in the beauty of their dreams.
~ Eleanor Roosevelt
(Note: There are many spectacular images capturing the amazing beauty of Chateau Dumas. Allow enough time for your computer to load the images so that you don’t miss any. This is the first in the series on a millinery masterclass held in southwest France. Won’t you follow along with me?)
The dream trip of learning a new skill and living the country life of a French woman has come true this summer! For a brief time, I am alongside eight other travelers from Germany, Spain, England and the U.S. as millinery apprentices in the atelier at the superb 18th-century Chateau Dumas in Auty, France. Our adventures will be amazing in the days ahead!
the dream begins
The technicolor images of the southwest French countryside are breathtaking as I make the hour-long journey from Toulouse — La Ville Rose (the Pink City) — to the tiny village of Auty with about 150 residents. Antoinne, my driver, talks about various points of interest along our journey–in French, of course! I nod frequently and comment with “oui’” and “très beau” — keenly and painfully realizing how dormat my French has grown.
Vast rolling fields are filled with vibrant golden sunflowers turning their faces towards the warm rays of the sun, stately stalks of corn and trained ancient grape vines neatly trail along guided wires. Hundreds of acres of apple trees are covered with a white airy cloth to project the fruit from the Mediterranean summer sun. Irrigation in the fields is commonly seen in the fields.
Names of towns on small signs, such as “Montauban” and “Caussade” point the way northwest with the frequent turns on the round abouts–Chateau Dumas lies just past Caussade. The centurian houses in the small villages have gorgeous authentic terra cotta tiled roofs. Most of the centuries-old buildings are made of a soft rose or warm golden brick or stone, and are accented with rustic blue, green or brown wood shutters.
Fields of round golden hay bales, brillant sunflowers and manicured grapevines are now a common sight. The warm summer air smells of fresh mown hay, earth and lavender co-mingled together under the vibrant azure blue sky. All my senses have awakened from their slumber!
Then…around a corner and up a hill…down a long, country gravel driveway flanked by ancient groves of plum, fig, walnut and other trees…Chateau Dumas! Be still my heart! The spectacular beauty of this setting makes me feel like it is a dream. Please don’t wake me! How can I be so blessed to have such a beautiful and dreamy trip?
Perched high on a hill admidst 22 wooded acres, Chateau Dumas has spectacular vistas overlooking patchwork fields, a lake, wooded grooves and rustic farmhouses that have stood the test of time.
Won’t you follow along over the next several days as we embark on this amazing millinery masterclss at the lovely Chateau Dumas in southwest France?
à bientôt mes amis!
I will write more tomorrow! What are your dreams of beauty today?
You may want to take a morning walk over at The Southern Daydreamer for more Outdoor Wednesday posts.