Notre Maison en le Sud de la France

by dasimmons2016

Notre Maison en le Sud de la France

Bonjour from notre maison en le Sud de la France. Once I get this blog up and running, I plan to be more regular in posts. We have been dealing with a computer virus but think that is now fixed, thanks to Lindsay and Skype, both of whom kept working while other connections failed. And, I have been trying to understand the WordPress software.

We arrived as planned after picking up the rental car at Barcelona airport and driving through Spanish and French countryside to Saint Chinian. Here we met up with Andreas, the keeper of notre maison and font of all relative knowledge. Les Puits is just about as large are our townhouse in Victoria but we only really need the main floor, the upper levels being perfect for guests.

           9 quai Villenueve               Across the street and river

Notre maison faces onto a local road that runs along the edge of the little river, Le Vernazobres, that runs down from the local hills and has served Saint Chinian forever (centuries).

      Vernazobres River runs through Saint Chinian          IMG_2203

Supposedly, it never rains here but the night after our arrival it poured. On Monday morning when we looked out the front windows we were surprised to see a raging torrent of reddish-brown water roaring by and about three times its normal level.

                                               River height

The sun was shining again and the locals did not seem to be worried. Interestingly, the water was crystal clear and running at it usual brook-like level within a few days. And, in the pools upriver a bit, there are some quite nice-sized truit swimming about.

Market days here are Sunday and Thursday. Sunday is the big market – obviously not a big church community here although there is a big, old church. The vendors sell a plethora of fresh fruit, veggies, bread, olives, olive oil (did you know that France produces olive oil?), meat, fish, and clothes, purses, etc.

IMG_2217         IMG_2212

Dee bought her market basket on the first day in an effort to look more like a local, and it carries a lot of groceries!Then, after marketing, everyone stops at a cafe terrace for café créme.

                            IMG_2214a             IMG_2219
When we are not shopping at the market or the winery, we have close by a SPAR and an INTERMARCHÉ where Murray can buy beer and we can get other basic necessities.

Of course the vineyards are not far and in some areas they are abundant – grapes have all been harvested. Not as many vineyards as in Burgundy or Alsace. Apparently, the AOC (Appellation d’origine contrôlée) Saint Chinian wines are all blended, using Carignan, Cinsault, Grenache, Lledoner Plelut, Mourèdre and Syrah grapes that are grown here. Most of these we have never heard of. The Carignan grape is used in the making of red wines, while the Cinsault grape is better for the making of fruity rosé wines (Dee’s favourite).

               Cooperative                         IMG_2160

We made a visit to the Cave des Vignerons de Saint Chinian Cooperative – just up the road from notre maison where we had a tasting and bought a case of the Domaine Sorteilho rosé which is actually a Grenache/Syrah blend. Very tasty.

Au revoir for now.      

À bientôt de Notre Maison en le Sud de la France.

Deidre and Murray             Happy, happy!