Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec

In this episode, I’m keeping the subject close to home once again and talking about a painter, illustrator and printmaker who comes from my local town, Albi, down here in the south-west of France. The artist's name: Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. Actually his full name is...

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The Grape Harvest

  A very seasonal topic at the moment in the area where I live is the grape harvest, or les vendanges as it’s more sexily called in French. Although I live in one of the oldest wine-growing regions in France, I’m still embarrassingly mystified when it comes to...

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La Rentrée

And breathe! The children have FINALLY gone back to school! The collective sigh of relief of mothers across the land as the school term starts, is almost audible. La rentrée is a really big deal here in France, often likened in importance to the New Year in Britain as...

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Buzzard Attack

  A couple of years ago during a visit to my physio, I was asked, while she was manipulating some body part or other, whether I was scared of running on my own. She was referring to the possibility of bumping into the likes of farmers with Pernod breath precariously...

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Behind the Door

Being lucky enough to live in a place which is surrounded by history, it's sometimes quite easy to let your imagination amble off into a different era, a different century. I love doors - there is the secret life behind them –  imagining who lived there when the door...

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An Apéro-Pique Nique

On one of the few beautiful days we have had this spring (the UK has been tropical in comparison), we were lucky enough to have been invited to an apéro-pique nique at one of the local vineyards. It was a Bank Holiday Monday (Pentecost Monday), the vineyard was about...

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The Veggie Patch (May)

Any self-respecting French country-dweller grows their own fruit and veg – it’s a matter of green-fingered pride. Actually, the fruit really takes care of itself – we are lucky enough to have so many different kind of plum trees, we could set up our own...

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Responchous

Some of our oldest friends came out from London to visit us this past weekend. Being fearless foodies, they are always interested in trying new and strange produce from far-flung – or less-far-flung lands. This time, they themselves semi-discovered a new delicacy to...

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Speaking Franglais

After our President's recent little faux-pas in calling the Australian Prime Minister's wife "delicious" (we assume he meant delightful but... maybe not?), linguistic challenges trip up even the greatest of the great and the good.  As Charlemagne, King of the Franks...

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Chinese Lantern Festival

The Gaillac region is usually known for its wonderful vineyards and historical bastides or the medieval city of Albi. But now, all of a sudden, Gaillac is the talk of France thanks to the stunning, world-renowned Chinese Lantern Festival, Festival des Lanternes. It is...

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La Galette des Rois

La Galette des Rois is another unavoidable food tradition in France! Just when you've resigned yourself to eating lettuce leaves for the whole month of January after the excesses of Christmas, French bakers unashamedly put your resistance to the test by making the...

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Two Veggies at a Butcher’s

Having never been to the Provence Cote d’Azur area of France, we were very excited when my sister-in-law and her family invited us to stay with them in a beautiful villa they had rented for their holidays. The villa was just outside a little village called La Garde...

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Remembering WW2

It's difficult when admiring the peaceful countryside we see today, to imagine the barbarity which went on in this part of the world around 80 years ago. German forces took over south west France and the reality which had to be faced by the people who lived here was...

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