Not too far from our home an old chateau lay silent and closed. I could never resist the temptation of passing the big iron gates without driving in.
I loved walking around the deserted gardens where statues were hidden by the over grown foliage. I always wanted to enter the orangerie but it was locked tight.
It had the most perfect proportions and I have often wondered what it would be like to peer out from one of the oeil de boeuf zinc top windows.
In the 19th century it had been a home for an aristocratic family. I truffled a few old sepia postcards around the local brocantes and loved to see how little it had changed.
During WW2 it had been used as a headquarters for German officers.
After the war it was bequeathed to a local order of nuns and in the 1950s it had been used to give holiday breaks to needy children.
The doors closed in the 1960s and had remained firmly shuttered.
I have sat on those steps so many times in the sunshine just listening to the birds singing and it always felt like a wonderful secret hideaway.
Until, a few months ago the gates closed and a padlock and chain appeared. Soon a very elegant name plaque appeared next to the gates.
Apparently it has been purchased and renovated.
I have never seen it since. Sometimes the gates are open but I cannot bring myself to drive through the woods as my perfect dream would be shattered.
I just hope the renovation has been a kind one.
A la prochaine mes belles