Two products which are inextricably linked to France with respect to cuisine are wine and cheese.
The Massif Central, Midi-Pyrenees and Languedoc Roussillon cater for some wonderful cheeses and wines respectively. Two of the most famous cheeses from the Massif Central are the wonderful Roquefort blue cheese and the Perial cheese. In the Pyrenees you would be looking at Brebis, Brebis Chevre, Vache et Chevre and Vache. None of these are particularly difficult to find in the local shops or food markets that operate on a weekly basis (Castelnaudary on Monday mornings and Revel on Saturday mornings).
So if you wanted to carry out your own wine and cheese pairing party using local produce, all you would need to do is select a few of the wines from the Languedoc Roussillon region to go with a few choice local cheeses and you would be all set. Three favortites of mine are Corbieres, Minervois and Fitou again all readily available in the local area with selections of white, red and rose available.
Of course you don't have to stick to local wines or cheeses either for that matter, a favorite cheese which is readily available in the locality is Cantal. Similar in taste and texture to our own very popular chedder cheese. Plus of course you will be able to find the classic favorites such as Camembert and Brie, which are made with cows milk, rather than goats milk or ewe's milk. So a much safer and more familiar option for many.
Actually finding new cheeses,tastes, and texture is all part of the fun, much the same as experiencing the taste of some locally produced wine. Cabardes wine is one of our nearest appelations, which resides just north of Carcassonne. You could visit the Chateau de Pennautier (by appointment) for a wine tasting event to help choose a few varieties for your experiments.
For some reason as well the cheese never seems to taste better than when bought and eaten straight from the market stall at the local food markets. Trust me, that is so true.
Today we have an article written by a guest writer Nick Lewis who works for Eclipse Ski who offer skiing holidays in Europe.
Skiing may seem an odd thing to be writing about in the middle of summer, but not only is booking for winter skiing holidays beginning at this time of year, but as any good ski junkie will already know: summer skiing in France is a very real possibility, something I was unaware of until I started working for Eclipse Ski.
Summer skiing is available largely by virtue of glaciers. Although year-round skiing is becoming a thing of the past, perhaps due to global warming, there are still a few glacier resorts in France that open for a few weeks during the summer for those that simply cannot wait until winter to get their skis on the slopes.
Les Deux Alpes
Les Deux Alpes is one of France’s oldest, most prestigious and best ski resorts, and that doesn’t change during the summer months. Les Deux Alpes opens for summer in late June and stays open until September. Summer skiing takes place between 2800m and 3600m courtesy of the Glacier du Mont Lans, although sunshine skiers will have to be prepared to get up early for the best of the snow: it has often turned to mush by lunch time, so getting up to the slopes when the lifts open at 7am is well worth it.
Tignes is one of the highest ski resorts in the Alps, and this, combined with the Grand Motte glacier mean that it used to be open all year round. The glacier has been receding, so it is not always open all year anymore, but certainly a good chunk of it. This summer, the glacier has been open since the 19th of June and will continue to be until the end of August.
Tignes manages to hold the title of the largest Summer skiing area in Europe, so for anyone dying for a summer skiing holiday in France, it is definitely worth a look.
Given that Tignes used to be open 365 days a year, in common with many other glacier resorts, but now has to restrict itself to defined seasons, anyone looking to go for a summer skiing holiday in France would do well not to leave it too late.
Leucate is like four holiday destinations in one. You have Leucate, Port Leucate, Leucate Plage and Le Cap Leucate.
Plus with a quick hike over the cliff, otherwise known as Le Cap Leucate, you can make your way to La Franqui.
Both Port Leucate and La Franqui are magnets for the lovers of water sports. windsurfing and kitesurfing being the most prevalent.
With great big sandy white beaches, country trails, wild landscapes and an area developed especially for the tourist industry there is something for everyone. They even went to the trouble of eradicating the mosquitoes at Port Leucate to ensure the development back in the sixties was a success.
Lots of British love orienteering and they also love a holiday in France. So why not combine the two and opt for a perfect location for an orienteering holiday in France.
Le Moulin is located in a country setting with a number of woodland walks straight off the property. The terrain is made up of rolling hills and open countryside mixed with extensive forests.
Many of our guests have enjoyed the opportunity to be able to simply go walking, running or cycling and have commented on how perfect the accommodation would be for the orienteering or cycling community. Of course if you prefer your cycling to be a little less challenging there is always the option of the Canal Du Midi cycling path.
I have to admit that I would find it difficult to disagree with those sentiments and from May to September it would also be possible to add swimming to that agenda. With a 15m x 6.5m pool which is 2m in depth at the deep end, you really can swim rather than just take a dip. Something many of our guests have commented on and which you can verify in the visitors guest book where you can find many a comment referring to the 'great pool'.
Now is the perfect time to be thinking about booking a week or two for an orienteering holiday in France.
There is now a special summer offer in place starting on the 4th September 2010 and prices have been reduced by a full £200 per week for the whole of September, just when the temperatures drop enough to make taking an activity break a very attractive option. For information September offers a very acceptable average temperature of 26C in Languedoc Roussillon and October isn't too far behind at 21C.
For a full compliment of 9 people (one on a sofa bed) that is less than £75 per person per week, making it a very affordable holiday which is even more affordable once we get into October. Also being a self catering option near to Carcassonne, the Lac de St Ferreol and the Canal Du Midi, if you fancy a day off the activities you can find plenty of alternative ways to spend some time, and then when you come back you can fire up the barbecue with a cold beer to hand or crack open a bottle of red and prepare yourself a great meal in a kitchen that is home from home. Which is exactly what our latest group of 9 ladies have done this week during an old school reunion get together.
So if you haven't booked your summer holiday yet and would like to take advantage of this great offer, then all you need to do is visit the contact page of our website for your holiday in France and drop us a line letting us know which weeks you are interested in.
This is a handy Google map for Le Moulin showing where we are in relation to our nearest village with the woodlands and local terrain.
If you need to work out how to get to us and want to know the cost of flights to France, you can find that information on our travel advice page via the link provided. You will also find options for some cheap car hire on that page.