Friday, July 27, 2012

Perchance to dream


We all like to have our wonder worlds to dip our toes into now again, more refreshing than any summer slip of a pool. Just as the emptier the belly, the bigger the imagined feast, so it is perfect timing to get lost in a dream.

Utterly hidden in the elbow of a hill is a chapel built one thousand years ago. It is on a true no where land, far from the glamourous corners of Provence, up a track so difficult to trace that each time we visit, we drive past it blindly a few times before saying with a sigh "there."

We climb up slowly, stepping over spent bullets on this terrain de chasse or hunting grounds. As it is not the season, Ben can bounce ahead doing his bunny best to beat us, with his nose low and sniffing.


So would you like to hear our little bit of wishing? Of the drop a coin in the fountain kind? 

We love the idea of reclaiming the chapel and making it into a home. We would clear the blocked out arches and replace the random rocks with steel-framed glass doors or add an extension, une véranda in which the modern conveniences could be housed.


There is plenty of room inside to build a sleeping loft above the nave, to lay out carpets and stack up books.


It would be a wonderful place to be quiet, to be forgotten.



And so we did our best to make it ours, just for an hour or so. 


Ever the explorer, Remi can run on the fumes of discovery. I need more substantial fare and happily we had stopped off at a roadside bakery for our improvised picnic.


Backs resting against the solid stone, we let our minds stop doing the talking and walking.


Quiet and happiness amidst the cigales singing.




It is one of those places that puts me at ease. Maybe those prayers of so long, long ago are still hovering, protecting. But I look forward to going back. It is our little secret. 


Wishing you all a wonderful weekend! 


40 comments:

  1. Thank you for sharing your 'secret place'. It is lovely and oh so peaceful.

    FlowerLady

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    1. You're welcome Flower Lady! Bon weekend...

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  2. Thank you, Heather. I needed that.

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    1. Well Linda, I think I remember some mention of being a "muse" a while back so I am taking that rather seriously. You'll get my bill in a few months. ;)

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  3. That chapel is amazing and would make a wonderful home. Ben always looks so happy doing whatever you guys might be doing. Don't you just love how dogs are up for anything?

    XX
    Debra~

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    1. As long as he gets his dinner on time, he is up for ANYTHING. He has become such a pro at "surfing"--holding on for dear life in the back of the Range Rover when go off road. He loves to travel!
      Hope you are staying cool there Debra.
      xo...

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  4. Hello Heather:
    Oh your hidden chapel is an absolute delight. It exudes peace and tranquility, the perfect spot for escaping the modern world and going back, at least in the mind, to times of a slower pace. And yes, the idea of creating a home amongst these ancient stones is beguiling and Ben seems entirely happy with the idea too. Well, come to think of it,Ben seems entirely happy doing almost anything as long as the two of you are close by!!

    Enjoy a dreamy weekend!

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    1. Oooh wishing you the same! Will you be watching the opening ceremonies tonight? I am so excited. I am the least sporty person on the planet but it is sooo beautiful to watch those that are.

      Yes, can you see what the house would be like? I can, clear as day. I think that we could really make something simple and nice in that lovely space.

      And yes, Ben is truly one happy boy, through and through. My, he would love you both to pieces...
      Bon weekend à vous deux aussi mes amis!

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  5. I love this! Both the place and your writing have swept me away from Friday doldrums. If anyone could make that dream of a home reality I am certain the three of you could. . .

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    1. Jackie, you always pinpoint the exact thing that is going to make me smile. Thank you so much and the weekend is just ahead of you! Hold on! And with the Olympics, it is going to be an exciting one, non?
      xo
      h

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  6. Such a lovely dream and gorgeous secret spot. I would love to see that dream home come to life, Heather. Wouldn't that be something! Enjoy the Opening Ceremonies, Heather! Lucky you to be in the correct time zone. Bon Weekend to you, Remi, and Ben! XO

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    1. I would love to see it to, Jeanne. We might go to the register's office just to see who it belongs to. The chapel is in the middle of a hunting ground and it doesn't seem to be used for anything else with a dirt road for easy access. There is even a small olive grove on the plateau just above--can you imagine? I'll keep you posted if we get any news. Even if we couldn't buy it, if we could rent it??

      Enjoy the ceremonies you too! Let's see...noon your time? Not too early for a glass of wine to cheer on the USA!

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  7. Thank your for another wonderful post
    If the world read your dreams, then I'm sure there'd be more peace in the world, and, more tourism in France.

    The chapel...I'd paint all the walls with a mural dream, with flow and symmetry, not a splash of this and that, here and there or even contemporary art. Old style in rich color that makes you understand you are of the pigment. Portable sleep mat, no bed or platform, just a random spot to sleep. All the cooking and other basics...outside in another structure. The television, (if there is one to be), goes outdoors so you have to look out a window to watch it. And, if there isn't a wine cellar, tunnel one nearby...a big tunnel with chairs, tables and plenty of room for friends.

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    1. Poet, I loved this comment in too many ways! But with our guest here it took me so long to respond that perhaps you will think me an ingrate. I am not and am so grateful not only that you respond but also for your ideas en plus...

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  8. I have that hat! I even brought it to France with me. Alas, I am home now and can't do anything but sleep it seems.

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  9. Amazing little spot Heather! You three are so fortunate to have such a place for exploring and dreaming. One can almost feel the Summer heat and breeze that comes through in these photos. Thank you for sharing!

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  10. YES!I can see it now.....................The house LOST IN the Hills!Absolutely divine!Careful, I may move in too!
    xxx

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  11. What an incredible chapel! How did you date it at 1000-years-old? I wonder why some of its openings have been filled in, while others have not. There's something wonderful about the chapel just being there, open to the few who find it. On the other hand, if it is to be put to use once again, you, Remi and Ben would be very good at bringing life back to it...and protecting it. If you learn anything more about its history, please let us know. Bravo to the three great explorers! Leslie from Portland

    P.S. Your photographs are excellent!

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    1. Hello Leslie! Why aren't you out on your boat? Or maybe you are but with WiFi? Jealous me! The chapel has been identified historically and was something that Remi found a while ago as part of a beautiful project that he has been working on. I will ask him if he has further info about it! And I think that YOUR team are wonderful explorers too!
      xo,
      h

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    2. We were ordered to stay away from the water for the last two weekends, as Henry had stitches that couldn't get wet or pulled. (He had oral and multi-site skin surgery on July 20.) Fortunately, it hasn't been hot since then, but... yesterday was so beautiful that we fudged and boated over to our favorite beach with the dogs. After a couple of hours of "gentle" tennis ball chasing in the sand (Henry has taught Bob to retrieve) and a bit of swimming, we had to leave to host a friend for dinner, but it was so great to romp a bit. The dogs relaxed well between forest walks today, while I read your wonderful post about Winjand and worked. XOaussi, Leslie

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    3. Oh Leslie, isn't it funny? The grass is always greener because your life is so amazing to me! I hope Henry will be ok though...? That sounds like a big surgery indeed. Will be sending good thoughts!

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  12. Que c'est beau ! Tu penses vraiment pouvoir convertir une telle structure en maison ! Quel projet !

    What a gorgeous place, and what an incredible mood you've created with the words that accompany these images.

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    1. Merci tellement, BLW. On a tous besoin d'un rêve, non?
      Gros bisous,
      H

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  13. Hello Heather

    Now we know your secret place. What a secret and I can see why. What a glorious dream to renovate this church. I agree with you when you speculate on why it is so peaceful.All those prayers of hope and thanksgiving create sacred ground. Do you suppose you might get lonely if you lived here? Ben looks the picture of happiness.

    I am watching the Olympic opening ceremonies for the second time. So spectacular.

    Helenxx

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    1. My dear Helen, thank you for your last post! We watched the opening ceremonies with Wijnand and were a little too caught up in our discussion to appreciate it all, I think. I will look forward to seeing it again as certainly, at least the beginning was indeniably great!

      In our travels, we have often felt the power of a sacred ground. Perhaps you have known the same. Isn't it wonderful that such places still exist?

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  14. Quelle surprise! It seems a sacrilege for the chapel sit unused. It would seem better to be honored through use and care and life...
    Magic, historic, hallowed, similar to a chapel near Siena part of a compound where a group of us artists painted. What an experience to be standing in such a place of reverence and history. It was thrilling. 'Your secret' chapel has that same aura. Here's praying...
    xoxo, Chris

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    1. Merci Chris, I should have known that you would have liked this. Hope all is well with you, Captain's Daughter...

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  15. What a treasure. I understand, having seen it, why you dream of transforming it into a home. Ben would be happy there, but I have a feeling Ben would be happy almost anywhere.
    Best,
    Victoria

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  16. A dream-worthy spot, and I love that you made it yours for an afternoon, complete with pique-nique provisions and your pup. Dogs make everything cozier, don't you think? :)

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  17. Lovely poetic building, almost as poetic and beautiful as your furry companion :).

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  18. Oh, that would make a lovely house. The London Financial Times ran a fascinating article, a few years ago, on ancient-to-merely-very-old English chapels/churches that have been transformed into homes.

    ---david terry

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  19. You did a wonderful job painting your dreams into my mind.....I could see it all. Very peaceful spot...Thanks, Janey

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  20. I am fascinated by these abandoned places all over Provence. What is the history of this chapel, who built it, why, when was it abandoned, who owns the property now? Thanks for sharing your secret place. I hope your dream can become a reality.

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    1. I think it will most likely remain a dream but who knows? And yes, we think a like--I am always entranced by the same questions!

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  21. lovely post -- thanks for letting us explore with you.

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  22. this improvised picnic, the singing of the cigales and the hat... it is so provençal! I miss it so much! But this year, we will stop at Languedoc department, pas mal, non?
    kisses from Barcelona!

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    1. Franchement pas mal de tout! I love the Languedoc. So beautiful and I have to admit less crowded than here in Provence...

      And Barcelona, you are so close to us yet so far! I would really like to get there soon. Everyone says it is just an amazing city...

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  23. What a lovely little spot you've shared with us. Yes, I think it would made a perfect home! Stacks of books and candles partout! Sounds just lovely.

    I love fantasizing about how I would convert a place into a home. Several years ago, I was at L'Espadon at The Ritz in Paris and was imaging it being the world's most fabulous studio apartment! Ah yes, perchance to dream. : )

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  24. This is fabulous! I can't believe I missed this post somehow! This sounds like something I would love to do as well! Thanks for sharing it!

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