The Lot-et-Garonne | Authentic France in Fongrave

Written by on July 23, 2019 in Guest Blogs

Sunflowers in a field at dusk with a beam of light making them light up as if made of gold

The Lot-et-Garonne department is in the southwestern of the Nouvelle Aquitaine region (previously Midi-Pyrénées). It’s has been described as “the France that you always hoped existed but could never quite find”. It’s idyllic; a paradise…

Discovering Fongrave

I looked over at my friend as she was talking feverishly about the still, quiet beauty of the river Lot in the first morning light. And how pulling up stakes and leaving England at her age, her late fifties, to live on an old barge boat had been scary at first, like all new adventures. Yet choosing this uncommon life had brought her immense satisfaction, fulfilment and joy. I noted, too, by living the life she was called to live, her face had softened. The stress once so evident now gave way to a warm, youthful glow. Joy is, after all, the best facelift.

There were at least eight or so of us that evening sharing a table at an open air market in a traditional little hamlet called Fongrave. The live band was well underway. It was a sixties night and the lively square was filled with a good many from that era, rocking away to the Beatles. We were eating delicious mounds of fries, some dipping them into bowls of steamy bœuf bourguignon. Others who were more daring than me tried the escargots de Bourgogne. I had yet to eat my lemon tartin. The band stopped for a break and once more a romantic breeze of softly spoken French caressed the air. I was besotted.

Fongrave is a charming little 12th-century hamlet with its pretty square overlooking the river Lot, where fishing or a leisurely boat ride down the river is a daily summer occurrence. I love to take a stroll in hamlets or villages like this one, past orchards pregnant with fat, juicy violet-blue plums. Fongrave is also on a cycle route, where country roads invite you to grab a bike and meander through the countryside.

In the heart of Fongrave, clouds of petunias and geraniums hang from the stone houses lining the street. I remember marvelling at the colours of the shutters: pistachio, aubergine, coffee cream and faded blue. On summer evenings they are swung wide open and held firmly in place against mushroom coloured stone walls until the house regains its composure and breath.

Aux Délices de Fongrave is as its name suggests, one of the most delicious restaurants in the region with its outdoor garden and leafy trees. Tables are laden with scrumptious, authentic French cuisine (made from the recipes of the French grandmas of long ago). International cuisine is also offered.

The garden of France

You’ll find remarkably quaint bastide towns perched on the surrounding hilltops (Pujols is the most beautiful). Each has a story to tell. No longer fiercely guarding their communities but instead offering quiet, sweeping views of lush green countryside. It’s this reason why I was seduced back to this part of France, eventually buying my very own French patch here. The Lot-et-Garonne is a ‘Garden of Eden’ and I relish its peace and bliss. I’m enchanted by its endless green meadows full of wildflowers that neighbour massive fields of bright, blooming, cheery faced sunflowers.

The locals think of the Lot-et-Garonne as the biggest garden bed, only interrupted by farmhouses in the distance, perhaps a moulin (windmill) or a towering chateau with generations of stories and secrets embedded within its medieval walls. No, as much as my friend protests, I can’t keep the beauty of the Lot-et-Garonne to myself. What is life without sharing? It’s a place ideal for artists and I am of the belief that there is an artist in every one of us, even if it’s just “the art of admiring” …

Renata Huster is a freelance writer and author. As a lover of adventure she has travelled extensively throughout the world, and she is an avid reader and lover of art.

Related Articles

Le Manoir de Paris | The Paris House of Horrors

At No. 18, Rue de Paridis, close to the Gare de L’Est is a house of horrors that’s popular with Parisians and visitors alike. Le Manoir de Paris is a theatrical show that’s very unusual. If you want a very different sort of Paris experience from the classic Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe, Louvre type […]

Continue Reading

The mysterious French Beast of Gévaudan

History is full of horrible monsters. The Cyclops terrified the ancient Greeks, the Abominable Snowman haunts the Himalayas, and Godzilla stomps on Tokyo from time to time. The French have their own terrible creature and—unlike the others—this one was real. The mysterious Beast of Gévaudan ravaged the French countryside in the 18th century, killing so many […]

Continue Reading

France Bans UFOs!

France Bans UFOs!

Written by on March 1, 2020 in Guest Blogs

Châteauneuf-du-Pape, in Provence, in the south of France, is famous for its wines. The town’s name means “the pope’s new château” because many centuries ago a summer papal palace was built here. The main Palace of the Popes was in nearby Avignon. Popes need good wine to drink, so vines were planted, barrels were crafted, […]

Continue Reading

Cycling in the Ardennes

Cycling in the Ardennes

Written by on January 27, 2020 in Guest Blogs

La Meuse is a winding river which meanders its way through the French Ardennes and on into Belgium. It’s a haven for cyclists, especially if you enjoy cycling on the flat. A cycle path follows the Meuse for over 50 kms with incredibly scenic views on either side of the river where hills descend sometimes […]

Continue Reading

A taste of Collioure in the south of France

On summer evenings, the swallows dip and swoop in nervous arcs as if anxious to protect, or preserve, the close of day in its melancholy stillness. A light hovers over Collioure, on the Vemillion Coast in the Pyrenees-Orientales. Caught in a pale brushstroke of watercolor blue, a wash which holds the houses together as they […]

Continue Reading

Subscribe

If you enjoyed this article, subscribe now to receive more just like it.

Subscribe via RSS Feed

Comments are closed.

Top