Tuesday, April 01, 2014

WELCOME - BIENVENU to my A to Z Blogging Challenge - 2014 Theme: For The Love of France

Welcome to my first post for the 2014 A to Z Blogging Challenge. This year my Theme is "For the Love of France" and will be heavy on photos/images. If you seek to distract yourself from everyday life and fly away to places and spaces unknown, venture out to the masses of other blogs participating at: http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/p/a-to-z-challenge-sign-uplist-2014.html You don’t have to sign up, just scroll until you hit the list. With over 1600 of us, there IS something there for everyone!

ASPET is a quaint town (950 population) tucked into a small valley in the Saint-Gaudens district of the Haute-Garonne department (county) of the Midi-Pyrenees region of France. Though small, it sports farms, shops, bakeries, ruins, and a unique historic church/chapel with a drive through. Picturesque and quiet, Aspet (pronounced Ahsspeh) is a perfect place for a weekend of great eating, easy hiking, (we went mushroom hunting and ate them for dinner), and deep restful sleep. The countryside is easy to navigate and dotted with historical towns, forts or churches/cathedrals. We stayed a long weekend with some friends who keep a house there for just that purpose. We had homemade omelet’s with our hand-picked mushrooms, Cassoulet with freshly baked bread, and MMMM . We also partook at a little jewel of a restaurant hidden deep in the folds and valleys of the Pyrenees. For more information on Aspet visit: http://www.francethisway.com/places/a/aspet-haute-garonne.php
Walking downtown Aspet

French people love flowers!

Rose vines and more color

Typical, with flowers

Blazing colors of autumn

Front view of the Chapel with ruins behind

The Chapel with it's drive through arch.

Some colors of Aspet

Where we stayed and our buddies.

Taking a break with his best friend

Lovely Pyrenees  nature

Lush mountainside

Les Pyrenees when in their soft glory
Our mushrooms, yum!
On our walk into the mountains

On the mountain in the field

The real thing
The sun touching life
Huge mushrooms!

Hunting Chestnuts, never had before...

An artist's rendition of the restaurant


A quick peek at our friends "Amis" in France...  http://youtu.be/sjqVUXzxg8A

L’ABBAYE FLARAN, in the Gers
The sight of Flaran Abbey takes adjusting to when you’ve only seen abbeys in photos or ruins. Perfectly preserved/restored (numerous times, most recently in 1972), Flaran Abbey is tranquil yet thriving not only with history but also with art. Walking in the long gardens or on hand made wooden floor tiles, gazing at massive stairwell walls covered with drawings and paintings of all kinds, and touring the kitchen, chapel and museum had our senses on overdrive. Seeing the identifying marks left on purpose from the individual masons who restored the massive interior pillars and archways illuminated their talent and dedication. Light playing across expanses of stone tiles, tiny hidden staircases, and reading the history of the abbey, built in 1151 AD, sent my imagination into divergent flights of fancy. If only walls could speak… For more information visit: http://www.brouquere.com/visit/abbaye-de-flaran_en.htm

The Chapel

A mason's marks on the column

Hidden stairwell

The inner courtyard
The well is in the middle

The "famous" image of the Abbey

Counter in the kitchen

Hand cut wooden floor tiles/bricks

Kitchen view

Another view, with window

Tile hand decorated

Main entrance

Part of the park lands of the Abbey

All photos by me.


  1. Hi Lisa! What a beautiful post. I, too, am a lover of France. I haven't been to this village, so thanks for the virtual tour. The photos are wonderful - wow, those mushrooms! that omelette!

    I'm just floating around checking the WEPpers' A - Z entries. So, enjoy yourself LIsa!

    1. So glad you came by! I'm getting ready to go check your blog, and others, catching up on my reading...I SO envied you going to France this year!

  2. Hi Lisa .. this is a great idea .. and should I get to France again .. I'll know where to come for some ideas. I wish we looked after our villages as well as the French appear to do ..

    Loved the photos - and that omelette ... cheers Hilary

    1. Oh, I've seen some really lovely well kept villages in the UK too, Hilary! I do love how the French love their flowers and greenery almost everywhere one goes. The omelet was delicious and so were the mushrooms!

  3. We love the Pyrenees, there are so many little places you can enjoy there!! and any season has the extras like the mushrooms picking or skying.

    Shere y Paul

    PS:we are also participating in the AtoZ challenge: AtoZ: de caña-tapa en Alcalá de Henares

    1. I went and visited your blog. Lovely idea, and I really enjoyed my time in Spain, soooooo many years ago! Glad you are here on the A to Z!

  4. The scenery in Europe can't be beat. Great pics!

    1. It's hard to, that's for sure, though France has it's ugly parts too. Not worth photographing though!

  5. I have never been to France before but have wanted to visit. The small town you mentioned sounds very lovely. I would love to go there someday.

    1. Yes, Aspet is a nice little place in the Pyrenees and easy to get to. Hope you get to go, whenever you do, try not to rush around seeing too much in too little time. It's much more fun to really visit one or two places and have a deeper experience...

  6. Lovely photos. I've never visited France, though I've always been more interested in the lesser-known cities instead of the cliché of Paris. Three of my A-Z posts are actually about French cities, for B, L, and N.

    1. Great Carrie-Anne! I'll hop on over to read your posts. There are so many places, even in Paris itself, that are off the beaten path and so worth seeing/experiencing...

  7. A very nice introduction. It's easy to love France. We drove through some of the smaller towns on one of our visits to Monet's Gardens.

    1. Thank you DG, now I'm not as familiar with the north of France and would love to explore it some more... My E post is on Etretat, on the coast... my mother has seen Monet's Gardens but I've never been. One day!

  8. Oh, I have a dear friend who lives in France but I've never been there. Your photos are beautiful! I'd love to visit this town. Looking forward to more of your A-Z. :)

    1. And I look forward to yours as well Julie! Thanks for coming by and hope you make it to France someday soon!

  9. Anonymous1:14 AM

    Bonjour Lisa and thanks for visiting my A to Z ! Vos photos sont belles! I am looking forward to seeing all that you post, because I have a feeling it will directly impact my own travel plans this fall! Thanks so much for sharing your experiences!
    jetgirlcos visiting via Forty, c'est Fantastique

  10. Anonymous9:27 PM

    I've never been to France, the photos are so intensly beautiful. They remind me a bit of places in my dreams, places I visit in my head, special places. Maybe someday, I will go to France, if not for anything else... the beauty.

    Thank you!

  11. Wow! How gorgeous! I love the building that's being covered in vines. Just stunning. Thanks for sharing all of these Lisa!

    Happy A to Z-ing!
    herding cats & burning soup.

  12. Beautiful photos Lisa, thank you for sharing! All a delight to the eye and other senses!


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