Celia's blog

Musings on life in Lodeve, Languedoc

Posts Tagged ‘Minuscule’

Musical moments

Posted by celiahukins on 11/05/2011


I was recently fortunate to have the chance to go inside Olmet Church again; it isn’t usually open. As usual it was for a concert – I have been to several there now. They are always enjoyable and you don’t really notice that the seats are hard. This time there were a soprano, mezzo soprano and a lady with a Roland piano performing Pergolese’s Stabat Mater as well as sacred music by Bach, Vivaldi and Mozart. This was greatly enjoyed by the audience of sixty or so.
And I’ve been to the Minuscule again too – on one occasion to see Troubadelic, and on another Gisela and friends performing Brecht / Weil.

At home the birds love a bit of classical music, especially orchestral. Sometimes all I have to do is to leave the radio on with the windows open and they are inspired and start singing so much that I turn the radio off and listen to them instead.

So I suppose when people ask me “Well what do you DO in France?” I could say that I listen to the birds.

Here is a muguet des bois that I was given for May Day. I hope it survives in the garden.

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A week in the Languedoc

Posted by celiahukins on 20/10/2010


There are always things to do in the Languedoc. I had a first time visitor last week (Most other friends have been at least once by now). We started off with a wander round Pézenas (the weather didn’t look too promising but it turned out all right), had a tasty lunch in the square, then on to Villeneuvette, the former cloth factory where there is a pleasant walk around the grounds with their complicated irrigation system. Of course we had to visit Lodève market, where we tasted the first of the new season of our local luques olives – delicious – and bought some tapénade for my friend to discover. (Note – this has no resemblance to the tapénade you buy in jars)

We also did some other old favourites – Cirque de Navacelles
Saint Guilhem le Desert and the Pont du Diable

and a driving tour round the Lac du Salagou.

New for me was a trip to Millau – we drove down into Millau, with views of the bridge on the way, saw the market (note the cepes!), had a picnic lunch by the river in the sun (baguette with local ham, goats cheese, pine nuts and a mystery ingredient – was it honey?) then drove on to the viewing area and to drive over the bridge itself. (Alas by this point my camera battery was flat, but here’s one I prepared earlier).

We returned by way of La Couvertoirade an authentic medieval village, former home of the Knights Templar.

What to do on a rainy day? What better than a Sunday afternoon concert at Le Minuscule – Gershwin and Mozart on 2 pianos, and green tea and scones. And yes, it is possible to get 2 pianos in the small café, not to mention a large number of people as well.

We nearly forgot to pop in to the cathedral. When we did the sun was shining and the stained glass window looked splendid.

We ended our trip with a picnic lunch on the beach at Vias, before catching our £5 Ryanair flight from Béziers to Bristol at 3.30 – Vive Ryanair!

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February in Lodeve

Posted by celiahukins on 13/02/2009

February morning

February morning

It’s good to be back, after spending January in Birmingham. It’s 5 years since we had our house built, and now I fit easily into the way of things when I come back.
My new route – train Birmingham – Bristol, 1 and a half hours, bus to the airport, flight Bristol – Beziers – was painless. I left home at 7.30 was met at Beziers airport at 2.30 and was back here by 3.30. Lucky I made it – if I’d been earlier Bristol airport was closed because of the snow, if later there was fog. And there were no flights taking off from Northern France.

Yesterday I went to the market. There are 2 main local markets. The Lodève one is on a Saturday morning, but there is also one at Clermont l’Hérault (20 kilometres away) on a Wednesday morning. It was fresh with a chilly wind, but sometimes the sun was warm. I wasn’t looking for very much, as I had only myself to feed, but I found some of my favourite Muscat grapes. I bought some Chantecler apples which we’ve just discovered and some clementines from Spain. I stopped at the olive stall to buy some olives stuffed with anchovies (my favourite) and some black tapénade. I bought some Pérail sheep’s milk cheese from the Larzac – the stall holder explained that it was just the beginning of the season and he was starting to make it again. Then I found some herb pastries which I enjoyed for lunch.

I’ve been meeting up with friends and acquaintances. Most mornings I walk into Lodève and have a petit déca at Le Minuscule. Gisela, the owner runs Thursday evening entertainment. This week there is a Brazilian singer and she’s booked up. I say I’ll just go for the concert at 9 pm and forgo the food which she provides earlier – another time. My usual paper shop is closed for 2 weeks – winter holidays. I go to another and am greeted by an English voice – it’s Rachel Thornton, the author of The fast guide to Lodève, which is a very good account in English of Lodève’s history and culture, rather like the one I was planning to write myself but had never got round to.
Rachel’s husband is a glass blower – they moved from the UK about two years ago and I first heard about them from a contact on friends reunited.

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