Grapes at Domaine Leduc-Frouin

ripening grapes in the Loire

ripening grapes in the Loire

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£1 buys €1.135 (21 May 2019)

see also: Travel Money in France

At this rate 1 €uro is worth about £0.88 GBP

1 $USD buys about €0.89 EUR

Stay at  a classy Bordeaux wine Chateau

Chateau Pape Clement

see also:

Travel Money in France

Sending money abroad e.g. to pay deposits?

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Bastides villages

A Bastide is a fortified medieval village/town usually built around a square, with little or no space between the buildings so that access is controlled through a limited number of portes/gateways which can be easily defended.

Amongst the most impressive are:-

those marked are recognised as one of the most beautiful villages of France

  • Aigues Mortes (30 Gard)Lauzerte, Tarn-et-Garonne
  • Cologne (32 Gers)
  • Cordes sur Ciel (81 Tarn)
  • Domme ((24 Dordogne)
  • Eymet (24 Dordogne)
  • Labastide d’Armagnac (40 Landes)
  • Lauzerte (82 Tarn et Garonne)
  • Mirepoix (09 Ariège )
  • Monpazier (24 Dordogne)
  • Montflanquin (47 Lot et Garonne)
  • Montpezat (47 Lot et Garonne)
  • Navarrenx  (64 Pyrénées Atlantiques)
  • Puymirol (47 Lot et Garonne)
  • Rudelle (46 Lot)
  • Sauveterre de Rouergue (12 Aveyron)
  • Vianne (47 Lot et Garonne)
  • Villefranche du Périgord (24 Dordogne)
  • Villefranche-de-Lauragais (31 Haute Garonne)
  • Villeneuve d’Aveyron (12 Aveyron)
  • Villeréal (47 Lot et Garonne)

Fête du Gewurztraminer – Bergheim

Alsace RieslingThe Alsace wine village of Bergheim (69 Haut-Rhin, Grand Est) holds an annual wine fair 27 – 28 July 2019 to celebrate a very Alsatian wine – the perfumed, spicy Gewurztraminer. It can often be found as a dry white wine, but perhaps it comes into its own as a dessert wine, late-harvested. It is a wine which can divide opinion, with detractors comparing its very perfumed smell with exotic fruits as being like a madame’s boudoir, but with little experience of such locales I could not possibly comment!

Many have thought it too overwhelming to match with food, but more recently it has proved to be an excellent match with spicy Asian dishes. The dessert wine vendanges tardives or selection des grains nobles can be very luscious, but can go well.

Gewurztraminer is one of the most important grapes varieties in Alsace, along with Riesling, Pinot Blanc, Sylvaner and Muscat. Unlike other French wine regions the name of these grapes  appears on the label. Alsace also produces a little red wine from Pinot Noir. and some very acceptable sparkling white – Crémant d’Alsace. Blends are usually labelled as Edelzwicker

For more info see  Fête du Gewurztraminer 

 

French Roads and traffic in May 2019

Citroen 2CVMay is a relatively quiet month on the roads in France – just the days around the  public holidays when roads out of Paris and some other major cities will be busy before the holiday and then again after the holiday when roads back into the city will be busy.

Public Holidays in May 2019:

  • 8 May  WWII Victory Day (Fête de la Victoire 1945)
  • 30 May 2019 – Ascension Day (Ascension catholique)

Traffic predictions:-

    • 4 May Orange
    • 5 May Orange
    • 29 May Red
    • 30 May Red

Orange = difficile (difficult)

Red = très difficile (very difficult)

Official French Govt. traffic adviceFor the latest info see the Bison-Futé (clever buffalo?)website – for official French Government Traffic advice.

 

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£1 buys €1.132 (13 April 2019)

see also: Travel Money in France

At this rate 1 €uro is worth about £0.88 GBP

1 $USD buys about €0.89 EUR

Stay at  a classy Bordeaux wine Chateau

Chateau Pape Clement

see also:

Travel Money in France

Sending money abroad e.g. to pay deposits?

Try Transferwise

transferwise logo

Fuel (Petrol/Diesel) in France

Apple,Cider and Cheese Festival

27 October: Fête de la Pomme, du Cidre et du Fromage – Conches-en-Ouches (Eure)

Apples, cider and cheese: what more can you ask for? If you want to savour a real taste of Normandy, the pretty town of Conches-en-Ouches is the place to head end October. The event takes place in a huge park where hundreds of people gather to enjoy a big farmers market, tastings, cooking demos, traditional dances performed in traditional Norman costumes and of course an abundance of pop-up restaurants serving local specialties.

 

see www.conches-en-ouche.fr

French Roads and traffic in April 2019

Citroen 2CVApril is relatively quiet month on the roads in France – just the days around Easter (Easter Sunday is  21 April 2019, and Easter Monday 22 April 2019 is a public holiday in France)  when roads out of Paris and some other major cities will be busy before the holiday and then again after the holiday when roads back into the city will be busy.

    • 19 April Red
    • 20 April Orange
    • 22 April Red
    • 26 April Orange
    • 27 April Orange
    • 28 April Orange

Orange = difficile (difficult)

Red = très difficile (very difficult)

Official French Govt. traffic adviceFor the latest info see the Bison-Futé (clever buffalo?)website – for official French Government Traffic advice.

 

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Batz-sur-Mer Fest Noz

Night Festival at Batz
The normally quiet coastal village of Batz-sur-Mer (44 Loire-Atlantique, Pays de la Loire) goes a little crazy for 3 days in July with their Nuits Salines – salty nights of music and dance – culminating in a Fest Noz (Festival of the Night) which is a traditional Breton festival, similar to a ceilidh – with traditional music, dancing and drinking!!

more info

Langon Festival of Wine, Cheese and Bread

Langon (33 Gironde, Nouvelle Aquitaine) midway between Bordeaux and Saint Emilion holds a well-balanced festival of wine,cheese and bread (La foire aux vins, fromages et pains) on the first weekend of September. Given the proximity of some of the finest vineyards in the world – Graves, Sauternes, Pomerol, Saint Emilion – the wine element alone should be pretty good!  30 August – 1 September 2019
See http://fetes-foires-salons-langon.fr

£1 buys €1.148 (17 Mar 2019)

see also: Travel Money in France

At this rate 1 €uro is worth about £0.88 GBP

1 $USD buys about €0.77 EUR

Stay at  a classy Bordeaux wine Chateau

Chateau Pape Clement

see also:

Travel Money in France

Fuel (Petrol/Diesel) in France

Domaine Jones is 10 years old!

Domaine Jones is 10 years old! – 10 years since Katie Jones embarked on a mad adventure to make wines in the Roussillon/Fitou region of southern France at Tuchan (Aude, Occitanie)

Domaine Jones bottle“We started in 2009 with just one vineyard in the village of Maury and made a couple of hundred cases.

The plan at that stage was only ever to make two wines – Jones red and Jones white.

Today we produce 40 000 bottles from 14 tiny vineyards in and around the village of Tuchan and have a range of 11 wines.

We probably have one of the most daring business plans ever – 14 vineyards scattered over 30 km, exclusively old vines that need a lot of looking after, limited production wines from an area not known for expensive wines.

But we have built our business on doing things differently and it seems to be working. When you read in the press that we are ‘taking Fitou to the next level’ and ‘a leading light’ it pays to be different.

We have come up to some pretty strong opposition locally and that doesn’t include the wild boar, forest fires and storm force winds. And we have moved winery 3 times to finally find the perfect building in the train shed.

So what does the next 10 years hold – well, we won’t be buying anymore vineyards! But we will be concentrating on getting the most from our existing 14 vineyards.  And that means registering them as organic and even trying out homeopathic remedies on our vines using the local herbs.

In the winery we will continue to understand each different grape variety and adapt wine making accordingly like we did with the Lledoner or Hairy Grenache grape!”

Focussing on a range of low yields from old vines, the Domaine now produces an impressive range of red and white wine

See nore including a blog at Domaine Jones

Gers Flower Market

https://media.les-plus-beaux-villages-de-france.org/photos/s1706/fources-vue-aerienne.jpg

Bastide de Fources

The village of Fourcès (32 Gers, Occitanie) is a delightful and well-preserved  12th Century  circular  Bastide (fortified village)  The village  is dominated by its Chateau de Fourcès and is on the banks of the small river Auzoue.

Each spring, the village features a flower market (28 – 29 April 2019)  – see www.tourisme-condom.com

plus beaux villages logoClassified as one of the Most Beautiful Villages in France ( Plus Beaux Villages de France) its circular shape and central clump of Plane trees with its half-timbered buildings give the place a special charm  – see www.les-plus-beaux-villages-de-france.org. And of course the vineyards of Gascony and Armagnac are all around.

Chateau de Fources B&B

Chateau de Fources B&B

And as a bonus the Chateau offers Bed and Breakfast, where the owners Maria et Olivier Lesaffre offer elegant en-suite rooms in the traditional surroundings of a 15th Century Renaissance chateau with an outdoor pool!more info linkFor more info see Chateau de Fourcès

Fourcès is about 2o km/ 13 miles north east of Eauze

Now available: The Official Guide to the Most Beautiful Villages of France

 

£1 buys €1.14 (27 Feb 2019)

see also: Travel Money in France

At this rate 1 €uro is worth about £0.88 GBP

1 $USD buys about €0.77 EUR

Stay at  a classy Bordeaux wine Chateau

Chateau Pape Clement

see also:

Travel Money in France

Fuel (Petrol/Diesel) in France

£1 buys €1.11 (15 Febuary 2019)

see also: Travel Money in France

At this rate 1 €uro is worth about £0.90 GBP

1 $USD buys about €0.88 EUR

Stay at  a classy Bordeaux wine Chateau

Chateau Pape Clement

see also:

Travel Money in France

Fuel (Petrol/Diesel) in France

Burgundy History at Chateau Saint Fargeau

The Burgundy Chateau of Saint Fargeau  (89 Yonne, BFC) is a proper medieval castle in the classic French style. AND it also offers Bed & Breakfast in the Chateau and a Son-et-Lumière history show (Spectacle Historique) in the summer (Friday and Saturday nights  6 July – 24 August 2019

St Fargeau posterHistory show

With more than 600 actors and 50 horseback riders in “The Historic Show” of the Saint-Fargeau makes it one of the greatest show in the world.

Let the ghosts tell their stories… The story of Joan of Arc, Héribert,  Knights, The Great Miss of the French Revolution or when the American troops passed through the Puisaye to free the country during WWII …

We will tell you 10 centuries of History in two hours. Your evening in Saint-Fargeau will be unforgettable – see Spectacle Historique

For more info on the B&B Chateau St Fargeau see Chateau Saint Farqeau B&B

Castres Carnaval

The town of Castres  (81 Tarn, Occitanie) celebrates the end of Lent with a Carnaval with a difference – a Venetian Carnaval! (Carnaval Venetian) 16 – 18 March 2019

Castres Carnaval posterPart of the Carnaval is on the water (the river Agout) Festa sull’acqua – a parade with a floating procession of acrobats, fire-eaters and dancers!

The medieval houses overhanging the river gave this part of the town the nickname of “little Venice”

see more on the Carnaval at www.ville-castres.fr

 

Castres is the birthplace of the famous socialist leader Jean Jaurès and home to the important Goya Museum of Spanish painting.The town is probably best known nowadays for its Rugby Union (rugby à quinze) team, which is one of the top European teams. In this area the local wine is Gaillac.

Stay in the heart of the town in the Grand Hotel, which dates from 1909!

Castres viewTGVBy Train /TGV to Castres with Loco2.com

Or hire a car from Castres to visit nearby Albi or Toulouse or Gaillac through Rentalcars.com

rentalcars link

Les Francophonies Limousin – Limoges

Francophonies posterA multi-faceted Arts Festival of Theatre, Music and Dance  Les Francophonies en Limousin 25 September – 5 October 2019 mainly in Limoges (87 Haut Vienne, Nouvelle Aquitaine)

A multi-cultural and multi-national (from the French-speaking world) festival with dancing in the street, concerts, food stands featuring cuisines from around the world

see www.lesfrancophonies.fr

Limoges is famous for its decorated porcelain ware, begun originally in the 17th Century as a result of the discovery of kaolin nearby. There is a National Gallery of Porcelain – The Adrien Dubouché National Museum is located in Limoges, in the heart of the principal porcelain making region in France:

IPorcelain museum logon its fully renovated setting, the Museum holds the largest collection of Limoges porcelain in the world. It also contains representative works from the key stages in the history of ceramics. The museum route follows a journey through time starting from Antiquity, crossing continents and civilisations and leading visitors towards the most recent pieces.

Limoges was also the birthplace of Auguste Renoir (1841)

It is a city which is easy to explore with a modern tram/trolleybus system across the city – there is a fine cathedral and a medieval city centre to see – and an art deco railway station – Limoges Gare des Benedictins. The river Vienne runs through the city.

Limoges Tourisme linkLimoges Tourist Office

TGVBy Train to Limoges with Loco2.com

Find the best rates for Hotels, B&Bs in Limoges with Booking.com

flyBA, Ryanair and FlyBe all serve Limoges Bellegarde airport from the UK (10 km/7 miles) Cheap Flights to Limoges with eBookers



 

Celtic Festival in Quimper

Quimper, (29 Finistère, Brittany) hosts the region’s annual Celtic Festival (Festival de Cornouaille) 23  –  28 July 2019 

This part of France feels and sounds quite different from other regions of the country – think Cornwall with many of the same traditions – fishing, music, language, costumes…. Get used to the Breton language and road signs – e.g. Quimper becomes Kemper!

Cornouaille Festival logoNot only is Quimper the administrative capital of the Finistère department, it is also generally regarded as the cultural heart of Brittany. The town is known for its cathedral, atmospheric old quarter and museums but most of all for its annual festival celebrating Breton culture…..Dedicated to the sheer richness and diversity of Breton culture, the Festival de Cornouaille is a cultural cornucopia, and even though it is now nearly ninety years old, this festival is still as youthful as ever. Concerts, all kinds of entertainment, competitions to determine the best bagadoù, or bagpipe players, bell-ringers and dancers…and the Great Sunday Parade where everyone dresses in traditional costume. That’s the Festival de Cornouaille. For one week every summer, Quimper’s historic town centre vibrates to the Celtic rhythm, much to the delight of some 250,000 visitors. And, since 1923, the festival has never been a disappointment. Back then, the gorgeous girls of Concarneau, Quimper and Pont-Aven paraded proudly in traditional Breton costumes. Today, the festival has become a horn of plenty into which the likes of Joan Baez, Césaria Évora and Simple Minds pour their music. Simply mind blowing! www.brittanytourism.com

see www.festival-cornouaille.bzh/

£1 buys €1.125 (24 January 2019)

see also: Travel Money in France

At this rate 1 €uro is worth about £0.89 GBP

1 $USD buys about €0.88 EUR

Stay at  a classy Bordeaux wine Chateau

Chateau Pape Clement

see also:

Travel Money in France

Fuel (Petrol/Diesel) in France

Samoëns Winegrowers Week

poster - Samoens winemaker weejFor the 9th consecutive year, Samoëns (74 Haute Savoie. ARA) will be celebrating good French food and well-being at its Samoëns Winegrowers Week (la Semaine Vigneronne) which combines skiing and wine and food !! ( albeit not at the same time!) 17 – 21 January 2019. The village plays host to almost 20 winegrowers who share the results of the job they are so passionate about.

See https://winter.samoens.com/

 

Located just one hour from Geneva and 1h30 from Lyon, the village resort of Samoens enjoys a great location in the heart of the French Alps. An ideal place for winter sports, Samoëns is also appreciated for the surrounding scenery. The Septimontain life offered by this friendly village is ideal for recharging your batteries and re-energising. Savoie’s vineyards have not always had a reputation for quality ….This is a winegrowing area with its own identity, its own local grape varieties such as Jacquere and Altesse,  and vignerons who work hard to reflect all that their terroir has to give. The region borders Switzerland and Lac Leman (Lake Geneva) See Haute Savoie