“That means it will rain tomorrow.”
We are driving to Toulouse, about an hour and a half drive west from the Lamothe castle and farm we are renovating into a yoga retreat center here in the South West of France. The precipitation prediction comes from Michel, our driver and a Frenchman who knows about these things, in response to my comment on the clear view of the snowcapped Pyrenees to the right.
It did indeed rain a bit the next day, but the weather has been clear and brilliant during most of this sweet month of May. Therefore, everyone gets outside as much as possible. So that will be the theme of this post – Sud-Ouest France en plain air observations:
Here we go. Toulouse is the fourth largest city in France, after Paris, Lyon and Marseille. It is known as la Ville Rose (“the Pink City”) because of having many buildings with pinkish terra-cotta bricks. They are especially beautiful to view at dusk when a pleasant May day eases into night.
Toulouse is also known for its cassoulet. I enjoyed the above in one of the many very busy outdoor cafes of la Ville Rose. On the night we were there, it seemed everyone was outside walking in the soft night air or relaxing in a cafe. Very nice!
I’ve also learned here that no one parties outdoors like a Basque! There are many outdoor festivals this time of year, and in the nearby village of Condom (yes, that is the name you jokers you) concerts were held this past weekend. Most everyone there wore clothing featuring Basque red and white colors. I unwittingly did not – and as a result stood out like a sore thumb – but still was welcomed by the dancing, beer drinking throngs especially when joining them at the front of a massive stage next to the historic cathedral during the late evening concerts. Several times I was even grabbed and hugged! There were so many attractive, happy women dancing there! Unfortunately, my embraces were always from screaming men with beer cups hanging from cords around their necks, but still I suppose these are friendly gestures I should be grateful for nonetheless.
The music and dancing took place night, and day!
They did most everything outside at the festival. For example, no need wasting precious dance and beer drinking time looking for a bathroom. Plus, these outside stations allowed for continued socializing with friends, an added benefit:
With the increasing warmth we have also moved our morning meditation and yoga outside. At 8:30 a.m. the only sounds are birds chirping, and the sun feels perfect. It’s an ideal way get ready for a day of castle renovations.
In between work renovating the castle our lunches and dinners are primarily outside as well. There is something truly wonderful about doing physical work all day, cleaning up, and then joining a table on the lawn with ten or more people for a long, slow, incredible meal ending under stars. Here are some recent remarkable dishes created by the team working here:
What else outside in this part of South West France? The cafes in nearby villages such as Lectoure, of course.
Or the outdoor markets in villages such as Fleurance, just a few minutes drive from the Lamothe Farm & Castle. Seems like they’ll let anyone shop there 🙂
And then in the evening, watching the sky shift in color from blue to pink to gold to slate and then to black, knowing for certain that May is indeed a fine time of year to be outside in Sud-Ouest France.
Love and Peace,