West Virginia University in Vendée, France


Lady Kiley's Day

21 june 2011


Lady Kiley turns 20 today, and our group is not about to forget such an important milestone.  She will be toasted, cheered and photographed throughout our day at the Chabotterie.



It is a chilly day--at least for Jana, left, as we start our visit of a Logis, the equivalent of a country manor, half farm house, half castle.


You can admire, above the farm building to the left, the pigeon holes.  Only noble families could have pigeon holes, and their numbers reflected the importance of the family.


The logis, built during the Renaissance, is presented here with the aspect it had during the late XVIIIth century, when an important military and political event took place here.  The separate dining room was indeed a new cultural and architectural development in the late 1700's, as privacy became a desired commodity.


The kitchen, aside from being a beautiful room, is also where an historical event took place.  The white scarf and the pistol on the table mark the spot where the General Charette, wounded by the Republican soldiers for being a leader of the local rebellion against the Revolution, was brought and treated.  He was later brought to Nantes and executed publically, in hopes of discouraging the other rebels.


Here, we are in the Cabinet d'érudit, where the family enjoyed various intellectual past-times (of course, they did not have cable yet).  Reading, astronomy, music, taxidermy--all such endeavors were encouraged in this room.


In spite of the cloudy skies, we all enjoy a leisurely walk in the jardin à la française, with its well-ordered flowerbeds.  The plants are a mixture of flowers, herbs and vegetables, for an amazing effect.


Oh well, my secret is out... I always enjoy looking at the plants, reading the small signs that attempt, year after year, to teach me a little bit of botany.  Sorry to say, I am as enthusiastic as I am ignorant...


Of course, we have time for the other flowers in this garden, and I do know their names.


Next year, we might include another possibility for students to earn credits for an art class.  Snap, snap, snap.


This was a most demanding morning as you can tell, and Jenney is trying to recoup a bit before lunch.


More plant aficionados...


... and more flowers...


At last, we all sit down, ready to enjoy our delicious lunch.


I am afraid my commentaries do not do justice to our meal.  We start with a first course of terrine de Saint Jacques à la nantaise et ses sauces, a delicate mixture of scallops and vegetables.


Next, we try a leg of duck, hem, excuse me, a cuisse de canard au Muscadet, a local white wine. To the right are delicious sautéed potatoes, and to the left are little puffs of mashed potatoes.


Finally, it is our gâteau aux trois chocolats et sa crème anglaise.  Do I need to explain, or is a picture worth a thousand words?  Can you feel the melting dark, white and milk chocolate, spread on a delicate, slightly crunchy wafer?  Are you enjoying the English custard yet?  Yes?  Alright, let's move on.


We are back at the Chabotterie after lunch for a walk through the woods, in search of the historical place where Charette was shot.


...And, here we are...  Notice that the sun deigns to come out as we pay our respects to the fallen hero, whose motto was: Combattu souvent, battu parfois, abattu, jamais!  (Fought often, beaten occasionally, defeated never!)


"I made it!" Shannon just jumped over a ditch.


Again with the pictures...


We walk back to the bus, and as we have mentioned before, this group of students is so sedate, poised, calm.


Well, maybe not!  It seems that today, we honor both Michael Jackson and Charette!


Not at all tired by all the dancing, Brittany and Miranda treat us with a bit of gymnastics.


And everyone calms down before going home...



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