Posted by: ankneredelstein | August 28, 2008

Châtillon-en-Michaille & the Village of Ducrots

We are lucky to know the nicest family in the World.

Bertrand and Cecile Ducrot were gracious enough to allow us to stay at their family house in Châtillon, near Belgarde on the French border with Geneva, Switzerland for a few days while we awaited our gite (small cottage) to become available in Fontaines. While Bertrand gave us directions via cell phone to find the tiny village of Châtillon, he called to say he would be standing in the village to guide our final movements to his house. Lucky for us, he was standing in the center of the little village and proceeded to jog and point in the direction of a tiny set of tight and steeply situated streets weaving in and out between ancient stone buildings toward our final destination. Trotting uphill ahead of our remarkably packed and intensely full minivan full of people and their two years worth of luggage, Bertrand continued up and inward through the neighborhood to finally point out a little parking slot in a grassy cutout into which we could beach our weary load.

We were greeted by a quintessential alpine hillside village setting arranged with tightly stacked and neatly nestled cottages and houses, tiny alleyways and well-tended garden plots. The Ducrot’s house was a magnificently homey and comfortable homestead with beautiful views of grand valleys and small mountains. We were “home” for a few days, and it was a welcome feeling. As it turns out, the Ducrot family has dozens of relatives in Châtillon, and the village is dominated by several families and generations of decendents, of which the Ducrots are a major part.

Pointing out no less than 15 different homes of aunts, uncles, brothers and sisters and their various family relations in the village in a simple 20 minute walk, we immediately got the impression we were never more than a few cottages away from another Ducrot family homestead, no matter where we went. The kids got to play in the yard, run and be free while we met members of the family and were treated like welcome guests with home cooked meals, wine with lunch and dinner and walking tours of the village.

View from the back yard of Casa Ducrot.

View from the back yard of Casa Ducrot.

Châtillon-en-Michaille in France

Châtillon-en-Michaille in France

Châtillon village street

Châtillon village street

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