We were very lucky to go see Alain and Annie (our former bakers) for a visit at their house on Sunday. They live in a village just a bit outside of Besancon called Chalezeule. The view from their backyard is at left. What a location!
It is very fun to visit people who used to cook for a living. The food was amazing –- and there was plenty of it. Plus it was all presented so beautifully. I was glad because we were the only guests. It is much easier for me to converse in French when things are one-on one rather than in a big group. We ate out in their backyard and Callie (inspired by a movie Le Papillon) was determined to catch a butterfly. As you can see, she did it! Annie was great with all the kids – you can tell she’s a grandma! Alain (a pastry chef) made a special gluten free cake for dessert- and, since it is almost Zander’s birthday, they insisted we sing for him. The cake was, bar none, the best I’ve ever eaten…
After we finished eating, we went for the traditional Sunday afternoon walk to the Source d’Arcier, just a few minutes from their home. On the way we passed an area where camper vans wer parked. Annie explained it was a local rest area for the gens du voyage (traveling people). We think this must be the politically correct way to refer to the gypsies. Turns out that they are still around all over Europe. They travel from place to place, resting in the same areas they have for thousands of years. One year, a town built a soccer field in their traditional spot and they camped there anyway, destroying the field. After incidents like that, the local towns decided to make designated areas for them, with free electrical hook ups and running water. They can stay in any one place for up to a month. Annie says that some people think that all gens du voyage are theives and they have a bad reputation. She says they used to make a living doing jobs for people – but that is needed less and less. They still make baskets and sharpen knives for some money. It made me very curious and, ever since this day, I have been wanting to wander into one of the rest areas to meet a real gypsy –and maybe buy a basket? It was a hot day so very nice to be in the cool forest. We hung out by the waterfall, looked at the source and Daddie took a little nap! On the way back Annie made Callie a leaf bracelet.
On the way back, we stopped at an old brick forge (les fours a chaux) that is in their area – It was very interesting.
We also stopped to see a beautiful view – we ended up hanging out for about 6 hours! Hopefully we will see them again before we move to the USA. Thanks friends….