as we arrived at the farm in the Vienne at 9pm on Tuesday evening. It wasn’t quite as bad as the lowering skies that greeted me at Chatellerault station an hour earlier:


but it was far from ideal.  Especially as I left London in the grip of a heatwave, after weeks of bloody rain. Still, it’s not like I come here each summer for the weather. I come for my friends, the conversation, the deeply calm joy that comes from being in the company of people you love.


I had such an easy journey here too – I left my London flat at 1320 for the 1402 train (okay, I thought it left at 1415 but STILL made it on time), and was at the farm by 2100hrs, having taken a tube, two trains, a taxi and a car ride across two countries. The Eurostar from London St Pancras to Gare du Nord, a no-queue taxi through the centre of the city, past the Louvre on August-empty streets to Gare Montparnasse, and then on to Chatellerault.

And I love the Gare Montparnasse. The billeterie guy didn’t try to speak to me in English but actually had a whole 15 min convo in FRENCH and, such was the empty traffic-free joy of the city, I was an hour early for my onwards train, and managed to haemorrhage money in the pharmacie (La Roche-Posay SPF50 face cream), the librarie (A Visit From the Goon Squad), and the boulangerie (snacks + a box of technicolour macarons from Paul for my hosts) whilst being delightfully excited by being in France again.

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Lovely! We stayed in Gite near Cadillac, and loved every minute!


Lucky, if it were not for the rain I’d really want to be in my French house right now…


I want to be in France so badly… Sigh… Let me know what you think to the Goon Squad. I know I am in a very, very smally minority on this, but I actually kind of hated it. Would love to know what you think. Enjoy your sojourn, darling! xx


Il pleut ici aussi aujourdhui. Vachement.


Is it really a farm – by that I mean a working one? Looks like a beautiful place.


Oh the joy of Paris in August when you can walk off the Estar and get a taxi tout de suite, and when the traffic in Paris actually moves!

And bless, you must really love France to have eeked an enjoyable experience out of Montparnasse.

Sorry the weather here is lousy but sounds like you’ll be having a good time
Mimi P


What a coincidence! When I was in Paris, I settled for La Roche Posay whilst looking for a sunscreen (it’s awesome) AND the very same book – it is a spectacular read, you will enjoy it through and through (I am a huge fan of Jennifer Egan, but still – she lives up to every word, she sure does).

Ah, alas, wished I could be there long enough to see the empty sun-stricken streets of Paris in August.

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