Category Archives: Occitanie

Sorèze and Revel, Great Day Trips from Toulouse, Episode 156

Sorèze and Revel: Great Day Trips from Toulouse (or Carcassonne)


Toulouse is a great place to come stay for a few days because not only is it a lovely city, but once you’re here, there are a lot of great places you can visit as day trips.  Most of those day trips around Toulouse require a car, and such is the case with the one we’re discussing today: Sorèze and Revel: Great Day Trips from Toulouse (or Carcassonne)

Other great day trips around Toulouse: Carcassonne, Albi, Figeac, Carla-Bayle

Places mentioned in this episode: Saint-Felix de Lauragais, Sorèze, Revel, Saint-Ferréol Lake, Lac de Belleserre, Aeroscopia near Toulouse

Would you like to tour France with Annie and Elyse? Visit Addicted to France to choose an upcoming tour.

 What You Will Learn About in this Episode

  • 2’ 03 This Join Us in France episode 156 aboutSorèze and Revel: Great Day Trips from Toulouse (or Carcassonne)
  • 4’ Annie and Elyse argue about how to say the name “Revel” + the lake of Saint-Ferréol.
  • 6’ The Lauragais area with rolling hills. A wheat-growing area, villages on the top of hills.
  • 7’22 The first place you get to on our drive is Saint-Felix de Lauragais
  • 8’38 Revel is a small town of around 10,000 people, which makes it a small city by French standards
  • 9’50 Furniture-making in the Lauragais: they make good quality copies of classic French furniture styles
  • 10’40 Biscuiteries and cookie makers in the Lauragais
  • 11’20 One of the main reasons to visit Revel is to visit the Saturday Market. Revel is a “bastide” with an old covered market with a belfry at its center
  • 13’44 Weighing stones at the Revel Market
  • 16’ There is a great bakery in Revel, they make lovely “croustade” with apples and lemon. They call it “pastel” there
  • 18’30 The Montagne Noire in the Lauragais
  • 19’20 The village of Sorèze, a town founded in the 700s and famous for its “Abbaye-école de Sorèze”. Hughe Auffrey is a French singer who attended this school
  • 25’20 Dom Robert the Benedictine Monk who became a tapestry artist, the museum in Sorèze specializes in tapestries because of him
  • 27’ When is a good time to visit Sorèze to enjoy the artist colony side of things? There are craft fairs in the summer, try to
  • 27’30 There is a small glass museum in Sorèze because there is a history of glass-makers who lived in the woods long ago
  • 30’ The Saint-Ferréol Lake: Annie hates it, Elyse likes it, we’ll let you be the judge and let us know in the comments! This lake was created by Pierre-Paul Riquet to help bring water to the Canal du Midi to help it enough water in the canal year-round.
  • 35’15 Why Annie hates the Saint-Ferréol Lake
  • 39’ There is another, more wild lake nearby also: Lac d’en Brunet (or Lac de Belleserre)
  • 43’30 Aeroscopia Museum in Toulouse

There are gems of architecture and history in areas of France that never get any love or attention from travel writers. We’re not shy about loving the South-West and share gems that will take you to the heart of France off the beaten track.

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Visiting Southern France in Winter, Episode 148

My guest today is Christine Hegerty from Australia, and she joins me today to talk about visiting Southern France in winter. They started their trip in Nice and exited the country via the Basque Country, so they really went all the way across.

What is it like in France in the winter? Are the weather conditions good enough for touring? Aren’t most attractions closed? Christine answers all my questions and brings a lot of zest and astute observations about visiting southern France in winter.

Places Mentioned in this Episode: Nice, Toulouse, Aix-en-Provence, Marseille, Nîmes, Pont du Gard, Uzès, Montpellier, Carcassonne, Mirepoix, Forges de Pyrène, Grotte de Niaux, Foix, Camon (09), Rennes-le-Château, Carla-Bayle, Grotte du Mas d’Asil, Toulouse,  Albi and the Toulouse-Lautrec Museum, Cordes-sur-Ciel, Moissac, Bordeaux, San-Sebastian, New Caledonia.

Would you like to tour France with Annie and Elyse? Visit Addicted to France to choose an upcoming tour.

Visiting France in winter, Christine and husband

Visiting Southern France in Winter, Episode 148

Episode Highlights with Timestamps

  • [7’15] Why did you choose to come to France in the winter?
  • [8’50] What sort of weather did you encounter?
  • [10’30] Flying into Nice instead of Paris
  • [12’30] Finding accommodations where we could park a car + using a car elevator in Toulouse
  • [15′] A lovely cooking class in Nice
  • [22′] Panisse and Socca, food specialties from Nice
  • [23′] Aix-en-Provence and Marseille by Regional Bus
  • [24′] Cours Mirabeau, Les Deux Garçons, and the Christmas Market in Aix-en-Provence
  • [24’45] A day in Marseille: Musée d’Histoire de Marseille, great street for restaurants, rue Sainte, lunch at Les Echevins (best steak ever says John!),
  • [28’30] Walking tour with a volunteer greeter, meeting on Quai des Belges in Marseille, a look at the Mirror Pavilion by Foster
  • [30′] Musée Archéologique de Marseille in Le Panier
  • [31’45] Marseille City Greeters
  • [33’06] Lovely Tea House called Cup of Tea, tea shop and book shop
  • [34′] Great food in Marseille, and not just Bouillabaisse!
  • [35′] The realities of planing a trip from home vs. taking the trip: cutting things out
  • [36′] Worries about leaving luggage in the car and Annie’s recommendation about that
  • [37’48] Two nights in Nîmes and what they loved about it: les Arênes de Nîme, la Maison Carrée
  • [39′] Carré d’Art by Norman Foster in Nîmes, a great place for photography, among other things
  • [40′] Stumbling Upon a light show projected on the Maison Carrée in Nîmes. This happens a lot around Christmas, not just in Nîmes, but in other French cities too.
  • [42′] Around Christmas is busy for people, but tourist attractions are empty.
  • [43′] Pont du Gard and getting lost looking for it. Don’t set your GPS to the village called Vers-Pont-du-Gard. Set your GPS to either the attraction called Pont du Gard OR the village of Remoulins or Collias.
  • [46′] Lunch at Uzès on Place  Aux Herbes, great place to spend a couple of hours.
  • [47′] Tour Magne, Le Jardin de la Fontaine, le Temple de Diane in Nîmes
  • [48′] Montpellier, a large and charming city. Air B&B apartment that used to be a butcher’s shop for one night.
  • [50′] Musée du Vieux Montpellier, running into churches with Crêches and Santons, and
  • [50’30] More podcast listeners eating at L’Entrecôte, they should sponsor the show!
  • [52′] What’s nearby? Sète, Camargue
  • [53’30] Daylight hours are shorter in winter, fewer hours for touring.
  • [53’47] Christmas in Carcassonne, lunch at the Michelin Star at the Hôtel de la Cité, La Barbacane.
  • [57’39] Carcassonne is not busy and crowded in the winter, and certainly not on Christmas Day!
  • [58’33] The Christmas Market in Carcassonne.
  • [62′] Staying in Mirepoix for one week.
  • [65′] New Year’s Even in Mirepoix, le Réveillon de la Saint-Sylvestre with a group of all-French people who didn’t speak English! <–Funny
  • [68′] Typical New Year’s Eve celebrations in France
  • [72′] Attractions near Mirepoix: Montsegur (Cathat, hike), Les Forges de Pyrène (demonstrations of old techniques), Grotte de Niaux (painted caves), Foix (hike).
  • [78′] Most Beautiful Villages in France: Camon. Beautiful but completely empty this time of year. This is an obvious problem with visiting southern France in winter: many things are closed!
  • [80′] The Arriège is a part of France that doesn’t get a lot of tourists any time of the year, and in the middle of the winter, you have to find ways to keep busy.
  • [81′] Market Day in Mirepoix is Monday, the town comes to life. Visiting Rennes-le-Château, must read-up on the conspiracy theories. Pack a picnic!
  • [83′] Even in a remote part of France that is not very touristy, the food is quite good.
  • [84′] Visiting Carla-Bayle and the Grotte du Mas d’Asil on the way to Toulouse. Don’t go in the middle of the winter, it’s empty!
  • [86′] Toulouse is like a small little Paris, a lot of life, even in the middle of the winter.
  • [88′] Going to Albi and the Toulouse-Lautrec Museum, Cordes-sur-Ciel (Cordes is also dead in the winter!)
  • [89′] Museums in Toulouse: Natural History Museum, Musée Saint-Raymond, Basilique Saint-Sernin, Musée des Augustins, Musée des Abatoirs, Les Jacobins where Saint-Thomas Aquinas is buried.
  • [91′] Which Toulouse Cloister is nicest: Jacobins or Augustins?
  • [93′] General observation about French Museums: they are well curated.
  • [94′] Go to the big open-air food market in Toulouse (Marché du Cristal, 33 boulevard de Strasbourg), every morning.
  • [97′] WizEat in Toulouse and the Toulouse accent.
  • [100′] Stop in Moissac to visit the chruch with beautiful cloister–but the cloister was closed on a Saturday morning (again, an issue with visiting southern France in winter).
  • [102′] Bordeaux: swapping the red stone of Toulouse for the white stone of Bordeaux.
  • [104′] The shopping areas were busy in Bordeaux (probably due to sales coming up, people like to “stake-out” the stores where they want to go back on the day when sales start.
  • [104’30] Attractions in Bordeaux: Saint-André Cathedral, Flea Market near the Saint-Michel Church, Marché des Capucins (covered market).
  • [115′] Instead of walking to the Cité du Vin, they took a ferry which gave them a great perspective on the city.
  • [118′] For a great view, go up the Tour Saint-Andrée, fantastic at sunset time.
  • [118’40] Another great thing to do at dusk in Bordeaux is to go to Place de la Bourse to see the water mirror.
  • [120′] Taking the bus between Bordeaux and Saint-Sebastian. They used OuiBus and had a good experience. The bus took them through several cities between Bordeaux and Saint-Sebastian and they enjoyed seeing them briefly. Christine recommends taking the bus.
  • [126′] New Caledonia, also in France, even though it’s close to Australia.

Conclusion

Visiting southern France in winter can be a wonderful experience with a little planning and some awareness of peculiarities of rural France in winter. Christine shares some great insights, listen close if you’re planning a similar trip!

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Tour the South West of France, Episode 147

Tour the South West of France with your friends from the Join Us in France Travel Podcast. And if you’d rather do it solo, we tell you about the places you must be sure to visit because we’re nice and we like you!

If you like this episode, also listen to Episode 43 on Saint-Cirq-Lapopie and Episode 62 on Cahors, and Episode 78, a Trip Report that includes some of the same places.

Would you like to tour France with Annie and Elyse? Visit Addicted to France to choose an upcoming tour.

Places mentioned in this episode: Toulouse, Aeroscopia, Airbus, Bonrepos-Riquet, Carcassonne, Mirepoix, Albi, Cordes-sur-Ciel, Château de Saurs, Cahors, Saint-Cirq-Lapopie, Puycelsi, Penne, Bruniquel, Saint-Antonin-Noble-Val.

Tour the South West of France, Episode 147

Tour the South West of France, ornamental bicycle

Episode Highlights

      • [53”] Thank you Patreon Supporters! New installment of Lunch-Break French.
      • [1’56] Resources to Get Started in French: Duolingo App, Coffee Break French, Lawless French.
      • [2’46] Extended Show Notes will be out within a few days
      • [5’15] Related Episodes: Episode 43 on Saint-Cirq-Lapopie and Episode 62 on Cahors in the Lot
      • [6’] Annie’s Personal Update: How Easter works in France
      • [7’10] I invite you to connect with me and the Join Us in France community on Facebook.
      • [7’55] Start Annie and Elyse Conversation
      • [8’25] Tour the South West of France with Annie and Elyse!
      • [10’14] Visit Aeroscopia and Airbus
      • [10’44] The Tour will also take us to the Pierre-Paul Riquet Château (Bonrepos-Riquet)
      • [11’08] Carcassonne and Mirepoix
      • [11’39] The tour will take us to Albi
      • [12’] Cordes-sur-Ciel
      • [12’40] Wine Tasting at the Château de Saurs
      • [13’] Informal French Class
      • [14’31] Cahors and Saint-Cirq-Lapopie
      • [14’55] Why We Can Only Have 7 People
      • [16’40] Introduction to Puycelsi, Penne and Bruniquel
      • [18’36] Puycelsi
      • [22’51] La Forêt de Grésigne
      • [26’13] The War Against the Cathars, Raymond VI and Baudouin de Toulouse
      • [29’38] Glass-making in this area
      • [30’56] Small Place Yet Full of History
      • [32’27] Next Stop: the Village of Bruniquel
      • [35’34] Bruniquel and Queen Brunehilde
      • [43’40] Stop in Penne if Time Permits
      • [44’53’] Last stop of the day in Saint-Antonin-Noble-Val
      • [50’] The Hundred Foot Journey Was Shot in Saint-Antonin-Noble-Val
      • [52’15] A Day Tour of the Medieval Riches of Gorgeous Villages Near Toulouse
      • [52’43] All the details of the tour the south west of france with Annie and Elyse  are on Addicted to France

Conclusion

Thinking about going beyond Paris and seeing the rest of France? A great place to start is the South West, aka Occitanie. France is a big country and those who look outside of major attractions are rewarded with sweet, genuine experiences of France. Whether you join this tour or decide to travel solo, Puycelsi, Bruniquel, and Saint-Antonin-Noble-Val are places you need to put on your list.

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