It was a beautiful hot June morning at Gatwick Airport as 27 very happy Tylers and Bricklayers gathered to commence a wonderful trip to the Languedoc Region of Southern France organised by the Master and the Mistress. Six other members of the group had decided to drive. Following an excellent flight, the group was met by the Master and capable assistant, Liveryman Barry Blumsom, with a 50 seater coach that had been commissioned by the Master. First stop was the Master's beautiful house in Azillanet where we were all treated to a very welcome drink and wonderful home-made cakes, tenderly created by the Mistress Hilary, her sister Pamela and Jan Blumsom. The weather was very hot and the Master's large and elegant swimming pool made a very tempting and inviting backdrop as we all sat outside enjoying the beautiful views of the Black Mountains in the distance.
The Master had arranged rooms for all of the guests in the most glorious chambres d'hotes in the pretty town of Olonzac. Everybody was impressed by the charm and tastefulness of the chambres d'hotes where we spent very comfortable nights. A visit to an excellent local restaurant was the night's entertainment, where the owner, Frederic and his son Charles looked after us marvellously. Much wine and good food were consumed, with everyone sitting outside enjoying the beautiful warm Summer evening.
The next morning, after a very satisfying breakfast, the party made our way by coach, courtesy of our friendly driver Cyril, to the medieval Cité of Carcassonne, with its 52 towers, and two concentric walls totalling 3 km in length. The Cité is full of interesting monuments and museums, and a vast array of shops with both local and national produce on show. The Basilica of Saint-Nazaire was the highlight of the Cité, where we were fortunate to hear a wonderful Russian male quintet singing beautiful harmonies.
After several interesting hours at the Cité, we were treated to a fine wine tasting at the Maison Lorgeril, a wine estate that has been making fine wines since the early 1600s. After a full description of the three excellent Chateau de Pennautier wines that we were about to taste, the owner opened the bottles and allowed us all to indulge in the lovely aromas and tastes of his fine creations. They were much enjoyed by all. Following the wine tasting we sat down to a very nice rustic fish lunch.
In the evening, it was all over to Maison de la Source, our Master's beautiful abode, where we sat outside in the stunning gardens, all set up for dinner lovingly by the Master, Mistress and other willing assistants. The scene could not have been better, with such glorious weather and three barbecues cooking away in the large covered patio area.
There was much good companionship, drinking of good wines and beers and an abundance of food including excellent chicken, lamb and merguez sausages all cooked on the barbecue.
The excellent desserts and cheese board, accompanied by an aromatic dessert wine rounded off a perfect evening.
The following morning, after a hearty breakfast, we were collected by the very reliable and always smiling Cyril in his coach and taken to Toulouse Airport for the flight back to the UK.
Everybody commented on how they had had a wonderful few days in the Languedoc Region, and huge and heartfelt thanks must go to the Master and Mistress for their hard work and generosity in arranging this amazing trip.