A large party gathered at the Château of Breil de Foin to receive a warm welcome from our hosts Sylviane and Jerôme de Brossard. We were interested to see that Breil de Foin consists of two châteaux. The old château dates back to the eleventh century, and was originally a fortress on the frontier between Maine and Anjou. Down the centuries, this building has been enhanced to provide a less military dwelling place, and today retains many medieval features, including a garderobe tower. The second château, standing alongside its more ancient companion, dates from the sixteenth century, and was once owned by Françoise de Maridor, the Dame de Montsoreau.
It was to this Renaissance château that we made our way. There we were served with an aperitif, and chatted and strolled through the rooms of this charming house. A buffet lunch, supplied by the restaurant l'Orée des Bois, was generally agreed to have been delicious.
After coffee, Jerôme led a tour of the park, where we were introduced to his collection of exotic trees, many of which had been raised from seed which Jerôme himself had collected during trips to different parts of the world We were entertained by his stories of where he first met the parents of his trees, in locations ranging from a police station yard, to the gardens of the Forbidden City.
Returning to the house, people had an opportunity to visit the ancient château, and to hear about the portraits hanging in the rooms of the Renaissance house. There was more apricot tart from the buffet for those who felt peckish. Then we were taken further back in time with an interesting collection of fossils and archaeological finds.
We took our leave of Sylviane and Jerôme after this most enjoyable afternoon with the impression that we had been given the opportunity to travel both in space and time.
Many thanks to Sylviane and Jerôme for their hospitality. Also to Lynn and John Turnbull who organised the buffet, Irene Small, Jackie Sheppard and Graham Mackay who assisted, and Pat Curd who made the raspberry aperitif.