Honor Marks, a UK expat who lives in Languedoc Roussillon, south of France relishes November before the madness and mayhem of Christmas takes over…
November in the south of France is just lovely – yes the temperature has dropped a few degrees, and the leaves are falling in abundance off the trees and the vines, oh gosh the vines are glorious. The number of times I have nearly driven off the road as I turn my head to admire the stunning tapestry of colours that feast the eyes. Reds, golds, burnt oranges, and yellows against a still blue sky – wow those grape plants sure provide us with entertainment for a long time! Even the Flamingos are here to add more colour to the scenery – captivating and to get so close is amazing! Bird-watching enthusiasts who come to Languedoc Roussillon have four exciting areas to choose from – two mountainous (the Cévennes and the Pyrénées) and two wetlands (the Camargue and the Etangs of Narbonne).
A marvelous find in recent weeks was a magnificent gorge not very far from our home in . The Gorge de Galamus proved to be a very exciting drive and the sparkling river which seemed hundreds of metres below us was attracting lots of water sports fanatics, particularly canyoning. We decided to try and walk down to the river but got waylaid by an ‘Ermitage’ on the way down – we couldn’t help but be overwhelmed by the exquisite chapel that had been built into the side of the rock. Just goes to show that you don’t need to come here in the summer to see and do wondrous things!
For me November represents Bonfire Night, though it is not a tradition celebrated in France. During my childhood we used to always host huge firework parties, everyone used to contribute the fireworks and my Mum would make mugs of oxtail soup and jacket potatoes with sausages and baked beans. When I grew up and moved to the big city I would go to Battersea Park in London, wrapped up warm, eating hot chestnuts, inhaling the huge bonfire smell and oohing and ahhhing at the wondrous firework display.
Even though we now live in France, we still hold a bonfire party. We smoke our pulled pork and shake a few sparklers around, (no fireworks as we have a dog), our French friends think we are crazy but nothing that a few glasses of mulled wine doesn’t cure…
Gorgeous Autumn in France photographs
More about Cevennes, islands in the sky