Saturday, 27 February 2010

Life in the France Lane

Have you noticed?

Life in the France Lane has got a brand new address, if you look at the URL now it says and blogspot has gone.

Just thought I would let you know that this doesn't affect any of your existing bookmarks or links, they all get redirected automatically, courtesy of Blogger. I also still post from blogger, but the posts are now pointed at my own registered domain.

I am pretty sure there will be hardly any of you who care as long as you get to see the new posts and come to the right place, which is exactly what should continue to happen.

Oh and by the way, it is starting to warm up nicely here now, so if anyone fancies a rambling holiday in France, walking through the lovely French countryside, woodlands or alongside the lakes and rivers; look us up we have Easter and Spring vacancies.

It has been a bit chilly at times though, check out the village moat come pond about a month or so ago.

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

What's on in Languedoc Roussillon 2010

So what's going on in the South of France? Quite a bit usually and I have made a start with listing some of the main events and the ones that have been published about our local village. Don't forget to bookmark this post as I will be updating it as more events and details come to light.

The big news is the Tour de France passing right by the doorstep which I have detailed below. 

Listed by date

17th January - 28th March 2010, here it is again in 2010,  the longest festival in France and it is called the 'winter festival' which takes place in Limoux. The weekends are when local people from and around the town adorn different masks and costumes then parade through the streets playing music, singing songs (normally in the ancient Occitan language) and play pranks while they cock a snoot at society and the rules that abound. Still more than a month to run, so you haven't missed it yet.

April 2010, 5 nights of Jazz in the Chapelle des Jésuites, €40will get you in to all 5 nights of entertainment.

7th May - 10th May 2010, three days of feasts and music in the streets of Gruissan. All ages come together in this festive environment known as 'Les Festejades Gruissan'. These dates are approximate but you should be able to call 04 68 49 09 00 to confirm if you would like to attend.

May 2010, Soreze near to Revel and about 25 minutes from Le Moulin plays host to an art metalwork, knives and woodworking exhibition. Soreze is a lovely place to visit anyway with its l' Abbaye-Ecole and impressive bell tower.

22nd and 23rd May 2010 there is a local fete in Issel that usually comes with some street entertainment , music and  often a bouncy castle for the children. You will also be able to attend the evening dining if you wish after which there is normally a disco. Final details have yet to be published and as soon as they are I will make sure I let you know.

June 2010, they celebrate the start of summer in Carcassonne with a series of musical events called the 'Festival of Music' that take place both in the medieval walled city and the 'Ville Basse' throughout the month of June.

12th to the 19th June 2010, Fete de la Musique in Issel

13th July 2010, Fireworks display in the 'Grande Bassin' Castelnaudary, a precursor to Bastille Day and La Cite ablaze in Carcassonne. As far as I can tell the fireworks start after the parade at 10.30p.m. in honour of National Day, but probably worth getting there at 10.00p.m. just to make sure, or earlier if you want to see the parade. It is followed by the Spotlight Orchestra playing in the main square at around Go to Castelnaudary Tourist Office for further details.

4th July to 29th 2010, Festival of the Bastide in Carcassonne, this takes place around Bastille day the 14th July. A fabulous experience for anyone interested in French culture. The festival of the Bastide runs alongside the Festival of the Cité well known to the arts scene for its combination of opera, dance, theater and music events that take place in the medieval city.

14th July 2010, La Cite Ablaze in Carcassonne is the big event of the Festival of the Bastide where you can see one of the best firework displays France has to offer and it commemorates the original burning of La Cite back in 1898. The banks of the river Aude will be awash with spectators and every viewpoint available will be taken by the time the display starts at 10.30p.m. It's best to park on the outskirts of the town and walk in to facilitate a reasonable exit time when the show is over. Don't make the mistake I did last year when I parked the wrong side of Carcassonne to my house. It's a long story which revolves around the services on the motorway that overlook La Cite being closed to the public and my best laid plans being trashed.

16th, 17th and 18th July 2010 - Fete en La Pomerade, village feet in local La Pomerade to coincide with the Tour de France.

17th and 18th July 2010, Tour de France. The 13th and 14th stages of the tour are going right past the doorstep. They may even stop for a glass of vino. Anyway the dates for the stages are Rodez to Revel on the 17th and Revel to Ax 3 Domains on the 18th.

21st July 2010 -  Family Wine Tasting at Domain Gayda - click on this link for details
 10h - 12h 30€ adults 10€ children. A fun morning for all the family. Whilst the adults get to taste and understand the wines of the region, the children will taste 8 fruit juices 'blind'! No need to find childcare, the kids can come along and join in. An interactive and informal tasting for all ages.

23rd July 2010 - Fete Labecede en Lauragais, the neighboring village to Issel is holding its annual fete this weekend.

August 2010, the 10th fete du Cassoulet will take place around the last week of August with 7 days of celebration and eating of cassoulet a haricot bean based casserole with Toulouse sausage, duck and pork as the usual ingredients. Everyone will be getting out their blue and white striped shirts for the festivities. This is the official website for the Fete du Cassoulet

September 2010, brings nautical jousting alongside the Canal Du Midi which is complimented by musical events.

October 2010, for those that like to keep fit, you can participate in a marathon or half marathon. For those that prefer to relax, you can just go and watch the events.

5th to 31st December 2010, Carcassonne puts on a Christmas show of lights, music, street performances and entertainment right across the city from the centre of the Bastide de St Louis to the Cité Médiévale.

Tourist Offices

Carcassonne: 04 68 10 24 30

Soreze St Ferreol: 05 63 74 16 28 email:

Revel St Ferreol: 05 34 66 67 68 email:

Castlenaudary: 04 68 23 05 73 email:

Boat Trips

For a nice easy boat trip down the Canal du Midi you can hop on a 'bateau' down at the quay in Castelnaudary, the boat leaves daily at 2.30p.m. for a quiet chug along the canal and back that takes about 2 hours, but there are a number of other options available which you can find out about at Bateau Promenade "Le Saint-Roch" or by phoning +33 (0)4 68 23 49 40

If you prefer to hire your own boat for a short trip then boats can be hired from Castel Nautique for 2 to 8 people on an hourly basis or for 1/2 days. Visit the website for more details or call on +33 (0)4 68 76 73 34. they are located near to Bram which is about 30 minutes drive from Le Moulin.

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Skiing in the Pyrenees

Every cloud has a silver lining as they say, but up in the Pyrenees it was definitely more of a blue lining. The end result of all this freezing cold weather was that the skiing conditions in Bonascre were as near perfect as you can get. I once went skiing in Banff, Canada where you are pretty much guaranteed to get that lovely crisp powdery snow that is so good for skiing. Well conditions in the 3Ax Domain were every bit as good yesterday.

The sun, having tried all day, also finally managed to break through around 4.00p.m. to finish off a glorious day of skiing.

I think we now also have another skiing junkie in our list of friends having accompanied us to the slopes for a bit of sightseeing and a re-introduction to the piste. We are pretty sure he is completely hooked, even though he is 52 years of age and it was 37 years since the last time he hit the slopes. Just goes to show it is never too late.

I have to tell you that I can't take credit for these great photographs, as our friend Marianna armed with her trusty Canon EOS 1000D took all the shots contained in this post. Well you can't win them all, she preferred photography to skiing on the day.

We did take a few tumbles, despite the excellent conditions, well actually I didn't, which is either down to me being an expert skier or just getting  getting lucky on the day. I'll leave you to decide which you think it was, but I am pretty sure you will draw the correct conclusion.

The only down side, if you can call it as a downside, was the queue to get back onto the gondola going down to Ax Les Thermes, I knew we should have driven up to the first station. But all in all, it was a small price to pay for such a fabulous day out in the French Pyrenees, and we got to photograph Ax les Thermes with the lights on.

Thursday, 11 February 2010

Snowing in the South of France

So what is going on, last week we were sitting on the terrace having lunch and a glass of wine, taking in the sunshine and saying I guess that is the end of the winter.

We spoke too soon, today it was back with a vengeance, temperatures around -3C and snowing. Going to the local Bricomarsh was a slippery trip on the ice, dodging the snow drifts and skidding to a halt in the car park.

It didn't pay to hang around outside either, definitely brass monkey weather. Still, might be a good time to go skiing soon, especially if the sun comes out again and it warms up a bit from the -15C they are currently seeing at Bonascre in the Pyrenees.

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Channel Crossings to France

I am pleased to say that you can now use this post or the French Holidays Aude travel advice page to do a price comparison on the cost of crossings to France and Europe that looks at each of the services for the different routes available including the channel tunnel where relevant.

All you have to do is to select the required route, enter your travel details and click on 'Search' to get a list of available services and the price for each service.

Please don't forget that you can also find plenty of other advice, information and suggestions for travel in Europe and France in particular on the Travel Advice page, including travel check lists, rail and flight information.

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