Sur le Pont d’Avignon L’on y danse, l’on y danse Sur le Pont d’Avignon L’on y danse tous en rond Many of us learned that song as kids, about the famous Pont d’Avignon in Provence (real name: Pont Saint-Bénézet). For those of us lucky enough to visit Avignon and see the bridge in all its […]
I live part of the year in Provence and one day I was reading Le Monde and a headline about a “sexy politician” caught my eye. “Well, those are two words you don’t see together very often,” I thought. So I read the article and found out that there had been a poll asking French […]
It was lunchtime in the Saint-Germain-des-Prés area of Paris, and I was ravenous looking for a place to eat away from the usual tourist traps. I turned down a quiet street and saw the most unassuming bistro. In fact, I wouldn’t usually have considered going in but I decided to take a chance. As soon […]
Catharism has been described as “the most successful heresy in history”. In Languedoc, “Pays Cathare” signs dot the countryside. One cannot drive far in any direction without coming upon the ruins of a Cathar fortress. Who were the Cathars? “Cathar” is allegedly derived from the Greek word, katharos, meaning “pure”. The Cathars were also known […]
The people of Provence have been raising sheep for centuries. You see flocks of them all over the countryside, grazing under the watchful eye of shepherds. But Provencal summers are scorching hot and sheep have heavy wool coats so they’re moved to cooler pastures. The transhumance in Provence The answer to dealing with the heat, […]
There have been many famous families in history. Take the Curies, for example: Marie Curie won two Nobel Prizes and her husband, daughter and grandson each won one. Quite the talented family! And then there are the Wright brothers and the Brontë sisters. And let’s not forget those comic masters, the Marx brothers. But imagine […]
“They are NOT babies, they are chickens” remonstrated my French neighbour Jean-Claude. He had come to inspect the eight point of lay hens and two “babies” with which I had returned from the local street market. “I’m going to call that scrawny baby one Eaglet” I said “Non, non, non” came the emphatic response “You […]
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Stephen Solley, an expat from the UK lives in Beaujolais, Burgundy and says, not only is it a great place to live but it also offers opportunities for would be wine-makers… There must be so many couples, frustrated by all the stresses of daily life, who in an ideal world would like to move their […]
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The Hunchback of Notre Dame is one of the most famous characters in French literature. But how did he get the unusual name of Quasimodo? For centuries, French law strictly limited the names that families could give their babies. They had to come from an approved list made up mostly of Catholic saints. The laws […]
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I first visited the Aude department in 2006 and found a rural area rich in history with great food, fabulous markets and a friendly, welcoming atmosphere. My hosts brought me to the river at Rennes Les Bains where hot water from deep under the ground pours out through a pipe in the wall. In the […]