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Morienval Rose garden and Saint-Jean-aux-Bois

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Thursday, September 07, 2017

In my previous blog I shared about Pierrefonds’ castle and my hike in the woods around it... An enchanting afternoon! Earlier on Sunday, I went to nearby Morienval, where a rose garden opened a couple of years ago (and which also has a beautiful church from the end of the 9th century which you can see on some of the pictures... the rose garden is on the grounds of what once was Morienval’s abbey).

I had high expectations! I have only four rose bushes in my garden and I am thinking of planting a couple next year. So not only did I want to see roses, and lots of them (there are 1,600 rose bushes of 157 different kinds in Morienval!), I was also looking for ideas for my garden in general.

That part was very disappointing, it had absolutely nothing to do with what I had seen on their website. The man selling the tickets explained that some of their gardeners had resigned unexpectedly over the summer and that the garden was a bit of a ‘jungle’. Well, sadly, it was. I was rather shocked they let visitors in with a garden in such a state (and that they still asked them to pay the entrance fee!).

Most rose bushes were covered with dead roses, sometimes becoming like ‘fruit’ (sorry, I completely lack English vocabulary in terms of gardening!!! please help me!). That was really sad.

But let’s try and focus on the positive: in the midst of that chaos, there were still some beautiful roses to look at, thankfully!

I loved all the roses! But there were two I would really love in my garden...
... this one, called ‘William and Catherine’ (yes, created for Prince William and Kate!), which is white:

and this gorgeous pink one (I think it is the 'Alnwick Rose'):

So who knows? Maybe I’ll give them another chance and go back at another time to buy one or two rose bushes (they also have a shop)? We’ll see!

After my wonderful hike in the afternoon around Pierrefonds... (My blog about it is here:

... it was time to go home. But first I absolutely had to stop in Saint-Jean-aux-Bois, a lovely little village (306 inhabitants) in the heart of the woods, which is one of my favourites in that part of France...

The village was built around the abbey (built in 1152). The fortified gate above was built in the 15th-16th century to protect the monastery.

I was very lucky as, when I visited the abbey, someone was practicing on the church's organ. Such a treat! I spent a little time there listening to the music... Maybe it was for a concert soon as concerts take place in that church (Sparkfriend LIZALOT sang there with her choir a few months ago).

Each time I have been in Saint-Jean-aux-Bois, the village has always been incredibly peaceful. I guess it always was on a Sunday afternoon though!

So I was delighted to meet an old lady who was knitting outside her house as I walked in a little street called ‘rue des Abbesses’...

She was so charming I couldn’t resist: I asked her if I could take her picture! I am so glad I did! I wished I would have dared to ask her a few questions about her life in the village, but that isn’t a very French thing to do!
[EDIT: OK confession time... I must tell you something funny! When I asked the lady whether I could take a picture of her, I did it with an American accent!!! I thought she would be less shocked if she thought I wasn't French, haha... Talking with strangers here isn't really acceptable, and asking to take their picture even less! - Side note: Please don't take pictures of people without asking them, ever!]

(The town hall and school... maybe the old lady grew up here and went to that school as a child?)

(My favourite building in the village, the gate to what used to be the abbey's farm...)

After walking around the village, it really was time to go home!
I hope you enjoyed these little glimpses of the area around Pierrefonds...

Thank you for reading! emoticon

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