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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

Lots of thyme

Village of Aragon, France

When our neighbors suggested that they pick us up on Sunday to take a trip to Aragon, instantly visions of courtly love, chivalry, and Camelot sprang to mind. After all, it was Catherine of Aragon who was King Henry VIII’s first queen and in her eyes maintained that position despite the rise and fall of others after her. While our destination shared that Queen’s name, we were only traveling about 20 minutes north of Carcassonne instead of 2 hours south into Spain where the Kingdom of Aragon was located and to where Catherine could trace her family roots. 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

On my honor

Walking along the Aude river

Walking along the Aude river

Nearly 30 years ago, a political candidate who later became president of the United States, included in a campaign speech his desire for a “kinder, and gentler nation”. He was referring, in part, in his own words “to protect our environment, to safeguard our national heritage for future generations”. When I first heard that phrase I thought he was referring to cultivating a sense of civility that had existed when I was growing up but seemed to have disappeared. In moving to France we appear to have rediscovered both his vision and mine. 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

Who needs a treadmill?

Walking guide to Carcassonne

Walking guide to Carcassonne

Well, I do, but those details are for a bit later. When we decided to move to Carcassonne about a year and a half ago, we started reading everything we could find about living in the city. There were articles about the cost of living, housing, transportation, shopping, education, entertainment, taxes, history, sports teams, and recreation. As long term users of various types of cardio equipment, one line I read really caught my eye: “Get off of your treadmill and get outside”. The author was suggesting that instead of joining one of the gyms here in the city, you could use the many walking trails that take you along the river, beside the canal, and up through the 12th century fortress and castle above. Read the rest of this entry

Renestance

French Retirement Dream

A year in Périgord

The life of a British Francophile

Southern Fried French

Two American Guys & Their Dog Move to France

wcs

Two American Guys & Their Dog Move to France

Chez Loulou

Two American Guys & Their Dog Move to France

The Vicious Cycle

A man searches for meaning...in between leg shavings

Post-Industrial Eating

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An Italian Point Of View

Alan and Tracy's Expat Adventures