Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Roquemaure - the village

This photograph was not taken by me!

You may remember the photo of our Mayor Christian HOT that I posted earlier this month. Christian is a big fan of flying around in his microlight aircraft, and as he passes overhead he gives you a ‘hong hong’ on his horn to let you know it’s him. He sent me this photograph of the village of Roquemaure which together with the photo I posted yesterday will give you an idea of just how big the village is.
Mind you having a Mayor who can fly around and check how things are in his rural domain is not a bad idea at all.

Cette photographie n'a pas été prise par moi !

Vous vous rappelez la photo de notre maire Cette photographie n'a pas été prise par moi !

Vous vous rappelez la photo de notre maire Christian HOT que j'ai signalé plus tôt ce mois. Christian est un grand fan pour voler dans son ULM – Ultra Léger Motorise - et quand il passe au dessus de nous il nous klaxonne d’un « hong hong »

Il m'a envoyé cette photographie du village de Roquemaure, avec la photo que j’ai publie hier vous aurez une idée le la grandeur du village. Comme le village est étendu et les fermes éparpilles pour vérifier si tout se passe bien. Christian avec son ULM surveille son petit monde. Quelle bonne idée !

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Roquemaure Church

This is (for us) a close up view of the church in the village of Roquemaure that we see from a distance across the valley.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Michael and Kerstin

What do you do when you take friends out who are keen photographers? Well there is really only one thing and that is to to take lots of photographs.

The 'photographers' photographed at the village of Puycelsi in the Tarn, France.

Sunday, May 28, 2006


Puycelci is one of several well preserved Bastide villages from the middle ages. There are quite a number of these villages to visit in the Tarn area. These walled settlements, with grid-pattern streets and remarkable squares, are now beautiful reminders of the great conflicts of another age.

Now a pleasant walk around hidden lanes filled with flowers one can begin to feel the pull of ancient times.

For my friends in the USA Memorial Day will be held on the 29th of May this year. Each year ceremonies are held today, Sunday, in cemeteries all over France to remember the fallen. I have posted a photograph taken at, Romagne sous Montfaucon which is in remembrance of those who died.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Smell the Flowers

On our last full day with our friends we visited oneof the villages that are entitled to use the designation ‘Un des plus beaux village de France’ - ‘One of the most beautiful villages of France’ Puycelsi in the Tarn.

This was a wonderful day of exploring the small streets and stopping to smell the roses and all manner of flowers that are in the prime of spring bloom. It was a pleasure to stroll along and enjoy the mixed fragrances in these charming winding streets.

Our friend Ute getting pleasure from the perfume of a red rose.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Washing Machine

Now all we have to do is throw the dirty clothes into the washing machine. There was the time when the women did their weekly wash at ‘La Lavoir’ an area either fed from a spring or water diverted from a nearby river. They would kneel and do the washing the hard way. It was also a place where news and gossip was exchanged.

Those who where financially better off would employ other women to do their washing and these women were called ‘Les Lavandiéres.’

As you travel through France you are likely to see these in towns and villages, well if you have any dirty washing now’s the time!!

This one was photographed in L’isle-sure-Tarn.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Sign of the Tarn

The village of Roquemaure sits on the south side of the Département (county) of the Tarn, bordering with the Haute Garonne. This old sign we see when we drive down to our nearest little town of Bessieres as we cross from one Département to another.

It intrigues me because it comes from another age before the change to the present system of numbering Départements. Now the Tarn is number 81 and the Haute Garonne is 31. On the sign they are 18 and 22. I am not sure when the changes took place.

In France there are a total of 96 Département situated in 22 Régions. I think I have my numbers correct, but I also like the lovely view over the Valley of the Tarn.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Sculptured Gardens

I wanted to post a photograph of showing just the colourful sculptured gardens outside of the Toulouse-Lautrec museum which are set within the magnificent grounds of the Bishop's Palace, which overlooks the River Tarn.

It is a place you can wander round an enjoy the lovely scenery and stroll along vine covered walkways and image yourself in another age.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

The Tarn at Albi

A view of the bridges over the River Tarn at Albi which was taken as we stolled around the gardens outside of the Toulouse-Lautrec museum.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Albi Cathedral

The capital of our Departément, (county) of the Tarn is Albi and it is nice to venture out of the calm countryside to the city, albeit a beautiful city like Albi.

Amogst other things Albi is famous for its Cathedral and the Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec museum.

The "Ste-Cécile" cathedral was built in 1282 and is now considered to be a masterpiece of Southern Gothic style architecture. ts very sober brick exterior is in striking contrast with its lavish interior and its fresco depicting the Last Judgement in particular.

As for the Toulouse-Lautrec museum, it displays the largest existing collection of the Albigensian artist's paintings within the magnificent setting of the Bishop's Palace.

This photograph is taken inside the cathedral

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Atelier de Peinture

A picture within picture, and where does reality stop?

Another image from the craft fair that I visited last weekend in l'Isle-sur-Tarn there was just so many photographic opportunities.

Again I feel it is only correct to give details of the artist whose work I have turned into a photograph.

Marie-Hélène PIDOFF, Peintre Décoratrice, 29 Place Paul Saissac, 81310 L’isle-sur-Tarn.

More information about the Arts & Craft of the Midi-Pyrénées can be found on this website Créamip

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Hare Today

Lisi mentioned yesterday about meeting the neighbors. Well in fact our closest neighbors are the animals that wander through the garden or in the fields around about. So here is Hare Today Gone………… yes I know terrible joke.

It’s my wife who has all the names of these lovely creatures and Mr Hare’s name I have forgotten but I will find out later today. He is called Jeannot!

He or she has also raised a family close by and last evening as I was watching Gorgeous George a young hare hopped by. As I was standing so still he did not even notice me, or perhaps though I was a tree or something!

Friday, May 19, 2006

Gorgeous George.

Gorgeous George the pheasant has been around the garden a long time and I often disturb him and he makes sure I know it with his loud cackling call of a male pheasant. We are used to each other now so he rarely flies off; I just give him a bit of time to wander off into the undergrowth.

We have watched George courting several females during the late winter and early spring and have been waiting to see the results.

We now have the special delight of watching Gorgeous George, his wife and eight little chicks do their rounds of the garden, mostly in the evening, but it is a sight it is worth waiting for. I will try and get a photograph of ‘The Family’ but it is proving difficult. Should I manage it I will certainly post it here.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Sign of the times

The old style road signs in France. This was taken in the town of L'isle-sur-Tarn. I think I will be going back it is such a lovely place and lots of hidden corners to explore.

These signs are of the previous generation, made of a base of concrete. But where would you want to go? Somewhere like Toulouse or one of those unpronounceable names (that is if you don’t speak French.)

Or would you like to open the gate to the secrete garden?

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Wood Carver - Tourner sur Bois

This young man a wood carver, Guillaume Atrux, showing his skills at the craft fair at l'Isle-sur-Tarn

I have already posted a couple of images from this craft fair because it was an inspiring experience in an exceptionally beautiful setting.

This young man from Ste. Eulalie d'Olt en Aveyron listed as one of the most beautiful village of France, (site in French) made the most amazing wood carving. In this image he is making eggs cups but on a lathe he made himself.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Coloured Cups

I was so taken by the craft fair that I would like to post a few more images that were taken in the picturesque village of L’isle-sure –Tarn.

The talent and diversity of work I find inspirational for my own photographic work.

I will also, where possible, include their details as I feel then than I am not photographing their work just for me.

These incredibly vivid colours where created by:

Lorraine Grasset, Le Têt – Chemin de la Forêt, 31810 Venerque.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Silver Bra

Yesterday we went to visit the Sunday market at a Town nearby L’isle-sur-Tarn. It was our first visit and to our pleasant surprise there was also a craft fair.

As their web site says; l'Isle-sur-Tarn, a 13th century, fortified town situated in the heart of the Gaillac vineyards, enjoys an idyllic location half way between Toulouse and Albi.

There was so much to see and in such a beautiful setting it left us feeling wonderful. The workmanship (workwomanship) of glassware, wood carving, embroidery and jewelry was so good we wanted to buy it all.

On one of the stands was an eye catching silver bra which I just had to photograph. It obviously made people stop and look and of course attracted more customers – good attention-grabber - and the jewelry work was exquisite.

The jewelry is by Daphnès AKANTAR, le Château, 82230, Verlhac Tescou.

To appreciate the exquisite detail a larger image can be seen here: Silver Bra

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Little house

This is the beautiful house we can see on the days when we head off down to one of the three market towns that surround us. It is like a dream house from a fairy tale and looks so serene and livable and although it has been maintained we don’t think it has been lived in for many years. It was while we were winding our way towards this little house we found our
shepherd -

“For months we have seen this little picturesque house. It sits way back from one of the country road we drive along and today we made our way along even smaller country lanes to find what may be described as the ‘Little House on the Prairie.’”

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Poppy - Coquelicot

From all the greenness of the countryside the splashes of red make an attractive distraction.

Fields of poppies or a few by the roadside are always welcome.

J’ai descendu dans mon jardin
Pour y cueillir du romarin,
Gentil coquelicot Mesdames
Gentil coquelicot Messieurs

Vieille chanson française.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Valérie Thomas

We went out late yesterday afternoon for a ride on our bikes and stopped off at the Town Hall (Mairie.) In our rural community of Roquemaure the Town Hall is only open two afternoons a week. That’s enough for a population of 300.

As I had already photographed the Mayor it seemed only proper that I photograph the charming and always smiling Valérie. So this is the right hand of the mayor, Valérie THOMAS, the secretary who does all the work, or so she says.

Après une balade en vélo un bon moment de détente avec le bras droit du maire, la charmante et toujours souriante Valérie THOMAS.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Barley View

The colour green that I mentioned in an earlier post, or more specifically the shades of the colour green are so wonderful to see, as the light changes the subtle changes to the shades of the colour take place. Or is it you just need to stand and enjoy nature unfolding before you.

There are still a few patches of brown where fields have yet to be planted, or what has been planted hasn’t popped up and turned green!

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Christian HOT notre maire de Roquemaure

I went to see our mayor at Roquemaure (site in French) Town Hall, Mr. Christian Hot, yesterday. He said as soon as I saw your car arrive I knew why you where here. I had come yet again to ask about when we were going to get ADSL – broadband, fast internet connection. He was still unable to give me an answer and it is not his fault. No one can seem get an answer from France Telecom – I’m so frustrated!!!

We live in a black hole as far as broadband in concerned. All around us including the Town Hall has broadband and that is the limit. I can look across the valley and see the Town Hall and that makes me even more frustrated, but then I just enjoy the view and the frustration melts away.

So I took a few photographs of him in front of and ariel photo showing the area covered by the village of Roquemaure. Not too many houses around but lovely rolling countryside, real farming country. You can see a larger image here.

Je suis allé voir notre maire à la Mairie, M. Christian HOT à Roquemaure, hier. Il m’a dit : dès que j'ai vu votre voiture arrivée j'ai su pourquoi vous êtes venus. J'étais venu encore une fois pour m'enquérir du moment où nous allions obtenir l'ADSL. Il ne pouvait pas encore me donner une réponse et ce n'est pas sa faute. Personne ne peut obtenir une réponse de France Telecom - je suis frustré ! ! !

Nous vivons dans un trou noir en ce qui concerne l'ADSL. Tout autour de nous comprenant la Mairie a l’ADSL et c'est la limite. Je peux regarder à travers la vallée et voir la Mairie et je suis bien plus frustré, mais alors j'apprécie la vue et la frustration part.

Ainsi j'ai pris quelques photographies de lui devant la photo arienne montrant le secteur couvert par le village de Roquemaure. Pas trop de maisons autour mais une belle campagne, un pays de culture. Dont vous pouvez voir une plus grande photo ici.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Cheese Please

Smile please - say cheese.

Back to the market, it is a great place to see French life and watch the interaction of daily living.

I have to tell you that one of my weaknesses is half of a baguette a generous spread of beurre (butter) and a slab of fromage (cheese,) although of late I have had to make the portions much smaller. I do not singularly blame that combination for my weight gain but it certainly hasn’t helped. But oh boy does it taste good.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Lettuce & Tomatoes

Yesterday we went to Rabastens, about 8 kilometers from us. There was a local plant and flower fair and Brocante, like a jumble sale, or yard sale although there are so many ‘professional’ brocanteur it is difficult now to find someone selling the things they no longer need. There are other gatherings called vide-greniers (site is in French) which mean the old stuff you have cleared out of your loft.

We were there for the lettuce and tomatoes and various other veggie stuff. Looks like I am going to have a busy day in the garden today!

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Watch repairman

In the smallest of small townsin France, certainly in this area of the Tarn and the Tarn & Garonne, businesses still exist where it possible to get, for example, a watch repaired. It is not sent away to some unknown destination, the watch repairman who has been working all his life in the same location does his work on site – in the shop.

I suspect that like a lot of these skills once this watch expert retires there will be no one to take his place and the husband and wife team will be no more. The shop is still decorated in a 60’s style of wallpaper with a design of rounded squares and rectangles, with painted hardboard covered with small holes for hanging clocks for sale all around the shop.

Perhaps I am getting nostalgic in my older years but it does make a change to see that this individualism in business is still able to continue despite large shopping centers/malls.

Saturday, May 06, 2006


Whilst driving along lovely wooded lanes to find the ‘Little House on the Prairie’ we spotted a shepherd and his flock. Although I felt reluctant to stop and intrude on such a tranquil scene my wife said stop, so I did. I wanted to photograph this sight which seems to be disappearing from our lives, or we now drive so fast that scenes such as this are missed at the speed we live our lives as we travel between destinations.

I asked and he said he did not mind at all if I photographed him. We had seen him from a distance sitting on his stool with his dogs and the sheep grazing further up the hill. It was after midday and as he chatted about farming today we nodded in agreement. At 80 years old he seemed content with life and how he had lived his, and was still living it. He said he would take his sheep back soon and then bring them back down to graze some more at about six in the evening.

I wonder what he thinks about as he sits on his little stool surrounded by nature’s beauty and tends his flock.

About asking permission to take someone photograph depends on the situation. If I am photographing a person or a group of people I always ask if it is ok. This was again brought to my attention by fotoaddict in a lovely image she posted here Sunday morning surprise find!

If you would like to see more of the shepherd there is a little slide show on flickr A shepherd and a little house

Friday, May 05, 2006

Birthday Girl

A special picture today, taken in the village of Roquemaure - who would believe that, there are no houses, but we are still within the village boundary.

This is my wife trying out her new Birthday present. It is her birthday today but we went out last evening for a ride just to check everything was ok. It was, she now has a bicycle that’s goes faster than mine!!

Thursday, May 04, 2006

2 Chevaux

There are several lovely suspension bridges that cross the River Tarn, again all with a few kilometers of Réal. I thought it would be nice to get an image of the single lane bridge that crosses over at the village of Buzet sur Tarn.

The evening light was looking good although it was a bit windy but I was not really getting the image I was looking for and as I was returning to my car a 2 Chevaux came into view.

Affectionally known as ‘une deudeuche’ and this one was a bright peach colour - it looks fantastic. I am not sure if it is in its original condition or been restored but the Departement of the Tarn being a farming area still has lots of cars from the 50’s, 60’s 70’s still being used by their original owners.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Barley Road

The colour green!

Driving through the surrounding countryside yesterday I commented on just how many variations of the colour green that could be seen. This applies to all colours of course, but the patchwork of crops in the fullness of their green made for a wonderful sight.

No houses, no people, just a green field of barley that ripples in the breeze.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Market Day

One of the great French traditions are the markets that are held selling all sorts of things from farm produce to ladies corsets. Our village of Roquemaure is too small for its own but surrounding us, all within about 5 – 8 kilometers, are three small towns each with their own market day.

Yesterday we had to cross the border into the Departement of Haute-Garonne to visit the small town of Bessières. Even although it was the 1st of May and a holiday the market was so crowded with families and their children it created a great atmosphere, and the sun was shining again - can't get better than that!

There were so many subjects to photograph and in the end I chose an image of a man of the land – a farmer - asking me if I wanted to buy his asparagus.

I want to thank all who posted yesterday and offered their encouragement, with a special thanks to Michael and Eric.

Monday, May 01, 2006


View of the village of Roquemaure (centre of image on the horizon) from the entrance to the farm Chipoulet just down the road from Réal.

The village of Roquemaure has a population of about 300 people spread over a rural area of 1500 hectare. We are about 35 minutes east from Toulouse sitting above the Tarn river valley at about 270 meters.

So can our little rural village include itself in the BIG CITY daily photo blog? Let me know.