Tag Archives: patrimoine

Every Château Tells a Story #14: Le Château des Bordes, Lot

  When I started this series about the châteaux in our area, I had no idea that so many of them exist. There are the obvious ones – Najac, Saint-Projet, Belcastel – but also less obvious ones. Some are just … Continue reading

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5 Hidden Gems in Southwest France

This region contains so much to see and do that it’s easy to visit only the obvious places, those that get the most publicity: the plus beaux villages, the Viaduc de Millau, the better-known markets, the famous festivals. Dig a … Continue reading

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Caylus Car Rally Revived

  Our village formerly held an annual car rally. This wasn’t a race with souped-up vehicles – fortunately – but a “rallye touristique”, i.e. following a circuit between checkpoints around the commune. The event faded, as these things do, but … Continue reading

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Every Château Tells a Story #13: Le Château de Cénevières, Lot

The Château de Cénevières towers over its village and the River Lot, which meanders far beneath. The castle commanded a formerly important strategic position and the river, which was once well-plied trade route. My local writing group went on an outing … Continue reading

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Inside le Château de Najac

At least a dozen years have elapsed since I visited the interior of the ruined château de Najac in Aveyron. This imposing 13th-century castle is a landmark for miles around, best seen from the opposite slope on a misty autumn … Continue reading

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Our Village Fête: Yesterday and Today

  We went to our village’s Fête de Pentecôte (Whitsun fete) last Monday. It’s still an important local event, but in times past it was among the bigger fêtes in the region. We have a lovely book of photographs showing our … Continue reading

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Every Château Tells a Story #12: le Château de l’Astorguié, Parisot

Last week marked the 19th anniversary of the first time we saw our house (no, it’s not the one above). Looking back at estate agents’ details of other properties reminded me that a small château close by was also for sale … 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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Every Château Tells a Story: #10 Le Château de Belcastel

Although I have written about Belcastel, in Aveyron, I haven’t devoted much space to the château. Its story is that of a phoenix raised from the ashes. The fortress could so easily have crumbled into a pile of stone, had … Continue reading

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All About Stone

This is a land of stone. Old houses are invariably built of la vieille pierre (old stone). When you walk along a footpath, it’s usually bordered by ancient stone walls. If you want to plant a tree or shrub, you … Continue reading

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Every Château Tells a Story: #9 Le Château de Mayragues

Time for another château. This time it’s one that has been brought back from oblivion by its current owners and in my view is an absolute gem. Le Château de Mayragues is not in our immediate neighbourhood; in fact, it’s … Continue reading

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The Wheels Turn at Teysseroles

As we know, the wheels of French bureaucracy grind exceedingly slowly. Try restoring an historic monument, as we are doing at the nearby chapel of Teysseroles, and they go at a snail’s pace. But now things appear to be moving, or … Continue reading

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Every Château Tells a Story # 8: Le Château de Labro

Yesterday was one of those luminous, mellow days that you get only in early autumn. The trees were turning and it was warm, but not hot. So we decided to take advantage of it to go for a walk and … Continue reading

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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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Every Château Tells a Story #7: the Château de Féneyrols

Our region is crammed with small châteaux that played an important role in its history at one time. Almost every village of any size had one. Now, they are seen as quaint relics of bygone days. I set out to … Continue reading

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Dig This! What the Archaeologists Found at Teysseroles

I missed a big event at Teysseroles a couple of weeks ago because I was slaving over a hot computer. The mandatory archaeological test digs took place over nearly three days around the 15th-century chapel. This is a requirement before … Continue reading

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Celebrating the Past at our Village Fête

Unlike many local villages, which hold their fête in the summer, ours has it in May to coincide with la Pentecôte (Whitsun). It involves the usual stuff: concours de pétanque (boules tournament), go-kart racing, a bal/disco and other events. This … Continue reading

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Thunder and Lightning at Puycelsi

  We have adopted Puycelsi in the Tarn, since we go there to sing at least once a year in a temporary choir that comes together for a weekend or less. This delightful – and apparently impregnable – hilltop village … Continue reading

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Work Continues to Restore La Chapelle de Teysseroles

  I haven’t written much recently about the 15th-century chapel that we are helping to restore. This is partly because the work goes into hiatus over the winter; and partly because the bureaucracy involved grinds exceedingly slowly. However, there was … Continue reading

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Sunday Promenade Around Félines

  It was more like a forced march, actually. The SF did military service in the Swedish army and can still do a 20 km yomp bearing a 14 kilo pack with the best of them. Last Sunday morning, the … Continue reading

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A Typical Quercy Farmhouse (and an Anniversary)

  In a couple of months it will be 18 years since we first saw our house. A lot of wine has flowed under the bridge in that time. The photo above shows it in the early 1970s just before … 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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Things I Didn’t Know When I Moved to France: Part 1, the Positives

Now, you’re all thinking I’m going to complain about everything I’ve encountered in France since moving here 17 years ago. Not so. What follows in this post is complimentary; Part 2 (to be posted later) is less so. I’ve restricted … Continue reading

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Trip Along the River Aveyron

I went to the hilltop village of Puycelsi in the Tarn département on Friday to interview some victims for one of my magazine articles. It’s about 50 minutes’ drive from here but the route is one of the most spectacular … Continue reading

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Baroque Splendour: La Chapelle des Pénitents Noirs

This rather odd-looking building is la chapelle des Pénitents Noirs at Villefranche-de-Rouergue, where the Choeur de Parisot gave its first concert of the season last Sunday afternoon. The simplicity of the exterior doesn’t prepare you for the exuberant burst of … Continue reading

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Les Travaux Ready for Take-Off at la Chapelle de Teysseroles

Thursday of last week was a big day at the 15th-century chapel we are helping to restore. A meeting we had been urging for some time finally took place, between our architect, M Salomon, and the architect from Bâtiments de … Continue reading

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Toussaint at Teysseroles

Toussaint (All Saints’ Day) on 1st November is a big religious event in France. French people honour their dead relatives and tidy and deck their tombs. Even if the church at Teysseroles is in poor repair, the cemetery is still … Continue reading

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Pilgrimage to Rocamadour

  I wouldn’t normally go there in the high season. Like our own nearby Najac or Saint-Cirq-Lapopie, Rocamadour (Lot) is a tourist honeypot during July and August. This is hardly surprising since it is such a spectacular site clinging to … Continue reading

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A Walk Back in Time on the Saint-Antonin Causse

Last Saturday night’s thunderstorm caused us little bother – except for water seeping under the kitchen door as usual – and cleared the air. In parts of Aveyron, we hear, the damage was considerable and a church spire is reported … Continue reading

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Open-air Concerts at the Château de Mayragues

One of the pleasures of summer life in SW France is the range of events that take place outdoors (weather permitting, of course). For almost the whole of July so far the weather has permitted and, having been starved of … Continue reading

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