Saturday, April 4

Le Hebert

The moat around Le Coeur
From Valognes we drive to St-Martin-Le-Hebert to visit Le Coeur, a sixteenth century manoir fortified by a moat and next to an ancient beautiful church (they are a dime a dozen here).  We lunch at Bricquebec followed by a local art fair.

Last night, at a country estate, we join an unusual group of local French land owners and English eccentrics all who have inherited their wealth. The host, a charming French woman named Sophie, married to a multi-billionaire away on a sailing expedition. There is a lot of wine and spirit. I get the sense these gatherings take place regularly.

The highlight, and reason, for the dinner is Annabel, a soprano trained at the Paris Conservatoire, who performs a selection of arias from Shubert to Mozart in preparation for a concert she will give next weekend to raise money for "the hunt" (in this part of France, the tradition of hunting involves deer rather than fox, as in England).

The evening ends by singing happy-birthday David, one of the guests and a retired British banker, who owns farmland in Malawi, South Africa, California (weirdly, grapefruits) and France. He oversees a local choir in which Anabel occasionally sings.

Sonnet: "That was a night."