I climbed La Tours des Fiefs and am now sitting at Cafe des Arts in the central square in Sancerre, France, drinking Sancerre wine.
I’m calling it a reward. And it is glorious.
Not that I need to do something to reward myself. Not that it is really a reward at all. I got over that way of living a while ago. Pretty much.
I would have climbed La Tours des Fiefs anyway because I always climb everything. But I notice I’m feeling minorly self righteous about it. Interesting how having touched the highest ground does that.
Before I began my ascent a Frenchman emerges from a dark hole in a stone wall and hands me a small piece of paper he wants me to read and then give back to him. Words in English tell me to enjoy the climb and the view, then if, and only if I’ve enjoyed myself to perhaps give what I can.
Vagueness sometimes bothers me. But this time I wipe away all ruinous thoughts of how much should I give, and the question of what exactly does that really mean to “give what I can?”
I take the request at face value and as a kindness. As I begin the climb I decide I like knowing that if I don’t think much of what I find, I haven’t spent a ridiculous number of Euros to do it.
Built in the 14th century, this tower, the only structure that now remains from the middle ages in Sancerre, has seen some action. It was strategic in the Hundred Year’s War, the ongoing feud that existed between the two royal houses vying for the French throne. Many years later the tower, as the highest point in the region, was no doubt the reason why Sancerre served as the regional headquarters for the French resistance during World War II.
These days Sancerre is considered geographically important for its wine, which has much to do with its unique terrain.
I’m sure all kinds of intriguing feudal and medieval things happened here in the vicinity of Sancerre. But for now I don’t care about that. I notice that the ladies at the table next to me are smoking, and oddly, it’s not bothering me one bit. It fits,matching my glass of Sancerre sauvignon blanc. I’m only guessing that I think it goes so well with these smoking ladies has something to do with it possibly being a Pouilly Fumé. Now please don’t go thinking I know much about wine; I’m learning. I do know it’s a good wine to price ratio for wine served in a central square- that, and I like it.
Smoke away, ladies. I’m wearing a scarf and may just take it up. Just kidding , Mom.
I’d feel very superior if I were in the town of Sancerre. Whoever controls this high ground has always been very important. For a few moments there I think it was me.
I’m wondering if the men who over the course of history have climbed La Tour des Fiefs each day to protect various common goods, and the survival of others could have imagined such a future.
Ladies smoking in the public square; cute, little girls in pink, caring mostly about confiscating maman’s sunglasses, while fathers attempt to teach their young children history; and a me, a woman from beyond where the world was once flat, climbing stairs she finds rickety, but clearly are not really, for the possibility and luxury of a view.