La Maison -or- My Homestay

by littlesarahbigworld

Chez Bernard et Colette Chaigne

49 rue Georges Delpérier

Tours, France

the entryway

Welcome! This is where I’ll be living until June 24th. You’ve just come through the front door and are standing in the main entry.

du verre

There’s plenty of random/beautiful/interesting stuff collected throughout the house, including beaucoup d’art.

some of Colette's paintings

If you follow these paintings, you’ll find more paintings! By Georges Delpérier (for whom the street is named). I just found out last night that this was his house! And that Bernard has collected over 100 of his works (sculptures, paintings, sketches, etc.).

stairway up to the 1st (2nd) floor

Le premier étage (“first floor,” although it’s what we’d call the 2nd floor in English) is where Colette and Bernard’s room is, as well as the room where Dorie (from Connecticut/Bard College) stays.

stairway up to the 2nd (3rd) floor

Le second étage is where Elizabeth (from Colorado Springs/Penn State) and Miy-ei (from Japan/I’ve surely spelled her name wrong) sleep. Bernard only ever gave me a partial tour of the house, so I didn’t see the first floor until last night or the second floor until just today. Anyway, back down to the main floor (le rez de chaussée):

the kitchen

I eat breakfast in the kitchen, sometimes with one of the other girls staying here and sometimes not. It’s kind of a grab-it-and-go situation, and I’m fine with that. Colette even bought me almond milk! They’re very accommodating.

the dining room

We eat dinner all together, at seven pm every night, in the dining room. Bernard likes to quiz us during that time, especially Elizabeth. If you walk through that open door in the dining room, you’ll enter a sort of sun room/storage room. Actually, pretty much every room in the house that isn’t being rented out doubles as a storage room.

the sunroom

The sun room connects the big, 3 story house with a smaller, one story building, where you’ll find…

Colette's studio

More art, and attached to the studio is my room:

where I sleep/read/get bitten

Don’t be fooled by the bunk-bed, it’s just me in here (some of the other rooms have two beds as well, like Elizabeth’s and maybe Dorie’s). I’ve been telling myself that sleeping underneath my viola and sheet music will infuse me with musical creativity, the way that hippies and yuppies think that you absorb the psychic essence of the water on your nightstand (true story).

where I study/write letters

They put me out here so I could practice without disturbing anyone, and the acoustics are vraiment great. I like my room, although I’m being eaten alive by what Colette assures me is “le moustique” (mosquitos), but what I’m afraid may be bed bugs. Starting to doubt that, though, especially after she gave me a small bottle of citronella oil to sprinkle onto tissues, which I then distribute around the bed’s perimeter, like I’m warding off vampires. Only two new bites last night, though, so she’s probably juste. Continuing the tour…

my little patio

Attached to my room is a little balcony, where I sit and write/blog for all you lovely folks! Mostly by necessity, since the walls are thick and the wifi is a bit weak, but also because it’s pleasant–70°F and sunny, with just a touch of humidity most days. My little patio is connected to the larger outdoor terrace.

the terrace, with the (unused) garage underneath and la maison on the left

…and that concludes our tour. All in all, I’m happy with my family so far. Bernard is silly and Colette is the sweetest little woman I’ve ever met. They don’t even care that I told them the wrong day for my arrival. Or broke a glass my second morning.

Or accused them of having bed bugs.