Sunday, August 23, 2009

First day in Megève (June 2005)

We woke to a bright sunny and mild morning after a not-so-restful night with Doug (six feet) and me (five feet seven) squished together on a futon with one having to wake the other during the night when it was time to shift--since there was nary enough room for either of us to lie flat with backside down. To make things worse, when in the open position, the futon extended from the wall to the kitchen cabinet and sink, making it impossible to get out of bed to use the bathroom without crawling down to the end of the futon. It was quite entertaining and we couldn't help but wonder if the French appreciated the closeness on those cold wintry alpine nights.

Reluctantly we climbed one at a time from our cozy nest and took turns with the bathroom where we freshened and dressed in long pants and light jackets before taking the short flower- lined walkway into the pedestrian-only village.

Exhilarated, we drank in the fresh mountain air, tinged with honey fragranced flowers and the scent of piny evergreens. As we neared the village interior, the floral air surrendered to the pleasant aroma of fresh bakery. Hungry and without staples for breakfast, we followed the aroma to a delightful small shop filled with creamy buttery-rich pastries, freshly baked brioche and shelves of homemade jellies and jams (confiture). We stepped inside the shop, greeted the proprietor with the requisite bonjour madame, then promptly ordered two of just about everything we laid our eyes upon, including a nice thick round ribbon of still-warm brioche and a jar of mixed berry jam. We fished out a euro note that we believed to be large enough to cover the purchase, listened carefully as the madame counted back our change (though honestly I couldn't remember a cinq from a cinquante), then we smiled, said our merci au revoir and waved as we left the shop. A dreaded "I've got to speak French?" moment wasn't as difficult as I had anticipated. Silly me.

With pastries tucked under Doug's arm, we took a quick spin around the village and did not see a single person. We think the madame is the only one who rises early in this village. With all the lovely boutiques and restaurants closed, we turned and walked the short distance back to our place thinking only of the treasures inside the bag Doug carried.

I must add here, that coffee is our life's blood in the morning--funny, I don't even remember how that came to pass either--therefore, I always travel with a small zip lock bag of coffee in the event we find ourselves unable to shop before the morning hour arrives.

I located the zip lock, made a strong pot of coffee, placed our treasured bakery on a platter and we bellied up to our small kitchen table, speaking only occasionally and only then in syllables of "um" or "ooh" until we were well-sated. We'd only thought we knew what good pastry tasted like until we worked our way around the platter.

Only two days into our first experience in France and already we were smitten. Indeed, France was a special place.

The photographs below will give you a thumbnail peak at this quaint village in the Alps.

Not a person in site, except me, of course.

The view from our place early the first morning in Megève

The streets of Megève were lined with pines and flower boxes

The short street from our place into the Megève pedestrian village

Next post: Venturing out from Megève

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