Posted by: travelrat | November 11, 2009

First Day in France


When I said I was going to Carcassonne, I wasn’t quite accurate. In actual fact, we were staying near the town of Pexioria, which is about 25 kilometres to the west. The Domaine St. Raymond, which is where many different kinds of programmes take place under the banner of the ‘French House Party’.

I was there to see launch of the ‘Cuisine in Brief’ course, which is one of a series of courses grouped together under the title of the ‘Gastro Academy’. But, more about them later; I just want to describe the surrounding at first.

We’re in a valley, where the River Garonne flows westward, between the Pyrenees and the Midi Pyrenees and the Canal du Midi joins it to the Mediterranean. The valley floor is flat and fruitful, with the fields broken up by trees, which frequently are the upward pointing fingers of Lombardy Poplar, giving it the atmosphere of an Impressionist painting. The church spires which are peculiar to the area heighten the effect.

Domaine St Raymond is a 200 year old farmhouse, which has been tastefully renovated in a pleasing art-deco style; the whole thing making for a really relaxing atmosphere. But, they kept the open fire, and, every morning, I was greeted with the nostalgic aroma of woodsmoke from last night’s fire.

The only thing not so great was the weather, but I wasn’t expecting great things in November, anyway. It did remind me, though, of the advice often given to viewers of houses:

‘If you like it in Winter, you’ll love it in Summer’

But, don’t just take my word for it; have a look at my pictures.

I will get around to the cooking side of it eventually … but, if you can’t wait, go and see what they’re about at

Domaine St Raymond


  1. How breathtaking to experience the atmosphere of an Impressionist painting. Bliss. I am a little jealous!

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