Tag Archive for: holiday home in the south of France

Review of our holiday home in the south of France

Tammie was our guest in our 18th century holiday cottage in Languedoc during October / November …“I booked 3 weeks in the gite near Chalabre and stayed another week. This has been a true home away from home (but with maid service!). Nick & Carolyn are so gracious, friendly yet respectful of your space. Interesting and informative too about the area and where to go. I love this area, an excellent base for exploring Cathar country. I shall return. The bathtub rocks too!”

Medieval Mirepoix, the best market in the region

Potter’s Fair, Mirepoix

The Potter’s Fair takes place each August among the medieval “couverts” of Mirepoix in the south of France. Mirepoix is 14kms from Chez Maison Bleue, our holiday home in Languedoc, a few minutes drive or around 1.5hrs cycle through lush landscapes – fields of sunflowers this time of year. The Fair is a colourful day out and offers some beautiful pieces, very reasonably priced, there are past purchases dotted all around the holiday cottage and B&B. We were there in the lunch hours so the stalls were deserted, the cafes and bars packed – the French philosophy of life is conducive to wellbeing.

Potter’s Fair, Mirepoix

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Rambling for softies

The myriad of walking paths within easy reach of our holiday home in the south of France cater for all abilities. The GR7 leads from our back door in Sonnac sur l’Hers; today we drove to a neighbouring town, la Bastide sur l’Hers (10mins) to walk another variation of the GR7, a day’s walk this time. Gently uphill to Chappelle St. Roch, a tiny church perched on the hillside then steady backdown to Laroque-d’Olmes, a large town for these parts. The route is a bit complicated through the town as the GR7 signs disappear but head for the river, don’t cross the bridge which is what you really want to do, follow the road to pick up the GR Pays d’Olmes which leads you along the river bank to Dreuilhe, the loveliest part of the walk in my view. Through forests and a small but crucial detour via Camp Redon will keep you close to the river and deliver you back to la Bastide. A longer excursion is possible at Camp Redon to Lesparrou and Gorges de la Frau (Gorges of Fear) near the source of the river Hers – an intriguing, much bigger walk for another day.

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.