Blog Archives

Walk this way

The tour starts here

Ah, the sacrifices we make for our friends and family. First, we moved to the south of France just so that they would have an excuse to visit Europe. Once we got settled here in Carcassonne we had to check out all of the various things there are to see and do in our new hometown. Restaurants seemed like a natural starting point, so we’ve been visiting a new one every week with friends, Sally and Larry, so that we could make recommendations. After more than a year, we were only scratching the surface of activities so we’ve stepped up our efforts. We took a half-day walking tour of the lower part of town that still retains part of its walls from the 1200’s. We figured that hearing the history while looking at 17th century buildings would be interesting. Did I mention that we were drinking wine and eating chocolate while on this tour? Read the rest of this entry

A sporting weekend

Arriving riders with the castle behind

It seems as if there is some kind of festival here almost every weekend. They typically revolve around food and/or drink so to use up some of those calories, sports are often featured. This past Saturday the entire country celebrated La Fête du Velo and locally, hundreds of bicycle riders showed up at Carcassonne’s Place du General de Gaulle to participate. We got there early to see all of the colorful jerseys arrive and to check out the vendors who were promoting bikes with an electric motor plus a refund for buying one. Read the rest of this entry

Just say “no” to pot(s)

Miniature olive trees in pots

With the Mediterranean Sea only about a 30-minute train ride away, I guess that puts us into the climate with the same name. There’s a diet that goes with that too, featuring fresh foods we find in abundance grown around us such as fruits, vegetables, olive oil, fish, and red wine, but that’s for another blog post. What made me think about today’s topic was when we walked by a display of dwarf olive trees just begging to be taken home with the promise that they would never outgrow their pot. As promising as that sounds, it was going to be a problem for us. Read the rest of this entry

A loaf of bread…a jug of wine

A baker hard at work

Who knew that freshly-baked bread and chilled, rosé wine went so well together? Persian poet Omar Khayyám apparently did 1000 years ago, at least according to my liberal interpretation of perhaps his most famous verse, and Bill and I know it from just one year ago. Carcassonne is seldom lacking in festivals to attend and this past weekend was no different. It was time for the annual Fête du Pain that we would call the “Bread Fest” that celebrates those beautiful baguettes, croissants, brioches, and other delicious treats baked daily at dozens of boulangeries all over town. Read the rest of this entry

Pick up

A bottle of wine and a bed, please

A bottle of wine and a bed, please

We don’t have a guest room, as such, in our new house and that fits in well with the “Double or Nothing” philosophy we adopted when moving to France. In a nutshell, it just means that anything we buy here to replace something that we’ve left behind in the US must do more than one thing. For example, the top of our wine rack, right by the front door, gives us a place to empty our pockets after being out for the day and the drawers below that give us storage for pens, paper, maps, and notebooks. We needed a mixer for the kitchen so we got a “robot” that transforms into a blender, food processor, juicer, and a grinder. The patio table converts into a workbench. With the possibility that friends and family would be staying with us, we needed some kind of bed to turn the den into a guestroom. Ever-resourceful Bill ordered one and popped down to the wine store at the end of our street to pick it up. Read the rest of this entry

Bistro Dallas?

Bistro d'Alice

Bistro d’Alice

Once a week we’ve been getting together with friends Sally and Larry to try out a restaurant we haven’t been to before. From what I just saw on the Carcassonne tourist office website, we could visit a new eatery, including Michelin-starred ones, every single day for almost a year before we would return to the first one. It was our turn to make the choice for the week and what I heard Bill say was that he wanted to go to Le Bistro Dallas. Now, I knew that a lot of French people are fascinated by the history of the old American West, so I wasn’t shocked to hear a restaurant called that, but I was very curious to see what was going to be on the menu. Read the rest of this entry

So many choices

European days of art poster from the city’s website

Bill and I no longer give a definitive “no” when someone asks if we have anything planned for the weekend, or even for the next night, to be honest. Sure, there are weekly French classes or English/French conversation dinners regularly on the schedule, but happily, we never know when someone from the neighborhood is just going to drop by or when we’re going to get an invitation out of the blue from a chance meeting with friends at the market, bakery, or wine store. In our home in Atlanta, we built the theater and British pub with entertaining in mind but here, there’s just so much going on it’s hard to find the time to stay inside, and we’re not complaining. Take last weekend, for example…. Read the rest of this entry

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