Amanda on October 1st, 2007
Morning Mists

Morning Mists

Mellow October is upon us. Mornings are characterised by swirling valley mists that mask little villages and swallow the vineyards. From my balcony, high above the floor of the glorious river Lot, I look down on meringue confections as elaborate as any you would see in the pâtisserie. It is these same mists that on the banks of the nearby Ciron River induce the alchemy known as Noble Rot, a fascinating and benevolent fungus that ultimately produces a delectable form of liquid gold, Sauternes. No such process is required here, and the richly purple grapes must be gathered quickly to concoct our own local brew, dark, delicious Cahors. The harvesters are out all day and well into the evening, tractors with fully laden trailers creak round the hairpin bends leaving small grape slicks in their wake. Read More »

Autumnal French Life from French Life

Amanda on November 1st, 2006
Chrysanthemums

Chrysanthemums

The last few days of October were as hot and balmy as August, the markets were thronged with visitors and full of flowers. Great clumps of chrysanthemums in purple, white, crimson and gold jostled against rank upon rank of pierrot-faced violas and armfuls of more exotic blooms, a wonderful sight which brought out a rash of resident artists.

November came in with a deadly northeasterly and brought a sudden drop in temperatures. From a pleasant mid-afternoon twenty-five degrees to a perishing early-morning minus one. The lemon trees were hurriedly moved to their winter quarters and in Cahors the plane trees shivered and dropped fifty percent of their leaves in forty-eight hours. The vines glowed red, then rust and finally a golden yellow. Soon they’ll take on their winter persona and be no more than stark silhouettes against the winter skyline. Read More »

Crisp, Cold and Sunny in the Quercy from French Life