Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Le Moulin is Looking Ready for a Christmas in France

For those of you who have visited and stayed with us at Le Moulin for your holiday in France, you will probably recognise those snowy features in the photograph as the garden beyond your sunny patio area.

Certainly looks a little different at this time of year as we approach the festive season.


One thing you can be sure of right now is that we are certainly enjoying the huge log fire in our living area and are very glad to have it. It would definitely be a little bit on the chilly side without it.

But aside from it being a little bit chilly we can't help feeling how lovely everything looks now the snow has arrived, walking out with the dog with the crunch of the snow underfoot is proving to be a very pleasant pass time. Particularly with the many woodland walks we have available which means that we don't even have to contemplate getting into the car.

Collecting wood for the fire has become a bit of a priority all of a sudden but it is very gratifying when a few hours labour turns into a roaring fire and the source of some traditional entertainment. I have always loved to watch a real fire, more than the TV in truth, but a little bit of music going on in the background is quite nice as well, very cosy.

So for those who are reading at this time of year we would like to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Next year we will have the log burning stove installed in the gite, so if you like the sound of a Christmas in France, we could be persuaded.

If you are looking for some ideas for Christmas dinner then you might like to have a read about what we did last year on  A Nearly White Christmas.

The stuffing was absolutely gorgeous and it has just reminded me that we need to get some goose fat from somewhere for the roasties, eating is believing. .

Nigella Lawson definitely got that one right.

Oh and Carcassonne can be pretty impressive over the festive period as well. This is a little shot of last years light show in Gambetta Square.

MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR TO EVERYONE




Sunday, 20 December 2009

Art Course in France


From little acorns, mighty oaks do grow.

Our advert for art courses in France has just gone live and I have added an extra page to the website called Art Courses. Well what else would you call it, I couldn't think of anything more appropriate.

Lots of details available including when and how much. So go and check it out if you fancy venturing into the world of art and painting, you will be following in the footsteps of Mattisse, Picasso, Dufy and Dali. All of whom chose the South of France as an idyllic venue to practice their art.
 
Matisse "discovered" the town of Collioure in 1905 and because of the clarity of light from the sun combined with the blue of the sky and sea, he managed to persuade the other aforementioned painters to join him there.



Wednesday, 9 December 2009

The Knights Templar do Lincolnshire

The Knights Templar do Lincolnshire

On our recent visit back to the UK we visited Lincolnshire and I couldn't help but notice the similarities between this agricultural region of the UK and the Languedoc Roussillon region here in France.

I guess the fact that we stumbled across one of the legacy site of the Knights Templar and experienced the wonderful colour of the skies over Lincolnshire provided the fuel for my comparisons.

Not that I am advocating anyone should substitute a holiday in the South of France for one in rural Lincolnshire, heaven forbid. They didn't have Carcassonne Castle or Rennes le Chateau in their arsenal of tourist attractions, not to mention the Pyrenees or the Mediterranean coastline and climate.

But if you are in the UK and fancy an interesting day out, then Lincoln city is a very nice place to visit and there are a few surprises in the countryside as well.

You can find out a little more about my day out by visiting this hub I have written about Temple Bruer and the history of the Knights Templar in a quiet corner of Lincolnshire. It's amazing what you can stumble across when out looking for somewhere to walk the dog and the scenery there is not too shabby either.




Tuesday, 1 December 2009

A Woodland Walk in Languedoc Roussillon

One of the benefits of staying at Le Moulin is the access to the many woodland walks that are available straight from the property.

There are a number of routes that can be used which range from a quick 40 minute stroll going up to several hours and more if that is what you prefer.




The whole area is popular with walkers and you can access some wonderful viewpoints to see the Montagne Noire, the Pyrenees or to simply meander alongside the River Argentouire and visit the Cascades coming down from Labecede.



Early Autumn is great for gathering chestnuts or hazelnuts in the woods and, for photographers, there is always a chance to catch a spectacular shot of an evening skyline or one of the lovely landscapes views of the mountains or countryside.

The area retains its beauty throughout the winter and staying at Le Moulin you can utilise the fully equipped kitchen to prepare some hot soup or hearty food to warm you following your woodland walks.

If you want to explore a little further afield you can quickly access the National Park in the Black Mountains or visit one of the many inland lakes in the region.

The Lac de St Ferreol is only 20 minutes by car and has a large arboretum and gentle paths around its periphery.

The autumn and winter periods not only provide a very cost effective and affordable holiday but also have a lot to offer those that just love the outdoors and who want to ramble through wonderful countryside, chilling out and getting back to nature.

There really is a route for all levels and plenty of beautiful scenery to admire.

Saturday, 7 November 2009

Reupholstery in Languedoc Roussillon

There has been a little bit of a reupholstery job going on at Le Moulin, over the past few weeks so I thought we should share the before and after with you.

Well actually I should say the after and before to be strictly and factually correct.

It was a tricky little job and certainly had our resident expert scratching her head once or twice, but as you can see the end result was fabulous and the owners were delighted with the outcome.

Unfortunately I can't claim any of the glory, it was all the work of my wife Angela.

But I did help to turn it around a few times so that easier access could be gained to the work face; there is just no end to my talent.

Well that and I provided copious amounts of moral support; although I suspect taking more turns at doing the washing up would have been more appreciated.


The chair is going to reside in the owners new home at St. Paul de Fennouillet in the Pyrenees Orientales; but actually came over from the United States of America. So it probably deserved a new coat after all that traveling.

Oh yes and I promised you a look at the 'before' as well didn't I, so here you go.

Looks even better with the matching foot stool.

I think there is going to be many an evening spent sitting and reading in this comfy chair during the winter months.

Beats one of those fold out recliners any day.



Money well spent I would say, and congratulations to Angela for a job done well.


Saturday, 17 October 2009

Autumn Leaves are here in France

Summer is now officially over here in France and the autumn leaves have arrived.

This week has seen the covering of the pool, our first frost of the autumn season and we have had to light a fire to take the chill off in the evenings. That's actually quite nice because we have a big log burning fire and it is very pleasant to have a real fire.

The days are still pretty glorious however and we are waking up to lots of lovely sunshine which has a real warmth to it during the day.

I actually love this time of year, its when I feel inspired to get the camera out and take a few photographs of the autumn skies and the changing landscape with the amazing light and different colours you get from all the trees going into their winter preparations.

The holiday season isn't quite over as we still have people arriving next week for the UK half term break which they have decided to take with us here in the South of France, good decision I think and hopefully the sun will continue to shine for a couple more weeks.

We have actually sat out well into November before now having lunch at a cafe in town when the sun is shining. Obviously not every day is like that and there is a chance the weather can turn to be pretty chilly or wet, but when that sun comes out it really is warming, even at this time of the year.

A little about French life, its funny how the chores change as you go through the year, I am now looking to build the wood pile for those winter evenings, I know I will have to start soon, in fact probably should have already if I am honest. So instead of tending to the pool I am cutting wood, preparing fires and taking care of the maintenance jobs I have been putting off all summer on the basis it was way too hot for that sort of work. Oh well no more excuses now, guess I will just have to get on with it.

We are also looking to install a log burner in the gite, which has now taken on a little more urgency, although in typical French style I have been waiting for about 3 weeks for the local heating engineer to come up with a quote following his initial visit. We did think at one point that it would have been nice to have it in for next week, but 'c'est la vie', I guess the central heating will have to kick in if it is too chilly.

Of course while I am waiting there are plenty of walks to go on armed with my trusty Nikon D40 SLR camera to capture a few seasonal snapshots.

Friday, 9 October 2009

Property for Sale - Languedoc Roussillon

If you are interested in buying a property in or around the Languedoc Roussillon region of Southern France you can find a selection of properties available below. Please contact the owners directly for more information and to verify the accuracy of the details provided.

Tarn et Garonne (Quercy). 30 mins west of Cahors. 5 mins shops. Beautiful stone farmhouse ( 4 rec, 3 bed , 3 bath ) with separate stone guesthouse ( 1 rec, 2 bed, 1 bath ) 2 garages. Set in 1.6 hectares of wooded parkland. Heated 12m x 6m swimming pool, oil central heating, two open fires, original exposed beams and stonework throughout. €399,000.

Contact Clive Brooks 0673 944127 . Email brookswicker@sfr.fr for more photos.

Superb 5 bedroomed villa on the edge of Villasavary, a small village with all commerces 20km west of Carcassonne. En-suite to master bedroom plus family bathroom and separate wc. Pool 11m x 4.2m , 3/4 acre land, own driveway with ample parking and garage. Open plan lounge/kitchen/diner of 38sqm. Beautiful mature gardens looking out onto rolling hillsides. €370,000

View more photos on www.lecantou.com . Call Rob or Mary on 0033 468 247758 or e-mail rob.hesketh@spectrum-ifa.com

Fully renovated 200 year old village house with enclosed south facing garden with views of Bugarach and Rennes le Chateau with plenty of parking space.The property has three bedrooms all with en-suite facilities and could be run as a Chambres D'Hotes.It is situated in a quiet wine making village 15 minutes from Limoux and Quillan and 5 minutes from Esperaza.The asking price is €270,000 or nearest offer. More photos on www.audemaison.com Contact Gill or Richard on gillabdy@hotmail.com

'Mon Repos' is a waterfront haven located at La Tamarissiere, Herault, with stunning views of the river Herault and Mediterranean. This luxury detached two-storey villa, situated in its own secure grounds, is located on the banks of the river Herault, where it meets the Mediterranean. Entirely renovated to an exceptionally high standard, this beautiful villa is the height of waterfront elegance. Priced at 750,000€ as a private sale.

For detailed information, contact: monrepos@orange.fr

An exceptional 1861 Maison de Mâitre, fully restored for luxury country living. 'Maison La Serre' is an imposing family home in South West France. Located within an hour of Toulouse and Spain, it sits in a dominant hilltop position with panoramic views of the Pyrenees. Priced at 998,000€ for a private sale.

Detailed information can be found at: www.perdigots.com

St Ferréol (Revel 4km)
Immaculate villa, 147sq.m, in tranquil woodland setting 300m from Lac St Ferréol . 4 double bedrooms, large bathroom, separate WC. Shower room, laundry/utility room. Separate kitchen. Living room 36sq.m with feature fireplace. Summer salon 36sq.m with pool/billiard table. Double glazing and reversible air conditioning throughout. Integral garage, 2,600sq.m land. Priced to sell at 270,000€ - important - now -
247,500€

Contact Jeannette or Alan on 0033 5 62 18 01 39 or jareeves@sfr.fr

To add your property to this page contact brianstephens@gmx.com for details.

Saturday, 3 October 2009

I've got a brand new combine harvester, handy for a Sunflower harvest


I can't believe how brilliant the weather has been this summer, we have had blazing June, scorching July, red hot August and now we have had the best Indian summer I can recall for a September, although I have lived most of my life in the UK, so that's hardly surprising.


Oh pity you that decided against a holiday in September and actually October as well because it's still going. But as we have had the pool to ourselves this week, we have been making the most of it and going for a swim most days, still have to work though which is a bit unfortunate but it has been very nice taking an hour out by the pool for a change.

Not entirely sure the farmers have enjoyed the amount of sun we have had, I think they actually like it to rain once in a while, except harvest time of course when they do like things nice and dry. That's when life got a little bit exciting just recently, our local farmer arrived to reap the reward of his toils and to harvest the sunflowers, or tournesols as they are quaintly referred to here in the South of France.

I went out to take a few photographs and when Jacques (the farmer) spotted me the next thing I knew was that I got invited to take a ride in his brand new combine harvester which is a pretty impressive piece of machinery I have to say.

This was actually quite fortunate because quite a few of the guests who have stayed this year have asked me how they collect the crop when it is ready, so now I have a photographic account of exactly how it is done.

I think what was really impressive was the speed at which the machine could traverse the field taking in sunflower heads at one end, separating the seeds from the chaff and then filling the built in hopper with a big pile of them ready for transfer into the skip.

It is all totally automated so before you could blink what was a field full of dried ready for picking sunflowers was now a skip full of sunflower seeds that could be loaded onto a lorry and taken to a processing plant to be turned into Sunflower oil or some other sunflower based product.

So there you have it, that is how you harvest sunflower seeds, pretty neat really.








Saturday, 26 September 2009

A new low cost and environmentally friendly way to cross the channel

Ryanair may be in trouble if this new, low cost and environmentally friendly way to cross the channel takes off.

There is still the need to hire a car when you get to France, but there can be no doubting that for members of the green parade this new mode of transport will be a big hit, and for the financially challenged it is difficult to see how a more economic option could be found.

Actually by going via Dunkirk you will find that the first motorway section down to Lille will actually be free, not the case if you go via Calais, so hiring that car at the other side should not be so much of an imposition.

Hope you find this new mode of transportation to your liking. By the way if the video doesn't run blame Google, they don't seem to be able to support their own software adequately, but it is worth persevering.

video

The source of the video is unknown to me, but I will be happy to give it the proper credit should the owner(s) come forward.

Saturday, 19 September 2009

An American Viewpoint of France

I wanted to help out an American friend who has a brilliant blog on the American political system called Dixies Political Blog a very insightful look at American politics and one which I think will help you understand a little more about the American Psyche. Its well worth a visit if for no other reason than to get a sensible view of the politics in the States.

Photograph courtesy of Creative Commons

Of course in my other role as super Internet Marketer extraordinaire, I couldn't just post about a political blog without finding some relevancy to the subject of travel, how I could I put such a black mark over my search engine optimization expertise.

So I looked for an American slant about travel to France to add to my post. This is when I stumbled across Guidelines for American Tourists in France which is one of the funniest posts I have read for an age. Here are a few extracts:

General Overview France is a medium-sized foreign country situated in the continent of Europe. It is an important member of the world community, though not nearly as important as it thinks. It is bounded by Germany, Spain, Switzerland and some smaller nations of no particular consequence and with not very good shopping.

France is a very old country with many treasures, such as the Louvre and EuroDisney. Among its contributions to western civilization are champagne, Camembert cheese and the guillotine.


Although France likes to think of itself as a modern nation, air conditioning is little used and it is next to impossible to get decent Mexican food. One continuing exasperation for American visitors is that the people willfully persist in speaking French, though many will speak English if shouted at. As in any foreign country, watch your change at all times.


Safety

In general, France is a safe destination, though travellers are advised that, from time to time, it is invaded by Germany. By tradition, the French surrender more or less at once and, apart from a temporary shortage of Scotch whiskey and increased difficulty in getting baseball scores and stock market prices, life for the visitor generally goes on much as before.

A tunnel connecting France to Britain beneath the English Channel has been opened in recent years to make it easier for the Government to flee to London.

Cuisine


Let's face it, no matter how much garlic you put on it, a snail is just a slug with a shell on its back. Croissants, on the other hand, are excellent, though it is impossible for most Americans to pronounce this word. In general, travellers are advised to stick to cheeseburgers at leading hotels such as Sheraton and Holiday Inn.

Conclusion


France enjoys a rich history, a picturesque and varied landscape, and a temperate climate. In short, it would be a very nice country if it weren't inhabited by French people.
The best thing that can be said for it is that it is not Germany.

Now you might be fooled into thinking he is just picking on French people but there are one or two clues that he might be taking the mickey out of Americans as well e.g. "American travellers are advised to travel in groups and to wear baseball caps and colorful trousers for easier mutual recognition."

There is one small problem with this blog and that is the owner David actually lives in the Wirral near to Liverpool in the UK and I have no idea whether he is in fact an Englishman or even if he wrote this article but I don't think we should let semantics detract from the hilarity of his post and I would urge you to visit the page and read it in full.

In the meantime I will contact him and invite a comment on this post with confirmation of his nationality and whether he was actually the author of said article.

Don't forget to visit Dixies Political Blog either as it was her postings that inspired me to find the American Guide to France.

Monday, 14 September 2009

French Life Summer Highlights

The summer season is drawing to a close in Languedoc Roussillon and it is time to have a little think about the best bits from this year.

Highlight number 1

I think it can be said without fear of contradiction that this summer was absolutely glorious, we did at times see temperatures touching 41C(105F), fortunately that was on the coast where you could benefit from a cooling breeze coming off the Mediterranean. Further inland temperatures maxed out at a positively balmy 36C(97F) where there was many an evening spent sitting out until midnight waiting for things to cool down for a better chance of sleep. Apologies to those in the UK that had to suffer the stereotypical British summer, but at least there was no flooding this year and I heard there were a few days of sunshine, so we haven't had it all our own way.

Highlight number 2

The odd electric storm or two, this may seem a bit of a contradiction but when you have been roasted for a couple of weeks or more then the arrival of a good storm with a downpour of rain and a spectacular lightening show came as a welcome relief, well as long as it didn't hang around too long. I think we only had about 3 of these little interludes but they were very nice when they arrived. I didn't quite manage a flash of lightening, but this is the sky lit up by the storm.

Highlight number 3

The sunflowers, this years crop in front of Le Moulin, which were pretty impressive if a little trifid like, the variety in front of the house were a good 6 feet tall and the flowers on the top were like huge saucers of sun. The flowers lasted for about 3 weeks from around the end of July through the beginning of August giving you that quintessential feeling of being in France.

Highlight number 4

La Cite Ablaze at Carcassonne castle to celebrate Bastille Day, one of the best pyrotechnic displays in the South of France which takes place on July 14th and kicks off at around 10.00p.m. Amazing fireworks that attract crowds of thousands and are almost as good as mother natures efforts.

Highlight number 5

The guests at our self catering accommodation here at Le Moulin, we have had some really nice people to stay again this year and have enjoyed both their company and their very nice comments in our guest book. Not that this means we will be getting complacent, attention to detail can make the difference to someone having a nice holiday versus someone having a great holiday. So a big thank you to the guests that have been and the ones yet to arrive.

All in all a lovely summer and we are now looking forward to the rest of the year and a few more bookings as we go into autumn. I think we need to get that log burning stove installed for some cozy evenings in.


Sunday, 6 September 2009

French Life - evening entertainment in Languedoc Roussillon


The summer is drawing to a close and the autumn is just starting to peep over the parapet. Evenings are getting a little chillier even though the sun is still very warming during the day.

We were drinking a glass of wine the other evening, sitting on the veranda and taking in the view when we noticed just how beautiful and blue the sky was and how it was contrasted by the most wonderful cloud.

How does the poem by William Wordsworth go ' I wandered lonely as a cloud. That floats on high o'er vales and hills, when all at once I saw a crowd.....'

Well this evening we were the crowd and the cloud was our evening entertainment, as we sat and sipped and chatted, it still wasn't cold and we were still able to wear shorts and T shirts quite comfortably.

I have to say you can get the biggest wide screen, high definition TV in the world but you won't get a better picture than this one. I suppose I am waxing a little lyrical as I write this but I just needed a written account of just how wonderful this time of the year can be. It actually got better the later it got, the moon came up and was very full, shining through the trees and lighting the garden almost as well as daylight.


I am sure there will be a few people who will think I have lost the plot when they read this, but the last time I really stopped to consider the environment we live in and the peace and serenity it can offer, if allowed, was a little while ago now.


In our busy lives we can all too easily let moments and evenings like this pass unnoticed and that, I think, is a little bit of a crime.

So next time you get to relax for a while, stop take a look around and see if there is anything for you to appreciate. I am pretty sure there will be, even if you are not living in the South of France at one of the best chill out places I know.

Sunday, 30 August 2009

Online foreign currency trading for individuals

Online foreign currency trading for individuals

If you are locked into managing your foreign exchange transactions through your bank and whether that is a matter of comfort, lethargy, lack of knowledge or a belief that high street banks offer the best exchange rates, you may want to reconsider.


Having been involved in quite a number of foreign exchanges since moving to France it has become pretty clear to me that using the high street bank for your currency deals is probably not your most favorable option.

Looking into what terms and conditions you can obtain through a reputable Forex broker may just save you a significant amount of money.

Dealing through a broker is admittedly a little more complicated than using your bank but once set up and registered it is a fairly straightforward process for making your currency exchanges and it is highly likely that you will make savings over what the banks can offer.

Take a look at foreign exchange trading for individuals to find examples of what savings can be made and the types of contracts you can use to manage your finances.

TorFX is a company that I have used extensively in the past and who have offered some very competitive deals. They are not the only company that do this but they are one I have no hesitation in recommending as a starting point for using Forex brokers.

From a practical view point it would be worthwhile registering with a few Forex dealers so that you are able to compare and contrast to establish which one will provide the best deal for you.






Sunday, 23 August 2009

French Food Markets in and around Languedoc Rousillon

Revel - This food market is considered to be one of the best in France and is rated in the top 100 for the whole of the country. It takes place every Saturday morning with the food and garden products centered around the belfry in the towns main square, including, as is the tradition, hot food ready to eat such as paella, roast chicken and local dishes.


As you move further away from the square you will find plenty of other market stalls for, clothing, materials, tools and pretty much anything you might fancy. Also don't forget that all the shops are open in Revel on a Saturday morning with plenty of boulangerie's, patisserie's, cafe's and craft shops.

To top it off there is nearly always some form of live entertainment available often in the form of a jazz band, so all in all a lovely place to visit on a Saturday morning.

Fanjeaux - has its market on a Saturday morning as well if you prefer somewhere a little different with fabulous views thrown in, its a little further afield, but not that much further.

Castelnaudary - the food market in Castelnaudary in my opinion is almost if not as good as Revel's and takes place every Monday morning. Lots of fresh local produce and plenty of other items of interest as well. You could also visit the wine cave at the port alongside the Canal du Midi or visit the Charcuterie Escudier in Rue de Dunkerque where you can purchase fresh cassoulet.



Mirepoix - as an alternative to Castelnaudary you could visit the lovely little medieval city of Mirepoix for their Monday morning food and crafts market. Everyone who visits Mirepoix falls in love with it a little.

There is also an evening market occasionally on a Thursday which has been highly recommended for food market fans.


In addition to the market there are numerous cafes, restaurants and gift shops in Mirepoix and it is a regular favorite for visitors even on non market days..

Carcassonne - has markets on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, being a bigger city, and they are always well attended, Carcassonne plays host to over 3 million visitors a year. For an evening venue in the summer months Limoux has an evening market on a Tuesday.

Victor Hugo Food Market - there are a number of options for visiting a food market on a Wednesday but none better than the Victor Hugo in Toulouse, which you could combine with a day out visiting the pink city.

It's not really the traditional French food market you expect being located in the basement of a multi-story car park, but there is no questioning the quality, quantity and variety of the local produce on offer and none more famous than the Toulouse sausage, a staple ingredient of Cassoulet the local dish of Castelnaudary origin.


Labastide d'Anjou -
has its market day on a Thursday and is only about 25 minutes from Le Moulin and while you are in the town you can visit the pottery workshop and pick up a traditional earthenware container for Cassoulet.

Villefranche - holds it's market day on Friday which gives you almost a complete week of market day options. A slightly further away option is Limoux which also has its market on a Friday.

Durfort - not a market but does give you an option for some Sunday entertainment, a little further on from Revel you will find lots going on with the shops opening here when everywhere else is likely to be closed. the town originally specialised in copper crafts but has expanded its repertoire to include leather craft and more in recent years. Well worth a visit.

I have concentrated on the markets and facilities close to our gite for the most part but belowI have listed market days for some of the more significant towns and cities in the region that are a little further afield from us.

Montpellier - like Toulouse market day is every day in the captial of Languedoc Roussillon it is held in Halles Paillade on avenue de Heidelberg

Narbonne - Thursday & Sunday morning plus the food hall is open all but 1 day in the year from 7.00a.m. to 1.00p.m.

Beziers - Friday morning is market day for the city and there is a covered market (Les Halles) open every morning. The main market is famous for its flowers and can be found on the Allees Paul Riquet right in the centre of town.

Limoux - Friday morning is also market day for Limoux

Lezignan-Corbieres - You will find Lezignan Corbieres market day is a Wednesday

If you have other holiday destinations that you would like included in this list then please drop me a comment and let me know, I can easily track down when the market days are on and add them to the list.

Friday, 21 August 2009

Soft furnishings in Aude and Languedoc Roussillon

If you have been struggling to get help with your soft furnishings needs in the Aude department of Languedoc Roussillon, you may just have found the answer to your problems.

After 12 months or so sorting out our own home and setting up our gite business here in the South of France, my wife can now focus on her interior design and soft furnishing business. With over 30 years experience working for some of the top suppliers of soft furnishing to the UK market she can offer the following services here in Langudoc Roussillon for the production of: -

All types and styles of handmade curtains and soft furnishings, including curtains, roman blinds, cushions, bed valances, headboards, bed drapes, loose covers and more.

She would be very happy to provide a free quote for any project you have in mind and would love to chat to you about your interior design needs. You can call her on 04 68 60 06 17 or visit her website Curtains and Cushions to view some of her work and get in touch via her contact details on the website.

Or you can just drop me a line using the contact details on this blog



By the way if you fancy finding out how to get an authentic French look to your interior design style, I can highly recommend this great book on the subject, lots of ideas for furniture, fabrics and colour choices.



SIRET Number: 510 836 687 00010

Privacy Policy

What information do we collect?
We collect information from you when you register on our site or fill out a form.
When registering on our site you may be asked to enter your name, e-mail address, mailing address or phone number.
What do we use this information for?
Any of the information we collect from you may be used to:
  • Personalize your experience
  • Improve our website
  • Improve our service
  • Send periodic emails
Do we disclose any information to outside parties?
We do not sell, trade, or otherwise transfer to outside parties your personally identifiable information. This does not include trusted third parties who assist us in operating our website, conducting our business, or servicing you, so long as those parties agree to keep this information confidential. We may also release your information when we believe release is appropriate to comply with the law, enforce our site policies, or protect ours or others rights, property, or safety.
Children
Our website products and services are all directed to people who are 13 years of age or older.

This online privacy policy applies only to information collected through our website and not to information collected offline.
Your Consent
By using our site, you consent to our website privacy policy.
Contacting Us:
Email us at info@blogaude.com with questions or concerns.
Third Party Advertising
We also use third-party advertising companies to serve ads when you visit our website. These companies may use information (not including your name, address, email address or telephone number) about your visits to this and other websites in order to provide advertisements about goods and services of interest to you. If you would like more information about this practice and would like to know your options in relation to·not having this information used by these companies, click here.

All information on the properties featured for sale on this site have been provided by the persons selling the property and have not been independently verified. Please ensure that you verify the details through the persons listed in the contact information as we hold no responsibility for any inaccuracies that may have been included. 


Sunday, 9 August 2009

Are French cooking schools the best way to learn how to cook in a French style



Are French cooking schools the best way to learn how to cook in a French style

The best selling book on Amazon is all about 'Mastering the Art of French Cooking' by Julia Child who is now in a film that has recently been released with Meryl Streep playing the lead role of Julia herself.

Watch the trailer for Julie and Julia on YouTube



Holiday Destinations - Saint Felix Lauragais, Midi-Pyrenees


Holiday Destinations - Saint Felix Lauragais, Midi-Pyrenees

The latest offering on Castelnaudary France for local destinations of interest in the Pays de Lauragais region of the Midi Pyrenees, South of France.

There are so many places in the region that can offer spectacular views of the countryside and St Felix Lauragais is no exception.

On a clear day you can see for miles from the 'table de orientation' right across Languedoc Roussillon to the Pyrenees.

Beside the views the town has much in the way of character and interest to offer and is worth a visit on its own merit, even if it didn't have the views.

Go have a look.


Saturday, 25 July 2009

Vide Greniers a part of French Life


Vide Greniers a part of French Life

Latest publication on HubPages giving a little bit of insight into French Life via a trip to a Vide Grenier in the Midi Pyrenees.

It was an interesting day out and great for the shopaholics out there.

Go take a look see what it is all about and to find out a little more more about French Life

Thursday, 23 July 2009

Travel Insurance and Swine Flu

There is an ever increasing number of confirmed Swine Flu cases around the world so it is very important to ensure you have the right travel insurance before you book your trip just in case anyone contracts the disease.

Your Questions answered by Insurance Choice:
  • Medical expenses and repatriation cover whilst overseas.
    Insurance Choice policies will cover medical costs and, should it be necessary, will get you home if you contract swine flu whilst overseas.
  • Cancellation cover if you catch swine flu before you travel.
    Insurance Choice policies will offer cancellation cover if you get swine flu before you travel and it is deemed necessary to cancel your trip.

  • Cancellation cover if the Foreign & Commonwealth Office ( FCO) suddenly advise against travel.
    If the FCO advise against travel to a specific country you were due to visit, you can make a claim for any unused travel or accommodation costs you are unable to get back from your tour operator or issuing agent.

  • Curtailment cover following a government directive recommending evacuation from a country or area.
    Insurance Choice policies will cover the cost of getting you home and reimburse any unused travel and accommodation costs if the government is recommending evacuation from the country or area where you are staying.

  • No cover for 'disinclination to travel'
    If the FCO are not advising against travel to your chosen destination, you will not be covered for cancellation if you simply choose not to travel.

  • No cover if you travel against FCO advice
    If the FCO are advising against travel to your chosen destination you will not be covered if you choose to travel.

Remember that Travel Insurance policies do not cover any individual for travel to countries which the FCO and/or WHO advises against all but essential travel. For your own safety, you should always check the status of the country to which you are travelling by visiting that country information page on the FCO website.





Monday, 20 July 2009

Holiday Destinations - Beziers France

Holiday Destinations - Beziers France

We had not really ventured close to Beziers until just recently and didn't realise just how nice a city it was.

Well that changed when we had to do an airport run out that way and we spotted the bridges over the River Orb, the wonderful cathedral perched on the hill and the Canal du Midi just thrown in for free.

Quite fitting really as Pierre-Paul Riquet the architect of the Canal du Midi was a native of Beziers, so as to be expected a lot of his presence in and around the city, and rightly so.

Check it out in more detail on HubPages


Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Self Employment in France - Auto Entrepreneur

2009 has become the year for anyone looking for self employment in France and the reason why is the introduction of the 'Auto Entrepreneur System' which allows individuals to register and start a business where instead of paying tax on an assumed income, which may or may not be realised, you only pay tax on actual earnings.

It was pretty clear under the old regime that working on the black market was a temptation many could not resist because of the uncertainty surrounding whether you would actually earn any money from a new enterprise and potentially having to pay tax on a business that didn't actually take off.

Not declaring your business and not paying tax is of course totally illegal and in my opinion not worth the risk so the introduction of this new system will be a godsend to many people, being self employed in France just got easier.

There are limitations on the new system, for instance your business must turn over less than €80,000 per year gross if you are selling products or providing catering and/or accommodation.

If you are providing a service, like website design or soft furnishings make up (but not supplying materials) then the turnover must be below €32,000 per year.

Tax can be declared and paid on a monthly or quarterly basis and the rate of tax is either 12% for those reselling products and 21.3% for those selling services (in simple terms). This is under the 'micro-social simplifie' system.

For the 'micro-fiscal simplify' system the percentage of turnover is 1% for those reselling products and 1.7% for those selling services.

So to cover your social and tax charges combined, resellers would pay a total of 13% and service providers would pay a total of 23%

You can apply to become an Auto Entrepreneur on line, the form is in French but is relatively straight forward to complete. I would only apply if you are sure that this is the best route for you, if you are not sure then it would be wise to seek the advice of an accountant before taking the plunge.

Both my wife and I live and work in the Languedoc Roussillon region of the South of France, my wife operates a Soft Furnishings Business and I operate a Website Design Business Either of us can be contacted via our websites and we both offer very affordable services in France with free, no obligation quotes.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Brian_R_Stephens
http://EzineArticles.com/?Self-Employment-in-France---Try-Being-an-Auto-Entrepreneur&id=2492734





Saturday, 11 July 2009

Holiday Destinations - Montpellier France

Holiday Destinations - Montpellier France

There is one thing for sure, if you take a holiday in France you will never be short of places to visit and go sightseeing, especially in the Languedoc Roussillon region.

We had a fabulous day out in Montpellier, the capital which I have written about on HubPages. Go and have a look, there are more photographs and information on the places of interest for you to look through.

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Le Pays Lauragais - A Part of France Not to Be Missed


The photograph was taken from the viewpoint at Saint-Felix-Lauragais which is about 20 minutes from our gite.

Le Pays Lauragais is the region that encompasses the Haute Garronne(31), Tarn (81) and Aude (11) departments in the South of France. I would imagine that most people are aware of Tarn, with it's capital Albi, as an area of outstanding beauty but may be less familiar with the Aude and Haute Garronne departments, until of course the fabulous cities of Carcassonne and Toulouse are mentioned.
Carcassonne is the capital of the Aude department and home to 2 world heritage sites, and Toulouse known either as the 'Ville Rose' or the 'Cite d'Espace' is of course the capital of Haute Garrone and is the principle city in the South of France. It is also home of France's aerospace industry and the headquarters of Airbus.
All three departments are named after the primary rivers that run through them and two of them also play host to the famous Canal du Midi which was championed into existence by Pierre-Paul Riquet, France's answer to Isambard Kingdom Brunel.
The main feed reservoir for the Canal du Midi is a gorgeous lake that sits above the market town of Revel famous for its food market and furniture industry. To form the lake, a large dam that is 30m high, 10m thick and stretches some 871m in length was constructed in the 17th century.
Today the lake is used as a recreational area providing a beach from where you can swim, sailing, fishing and walking facilities in a very pleasant and attractive part of France, it has also been made more interesting through the provision of an arboretum around it's shores that has over a 150 different varieties of trees including one which is circa 400 year old . It has been classified as a Worldwide Patrimony of Humanity by UNESCO.
The lake has become a natural attraction for leisure facilities and there are a number of restaurants, shops, a large hotel, an equestrian center, camping site and cafes with views over the lake. The most recent addition being a museum dedicated to Monsieur Riquet (opened in 2008 overlooking a large fountain) which provides a detailed insight into his life and works, you can also get a nice lunch in it's new restaurant if you want to make a day or half day of it.
Castelnaudary of cassoulet fame, is a little further south from Revel and actually sits on the Canal du Midi, it also has a very good food market which takes place on a Monday morning. There are boat trips along the canal from the port in the summer months and some fine examples of the locks of the Canal du Midi can be found here.
Going towards Toulouse from Castelnaudary you will find Villefrance de Lauragais and opportunities for hiring bikes to cycle the paths of the canal and explore the small villages, restaurants and a little bit of wildlife on route.
Circling back towards Revel you can find the towns of Durfort and Soreze, Durfort is well known for it's copper based products that are hand crafted and sold in the local shops, a good place to visit on a Sunday morning, especially since the portfolio of hand crafted products has now extended to include leather, pottery basketry and cabinetwork.
Soreze is best known for its 'Parc de l'Abbaye-Ecole' which, in it's hey day around 1776, was one of 12 military academies created by Louis XVI. Later it was managed by Father Lacordaire, who revived the Dominican Order in France, but after educating a number of famous people, including officers, writers, philosophers and politicians it ultimately closed it's doors as a school in 1991. Since then (starting in 1993) the whole site has been under a program of restoration and has been listed as a historic monument.
The town itself is full of old world charm with half timbered village houses from the 16th and 17th centuries and its famous building is the 'bell tower of St Martin' which is believed to have been completed around 1512.
Soreze is located at the foot of the 'Montagne Noire' and has become a favorite tourist destination for the region, it provides a gateway to the Parc natural regional du Haut-Languedoc, where you will find caves, grottos and streams plus plenty of places to cycle or walk.
Find out more about Le Pays Lauragais here and the larger region of Languedoc Rousillon here.
Lots of things to do and places to see in the South of France
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Brian_R_Stephens
http://EzineArticles.com/?Le-Pays-Lauragais---A-Part-of-France-Not-to-Be-Missed&id=2197461

Saturday, 13 June 2009

Art classes an idea for the future


The problem with having a talented artist to stay is that if you try and take the mickey a little bit (only a little bit), before you can say Jack Robinson you end up as a caricature of a slightly overweight bloke with mad hair sitting on a PC blogging.

Now before you say that's not a caricature it's a still life and what do you mean slightly, just remember I am moderating my comments and nothing gets in my blog without my approval.

Well the truth is we had a great week here at Le Moulin and thoroughly enjoyed the company.

We also had a few discussions about how nice it would be to run an art course here using the facilities and natural beauty of the region as a backdrop and it turns out that Billy, the orchestrator of the caricature and the water colour sketch below, is very interested in running a few art courses here at Le Moulin.



As a result we are now seriously looking into setting aside a few weeks a year where we will let 4 rooms in the gite for up to 8 people that may like to benefit from some close up instruction from a very talented artist.

The intention is that Billy will provide some tuition on basic sketching and painting with water colours. The course would run over 5 days from Monday to Friday, arriving and departing on Saturday and leaving Sunday for you to find your feet and have a look around the area a little.

The details of the course, costs hours per day and perhaps a day out excursion are yet to be finalized, but if you are interested in attending a course of this type and would like to be considered then please leave a comment or get in touch to discuss.

You can of course contact me through the main website French Holidays Aude using the contact us page.


So if you like the idea of learning how you can put together a few sketches like the one shown here then just drop me a note.

Sunday, 7 June 2009

Rennes le Chateau - South of France

Rennes le Chateau - South of France

Popped up to Rennes Le Chateau the other day and had a really nice day out.

Lunch on the side of the hill, took in some of the amazing views and had a look at the famous Mary Magdelene church and a few of the tunnels that were dug trying to get to the buried treasure.

Very nice place to spend a morning or afternoon. Read all about it on HubPages.

Interesting People


I think everyone has a secret desire to have some sort of talent that they can use, might be drawing, musical ability, writing or perhaps photography.

For me I aspire to be a good photographer or at least to be able to spot a good photograph and try to capture it. Living in the South of France has certainly helped me in that direction because there seems to be no shortage of photographic opportunities available.



So armed with a good camera and plenty of places to visit, evening walks, sunsets and full moons hiding amongst the trees, I take lots of photographs and hope that in amongst them I get a really good shot now and then.

It does work and I have to say that some of the photographs I have got since living here in France have actually turned out to be pretty good, probably more as a result of the opportunities presented that I mentioned earlier and a good camera than my technical skills, but a few good shots all the same.

So how impressed am I then when I come across someone who can capture those same opportunities by simply putting pen, pencil or paint to paper. Well I can assure you I am actually very impressed because I consider that to be a real talent.

My sister in law did the sketch of the house above which she reckons is rubbish but I think is pretty good. She is with us this week with some of her friends from Yorkshire where they all live. Billy Barden is amongst the group and I have to say there is a bit of a double wammy going on because Billy is also a very good artist and has done some great sketches and drawings some of which you can look at on his website http://billybarden.co.uk/ and if you are in to unique and original art I would seriously encourage you to have a look, they really are good.

Carol, my sister in law on the other hand has her first love in Textile Art, so her and her partner have a website that illustrates the work they do, which again is all unique and original work and can be found at T.art Textile, the name is a bit tongue in cheek but the work isn't, for anyone who knows about textile art I think you will find that they have done some seriously good work.

For me there is no chance of me being able to draw or produce artwork like either of them so I am going to stick with my trusty camera and settle for getting those few good shots now and then. Well at least I am getting a little artistic satisfaction from my efforts.

Sunday, 31 May 2009

The Royal Forest of Dean


I popped back home a few weeks ago to see friends and relatives and while I was there managed to get a few photographs together of the old home turf.

It was a pretty brief visit but reminded me of why I love the South of France so much. The truth is where we are now is a bit like the The Forest of Dean, The Cotswolds and The Vale of Evesham all rolled into one.



Throw in the Pyrenees and the Mediterranean coast line with a sunny Mediterranean climate and that I guess is why I am here.

All that said the old home territory definitely isn't too shabby either, all I can say is I have been a bit spoilt with these gorgeous places I have lived in. So for now France has it but a closer call than I thought.

I wrote a couple of articles about the home territory which you can find here The Forest of Dean and Historic Gloucester.


French Theme Zazzle


View more personalized gifts from Zazzle.

Popular Posts