Tag Archives: SW France

A Walk Around Caylus

It’s been an eventful 10 days or so. My latest novel is now out, involving quite a lot of last-minute effort. And the Irish Embassy in Paris phoned on Tuesday to say that my citizenship application had been accepted. My … Continue reading

Posted in History, Places, Walking in France | Tagged , , , , , , , | 17 Comments

A Special Day for Life on La Lune

Today is a rather special day for us. More of that below. It’s been a rather eventful couple of weeks, which explains my erratic blogging record just now. Having taken part in a concert in the hilltop village of Puycelsi … Continue reading

Posted in Places, Walking in France | Tagged , , , , | 15 Comments

Clock This

I hope you remembered to put your clocks forward last night if you’re in Europe, otherwise you’ll be a bit behind everyone else. We posted reminders throughout the house so that we wouldn’t forget, but there’s always at least one … Continue reading

Posted in French life | Tagged , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Say it with Flowers: France’s Villages Fleuris

The garden is burgeoning and it’s that time of year when one’s thoughts turn to planning and planting. While driving around France, you might have noticed village signs declaring “Village – or ville – fleuri(e)” and sporting one to four … Continue reading

Posted in Gardening, Places | Tagged , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Tilting at Windmills

One of the things I love about living here is local people’s interest in le petit patrimoine, the vestiges of a rural life that has faded away. Groups of enthusiastic volunteers contribute to their restoration to rescue them from oblivion. … Continue reading

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The Story of the People at La Lune

I’d love to know who lived in our house long ago. Elderly neighbours have always been hazy about this, perhaps because it doesn’t really interest them. This week, at last, I discovered a story about previous occupants.

Posted in History, Places | Tagged , , , , , , | 22 Comments

Very Welcome Visitors

We knew they were there, because we’d heard them. But we didn’t know exactly where. They kept themselves well concealed, only moving about at night, until we stumbled upon their secret hiding place.

Posted in Nature | Tagged , , , , , , | 16 Comments

New Technology Lands on La Lune

Life on La Lune passed its 9th  birthday last week on 14th February. A few things have changed since then, not least our ability to access the internet. When I published my first post (the present one is the 628th), we … Continue reading

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The Bells, the Bells: the Magic of Church Bells in Rural France

In Victor Hugo’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame, the loud ringing of the cathedral bells has turned Quasimodo, the bell-ringer, deaf. Some of you will no doubt have seen Charles Laughton hamming it up inimitably in the 1939 film. I … Continue reading

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

La Chandeleur: Candles, Customs and Crêpes

Today is la Chandeleur or la fête des chandelles. I had never heard of it before we moved to France, but I had heard of Candlemas – lovely name – which is the British equivalent. To those of you in … Continue reading

Posted in Customs, History | Tagged , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Five French Weather Phrases

The Brits have a reputation for talking about the weather. Hardly a surprise, since you can experience four different seasons in one day in parts of the UK. It was a surprise to us initially that French people also talk … Continue reading

Posted in Language, Weather | Tagged , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Épiphanie, the Day of the Three Kings, in France

Now that New Year’s Eve has passed, I can wish you all a very happy, healthy and peaceful 2019. In France, it’s considered bad luck to do so before midnight on 31st December. Although we have turned the corner of … Continue reading

Posted in Customs, Food/drink/recipes | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Mistletoe in French Tradition

When I lived in the UK, mistletoe was a rarity, only to be found in over-priced bunches in garden centres during the run-up to Christmas. Moving here, I saw that it grows abundantly in our area. Some species of tree … Continue reading

Posted in Customs, Nature | Tagged , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Ma Vie Française #8: Chris Bockman, Sniffing Out News Stories in SW France

There’s been a slight hiatus in posting, as I’ve been dealing with some family health issues. However, this week, I’m delighted to bring you another interview in the Ma Vie Française series. Chris Bockman has been keeping his finger on … Continue reading

Posted in French life, Personalities | Tagged , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Béret Nice

Along with the Eiffel Tower, the baguette and the Citroën 2CV, the béret has become a (caricatured) symbol of French culture. Thus, it was adopted by people like Ernest Hemingway, who wanted to look French even if they weren’t – … Continue reading

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Wild Boar

When we moved here in 1997, it was not uncommon to see whole troupes of these animals, of up to 20 individuals. We have also seen the occasional lone male. Since then, our sightings of them have been much rarer. … Continue reading

Posted in Nature | Tagged , , , , , | 10 Comments

Millau: Towers, Markets and Bridges – Guest Post by Angela Wren

  I’m thrilled to welcome back to the blog Angela Wren, whom I had the great pleasure of meeting at an authors’ event in Carcassonne in September. Angela is a Francophile, who has visited many more corners of France than … Continue reading

Posted in Books/writing, Places | Tagged , , , , , , | 4 Comments

France’s Flower of the Dead

For a fortnight or so before 1st November (Toussaint; All Saints’ Day) pavements outside French florists’ shops and undertakers, and whole marquees at supermarkets, are heaving with chrysanthemums in pots. But don’t be tempted to offer a pot as a … Continue reading

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

Ça Sent la Rose

  Roses must have one of the loveliest scents of all flowers. They have been cultivated for more than 5,000 years and thousands of varieties now exist. Unfortunately, they don’t do well here in our poor soil and they didn’t … Continue reading

Posted in Gardening, History | Tagged , , , , , , , | 20 Comments

French Flavours: Pounti, Traditional Auvergnat Dish

During our recent visit to Cantal, we had the opportunity to taste again a dish that is traditional to northern Aveyron/southern Cantal: pounti. Before we first visited that area, 25 years ago, I had never come across this dish, not … Continue reading

Posted in Food/drink/recipes, History | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Villeneuve d’Aveyron: Ancient Paths and a Historic Gem

What do you think this building is? A small château or fortified house? A barn? All will be revealed below. Autumn is the best time for walking in this area. The days are warm and sunny, it’s usually dry underfoot … Continue reading

Posted in History, Places, Walking in France | Tagged , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Rentrée Time

Here we are in September again. How did that happen? Surely Easter was only last week. Actually, I don’t mind. This is my favourite month of the year, perhaps because I was born in September (cards and presents welcome). We … Continue reading

Posted in Customs, French life | Tagged , , , , , , | 6 Comments

British, French or Irish? Or all Three?

I don’t write about politics on this blog. Of course, I have my views, but I generally keep them to myself. So I haven’t mentioned the ‘B’ word (okay, Brexit) in my posts so far. However, I can’t ignore it … Continue reading

Posted in French life, Rants | Tagged , , , , , , | 37 Comments

A Local WWII Resistance Group: Update

  Today, the causse above the riverside village of Cazals is a tranquil place with superb views of the Gorges de l’Aveyron. It’s covered with juniper and scrub oak and the only sounds are birdsong or the occasional whirr of … Continue reading

Posted in French life, Places, World War I & II | Tagged , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Canicule: the Dog Days of Summer

It’s either a famine or a feast. We spent the winter and most of the spring grumbling about all the rain; now we’re taking refuge from the heat. Much of the northern hemisphere is experiencing unprecedented levels of heatwave: notably … Continue reading

Posted in Weather | Tagged , , , , , , | 22 Comments

The Story of Notre-Dame des Grâces

Set at the edge of a grassy plateau overlooking the verdant Bonnette Valley, this little chapel is visible for miles around. It commands a magnificent view of the countryside, with the ancient province of Quercy on one side and the … Continue reading

Posted in History, Places | Tagged , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Summer in Southwest France

Summer is here, les grandes vacances have begun and the foreign number plates in the area have multiplied. And to go with them, a little present from the French government: a drop in the speed limit on secondary roads from … Continue reading

Posted in French life, Places | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Saint John’s Day Customs in France

Yesterday marked la Fête de la Saint-Jean, which occurs on 24th June each year, although the festivities normally take place the night before. It’s a not uncommon example of a pagan celebration taken over by the Catholic Church to commemorate … Continue reading

Posted in Customs, History | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Every Château Tells a Story #16: le Château de Saint-Michel de Vax

What a boon the internet can be – in small doses. And we’ve had only a small dose of it recently. More about that in a later post. I can find out almost anything, without moving from my computer in … Continue reading

Posted in Châteaux, History, Places | Tagged , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Buried Treasure at Teysseroles Chapel

I’ve written before about the visit of the departmental archaeologists to Teysseroles, where we are helping to restore the 15th-century chapel. This is a requirement when works are planned at a historic monument, to ensure that nothing of significance is … Continue reading

Posted in History, Teysseroles chapel | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 24 Comments