Monthly Archives: June 2014

Le petit Nicolas se regale

Nicholas here. Almost nine months old. And, in case you’re wondering, I’m loving it here in France. I could easily get used to this lifestyle thank you very much. Give me a few months and I’ll be right at home here, babbling away in French, wearing the local get-up, and you’d never know I was a Kiwi.


Dressed like a French flag – what?!

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A short walk in the hills

There are excellent walks in this area. With a baby in tow, we’ve not even skimmed the surface of what we might otherwise have done, but have managed a few short walks, in part thanks to the excellent series of walking maps you can buy, covering every small town and its ‘pays’.

Our neighbour kindly passed on a spare copy of the walking map for Quillan and surroundings, and at the weekend we managed a short distance of a 3-hour loop walk into the hills from Serres. Continue reading

Corbieres castle circuit

We recently bought a ‘passport’ to the Cathar castles – a discount deal to 21 castles, abbeys and historic sites associated with the Cathars. So we now have every incentive to visit more – as if we needed an excuse.

Yesterday we visited the castles at Villerouge Termenes and at nearby Termes, in a long day trip into the Corbieres, which included more narrow gorge roads. Continue reading

My end-of-year school celebration

The reason it’s the “end of year” celebration is because in France the end of the school year is in July.  But anyway, back to the normal celebration stuff.  The school had been practising for the celebration all term with Ollie’s class doing gymnastics and singing while my class were practising homework-excuse jokes, singing, drums, guitar, and recorder.


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The patois of a Quillan hairdresser

I have been looking at some linguistic maps of France, like this one:


It seems there are local non-French languages everywhere, but I wanted to test that with a local person. Today I got my opportunity. I went for a haircut, armed with some basic haircut-related vocabulary: plus cour (shorter), derriere (back), avant (front), a cote (side). I managed to communicate what I wanted: number four back and sides, and shorter all over. Like every other hairdresser I have met, my hairdresser today was up for some conversation.

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A day trip to Toulouse

I’m excited to be visiting Toulouse today. It’s easy enough to get there from Quillan; an hour on the train to Carcassonne and another hour from there to Toulouse. The 1 euro fare to Carcassonne is remarkably cheap. It’s another 16 euros for the second leg from Carcassonne to Toulouse and the same fare for the return. The trains are excellent: clean, smooth, quiet, uncrowded. My train left Quillan, with me on it, at 6.04am. Breakfast at Toulouse, then. Continue reading