We had an opportunity on this long journey to stay a night at one of our favorite places in Europe. The Chateau du Paquier, dating from the 15th century and lovingly cared for and run by the Rossi family, stands in spacious gardens just outside the village of Saint Martin de-la-Cluze, high in the Alps south of the city of Grenoble. We literally stumbled onto this place a few years ago while scouting for a suitable place to bring guests who traveled with us in Provence in the summer of 2006. We’ve come back several times since, and have always felt right at home. This time, Bob and Betty had the gigantic attic room while we had the room which they think used to be a chapel. As we’d had sort of a long day of sightseeing, we had decided in advance to stop at a grocery store to purchase provisions for a light dinner. We had baguettes, wonderful cheeses (purchased for a fraction of the cost of what they cost in America) plus olives, delicious sliced ham, salami and for dessert, a pear tart. Of course, there was wine from the region plus the house wine produced by our hosts at their vineyard in southern France. Helene had thoughtfully laid in a fire in the huge hearth in the former “Summer Kitchen,” and we ate our simple but delicious meal there with the warmth of the fire on this chilly, damp night. It had just rained for the first time in two months. For us, we were in a warm cocoon created not just by the fire and the cozy atmosphere of the old kitchen but by the warmth of the hospitality of our hostess. Breakfast is an entirely different story for another time.
(It’s enough to say that it’s fantastic)