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June 18, 2008

We stand before the iron gates of the 16th-century chateau - the setting for my friends' forthcoming wedding in November. Quick as a flash, Biff slips through the railings and is galloping joyously across the manicured lawn and its flowerbeds. 'Biff! Biff! Come back! Now!' we shout in urgent tones, to no avail.

The chatelaine appears dressed in jodphurs and couldn’t be more charming. Ditto Charles, le chatelain, who is French but speaks impeccable English with a jolly spiffing upper class accent.

As my friends debate in which room to have le cocktail and which to hold the dancing - this is definitely going to be a wedding to remember - Charles explains the history of the chateau and the paintings on the walls. I have to fight the urge to ask the manufacturer and colour of the pale blue-grey paint used for the woodwork (it is exactly the shade of gris-bleu I have been searching for the past three years) though I am bold enough to ask the provenance of the beautiful floral wallpaper in the drawing room.

The owner is remarkably unprecious about his pile, and has no problem at all with Biff trotting across the Versailles wooden floor and beautifully worn Aubusson carpets. As we explore the chateau's eighteen bedrooms, Biff, I can tell, is really enjoying himself - yet more proof of his very refined tastes. (More refined than mine, since in London, he tried several times to slip into the opera in the local park - whereas I can only take quivering operatic voices in very small doses).

Later, as the four of us tour the gites and chambres d'hotes in the village - quite honestly, the perfect day out - I start planning the oufits that will do justice to this magnificent setting when we return in November.

comments (5)

1. Posted by Wolfie on June 18, 2008 5:27 PM

Which room did you choose for yourself Biff?

2. Posted by Provincial Lady on June 19, 2008 11:22 AM

What is it about that shade of 'gris-bleu' that is SO hard to get right? Memories of long summer holidays in our house on the Deux-Sevres/Vienne border - I think my dad painted all the doors and windows three times in one month, couldn't QUITE get it right! Is it only available on production of a Born And Bred Carte D'Identité? If you find the perfect shade please share, I think the painting marathon is due a repeat...

3. Posted by Mirabelle on June 20, 2008 2:49 PM

I think is is something to do with the quality of the light in France that makes that shade of blue/grey look so wonderful, but it is impossible to replicate the colour from English paint charts.
PS: is it gris-bleu or bleu-gris? I suppose it doesn't really matter.

4. Posted by mimi pompom on June 20, 2008 2:53 PM

Dear Provincial Lady,
You too! I thought Farrow & Ball might have something similar but the nearest I have found is Lamp Room Grey, and it doesn't have that slight hint of blue. I thought I had matched it exactly with a Dulux shade a year ago,but once I painted the shutters, it looked too blue and quite harsh and not at all like the shade you see on French shutters. I am still looking (and will ask Charles when I return to the chateau in November). Will keep you posted. Mimix
PS love the story about your father

5. Posted by Biff on June 20, 2008 2:55 PM

dear Wolfie,

I can't remember the names of the rooms as, like my mistress, I was too dazzled by the glamour of the chateau. But something close to you would be very good so that we can go for walks in the chateau grounds together

love & licks


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