Author Archives: Al in France

About Al in France

Dreams do come true and I am now retired and living with Maggie, my chocolate labrador, in France in the Deux-Sevres. I love travel and photography and hope to combine both interests here to make a record for myself, and somewhere where I hope you will get to enjoy a part of my life in this region, in France and further afield when I get the opportunity. Please feel free to follow and comment. A Bientot!

Timeless Florac

Some roads are meant to be taken. The one I am talking about today is the Corniche des Cévennes, a panoramic route linking St Jean-du-Gard with the little town of Florac. With views that seem to stretch for ever, every … Continue reading

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Travels without Modestine!

I think that I read R.L.Stevenson’s ‘Travels with a Donkey in the Cévennes’ whilst I was still at school. I can’t say that it had any great impact upon me, and I do not recollect a single thing about it … Continue reading

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Simply Cévennes.

My morning really did dawn bright and early. The early light soon gave way to a pale blue sky, dotted with tiny cotton wool clouds, and after the obligatory ablutions, breakfast and a walk with Maggie I was on my … Continue reading

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Here we go again!

I have been back home for a week now, but I am only just getting around to posting about my latest trip away in my pod. I can’t believe how busy I have been since getting home! Still, all good … Continue reading

Posted in Podding | 6 Comments

Falling into Autumn

I really shouldn’t have been so amazed this morning. But I was, because it took me rather by surprise. The regular routine of coming downstairs, feeding Maggie and then letting her out for her first circuit of the garden was … Continue reading

Posted in Nature, Seasons | 5 Comments

It’s Coming!

Well, a lot of things are coming I suppose, but this is hopefully some welcome relief from the current ‘canicule’ – heatwave. After 2 1/2 months of no rain and daytime temps that haven’t been below 30c, we are promised … Continue reading

Posted in Weather | 5 Comments

Sweating it out!

Well, the French weather site http://www.meteofrance.com is often next to useless, more benefit being gained from a chocolate teapot. Even when you look at the radar, it is wrong. However, they have excelled with their predictions of a ‘Pic de … Continue reading

Posted in Weather | 4 Comments

Keeping it Green.

Pinching the idea from Colin’s blog ( https://colinbisset.com/2020/07/23/propagating-in-a-pandemic/?wref=tp ) I feel somewhat inspired to share my humble efforts in the veggie patch. It can be a challenge in this region of France where we get blisteringly hot summers and everything … Continue reading

Posted in Garden, Nature | 2 Comments

‘Sunday’ Driver!

As nice as it is, I can’t stay on holiday for ever, and if I didn’t come home I wouldn’t appreciate the fun of going away again. As sad as it is to leave this beautiful area, it isn’t as … Continue reading

Posted in Chateau, Dordogne, History, Podding | 3 Comments

Bastides-a-plenty!

It is impossible (almost) to get away from the fortified towns or ‘Bastides’ that seem to breed in this area. There are about 300 of them in the southwest part of France, and the Dordogne boasts some of the prettiest … Continue reading

Posted in Dordogne, History, Podding | 1 Comment

Castles in the air.

I don’t know about you, but do you sometimes set out on a destination only to find that there is something really interesting on the way there? I was heading in the direction of La Roque Gageac on the banks … Continue reading

Posted in Chateau, Dordogne, Podding | 8 Comments

Belvès

The Dordogne is blessed with 10 of the ‘plus beaux villages de France’ (most beautiful villages) putting it in the top along with the Aveyron. It would be very fair to say that a lot of them are similar and … Continue reading

Posted in Dordogne, History, Podding | 5 Comments

Isolation with a difference.

Time to get away again in my pod. I had this site booked for a stay in May but with restrictions and the fact that it was still closed, I wasn’t able to visit. No matter, I’m here now. And … Continue reading

Posted in Dordogne, Maggie, Podding | 2 Comments

Freedom in the Mountains.

Being in a mountainous region can be very beautiful but also very frustrating, especially when you are a visitor with limited time. Being right at the foothills of the Pyrénées, I was almost desperate to get into the mountains but … Continue reading

Posted in History, Podding, Pyrénées | 5 Comments

Castles, churches and villages.

This day was a real tour around the eastern part of the Ariege. You have to love the long days of summer with enough light to make you feel as if you have no need to hurry.  Making a trip … Continue reading

Posted in History, Nature, Podding, Pyrénées | 4 Comments

Closed today!

It hasn’t been the brightest of days…low cloud, the threat of rain, unseasonally cool but certainly not cold as it is still 20c. I had to get some provisions, so whilst out and about I stopped off in a small … Continue reading

Posted in History, Maggie, Nature, Podding, Pyrénées | 3 Comments

In the know!

I don’t know about you, but I hate it when the name of a place or person crops up and you are absolutely expected to know who or where or what it is! You know what I mean? Not far … Continue reading

Posted in History, Podding, Pyrénées | 2 Comments

Le Mas d’Azil.

If I take a walk along the bank of the River Azize from the campsite I come to the charming village of Le Mas d’Azil. The walk itself is really lovely and a chance for Maggie to really go mad … Continue reading

Posted in History, Podding, Pyrénées | 5 Comments

Perfect Pitch.

This is new territory for me – the Ariege, or to be precise the Pyrénées Ariégeoises. It is a Regional Natural Park, and as the name implies, it is part of the Pyrénées. It is a wonderland of forests, streams, nature … Continue reading

Posted in Podding, Pyrénées | 3 Comments

Worth the wait.

Oh, it has been a long time coming. Or so it seems! Here in France our restrictions from Covid-19 are gradually being relaxed and numbers of people with the virus and the number of deaths are dropping. Good news indeed. … Continue reading

Posted in Podding | 2 Comments

All Change!

I’ve been very remiss at posting recently. I must say that I have been very busy with one thing and another, and with spring upon us, the garden has occupied a lot of my time. With the longer days and … Continue reading

Posted in Garden, Seasons, Weather | 5 Comments

“Oh I do like to be beside the seaside.”

So goes the song, and yes, I do like to be beside the seaside. I have to say that it has been a long time since I was at the coast and smelling the salty air. With my new pod … Continue reading

Posted in Podding | 4 Comments

A Wake For the UK

Yesterday was Day 1 for the UK to be out of the EU. It has little impact here in my sleepy village, for now at least. The Brits living here have no idea what the future holds for them and … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Seasonal Confusion

Well, here we are…we made it to the end of January! I’m sure that I’m not alone when I say that January seems to just go on for ever and ever. As always, at this time of year, there is … Continue reading

Posted in Flowers, Garden, Nature, Seasons, Weather | 3 Comments

P(l)odding Along!

The month is already racing along at a crazy pace. I always think that January is a rather miserable month with the cold and damp, the dark mornings and nights and when the sun does decide to shine, it is … Continue reading

Posted in Podding | 4 Comments

Renewal

Well, there’s no escaping the fact that Christmas is over and that we have moved to the edge of another new year. For some they will be cheering the end of 2019 and the last decade, and others will be … Continue reading

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Shepherd’s Warning

Well, we have made it through the month and here we are at the end of autumn, meteorologically speaking. I was thrilled to be able to walk Maggie in the dry for a change and no doubt she was happy … Continue reading

Posted in Local travels, Seasons, Sky, Weather | 1 Comment

Waiting for…..?

The third Thursday in November is always awaited with a certain degree of excitement here in France. This is the date when at 12.01 am the Beaujolais Nouveau is released – that much-ballyhooed cherry-red coloured vintage that’s best served chilled … Continue reading

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Misty Morning

Under a mantle of frost and mist, the countryside is looking radiant this morning as the low sun reminds us that winter will soon be upon us. The early morning mist and dew The faintest sunlight shining through, The branches … Continue reading

Posted in Local travels, Nature, Seasons, Weather | 6 Comments

Remembering

Armistice Day, November 11th, is a public holiday in France. For a great number I am sure it is seen as an extra day off and a very welcome extension to the weekend. Here in the village our population is … Continue reading

Posted in Village | 2 Comments

Adieu, Pyrénées.

Better late than never, eh? I have been waylaid these last number of days and just couldn’t find the time to make my last post from my Pyrénéean trip. Although I am back home now, the memories of my time … Continue reading

Posted in Pyrénées | 4 Comments

Picture Postcard Views.

One of the things I really enjoy is the sheer unadulterated pleasure of being almost completely isolated, planted firmly in the middle of fantastic scenery, the sound of nature all around me. Add to that a dose of perfect autumn … Continue reading

Posted in Pyrénées | 9 Comments

Pilgrims of Desire.

Here I am, back again for the continuation of my trip through the beautiful Basque country. Who would have believed that at the very end of October it could have been so warm…23c and wall-to-wall sunshine. Of course I was … Continue reading

Posted in Nature, Pyrénées | 3 Comments

The Hidden Gorges

Today is part one of a trip into the peaceful and rural French Basque country. The Basque country of Spain seems to be much better known, unfortunately due to the association with the Basque Separatists and the Spain-ETA conflict in … Continue reading

Posted in Nature, Pyrénées | 2 Comments

Pilgrims and Plastic Virgins.

Where do I start? Being so close I decided to make a visit to Lourdes, a small town in the foothills of the Pyrénées. It is perhaps best known as a major Catholic pilgrimage site with millions visiting every year to the … Continue reading

Posted in Pyrénées | 4 Comments

“Un Bouchon”

It’s time to leave behind all of the pretty little towns and villages and to get back to nature! OK, so I’m driving, but to be able to enjoy the great outdoors I need to drive! I am NOT going … Continue reading

Posted in Nature, Pyrénées | 3 Comments

A trip around the Béarn

This was a day spent dodging the rain, but eventually it caught up with me. Thankfully I am on the western side in the Pyrénées Atlantiques. To the east on the Mediterranean side they have been experiencing massive deluges of … Continue reading

Posted in History, Pyrénées, Weather | 3 Comments

Taking a Break…

No, not from blogging, but having a small holiday 🙂 I am currently in Oloron-Sainte-Marie in the region of Béarn at the foot of the Pyrénées. It is only about 4h30 from home, so only a half-day drive. Maggie has … Continue reading

Posted in Pyrénées | 3 Comments

Summer’s Last Hurrah?

Well here we are, mid-October and it is 26c. Much needed rains have fallen for the first half of this month and everywhere looks refreshed and invigorated. The weeds are making up for the heatwaves of summer and the grass … Continue reading

Posted in Local travels, Nature, Weather | 2 Comments

Just Maggie

Well, I am getting fed-up with my dad cos he never seems to let me have a say on what goes into this blog! Anyway, he’s in the garden pottering about so I thought I’d have a go at this … Continue reading

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Reluctant Storm

Eighty-eight of France’s 95 metropolitan départéments are currently dealing with strict water restrictions after the hottest summer on record in many parts of l’Héxagone. Mid-September and temps are still into the 30’s and to say that the ground is parched … Continue reading

Posted in Garden, Sky, Weather, Wildlife | 2 Comments

Winterising!

I don’t know if it’s even a word but this is what I had done to the car yesterday. It was due a service and revision of  the computer and so on (all too technical for me), and seeing as … Continue reading

Posted in History, Local travels | Leave a comment

Climate Change

I suppose it was bound to happen. Summer just can’t last for ever, nor would I want it to, but as we left August behind, September greeted us with strange looking grey skies developing into a soaking, fine rain, and … Continue reading

Posted in Nature, Seasons, Sky, Weather | 2 Comments

Signs

It doesn’t seem possible that we are into the last week of August….Already? I can’t bear to think that it will be turning autumnal so very soon. It gives me a certain feeling of melancholy. The signs are there that … Continue reading

Posted in Nature, Seasons, Sky, Wildlife | 3 Comments

Head in the clouds

The last heatwave in July was really unbearable at times. There were days when it reached 40c+ and I felt as though every ounce of energy had been sapped from me, leaving me lethargic and almost unable to function. I … Continue reading

Posted in Sky, Weather | 1 Comment

Boiled or Baked?

As I sit here on a quiet and very pleasant Sunday afternoon, enjoying my lunch and a glass of a very fine chilled rosé under the shade of the gazebo, I am looking out over the garden, or what is … Continue reading

Posted in Seasons | 8 Comments

Eclipsing the pique-nique

Common at this time of year are the many small local events; picnic’s, music evenings, night markets, concerts, quizzes, brocantes, exhibitions, fairs…in fact almost any excuse you can think of to have a ‘get-together’ and for communities to just get … Continue reading

Posted in Local travels, Sky | 4 Comments

That was our National Day!

The sun shone on the festivities and it seems that a very good time was had by everyone…all 300+ of us. Kick-off was midday and within minutes the wine was flowing, people were mingling and chatting, handshakes and kisses were … Continue reading

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Our National Day

There is a quiet busyness in the village this morning. Sundays are usually even more sleepy than usual but today there is a low rumble of trucks and vehicles around the village green where tables and benches are being set … Continue reading

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If Wordsworth was French…

‘I wandered lonely as a cloud That floats on high o’er vales and hills, When all at once I saw a crowd, A host, of golden …… Sunflowers!’ I am sure that William Wordsworth would have been moved to write … Continue reading

Posted in Flowers, Village | 2 Comments