Archive for category: Events and goings-on

Carcassonne, setting for new series for Channel 4

The beautiful, medieval city of Carcassonne is the setting for an adaptation of the best selling novel, The Labyrinthe by Kate Mosse. http://www.radiotimes.com/news/2013-03-27/labyrinth-discover-the-setting-of-channel-4s-new-fantasy-series

Stay at our holiday cottage or bed and breakfast in Languedoc and spend the day exploring the cobbled streets of the ancient city. They offer a poignant insight into what life must have been like, lived among the ramparts, besieged by the Crusaders. The stained glass windows in the Basilique Saint-Nazaire alone are worth the visit. Spring time in the south of France avoids the baking heat and crowds of the summer months. Grab your cheap flight into Carcassonne… http://chezmaisonbleue.co.uk/getting-here/

 

Carcassonne, close to our holiday home in the south of France

 

Last minute Christmas break

Try our Gourmet winter treats in our holiday cottage and bed and breakfast in the south of France this Christmas and New Year. Think bracing country walks followed by hot chocolate and home made cakes in front of the roaring log fire. A day’s skiing in the beautiful Pyrenean resorts of Ax les Thermes or Les Monts d’Olmes, it won’t break the bank, no queues either. Wine tastings and lavish dinners of local produce, and visits to Cathar chateaux – Montsegur and the stunning medieval citadel of Carcassonne are close. For more information visit Gourmet Winter Treats

Christmas & New Year in our holiday home in the south of France

Christmas magic in Carcassonne

A month of Christmas celebrations in medieval Carcassonne lasts until schools go back on 6 Jan. Christmas markets every Saturday, handmade crafts, fairgrounds, skating, sledging, and free concerts in the beautiful Basilique Saint-Nazaire among the ancient ramparts. About an hour from our cosy 18th century bed and breakfast and holiday cottage in the south of France – think homemade cakes and hot chocolate by the roaring log fire. Watch out for cheap flights into Carcassonne and Toulouse. The full Christmas programme is here (en francaise only).

A winter wonderland, Sonnac sur l’Hers in the hills south of Carcassonne

Celebrations at our bed and breakfast in the south of France

We were delighted to be part of a young couple’s very special day when they become engaged at Chez Maison Bleue in the summer. The bride to be knew nothing of secret preparations arranged by her [now] fiancee and which included a special meal on arrival at our B&B and champagne and rugs and cushions on the hill at the back of the house with moonlit views of our ancient village and church. This was where the question, along with the the champagne would be popped! Our engagement present to Caitlin and Thomas was a celebration meal on their return visit, which we hope they are able to cash in soon. It was a privilege to be part of their special time and we are pleased that our B&B nestling in the foothills of the Pyrenees, deep in the south of France, will always be a special place to them.

The happy couple on the village square, Sonnac sur l'Hers

Painting in the south of France

A group of friends staying at Chez Maison Bleue expressed an interest in taking art classes whilst in the south of France. There are a number of galleries in nearby Mirepoix so when shopping at the market yesterday, we called into “Association Art Mania” (determined by the sign in the window saying English spoken) and met Bob, one of the resident artists. The gallery is well established in Mirepoix and offers bespoke instruction in all painting media for all abilities. Depending on the season, classes are held in the studio or in the open air – at various, beautiful locations. Rates are more than reasonable, individuals and groups up to about 6 can be accommodated. If this is something you are interested in then please let me know, we can liaise with the gallery and make arrangements prior to your visit.

Beautiful, medieval Mirepoix, the best market in the region (Mondays)

A major exhibition in July by Slawa & Viktoria Prischedko and in October by Marc Folly.

Jazz Festival Limoux

Extensive programme for the Jazz and Big Band celebrations (en français) in Limoux, 26 April – 1 May. Limoux is about half an hour from our holiday cottage in Sonnac sur l’Hers, a lively, very French town deep in the land of the Cathars. Combine a trip to the Jazz with a tasting at one of the Blanquette caves, we collaborate with Antech (en français again) and lunch on the square to the sound of the water splashing into the fountain, a perfect way to assure some R&R in the spring sunshine of the south of France.

Carcassonne Festival

The extensive programme for the Carcassonne Festival has been announced. The beautiful medieval citadel provides the backdrop for many events which run from 22 June – 5 August. Classical, opera, ballet, circus, dance, concerts, comedy, this year’s eclectic programme ranges from Alice Cooper and Duran Duran to Aïda. Our B&B and holiday cottage in the south of France are an easy drive from Carcassonne. Vist Festival de Carcassonne (en Français)

Eau de vie in the south of France

The mobile distillery has pitched up behind our French holiday home in Languedoc as it does every year. It’s like nothing you have seen before, a time machine that you expect to explode into orbit at any moment, the product of the mind of an eccentric professor following a supper of magic mushrooms? Perhaps I exaggerate slightly – but see for yourself.

How old do you reckon?

The fruit that failed to make the harvest is gathered from the valley floor- apples, pears, grapes and plums – water is added courtesy of a hose to the tap in the churchyard, and following a secret, scientific process deep in the bowels of the time machine, a particularly potent moonshine is produced. You know this for a fact because all the villagers are rosy cheeked and never miserable.

We have looked on in amusement each year at what we thought could only be bootleg activity; it always seems to appear in the middle of the night. However, we have learned that the tradition of turning windfall fruit into something far more satisfying is a tradition that has been passed down the generations in this part of Languedoc, but can only be passed from father to son. More and more young people are failing to take up their birthright and so the tradition will finally die out, but for now it is a very colourful addition to our winter landscape in the foothills of the Pyrenees.