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.

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

30 free prints of your digital holiday snaps

How often do you go on holiday take loads of great photographs then when you get home, they are left on the card never to be seen again, well this year you can change that and get your digital images printed out.

As a special deal Truprint will give you your first 30 prints for free. This deal is only available on line and for new customers so to take advantage of this offer make sure you click on the banner below and sign up to Truprint.

Also bear in mind that, as a result of my affiliate relationship with Truprint, this is 10 more free prints than the standard 20 prints you get when going directly to their site.

Sunday, 24 May 2009

The season to be merry isn't always Christmas

We are well into the holiday season now, the pool is open and the first guests have had their swim and no it wasn't the ducks, although they thought about it.

The sun is shining, well most of the time anyway, and I think this is the time to be merry. My personal feeling is that I really like the late spring and early autumn times of year. Temperatures are typically around 70F to 75F, there is a pretty good to very good chance you are going to get some really nice sunny days and it really is a cost effective time to take a holiday.

Now I realise that coming from soggy Britain that there are a lot of people who are really hankering after some lovely hot sunshine and who just want to laze by the pool or sit by the pond and listen to the water fountain. So for them then June through September is pretty much going to give them exactly what they want and we are very happy to be able to provide that facility.

But this post is for the people who like to perhaps have a more active holiday or want the best photographic opportunities and go exploring a bit as well, not forgetting cycling as a very good mode of transport for perhaps sightseeing down the Canal du Midi.

So for those people you have to be considering the early or late parts of the season. We walk our dog every day now and are discovering more and more great places to walk in the area, most of which we can do without going near a car. But I have to say I actually prefer to do those walks when it is a little bit cooler, might be down to my age these day though, and as we get more into the summer the walks are getting pushed further into the evening in pursuit of the cooler temperatures.

So if you are like me, you will definitely prefer May/June and September/October as your choice for taking a holiday.

My second reason for promoting these months is due to our glorious matriarch 'Mother Nature' in the spring you have all the new growth and the vivid colours that come with it, everything is so green and the flowers are in full bloom. Much the same as the autumn but for the opposite reason, everything is changing as she prepares for the winter months, but the colours are just as spectacular. For a photographer this really is the season to be merry because apart from the landscapes there is also the amazing light show we call the sky, I have never seen so many different backdrops as I have here in the South of France, truly amazing. Take a look at Photographers Corner for a few examples of what I am talking about and if you fancy a holiday in these months, well you will have to be quick for Spring or maybe even too late, but there are some weeks available still at the end of September or in October.

Worth a look because there really are a myriad of activities available here in the South of France, I have named a few and there are others that spring to mind like horse riding, white water rafting and windsurfing but there are still loads of other activities I haven't even touched on.

Sunday, 17 May 2009

Visitors Guestbook

We thought it would be a nice idea to let visitors to our gite record their comments about their stay with us on the French Holidays Aude blog.

For the less computer savvy or for those who simply don't like to spend their lives sitting on a computer I am happy to provide the facility of adding the comments to the text as recorded in our hard copy.

For those that have the time and enjoy interacting on the computer, you are very welcome to simply write and post your comments using the blog comment facility below. Or now you can review us here on Google+

To see some of our online reviews you can visit Chez Nous, AirBnB or TripAdviser

2017 Season
"A lovely holiday in a beautiful house. A delightful area to explore and lovely hosts. Thank you, we hope to see you again." Chris & Rita - Wye Valley

"Le Moulin is a wonderful and peaceful spot in the lovely French countryside. Thank you for your hospitality and lovely pool." GTE - Netherlands

"Fabulous gite! Enjoyed the lovely environment, the sound of the turtledove, oriole, melodious exotic birds and the nice pool!" Arend - Netherlands

"Beautiful & lovely to be here." Jacqueline - Netherlands

"Lovely gite. Beautiful, enjoyed our stay. Thank you very much.!  JG - Netherlands

"Beautiful house, with lots of space, a nice swimming pool and good hospitality! Thank you for having us." Alex - Netherlands

2016 Season
Not our first guests of the year, as once again we had New Year revelers making the most of the central heating and a few long weekenders. But now the summer season has arrived and our first guests have just left, once more, very happy we are glad to say.

"A perfect location and property for our special family celebrations, even 30C + was laid on for us. Help and information always there when we needed it and to crown it all, the magnificent swimming pool" Arnold & Sheila with family - Yorkshire 

"We have had a wonderful 2 weeks in your lovely house. The pool is fantastic and the boys loved it! Very comfortable and well equipped house. A pleasure to meet you Brian, Angela & Charlie". Jessie, Alan, Vicki & Graham Linlithgow, Scotland.

"We had a lovely 2 weeks - 3rd time in a row. We love the pool and the gite, the lovely quiet countryside and of course the sun. Absolutely perfect. Thanks for helping us have such a wonderful holiday." Clare, Dave, Lucy & Ben. Leicestershire

"We've all had a fabulous 2 weeks! The gite is excellent and the pool amazing. Happy children = happy parents!! Thank you Brian & Angela and of course Charlie x x" Andrew, Natalie, Isabelle, George, Jamie, Laura, Jack and Charlie. Somerset.

"Very peaceful and relaxing with plenty to do in the area. Bonus having lovely pool and gardens for children." Margaret, Bob, Janet, Gines, Emma, Patrick, Ellie and Jacob. Cumbria, Ireland & Spain.

"We have had an amazing time and the weather has been great too. The house & grounds are lovely and peaceful. We have spent the afternoons playing in the pool. Angela & Brian have been fantastic hosts. Thanks again" Lisa, James & Josiah Fisher, St Albans, Hants. Cathy & Tony Coe, Borehamwood, Hants

2015 Season
2015 started very early with our first guests of the year arriving on New Years Day. That meant that the central heating was required, but everyone was cosy and warm and our first comment was gratefully received.

"We loved the house, Brian & Angela were wonderful hosts. We would love to return to enjoy this peaceful countryside. Thank You." Bob & Lisa - USA

"Thank you Brian & Angela for sorting the hamper for Phil's 60th birthday. A fabulous place to stay and great area to visit around us. Best Wishes" - P&D - North Yorkshire

"Thank you for a wonderful stay, the property is comfortable and beautiful. We loved the rural setting and places to visit. Thank you for hosting us! Best wishes." Craig & Shelley - Hampshire

"Lovely place with lovely people, Angela & Brian so welcoming & we loved Charlie the dog. The house is lovely and so suited to our needs. We can safely say a lot of fun & laughter was had here in what feels like a short week. Thank you for having us." - Katy & Jason - Hampshire

"A great welcome from Carol & Roy. The first impression was 'wow'. The gite has everything anyone could wish for. Wonderful area with so many lovely places to visit, markets, churches, etc." - Tony & Thelma - Liverpool

"I had a lovely time, the pool was great. I love the mill and the garden is beautiful. I will come back soon." - Millie - Liverpool

"What a wonderful time we have had at Le Moulin! Beautiful house & wine! Great setting & wine! fabulous pool & wine. Great hosts and guest hosts & wine! Many thanks we will surely be back! p.s. with wine! xxx" - Lou & Shaun - Liverpool

"We have had a lovely few days - great fun around the pool & the home was so comfortable. The wine was lovely & Angela & Brian very welcoming and ensured we had a lovely stay - thanks so much." - The Breretons, Badendales & Byines - New Zealand.

"The website was pretty good, but the gite itself exceeded those expectations. Lovely touches from Angela everywhere -kitchen superb! Best pool we've ever had after many trips to France. Thank you for all your touches of detail which made all the difference." - Meryl & Steve Warwickshire & Ann & Huw Wales

"Wonderful week here - we'll be back! We had a very good time in a beautiful gite. So good to cool down in the pool!! A tropical paradise - with those gibbons?" - The Chambers, Vijverbergs, Beatties and Goldspinks from Dorset, the Netherlands, & Cumbria.

The gibbons are actually parakeets which make the most amazing sounds that make you feel as though you are in the tropics. Lots of guests have to ask us what they are :-)

"We loved walking round the sunflower fields and toys for Gabriella were much appreciated. It was a very enjoyable stay." - Julia, Bruce, Tom, Beatrice, David, Anna, Grace & Gabriella from Oxford

You can certainly see what they mean!
"A great holiday exploring and relaxing whilst staying in a lovely house. Thank you." - The Fieldsends and Harveys from Gosport & London.

"A perfect week relaxing in the sun. Brian & Angela you guys are great! Amazing property in a fab location. Love to Charlie too!x" - The Abelwhites (and a Smeed) Essex, Surrey & Devon

"You really have it all here - horses neigh, donkeys bray, tropical birds squawk, but most of the time it is just a beautiful, mellow silence... I shall long remember the clear blue sky, and the lush green trees...beautiful. Thank you Brian & Angela for sharing it." - The Abelwhites (and a Smeed) Essex, Surrey & Devon

2014 Season
2014 is off to a great start with our Australian guests staying with us before setting off down the Canal Du Midi to Beziers on a brand new boat from Le Boat. Here are their comments on their stay with us.

"A beautiful place for a holiday. Had a great time, hope to see you Brian & Angie when you come to Australia"

"We loved your beautiful home and thoroughly enjoyed the whole district. Best wishes to you both. A big thank you and hope we weren't too noisy. Lots of love to Charlie too."

"Thank you Brian & Angie for making our first French experience such a delight."

"Brian & Angie, so glad we booked this place so far in advance - would hate to have missed out on this beautiful place and your gracious hospitality. Thank you both."

Lovely comment from our Irish guests:

"We've been to S/W France over the last 5 years and this gite is certainly one of the best. Comfy beds, great kitchen & an absolutely stunning setting. Lots of little towns and villages to visit and a great pool to relax at on a sunny day. Thank you so much Brian & Angela, we really enjoyed your company! Hope to see you again."

"What a lovely peaceful holiday. We all had such a wonderful time, especially our little boys. Two weeks just wasn't long enough. Thanks for being such lovely hosts & welcoming us to your beautiful corner of France"

"We met for a rare re-union in the peace and tranquility of Issel and enjoyed walks, cycling and sightseeing. Thanks for great hospitality and the walnuts!"

"A lovely few days: perfect gite that streatched to accommodate us all. Thanks for all your hospitality. We hope to be back"

"Thank you for a lovely setting to visit with friends, sightseeing in the French countryside - it was perfect"

"Brian & Angela: we had a lovely stay in your very comfortable and welcoming moulin. Loved our Languedoc interlude and looking forward to returning. Merci."

"Thank you for a lovely fortnight. It passed all too quickly. We loved the sun, cycling, the quiet lanes and beautiful yellow of the sunflowers. We hope we will be able to return."

"What a wonderful place to stay, our week is over far too quickly. We have played cricket, table tennis and constantly used the fantastic pool. We have enjoyed ourselves immensely. Thanks, Angela and Brian couldn't have been more hospitable."

"We have had a lovely relaxing 2 weeks in your beautiful house. We enjoyed pool volleyball, swimming in the Lac Ferreol, delicious lunches, cycling by the Canal Du Midi and reading in the sunshine. Thank you for a fab holiday."

"A lovely 2 weeks here in Issel - not ready to go home yet. Great gite and fantastic pool, all in a beautiful setting. We've enjoyed getting to know the area & are leaving knowing there is still lots we want to do & see. Great hosts too! Thank you Brian & Angela we hope to return. Best wishes you both & Charlie!"

"The house suits us very well and thanks for arranging the brilliant weather which allowed us to swim and eat outside nearly every day! Thank you Brian & Angela for your friendly welcome and recommendations for places to see. We particularly liked: Mirepoix market day, Revel market, St Ferreol, St Felix de Lauragais & Lagrasse"

"Lovely house & beautiful location. Thank you so much to Brian & Angela for your wonderful hospitality & tour guides! Thoroughly enjoyed our stay & hope to come back soon!"

"Bliss! I want to live here. Wonderful hospitality and warmth of feeling . Thank you."

"Absolutely wonderful. Thank you Angela & Brian, we had a fabulous time. We will return."

2013 Season
Arriving in March and leaving in April after a nice Easter break. Lovely to meet everyone and thanks for the first comments of 2013.

"We had a wonderful time at this lovely house. Fantastic experience, wonderful company. Many thanks"

"Firstly what an opportunity to meet the culprit for Clare ! and explore this area of France and of course to meet lovely people like yourselves Thanx"

"The perfect house for a two family holiday! Perfectly situated for sight seeing and so much for the children to do around the grounds! Thanks so much."

"Thank you so much for everything. We love your house and had such a relaxing time cooking and exploring. Thanks for the wine and the clean rooms"

"You've made four stressed teachers incredibly happy. The house was perfect and so clean and lovely. Fresh air, birds, kindness & comfy chairs made our weekend delightful. Thank you so very much!"

"Lovely 2 weeks relaxing with the family. Enjoyed the garden & the pool and re-visiting old haunts. The market at Mirepoix was a favourite. Thanks for all the toys & access to Charlie for the little one"

"Thank you for a lovely week at Le Moulin, we have enjoyed it so much. Hope to see you again!"

"A lovely gite in a quite splendid location - lot's to see and do - so little time. We enjoyed our stay immensely as a family and hope to return. Great hosts Brian & Angie. Thank you and aurevoir."

"A perfect tranquil, relaxing 'get away from it all' holiday. Lovely big house, superb pool and beautiful location. Easy reach of all sites. Simply perfect!"

"To have a great vacation you need nice weather, good food and drinks, great friends and a Great cottage/gite. Well we had it all. Hope to see you again."

"We had a great time! This is a lovely house and garden.We loved the pool, it was great fun. Don't think we have ever seen so much wildlife. Thanks from us all."

"An absolutely brilliant holiday - really peaceful location + superb pool. Great hosts in Brian & Angela + Charlie the dog.
Lots of great local history + places to visit.
Have always wanted to drive to the South of France + this place made it all worthwhile. Thankyou and hope to see you again."

"A wonderful, peaceful hideaway for us all, it's been a pleasure knowing Brian, Angela & Charlie. The pool was wonderful to have and was well used especially on return from trips around this beautiful area. We will have some lovely memories of our stay here, it couldn't have been more perfect"

"A truly tranquil, beautiful gite to relax and unwind. Pool and gardens lovely and sunflowers amazing. Well equipped kitchen and wonderful views. Hospitable and most helpful hosts...lovely to meet Angela, Brian & Charlie.
Revel a lovely quaint place, fabulous must do market.
Carcassonne a must see, truly memorable holiday, perfect all round, will return to this quiet, pretty, rural part of France. Well rested & comfy beds.
A sincere thank you for a wonderful holiday. Best wishes to you both. xxx"

"We've had a fab time - loved the house, the pool and the garden. The SUNFLOWERS! and wonderful hosts. Thank you, sorry to leave"

2012 Season
The first guests of the season, all the way from Australia,  have just departed and left us a lovely comment:

"Thanks Angela and Brian, we really enjoyed ourselves here - very spacious, comfortable and a fascinating region."

"Second time around, just as good as the first! but this time round we had 3 generations. Thanks again Brian & Angela - See you next year"

"Fantastic gite, we all loved it and the pool is fabulous. Lovely countryside and just had a super time. Dog and stream were the crowning glory for the kids!!"

"This was a special place at a special time for us as a family. A lovely time for us all."

"What an absolutely perfect week, a good mix of touring the area and relaxing around the pool. A fabulous property, very kind hosts and the adorable Charlie. We only wish we could stay for longer!"

"Idyllic - the best birthday place in the world! Thank you so much"

"We enjoyed the green environment, the comfy house and the lovely pool. We hope to be here again next year. We truly had a lovely time! A huge thanks from us all."

"Very hospitable hosts, calm environment, great swimming pool, all required comfort, ... all ingredients were present to offer us a great holiday at Le Moulin de l'Argentouire."

"With temperatures ranging from 72F to 97F, pool was a godsend. Lovely area, fascinating history, excellent house and facilities, attentive hosts. Excellent combination for a thoroughly relaxing holiday!!"

"A charming, comfortable & thoughtfully appointed gite in a great location to sample many of the delights this region of France has to offer. The pool is well above average & the perfect place to seek refuge in the hot weather. Thanks Brian & Angela for being so welcoming and accommodating."

"Had a great holiday with family. House so welcoming and relaxing, pool great and the weather to. Thanks Brian & Angela for your hospitality"

"We have had a great family holiday at Le Moulin. Accommodation was lovely with very welcoming owners. Enjoyed relaxing by the pool and exploring the towns nearby. Thanks Brian & Angela"

"We searched the Internet for a beautiful house to spend our family holiday this year and we found it and much more at 'Le Moulin'. If you want to experience the French countryside then come here, it has everything you could possibly want or need. Angela and Brian have been the perfect hosts. Thank you."

"What a great week. Lovely gite with everything a family and "Mary Poppins" could need! Thanks"

"Lovely days at the Moulin! The place is wonderful and the hosts are better! We'll recommend it and hopefully be back someday. Thanks!"

2011 Season

"Idyllic location, great weather, lovely pool, lovely hosts. The attention to small details really made our stay enjoyable. Thanks Angela and Brian"

"Perfect few days relaxing in your beautiful house, so peaceful listening to all the sounds of nature, will definitely be returning to this region"

"Le Moulin de l'Argentouire was everything we hoped for.. and more. Your thoughtfulness on everything is much appreciated - merci beaucoup!"

"Thanks for a lovely stay and your great hospitality. Can't wait to come back."

"Thankyou so much once again Brian & Angela for a wonderful holiday and wonderful hospitality. We love coming to 'Le Moulin' and have so many great memories of hour holidays here. Thankyou"

"De vakantie was perfect, voor elk wat wils. Rustige omgeving avontuur lyke
wandelingen en gespetter in het zwembad. We've had a fantastic time, made nice walks, the kids liked the pool (and we also :-) ). Thanks and see you next year."

"The house and yard are really lovely. We spent our days exploring the area and relaxing in the yard. And what a beautiful setting with the sunflowers and the creek. Thankyou for such a fine holiday."

"Just one word: Perfect!"
Couldn't have put it better myself

"We absolutely enjoyed our time here in the house & at the pool. The weather was great. We felt really lucky to be here. Thank you for a lovely vacation!"

"A lovely and relaxing week with excellent weather & plenty to do. Made full use of the pool & barbecue and particularly liked the Lac de St Ferreol + waterfall and fountain. Many thanks for a great holiday"

"Many thanks for sharing your beautiful home with us! The children particularly enjoyed playing with Charlie! A really lovely holiday"

"What a wonderful surprise we got, arriving late on the Saturday night, to discover Le Moulin was more than we could have dreamt of. Daylight only increased our pleasure as we discovered the delightful surroundings"

"As always lovely to be back, it feels like coming home. We've had a very enjoyable time and really appreciate your hospitality. Claire is so disappointed to have missed out. Hope to see you again really soon. Perfect x"

"I saw deer and it was a great holiday. Swam every day. A great place for making dams. We hunted for sangliers but didn't find any, but it was fun. Great weather, great walks, great pool, great holiday"

"A beautiful house with all that one needs, lovely atmosphere, right in the fields and forests. Swims, walks and outings were splendid. Thankyou Angie and Brian, we would love to come again"

"We had a fantastic holiday - Thankyou Brian & Angie for all you did to make it so memorable"

2010 Season

"We have had a wonderful stay, the accommodation was a superb standard, the hospitality was fantastic. We had some wonderful walks, it was like walking in Narnia as we had 3 days of snow. The skiing in the Pyrenees was very memorable and a great day out."

"What a spectacular gite, wonderfully appointed and a superb kitchen. A lovely stay. We'll be back"

"Such a child friendly place - the garden was appreciated by all - it is just delightful. BBQ's almost every night despite the occasional thunderstorm. We all appreciated your attention to detail"

"Lovely house, kind hosts but we really missed the sun!! Maybe another time"
(they were really unlucky, it is very rare to have nearly a whole week of overcast weather especially in June, hopefully they will be back and find normal service has been resumed )

"Lovely gite in a wonderful setting, so peaceful, The pool was fantastic and so was the weather, thanks for ordering the sun! Lovely memories"

"Great property with excellent facilities and my kind of pool. Peaceful without being too far from facilities. Many Thanks"

"So lovely to be back again and as ever, thank you for everything. Le Moulin feels like a home from home. Pool is as ever, just brilliant and the kitchen is perfect for Laura, our trainee chef"

"We have had such a wonderful time again! We love this place! The house has everything anyone would ever want! We all love the pool - so refreshing in the heat. Fantastic weather. Thank you so much to for your generous and genuine hospitality and welcome. We'll be back"

"We have very much enjoyed our stay in the gite! Lovely house & great pool which we have all enjoyed very much. Kids had a great week to"

"Heavenly setting amidst wonderful French countryside. Lots to do and fantastic local produce on offer. Gite perfect"

"Delightful place! Comfortable, stylish, great pool. Perfect location for exploring the area. Thank you for a great holiday"

"Beautiful setting & gite. Wonderful hosts -thank you so much for putting up with the 'girls behaving badly'"

"A wonderful place which has given me inspiration to come again with my own family. A totally lovely experience. Thank you"

"Perfect hosts!! Perfect setting. Lots to explore...Great runs!! Thank you"

"So perfect, so still and calm. Loved every minute - superb facilities, home from home. Love your decor. A return visit would be great. Thank you"

"Absolutely perfect, the house is so well resourced . Swimming pool perfect (especially for lilo's) Will definitely be back~but for longer. Thanks"

"Merci beaucoup. Thanks for everything. A wonderful place to get away from it all - really relaxing but close enough for the occasional bit of sightseeing (when we could tear ourselves away from the pool!)"

"Lovely gite, gorgeous pool. Very friendly hosts. Restful and relaxing holiday. Couldn't ask for more. Au Revoir"

2009 Season

"I had a wonderful time and hope to see you again"

"Thank you so much for a fantastic week"

"A very quiet and idyllic holiday home, absolutely superb, hope to come back"

" A quiet relaxing holiday. Wonderful countryside, a beautiful setting of the  French landscape."

"Really love Le Moulin. Fab pool, very pretty area and so relaxing, we will be back"

"Lovely gite,great pool - kids had a great time - we will be back"

"Lovely grounds, house and swimming pool. We enjoyed our stay."

"Fantastic pool -especially for volleyball, lovely accommodation - discovered the shutters after the first morning. Very hot weather. We all enjoyed our celebrating Geoff's 65th - many trips to Geant and the bottle bank. Thank you for everything."

"Thank you all for a wonderful holiday. Facilities were exceptional and hosts were fantastic. Loved the pool and thankfully the weather was great. Grounds very pretty and the gite itself is so lovely and homey"

"This has been a truly wonderful holiday in your beautiful home. We have loved every minute, meeting you all and a very special hug for Lily"

"Merveilleux sijour tres repasant meme avec les enfants. Bonne continuation"

"Fantastic gite, beautiful location and great hosts, the countryside was stunning and the towns of Carcassonne and Mirepoix were the high points. Many thanks for a wonderful stay."

"You have created a really comfortable home in which to spend a holiday, relaxing, spacious, lived in, we have had a lovely fortnight"

"A super holiday, we all love the 'Moulin', lots of space & everything we could want. The children loved the toys, the garden and the pool as did we all. The shady terrace meant we could stay outdoors all day. The tree frog was an added bonus."

"Once again we've had a lovely week with the sun shining most of the time. We even sunbathed by the pool. We visited so many lovely places including our favorite 'Castre'. The house is a pleasure to stay in with everything we need."

"We have had a wonderful relaxing week. Brilliant weather has made days out extra special. Just walking in the countryside is wonderful, so peaceful and great views. This is a very comfortable and welcoming house, cosy in the evening aand cool in the day. Fantastic showers. Thanks very much for a great weeks holiday"

2008 Season

"A little gem of a place - full of rustic charm" "Wonderful location"
"Fantastic area to visit" "Wonderful days spent eating, drinking and lounging by the superb pool"
"Best holiday for ages" "The house and pool were wonderful"
"Beautiful gite with all needs considered" "An idyllic location, we will have many fond memories of our holiday"
"Accommodation first class" "Had an absolutely wonderful time here"
"This is a beautiful untapped part of France" "A totally chilled time, great house and great pool"

Find out what I am writing about in Ezine Articles

5 Great Days Out in the South of France By Brian R Stephens

One of the most gorgeous locations for a holiday is the South of France and an area that is hard to beat is the Languedoc Roussillon region. It pretty much has everything a tourist could want, wonderful scenery including the Mediterranean coastline, La Montagne Noire, the Pyrenees plus numerous inland lakes and fast flowing rivers.

There is some fantastic architecture both Medieval and modern, examples of which are La Cite in Carcassonne and the Millau Viaduct near to Montpellier not to mention the famous Canal du Midi.

Add to that the available sporting opportunities, such as skiing, snowboarding, horse riding, cycling, walking and white water rafting, to name but a few, and an area steeped in history that includes the Cathar fortresses, the abbeys and the historic sites of the Albigensian crusade such as Minerve and Montsegur. Then throw in one of the largest wine producing regions in the world, certainly in France anyway, why would you want to go anywhere else

So if you are visiting the South of France in this region make sure you don't miss out on some wonderful opportunities for a day out. Here are a few suggestions to get you started, 5 to be precise.

Number 1 on the list has to be the fabulous city of Carcassonne with it's live and working Medieval fortress 'La Cite' a Unesco world heritage site since 1997. La Cite played a big part in the Albigensian crusades after Simon de Montfort forced the inhabitants of the city to surrender and then used it as his own fortified retreat. Today La Cite along with the lower city (Ville Basse) is a thriving tourist attraction seeing over 3 million visitors a year. There is certainly plenty for the tourist to do on a day out in Carcassonne, with amazing architecture to see, theaters, music to listen to, restaurants, bars, shops and the Canal du Midi, another world heritage site, to visit.

Number 2 is a visit to the Corbieres wine region, the capital of Cobieres is Lagrasse which is a small but beautiful medieval town that sits in the heart of Corbieres country half way between Carcassonne and Narbonne. There is a small river that runs through the town over which you will find some stone built bridges from which you can get a great view of the Abbey of St Mary. Driving through the country lanes to get to Lagrasse you will pass lots of 'degustations' where you can stop for a little wine tasting and perhaps buy a bottle or two to take home or to help lunch go down and Lagrasse is definitely a lovely backdrop for a lazy lunch in the sunshine.

Number 3 is a visit to the Mediterranean coastline via Narbonne, going north to south there is Gruissan, La Franqui and even further south, Collioure. You could spend a whole day in any one of these locations without too much trouble just enjoying the Mediterranean Sea and it's changeling scenery. Gruissan plage is a wide expanse of golden sand while Collioure has a small shingle beach being more of a fishing port. Many a fine artist has resided in Collioure utilising the amazing clarity of light of this region to influence their paintings, this would be your chance to experience why they thought it was so special.

Number 4 is Rennes le Chateau, high on a mountain top going out of Couiza at the start of the Pyrenees, never mind the history of the Knights Templar just take in the views and enjoy the magnificent scenery. When you have had your fill there you could perhaps take a drive down through the Gorge de Galamus and along the river towards Chateau de Peyrepertuse and Chateau de Queribus, both as impressive as Rennes le Chateau in their own way, as is the 600m deep gorge you drive through to get there.

Number 5 is back to wine country but this time through the Minervois to its capital Minerve, another wonderful medieval city that sits on the river that runs through Gorge de Cesse and has the dubious honour of being the first of the Cathar strongholds to fall to Simon de Montfort in the Albigensian crusade at the start of what was to be a 34 year long quest to eradicate the Cathars from the region. The parfaits who refused to renounce their faith were burnt at the stake for their troubles but these days the only burning of the steak that is likely to happen is on a grill at one of the very nice restaurants overlooking the river or in one of Minerve's very quaint little streets.

There are so many other places in the region to write about and I am sure in time I will, but for now I hope that this has given you a flavor of what there is available to visit in this lovely part of France.

You can visit French Holidays Aude for information on our gite in the south of France, where we offer self catering accommodation, and to gain access to some useful travel advice for France and Europe generally plus a travel shop where you can purchase accessories for your travels on line.

To find further details on some of the locations I have written about you can visit my profile on HubPages for a list of places to visit in France.

Article Source:

Saturday, 16 May 2009

France Financial Upgrade Completed

In my other life as a website designer I have just completed the upgrade and release of the France Financial website.

I did post the fact on my other blog for Moulin Website Designs but that was to advertise the fact that I had completed the website design and was now looking for more work.

The reason I am posting it here as well is because the website has some great advice for anyone looking to move to France on a permanent basis and fits well into my category of 'How to' advice for France. Lots of good information on French Tax, inheritance advice, life assurance, health insurance and much more. So if you need a free no obligation consultation or you are just interested in what the site has to say then go have a look, there is nothing to loose.You can access it by clicking on the banner above.

Oh and if you are looking for a re-vamp of an existing website or a completely new website then have a look at my other blog and give me a shout.

Moulin Website Design

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