1 April, 1930, Melissey
Drove here yesterday. Windy in south & hazy. Very hazy here – couldn’t see mountains. Our instructions were to get keys from M. Tessane with phone #, but no address other than mairie (the mayor’s office), which naturally was closed when we arrived Melissey. We parked & started looking for someone, found hardware store open. On entering, woman asked if she could help us. She didn’t speak E, but on seeing our gite directions, asked her son to show us to M. Tessane’s. He drove, we followed, 4-5 km to farm with letter ‘T’ in colored tiles on the roof.
Mme Tessane came to greet us & our guide departed (his E was quite good after he had a chance to practice during the drive). Followed Mme Tessane to gite, without quite noticing the route. She expected confirmation of payment, but when told that was all we had (or words to that effect) she said something about a ‘fait accompli’ & took our 500 F deposit.
We then unpacked, made up beds, cleaned house (second cleaning of the day), planned our week, ate S’s home cooking, & went to bed.
Departure from Mallemort gite was a matter of eating, showering, cleaning (1 1/2 hour or more), paying for heating (150 F) with 100 F note & all of our change (148 F).
Today, drove through Belfort & Mulhouse to Colmar. Very pretty ‘centre ville’ with a nice museum (see guide). Walked around following part of Hachette’s walking tour. Tried to stop for carry-out food, but C wouldn’t commit to anything, and the queue was more like a mob, so kept walking. Many attractive houses in a style more like (I imagine) Germany than like anything we have seen yet. Area along a canal called, of course, ‘Petit Venisse’ was quite nice, several cafes, flowers, swans.
Departed Colmar for Gunsbach & saw many little villages, many vineyards. At Gunsbach, Schweitzer home/museum was closed, but S was satisfied to have seen the village. They all look quaint, well-kept & still active, unlike rural communities in US, which seem to be abandoned by young people & become run-down. These have new houses at edges & show vitality.
Called Carl. Everything there seems OK. He had the confirmation of the Melissey gite. C has been tricking us with April Fools jokes all day.
1 April, 1930, Melissey
In Melissey, as at Cenac/La Traverse, we had no trouble finding someone willing to help us make our gite arrangements. Susan’s strategy was to look for a pharmacy on the theory that a professional business is most likely to have an English-speaking person. Failing that, any open business is fair game. In Melissey, the woman in charge of the hardware store immediately ‘volunteered’ her son, who was obviously appalled at the idea of having these foreigners made his responsibility. But he went along, and at the end seemed both pleased to be able to speak his little bit of English to us, and relieved that he had handed us off to Mme Tessane. She in turn, when it was clear we didn’t have all the official confirmation paperwork, was willing to let us move in, confident I suppose that she could get us out on Monday if the booking agency didn’t confirm our payment.
This gite was actually a renovated two-story schoolhouse, with a gite on each floor. We had the upper floor, which contained three bedrooms, large living/dining room, kitchen, bath, WC. There was a yard with clothesline and picnic tables (granite blocks). The building was on what seemed to be a dead-end road, with one house further down than we were. It was apparently occupied, although we never saw the occupant. (It later turned out that the road was not a dead-end). The land was largely cow pasture, and Chrissy immediately befriended the cows, feeding them handfuls of grass, naming them and generally keeping busy. (1991-06-18)
On Saturday, we drove to Melisey. I don’t like riding in a car. The house is nice – formerly a school. 3 BR, 1 bathroom, WC, K, LR, DR. Nice! Rather old though! I peeped into the windows downstairs:
[ sketch of floorplan ]
The attic is rather ugly, some kids must have stayed here – there are candy wrappers up there and a bag of candy on the fireplace; there was a town/school clock in the attic.