Summer sports near Bernis and the Tour de France

Cyclists

If you’d like to make the most of the sun and countryside there are a number of summer sports to keep you busy including cycling, mountain biking, hiking and canoeing.

The Tour de France

Every second year the Tour de France comes within an hour of Bernis which is exciting for spectators and amateur cyclists alike. Over the years, we have had cyclists visit to cycle the route in advance of the tour coming through.

And, we have enjoyed being spectators. There are places where spectators tend to group together to cheer on the cyclists, but we prefer to find a quieter area on a long straight so that you can see the approach and the cyclists heading off into the distance. They go by so quickly that this has proven a worthwhile strategy. We pack a picnic and some picnic blankets and make our way to the road verge. The routes are published well in advance so you can plan your chosen spot ahead of time. Continue reading “Summer sports near Bernis and the Tour de France”

Armagnac Tasting in the Gers, France

Alcohol in a glass.

Armagnac is the spirit of Gascony and well worth taking the time to discover. It is produced on a much smaller scale than Cognac and its single distillation results in a truly delicious flavour. We’ll leave it to you to decide which is your favourite…

The link below is a great place to start mapping out your Armagnac tasting adventure: http://www.tourism-midi-pyrenees.co.uk/home/things-to-see-and-do/gastronomy-and-local-produce/wine-tourism/visiting-the-aoc-vineyards/armagnac

For an insight into the intense spirit see: http://www.francetoday.com/articles/2010/09/11/armagnac.html

Once you are back at Bernis with your bottle of liquid gold we recommend following the approach on the following website for the full sensory experience: http://nymag.com/restaurants/articles/wine/sommelier/armagnac.htm

The closest cities are Auch and Toulouse

Capitole

From time to time we leave the calm and tranquillity of Bernis to get our city fix. The closest cities are Auch and Toulouse.

A visit to Auch

Auch, considered the historical capital of the area, is less than 45 minutes away and well worth visiting. It has an awe-inspiring cathedral and a beautiful centre complete with cobble-stone shopping area and quirky boutiques.

Make sure you arrive early to enjoy the shopping. Do not make the mistake we did and arrive at lunchtime as all the shops close over lunchtime. If you do happen to make that mistake, however, there’s no need to worry as there are some wonderful restaurants to enjoy. And, you can hit the shops when they re-open at 14:00 or thereabouts.

And if you want a suggestion for lunch, try Le Daroles. It is well worth a visit.

Toulouse

Toulouse, the capital of the area, is also great for a city fix. When we visited we enjoyed a canal trip along the canal du Midi which is a UNESCO world heritage site. It was a beautiful introduction to the city.

There is also a little inexpensive tour “train” which leaves from the Capitol. I found it enabled me to find my bearings and then, I was able to walk to where I wanted to go. There are loads of interesting shops and art galleries and eateries to enjoy in Toulouse.

Take a look at the website for further information and current offers: http://www.toulouse-visit.com/

Our favourite restaurants local to Bernis

Duck

There are a number of restaurants within 15 minutes of Bernis each offering something a little different. One thing to note is that there is often a set menu of the day – including a starter, main and desert and sometimes house wine and an expresso coffee as well. This option is less expensive than ordering off the a la carte menu. It’s also great for ensuring you try something new. Here’s a list of some favourites: Continue reading “Our favourite restaurants local to Bernis”

One year into our French adventure…

Our little kitten

It has been a year since I last sat down to write about our lives in France. I can’t believe that a year has passed. There was the very wet, very, very long winter (when inspiration was in short supply) and a beautiful summer (when the boys had two months off school and I didn’t sit down much at all!) It’s a good thing Gavin has been posting in the interim!

So, a year on, I find myself back at my computer with the best intention of writing more regularly. In some ways, not much has changed. We still have building works and await the installation of the two downstairs bathrooms. But, in other ways, much has changed. Possibly the greatest indication of that change is that we have a little black and white kitten called Mog. (Name chosen by Rohan and based on “Meg and Mog” by Helen Nicoll and Jan Pienkowski) Continue reading “One year into our French adventure…”

One month into our French adventure…

Day one!

We have been in France for just over a month now and what a busy month it has been – so busy in fact that I’m finding it difficult to write down everything / anything we have done!

So, as a broad overview, work on the house has started – read days of heating men fixing last year’s frozen and broken radiators and pipes, a digger man excavating the back barn, a fosse man emptying the fosse and an architect orchestrating everything.

Our new heating system is due to be installed mid-November so fingers crossed all goes according to plan and that the winter feels snug this year! The weather has definitely started to turn – the mornings and evenings are chilly, but the days are still warm and sun-filled and so clear that one can see the mountains.

The London commute begins…

Gavin has started commuting and it seems to be working okay. He leaves for London early Monday morning and arrives home late Thursday night for a “long weekend”, working from home on Fridays. The weekends feel full of energy and come Monday, the house feels a little empty, but we are all getting into the new routine and Grif and Ro look forward to their morning Skype chat with Dad. Continue reading “One month into our French adventure…”

10 days till we move to France

Beautiful veg!

Our move to France is fast approaching! And after three months away from Maison Bernis, we are looking forward to being back and this time, to settling in. Since our last visit in June you might think that Bernis would have had a quiet summer, but there has been much activity with the arrival of the talented team of Gilbert and May.

Gilbert and May arrived at Bernis at the beginning of summer, a time when most French people (so we’ve heard) holiday, enjoy the summer sunshine and generally take it easy for a month or two. Gilbert and May are not French . . . over the last three months they have accomplished a monumental amount at Bernis. Continue reading “10 days till we move to France”

Our adventure in France begins…

Maison Bernis in the Gers, France

It has been ages since I wrote anything besides work related articles so I thought our latest adventure and those that are sure to follow merit dusting off the old keyboard and recording our progress and the ups and downs of our move to France…

Moving to France

Yes, we are moving to France! I think the reality of the situation only struck Gavin and I as we sat in the notaires office in Masseube, initialled a hundred pages of documentation (no exaggeration!) and held the key to Maison Bernis. After four years of planning, months of mortgage uncertainty and loads and loads of form completing we stood a little astounded and quite overwhelmed in front of a beautiful maison de maître style home with outbuildings and land. Strangely enough it felt as though we’d always been there and even our usually cautious three-year-old was exploring confidently. Continue reading “Our adventure in France begins…”