Beloved tree resurrected…

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As many of you know, I live in my grandmother’s townhouse now. The property was bought right after the war by my grandfather and took half a city block. He needed lots of grounds and buildings to store his wine (note: he was a wine merchant, not the world’s biggest alcoholic). In the black and white photos from my archives, you’ll see the family having coffee (and wine of course) in the garden with part of the orchard in the back, my sister (who is now 58) watering the plants and my grandfather and grandmother on the very month they bought the house in 1947.

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The house was also the company’s headquarters. As time went by, the company evolved and the processes were streamlined. My sister, the latest CEO, decided to keep less stock. Most of the wine we sell now stays on property at the châteaux she buys it from. Long story short: we didn’t need the warehouse side of the property and all the buildings were converted into condominiums. As a result, half the garden was converted into a parking lot. I didn’t really mind, as the garden was much too large for me to take care of. The only thing I really missed was a HUGE fig tree we had there. I spent most of my childhood playing around that tree. And, once a year, Paulette, my grandmother’s cook, would use its figs to make the most wonderful jam.

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Now back to 2013. As I was cleaning my garden last year, I noticed a tiny fig tree growing on a rock in the middle of my herb garden. You see, Paulette couldn’t pick all the figs for jam, my grandma and I also raided the tree regularly. We would pick the darkest fruits and bring them back to the house for everybody to enjoy. So I guess one of the figs fell from our basket and landed on that rock in the herb garden. Nature did the rest.

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I will never see my grandmother again and I miss her every day, but my beloved fig tree is coming back to me…

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It will be years before I see fruit again. So I went to the market and got the sweetest figs I could find. Today I decided to enjoy them with a few slices of Camembert on tasted walnut bread…

 

78 Comments Add yours

  1. How lovely that you found that little tree , what a wonderful way to remember your dear grand mother , just loved the photos , I have never actually bought real figs and now I really must, perhaps they grow in Ireland; I am not sure, they look good though; bon apetit , forgive my French ; I love the language but sometimes in my haste to express myself my spelling and grammar may not be parfait je pense. Kind Regards Kathy.

  2. Elizabeth Wagner says:

    Love your photography

    1. Oh, thank you so much. I have just seen this now. Un jour, je vais descendre à votre petit coin de paradis.
      Juliet

  3. jbw0123 says:

    Lovely. What is it with French blogs that look gorgeous and tasteful? Something magic in the wine?

    Just sitting down this morning with a cup of tea and YES the last black fig in the house, which probably came from Chile because figs are falling out of season here — and opened your blog to that beautiful photo of figs.

    Love your narrative and photos. Made me nostalgic for a world I’ve never known. Glad you have a new fig tree to nurture.

  4. marc bourbon says:

    Ah les figues je craque toujours devant un plat avec des figues et en confiture ou tout simplement crues je les dévore !

  5. You take gorgeous photos!

  6. mariekeates says:

    We planted a little fig tree in our garden this year and I’m hoping for fruit in the future.

  7. Love being able to tie the story with the place! Great photos!

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Thank you my dear friend. You do indeed know all about the place 🙂

  8. zhevni says:

    Sweet story …lovely way to keep your grandmother’s memory alive — caring for the tree and sharing the story with all of us.

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Thank you! Yes, my grandmother would have been thrilled to know that the tree had not been lost forever 🙂

  9. Hi Stephane, I wish I could post a photo of the enormous mother-ship of the fig tree (that seems to hum like a space craft with all the bees attracted to it!) that I have access to, which means fig paste, fig chutney and fig icecream have had to be made this weekend… so loving this post! Rosie

    1. My French Heaven says:

      You are so lucky dear Rosie! It will be years before my tree is half as big as yours 😉

  10. Dina says:

    *** for this excellent photo story, Stephane! What a delight coming to your place…
    Wishing you a wonderful weekend,
    Dina

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Thank you so much my dear Dina!

  11. chef mimi says:

    Hello Stephane! Lovely photos, as usual, and a lovely post as well.

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Thank you so much my dear! How is the baby? Emma seems to enjoy being an aunt 😉

      1. chef mimi says:

        The baby is perfect, and her mama is just tired. Emma has been a great help. She got back 3 days before the baby was born, so it was perfect timing. On Oct. 15th she’s moving to NYC to find a job. Too bad you can’t visit her in London any more!

  12. miencuisine says:

    Amazing! And the pictures are moving – absolutely adorable. Definitely following you! xx miencuisine

    1. My French Heaven says:

      You made my day with this comment! Thanks a lot for dropping by 😉

  13. Steve says:

    You are a very bad man. With our respective time difference I’m reading this at 6:45 AM just as I’m thinking of breakfast. I happen to have some gorgeous fresh figs on my counter and must now rush off to the baker as he opens at 7:30 AM to get the walnut bread! I have a block of our famous OKA cheese made locally, which I think will go extremely well with the bread and figs.

    1. My French Heaven says:

      I am answering a little late. How was that breakfast of yours? 😉 😀

  14. angelinahue says:

    This is a great story! I’ve not tried figs with Camembert on walnut bread but it sounds delicious 🙂

    1. My French Heaven says:

      You should try it Angelina! You’d love it for sure 😉

  15. Beautiful beautiful beautiful…

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Thank you, thank you, thank you! 😉

  16. I love your posts! That is all 🙂

    1. My French Heaven says:

      I am so glad! I hope you come back often 🙂

  17. gypsygurl64 says:

    Lovely! I am an amateur genealogist, so I love the old photos. We had a fig tree in our back yard in Louisiana and my mom would make fig preserves! ( if us kids left any for her to pick) Lovely post as always!

    1. My French Heaven says:

      I love figs in every way. Preserves are one of the best way to enjoy them long after the season is over. I think that old family pictures give a little extra something to any post 😉

    1. My French Heaven says:

      😉 Glad you liked it!!

  18. yogaleigh says:

    Love the memories and the photos from the past — but especially love those fig shots. makes me miss the tree in my yard in California and the taste of figs fresh off the tree.

    1. My French Heaven says:

      California figs are fantastic!!

  19. Lisa says:

    That’s a wonderful family story and it’s cool your fig tree is growing back! Your figs look delicious! Hugz Lisa and Bear

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Thanks Lisa!!

  20. Gorgeous story and those figs are probably the most beautiful I have ever seen. Wonderful that you have a young fig tree, offspring of the beloved fig tree of your youth.

    1. My French Heaven says:

      I just wish I didn’t have to wait another several years before I can taste its fruits 😉

  21. I was hooked by the deliciousness of the first photo and the addition of the old photos was gilding the lily in a great way. The last time our younger daughter was visiting my s-i-l in Provence, she made some marvelous fig jam which we had with foie gras and a bit of sea salt on baguette slices if I recall correctly. There was also lots of champagne. 🙂

    jaent

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Fig jam and foie gras are one of my favorites. Try fig jam with any cheese (except blue cheese I guess). You will love it Janet 😉

  22. eatprayjade says:

    your pictures of the figs are absolutely phenomenal!

    1. My French Heaven says:

      I appreciate the lovely compliment. Thanks a lot!!

  23. Elita Pacho says:

    What a beautiful story of a lovely family. We don’t get fresh figs here in the Philippines but during my trip with my daughter in Paris this month, we stayed in a hotel very near Rue Cler where there were lots of fruit and cheese merchants. This was where I enjoyed my figs. But of course, there is nothing like picking them from a tree yourself.

    1. My French Heaven says:

      I can’t believe you were so close and I didn’t get to see you! I’m glad you were able to enjoy fresh figs while in Paris though! All the best my dear Elita!!

  24. Milet says:

    Stephane – lovely story. It’s been a while since we spoke – but so happy to see you thriving and doing great things! Hope to see you next time we are in France! Warm regards from the Lukeys’

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Oh my dear Milet, how wonderful it is to hear from you! I trust you and the family are well. Still in LA with Christoph and Ed? I hope we get to see each other again sooner than later!!! Tell Gary to follow this link to a post I wrote about a recent classic car gathering. He’ll love the pictures: https://myfrenchheaven.com/2014/09/24/call-me-the-bliss-catcher/

  25. Heartwarming story and lovely pics. 🙂 Figs are so delicious.

    1. My French Heaven says:

      🙂

  26. sabine says:

    May your tree bear lots of sweetest figs very, very soon, each bite full of loving memory!

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Thanks Sabine! I’m sure they’ll taste fantastic, but I’m afraid I’ll have to wait quite a long time 😉

  27. Wonderful story! Cherish that little fig tree…Hold onto that beautiful memory!

    1. My French Heaven says:

      I certainly will. I am 🙂 Thanks for dropping by 😉

  28. Lovely photos. Gorgeous memories.

    1. My French Heaven says:

      🙂

  29. joanfrankham says:

    I love your photos, especially the old ones today, and the one of your sister is so cute.

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Wasn’t she adorable? Thanks for your lovely comment dear Joan!

  30. As always, I love stopping here for my imagination to take a trip to the French Heaven! Great story!

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Thanks! I hope you take the trip for real one day 😉

  31. Wonderful story. Something believed lost forever, reseeding its self and growing again in your garden and in your heart to keep your memories company. No wonder you decided to celebrate with camembert.

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Always celebrate with Camembert! 😉 😀

  32. Julie says:

    May the fig sapling endure and flourish, Stéphane…

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Indeed dear Julie! Indeed 🙂

  33. Great story and fond memories. I hope the little tree lots of success and hope it’s laden with fruit soon. 🙂

    1. My French Heaven says:

      I don’t know about soon Richard. I’m just glad it’s alive and well 🙂

  34. Luffy Moogan says:

    Lovely photos as always. And nature found a way!

    1. My French Heaven says:

      It always does dear Luffy 😉 Thanks for dropping by!!

  35. Stephan I love this story. You took me there in 2007 if this is in Libourne James Buttram

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Oh my dear James! What a lovely surprise!!! Yes, I believe you know the house. How are you both doing? Any plans on coming back for a visit? I wish you well my friend!!

  36. So beautiful….I have a great recipe for Pork Roast with fresh figs….you have inspired me to dig it out:)

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Porc and figs? PERFECTION!! Dig it out my friend!!

    1. My French Heaven says:

      😉

  37. Your photos are always so very beautiful and I love the stories of your family. How nice the fig tree is resurrected and what a perfect way to eat the figs you bought.

    1. My French Heaven says:

      What a nice comment my dear friend. And yes, it was a very enjoyable lunch 😉 Have a great day!

  38. Hi! What a beautiful story with beautiful pictures shown in a heartwarming way. Enjoy the figs and your memories! Best, Sora 🙂

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Thank you so much dear Sora! This is really should food at its best 😉 I appreciate your lovely comment 🙂

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