Our first trip to Toulouse was in December 2006. Marc had been invited to umpire in Ireland at the Tri-Nations Cup, and he suggested we go to France for a week after that.
This was the Deanna first meeing with Marc’s sister Genviève, her husband Jacques, Geneviève’s two boys Renaud and Alexou, and Jacques’ son Kevin.
Geneviève spoiled us, preparing one delicious meal after another, and somehow finding ways to decorate the dining room table differently for every meal. What a treat !
We visited the town of Albi, a UNESCO’s World Heritagesite that proudly shows off the Sainte Cecile Cathedral (build between the 13th and 15th century) and the “Old Bridge” across the Tarn River. Built with stones in 1035, and subsequently clad with bricks, it is still in use today, and the mirrored waters of the Tarn give it the picture perfect look.
We also went for a day trip to Lavardens, a medieval village whose castle still stands, and proudly displays every year at Christmas hundreds of “Santons” (miniature statuettes). Geneviève really likes this village, and used this locale for part of the action in her book Violante, Marrane de Toulouse.
We had a wonderful time, bonding right away – with Deanna working her magic around the household. The best quote came from Alexou, who was 11 at the time, and who said he really liked Deanna: “Elle sourit tout le temps” (she’s always smiling) …