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    Abraxas and Dounya’s Wedding at Chateau de Grimaldi Photos
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    Abraxas and Dounya's Wedding at Chateau de Grimaldi
    Without a doubt, the highlight of the trip was attending the wedding of my cousin Abraxas (AJ) to Dounya. They picked the absolute most incredible backdrop of all … Château de Grimaldi. What's crazy is that I met the owner (she's from San Francisco) in Fiji about seven years ago and then again at her other château outside of Paris, Château Villette. If that name sounds familiar, it's because it's where they filmed the movie the Da Vinci Code. I also filmed a pilot TV show there a few months later. Since then the owner, Olivia Decker, sold it, and she now rents out Château de Grimaldi.

    Château de Grimaldi
    Unfortunately, no one in the town knew of Château de Grimaldi, and they didn't put the signs up until 30 minutes before the wedding. We were arriving a couple hours early so we could change and spend time with my family members. Besides, my brother-in-law Tom and sister Carol were staying in one of the château's 11 bedrooms. Once we pulled up and we realized that we would make it to the ceremony on time, all of our frustrations went away.

    Château de Grimaldi offered total privacy and serenity for my cousin and his guests (some were very high powered). Grimaldi is a magnificent 17th-century château located in Puyricard, about four miles north of Aix en Provence (23-euro taxi ride). Along with Château de Grimaldi's 11 bedrooms there are 9 bathrooms and 12 acres. The place once belonged to Cardinal Jerome de Grimaldi, who held court at the property from 1655 to 1685. The château has been completely updated to today's standards of comfort and luxury while maintaining its French country charm and history. To rent it is not as expensive as you might think.

    The Wedding
    Abraxas and Dounya's wedding started at 7 p.m. The ceremony took place in the Château's chapel and afterwards everyone went over to the cocktail reception which was held near the pool that is surrounded by the Château's ruins. I felt like we were in Italy, Greece, or Turkey. About an hour after mingling, dancing, drinking, and eating all of the wonderful hors d'oeuvres, we walked over to the dinner tables all set up under white lights hanging from trees in front of the main house. The tables were named after French painters. The food was amazing and they started with seared scallops and the main dish was Dover sole. Afterwards they served the salad, which was accompanied by raisin bread. Then the cheese came out and of course the deadly desserts.

    The wedding cake was made of French macaroons and the dancing didn't stop into the wee hours of the night. To accommodate all the people they brought in the Rolls Royce of Port-o-potties. Natalie really appreciated their basket full of Pashminas for women to cover their shoulders with when the sun went down. The following day they served brunch and close family and friends hung out around the pool either playing Pétanque (like Bocce) or other games. Later that night we ate leftovers and pizza on the back deck that overlooked the famous Mont Sainte Victoire. Ah, how I could spend my summers in the south of France. Château Grimaldi, Puyricard, Aix en Provence


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