Becheron viewed from the garden.

Situated about three miles east from Azay-le-Rideau along the Indre valley in the Touraine, Becheron was a relay on the road from Tours to Chinon in the fifteenth century. My grandfather Jo Davidson purchased Becheron in 1926 and set up a studio in was what had been in the distant past the horse barn. 

My mother and father who were living in New York at the time of my grandfather's death in 1952 decided to move to Becheron and run it as guest house, entertaining folks from all over the US who came to visit the Chateaux country.

When we moved there in 1953, eight years after the Second World War ended, France was still very much an agrarian culture. The local farmers still tilled their fields with horses, life went on at a slow pace. There were very few (two) tractors around. You had to wait months to get a car, years to get a telephone line and only if you had some "piston", influential friends. This scarcity of phone lines created one of my first "jobs". When calls came for my uncle Jean or for Calder I would get on my bicycle and ride the 3/4 mile to their place to let them know... 

We had a beautiful garden across the road. The sandy alluvial  soil had great drainage and produced the most delicious vegetables.

View of the front. Four centenarian linden trees framed the front lawn.

View from the west.

The court yard.

Aerial view from the north.

Becheron was built in a U shape around the court yard in three separate periods that span the fifteenth century to the seveteenth century. The tower has a dovecote where homing pigeons were kept. There were all sorts of nooks and crannies, and "secret" places,  very mysterious attics. Acres of slate and tile roof that needed to be repaired or outright very onerously replaced. 

View from the front terasse, a glimpse of the garden on the other side of the road.

The reflecting pool with a sculpture by Jo Davidson. In the background the exterior of his studio.

The living room

The dining room

"La cuisine n'attend pas!" said my father quoting Maurice Des Ombiaux, the kitchen doesn't wait. When the roast is ready it is time to eat, the guest would congregate in the living room for conversation and an aperitif (or two) and wait till dinner was served. This living room was the venue for many memorable get togethers.

My parents sat in the middle on each side of the table. My father, always served last, was great at guiding the conversation and telling stories. It took some skill to have strangers sit at the same dinner table and socialise peacefuly.