Do you resonate to a specific place that makes your heart sing? Mine is the mountains, especially massive, majestic ones, snow and ice-capped with ancient glaciers. Fortunately on a recent trip to France, my travel companions, Anne and Sarah, resonate to them as well. So, we booked a few days in the chic and charming village of Chamonix, in the valley of the shadow of Mont Blanc, the highest mountain in Europe. A mountain peak experience to top off our vacation earlier exploring lavender, cobbled streets and the pastoral beauty of Provence.
Anne has quite a connection to the region. French by birth and fueled by a family tradition of climbing majestic Mont Blanc, she took on the challenge and achieved her mountaintop victory five years ago, contributing her story of her gutsy adventures in Dancing through Life with Guts, Grace & Gusto. While we were in Chamonix, Anne arranged for Sarah and I to meet her multi-talented guide, Lionel Wibault, credited with nearly 2,500 ascents of mountain ranges worldwide. But in addition to his mountain-climbing prowess, Lionel is an accomplished artist and painter, having his works exhibited at the Louvre, among many other galleries. Artistic genius runs in the family. His father, Marcel Wibault, had 4000 paintings to his credit.
Looking around Lionel’s colorful studio, amidst paintings of mountainscapes, fields of flowers and portraits, I was impressed with his many creative mediums beyond the canvas. Lionel had intricately carved wooden door panels, painted floral designs in the ceiling, and beautiful calligraphy upon his walls, one which translates as “ Beauty reveals itself to you when you have given your all” and another on his studio door, Bien faire et laisser dire” ( Don’t worry what people say, just do your best). Read the rest of this entry »