We learned a new word in French…FLOODING…INONDATION!

The weather in the south of France has been spectacular…gorgeously sunny and warm…until yesterday.

Yesterday a ‘système’ moved in over the departement we are in…Hérault…and is sitting on us.

And I mean sitting…St. Jean de Buèges is deep in a valley…sitting.

Pas de probleme…we are on holiday and this is all part of ‘living in place’.

…so we close the alarm, go back to sleep, have a leisurely breakfast and watch the torrential rain through the open shutters.  Watch and listen.

Today when the rain stops and fog lifts we and the other townspeople go outside to investigate what 24 hours of downpour, thunder and lightening have done to the village.

The stream bed, which has been bone dry for the past 2 weeks, is now running in a torrent with white caps through the center of the village.

There is no school today…the buses were told to stay off the road because of ‘inondation’.

Young children in plastic slickers and colored rain boots lean over the railings lining the town, over small bridges, to witness the torrent of water coming down from the mountain and rushing through their town.

The Buèges river has overflowed its banks and the soccer/camping field is under 7 inches of water.

And there is a wonderful earthiness in the townspeople coming out to see how much water has fallen in the last 24 hours.  They gather in the center of town and the talk is of the flooding and the grape harvest which was to begin this week.  Only meters away from where we stand are rows and rows of vineyards with big, ripe black grapes waiting to be plucked and churned into wine.   Yes, how the weather affects the grapes.

So we watched the cascading torrent through the stream bed in town, we walked just outside the village to see the Rivière Buèges rushing and flooding its banks; we stopped into the Bar du Chateau for a hamburger and frites lunch; we walked some more after lunch and we came home to watch François Hollande give a press conference.  a good day.

And on our way home, we watched as  two young girls played in the (new) stream that was running down the front of their property.  Dressed in boots and raincoats, and accompanied by big sticks and their big black dog, the girls were playing in their front yard, in the stream…playing…together…outside…make believe…playing.

Please click on the gallery below to share  what we saw!

 

 

What doesn’t make you stronger, only makes you fatter

There is nothing more illustrative of “Journey. People. Culture. Food.”  than the traveling baker to the small villages in this area of the Cévennes.

St. Jean de Buèges, like many of the local villages, is not big enough to support a baker (or a store of any sort, for that matter) so the baker, the Boulangère, comes to us.

Pinch me!    How long have I dreamt about a traveling pastry truck driving to me?! Continue reading

Pic St. Loup, 658 meters of fun for the whole family!

We’ve photographed it…several times…different kinds of light playing off the mountain.

Lovely from afar, guidebook said the closest you can get is 4 km away…the rest is by foot.

Nah…let’s go take some more pics.

But the guide on our walking tour of Montpellier said, standing on the top of the Arc de Triomphe (they have one also, and she has the keys to the medieval (read steep) steps up)…yes she said standing up there looking over the entire city of Montpellier on one side, quaint French countryside on the other…that is the beloved Pic St. Loup.  Cherished mountain of those in Montpellier and the Hérault Valley, watching over our city.  The north face is a 90 degree angle straight up, but the south face meanders and is a lovely walk for small children and grandmothers alike.

Ok, I’m in.  I fall in between there somewhere.

Wrong.  I forgot for a moment that the French are a hardy bunch.  And I would like to meet her grandmother!

Continue reading

Weekly Photo Challenge: Humanity

For this week’s photo challenge, Humanity, I choose to highlight one of the most delightful experiences where all kinds of people come together for a common pursuit…the weekly market. Being in small town, southern France at the moment, markets are all around us, the closest being in the town of Ganges, in the Hérault Valley, north of Montpellier.

Every Friday, hawking food and everything else you can imagine, there are artisanal bakers, butchers, fish mongers, cheese makers, olive producers, fruit and vegetable farmers, alongside people selling skirts, tops, sneakers, leather handbags, records and CD’s, incense, pottery, flowers and even one stall selling mattresses (HOW do you get that in/on your car?) and did I mention the live chickens, pigeons and rabbits?!

They are there week after week, sometimes making a sale that doesn’t even equal a Euro, and always with a very pleasant, “merci, bonne journée’.

Even if my pantry is full, I go to the weekly market…it is a grand celebration of life and humanity.

Tour de France, junior varsity team

The house we are renting comes with 2 bicycles, at our request.

It seemed like a lovely idea at the time…the French countryside, endless vineyards and olive trees, dry, sunny days that went on forever, and we two cycling leisurely, baguette and wine in our side bags.

Hold that image!

The truth is we are tired and sleeping late.  Breakfast on the terrace is full of fresh croissants, homemade jam, fruit, sheep’s milk yogurt, and dark, strong espresso.  By then the Mediterranean sun is getting high in the sky, the village cobblestones are warming up and voilà, who feels like getting on a bicycle at that point, I ask you? Continue reading

St. Jean de Buèges, France

There is a very small village in the Languedoc Rousillon region of France that is now our home for a month. Simply by putting our suitcases into our house we raised the local population from 109 to 111 for the month of September. Yes, very small village.

This is a necessary slowing down, a putting on the brakes that can only be done when everyone around you is doing the same…when the lifestyle dictates the road speed. It’s noon…go home and eat lunch…you may as well lie down a bit, too, because nothing opens again until 2:00.

Yes, the lifestyle posts the road signs…and we plan to obey every rule!

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Weekly Photo Challenge: FROM ABOVE

This week’s Photo Challenge, to photograph something FROM ABOVE, instead of straight on, from the side, or any other angle allows me to show you pictures of the thing I (unknowingly?) seem to photograph a lot…Food.

 

Hmmm…now if you’ll excuse me, I suddenly got very hungry!