RSS Feed

  1. Posted by: Brian


    Les Rochers in AutumnLes Rochers in autumn – taken a few years ago but much the same today

    In 5 days time the clocks revert to winter time; the leaves are colouring almost as we watch and the long Indian summer finally retreated 5 days back. The pools have been covered for the winter and Les Chênes and Les Pins are empty. All signs of the end of yet another season, our 12th at Domaine des Rochers. Can it really be so long since Joan and I embarked on our 5 year adventure? Well, it must be so since 11May, 2002 was the day we welcomed our first guest into Les Pins (then called La Primelle). Are you reading this Jerry and Elaine?

    Since then, how many visitors have we seen into one or other of the gîtes on the property? They must run to 1000 at least. They have come from all corners of the globe with the UK and Germany providing the majority. Many have become friends and some have been back 3 times or more.

    How would I sum up these years? Well, challenging, enjoyable, satisfying, and well, yes, exhausting, frustrating and maddening at times. But all in all, the positives far outweigh the negatives. How many more years do we envisage going on? Well, I suppose that as long as Katie asks, on saying goodbye, – can you book us in for the same two weeks next year? – I guess we’ll just have to keep going!

    As for 2013, it feels as though it was as busy a season as we’ve had and with winter guests booked in pretty well through to April, it’s not yet really over.

    Here are some pictorial highlights of our year, which started off in Cape Town where we are lucky enough to share a house with two of my brothers.










    Marimba player









    A stroll in Gourgas








    Gentian of some sort







    Jumbo Cloud










    Marbled White











    Roque de leglise










    Auberge des Causses, La Vacquerie





















  2. Have you ever felt that there was something mystical in the air? Now, I am not at all of a mystical disposition or prone to or irrational metaphysical inclinations, but some days the conjunction of personal demeanour and natural phenomena can leave you with a mysterious, even mystical feeling. Today was such a day.

    Not long after breakfast I looked out from the kitchen window at the cliff opposite, the apocalyptically named Cirque du Bout du Monde, as I often do to admire the ever-changing light and colours of the landscape, particularly at this time of the year. On this occasion I was rewarded by a beautiful rainbow surging, it seemed, from the edge of the cliff up and across the western sky. As I watched it began to fade, then intensified until it shone like no other rainbow I’ve seen. This wasn’t perhaps unusual given the intensity of the sun even thought it was barely 9am on a January morning.

    9am Rainbow

    Now, rainbows are not that uncommon, even in these drier regions of southern Europe. What was unusual though, was its persistence throughout the day; it was far from the usual ephemeral affair, fading to nothing after 15 or 20 minutes. As the day progressed, the rainbow moved steadily eastwards across the cliff, inversely as the sun made its westward arc in the sky opposite. The height of the rainbow changed too, imperceptibly and inversely with the elevation of the sun. Dipping lower and lower as the sun rose, it barely appearing above the cliff at midday. By late afternoon, the band of colours was rising sharply again from the cliff, this time arcing up and eastwards as the sun dipped in the western sky.

    Midday Rainbow

    Sadly, I missed the demise of the rainbow but it was sometime before the sun finally set behind the pine-clad hill to the west; I felt quite bereft when I realised it was no longer to seen across the valley.

    For a day, the always beautiful vista of the Cirque du Bout du Monde above the Gourgas valley had taken on an unusual, mystical and even more beautiful air.