City Mouse, Country Mice

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Simply put, the French countryside is a special place. I have visited many times, and no matter the season, there’s something that resonates within me, reminding me that I don’t have to travel far to find peace and balance outside of Barcelona. It’s as easy as hopping in the car and driving north just a couple of hours, and before you know it you’re driving through a rolling landscape blanketed with hundreds of mature vineyards and ancient hilltop castles for as far as the eye can see. I knew this would be the perfect escape for my Mom and sister, Jamie, two country mice visiting the big city in mid-February.

Arriving at Domaine de La Matte, located in the Languedoc province, was like reuniting with an old friend after years of separation. The unpolished grounds left room for a sense of easiness, comfort and familiarity. It’s the kind of place where guests feel more like family, and we made ourselves right at home in our cozy country cottage. Roaming the grounds we discovered other creatures who called La Matte home including a herd of goats, a couple of retired race horses, speckled free range chickens of the brightest pink polka dots you’ve ever seen, and a very wide-eyed Emu who confidently strutted her stuff like a leggy ballerina in her finest tutu. Afternoon strolls along the winding pathways led us through green grass pastures and sleepy fields of gnarly grape vine stems. With blossoming fruit trees and fields sprouting fine green grass, the mild Mediterranean climate, even in mid-February, flashed glimpses that springtime is just around the corner. Why would we ever return to the concrete jungle?
Upon our return home, I reflected on the time we spent together at La Matte on the those blustery winter nights. By day we chatted and explored the world around us; by night we shared bottles of wine by the wood burning stove in our living room. Playing games and reminiscing about our favorite memories from years past over delicious homemade meals was all the entertainment we needed. We laughed, we cried, and because family is family, we even got a little annoyed with each other. But despite frustrations, spending quality time in the country with Jamie and my mom was an experience this city mouse won’t soon forget.
 
the winding road to La Matte
vineyard rainbow
we visited La Cité at Carcassonne
Cozy winter night

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