Earlier in the series I showed a shot taken in northern France -This time we’re going south. There is much I love about France and I have had a number of very enjoyable visits, mostly along the towns of the atlantic coast. However, I have been down to the south of France and the home of the Cathars on three occasions. This is a wonderful part of the world with solid earthy wines and warm hearted people.

Our first visit was a trip south in our elderly Cherokee aircraft – one of my flying group colleagues had a business interest in the region and we flew down to Castelnaudray between Toulouse and Carcassone. It was also Epi’s first long distance trip in the aeroplane. We stopped off at Tours to refuel the aircraft and to take on much needed water ourselves – it was 44 degrees C on the ground and the tarmac was melting beneath the tyres. Epi slept for much of the second leg of the flight (I have a photo somewhere) 😉 We were met at Castelnaudray airfield by my colleague’s partner in the enterprise and driven to Villefranche-de-Lauragais and our hotel. It is testimony to how hot it had been that Epi downed the first glass of Kronenbourg 1664 in one go!

Dinner that night was also an amusing episode. The waiter brought the menu and there was an issue – pointing to Epi and myself, I said “Nous sommes Vegetarien”. You may imagine the look of horror on the waiter’s face 😉 To his credit he rushed off to the kitchen and the Chef duly appeared – without his cleaver! He suggested an Omelette Parisian with a Tomato and Cheese salade. All I can say is he did us proud – I’ve never seen so many Cep mushrooms in an omelette and there was so much salade that it was shared between all 4 of us! We also shared a very nice bottle of Cahors 🙂

So now you know why I love the south of France – first impressions mean a lot 🙂 More recently we stayed at a self catering chalet in Canet-en-Rousillon. Initially, we were a little disappointed in the area but once more friendly locals made us more than welcome. We attended a wonderful medieval festival in Canet itself and were shown around some parts of the old castle in the town by a local historian. Then the local tourist board office, which we popped into while investigating the modern town, suggested a short rail trip down to collioure to enjoy the beauty of a more traditional fishing community, albeit now very much a tourist attraction – definitely worth the visit if you’re ever down that way…