Just Merveilleux

Life at № 42

It’s not cold

14 degrees celsius today. We had a couple of colder and rainy days earlier in the week but the predictions are that this winter in the Tarn will be mild. I planted coriander two weeks ago in the (unheated) greenhouse and it’s sprouting.

la-villa-de-mazamet

The Charity Christmas party at La Villa de Mazamet was lovely. I heard the boys were pleased with the amount they raised. I find the house fascinating. The architecture is unexplainable. No way of pinning down the name of its style, it’s just its own thing. It was built at the beginning of WWII, which seems highly unusual timing. It’s different from the other grand homes in Mazamet in that the owner wasn’t a wool/textile industrialist, but an accountant. The boys joke that he must have been skimming off the top. Part of the ground floor was originally used as the accounting offices of the owner- so it was probably more just a Trump style business decision. Impressing people to create more business.

The interiors are very, very restrained. In a way it’s sort of the opposite of number 42. Here we have a very low key exterior and you come in to find ornate paneling, marble, gilding- and colour. La Villa has a flamboyant exterior but very discreet interior decoration. Just compare their stairs and ours to see what I mean:

But of course, their place is ideal for what they do. The distribution is perfect for a bijou hotel. Having started out life as partly a business, the spaces are very well divided/separated. At number 42 rooms very much open to each other. The green salon opens to the grey salon and to the scullery, the dining room opens to the study. Everything (except the kitchen) opens to the main hall. Four of the bedrooms have Jack and Jill bathrooms. In every sense it was designed for a family.

In other news I’m done with the planning for our Christmas and New Year’s dinners. Both very old-fashioned. For Christmas we’re having lobster with tomato and basil and for NY’s filet steak with morels in cream.

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47 comments on “It’s not cold

  1. Carmen
    December 22, 2016

    Love looking at those old places!

    I see you are serving lobster. Out of curiosity, how much do you have to pay for it? Around here, we regularly buy it for $5.00/lb. (we have a fisherman friend) and we saw it advertised for $6.00/lb. when we were out running around yesterday. That would be live, from a fisherman’s truck by the side of the road. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Live a European Homarus costs at least €25, but more like €30. So between €40 and €50 per kilogram 😀

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      • Carmen
        December 22, 2016

        Egads, that’s what I thought. You are generous hosts, then! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • Only once a year! 😀 No, I’m kidding. This year we decided to neither go to or throw parties, so it’s just the two of us at home- so I wanted to do something nice that we don’t have all the time.

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      • Carmen
        December 22, 2016

        We usually have lobster somewhere over the holidays – our offspring and their offspring love it. (we used to tell our own that they wouldn’t like it. . . our grandchildren, however, were brought up differently) 😉

        Liked by 2 people

      • tildeb
        December 22, 2016

        Interesting to note that lobster was once considered such terrible food that it was fit only for the indigent, indentured, and incarcerated!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Really? I had no idea. Was this in Canada or everywhere?

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      • Carmen
        December 22, 2016

        True of this area. I know people (they’d all be in their 70’s and 80’s now) who used to pick the lobster out of their sandwiches on the way to school – throwing it out for the birds – rather than the other children see how poor they were.

        Liked by 2 people

      • How amusing. It’s funny how those things change. In Portuguese colonial culture cod had a similar role, only eaten by the lower classes.

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      • Diana MacPherson
        December 22, 2016

        Indeed, lobster was something the poor ate. It was cheap too.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Carmen
        December 22, 2016

        In my day, the cheap food was bologna. (pronounced in these parts, ‘baloney’) Our children loved it and always wanted it in their lunch sandwiches — something I never did! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • That’s like Mortadella, isn’t it?

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  2. Hariod Brawn
    December 22, 2016

    “Just compare their stairs and ours. But of course, their place is ideal for what they do.” – ouch! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • Carmen
      December 22, 2016

      I’m not asking. . .

      Liked by 2 people

    • You’re evil! I didn’t mean it like that, I think their place is lovely! Plus being more restrained is better suited to a hotel because they need to please the largest number of people possible. Number 42 only has to please 2 people 😛

      Liked by 1 person

      • Hariod Brawn
        December 22, 2016

        Yes Pink, the Liberace look wouldn’t work so well in their case.

        Liked by 2 people

      • The style of the hallway at number 42 is 18th century.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Hariod Brawn
        December 22, 2016

        You know I’m only pulling your finial. It’s not Rococo, your stairway, is it, or Baroque? I think of those as rather more fancy in design, but know nothing about the subject, really. Your staircase looks more 19th. century, to my eyes. When was #42 built?

        Liked by 1 person

      • The style was popularised in the 19th century, particularly because of its use in Paris in many of the Haussmann buildings, but the combination of the wrought iron/marble/stone walls goes back much further. The sort of textbook reference is the stairwell at the little Trianon:
        https://api.art.rmngp.fr/v1/images/17/163223?t=KIVc_pUe5ShJIS26-8qxrA

        Liked by 1 person

      • Hariod Brawn
        December 22, 2016

        So is #42 somewhere between Rococo and Neoclassical, or are those references altogether inapplicable?

        Liked by 1 person

      • The exterior is 100% Neoclassical. The interior is a combination of a number of styles. The paneled grey room is Louis XV, the green room (with the Zuber paper) is baroque, the dining room is Directoire. Maison Jansen liked to play with styles and periods in a way other designers hadn’t done before 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Steve Ruis
    December 22, 2016

    Re “For Christmas we’re having lobster with tomato and basil and for NY’s filet steak with morels in cream.” You know, there is such a thing as living too well … ah, forget I said that, I am just jealous! Tre bien, mon ami!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Diana MacPherson
    December 22, 2016

    You have a lovely home. Your staircase is much nicer. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. acflory
    December 22, 2016

    Lobster is expensive in Australia too, but mostly because we export a lot of it. Favourite lobster dish – fresh off the boat with a squeeze of lemon and a sprinkle of salt. 🙂 I’ve only eaten it like that once but my tastebuds still remember almost 40 years later.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Helen Devries
    December 22, 2016

    I liked seeing the interior of the villa – hard to know what to expect from the exterior.
    Is the rest of the places as ‘squared off’?
    As to food and poverty….oysters were the food of the London poor in the time of Dickens.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. kjennings952
    December 22, 2016

    Yes but what will you be serving to drink with the lobster?! I’m having a lovely white bordeaux with our seafood apps–we splurge on shellfish this time of year too. And cheese. And salumi. And pastries. And butter. Always butter with me you know ($8 a pound!) But we’re gluttonous Americans!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Have you ever tried Échiré butter? If not, look out for it at your delicatessen. It’s out of this world! These days my stomach isn’t reacting well to white wine or champagne, so I’m in sort of red no matter what situation 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  8. belasbrightideas
    December 23, 2016

    You had me with ‘morels and cream.’ Mmmmmmm. The interior design is lovely, as are some of the architectural details. I’m all for restraint when it comes to design. There is elegance in knowing when and what to hold back.

    Liked by 1 person

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