Royalty at breakfast...
The Count of Chateau Raray snuck into the breakfast room and sat with us. As he spread Camembert cheese over the fresh bread he confided in challenged french-English "if you see my wife, I was not here"! A wry smile lit up his face as he shared he is trying to lose weight and cheese is not on his menu!
His eyes dart from side to side before delighting in his first bite. Then without exaggeration his eyes close and he delights with an appreciative moan. "magnifique" he says as he lathers up the next piece of bread!
We laugh and he says he must make sure the food he feeds his guests is good, no? And he enjoys another bite.
I'm intrigued by this Royal. He tells us he was a bad student. He almost asks forgiveness for being born with silver spoon. He says he was a terrible test taker but great with math. He knows the business principle of "buy low sell high" and claims this is why he's held on to his billions.
The language challenge makes the conversation more honest. Finding the understandable words leaves no room for small talk or embellishing.
He tells us the tree houses were his son in laws idea and since they opened in May there has not been one day empty! He scratches his 78 year old head and claims "I don't believe it".
He has a joyous face. A face that has laughed much.
He tells us of his daughters chateau in Fontenbleu as he enjoys another bite of cheese and bread. He says it is like "living in a dream". His son in law has installed tree houses there too! "Very successful, he says then reaches over and touches my knee and says "tree houses for the very young and not for me" with a wink he goes back to his cheese...
I like this guy.
He says we should stay there one night. He will make arrangements. At his daughters chateau it is 1500 euro to cross the threshold. We decline with graciousness. By the time his testing our breakfast is done he's offered us a free stay at his daughters home! This is the price of keeping his sneaky breakfast a secret! Ha ha
Later, from our windows in our room, I notice he and the Countess leaving the grounds with mops and brooms! I smile and call out "bon jour". He smiles and invites me to come with them to the church. I am pleased for the invite. He waits at the gate for me.
We walk over cobblestones and he tells of his childhood in this sweet french village. He points where Germans held Americans captive and where his parents hid food. He tells me the church lost all its windows from the pressure of the bombs. The countess is busy dusting when she shows me the 17th century paintings still preserved in the church. A pride of the town that these were not taken by the Germans. They were well hid and preserved.
He chuckles. And says "look, the Count and Countess cleaning the church for Sunday service, it's our pleasure". The Countess smiles at him and says in perfect English "it's our privilege!"
Sweet Nobility! I like these people!