The skies are blue, the air is warming and every day a new pop of color magically bursts out of the previously dormant ground. We are in Southern France in the winter but we’re seeing the first signs of spring here in the Midi-Pyreneese. Soon the trees will be covered with leaves and the fields will be a sea of golden sunflowers. Sadly though we won’t be here to see beyond the early signs as we are moving on.
Our five week house sit is coming to an end just as this gorgeous region of France really comes alive to display its full natural beauty. But that’s OK. We are happy to have had this time and we also appreciate that there are upsides to visiting during the off season.
We have walked the streets of fairytale villages, explored medieval castles, tasted wine at Chateaus and shopped at farmers markets. All of this we have done without having to share the experience with hundreds of other tourists.
We have also enjoyed walking the sparkling frost covered fields, cooking hearty stews and soups and snuggling up with a real wood fire. These are all pleasures that we would never be able to experience during the summer months.
The small farm which we cared for is in the middle of the peaceful, hilly countryside but it is only 40 minutes from the bustling towns of Cahors and Montauban and an hour from the metropolis of Toulouse. This gave us a perfect base location to explore from when skipping work on a sunny day.
Exploring the Picturesque Towns & Villages
Saint Cirq Lapopie is a medieval town straight out of a fairytale. It was so lovely we had to go there twice!
Montcuq is a sleepy little town in the winter but starting in the spring it comes alive with British and Dutch expats
Montauban boasts a lovely old bridge and a town square surrounded by red brick arcades
Moisaac has the distinction of being at the convergence of two rivers and a canal making it a perfect spot for boat lovers
The 14th century fortified stone Pont Valentre is the symbol of Cahors. It is a UNESCO World Heritage site as part of the pilgrimage road to Santiago de Compostela
Visiting Chateaus & Heritage Sites
The unique cathedral at La Francaise sits atop a hill just a few miles from our house sit
This is the Labarthe Chateau which we could see from our kitchen window
One of the remaining working windmills in the area
There are plenty of wineries in the area, especially along the Lot River. Many of them will specialize in a red wine named for the region…Cahors. Similar to champagne, the name Cahors can only be used on the label if it is made from the grape grown in the region.
The Chateau Bonaguil is an impressive sight sitting above a small village overlooking a beautiful valley
Enjoying the Delicious Food & Wine of the Region
Taking in the Spectacular Scenery
Reflecting back to the first few days of our stay, we were curious to see if we would tire of the quiet country life or if we would in fact crave more of it when our five weeks was up. I especially wondered if I would get antsy as although I love being out in nature and wandering the countryside I have always lived in the city.
As it turns out we are neither tired of it nor feeling the need to stay. We have loved our time house sitting in the country and will miss the animals and the peaceful beauty and simplicity but we are also excited for our next adventure. After all we are travelers, moving on to explore new places is what we do. I will say though that I could definitely see this area as a good option to settle down in if I do ever tire of the nomadic life…but that’s unlikely to be anytime soon.
Born in England, Sarah developed her wanderlust at a young age as she traveled around Europe with her parents. As a young adult she spent every penny she could on experiences as opposed to possessions. Eventually she found a way to earn a living doing what she loved: traveling, writing and capturing images of the wondrous world we live in. When not on the go Sarah enjoys time in her “sometimes home” of Vancouver.