Earlier this month I wrote about a day trip that we had taken over to the Mediterranean seaport of Sète. Since we both enjoy train travel, half the fun of that trip was the journey itself, even if it did start at 6:45 AM. The reward for that early start, besides getting to spend even more time in a pretty town, was that the round trip transportation only cost 2 euros per person. For comparison purposes, when we stop at a sidewalk café for a coffee or a glass of wine, the total bill is around 3 euros, so we’re not talking about a lot of money for that one-hour trip along the coast. To our delight, we discovered that the regional trains (TER) of our part of France offer 1 euro tickets https://www.train1euro.fr/ every day to almost every destination on this map wrapped around the Mediterranean Sea. Read the rest of this entry
The Canal-du-Midi that runs through Carcassonne was built 350 years ago to help connect the Atlantic ocean with the Mediterranean sea. One long river, a second canal, a bay, and an estuary all combine together to link Bordeaux on the west coast with the port city of Sète on the east. You can rent a house boat and glide along at no more than a leisurely 8 kilometers (5 miles) per hour to arrive at the Mediterranean a couple of days later, or spend just one euro and get there in about an hour on the train. Read the rest of this entry
We’ve only just started living full-time at our new house but that has not exempted us from encountering a multitude of solicitors at our front door. The first was a roofer who arrived the day after we had signed the closing papers and we, ourselves, were only just looking around our new purchase. He pointed out the plants growing on our roof and showed us a couple of loose tiles at one edge. Like almost all houses here, ours has a ceramic tile roof and once we got a ladder, we quickly remedied the problems he showed us. After him were 2 painters, a plasterer, another roofer, a psychic, and representatives from a religious group. With Bill’s quick “Sorry, we don’t speak French” comment to those last folks, they left with a smile. Read the rest of this entry
We had the pleasure of hosting two of Bill’s sisters and one niece on a part of their visit to France and Spain. It was a celebration of Jenny’s passing the first stage of her studies to becoming a sommelier, a specialist in selecting and serving wine, either on its on or pairing it with food. What better place to come than the world’s largest wine producing area to try out those newly-acquired skills? Read the rest of this entry
With a blog post title like that I wouldn’t blame you for calling out “Arrrr!” with visions of pirates, bottles of rum, and the Flying Dutchman in your head. You’d be right on the money with that last item, and probably not far off with the second since we went to Amsterdam last month but the treasure we went in search of was to bring back here and bury: tulips and other spring bulbs. Read the rest of this entry
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.
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
Last Wednesday we rode the bus for 15 minutes to one of the zones commerciales on the outskirts of Carcassonne. These are the shopping areas with lots of big box stores and parking lots that just won’t fit on the narrow streets in town laid out almost 900 years ago. But what we were in search of would fit (sort of, as you see in the photo) inside our backpacks: bread. Read the rest of this entry