In Colette’s Boudoir: At Home in a French Chateau

Article and images available about various Relais Chateaux luxury hotels.

“Love: the food of my life, and of my pen.” “Colette

On my way back to Paris after visiting friends in the Dordogne, someone mentioned to me that I’d be passing by Castel-Novel, the thirteenth-century castle where French writer Colette had lived with her second husband, the Baron Henri de Jouvenel des Ursins. Just east of Perigueux, near the town of Brive, I turned off the main highway, hoping to spend the night at Colette’s chateau.

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The Trout Baron

*originally published as “The Fisher Baron’s Secret,” in France: A Love Story, (ed. Camille Cusumano, Seal Press)

I found Paris especially difficult to leave that morning. Familiar buildings and monuments glistened with fresh snow that had fallen during the night. Teary-eyed, I almost fell as I skidded over the medieval cobblestones of my Marais apartment courtyard for the last time. The cabby studied me in his rearview mirror.
“Why are you leaving Paris?”
“Because I must return to my job and home in San Francisco.”
“Tsk tsk”–the ultimate French negation–and a slow-motion shake of his head registered the cab driver’s displeasure.
“What matters in life is that you make love with someone you care about on Sunday morning and walk out with them on Sunday afternoon,” he counseled me. “It’s not good to live your life alone.”
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