Le feu de la Saint-Jean

Le feu de la Saint-Jean to celebrate the solstice

Le feu de la Saint-Jean is a typical Catalan tradition. It is a yearly recurring festive evening around the summer solstice. The association ‘Les Amis de la Cesse et du Brian’, with members from various villages nearby, has been following this tradition for more than 50 years. One day in advance the ‘Amis’ gather the wood for the stake. On June 23rd at nightfall, the dusk is the moment when they light the fire. It goes without saying that this pretty culinary club has all this accompanied by a nice ‘grillade de saucisse’.

Especially in the Roussillon many villages keep the tradition and it is said that the light of the fires can be seen up to Barcelona and Marseille. The celebration also includes a ‘Bouquet de Saint-Jean’. An original bouquet consists of leaves of a walnut tree, St. John’s Wort, Immortellen (straw flowers) and orpin herb, which should be gathered before dawn. According to legend, the bouquet is hung at the door to protect young girls from the devil.

Op de Franse radio

Op de radio in de uitzending Samedi de Partir van France Bleu Hérault

Vanochtend vroeg togen Dick en ik naar France Bleu Hérault in Montpellier. De lucht was ook strak ‘Bleu’, dus het werd een mooie rit. We waren uitgenodigd om deel te nemen aan de radio-uitzending ‘Samedi de Partir’.

Dit programma belicht iedere zaterdag mooie en interessante plekjes van de Hérault. Er worden allerlei tips gegeven voor overnachtingen, wandelingen, fietstochten,bezienswaardigheden en proeverijen. Een online uitstapjesbrochure dus, want alle uitzendingen zijn terug te luisteren op de website van France Bleu Hérault. Dit keer mochten wij onze chambre d’hôtes en directe omgeving presenteren. Klik op de studio en luister maar:

Katharen route vanuit La Maison Chabbert

Who dares to do it? Hiking from La Maison Chabbert via Narbonne to the Cathar Trail and via Carcassone back to Beaufort.

Fervent hikers Anja and Wim walked the 450 km in 18 days! On August 15 they returned to us and we  enjoyed their enthusiastic and special stories about beautiful nature, heavy climbs, countless ‘ webs ‘ of caterpillars, the heat wave and surprising accomodations.

There was more than enough variety. The hike led them through the Minervois, through the Parc Naturel Régional de la Narbonnaise en Méditerranée, along more than 10 Cathar castles and along the Canal du Midi.

There were a few things that Anja and Wim could not have fully foreseen. First the exceptional ‘canicule’ of this year with persistent temperatures between 35 and 40 degrees.

Although many hiking challenges have been undertaken before, they were surprised by the difficulty of the Cathar trail, such as the climb from 250 to 850 meters altitude in 3 km, phew!

They had a new and strange experience in forests, due to swarms of caterpillars. By hitting a stick, they had to pave their way through the web wires of the caterpillars.

Despite the difficulties, they very much enjoyed every day from the trip and especially the rewards afterwards: pleasant and surprising hostings with refreshing showers, cold beers and tasty meals.

Conclusion of Anja and Wim: hiking tour for experienced walkers, very worthwhile, but the advice to undertake the tour in a cooler period.

If you want to know more, feel free to contact us.

Environmental zones in France: Air Quality Certificate Crit’Air

Environmental zones in France: Air Quality Certificate Crit’Air

You might have to deal with environmental zones, when driving through France. With the new law Crit’Air French towns and departments can introduce these zones. Maybe useful to get an Air Quality Certificate! This anti-pollution sticker is valid for the entire life of your vehicle. The price is €3.11 plus postage!

The video below clearly explains all this. Or you can click here for ample information.


Saint Chinian and surroundings classified as the 5th best place in the world to retire

Saint Chinian and surroundings classified as the 5th best place in the world to retire


Many agree with us that we really live in a wonderful region. Last month the village of Saint Chinian, at about half an hour from La Maison Chabbert, has even been classified by the American television channel CNBC as the 5th best place in the world to retire (see the links underneath). Together with the charm of the village the region is among others praised for its more quiet rhythm of life, its cultural heritage, authenticity, nice climate, fresh and local products and a large number of recreation possibilities.

Before we came to live in Beaufort, we often spend our holidays in Saint Chinian and stayed with Pascal and Michel  in their bed and breakfast Maison du Parc. We still like to go there and already the way from Beaufort to Saint Chinian is so worth the effort. On the Promenade, surrounded by majestic plane trees, there is a market every Thursday and Sunday. We often advice our guests to make a’ tour Hérault’. First to Saint Chinian and then to Roquebrun, Olargues, Saint-Pons, Minerve, Beaufort. Nice addresses for lunch are Le Petit Nice in Roquebrun and Le Lézard Bleu in Vieussan.


Museum The French Seduction

Musée La Séduction FrançaiseMuseum The French Seduction

Recently we discovered the small unique museum The French Seduction. The founder Ger Verhoeve took us here into the history of travel and tourism in France. A nostalgic and captivating visit thanks to the big historical knowledge of Ger Verhoeve and his huge collection of historical documents, books, travel guides, pictures, maps and souvenirs!

The museum, housed in an old bakery, is situated on a small square in Fontcouverte. The museum, housed in an old bakery, is situated on a small square in Fontcouverte. Ger also told that the annals tell us that in the room of the museum they already baked bread in a big oven since at least 1597, so for more than four ages, until the spot was transformed into a small museum. We know that because in that year Saint-Régis was born in Fontcouverte, a catholic priest who was later canonized. On our way back we saw a statue on the top of stone stairs and we could then guess who that was. It appears, there is a pilgrimage and procession every year on the 16th June to celebrate the Fête de Saint Jean-François Régis.

La Séduction Française is about 20 minutes by car from La Maison Chabbert. A nice trip which is good to combine with a visit to the beautiful village of Lagrasse. Also nice to go there by bike!