Nestled in the Midi-Pyrénées region in southwest France is a tiny commune in Gers called Sérempuy. Blink, and you just might miss the 1.26 square miles of French countryside known for its decadent duck products and Armagnac brandy. It’s population? 38.
Each summer, Tzelan’s Alison Chi sojourns to the bucolic setting amidst rolling hills and endless plains of sunflowers “that turn to face the sun in the peak of summer season.” Chateau Sérempuy formerly belonged to Joseph Marquis de Mauleon, the Lord of Sérempuy during the late 18th century and was restored 25 years ago by Tzelan’s friend and proponent of artful living, Patrick Dayen.
The six-bedroom home, was uniquely designed to accommodate his family, complete with a billiards and game room, office den filled with art geared toward Dayen’s passion for cars and Armagnac, a family-style kitchen and a natural, outdoor pool filled to be a nostalgic shade of green.
Daily Sérempuy rituals include folding the French-style shutter windows open and close, the click-clack sounds that became associated with sunrise and sunset. Time was also spent foraging the surrounding terrain for food—chickens from the coop across the street, vegetables from the garden, garlic that hung to dry in the old stable.
Additional sustenance was also procured from the neighboring village of Mauvezin, or even further, in Fleurance. Jams and sauces were prepared a season in advance. Arranging fresh-cut flowers from the garden and setting the table precluded mealtimes. Sundowners were enjoyed with Pimm’s Cup, rosé wine, homemade saucisson, local foie gras and crisps.
Other hours were filled with conversation, sunbathing, reading, napping and idling. Sleep in the chateau’s canopy-style bed frames, traditionally used by lords and noblemen in medieval Europe, provided a comforting sense of warmth and privacy.
Life in this quaint village serves as a sharp contrast to the urban bustle of New York City. Sérempuy, we look forward to returning soon.