We were invited for aperitifs in their restored barn along with several other blogger/expats from the surrounding area. (Sadly, I did not take photos of the gathering. The photo of the amazing barn with its long table is from their attractive Facebook page: www.facebook.com/ChateauStCyr/.) When we were there, the ancient fireplace was lit and provided a cozy corner for all of us to gather and talk while cider and wine were poured. Delicious appetizers grilled on the open fire as we enjoyed the lively conversation. Ideal.
The photo above is a quick shot of the back of the chateau taken on our way out. You'll have to go to their websites to see the gorgeous interior restoration work they did and the perfect rose garden they lovingly brought back to life.
Ashley and Wendy are wonderful hosts, and we fully enjoyed meeting the other bloggers, Dawne and Dean from www.instagram.com/french.blessings/, and Julie and her friend from www.thefrenchmanoir.net.
Dawne and Dean are talented professional photographers and teachers. In 2014 they starred in a House Hunters International episode about the search for their home in the Perche region of Normandy.
Julie is from South Korea originally, lived in Melbourne, but has now moved semi-permanently to France with her Scottish husband. A very impressive person - English is her third language after Korean and Japanese, and now she is learning French, of course. She just had a book about her French manor house published in Korea.
Coincidentally, Katie's house was where I first stayed when I came to Lonlay l'Abbaye in September 2015 to complete our house purchase. The wonderful view above is from the top bedroom in Katie's house. Two months later, in mid-November 2015, Joseph and I were staying there when we learned of the horrible terrorist attacks in Paris. We were so grateful to be able to stay an extra night before we had to return to the city. Lonlay was a haven.
Speaking of havens, we were happy to see our new kitchen in real life...
We have hot water, a functional bathroom and kitchen. They helped us label the circuit breakers for our major appliances, and showed us how to turn the electricity on and off, as well as the main water supply.
We plan to give ourselves time during our visits to Lonlay l'Abbaye to sort through and condense all the papers, photos and memorabilia. Maybe we should ask Marie Kondo to come and help us!
We may use this level of the house for storage until we are ready to finish it off with skylights and wallboard. Eventually, it will be a second bedroom for visitors who don't need to stand upright.
We do not have curtain rods yet, but Joseph devised a way to hang some lace panels inside most of the windows. I miscalculated how many we would need, so will have to order more and measure for the rods. Lace curtains are not mandatory, but they do fit the WWII era feeling of the village, and are evident in most houses.
With so many small villages dying in France, it is good to see that Lonlay l'Abbaye seems to be thriving and that the mayor is doing so much to make it a welcoming and prosperous place. Even the local cookie factory is expanding.