I didn’t have long to sit around and look at images of the recent dinner party for Karena. In fact, it was funny, she called me one week later to say she hoped I was going to have a more relaxing weekend than the last one, and to her surprise, I said I was at LAX and on my way to Beaune via Amsterdam and Paris.
I was traveling for a full 24 hours with the stop in Amsterdam and then train from Paris, and slept very little on the plane. Arriving into Beaune Gare at almost 9pm, the sky was still surprisingly light; as it’s just past the longest day of the year. In fact, on the plane, which went the polar route, the sun never set, it just got a little dim in the early morning hours and then rose again. Anyway, one good night of sleep and a large café au lait later, I am buzzing with activity here at the house. As always, I start by cleaning, beginning at the front door and working my way up the four floors. Much to the dismay of some of my guests, I may not get to the top floor bedrooms for a week, but at least the door looks inviting, doesn’t it? I will see if I can find some lavender cuttings at the Saturday market to put here..but the ivy is free and fine for now~
After the front door and rez de chaussee, I moved on to the petit salon. Clean tablecloth (actually three French linen sheets) and clean windows.
On the table are a few of my purchases that I had sent to the house ahead of my arrival…I have a thing for French vermeil (gilt over sterling) and I picked up these pretty little coffee spoons and a large sauce spoon. All unmistakably French and which will be put into the service rotation soon.
I decided it’s definitely time for some decluttering and summer cleaning, the kind of cleaning I can’t do in winter. So the last two days I have taken several years worth of wine bottles to recycle. While they were impressive to the guests last winter, it definitely looked like there was significant wine being consumed, so those all disappeared. The silver got cleaned, and new vignettes are starting to appear. Here on the buffet in the petit salon, a pair of small wine jars aka dame-Jeannes, a great green vintage waiter’s tray from Jean-Luc’s and a few of the crystal wine stems I got at Emmaus, the thrift store. Today is the first day Emmaus is open, and I’ll be there right at the 1:30pm opening to see what I can score! I have asked the universe to send me an awesome vintage bike, so we’ll see if I can find one at Emmaus here or in Dijon.
R and I are taking advantage of the summer days to enjoy our small terrace, which has really not been used much in the past. There have been so many other little projects to do, but now it’s time for the terrace. Cleaning the leaves off of the large limestone pavers was the first thing I did the morning after my arrival. Then I brought out the old drop leaf table that was under the stairs and formerly in the cave. Now it’s going to become our summer dining table. It’s a bit chewed up, but a little wax and a tablecloth will fix her up just fine.
R and I have been discussing chairs for the terrace for a few weeks, and though we debated the 15 Euro Ikea versions, he found this set of 5 matching + 1 at the Saturday brocante. Love these….
Don’t love the color. Happily, we have a Farrow & Ball stockist in town and so the chairs will get a new coat of paint soon. I chose the color Vert de Terre pretty quickly. Will debate a little more, but that’s probably what we’ll use.
And while I wait for the paint to arrive (one week order time; this is France, remember) I will work on the other problem, what to do with the large stainless sink which was in the kitchen, then the chauffage, and now sitting on the terrace. This needs to go somewhere, though R doesn’t want to part with it just yet. Problem is it is also a lightening rod (literally) in electrical storms, so I really don’t want it on the terrace.
Despite the fact that I am so busy with cleaning and organizing and preparing for a stream of guests, I have relaxed more in two days here than in months at home in Laguna. Our first Sunday meal was all local food and wine, a small chicken stuffed with herbs, homemade pasta sauced with lemon zest, local crème fraiche and goat cheese instead of Parmesan; green salad and peach-apricot tarte. Off the charts delicious! It’s all goodness here, right to the little downy feather which came with my farm fresh egg this morning.
Much more to come from Beaune and Burgundy…I’m here for almost a month, and would stay longer except I need to get back to California to style my niece’s wedding at the end of July.