J is for …. If it was good enough for Josephine…

…it was good enough for me.

We stayed at the Château de la Ferté Beauharnais, in the Blue Tower Room. Apart from the novelty of being round, it boasted a four-poster bed with beautiful linen and a mohair blanket. Elsewhere were pieces of period furniture, riding boots and some elegant hats. I wondered whose feet had trodden the oak boards and who had gazed out of the shuttered windows.

While our host, Daniel, was phoning a restaurant for us, my husband, Tony, discovered there were no bath towels (they arrived later). We then learned the restaurant was closed (vacation) and there was no key to the room (not even a key-hole).

We went in search of food. The nearest town claimed it was the home of the ‘véritable tarte tatin’, my husband’s favourite dessert. We found a lively restaurant and at dessert time, the waitress rattled off a list.

‘Is there no tarte tatin?’

‘Not tonight.’

Maybe Josephine suffered the same dismay at her wishes being frustrated.

The next morning, the breakfast table was laid with fine china and elegant cutlery. We avoided toast as the smell of burning was strong. I asked about the house and Daniel settled himself down beside us.

It had indeed belonged to the Beauharnais family, Josephine living there in her pre-Napoleonic days with her husband, Alexandre, before he lost his head in the French Revolution.

‘Do you have time to see the original kitchen in the cellar?’

Of course we had. In the centre was a wooden table, polished by many hands. It was where Josephine signed over the house to her son, Eugène de Beauharnais. I stroked the table and felt her fingertips.

What’s a bit of disorganisation when you get a treat like that?



Published by


I am an arts person who, for good reasons at the time, studied science but always wanted to write. Now I have retired, I can indulge this passion. I write fiction and non-fiction, even occasional poetry, preferably late at night. I have just completed my first novel, using my background in pharmacy for its setting. I have been a winner of the Daily Telegraph ‘Just Back’ travel-writing competition and have published in various magazines including Mslexia, ‘Litro’ online, ‘Scribble’, ‘The Oldie’, ‘Berkshire Life’ and ‘Living France’. I live in Berkshire and am married with three children and six grandchildren

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s