Le Canal du midi

Welcome back me!

I haven’t added to this blog for such a long time. Lots of reasons but mainly life getting in the way!

However, spring is here and the days are getting lighter. But, above all, last night, I happened to come across on Channel 4, Great Canal Journeys Episode 3 – Canal du Midi.

In this bitter sweet programme ( because Pru has memory issues) husband and wife, Timothy West and Prunella Scales explored the most picturesque stretch of the Canal du Midi in the south of France, eating lamb’s brain fritters and drinking 200-year-old brandy! This particular stretch is one I feel I know so well with glimpses of Capestang, Béziers and l’étang du Thau. Watching the programme made me wish to be transported there immediately!

Lock at Villeneuve

Lock at Villeneuve

Capestang

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Vive la France!

My love affair with France started at the age of sixteen and has endured to this day, more than forty years later.

I am a total Francophile. I love the language, the food, the culture, the fashion, the wine and that’s just for starters!

With an anticipated move to France, on the horizon, I intend to share my passion for everything French and my prospective journey from suburban Surrey to lively Languedoc Roussillon.

Do I think France is perfect? Of course not! The French can be arrogant, chauvinistic and rude but equally, they can be charming, passionate and engaging. My first visit to France, an exchange trip to Paris, laid the foundations for my future studies and career. I also fell in love for the first time. Or thought I had! Gilles, a Marc Bolan look-alike, broke my heart but did not diminish my affection for his birthplace.

After a career teaching French and having lived, for two years, in France previously, I am beginning to plan for the next stage. As a student, I lived in Tours and a decade later, I exchanged my job in London for a collège in Metz.

However, it is the Canal du Midi that has stolen my heart. This UNESCO World Heritage site, joining the Mediterranean to the Atlantic, is where we (luckily, my husband loves France as much as I do!) hope to settle. Specifically, in or close to Capéstang. This where we are concentrating our search, although there are so many wonderful villages in the area.

We have already looked at some properties in between Narbonne and Beziers. I wonder if anyone reading this – hoping that someone might be! – is living or has lived in the area and can offer some suggestions.

For house hunters the power of the internet cannot be underestimated. I spend (waste?!) many happy hours reviewing property for sale in our chosen area and embarking on virtual tours. This saves considerable time and enables a shortlist to be drawn up prior to any visit to France.

In the meantime, I enjoy annual visits to France, reading blogs with a French focus and eating out in French restaurants. I also have a passion for French films! I endeavour to maintain my own language skills by attending a conversation class – if you don’t use it you lose it.

Through my blog, as well as being a personal record, I hope to make contact with fellow Francophiles and would love to read your thoughts and comments.