Towpaths and topiary in Tarn

We’re off on our travels again! We’ve headed down South to a dog/house sit in Languedoc. We took advantage of a couple of nights in Airbnbs en route and had the opportunity to visit Montauban, Gaillac, Albi and Mazamet. Since we arrived in France, we’ve been keeping an eye on the different départements that we pass through and had noticed that Tarn had somehow eluded us despite being entirely surrounded by départements we had already visited. You may or may not know that any self-respecting French person can tell you pretty much all the corresponding numbers of more than 100 départements in France. The numbers are reinforced by being the start of everyone’s postcode and the end of everyone’s car number plate. So Charente Maritime is 17 and Tarn is 81 (they are roughly alphabetical with some anomalies). Tarn takes us to 28 départements visited since we arrived…

Albi is the administrative capital and largest city in Tarn (named after the river that runs through it) and Zanna has always raved about it so we thought we’d better pop by and take a look. We were not disappointed. Despite it being a rainy day, the town looked stunning with medieval architecture and quaint streets overlooking the Tarn river. We took this picture from the gardens surrounding the Toulouse-Lautrec Museum.

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We’ve always been a bit fascinated by the Canal du Midi having watched Rick Stein’s show and Prunella Scales & Timothy West as they took a barge down the canal. The flat scenic walks appeal to me (not so much the idea of the water) but Rich loves all the fish and bird life found around the canals. We have been searching for that quintessential canal view of tree-lined straight peaceful water stretching as far as the eye can see. We’ve not found the exact shot we’re after yet, but we’ve only just begun our explorations. What’s your idea of the perfect canal image?

 

I’m sure as the seasons change, so too will the views. Watch this space…

I’ll leave you with a photo I snapped this morning (getting up a lot earlier at the moment to let the dogs out has its benefits when you see a sunrise like this).

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À bientôt, bisous.

Sea crossings, sandwiches and snow!

We took the ferry from Caen to Portsmouth for a week in the UK to see family. We had a lovely few days with Rich’s mum and then ventured to Wales for my sister’s 50th birthday weekend.

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On the way to the ferry in France we stopped for lunch in Le Mans and enjoyed a stroll around the old quarter and past the Mairie…

Rich took some amazing photos in Wales while the champagne afternoon tea was being set up.

Everyone pitched in to make it a memorable occasion: showstopper cake by Polly; signature coffee and walnut cake by Janet; technical challenge scones by Helen; delicious caramel bites by Zoe; designer decorations by Jay & Shaun and everyone helped with the clearing away and washing up afterwards! Entertainment was provided by Evie & her friend. Jane did a great speech of 50 things she has done in her 50 years. A good time was had by all (except maybe my cousin who arrived but then was promptly confined to bed all weekend)!

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After a smooth ferry crossing back to France and a drive back to Charente Maritime, we woke the next morning to SNOW!

Apart from venturing out to get a baguette for lunch and to get fresh milk, we are now hunkered down in the cosy flat while the snow falls. We think this is the first real snow we have experienced since Christmas 2005 in the UK so it’s a bit of a novelty. I’m just so grateful it didn’t really get going until after we had finished our major journeys.

Hope you are all staying warm and dry wherever you are.

À bientôt, bisous.