Did you know that there are over 150 villages which are officially recognised as being the most beautiful villages in France? Some of which I have been lucky enough to visit. However, we are still discovering beautiful places, on our travels through France, which we have never seen before.

When we drove from Tours to Castelnaudary, on the second day of our return, we came across a delightful place called Le Pont-Chrétien-Chabenet. It is a small village in central France, in the Indre region. We mainly stopped to give Zeph a walk, but I hope my photos will give you some idea of why I found it so enchanting.

Unfortunately, because we were travelling in October quite a few of the sites and cafés were closed but that didn’t diminish my pleasure in discovering a previously unknown place. I’m still learning about France even after all these years I have been visiting!

One of the reasons I love France so much is because of the language. I started learning French at school and I’m still learning now. This might sound a little strange coming from someone who has a French degree, taught French and lived in France for two years! However, language is always evolving which makes it so fascinating.

I didn’t remember – if I ever knew – what this object was called in English, let alone in French! This ‘sack trolley’ (other names may be available) was lent to us when we needed to purchase a new washing machine.

Apparently in French, this is known as a ‘chariot diable’. I’m familiar with the word chariot. I’ve always thought it sounded much more exciting than (shopping) trolley. However, diable is usually translated as ‘devil’…

Perhaps if anyone knows another name for this object, you could l let me know!

Another new phrase I have learnt is ‘le doggy-bag’! I had never come across either the concept, or the expression in France before.

We had a friend staying recently and decided to take him to our favourite local restaurant to sample the local speciality ‘cassoulet’.

This is a copious dish and we failed to finish our meal (except Mr FF!). I was surprised when we offered ‘le doggy bag’, especially as this had never happened before in this particular restaurant. On second thoughts, maybe that’s because we’ve always managed to clear our plates previously!

My research tells me that the French government are backing the ‘doggy bag’ initiative, in an effort to reduce food waste. A campaign has been launched to promote this approach but using the name ‘le gourmet bag’. Will it catch on? Watch this space!

We walk beside the Canal du Midi nearly every day, usually with Zeph. Can you spot him in the photo above?! We chose different sections and different directions for variety, although it is tempting to just go out of the back gate and on to the towpath. You never know what you will discover, in terms of animals and plants!

I love how the scenery changes with the seasons. The Canal du Midi is known for the beautiful plane trees that grow on either side, but many of these have already been felled as they have been attacked by a canker. However, much replanting has been done and is ongoing – more about this in a future post.

The other evening, I decided to capture some other plants that caught my attention during our evening walk. Unfortunately, I didn’t have my camera with me so had to rely on my phone. We saw wild teasels and umbrella plants. I was surprised by the latter because I have then in the UK but as houseplants.

I particularly liked the flowering rosemary and yucca plants, although the pampas grass and bullrushes have their own appeal, too.

This last ‘discovery’ is a bit of cheat because I can’t say I have only recently discovered some wonderful sunsets, whilst walking beside the Canal du Midi! However, I thought this sunset was particularly magnificent.

One of the best things about travel, whether it be local or to another country is discovering and learning something new, no matter how small. I hope you have enjoyed a little taste of my recent discoveries, here in SW France.