Is it pork or paëlla?

Neighbor's Festival poster from their website
Neighbor’s Festival poster from their website

Last Monday the city put a sign on both ends of our rue reminding the residents that the street would be closed on Friday from 7 PM until 2 AM for the Fête des Voisins or Neighbors’ Day Festival. For one night a year at the end of May, cities, towns, and villages across the country shut down neighborhood roads to create one giant outdoor party with the official goal being to “break isolation…and give a sense of belonging”. Thanks to the friendly people who surround us, we’ve been there since our first week here. Continue reading “Is it pork or paëlla?”

Where’s the brown rice?

Brown rice in bulk from the Bio store
Brown rice in bulk from the Bio store

I always think/thought of the French as being especially health minded when it comes to their diet. After all they are the ones who can eat can eat all that bread, cheese, and foie gras that’s washed down with glasses of red wine and still have low rates of heart disease. Even the newly-crowned Miss Fitness Europe 2016 is from right here in Carcassonne. So how come we can’t find brown rice? Continue reading “Where’s the brown rice?”

College town

College Andre Chenier in Carcassonne
College Andre Chenier in Carcassonne

If you look at an online map of Carcassonne you might think that the downtown streets would be overrun with students of higher learning. As you zoom in on the hexagonal area called the bastide that was once surrounded by city walls you’ll see the names of 4 colleges pop up. It would seem unusual to have that many of these institutions for a population of 50,000 and you might be amazed at the ages of the students: 11 to 14 years old. Precocious? Continue reading “College town”

A day at the tastings

A city-sponsored wine festival, from their website
A city-sponsored wine festival, from their website

As you probably know, wine holds an important role in the culture and economy of France. We live in the middle of the world’s largest wine-growing region and in March attended the wine fair hosted by the high school not far down the road from where we live. Not to be outdone by their comrades, the students at the high school for those who want to enter the restaurant profession organized their own Salon Cité Vins wine tasting and guess who was there when it opened at 10 AM? Continue reading “A day at the tastings”

Change to change

Bill's new coin holder
Bill’s new coin holder

In the US we never spent money. I carried around the same five 20 dollar bills in my wallet for years, literally. So how did we exist? With credit cards, of course. At one point I think we had 7 of them. Now before you call Credit Counseling Anonymous for us, I should say that we used them for convenience and paid everything off at the end of each month. It was just difficult to resist the offer of 50,000 air miles or 400 dollars rebate after the first use, for example, on a card that was free and you could then cancel a year later without penalty. That’s now all changed…or more correctly, change. Continue reading “Change to change”

Liverpool ladies

Our photo of the postcard they sent
Our photo of the postcard they sent

We encounter a lot of people on a daily basis essentially because we walk around town quite a bit. Since we don’t have a car, anything that’s close enough to go there by foot, we do. Today we needed to replenish our supply of local sparkling wines because we had served a few glasses…ah, bottles…to some lovely ladies from Liverpool, England last week. And just how did that happen? Continue reading “Liverpool ladies”

Triple your pleasure

Brugge Tripel beer
Brugge Tripel beer

Bruges, Belgium is a beautiful city. You can glide along its canal admiring the medieval buildings that line the cobblestoned streets. The central market square is surrounded by fanciful guild halls that are towered above by a 13th century belfry where a carillon is still manually played several days a week. Within walking distance from there are windmills that add even more charm. On our first visit there 16 years ago we were won over by the city’s history, architecture, and its beer, especially a fine brew called Brugge Tripel. Continue reading “Triple your pleasure”