January 2013 newsletter
In this newsletter, we share with you details, photos and recipes from our recent trip to France;
have accommodation updates and places for sale in, plus stats about, the beautiful Dordogne;
tell you about French exhibitions here; and provide facts as well as articles about French food.
A la prochaine
Sharon et David
PS: If reading this newsletter inspires you to take a trip to, and/or buy property in, France, why
not come join our next property purchasing tour late Sept - trying to finalise numbers NOW.
See Thursday's Global Village? seaside resort stop on our tour featured, Les Sables d'Olonne.
Christmas scenes, winter wonder + new sites
What a magical time to be in France: December in the lead up to Noel. We have been in winter before but only post Christmas. Our most recent trip during this time was very special - nearly every town had Xmas markets, timber chalet stalls with other festivities surrounding them, mostly kids' activities like ice skating rinks and fun fairs. There was also plenty of marron (roasted chestnuts) and vin chaud stands as well as Pere Noels everywhere to be found - in our town of Isle sur la Sorgue, for their Festival of Lights which was on the day we arrived, a brass band of Santas wandered through the streets playing carols. Lyon's famous Festival of Lights was amazing to be at especially staying at Le Royal hotel right on the main square across from the lit ferris wheel. We rode the ferris wheel in Paris from where we first set eyes on the Champs Xmas village/markets which lined both sides of this famous street (including a flying Santa with sleigh) between the Concorde and Grand Palais. We could see another Paris icon, Notre Dame, through our hotel room roof window which when we awoke was covered in snow - also making our Paris stop memorable was an accordion player and crepe.
This trip we ventured to parts of the south west of France we hadn't seen before:
Carcassonne is just as amazing as the images you see, if not better as the photos don't give you an appreciation of the great cobblestoned old streets within the fortress walls or the wonderful town below. Our hotel was formerly a church palace in the old city and our upgraded room had a terrace overlooking the fortress walls and lower town.
Lourdes was an interesting stop, where French girl Bernadette with her sheep saw Mary in a grotto which now has an ornate church over it where the religious proceed with candles up to and the sick (malades) seek to be healed by it and its waters.
The impressively expansive and hauntingly beautiful Pyrenees mountains can be seen in the distance all the way from Toulouse to Pau as well as when crossing the border into Spain. We headed up one of these snow capped peaks on a most pleasant country drive to go skiing but when we got to the gondola start we found that it was too windy so we made a snowperson instead and enjoyed a meal at a nearby thermal spa village.
Read all our facebook trip posts (Dec) and/or see our photos plus recent Paris snow shots. More on the new towns and places above next month.
Gorgeous stone Dordogne properties for sale
The Dordogne region in the southwest of France is a popular region for many reasons including its beautiful river and surrounding villages. One of only five regions in France to experience property price increases last year, albeit slight. In the ten years pre-GFC, Dordogne prices rose 120% - so now may be a good time to buy while prices are stable.
Platine members (those who have our workbook) can see the 2012 French real estate institute's price review in the stats section of their website.
One Dordogne place we have for sale at present is
a three bedroom, beautiful 17/18th century stone house with courtyard in the heart of the bastide town of Monpazier, a national heritage site:
Another on the left bank of the Dordogne, near black Perigord, has just had its price reduced by 10,000 euro to 160,000. This large stone house in the village of Siorac has an attractive facade with balcony, walled courtyard entrance, 2 fireplaces and is divided into multi dwellings with options:
Updates + specials for French accommodation
Maison Poitiers is in the Dordogne and the owners as well as running it as a B&B, are now making the whole of this beautifully renovated place available for rent (3 or 5 bedrooms) from $1100 a week:
Not too much further away is Sallie's place in Monflanquin, one of the officially rated most beautiful villages in France. Sallie is currently extending her early bird 10% off 2013 bookings:
We are also offering 10% off on upfront payments of 2013 bookings for our Isle sur la Sorgue place:
For 40 other places you can rent in France, go to:
French exhibitions now happening in Canberra
Two French exhibitions currently happening in our nation's capital which would be worth a visit are:
- Toulouse Lautrec, Paris and the Moulin Rouge: major retrospective devoted to the art of French 19th century artist Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec in painting, drawing, posters and prints
- Remember me, the lost diggers of Vignacourt: the French Thuillier family's photos and postcards of Australian soldiers taken in France during WWI.
For more details about these exhibitions, go to:
Recipes for traditional meals during our trip
We tried to eat traditional dishes for each new place we stayed including salade lyonnaise in Lyon: www.frenchdesire.com.au/recipes/salade_lyonnaise
and in Carcassonne we ate cassoulet which is the bean and meat/sausage dish served in the SW:
Facts about French food (+fries) and paradox
Read facts about French food and/or recent related articles about the French paradox (why the French live longer) being assisted by its blue cheeses, French tastes expanding to UK cheddar cheese,
police guards needed for truffles and the debate about whether French fries are French (most of these articles have been recent facebook posts).
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