Author Archives: nessafrance

About nessafrance

We moved to an 18th-century farmhouse in SW France in 1997. I'm fascinated by French history, rural traditions and customs. I also write historical novels and short stories.

Operation Village Market

Last Tuesday was Operation Village Market, which sounds like a World War II Allied offensive. Although well stocked with food, we were running short of fresh fruit and veg. The French government cancelled open-air markets about 10 days ago but … Continue reading

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Simple Pleasures

The past 12 days have afforded plenty of time for reflection. Too much, no doubt. Nonetheless, beneath the negative emotions that most of us have been feeling, there are flickers of a deeper process at work: one of re-evaluating and … Continue reading

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A Virtual Walk Around Puylagarde

Come on a virtual promenade with me today. We are no longer allowed to do anything else, except for “short outings” to exercise ourselves within a 1 km radius of the house and then only alone. It’s hard to believe … Continue reading

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The World Holds its Breath

While a precocious spring flourishes outside my window, I feel a strange mixture of emotions writing this. A few weeks ago, it seemed inconceivable that parts of the world could grind to a halt so quickly. Now, the COVID-19 situation … Continue reading

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One Should Never Leave Montauban

“On ne devrait jamais quitter Montauban!”, is one of the immortal lines spoken by Lino Ventura in the classic film, Les Tontons Flingeurs (lit. The Gun-Toting Uncles, 1963). Having renounced a life of crime to sell agricultural equipment in Montauban, … Continue reading

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Stones, Bones and Giants’ Thrones: on the Limogne Dolmen Trail

Last weekend, we took advantage of the unseasonably warm weather to try out a new walk around Limogne. This small town in the Lot is host to a busy Sunday market and a Friday truffle market in season. It sits … Continue reading

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In Search of Black Diamonds in Lalbenque

You can’t buy them fresh in the supermarket and certainly not on Amazon. They are referred to as Quercy’s black diamonds, but these knobbly tubers look nothing like a gemstone. Selling them follows an arcane ritual, and a kilo can … Continue reading

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Ten Years Today: Life on La Lune Enters Double Figures

Life on La Lune celebrates its 10th birthday today. Unusually, this fact almost passed me by, mainly because I have still been catching up with things after last week’s absence of internet. There’s no significance to having started the blog … Continue reading

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The Day We Went to Paris by Way of Saint-Projet

You might – or might not – have been wondering where I’ve been for the past 10 days, owing to the lack of posts. It’s not chagrin about the reality of Brexit occurring on 31st January, although it continues to … Continue reading

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No Words Today

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The Richness of French Rural Heritage: Gariottes and Cazelles

The backbone of the earth is never far beneath the surface here, as we have found to our cost every time we plant a tree or a shrub! The farmers carefully make piles of the stones they plough up, but … Continue reading

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Bonne Année 2020. Weather Roundup for 2019

First, belated Meilleurs Voeux. Every time we go into the village, we are greeted with enthusiastic kisses and handshakes from acquaintances and good wishes for 2020, “surtout pour la santé” – above all for good health. This will continue until … Continue reading

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Life on La Lune French Christmas Quiz 2019: the Answers

I hope you had a lovely Christmas and enjoyed the quiz. Here are the answers to the 9th edition of the Life on La Lune French Christmas quiz. Ready? Award yourself one point for each correct answer. Remember that some … Continue reading

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Life on La Lune French Christmas Quiz 2019

A very happy Festive Season to all my readers. I’d like to thank you for reading the blog, which is approaching its 10th birthday in February 2020, and for your thoughtful and interesting comments. Welcome to the 9th Edition of … Continue reading

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Favourite Blogs about Life in France

On 14th February 2020 this blog will be 10 years old. A lot of words have flowed sous le pont since then in almost 700 posts. And the number of life in France blogs has proliferated since 2010. However, there … Continue reading

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Long Overdue Trip to the Fronton Vineyards

Hands up if you’ve heard of the Fronton vignoble. If you don’t live here, you probably haven’t come across it, like us before we moved to France. It’s a very small wine-growing area, and only a limited proportion of the … Continue reading

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Are You une Huile or un Gros Poisson? Find Out Below

No matter how long you live here, or however good you think your French is, you always come across new phrases and expressions, some of them quite bizarre if translated literally. Like our own idiomatic expressions in English, there’s usually … Continue reading

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Cornflowers and Poppies: Symbols of World War I

Today is Remembrance Sunday, the closest Sunday to 11th November, the day the Armistice came into force in 1918. Tomorrow is a public holiday in France, and remembrance ceremonies will take place at war memorials throughout the country. Wearing a … Continue reading

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Autumn’s Bounty: Pumpkins and Pumpkin Recipes

Where we live in southwest France, size is of the essence; in fact, the bigger, the better. One of our local villages held a competition a couple of years ago for the biggest, heaviest and oddest shaped. I am of … Continue reading

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Every Château Tells a Story #17: Le Château de Bournazel

So much for my theory that tourist sites are less crowded out of season. Le tout Aveyron turned up at the Château de Bournazel yesterday, giving the hard-pressed guide some logistical problems. “This is the first time we’ve opened in … Continue reading

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Autumn Food Fêtes and Festivals

We’re definitely in autumn now. This year it has started off rather damp and gloomy, although the weather is often glorious at this time. But I make no secret of the fact that autumn is my favourite season. After a … Continue reading

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Back to Belcastel

This week, we celebrated an important wedding anniversary and returned to Belcastel in Aveyron to do so in style. This plus beau village is home to a Michelin-starred restaurant, Le Vieux Pont, which specialises in Aveyronnais produce and local recipes … Continue reading

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Abandoned Village: Saint-Amans-le-Vieux

Today was a beautiful, if still too dry, autumn day, so the SF and I decided to bestir ourselves and make the most of this fine weather for a walk. “Where shall we go?” We are faced with an embarras … Continue reading

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Bowled Over: One of France’s Favourite Sports

Under the plane trees on the outskirts of a southern French village, an ancient tradition is taking place. A knot of men is gathered, fortified by glasses of Pastis. The sun dipping behind the trees makes zebra patterns on the … Continue reading

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Cordes-sur-Ciel: Dramatic and Timeless

I’d forgotten what a long way up it is. Seventeen years had obliterated our memory of the steep hike up to the cité of Cordes-sur-Ciel perched on its hilltop, which was long considered inaccessible. But we weren’t going to wimp … Continue reading

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From Monks to Mona Lisa: L’Abbaye de Loc-Dieu

Imagine a place the locals dreaded so much that they named it locus diaboli, the devil’s place. A lonely, remote spot near the major trade route between Rodez and Cahors, with dark woods bristling with bandits lying in wait. And … Continue reading

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Missing Cat: Chat Perdu

I wrote this post this morning after our cat had been missing for 15 days. An hour later she miaowed and walked back through the door as if nothing had happened. She was hungry and a bit perturbed, but apparently … Continue reading

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Rally Round: the Caylus Car Rally

It isn’t exactly the Paris-Dakar rally, but it’s an annual event that we really enjoy taking part in. The Caylus rally is not about speed; it’s about discovering the local historic heritage during a 50 km circuit with eight checkpoints. … Continue reading

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Timeless Monument: The Cathedral of Cahors 900 Years On

2019 marks the 900th anniversary of la Cathédrale Saint-Etienne in Cahors. The cathedral is even older than the ill-fated Notre-Dame de Paris. Yesterday, 27th July, was supposed to be the official anniversary, since it was on that day in 1119 … Continue reading

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The French Countryside isn’t Quiet: Spread the Word

Lying in bed early this morning, through the open window I heard cockerels crowing, a tractor doing some heavy-duty work not far away, cow bells jangling, dogs barking, pigeons cooing and the sparrows that nest in our walls chirping and … Continue reading

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