Experience Southern France in the Winter

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!

Saint Cirq Lapopie France

Saint Cirq Lapopie France

 

 Montcuq is a sleepy little town in the winter but starting in the spring it comes alive with British and Dutch expats

Montcuq France

Montauban boasts a lovely old bridge and a town square surrounded by red brick arcades

Montauban bridge

Montauban arcades

Moisaac has the distinction of being at the convergence of two rivers and a canal making it a perfect spot for boat lovers

Moisaac France

 

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

Pont Valentre Cahors

 

Visiting Chateaus & Heritage Sites

The unique cathedral at La Francaise sits atop a hill just a few miles from our house sit

La Francaise Cathedral

This is the Labarthe Chateau which we could see from our kitchen window

Labarthe Chateau France

One of the remaining working windmills in the area

Windmill

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.

Winery in France

Winery in France

The Chateau Bonaguil is an impressive sight sitting above a small village overlooking a beautiful valley

Chateau Bonaguil France

Chateau Bonaguil France

View from the Chateau Bonaguil

 

Enjoying the Delicious Food & Wine of the Region

Wine tasting France

Saint Cirq Lapopie restaurant

Local French wine & cheese

Macaroons

Cooking in France

French duck salad

Taking in the Spectacular Scenery

Lot River France

Bamboo & stone ruin

Stone house sit in France

View from our house sit in France

Pastel skies in France

Brilliant sunset

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.

Jupiter and us