One of the wonderful outcomes of moving to a new country is discovering unexpected, beautiful areas and making new friends. August has brought me both of these joys. La Maison Blanche B&B has been a very busy place this Summer, and I have made loads of new friends with my guests arriving from all over Europe. I have been so lucky that the people I have had staying with me have been interesting, kind and respectful of other guests and cultures. We have enjoyed late suppers in the garden, under twinkly fairy lights and with music playing (I have yet to entice a musician here…. but I will!), endless talking about their worlds, families, friends and, very often, concerns. In a media driven world, where the Press seems intent on making everyone be scared of “strangers”, I can assure you, that in my experience, we are generally all the same, and kindness and laughter is an international language.
One of our evenings was spent in Limoux’s Fete de Fricassee! A fabulous evening celebrating this French Dish of stewed meat and white beans. The main road was closed to cars, and long trestle tables set up along side a stage. There were 13 of us English amongst a couple of hundred local French people, and we had a blast. The food was served by locals, a delicious Chicken Liver Salad, the famous Fricassee, a pudding, coffee and nougat, and local red wine by the jugful. All for 20 Euros! A singer accompanied us whilst we ate, and then a band played and we danced! Their stage was fashioned from a caravan…. It was like a transformer, the sides and front collapsed to make a performance area! What a cool idea and design. More dancing on the way home, as we espied a local bar still open…. with its own smoke machine and DJ. Quel chance pour nous! It was a truly memorable, warm, balmy, fun evening.
The Lake at Puivert has been another discovery for me. About a 40 minute drive into the Pyrenees, and just outside the small village of Puivert is the most beautiful Lake. It has a beach area, roped off swimming section and a wonderful lakeside café serving fresh salads and cold beers. The view of the surrounding mountains is stunning. You must add it to your wishlist of places to visit when you come.