I am feeling quite French today…enjoying a glass of viognier with my lunch as I begin my many posts from my trip. I can’t wait to share my journey!
Jonzac, my exchange student hometown from 1976-77, ingrained such warm, special memories in my heart. The people I lived with and shared experiences with became “family”…and they remain so to this day. It is always a joyous experience when I go “home”! The château of Jonzac dates back to the 16th century. I lived at #30 Place du Château with the Faure family for two months. Each morning I was greeted with a view of the château. Recently, a garden was created behind the hidden alleyways (that are hundreds of years old) under the houses around the château. It showcases herbs, vegetables, and flowers from days gone by. The tour guide provides information on each plant and how it was used in olden days. The beautiful church of Jonzac stands close to the town center. She is a beauty! Just next to her is the covered marché. I love going to the marché- the treasures I can find are unending. Fresh produce, fish, cheese, breads…makes me hungry just thinking about it!
About 20 yrs ago Les Thermes were found- underground, hot spring waters that are used to help cure or lessen the pains/discomforts of ailments and maladies. With this discovery the town began to grow. Les Antilles- an indoor water park, a casino, and extra hotel-style housing apartments were built. Soon there will be a convention center! Who knew back in the late 1970’s there would be such growth! I even saw a McDonald’s…yikes!!!
The house in Ozillac, which is a tiny community outside of Jonzac, has been in the family for over 150 yrs!! Since Papa has retired, this is now “home”. They have expanded and updated the main house without taking from the original charm. You can wander the huge garden, enjoys the gifts from the multiple fruit trees, and breathe the perfumes from Maman’s glorious flowers… heavenly! As I took my walks through the countryside I marveled at the clusters of ugni blanc grapes, golden and ripe, waiting to be harvested, to become cognac and Pineau des Charentes. If you haven’t ever had the joy of trying Pineau des Charentes…do so!! You will be impressed with the smoothness, the warmth it brings…the divine taste. I have been appreciating and enjoying this special drink from the Charente and Charente-Maritime for 39 yrs! I love the home versions, as well as, the Vieil Or from Tanguidé et Fils…another family with whom I lived during my stay years ago.
They say you can never truly “go home” once you are out on your own… I disagree. I love every minute, every visit no matter how much time has passed. The “remember when” stories and memories we share sustain me …until the next time. Bisous!!