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Making barrels at Buzet

At Buzet-sur-Baise (47 Lot-et-Garonne, Nouvelle Aquitaine) there is an innovative co-operative wine cellar Les Vignerons de Buzet. which produces 95% of all Buzet wines – red, whites and rosés all in the Bordeaux style, yet often fruitier and better value.

Tonnellerie Saint Martin
Tonnellerie Saint Martin 

The village also featured a Tonnellerie (barrel-making workshop). Although a more mechanised process than when I first witnessed it 30 years ago, it remains a complex operation requiring real skill. See a video, which is in French but still fascinating, as it needs little explanation – see www.youtube.com/

Vineyard Rambles with Domaine Jones

Fancy a vineyard ramble from your armchair? Brit Katie Jones owns vineyards in the Corbieres/Cotes du Roussillon/Fitou area of southern France around Tuchan (11 Aude, Occitanie) in the foothills of the Pyrenees.

Her YouTube channel features a number of rambles through the vineyards, where you can explore the beautiful landscape and learn about wine-making and vine-growing – see www.youtube.com – Also available on Instagram

youtube link instagram link

Visions of France – from Google

We are all missing trips to France this year, and whilst we hope that travel will become possible again later in the summer/autumn/next year.. who knows? But check out Google Arts and Culture for some armchair surfing around la Belle France.

Google Arts & Culture
Renoir – Pont Neuf 1872

With more than 90,000 items, including the Chateaux of the Loire, Paris, museums. galleries -there are many riches and delights to discover and you can spend a leisurely visit without the normal crowds!

Whilst our usual menu of practical information on visiting France is on hold during the Coronavirus Pandemic, we are showcasing some of our favourite photos of la Belle France, pending the day when we can get back on the road or autoroute

Visions of France – Charcuterie

Whilst our usual menu of practical information on visiting France is on hold during the Coronavirus Pandemic, we are showcasing some of our favourite photos of la Belle France, pending the day when we can get back on the road or autoroute

Another of the riches to be found in French Markets is charcuterie, a term which covers both the shop (i.e. delicatessen) and cooked/prepared meat products such as Jambon ham (e.g air-cured), saucisson salami, confits, patés etc.Shops will sell a variety of prepared dishes which you can re-heat at home.

In the markets it is always a popular stall – this one at Bourges (18 Cher, Centre-Val-de-Loire)

See all the photos in this Gallery here

Visions of France- The Lot Département

Whilst our usual menu of practical information on visiting France is on hold during the Coronavirus Pandemic, we are showcasing some of our favourite photos of la Belle France, pending the day when we can get back on the road or autoroute

The Lot Département extends through glorious landscapes to the north of Cahors , south of Rocamadour and east of Gourdon (46 Lot, Occitanie). The views are seemingly endless and conceal a world of quiet, sometimes abandoned villages and rich limestone landscapes. This view was taken from Reilhaguet between the old N20 (D820)and the new autoroute A20.

For more on the area see Helen Martin’s book “LOT – Travels through a limestone landscape in Southwest France“.

See all the photos in this Gallery here

Visions of France – Garlic

Whilst our usual menu of practical information on visiting France is on hold during the Coronavirus Pandemic, we are showcasing some of our favourite photos of la Belle France, pending the day when we can get back on the road or autoroute

It may be a bit of a cliché, but Garlic (ail) is almost an essential element of Franch life. Grown fairly widely in France, but especially in the southwest – where the Pink Rose of Lautrec (ail rose de Lautrec) near Albi (81 Tarn, Occitanie) is world famous – this garlic fragrant, it has an intense flavour and ages well. Further west at Saint Clar (32 Gers, Occitanie) they celebrate the White Garlic of Lomagne (Ail Blanc de Lomagne) is very fragrant, with an intense flavour. Both towns have annual summer festivals to celebrate the bulb.

See all the photos in this Gallery here

Visions of France – Normandy apples

Whilst our usual menu of practical information on visiting France is on hold during the Coronavirus Pandemic, we are showcasing some of our favourite photos of la Belle France, pending the day when we can get back on the road or autoroute

Normandy apples

Normandy is a rich source of excellent food – rich cream and cheeses from the dairy, and apples for fruit, cider and calvados. This picture shows a crop waiting to be processed for Calvados at the Busnel distillery at Cormeilles (27 Eure, Normandie)

See all the photos in this Gallery here

Visions of France – Corsica

Whilst our usual menu of practical information on visiting France is on hold during the Coronavirus Pandemic, we are showcasing some of our favourite photos of la Belle France, pending the day when we can get back on the road or autoroute

the coast of Corsica

Corsica (Corse)is a truly beautiful island, very French but with its own distinct character and style. This is a photo of the tocky coast near Bonifacio, (2A Corse-du-Sud) where you can get a ferry to Sardinia – just a few kilometres away but totally different!

See all the photos in this Gallery here

Visions of France – Citroen TA

Whilst our usual menu of practical information on visiting France is on hold during the Coronavirus Pandemic, we are showcasing some of our favourite photos of la Belle France, pending the day when we can get back on the road or autoroute

Citroen TA

The Citroen TA is emblematic of France, evoking memories of the detective Maigret’s era in Paris, Gauloise cigarettes and Edith Piaf’s singing. On a darker note it was the car often used by the Gestapo in films of war-time France. Produced between 1934 and 1957, the car not only had distinctive lines, but was very advanced for the times – TA standing for Traction Avant – i,e, front-wheel drive – and advanced 4-wheel suspension. This example was in a little village fête near Cahors (46 Lot, Occitanie)

See all the photos in this Gallery here

Visions of France, Eguisheim

Whilst our usual menu of practical information on visiting France is on hold during the Coronavirus Pandemic, we are showcasing some of our favourite photos of la Belle France, pending the day when we can get back on the road or autoroute

Eguisheim

Alsace has to be one of the prettiest regions of France, full of charming wine villages and beautiful landscapes between the Vosges Mountains and the Rhine. Here, Eguisheim (68 Haut-Rhin, Grand Est) is probably one of the pretttiest with timber-clad buildings in the medieval centre.

See all the photos in this Gallery here

Visions of France – Yport

Whilst our usual menu of practical information on visiting France is on hold during the Coronavirus Pandemic, we are showcasing some of our favourite photos of la Belle France, pending the day when we can get back on the road or autoroute

The beach at Yport

Normandy’s Alabaster Coast (Côte d’Albâtre) stretches over 130km from Dieppe to Étretat and includes the pretty beach at Yport (76 Seine-Maritime, Normandie) between the white cliffs which give the coast it’s name.

See all the photos in this Gallery here

Visions of France, Siran

Whilst our usual menu of practical information on visiting France is on hold during the Coronavirus Pandemic, we are showcasing some of our favourite photos of la Belle France, pending the day when we can get back on the road or autoroute

Man in shade, Siran ©John Boutall
Man in shade, Siran

It is always worth seeking out somewhere to shelter from the afternoon sun in southern villages – here in Siran (34 Hérault, Occitanie), a quiet little wine village, on the edge of the Minervois wine region.

See all the photos in this Gallery here

Visions of France – le supermarché

Whilst our usual menu of practical information on visiting France is on hold during the Coronavirus Pandemic, we are showcasing some of our favourite photos of la Belle France, pending the day when we can get back on the road or autoroute

Hyper market fish counter

Even away from the main cities of France, the French love of food extends to this stunning display of fish (sea bream/dorade) in a modest supermarket in the heart of France at La Charité-sur-Loire (58 Nièvre, BCF) near Sancerre

See all the photos in this Gallery here

Visions of France – le Marché

Whilst our usual menu of practical information on visiting France is on hold during the Coronavirus Pandemic, we are showcasing some of our favourite photos of la Belle France, pending the day when we can get back on the road or autoroute

tomates
Market tomatoes

One of the joys of France are the many local markets in almost every village – often several in towns and cities.The fresh food is always seasonal and local and often sold by the farmer who grew it – and all so beautifully presented that it is hard to resist, One on our favourites is the evening Farmers Market at Velleron (84 Vaucluse, Provence) – Le Marché Agricole

See all the photos in this Gallery here

Visions of France – Lot Valley

Whilst our usual menu of practical information on visiting France is on hold during the Coronavirus Pandemic, we are showcasing some of our favourite photos of la Belle France, pending the day when we can get back on the road or autoroute

The vineyards of the Lot Valley west of Cahors (46 Lot, Occitanie) produce some of the best Malbec wines in France – and have been doing so for many years before South America made this grape fashionable.

See all the photos in this Gallery here

Visions of France – Siran, Herault

Whilst our usual menu of practical information on visiting France is on hold during the Coronavirus Pandemic, we are showcasing some of our favourite photos of la Belle France, pending the day when we can get back on the road or autoroute

Siran

Siran (34 Herault, Occitanie) is typical of many small sleepy southern villages, but iunlike others, still supports a modest little cafe, where you can enjoy an aperitif or biere under the dappled shade of the trees in the village square.

See all the photos in this Gallery here

Visions of France – Monflanquin

Whilst our usual menu of practical information on visiting France is on hold during the Coronavirus Pandemic, we are showcasing some of our favourite photos of la Belle France, pending the day when we can get back on the road or autoroute

Monflanquin

Monflanquin (67 Lot-etGaronne, Nouvelle Aquitaine) is one of many fortified villages/towns in South West France, often built around a market square with covered arcades.

See all the photos in this Gallery here

Meanwhile in Saint Emilion

Despite the Coronavirus pandemic the work in the vineyards of Saint Emilion (and elsewhere) goes on. This is a key time to prune the vines to encourage new growth. Also treatment to avoid mildew.

Visions of France – Castelmaure

Whilst our usual menu of practical information on visiting France is on hold during the Coronavirus Pandemic, we are showcasing some of our favourite photos of la Belle France, pending the day when we can get back on the road or autoroute

Castelmaure

The normally sleepy southern wine village of Embres-et-Castlmaure (1 Aude, Occitanie) is a hive of activity when the Corbieres grape harvest arrives, clogging the narrow strteets with tractors full of grapes for the Castelmaure Co-operative wine cellars, one of the best in France.

See all the photos in this Gallery here

Château de la Côte, Brantôme

A 15th-century chateau near Perigueux (24 Dordogne, Nouvelle Aquitaine) Château de la Côte is a stylish 15th century 3* hotel situated in glorious contryside near Brantôme. There is a restauarant offering traditional Périgord cuisine. served on the terrace or beside the fireplace in the beautiful wood panelled room.

Close to the heart of the “Périgord Vert” in the Dordogne, and very near the regional capital (Périgueux), the hotel is a beautiful conversion of a traditional French chateau that retains many features dating from its origins in the fifteenth century. Its round towers and turrets overlook a large wooded park and landscaped gardens, which offer the perfect setting for a memorable stay. Oudoor swimming pool.

Inside the chateau, you will find a choice of bedrooms and suites, all of which offer traditional comforts tastefully augmented with modern facilities to further enhance your stay.

for more info and/or to check availability at this chateau near Perigueux see Château de la Côte

13km/8 miles from Brantome, 20km/13 miles from Perigueux