By: Danya Weiner
Vacation in Fance. Just saying those words makes me happy.
Two weeks ago I got back from just that. This was the kind of vacation I’ll remember forever.
5 days- my father, my brother and me. Driving, talking, eating. I photographed for five days straight, trying to capture the colors, the smells, and the richness France has to offer.
For five days I felt like a little girl again despite my dad being 66, and me almost 38. With no kids around to call me mommy, no husband and no work, I was just Danya. Like a child I got excited from everything and walked around with the biggest grin on my face wishing it would never end.
Now I am back in Israel, a mother again, a wife again and a full time photographer. But…something has changed, this experience put me in touch with the child in me and it’s that feeling i want to bring into my real life at home.
So why was it so good? It was a dream vacation. The highlight of the trip was the weekend we spent with my brother’s Parisian landlords who have became our dear friends- Etienne and Corrine.
Six months ago they invited us to come spend a weekend together at their house in Normandy. Their country house is nothing you can even imagine. It once was a monastery called Val-Dieu that was almost completely ruined during the French Revolution. What remained of the monastery was the entrance , which is today their summer home.
Etienne and Corrine put their heart and soul into renovating the house and making it the most beautiful place I have ever seen. I literally found myself gasping for air with astonishment a few times during our first day there (especially in the kitchen!!).
We met Corrine and her son Paul at the farmers market on Saturday morning before going to the house. The first question Corrine asked me was- “Do you like to cook?”. Of course I love to cook.
From that point on I was in charge of preparing dinner and was overwhelmed with excitement to be able to buy amazing produce and actually cook it at the Val- Dieu kitchen!! We arrived “home” with really wonderful vegetables, one huge Turbot fish, a leg of lamb and apples- lots of apples.
I think the images say more than i can express with words- the camera did not leave my hands for the first three hours. I even started to send Deanna some pictures but she kindly asked me to stop because it was just too hard for her to see all of the great styling props and not be there with me.
Our time at Val -Dieu went by so fast, we cooked great food together, we took a long walk in the woods, drove to nearby villages to look for styling props and we just relaxed. It was short but sweet.
After a weekend like that it was hard to go back to Paris….well, not really… I will gladly go back to Paris after every vacation I have! We spent the next two days eating, shopping and we even saw a photography exhibition at the Pompidou.
Even though I was happy to be away from my ordinary life I was also excited to get back and be with my loved ones who were waiting for me.
I just want to thank my brother Allon who made it all possible! My amazing Dad Steve, I will forever cherish the time we had just the two of us. And to Etienne and Corrine for their wonderful hospitality, we are friends now and i hope to see them in Israel very soon.
Look out for our Normandy inspired recipe-Apple and Calvados cake, coming soon on the blog.