My first trip to France was in June of 2008, when I had the good fortune to accompany a dear friend to the Languedoc-Roussillon region of southern France. We flew in to Paris where we stayed in a little hotel on Île Saint-Louis for a few nights. My first experience of Paris was a whirlwind of sights, sounds and jetlag. I apparently didn’t take too many photographs either, but the ceiling of the Louvre must have made a big impression!
Traveling by train to our accommodations in southern France was a real adventure. We took the TGV to Montpelier where we transferred to a regional train. Met at the station in Carcassonne by a friendly German who spoke little English, and who drove a car that didn’t appear to like first gear, we were transported to an inn in a little hamlet called Sonnac-sur-l’Hers, all the while zooming through round-a-bouts in second gear while the friendly German apologized sheepishly for his cousin’s car. The lovingly restored in, Le Trésor, was owned by a wonderful young British couple, Tilly and Will Howard. Since the location is very rural, and because I had no car, I was forced to slow down and relax on the trip, something I hadn’t done for a long time. Fortunately I did take a few photographs of this area when I wasn’t sitting under a peach tree, taking in the gorgeous views, and pondering life.
The majority of my photos were taken approximately an hours drive southwest of Carcassonne, almost within sight of Andorra. The village of Sonnac-sur-l’Hers is built around a small plaza; the church on one end and Le Trésor (with green shutters) opposite the church. There is only one entry into the plaza from the road. The surrounding area is mostly farmland where crops such as hay and apples are grown.
During the course of the week we visited a couple of other homes where the artist group I was with spent the day painting outdoors. While they painted and critiqued each other’s work, I spent the days walking, reading and writing in the shade of the fruit trees.
Nothing forces relaxation better than sitting under a tree in the south of France while watching a man on a tractor mow and bale hay.