Sunday, January 28, 2007
Attractions of the Arige
Here are the Pyrenees off in the distance, and some pictures of Mirepoix. The market square with its cover are center stage and the entire square has covered sidewalks. The architecture dates to 1200 and features the carved wooden gargoyles over the shop windows. Click on the photos to enlarge them.
We've been asked what drew us to this area, what the weather is like and how is our French coming along. I'm adding the photographs to help me explain the attraction to the area. With the rolling foothills covered with trees, it's reminisicent of Vermont and with the Pyrenees in the background, Montana. It's one of the least populated places in France with plenty of open space, farmland, cows, wild boars running around, yet it has many beautiful towns. It just felt good when we arrived in May, plus, we found we could afford some property here, unlike Provence or the Dordonge. Secondly, we ran into some wonderful people and it just seemed like there was no reason to go further afield.
The weather has been cold. We left cold, sunny Moab hearing about the unseasonably warm weather in southern France and the 71 degree days. We arrived to cold, gray skies, clouds everywhere and drifts from a recent blizzard. But it has cleared off and become sunny. Yet it remains colder than normal, or so we understand.
Our French? We haven't had much time to practice. Our estate agent, our hosts who have just gone back to England this morning, and most of the people we've met are British. And Nancy is American, so I'm only speaking English. Our French is not good but we have the company of others who are learning the language and are encouraged by their progress. I will say that we have learned enough to get the things we need at stores and restaurants. The test will come when we need to converse about plumbing, or carpentry or somesuch with a Frenchman who speaks no l'anglais.
Some of you have emailed us asking whether to comment directly on the blog or by email. The choice is yours, but if you post onto the blog, then everyone gets to join in on the 'conversation'. And don't worry about never having blogged before---we were total neophytes before jumping into this little venture. Now, off to Montseguer, the hotbed of history of the Cathars!