If you’ve followed my blog, my Twitter or Instagram feed for a little while now, you’ll know that I love France. Since I left Paris in 2000, we’ve been lucky enough to visit some part of France nearly every year since then. When I lived there, as a poor student, then a poor English teacher, I didn’t travel much. Since I worked mostly hourly-paid jobs, if I wasn’t at work, I wasn’t being paid and even though most of my jobs gave me long summer holidays, most of them didn’t pay me over that time. So my travel was kind of limited. I’m lucky I love Paris in the summer, really!
These days, whilst I do make it my business to head back to Paris on a regular basis, Neil and I have been exploring different areas of France over the course of a few summers now, always joined by our friend Cathy, who we met in Cuba, and sometimes my best friend from my Paris days, Liz. We’re slowly discovering many parts of France I never got to see when I lived there. So far, we’ve checked out Cassis, Biarritz, Alsace, Burgundy, Brittany, Champagne, the southern Rhône and recently, Languedoc-Roussillon. This coming summer, we’re heading to Gascony and Bergerac. I’ve been reminded of trips past just recently when I was organising my photos and found files and files of “unblogged about” trip photos.
In each town we visit, we spend 1-2 weeks, renting houses directly from owners. We’ve discovered some real gems of both towns and houses and over the years we’ve learned what really needs to be on our “must have” list (for the houses and towns) to the point where I am able to scan a property listing and know fairly well immediately if it’s what we’re looking for or not. In fact, most summers on our last night together, we choose another region to explore the following year and I start looking there and then! Did someone say organised?
Last summer we rented a gorgeous house in the town of Neffiès, a tiny commune in the Hérault department in the Languedoc-Roussillon region. The town met our criteria of having all the essentials – a boulangerie, a café, some restaurants, a lovely town square and a small grocery store. As well as all that, it was, well, gorgeous. Today I thought I’d to share some images of this “hidden gem” of a town that we so enjoyed staying in.
Being so tiny, Neffiès feels almost deserted during a summer day but that’s just because it’s hot and people tend to stay indoors until the sun sets. Once the sun goes down, people start emerging from their houses and hanging out in the restaurants and square and café. It’s a lovely place to spend a week or so and we thoroughly enjoyed the slower pace. The town itself is close enough to a lot of the busier tourist towns that you don’t feel isolated at all, even though it’s so small. We drove as far as the Camargue one day (that was a long day of driving but definitely do-able) Roquefort another. It’s close to lots of places you’d want to visit in the area.
Like what you see? Go see Neffiès for yourself. Where to stay? We can highly recommend Libellule, perfect for 4 people, can accommodate up to 6.
Let’s get kids excited about food on May 16th 2014 – Food Revolution Day! Check out all the details for how you can participate here.