Pearls of Provence: Les Baux-de-Provence

Perched atop of a rocky spur on the edge of Les Alpilles mountain range in central Provence, crowned with a castle ruin, overlooking the plains to the south, rests another Pearl of Provence: Les Baux-de-Provence. Medieval village While the area has been a popular vantage point and settlement from 6.000 BC., the village you encounter today…

Pearls of Provence: Roussillon

You find yourselves walking amidst a foreign landscape, like cowboys in a Colorado setting. Any moment an angry pack of indians could leap over the dark red mountain top and descend on you. The sun beats down on this exotic landscape and reveals fifty shades of ochre. But you’re not in Colorado. You’re in Roussillon,…

Pearls of Provence: Gordes

It rises majestically in front of you, as you drive towards it from the south, sunbaked sandstone and golden rock against the vivid blue sky. It has been well-deservedly named one of the Plus Beaux Villages de France – one of the most beautiful villages of France. It’s a moviestar, vantage point of the Luberon…

Castles, Cathars and Crusades

The Occitanie region in the south-west of France is filled with the remains of a turbulent history, cultural heritage and proud traditions. Troubadours sang about the Grail in the medieval fortress of Carcassonne, heretics were burnt on the stake by the hundreds and politically, it was ruled in turn by Visigoths, Franks, Merovingians, Moors, Angevins…

The Legend of a Bridge

It has been immortalised in song. It has been included in a UNESCO World Heritage designation. It isn’t even a WHOLE bridge. And it all started with a young shepherd throwing a rock into the river. This is the legend of the Pont d’Avignon in Avignon, France. To be correct, its real name is Pont…

Albi – in the country of Cathars, Bastides and Wine

  Albi rises as a majestic red brick giant over the Tarn river in the Occitanie region of France. It has given name to the horrifying Albigensian Crusade on its own people – the heretic Cathars. It has given birth to great artists and explorers. And it has given rise to the largest brick cathedral…

Five fabulous Loire castles

You have probably heard of the 4 great C’s of Loire: Cheverny, immortalised in Tintin’s Château de Moulinsart. Chenonceau, the elegant castle of the ladies. Chaumont, with its medieval suspension bridge and Chambord, with its 400 rooms and almost just as many chimneys. You may even have read something about Villandry, with its beautiful garden, Angers and the famous…

#Vendanges2016

Tessa Laroche stands in the fermentation room, surrounded by stainless steel tanks and pours us a glass of the 2015 Domaine aux Moines. The pneumatic press behinds us makes some peculiar sounds. She raises her arms, like a conductor, moves her hands in time with the noise and with a slight bow emphasises the last…

[kwan-troh]

Wuhhu, it’s Friday and maybe you’re heading out for a dinner or drinks with some friends. In that case, chances are, that you’ll meet a Frenchman in a bar. He’ll tell you to be “Cointreauversial”, that he goes well with others but is intense enough company in himself. He will dare you to put him…

Mont Saint-Michel

Monastic buildings towering on a rock in a sea in Normandy. Medieval houses clinging to the side, as if not to crash into the waters below, that can come rushing in with the galloping tide. For centuries a stronghold, then a prison and now one of the greatest tourist attractions in France: Mont Saint-Michel. Located…