Monthly Archives: September 2016

Buy one, sell one

Gastronomy Festival poster from the city's website

Gastronomy Festival poster from the city’s website

On Sundays most big stores are closed here. A few grocery stores might be open in the morning but by lunch time even those employees get to spend the rest of the day with their families. They do indeed get to go home but they might not stay there since there are often many other shopping opportunities available as there were last weekend. Read the rest of this entry

Doin’ nothin’? Nothin’ doin’!

A quiet time in our "village"

A quiet time in our “village”

Bill and I seldom give a definitive “no” anymore when one of us poses the question “Are we doing anything tonight?” Back in Atlanta we had a bulletin board at the house where we posted a calendar so that we could see all of the upcoming events for the month. Heck, you could probably make that for the year since we always scheduled vacations to Europe at least that far in advance. We had the challenges of getting time off from work, arranging flights and specific seats on the plane, finding a holiday house/apartment in the right location with the ever-important dishwasher and washing machine, etc. Now that we live in Europe, things have changed…for the better. Read the rest of this entry

Money drop

We love the game shows on the French TV stations. They happen to be broadcast during our happy hour(s) every evening. We watch with the subtitles on in French so we can comprehend some of the words that are spoken so quickly. Money Drop is a great show where money is placed on trap doors of the answers and the losing answers drop the money away back to the vault.

Plane over rooftops

Another load of tourists arriving

We think of this show every day as the planes line up to land at the local airport and they have to pass by the Cité and over the Bastide St. Louis. Yes there might be a bit of noise as they fly directly overhead but the planes are filled with tourists coming to the area to spend their vacation (and Euros) in the region. Each and every tourist dropping out of the sky helps our local economy and in turn helps keep the taxes lower for those of us living here on a permanent basis. As the region is known for the wine production and the two UNESCO world heritage sites there are not many large businesses as a tax base, although this is the world’s largest wine producing region and we are doing our part to keep the vintners in production. Read the rest of this entry

Real vs. authentic

Real and authentic wood worm holes

Real and authentic woodworm holes

In Atlanta we built a British pub in the basement of our home. We tried to make it as authentic as possible including a pressed copper ceiling, faux tobacco-stained walls, memorabilia from the UK, and a letter from the Queen acknowledging our desire to bring a bit of British culture to America. The furnishings all had a dark Old World feel to them including the Windsor armchairs that even came with roughed up seats and tiny holes in the ribs to simulate years of munching by woodworms. Let me tell you, looking authentic doesn’t come cheap. Read the rest of this entry

Open house

European Heritage Days poster from the city's website

European Heritage Days poster from the city’s website

For over 30 years, European countries have banded together to celebrate  their heritage on the third weekend of September. In Paris this year, for example, it was possible to visit the Presidential palace of Elysée, tour the city in vintage buses last seen on the streets in 1935, peruse the outstanding art collections at the Musée d’Orsay, gaze down upon the streets below from atop the Arc de Triomphe or explore dozens of other attractions all for free. Since these “Days of European Heritage” were based on an original creation of the French Ministry of Culture, it was only fitting that Carcassonne should fully participate. Read the rest of this entry

Wall art

Harlequin mosaic

Harlequin mosaic

Since we don’t have a car and use the sidewalks in town extensively, we’re always peering into shop windows to see what’s new. Last month it was pretty easy to tell when the semi-annual country-wide sales were finished since the big and splashy SALE! signs were replaced with merchandise promoting fall fashions and back to school supplies. Ugh, I still get a pit in my stomach at this time of year when that threat of the end of summer vacation and the beginning of a new school year looms in the air. The other day when I averted my eyes from one more display of pencil boxes and backpacks, something got my attention. Read the rest of this entry

The king’s touch

Gentle curve of the Canal-du-Midi

Gentle curve of the Canal-du-Midi

Louis XIV, the Sun King, always comes to mind when someone mentions Versailles. We’ve been to that magnificent palace just outside of Paris a few times and we always come away impressed with its size, grandeur, and this shear feat of 17th century construction. Although we’re 800 kilometers (500 miles) from the capital city, the king’s influence is equally prominent here as a result of his royal decree in 1666 that created the Canal-du-Midi.

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