Guillaume gave us the ultimate gift while we stayed with him and Geeta in Lyon: sharing his family with us.
We took the bus from Lyon to the small village where his parents live. Being very eco aware, I don’t imagine Guillaume and Geeta use their car much, but in this instance, we couldn’t all fit into their car. It was a one hour trip where we were able to see the pretty suburbs surrounding Lyon.
We got off the bus and passed Guillaume’s dad and uncle who were on their way to the supermarket. We kept walking up the road and bumped into Guillaume’s mum, grandma and aunt. They were so excited to see Theo.
His grandma is in her nineties and beginning to lose mobility and memory but her charm is still very strong. She asked us about where we had been and spoke to us of her knowledge of those places (in French with translations from others). And she sang a children’s song to Lui which was very sweet. I found her backstory intriguing. Her family were originally from Spain but were persecuted for being Jewish in the 1400’s inquistador of Queen Isabela and fled to Turkey. There they found a community who kept using old Spanish while Spain’s version of Spanish grew and changed. She grew up learning both the Turkish language and her own Spanish language. Later her family moved to Italy where she studied in Milan and eventually she moved to France. Her family were persecuted once again when during the second world war for being Jewish but fortunately Lyon was heavily part of the resistance movement so all her family survived.
Guillaume’s parents place would be great for any family: plenty of outdoor area for the kids to run around and play and lots of indoor spaces for everyone to relax. This was Guillaume’s childhood home.
We started the lunch outside enjoying the warm spring sun with some champagne and nibbles before moving indoors to the dining area. His parents were so lovely, hosting us in typical French family lunch style. His mum was matriarch, ensuring everything was organised well and that we were all comfortable. His dad is jovial and cracked a few jokes with a mix of English and French that I was able to grasp in my poor French. His uncle is fluent in English and quick witted which added a lot of humour to the afternoon.
Guillaume’s mum and dad served multiple courses. The first was roasted chicken, roasted vegetables and a salad, served with a white wine. Then it moved to ratatouille with red wine from his dad’s wine cellar. That was a real treat for Ajay. He loves the Ratatouille movie so being in France, having an authentic French ratatouille was a highlight of the lunch.
The next course was froie gras which is where they fatten the duck so that it’s liver is fatty and then they use the liver meat to make a pate. Froie Gras means fat liver. Ajay said it was the best he’s tried. Guillaume’s dad had bought it from the butcher but he said that when his dad makes it, it’s even better.
The next course was cheeses with and fruit. By this time I was full but the cheeses were too delicious to pass up. Interestingly in Guillaume’s family the males don’t like cheese but the females do.
We finished up with some apple tart for dessert. By the end of it all we were all ready to rest our bellies. The kids played outside and that’s when we realised Carmelo couldn’t find his phone. We hoped it he had left it at Geeta’s place but he knew he’d taken it on the bus with him.
When it was time to leave the family walked us to the bus stop and wished us well. There were lots of special hugs for Theo before we hopped on the bus.
We went home and sure enough Carmelo’s phone was not there. Being a Sunday, the bus depot was closed. Guillaume’s parents called later that night to check if we’d found the phone which was very sweet of them to do. The next morning we Guillaume phoned them for us and they said they did have a phone that matched Carmelo’s description but required proof of purchase and ID. We didn’t have any proof of purchase because I’d purchased it on facebook with cash so we were worried they wouldn’t return it. Carmelo said not to worry because he could unlock the phone, proving that it was his.
Guillaume drove us there and did all the talking for us. When we reached the lost property section and asked about an iPhone, the guy handed the phone over, no questions asked. We laughed at how simple it was and how much we fretted over nothing. Guess he figured that if we were there picking it up, we wouldn’t be making it up.