A fashionista in the south of France

Written by on 05/08/2014 in Blog with 0 Comments

I moved from fast moving , roller coastering, shoulder padding wearing London to sleepy , parochial, rural, wine making, dungaree wearing (well not quite) Languedoc Roussillon – (note to self – please shoot me if I do start wearing dungarees). Actually if I am being honest here and without wishing to offend anyone, I did go down that slippery slope of Croc wearing but fortunately a little bit of the old fashionista pushed her way back in and I mostly sport, pretty Monsoon Flip-flops

But I digress. This place ROCKS in the summer – I don’t even know where to start! Despite the tourists there are so many places to go that you never feel hemmed in.  As well as the stunning obvious places such as Narbonne,  Lagrasse and of course the heritage site that is Carcassonne, on offer are the awesome Cathar Castles , rivers, lakes and beaches to spread yourselves out on. On top of that there are festivals, concerts, ‘Son and Lumière’ shows and markets (both night and day) to choose from. Or you can try your hand at scuba diving, snorkeling and a whole plethora of other water orientated sports such as kayaking and just bouncing on inflatables at the lake near Carcassonne city.

You can spend lots of money or as little money as you like. I, being ever so thrifty (no not mean, thrifty) tend to seek out charming spots that are nature’s own free gift.

My absolute most favourite place in the world (at any time of the year) is a place called Ribaute.

The River Orbieu flows through this tiny sleepy village on its way from Lagrasse further up  in the Corbieres – most people drive pass by Ribaute on their way to Lagrasse (voted ‘one of the most beautiful villages in France’ – they have a number of these celebrated villages in France!) But when you look down you can’t help but gasp at the beauty of the deliciously calm flowing river (perfect for doing some decent swimming) before it descends it to a series of mini cascades and rock pools (perfect for little ones to dip their fishing nets in to catch the tiddlers) and then it descends further, where the braver ones (any one over the age of 10 and not me) dive into a deeper pool.

Take a picnic, set up camp under the trees and it’s all there, something for everyone, the perfect Enid Blyton day. Of course it is very popular so on busier days I seek out other beauty spots on other tributaries, often difficult to find, (and my little secrets!)

Every Friday night during Summer, in many villages, the Mayor provides (no – let me rephrase that, the tax payers provide) free entertainment; sometimes open air cinema, often musicians and singers. Last night’s piece de resistance in my little village of Ferrals Les Corbieres was the annual return of the infamous Plumes de Nuit – described as Music Hall comedy. The tiny village square was crammed with every single inhabitant sitting on their plastic chairs watching passively whilst the dance troupe shook their booty (and there was plenty of that) and changed more times than I could count into sequins, sparkles , feathers and glitter. They sang (ok) danced (really badly) and didn’t manage to do one routine together in time.  The ‘past his sale by date’ trombonist was flat and off tone and a terrible dancer. There should be a law against men with man boobs wearing tight black t shirts, which was only just a tiny bit more horrible than his gold lamé onesy in the Finale.

On a good point there was not one bit of cellulite to be seen and we had plenty of opportunity to look – oh and you could bring your own wine (well we sneaked a bottle in). My companion (a friend from London whose wife was back in the safety of our house with my husband looking after the children) was waiting in anticipation for a costume malfunction as happened last year but alas that wasn’t to be. We stayed till the bitter end and came home vowing (as we did last year) to NOT come next year ….but as time goes on, the memories fade into just pretty kitsch camp feathery images and whilst I am still not convinced  that the main singer wasn’t a man, I am pretty sure I will be back again next year!!  After all – it’s free!!

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