I am indeed in the deep of the country (en pleine campagne; or, la France profonde), in what the French call a gîte. This translates literally as “shelter” or “lodging” but neither of those words truly gets it. A gîte is usually an apartment within or a portion of a larger building, or it may be its own self-standing structure; a cottage for example. Gîtes range from simple to luxurious, but they always have their own entrances, kitchens, and baths. My gîte is the western end of the ground floor of a small château (small compared to the ones open to the public) in the middle of the countryside. It’s somewhere between simple and luxurious, but somewhat more than half-way towards luxurious, in that I have the much-desired laundry machines, a nice kitchen, a tv (which I turn on only to keep up with the French presidential race), lots of space and lots of light. I keep the windows un-curtained and wake every morning with the natural light through this window – a window that looks out on the large part of the front lawn that’s mine:
I’ve previously posted a photo of the front of the gîte part of the château, and of my cup on a table on the lawn. I also love the rear of the château – an enclosure typical of French farms, in that several out-buildings are strung together in three sides of a quadrangle, open to the fields at the rear. This one has grass, shrubs, and a huge chestnut tree (in bloom now) in the middle of the quadrangle. Here are several pictures of the enclosure or the structures comprising it:
One of the best things about the enclosure is that in the evening (and sun doesn’t set till after 9pm), and early in the morning, there are lots of wild rabbits munching or frolicking on the grass. They scatter the moment a door opens, but i watch them from a back window. I have even seen a rabbit on its back rolling back and forth like a dog!
Beyond the enclosure the property extends for several acres to the west and north (and for several acres south of the front lawn). To the north is a small woods that includes several short walking trails bounded by a long, tumbling-down tufa stone wall that I think is beautiful.
At the western boundary of the property there is some more wall, and a gate no longer in use:
beyond which there is this allée in the woods:
This is a photo of a trail on the neighboring property, westward alongside rapeseed fields to the hamlet of Lémeré, about 2.5 kilometers away:
And this is sunset over Lémeré from my front gate – if you look hard, you can see the church spire to the right; the larger tower on the left is a water tower: