From the blog

A journey back in time

How lovely is it when our guests share their history with us, especially when it relates to our wonderful home.  This is from our regular guest, Lynette Davies…

“My mother, Josette, was born in the UK in 1932, but her mother, Jeanne, was French and her father, Ted, English.  Back in the days before Bumble and Hinge, they connected as pen pals, introduced, we think, by her father’s cousin.  Jeanne travelled from France to a school near Malvern, in the UK, to work as a French Assistant so that she could meet her pen pal, Ted, and, guess what?  They were married sometime later!  Brave indeed back then!

My mother’s family, lived in and around Reims, and my mother was christened in a chapel in Reims Cathedral, so they must have been quite well connected.  My grandmother had five sisters and two step brothers.  Josette visited France as a young child getting to know her French family and learning the language – strangely she did not speak French in England with her mother.  However, the outbreak of the Second World War cut short her time with her French family.

It wasn’t until I was searching for early photos of my mother for a photobook celebrating her 90th birthday in 2022 (sadly she died only a few months later) that I made some interesting discoveries.  It seems my mother was quite the adventurer in her late teens and early twenties!  She cycled to Derbyshire where she had been evacuated during the war, and to Paris to meet up with some of her French family.  I found photos of her with her aunts and cousins in Le Verdon, in the Gironde, where her grandparents lived, and, in Thonon-les-Bains with her cousin’s family.  She seems to have spent a winter in Thonon in 1950 when she was 18 and there are photos of her skiing in Les Gets and Morzine.

During our stay at Chalet Fourmiliere it was fascinating to study these photos, trying to work out exactly where they had been taken and surreal to think that we were where she had stood all those years ago.  The equipment – wooden skis, cable bindings, leather boots – would have required a lot more skill to get down a hill!   And, of course, there was not a helmet in sight!  However, the clothes are absolutely retro and wouldn’t look out of place on the slopes today!

My mother also returned to the area in the summer months and there are photos of her in 1952 with a friend up at Le Pleney and on the Route des Alpes.  She also visited in 1955 with my father.

It’s quite special to think that all these years later we are following in the footsteps of my mother.

Lynette Davies

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