03 September 2011

Stay-cation in Beynes

The garden, with the Canada apple tree at center.

Returning to France after a long absence, I imagined at first that I’d take this opportunity to do things I’d put off and never done before. Visiting Vaux-le-Vicomte, for example, ought not to have been difficult, and even easier would have been a trip to the Basilique de Saint-Denis. All that the latter requires is that I stay on the Métro, instead of getting off at the stop nearest the apartment.

In the event, however, I never got to either place — I wound up spending almost all my time in Beynes. It seems curious to travel nearly 6000 km, just to take a stay-cation, but there you have it. Since I don’t know when I’ll be back, it seemed important to savor, once more and just a little bit longer, the life I have enjoyed so much. What follows are a few perspectives on the way I’ve made Beynes my home for so many years.

The hydrangea bushes under the window of my “studiolo,”
where I write.

A friend once observed that Beynes is the first stop on the Transilien line when one really feels one is in the country.

The Petite Mauldre, the river that runs through the old part of town.

The lone survivor of a rose garden that my sister remembers so fondly, at the Beynes train station.

My bedroom. This is probably the tidiest it’s ever been.

The portrait of my in-laws that hangs on the wall opposite my bed — keeping watch over me, I daresay. This picture was taken on their wedding day, precisely 16 years before I was born.

Summer produce at the market in Beynes.

Tomatoes from Franck’s farm, on sale at the town market.

Apples from Franck’s farm, marking the end of summer
at the town market.

Le Grandgousier, proud overseer of the ducks
in Beynes’ municipal pond.

The château of Beynes, or as I prefer to call it, “the pile of rocks,” with the little church behind it. The château is said to have been owned by Diane de Poitiers at one time, though there’s scant evidence she ever visited it. As it fell into disrepair, the locals helped themselves to the masonry, which can be seen in older homes all over town.

The street where I live. The church tower catches the morning light in the background, next to the Brasserie du Château. This is what I see in the rear-view mirror as I leave town.

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