Ever since I was a little girl I’ve found myself in the pursuit of something.  When I was little I chased the dogs and cats around the yard along with my imaginary friend.  As a teen, my infatuation with Rod Stewart led me {with the help of my parents} to LA and all the way to his front gate…(a foreshadow to my chateaux chasing life).  Please don’t judge…it must have been his hair.  In college I chased a degree that I should have run away from.  Lesson learned.

I once chased a flowing silk chiffon dress from the runway at the Dallas fashion market to the designer’s own hands.  I even named the dress–“Flowy.” The whole chase ended with the designer {Carmen Marc Valvo} and I photographed for the Lifestyle section of the Houston Chronicle.  They could not believe the lengths I went to in order to find her and neither could Valvo.  “Flowy” now hangs with her other silk chiffon BFFs in the closet at my parents house.

Some chases fizzled due to disinterest or the inability to find the prize.  Like my quest at the age of about fourteen to have a “purple curly haired” Irish water spaniel.  What? Who knew a dog like that existed.  Apparently I found it in a dog encyclopedia and instantly fell in love.  Six years later the Chef came along with a cream puff Shih Tzu and I chased him around for eleven wonderful years.

The Chef has chased a culinary career for many years, bobbing and weaving in and out until he finally captured it.  Now he chases the pots and pans as they sway with the roll of the waves inside his seagoing galley.

  We all know I’ve been chasing Marie Antoinette for the last six years.  I’ve seen every nook and cranny of her private apartments at both Versailles and the Petit Trianon.  Blind fold me, spin me around and I’ll find my way out of Versailles–maybe.

Hall of Mirrors Versailles


Versailles windows

chapel at Versailles


Versailles Opera

Last week, in the company of the Chef and Madeleine {Important to Madeleine Blog} we chased Marie Antoinette to the stage of her very own theater.  Weaving in and out of the stage sets, gliding my hands along the 18th century canvas of a forest scene , I imagined her there…it was the chase that brought me the closest.  It ranks up there with the masked ball in L′Orangerie.

Marie Antoinette Theater Petit Trianon

Marie Antoinette's theater stage

toinette's theater Petit Trianon

ceiling of Petit Trainon theater

Petit Trianon private apartments

A false door behind Marie Antoinette’s bedroom at the Petit Trianon.  18th century graffiti on the wall.

And now, what’s the new chase?

 It’s most certainly doesn’t end …no, it meanders and turns and takes the fork in the road.  A road that led to the Poitou-Charentes through the Loire with good friends {or Team Chase as we called ourselves} Marie Z. Johnston {French Market Maven} the talented Chef, the woman of reason–Loui from {Parisienne Postcards} and a four legged fur baby named Pidds.  We were all chasing something…even the dog–he chased us!

French countryside


The Foodies chased the markets in Niort and La Rochelle, then on to a Michelin acclaimed resto which sits under the watchful eye of Chateau de Langeais in the Loire.

market Collage

market Niort

glorious market in Niort

apples in Niort

Chef at Niort market

pasta making Niort market

oysters La Rochelle

La Rochelle market scallops




 The historian, *moi* ,chased the 11th century infamous Queen Eleanor of Acquataine from Niort to Fontevraud Abbey in the Loire.  In between there was the tomb of Louis XI, a private tour of Chateau de Ruffec and the rare occurrence to witness a well preserved letter written by Louis XV.

Dunjon Niort

12th century Donjon (a Keep) in Niort.  Build by Henry II, Eleanor’s 2nd husband (King of England) and completed by her son, Richard the Lionheart.

La Rochelle

La Rochelle.  A port town made possible by Eleanor.  Oldest lighthouse tower in France 12th century.  The pointed spire in the distance.

Port of La Rochelle

harbor of La Rochelle

La Rochelle

Eleanor tomb

Inside the Fontevraud Abbey where the chase of her ended, kinda.  It sorta picks back up on our last night in the Loire.  Check out that medieval kitchen!

Over to the Loire village of  Cléry-Saint-André to visit with Louis XI.


tomb of Louis XI

Tomb of Louis XI in Cléry-Saint-André, Loire

Chateau de Ruffec

In the garden of Chateau de Ruffec with Pidds

chateau de ruffec  Letter by Louis XV

Letter by Louis XV concerning Chateau de Ruffec

Loui, she chased the adventure of it all–from the dinner of champagne, wine, bread and really amazing mayo to the silliness of a shared bathroom! 😉 “You couldn’t make this stuff up.” –Loui, Niort B&B

chasing through france


Along the roads less traveled we found…

abandoned chateau france

Abandoned chateau that we brazenly ventured up to.


And then found someone to tell us who the owner was.

The Chef just happened to notice this gorgeous ole’ gal as we whizzed by-U-turn.

Chambord Liquor

Home of the Chambord Liqueur Royale de France

Chambord Liquor

Viola! It’s the home of Chambord Liqueur Royale de France--the raspberry liquor supposedly served to King Louis XIV on his visit to the Chateau de Chambord in the 17th century, which is just a few miles away.  All production of the liquor is done behind the chateau.

Don Quixote windmills that nearly sent our rent car in the ditch trying to reach.

french windmill

Locals that delightfully chatted about their life in the country.


Beautiful sunsets.


Discovered hidden alleys.


Adorable windows

heart window shutters

A forgotten bike


Curious kitties



New friends for Pidds.


A retro 1950s guinguette that delivered an awesome lunch with cognac avec Schweppes and then an equally impressive dinner and endless dancing.

etoile and schweppes

The quaint medieval town of Langeais where the oldest keep in France (10th century) sits in ruins beside the 15th century chateau first built by none other than Louis XI who we chased earlier on the trip!  However this chateau sits on top of an original medieval motte-and-bailey castle of the 12th century built by who else??  Eleanor’s son, Richard the Lionheart, who completed the Donjon at Niort.  Ha..the chase suddenly started again!

Chateau de Langeais


chateau de langeais

The chase is really never ending.  It continues as long as the passion exists and can pick up at any moment.

What do you chase in life?  Anything as random as this?

Our Chase around Paris will follow soon…

8 thoughts on “Chasing…

  1. Wonderful photographs. You’ve seen so much in just a week. I especially like the photo of admiral Victor Guy Duperré with a bird on his head. xD Well you know, I’m silly.

    • I know isn’t that just great. Thanks for telling me who he is. I thought it might be King Louis Philippe. You know–you and the chateau would have been on that chase if the darn weather hadn’t gone mad. I’m still sulking from not seeing you!

      • I honestly could cry if I think about it. There’s still a bit of snow around, it’s just not right. Spring comes later every year. 😦

      • Omg poor you. I heard in Eastern Germany they got fresh snow as well, though I doubt it’s a blizzard. Yes, it scares me a bit that winter is indeed a bit later every year. It’s connected to the cooling down of the gulf stream. *notices that she starts to hold speeches* Well you know that anyways.

  2. Elissa, your pictures are fantastic! And, I’ve not met anyone more charmingly persistent in the single-minded pursuit of the chase. Beguiling, really, and it has and will continue to open doors for you. Keep posting pictures of your discoveries.

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