|Clos De Candélè||
Just to wish all our family, friends, guests past and future, and of course our animals, very best wishes for a Happy New Year, and a healthy and peaceful 2013!
The Pic du Midi! On a beautiful clear day we drove to La Mongie, where there is a full-blown up-and-running ski resort only 1 hour and 20 minutes away! And there in the middle of town is the cable-car up to the Observatory at the top of the Pic - it was an opportunity too good to miss. The trip is made in two stages, the first one quite short and tame even for the vertiginous like myself, then you switch to another car and that's when it gets a bit scary... but taking slow deep breaths and keeping my eyes on the top I made it! and it was really worth it, I can't do justice to the stunning views and the sheer beauty of the place. There is a small bar and restaurant where we had lunch, the obligatory 'gift shop', and an exhibition about the Observatory packed with info and amazingly showing how all the equipment was carried up to the top of the mountain by men and donkeys at the beginning of the last century. It was a wonderful day out and I'm so glad I finally made it to the top, now I look at it from here in a completely different light!
On Wednesday we made our pre-Christmas trip to the Domaine de La Prune winery at Sarragachies (which has just been made a National Monument, as it has the only vines in France that survived the phylloxera outbreak) to stock up for the festivities, and on the way back we stopped for lunch at le Café Zic on the lake at Marciac. I don't know why we never went before, but we will certainly be going back, we had a fantastic lunch, really imaginative food served with pleasure and charm: the best foie de volaille I've ever tasted, followed by roulade de pintade on a bed of baby mushrooms with a parsnip purée. We were served an appetiser of pumpkin soup, and home-made cheese straws with an aperitif. The dining-room is light and airy and obviously decorated with jazz in mind round a black grand piano, and in warmer weather sitting outside on the terrace by the edge of the lake must be really special. If all that wasn't good enough, the meal for three of us came to €49!! A winner all round!
Yes, the last leaves have fallen from the walnut trees, we have had frosty mornings and the temperature at night has even been down to -2C a couple of times already! But there is still plenty to enjoy, from the views over the woods with the mist clinging in the mornings, the splendid colours of the leaves that have yet to fall, lighting the log-burners and curling up with a book, getting together with friends for a glass - or two - of mulled wine... There are lovely Christmas fairs to go to at the weekends, and plans to make for Christmas itself... A time to relax and enjoy!