Art Holiday Accommodation in SW France Details

Sunday 3 November 2013


She's 50!

"She" being my sister in law - not the dog. 
The dog's name is Polo. 
It's her dog. 
Her name is name is Carol Baker and she lives in England. 
I don't think she'll see this blog. 
I hope not anyway because she turns 50 on Christmas day. 
(Just to be clear, it's Carols birthday and not the dog's.) 
And this is her present. 
"POLO for CAROL on her 50th. Bisous. Ray & Lynne"

Monday 14 October 2013


It was cold, clear and beautiful.
What a great idea. Lynne suggested a last walk before we take off for Vietnam and Australia.

Two and a half hours from Mezin to Loudonvielle where we spent the night in the campervan.

Then a six hour walk.

Quite strenuous for old codgers - a few of the climbs were straight up and would have made
Tenzing Norgay think twice.

Rewarded with spectacular views.

Back on terra firma.

Can't overlook the chance to sketch a romanesque church.

Then we had lunch and drove home.

My sketch of the church of Saint Felix.

Sunday 29 September 2013



Out of the blue one day, I had a sudden  rush of blood to the head.
Then all I had to do was talk Lynne into thinking what a fantastic idea I'd had. 
So I asked her what she thought about walking along the Mediterranean coast from  France into Spain. 
Fortunately she also thought it was a great idea.
So we started at Collioure on the Cote Vermeille (immortalised by the Post Impressionists and the Fauves) and finished at Cadaques (where both Picasso and Dali lived for a while in the nineteen thirties). 
Well, although Via Michelin gives the walking distance as around 60 kilometres, it took us four days which means only about 15 kilometers per day, staying at cheap hostels in Banyules sur Mer, Port Bou and Port de la Selva.
But there are lots of ups and downs as the GR 92 coastal path winds through and around dozens of bays, beaches and coves and climbs over numerous headlands and cliffs. Each one is higher than the last and all are much, much higher than Mount Everest. 
Anyway we made it and caught a bus and two trains back to our campervan in France. And we were both right - it was a wonderful walk and a fantastic experience.

A spritely start for  a couple of old codgers.

Breaching the coastal defences.

Maybe a boat would have been a better option.

It's a long way from the last bar - and even further to the next.

Still not a drinking hole in sight.

Hang on - that looks like one in the distance.

But it's still  a long way to go.

And there's always another mountain to climb.

Real hard yakka - whose stupid idea was this?.

Can't be long now.

Hope he stops grumbling now that we know where we're going.

Let's hope it's the last uphill.

Thank God!
Next stop: the first bar in Cadaques.

Then back to where it all started: Chateau Royal in Collioure.

Saturday 21 September 2013


The wonderful Renaissance stained glass windows in Auch cathedral - some say they're the most important ones in France after Chartres.

This could be something worth having to eat on the train to Paris tomorrow.

Yes! In case we get peckish, let's buy some of these French delicacies to take with us.

This is the signpost in Mezin showing the way to Compostela in far western Spain.
Only 1059 kilometers. Perhaps we should only walk a little of the way.

On our short walk - outside the west portal of the church of St Jean Baptiste in Mezin.

A little further along our route. (We're actually walking back to The Mill, but we're following
the official pilgrim's way which goes in the same direction for a few kilometers)

Almost back at The Mill in Poudenas.

Team shot on our last night in the dining room at The Mill. We're on our way to 
dinner at a restaurant in Sos.

And here's the TGV to take us to Paris. 
Bon voyage. 
Bon continuation. 
Bon fin de vacances.
Bon retour. 
A bientot. 
We hope to see you again one day.

Thursday 19 September 2013


Here we are at the famous medieval wine centre of St Emilion in the heart of the Bordeaux winelands.
The reason we're here is because this is the biggest wine making area in the world. Oh, and you may have noticed that we don't mind a drink.

And this is us waiting for the first course in the square just outside the underground church.
We quite like tasting things too.

The TWO LYNNES in the kitchen at The Mill.

On the ramparts next to a watchtower in the river port of Vianne.

Seven pigeonniers taken in the salon at La Petite Galerie - just waiting for the Guggenheim or the Louvre to phone - and the best offer gets them.

This is what it's all about: Lynne (of Cooking with Lynne fame) preparing  'poussins au citron' in the kitchen at The Mill.

Many hands make light work for another lavish meal where everyone lends a hand.

The eternal attraction of millinery at Eauze market.
(If you want to get ahead get a hat).

Jean Ladeveze explaining all about Armagnac with a little help from Lynne.
In the foreground is all the stuff there is to taste.

Yes, another tasting - this time it's Floc, then Port, then a few glasses of Armaganc.

Madeleine and Jean Ladeveze, reputedly the best Armagnac maker in the area - and something rare and special to take home to some special person in Australia.

(Another day to go, so come back for more pictures soon)

Monday 16 September 2013


This is the 12th century Cistercian Abbaye de Flaran where a hunting festival 
and mass is held once a year.
Everyone who is anyone in this part of southwest France goes to be seen - and so did we.
So many different breeds of dogs we lost count.
When we're good we're really, really good. 
Here we all are at the mass in the abbey - with the hunters and one of their hunting dogs - and their trumpets which they played deafeningly loudly.
But when we're bad, we're really, really bad. 
Here we are at the Chateau Monluc at St Puy the next day.
We're on an EARLY MORNING sparkling wine tasting jaunt. While we were there, we used the occasion to also try several other tasty things: dry white wine and sweeter white wine, and the special Pousse Rapiere spirit and sparkling pink wine cocktail that the Chateau is famous for.
Here we are with the guide - an earful of history and culture is compulsory
before they let you loose on the wine.
Here we are in the cellar, desperate to get on to the tasting.
On our way out of the cellars, looking forward to you know what.
Good grief - a holdup. 
Damn, we've been stopped on the way for another team photo.
At last the tasting has started. (It's 11.00am, remember)
A few drinks and we're anybody's.

But there's also some hard yakka involved. Here we are toiling away with our watercolour paintings
of a nearby pigeonnier.

More pics soon... come back for another look.