Beware of the guest bed part 1
Beware of the guest bed
With kings and queens and bohemian artists from around the world as previous house guests, the Château had always been - amongst my Parisian friends - like the Holy Grail of hospitality. It was then with an explosion of joy that I accepted an invitation to spend New Year’s eve at Châteauneuf.
Provence does that
Even at the height of Winter, the air that you breathe coming out of Cannes’ small airport is filled with the promise of a more carefree, delicious and slower way of life and with months of stressful work in the corridors of Paris Haute Couture, my whole body loosened up within minutes.
The dream started when I was met by one of the five daughters of the Marquess, as she casually loaded my luggage onto the backseat of a white convertible Triumph TR6 dressed in a white Moroccan kafkan. No excuses were made, of course, for the fact that we might be freezing and I knew better than to ask for a couple of bear skins. Chills were soon forgotten as the noisy engine made its way up along the winding roads of Provence, passing at frightening speed the bright and cheerful Christmas decorations of one then another hilltop village.
To rest or not to rest
I was shown to my bedroom and invited to take my time to rest before joining the other guests in the drawing room a couple of hours later. The men would be in their evening jackets and we, the ladies, would show off our best party dresses. What fun this was going to be! I was tired, but the cheerful sounds of the grand piano, laughter and songs rising up from downstairs were tempting and, for a moment I thought I would go down anyway. Then I turned around and there it was, the bed, facing the tall windows, its beautiful nineteenth century fabric ruched up à la polonaise and made up with the family’s embroidered white linen. The attraction was irresistible.
Midwinter afternoon dreams
My chins touched the crispy white pillow, I closed my eyes and smiled. This was heaven. I was really looking forward to this evening. Having been a guest of the family before I knew how they would turn supper into a feast with home-made foie gras, terrines made from local game, chapon stuffed with provençal herbs and generous amounts of famous wines lovingly collected and carefully stored in the château’s beautiful cellars. All this would be presented on shining silver dishes and glazed earthernware hand painted with the Marquess’ family crest. Indeed, this would be a feast to the eye.
I felt a soft hand on my shoulder. This was Caroline, my best friend and one of the daughters. She couldn’t stop laughing as she was telling me her mother was so glad I was a grateful guest, loving my room so much I’d slept right through dinner, the fireworks and…the midnight bells! The party was still very much in progress however and would I like to come down for the music recital and her father’s party piece?
I wasn’t sure whether to join my friend in her giggles or cry but her joy was infectious and my late entrance into the music room was a sensation. I was glad to be of some entertainment value anyway.
Thank you for reading
Nothing had prepared me for what happened at the end of this unforgettable evening. I will tell you all I remember next Sunday!
From the warmest place in my heart, I wish you all a Happy Christmas holiday.
Photo credit: lemonde.fr