Notre Dame

Hello friends and campers! Gourmet Girl Denise here from the Loire River Valley, France.

I write this blog today with a deep sadness in my heart. One of France’s most beloved cathedrals has burned and it will never be the same. One-thousand-year-old oak beams went up in smoke Monday as Parisians watched in horror. Notre Dame is the most visited tourist destinations in France, and especially during Easter week. It will surely be renovated, but with a trend toward modernism here I fear for the future of the building.

Since I moved to France two years ago I have come to appreciate the ancient architecture that one finds not only in the great cities but in the countryside. My own house, Le Petit Saint Barnabé, was built in the 17th century, and I marvel at the thick, stone walls and old oak beams that I am in the process of restoring.

The stones that make up the walls are held together with mud and between the ceiling beams is wattle and daub; a mixture of mud and straw. This is covered with chaux, a lime and sand mixture that is somewhat like plaster. There are still artisans here that know how to restore old buildings with these ancient materials. Thank goodness! Here is a picture of a wall in my house that I broke through to create my ensuite master bathroom.

The important thing to remember in any renovation of an old building is to stay true to the era in which it was built and respect the integrity of the materials that were used to build it. This is of utmost importance to me and hopefully will be to the restorers of Notre Dame. As for the lost relics and artwork, well, there is no replacing those.

Meanwhile, I have very good friends here visiting from Santa Barbara, so amid the sadness is the joy of sharing the Loire Valley with them. Tonight we will be dining at a chateau near Saumur, a lovely city on the Loire river. I will post pics of our meal in my next post.

Have a lovely Easter week and keep on cooking, camping, and enjoying Nature at its’ finest during this amazing spring.


Denise, Gail, and Lindsey

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