The Summer Begins ~ A week in the Midi-Pyrénées

Paris practically empties by the end of July. The boulangeries close down for their annual holidays, and most of the markets are put on pause. I was by now seven months pregnant, and Etienne had arranged a 2 week road trip from Paris down to Spain and back. I was assured we could stop anytime I wanted, no the car didn’t have air conditioning and yes he was sure it wasn’t going to break down. We’ll see I thought to myself…

Our first stop was to join our good friends in Averyon for a week of long lunches, afternoon swims in the river and daily market visits. We set off from Paris with a view to stop off somewhere half way for the night. First glitch, it took us two hours to start the car in the garage. Something to do with the immobiliser. Just as I am about to absolutely loose it, I was the one that got the car running. (I’ll skip the part about this happening again at the motorway petrol station 30 minutes later, with half of Paris queuing behind us). We decide to drive for as long as possible incase we can’t start the car again. You can see how I was beginning to think we may never get to our summer holidays.

However, we make it to our friends house the next day, and we arrived to this most magical family home.

Our friends parents had bought this house 10 years ago empty, and have spent the last decade scouring brocantes and auction houses to create this incredible home.


Our room for the week

The top floor of the house is the most recent floor that has come to life. The owners carefully peeled back layers of old plaster and paints uncovering some wonderful sights. With no electricity, doors on the bedrooms or running water on this floor just yet, you were sent up with a torch and wished good luck you’d find your room!

We all drove our favourite cars down for the week.

The kitchen is absolutely the heart of the home here, with local markets close by, but even better, the farmers who sold at the markets lived just down the lane, so every day we would pop to see the neighbours who would laden us with crates and boxes of fruit and vegetables. The boys drove to the local town for the meat every day.

Lunch was a team effort, we would pull the tables together away from the sun, and all be responsible for certain dishes, laying the tables, clearing and so on. These kinds of summer holidays revolve around 3 hour lunches and dinners that begin at 10pm.

Apero hour seemed to begin just a couple of hours after lunch…

Some afternoons we would take a drive to a new area or walk down to the river for an afternoon swim.

We had some pretty magical sunsets too…

Breakfasts were a DIY affair, usually the earliest to rise walked to the village boulangerie and we would sit with bowls of chocolat chaud, coffee and bowls of local fruits in the front garden.

A nearby town was holding their monthly brocante, and I was in full nesting mode looking for french baby books and trinkets for our baby room. We’d decided to keep the sex of our baby a surprise, and i’m sure it did a good job in preventing me from buying too much in the run up.

By absolute fate and good fortune I discovered my DREAM baby basinet hiding away on one stall. As we were all getting out of our cars, I had instructed our friends this was the single most important item I was looking for.

I was astounded, it was exactly what I wanted and as I got closer, I couldn’t quite believe it was only 38€.

The only problem, was it going to fit on the back seat of our vintage convertible, and could we drive down to Spain and back with it. No to both, but that’s another story, and 8 weeks later, it arrived via three separate journeys to us in Paris the day before our baby was born. I was convinced our baby was going to live in a drawer for the first few weeks.

Every day, on repeat, breakfast, long lunch, siesta, dinner, heaven.

This was us all on the annual Swiss night, a raclette party in the garden, what a dream!

Next stop Spain, we left the house at 5am to be in Begur for lunch, Only problem, we break down in the middle of nowhere with no service when the sun rises. All part of the fun I’m told…

LWSY July 2017


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