Sunday, October 24, 2010

A Weekend In The Country

As I've mentioned on several occasions, we live west of Paris between Versailles and Rambouillet, which by a happy coincidence puts us  in the real countryside, just 30 to 40 minutes outside the center of Paris (depending upon the traffic).

Another upside of our bucolic situation is the fact that we reside in a protected environment. No, not a double locked, security guarded, coded, password community -- not at all. We are surrounded by the Rambouillet forest which "protects" us. Strict laws preserve its ravishing beauty and many of our friends and neighbors whose houses are directly behind or in front of the forest need permission to cut down old trees on their own property (after all their property was once part of the forest). Then, they must replant.

The forest, once a favorite hunting ground for "les chasses royales" from the 16th to the 18th century, is as breathtakingly beautiful today as it was then. Anyone is allowed to collect large branches that fall on the ground to take home for the fireplace and pick all the mushrooms one can carry. The cepes are already popping up all over. Many families have their secret spots in the forest where they go every year to pick their mushrooms and they rarely, if ever, share this inside information. 

Walking paths and bicycle lanes discreetly crisscross throughout. For someone who is more of a city girl than a country girl, I find the Rambouillet forest one of the most thrilling experiences I have ever had in France. Every time I enter into its mysterious depths it's an adventure -- the light, the animals, the odors, the plants. It's a wonderland.

At a fast clip, it takes me five minutes to reach the forest from our house and two minutes of furious pedaling on my slick, chic black velo. The top pictures I took not far from our house and the lovely cerf was taken by an association that protects the forest.
Ed. Note: My tech problems simply disappeared. I tried everything in my very limited repertoire to fix the "error 400" and right before the stroke of midnight last night it fixed itself. I think it was the full moon. . .  Thank you once again for your help and sympathy.


My Carolina Kitchen said...

First, I'm so glad you blogger problem disappeared. Maybe it was the full moon as you suggested.

What a lovely place to live Tish. You are very, very lucky to live in such an environmently friendly, beautiful place AND be so close to Paris. You've got the best of both worlds.

Castles Crowns and Cottages said...

Bonjour ma belle,

I am very glad that you are back in the saddle again. These computer glitches really are an enigma! Oh, how I wish I could see the forest of which you speak! We were in Paris and Versailles about 8 years ago, but limited time prevented us from really exploring off the beaten path. What a fairyland you have at just un clin d'oeil!

Bon dimanche, Anita

Stephanie said...

It's really gorgeous. I would be enchanted as well. Thanks for sharing the photos!

Deja Pseu said...

What gorgeous shots! Forests are my favorite natural environment, and I am so envious that you live so nearby to such a beautiful one.

I'm quite relieved that your blogger problems cleared up too!

vicki archer said...

A magical spot Tish....your photographs are lovely and I am sure your forest is very beautiful now with the leaves turning and falling. xv

Marsi said...

OMG, Tish, that is GORGEOUS.

I half-expected to see Catherine Deneuve tied to a tree and getting whipped in one of those shots! ;o)

I live at the base of massive forests in the mountains, and they too are gorgeous -- but very different. Here, our forests are pine. I like your leafy forests.


LPC said...

Wow. Gorgeous.

Karena said...

Truly serene!

Art by Karena

hostess of the humble bungalow said...

Enchanting forest...and what a magnificant stag.

Belle de Ville said...

I love the area where you have your country house. I spent a lot time there because 'my reason for being in france, way back in the day', was part of the horsey set and it seemed that entire group of riders had homes and stables either in Rambouillet or Fontainebleu.

Your photos reminded me of a wonderful memory of a long ride through the forest, in the late fall, then coming back to a warm house with a blazing fire, and a delicious dinner.

The fact that you can live in a city as vibrant as Paris and then be in the country in less than an hour, is something that is so attractive to someone from Los Angeles. If I drive for an hour, I am still deep in suburbia.

Je m'appelle Cynthia said...

When I was in Paris, we stayed with a couple in Normandy who hunt - and the gentleman had been carrying on this tradition after his father and grandfather. His hall was adorned with many a "stag's" horns.

We learned all about the tradition of hunting, the fanfares that are played on the French horn instrument at different times during the the hunt and much more.

I found it so nice to hear a suburban woman at another home we visited in a different part of the country, outside of Paris, regard to the "forest" across the road from her home.

Here in Pennsylvania, we so often speak of the woods or the park - but not the forest. The forest sounds so fairytale to me and so ... storied. The forest - where the fairies are, the witches, and of course all of the animals. Forest sounds magical to me.

Hope you had a magical time.

Lorrie said...

Oh what a wonderful place to live. Versailles is a must-see for me when I go to France (which has only been 3 times).
I find walks in the forest renewing for body and soul.

Britta said...

It's so fine to have a "real" forest near. Where I live in Hamburg, near the famous Elbchaussee, we have the huge Hirschpark (Deer-Park), where in the morning, when I do my jogging along the river Elbe, I am accompanied on one side by the deep sound of the foghorns of the ships, and on the other side by the screeches of beautiful peacocks. Lovely!

Verus said...

Gorgeous pictures!

I also love to walk in the forest. For my soul, it is like a yoga lesson and a massage together!

Anonymous said...

Just discovering your lovely blog, on the recommendation of Duchesse at Passage des Perles. I see that you are, like me, a fan of Colette, so I'll offer one of her more enigmatic lines: "Everything one can say about a forest is true, or becomes true."

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