Category Archives: Aveyron

French Flavours #1: A is for Aligot

  The temperature was approaching -10C when I went downstairs this morning – outside, I hasten to add. This is the coldest spell we’ve had for five years. In this weather you want rib-sticking food; nouvelle cuisine doesn’t hit the … Continue reading

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A Cut Above the Rest: Laguiole Knives

The Aveyron town of Laguiole sits at the edge of the stark and empty but stunningly beautiful Aubrac plateau. We passed through there several years ago on our way to the Aubrac cattle transhumance, which takes place every year in … Continue reading

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Appetising Return to Belcastel

Last time, I wrote about a ghostly story linked to the château de Belcastel. This week, we had the opportunity to make a return visit to this plus beau village in Aveyron. Not only does it occupy a delightful setting … Continue reading

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Every Château Tells a Story #2: Le Château de Najac

  On autumn mornings, it rises out of the mist, perched on top of its pinnacle; while on summer evenings, it seems to float in the sky, lit from below. The fortress is a landmark for miles around, standing sentinel … Continue reading

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Weather for Walks: October 2014 Weather in SW France

  We took advantage of the continuing spell of glorious weather last weekend to do one of our favourite walks, along part of the Viaur Valley. I mentioned this in my previous post. It’s a walk that’s best done on … Continue reading

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French Summer Markets and Weather in SW France July 2014

  French markets come into their own at this time of year. The difference between summer and winter couldn’t be more marked. In the winter, a few brave souls stamp their feet and try to stop their produce freezing while … Continue reading

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Abbaye de Beaulieu-en-Rouergue, Centre of Contemporary Art

  One of the advantages (well, the only one, actually) of having house guests is that you go out and do things you normally wouldn’t. I have often observed that when you live in a place, everyday life takes over. … Continue reading

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Gardens and SW France Weather May 2014

In early June every year, Rendezvous aux Jardins (national gardens weekend) takes place. We make a point of visiting at least one garden during the event. I normally leave green (appropriately) with envy and wish that my garden looked anywhere … Continue reading

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2013 Weather Roundup for Southwest France

The spell of mild weather that we enjoyed throughout most of December has continued into January. This doesn’t mean that the weather is good; simply that it’s not cold. On Saturday night, we had a howling gale, torrential rain and … Continue reading

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Goose Fat and Garlic

A few weeks ago – only just found time to write about it – I attended the launch of a new edition of Goose Fat and Garlic, a book about the cooking and recipes of SW France. Jeanne Strang, who … Continue reading

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Le Viaduc de Millau

  This bridge has inspired every conceivable adjective that describes big and impressive. And it is certainly both. I finally got to see the tallest cable-stayed bridge in the world last week, on my way down to the Camargue with … Continue reading

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Beautiful Bastide: Villeneuve-d’Aveyron

Today is la fête de la Pentecôte (Pentecost) in France – for those of you who think I don’t know my dates, this was posted late on Monday. And in keeping with the tradition of public holidays it’s cold and … Continue reading

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Peyrusse-le-Roc: A Hidden Corner of the Aveyron

Knowing that the fine weather wouldn’t last, I made a long-planned excursion into the Aveyron Département yesterday. I set off under wall-to-wall blue skies. The trees were fuzzy with spring green and the pastures were gold-tinged with buttercups. The farmers … Continue reading

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Najac Conundrum: the Answer

In my recent post about Najac, I posed a conundrum. What is the protuberance on the side of the building above, about three metres up? I received some interesting suggestions.

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Belcastel Revisited

Being rather occupied for various reasons at the moment, I’ll just share with you some shots of Belcastel in the Aveyron Département. I took these during les journées du patrimoine recently when, for once, we decided to be tourists in our … Continue reading

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Najac Revisited – and a Couple of Conundrums for You

Last Saturday and Sunday were journées du patrimoine (heritage days) not only here in France but also across Europe. Thousands of historic sites throughout France opened their doors, many of them free, and put on associated events and entertainment. We … Continue reading

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Musical Moments

I never cease to be amazed at the high standard of musicians and music to be found in la France profonde. In the summer, of course, you can’t move for concerts and recitals. But even out of season there is … Continue reading

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Book Review: Aveyron, a Bridge to French Arcadia

I don’t often do book reviews here. It’s difficult to strike a balance between being overly ingratiating and offensively critical. However, I am making an exception today to mention a book I have just finished and enjoyed about the Aveyron … Continue reading

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France’s Most Beautiful Villages – Plus Beaux Villages

France has more than its fair share of picturesque villages. Some of them are designated l’un des plus beaux villages de France (one of the most beautiful villages of France). Within a 50 km radius of us I have counted … Continue reading

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Villefranche-de-Rouergue Market

One of my favourite markets, indeed one of my favourite towns, in the region is Villefranche-de-Rouergue. A sub-prefecture of Aveyron, it has great historical significance in the region. Like other towns in the region, despite its picturesque features, it is … Continue reading

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Ten Things to do in 2012 in SW France

Everyone’s thoughts turn to resolutions at this time of year. Last year, I suggested 10 things to do in 2011 in southwest France. All of them were things I had never done but planned to do this year. Well, I … Continue reading

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When the Plague Came to Southwest France

Don’t worry; it happened several hundred years ago. But for people at the time it must have seemed like the end of the world. I thought about this recently while wandering around Villefranche-de-Rouergue  with time to kill between a routine … Continue reading

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Market Halls in Southwest France

Being a part-time unpaid librarian does have a few compensations. One of them is coming across a wonderful magazine – well, I think it is – entitled Midi-Pyrénées Patrimoine. It’s available in our Médiathèque. You’re not supposed to borrow the … Continue reading

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Lovely Lavoirs

Last weekend we took advantage of the continuing mild weather to do a walk we hadn’t done before around Vailhourles, in Aveyron. We parked in the centre of the village near the lavoir – washing place or wash-house. These structures … Continue reading

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Villefranche de Rouergue: Past Glories

It’s amazing how much you learn about a place you thought you knew, simply by taking the time to walk around it. We live about 25 kilometres from Villefranche de Rouergue in Aveyron and have shopped there regularly for 14 years. … Continue reading

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Walking the Viaur Valley

  After a weekend of cold winds and low temperatures – I was picking walnuts wearing a woolly hat and a jacket on Sunday – the weather turned again on Monday. A cloudless blue sky and temperatures in the mid-20s … Continue reading

Posted in Aveyron, French life, Nature, Places, Walking in France | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Belcastel: one of the most beautiful villages in France

It’s cold, wet and miserable this week when we should be basking in wall-to-wall sunshine. So much for the person who said this summer would be hotter than 2003. And the swimming pool has gone green again. So to cheer … Continue reading

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When the Mona Lisa Smiled on the Aveyron

Leonardo Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa is arguably the most famous painting in the world. Now permanently exhibited in the Louvre in Paris, it is probably one of the best travelled as well. It even had a brief sojourn in southwest … Continue reading

Posted in Aveyron, French life, History, Places, World War I & II | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

TIENS! Magazine 2nd issue now published

  Just a short post to say that the second issue of TIENS! online magazine is now out. This free magazine aims to introduce the best of southwest France to anyone who is interested in this part of France and to … Continue reading

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Najac: One of the Most Beautiful Villages in France

This morning, we went walking around Najac, in Aveyron, with our walking group. Najac is “l’un des plus beaux villages de France” (one of the most beautiful villages in France), a designation it shares with 154 other picturesque towns and … Continue reading

Posted in Aveyron, French life, History, Places | Tagged , , , , , | 8 Comments