Category Archives: Personalities

Ma Vie Française #2: An Interview with Stephanie Dagg

  I’ve known Steph since 2010 but we have never met! Author, editor, blogger, businesswoman, and smallholder– she wears so many hats it’s difficult to keep up. She’s written a popular book, Heads Above Water, about her family’s life in … Continue reading

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Bach, an Ancient Village on the Causse de Limogne

This was a week of excursions. Yesterday, we rehearsed and sang in the biannual scratch choir concert in Puycelsi, a hilltop fortified village in the Tarn. As always, it was an inspiring event. The concerts are held in aid of the … Continue reading

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Ma Vie Française #1: an Interview with Jacqui Brown

You’ve heard a lot from me over the past six years about life in rural France. So let’s hear from someone else for a change. This is the first in an occasional series, Ma Vie Française, in which people tell … Continue reading

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Monsieur C – One of a Dying Breed

Today, we visited an elderly farmer neighbour, whose wife is in hospital with respiratory problems. They were the first local French people we met in 1997. Monsieur F has always been difficult to understand because of his strong regional accent … Continue reading

Posted in History, Personalities, World War I & II | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

End of an Era at the Hamlet of Flouquet

It was the end of an era in two senses, to which I’ll return below. Every year, as part of the summer walks laid on by the commune of Espinas, we visit a pretty hamlet called Flouquet. The houses are … Continue reading

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Four Famous Frenchwomen

Today is International Women’s Day. It celebrates women’s achievements and highlights the plight of the millions of women around the world who are oppressed, living in abject poverty and certainly not considered equal to their menfolk. Fellow blogger Finding Time … Continue reading

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Every Château has a Story: le Château de Cornusson

  The word “fairy-tale” when applied to a château usually makes me cringe. But there is something a little magical about the château de Cornusson, with its jumble of towers and turrets. You get tantalising glimpses of it peeping above … Continue reading

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French Regional Cuisine: L’Auberge Lou Bourdie at Bach

Bach is a small village on the Causse de Limogne, in the heart of truffle country. In common with many rural French villages, it’s a quiet place nowadays. But it does have a rather good restaurant, l’Auberge Lou Bourdie.

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Monet’s Garden at Giverny

  Most people have heard of Claude Monet (1840-1926), one of the founders of French Impressionist painting. Many people know about and/or have visited his house at Giverny in Normandy, where he landscaped the gardens and developed the lily ponds … Continue reading

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Parisot Literary Festival 2014: how did it go?

  This poor old blog has been a bit neglected of late, but that’s because so much has been going on that it’s been hard to get to it. One of the local events that has taken up some of … Continue reading

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Corsican Vendetta in Fiction and in Reality

  We have recently returned from our fifth visit to Corsica, the setting for my novel, The House at Zaronza. L’Île de Beauté is a captivating place, with a savage beauty and a culture all its own. If you haven’t … Continue reading

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17 Years in France: What’s Changed Since 1997?

Well, I’m 17 years older. And I don’t want to think about how old I will be in 17 years’ time. So let’s look back instead and think about what’s changed here since 1997. Yesterday was the anniversary of the … Continue reading

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Beaumont-de-Lomagne: Garlic Capital of Southwest France

  I’ve been getting out and about a lot recently, interviewing people for various magazine articles. This gets me away from the computer and the internet and introduces me to places I might not otherwise have visited. On Tuesday, my … Continue reading

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Anniversaires and Albi Revisited

Anniversaries were in the air this week. My blog is four years old today. When I started it, I barely knew what a blog was, let alone how to set one up. Thanks to WordPress and a lot of practice, … Continue reading

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A French Country Upbringing

‘Of course, Occitan was my first language,’ our friend Georgette said. I was sitting next to her at an association lunch today. She has never talked much about her childhood but, once I had started questioning her (no one is … Continue reading

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The Secret of Le Château de la Reine Margot

  ‘Queen Elizabeth I slept here.’ It’s well known that Tudor monarchs imposed on their subjects’ hospitality to reduce their own household expenses. But if Elizabeth I stayed in all the places that lay claim to it, she would never have … Continue reading

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Original Exhibition at the Abbaye de Beaulieu

I have to admit that contemporary art isn’t always my tasse de thé. However, they do put on some good exhibitions at the Abbaye de Beaulieu, a Cistercian gem a few kilometres away. As well as being an historic monument, … Continue reading

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The Bishop Comes to Town

I don’t recall ever having met a bishop before. But such are the exalted circles in which I move these days that I recently had not one but two occasions to meet Mgr Bernard Ginoux, Bishop of Montauban (there’s his … Continue reading

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Musée Ingres at Montauban

We took advantage of yesterday’s spring-like sunshine, abandoned the computers and awarded ourselves a day off. We spent it at Montauban, where we had to go anyway to collect our new identity cards – more of that anon. I’ve written … Continue reading

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French Provincial Cooking

When pondering what to serve dinner guests this coming Saturday I reached for my disintegrating copy of Elizabeth David’s French Provincial Cooking. Not because I expected to copy a user-friendly recipe but because it is chock-full of ideas. First published … Continue reading

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Chestnuts and Chestnut Recipes

This autumn’s chestnuts It’s that time of year again when the sweet chestnuts are falling. Very few chestnut trees grow near us but not far away, around Najac and Laguépie, they clothe the slopes. If you walk along the River … Continue reading

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Parisot Choir’s Debut

Phew, what a week it’s been. Who says nothing happens in la France profonde? I’ve already told you about our fête last Sunday and I’ll say a bit at the end about the verdict. This week’s major event was the inaugural … Continue reading

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What Happens to Former French Presidents?

  For the past two weeks, the spotlight has inevitably been on François Hollande, France’s new socialist president. Last Tuesday, his first day in office, was not entirely happy: he got soaked during his triumphal progress, his plane was struck by … Continue reading

Posted in History, Personalities | Tagged , , , , , | 8 Comments

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

Posted in Aveyron, French life, Personalities | Tagged , , , , | 14 Comments

The French Presidential Elections 2012

  This post was written two weeks ago on 21st April. Anyone looking at it now will realise that it has been superseded by the news at 20h00 6th May that François Hollande is most likely to be France’s next president. Bonne … Continue reading

Posted in French life, History, Personalities | Tagged , , , , , , | 14 Comments

Burning Desires: Enleveurs de Feu in France

The old year didn’t end terribly well for me since I managed to burn three fingers of my right hand while removing a metal oven tray from a very hot oven, using a holed and damp oven glove. I couldn’t … Continue reading

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What’s in a (place)name?

We spent a fascinating morning last Wednesday. The tiny village of Espinas organises a walk every Wednesday in July and August. The guided walks follow local footpaths and take in sights of historical or other interest. Last week’s was a bit … Continue reading

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A lot of hot air

We awoke this morning to a strange, intermittent puffing noise like a dragon breathing fire. As I emerged from the depths I thought it might be an ailing combine harvester. Then I placed the sound: ‘It’s a hot air balloon!’ … Continue reading

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Favourite French Films #2: Jean de Florette and Manon des Sources

For those of you who are fed up with my going on about Corsica – and I haven’t finished yet – here’s something more in my usual vein. Jean de Florette and Manon des Sources are two films but together … Continue reading

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Corsica: where to stay

For my other posts on Corsica, please click on ‘Corsica’ under topics in the righthand sidebar. Let’s be straight about this upfront. Corsica lives mainly from tourism, whether some of the inhabitants like it or not. The island has everything: … Continue reading

Posted in Corsica, French life, Personalities, Places, Walking in France | Tagged , , , , , , | 4 Comments