The Camisard Uprising by David Crackanthorpe

The Camisard UprisingThe strength of French Protestantism is not often appreciated by visitors to France, though the French themselves are well aware of it. Since the end of the Second World War at least three prime ministers have been Protestant; in the law, in politics, in banking, Protestants have played an important part ever since the Revolution. The two most influential mayors in modern times of France’s second city, Marseille — Siméon Flaissières and Gaston Defferre — were Protestants from the region of Nîmes and esteemed by the Marseillais as the most honest men among them. But France, although constitutionally lay, is thought of as a Catholic country with cities dominated by marvellous gothic cathedrals visible from afar, spiritual home to a population whose traditions and self-image are intrinsically Catholic. The Latin origins of their language incline the French to identify with a Roman and Catholic Mediterranean world contrasted with which Calvinism with its discreet reserve, austere morals and undecorated churches or temples seems somewhat grey.


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Vintage Vendanges by Carole Rommene

Vintage Vendanges 1

Both my grandads were winemakers in a small village near Béziers, and as we were growing up, my sister and I were constantly fed stories of how things used to be done ‘in the old days’. Harvest seemed to hold particularly vivid emotions as we were told of hot arduous days of grape picking, then of long evenings relaxing with everyone around a table full of nice food and copious amounts of last year’s wine. I’m sure as the years passed, the excruciating back pains involved with bending down to the vines and carrying heavy buckets slowly evaporated to be replaced by the team spirit and the comradery in my Grandfathers’ memories.


From Roman to Moroccan by Carole Rommene

From Roman to MoroccanAn oriental invitation in the centre of Arles

When you think of Arles, you are immediately reminded of Roman monuments, Van Gogh’s vivid tones or provençal textiles. It’s none of these that brought us to the antique city a while ago. My husband and I had heard of a Moroccan restaurant that was apparently worth a detour from the usual touristic trail. Leaving the children with their cousins for the night, we headed for a well-deserved and oh so rare night out.


Returning to: "le bon sens paysan", an interview with award winning wine producer Myriam Rouquette by Sarah Breathnach

Returning to le bon sens paysan 1The Languedoc-Roussillon has long been recognised as the single largest viticultural region in the world producing over a third of France’s entire wine output. Formerly referred to as: “The wine lake”, the 1970’s saw the region excel in terms of mass production but it quickly gained a reputation for overproducing low quality, cheap table wine. Today, however, it’s a truly different story with a new generation of diligent vintners proving the region capable of producing exceptional terroir wines.


Tomatoes: pretty and good for you by Sam Ford

tomatoesTomatoes are such an integral part of the Mediterranean diet that it is hard to believe that they didn’t originate here. Only arriving in Europe in the 16th century, tomatoes were primarily cultivated in central and south America. And whilst botanically they are classified as a fruit there is still some discussion over who actually brought them here. Was it Columbus or a couple of Mexican priests? Who knows, but they have certainly settled in well!