Tag Archives: SW France

Cattle Country

Considering we are surrounded by them, I’m surprised I haven’t written more about these mainstays of local agriculture. Perhaps it’s because I have a love-hate relationship with them, especially when marauding herds have trampled down our garden. What am I … Continue reading

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Can Spring be far Behind?

The literary-minded will notice that the title is a quotation from Percy Bysshe Shelley’s ‘Ode to the West Wind’, written in 1819 while the poet was staying in Florence. The poem can be interpreted in various ways, the most simplistic … Continue reading

Posted in Weather | Tagged , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

French Flavours #3: C is for Cassoulet

I can’t allow the letter C to pass by without writing about cassoulet, the signature dish of southwest France. It’s been around for a long time and the correct recipe is the subject of controversy. What is it? A stew … Continue reading

Posted in Customs, Food/drink/recipes, History | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Puylaroque: Tranquil Village with a Turbulent History

The panorama from the viewpoint at Puylaroque is magnificent. Beneath the rocky outcrop on which the village stands, the plains of southwest France roll away towards the Pyrénées. On a clear day, you can see the mountains, but that is … Continue reading

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Forgotten Love Letter Saved for Posterity

Sometimes fate works in mysterious ways. In this case, it saved for posterity a wonderful letter that would otherwise have been consigned to the flames with a heap of junk.

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

French Flavours #2: B is for lou Bajanac

In my A-Z of traditional French recipes, I’m trying to focus on those that originated in southwest France, where we live. So I’ve eschewed boeuf à la Bourgignonne or blanquette de veau, delicious though they are. Surprisingly, I found a … Continue reading

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Beyond Time: A Journey Back to Prehistory Part 2

Last week, I started a journey back in time to look at some of the many prehistoric relics left in this region by our ancestors. This week, we’re dropping in on the artists who used cave walls as their canvas … Continue reading

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Beyond Time: A Journey Back to Prehistory Part 1

Ours is one of the more rural French regions, but transport networks criss-cross the countryside and commercial suburbs mushroom around its historic towns. And yet this part of France is peppered with the works of prehistoric artists and builders. They … Continue reading

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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

Posted in Aveyron, Food/drink/recipes | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 38 Comments

2017 Preview and 2016 Weather Roundup

Bonne année, Meilleurs Vœux. Wishing you a happy and peaceful year and a better one for the world in general. Welcome to Life on La Lune 2017. This is a particularly special year for me and the SF (Statistics Freak … Continue reading

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Life on La Lune French Christmas Quiz 2016: the Answers

I hope you had a great Christmas. How did you get on with the quiz? I promised you the answers today and here they are – a little late because I got engrossed in writing my next novel. Don’t forget … Continue reading

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Life on La Lune French Christmas Quiz 2016

First, let me wish all my readers Season’s Greetings. Thank you for following my blog this year and for your stimulating comments and emails, which I always enjoy reading. Thank you also for the many Tweets and shares on Facebook. … Continue reading

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10 French Christmas Traditions

Like every country in Christendom, France has a range of Christmas traditions, local and nationwide. I explore a few in this post. Christmas used to be lower key, less commercialised and of shorter duration than in the UK. During our … Continue reading

Posted in Customs, History | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 19 Comments

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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A Walk Around Castanet

Last week, the weather here was truly appalling, especially on Wednesday and Thursday, with high winds and torrential rain. And other parts of southern France suffered much more than we did. This November has been particularly wet, although not cold. … Continue reading

Posted in Places, Walking in France | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

French Telephone Etiquette

Even after more than 19 years in France, I lift the receiver with apprehension when the phone rings. This is partly because it’s invariably a cold caller. It’s also because dealing with people on the phone in French is damn … Continue reading

Posted in Customs, French life | Tagged , , , , , | 18 Comments

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

Posted in Aveyron, Food/drink/recipes, Places | Tagged , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

Halloween Traditions, Ghosts and Witches in France

I don’t need to tell you what today is. Halloween has become more commercialised in recent years in France and traditions such as trick-or-treating have taken root. I hope we live far enough off the beaten track not to encounter … Continue reading

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

Walnut Time

The walnuts start to fall here in SW France around the end of September. By mid-October, it’s positively raining nuts. This year, we were afraid that our crop would be minimal. Many walnuts fell early and were blackened and mummified, … Continue reading

Posted in Food/drink/recipes, History | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 22 Comments

2016 Summer Weather in SW France: the Verdict

Yesterday, we did one of our favourite walks. It takes in the ruined Château de Labro, and goes up and down the wooded slopes of the secluded Seye Valley. We walked under luminous blue skies with barely a cloud. There … Continue reading

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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 More Hidden Gems in Southwest France

  This coming weekend the annual Journées du Patrimoine take place throughout France. You can visit historic buildings and monuments, some of which are not normally open to the public, and many of them offer free entrance. I have already … Continue reading

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Drought in Southwest France

  We spent the first six months of this year complaining that we had too much rain. Now we’re complaining that we are having too little. It has barely rained for about six weeks and the weather has been dry, … Continue reading

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19 Years in France

Time for a little celebration. Nineteen years ago today, we moved into our house, but we had arrived in France a few days earlier. The time has passed quickly, although much wine has flowed under the bridge since then. A … Continue reading

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Calvignac, Lot: Untold Stories?

 I often find the smaller places in rural France more interesting than the big cities or the real tourist honeypots. They have their own intriguing histories, their hidden features, and to me these are more satisfying than the roads much … 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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Summer Arrives at Last in SW France

  C’est l’été and the weather has finally caught up with the calendar. We’ve had wall-to-wall blue skies and hot sunshine for the past few days. This was a particularly good thing this weekend, since we sang in a concert … Continue reading

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Tour de France 2016

The Tour de France passed through our village for the first time yesterday, which has inspired great excitement during the build-up. All of the roads along the route have been resurfaced and relined, the verges have been cut and the … Continue reading

Posted in French life | Tagged , , , , , | 28 Comments