Skip to main content

Planning Our Next Visit to the Languedoc

We have forgone our annual visit to our little village house in Cazouls-les-Beziers this year. It was a difficult decision but one must eat and, if this one is to eat, this one must work. Besides, we have special plans for the spring of 2010.


Pictured at niece Maggie's graduation from Bryn Mawr are, from left to right, wife Cathey, brother-in-law and Maggie's dad Paul, Maggie, Cathey's sister and Maggie's mom Connie, Connie's twin Liz, and Liz's partner Sharon.

When the twinnies turned 50 (we call them twinnies), Connie hosted a birthday bash in her home in Houston. We decided that to celebrate the twinnies' 60th birthday, we'd host them in France. Just Connie and Paul, Liz, and me and Cathey. After much checking of schedules and a series of long-range negotiations, we settled on the last two weeks of May. The weather should be beautiful - daytime highs about 70F, lows around 60F.

Have you ever traveled in a group in a foreign country? Not a tour group. I'm talking about a group of intelligent, curious, related adults including three sisters each of whose middle name is Drama. (That may sound a bit extreme but I'll stand by it.) There's a simple way to deal with it, really. Obvious. You have to treat your time together as though you ARE on tour. You just can not wake up in the morning wondering what you are going to be doing that day. You have to have a plan...and not a plan drawn up by committee. You have to have a tour leader.

Me.

Every minute of every day will not be carefully planned. Oh, no. But out of our fourteen day stay there will be outlines for at least ten of them. Here are some examples:

Light breakfast, drive to Domaine La Croix-Belle for a lengthy tasting and to stock up on wine, home for a light lunch, second tasting at Chateau Cazal Viel, home to freshen up, dinner at Auberge de la Croisade - a fine restaurant in the country along the Canal du Midi.

Light breakfast, drive to Sete to give the girls a taste of Mediterranean oysters for lunch, back through Beziers to shop at Au Marchon for any houseware needs we discover and for groceries. Home for a light dinner.

Full breakfast, free day for the boys, the girls cook dinner for our Brit friends from Capestang.

Light breakfast, day trip to Albi - home of Lautrec, find a place for lunch, home late for a light dinner.

That may sound like a very loose schedule but it's really not. The tasting rooms of vineyards are not necessarily open every day, their schedules are seasonally adjusted, and they usually are closed for a long lunch. Lunch is served from noon to 2:00 PM in the countryside and if you show up at 1:45 you won't be seated.

So there are rules, a framework to follow. It works. I know. We've done it. You should try it next time. It works better than trying to herd cats.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

CHÉ OLIVE / LE ZINC, CREISSAN: RESTAURANT REVIEW

No, it's not Chez Olive. It is indeed Ché complete with red star and black beret. I have no idea why and I wasn't about to ask. The French are the French and not to be analyzed too closely when it comes to politics, especially these days.

Creissan is the next town over from our village of Quarante. We pass through it often and Ché Olive is right there on the main road at the entrance to town. (One of the signs still says Le Zinc. Olive says he prefers Ché Olive though.) Olive opened it a couple of years ago after leaving the Bar 40, Quarante's basic local watering hole that's undergone a bit of a renaissance lately. We hadn't heard much about Ché Olive from our usual sources for dining recommendations. So we just kept passing by. For reasons not central to this review, we decided to stop in for lunch on a mid-week in late December.

The bar is cozy, the restaurant open and bright and modern. Newly renovated and perhaps a bit sterile. We were the first…

RESTAURANT TEN, UZES: RESTAURANT REVIEW

Ten sits just off the market square in Uzes, one of the prettiest villages in southern France. The newly renovated space is airy and comfortable with tables of sufficient size and sufficiently spaced to provide for a pleasant dining experience. Service was cheerful, fully bilingual, and attentive without being overbearing. The food presented well to both eye and tongue. And the rate of approximately 30€ per person for a party of five included starters, mains, a dessert or two, two bottles of local wine, and coffees at the finish. Reasonable if not cheap eats. 

So why am I hesitant to give an unqualified thumbs up?  It took me a while to figure it out.

Uzes is a quintessentially French village in a quintessentially French region of southern France. There are those who will say that the Languedoc is just as beautiful but less crowded and less expensive than its eastern neighbors. I know. I'm one of those people. But the fact remains that for many people, villages like Uzes are their v…

CHRISTMAS WALK TO VIEW OF THE PYRENEES: 2018

Cathey said that it was OK for me to take my usual Tuesday morning walk on Christmas Day. I could help set the table and perform other minor tasks necessary for a satisfactory Christmas dinner with friends after I returned. So off I went. Temperature 40℉ at the start near sunup. 50℉ at the finish a couple of hours later. No wind. Blue skies. This was the winter that I came to France for.

The walk can't really be called scenic. Just through the vines until you get to the headland opposite the village. But the closer that you get to the top, you begin to see the Pyrenees peeking through. And at the top, it's a 360° panorama.