Really must get myself to bed, but couldn’t help but show some more of these gorgeous floors…
Thanks Nicole, Mathilde, Eric, Gourgazaud, Cat and Bernard, for your floors
Thrills and spillage in the home of Kat (& Benjamin Darnault Wines) in Minervois, South of France
Actually, our neighbours probably DO think I’m bonkers as I’ve taken photos of their floor tiles too!
But really, it’s not just any old tiles – their house is full to the skirting boards of the most beautiful ‘carreaux ciment’.
These highly decorative cement tiles (also known as hydraulic tiles), along with terracotta tiles, are an extremely common form of floor covering here and the colours can be magnificent.
They are thought to have been first produced in Viviers, in the South of France, in the mid 19th century and you can see that it’s an incredibly hard-wearing floor when you think most of the houses around here still have the original tiles. And they’re wonderfully cool under the feet in summer. No wonder you see all the dogs and cats in their village residences sprawled out on them. Just be sure you don’t have shaky fingers, the morning after a big dinner party, with a favourite breakfast bowl…
On moving in to their home, our neighbour friends found a load of tile spares and cleverly laid them in the VIP room.
Even going to the loo is a treat for the eyes.
There’s a lot of things in France I can’t get enough of (‘like your husband?’ I hear him saying). One of them is packaging.
I don’t know if it’s because the written word in French looks so cool (it’s always a shame when shopping for friends’ children and the t-shirts have ENGLISH on them!!) – or whether I just get attracted to the old-style of things here. Some packets look like they haven’t changed in a hundred years. Some probably haven’t.
And I think I have an addiction to tins!
I’ve been flipping through a few of Lilas’ books lately and loving the illustrations of Alain Gree. If you’re into 60s and 70s artwork, you might like it. I’m crazy about him at the moment and can’t get enough of his books!
If you look hard enough at the local ‘vide-greniers’ (’empty the attics’ – literally the whole village holds one giant garage sale in the the village streets), you might be able to pick up an old dog-eared copy. Otherwise, they’re becoming quite collected on the net and you have to be quick to find a bargain.
I opened up to this page up yesterday, and it reminded me of last week’s trip to the market!
Can you see why?…
Let’s get going and invite you in!
You’ve found us!
I’m Australian, Benjamin is French and we live in a remote, rural area in the south of France. He is the vigneron, I am his wife and he makes wine that I love to drink.
Our daughter attends school in the local village (we call her the ‘Aussie frog’) and it almost feels like Little House on the Prairie except she wears jeans!
We’ve been living here for the most part since 1998, making and working in wine. It is wine that led us here and wine that keeps us here. Our life is inextricably linked to it and why I’ll probably be talking a lot about it here! …And I guess living where we are, food may get a mention too!!
To outsiders it’s a quiet and very isolated life, if you compare it to the razzle dazzle of a city but delve deeper and, like anywhere, you’ll find a lovely hum of people busy in all sorts of interesting actvities. People from all walks of life – the locals born and bred here, French people from other parts seeking change and a growing community of ‘etrangers’ are all enjoying the wonderful landscape and quality of life that this region offers.
Influences and arguments fly in all directions. In this mix, food and wine are two major elements of the day and what connects us. There is an almost ritual-like approach to making or serving food and wine that I hadn’t encountered before living with a Frenchie in this area. I can’t think of a better way of getting to know all these people either! A few good wines and good food always seems to help my fledgling French.
I may not be sharing any images of the Eiffel tower, baguettes in hand, candlelight dinners overlooking the Seine – or frilly French knickers for that matter (who said all Frenchman were romantics?)… but a no-frills account of what we get up to here in this part of France. I’m not going to spend 365 days eating only foie gras and camembert either, but I will make a good go of drinking Benjamin’s wine – and a lot of others, cooking and sampling foods and sharing these experiences with you.
Welcome to our home, warts and all, happy that you might visit!
p.s. I know I promised no snowdome scenes of idyllic life, but there are some beautiful sights around here that I’d love to share that are unmistakably ‘French’. Sometimes you do actually get those ‘ooh la la ‘ moments that take your breath away . This occurs almost daily for me here and it helps keep the homesickness at bay!
…and I do LOVE the Eiffel Tower.