Sunday, December 30, 2012

Happy New Year 2013

Mas de l'Houvande wishes you the very best for the year 2013.

May all your wishes and dreams come true and especially may you stay in good health.

À votre santé
Zum Wohl
Cin Cin

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Lovely rainbows

After a period of cold weather the rain has come to the Lot and Prayssac.
Nothing special for the time of the season but this time the rainbows are just marvellous and very often in double.

According to the weather forecasts a white Christmas will not be for this year either - of course only if we survive the end of the world according to the Maya calendar on the 21th of december.

But don't let out your sleep for that.

See you next week.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Winter degustation at Fages

It has become a winter tradition at château Fages (Luzech): in the beginning of december there is an open house day with bread baking à l'ancienne, a walk in the winter sun throughout the vineyards around the château and of course a marvellous wine degustation.

This is always accompanied with Glühwein to warm body and mind and all kinds of little "tapas" made maison.

Just one photo to catch the winterly pre-Christmas atmosphere : a lovely decorated sofa in the 18th Century wine cave .

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Winterly days

Like a bit everywhere in Europe I suppose the last few days we had winterly weather here in the Lot : freezy nights, drizzling snow and rime and hoarfrost in the morning.

Of course nothing compared to the situation in the East of Europe but in the region here one always wonders, getting up in the morning and seeing some snow, esp. when it is not forecast as such.

I would say : Keep yourself warm near the fireplace.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Mystery revealed

With great difficulties.

At the time I could go and see the mysterious white "things" in front of the house - which I mentioned in the blog of last week - unfortunately they had already disappeared.

Nevertheless the mystery could be revealed.

I never would have thought that one day they would really start dredging the river Lot as the project exists since several years but nothing happened up to now.

Apparently this has changed now.
The communities want to make the Lot navigable for touristic reasons - probably following the example of the Dordogne region where canoeing, kayaking, etc. is one of the main touristic attractions.

What has happened already is that they did some flat dredging and put on yellow beacon buoys to mark the zones that for the moment are still not accessible.

To be continued.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Strange things happening on the river Lot

Since a few days in front of the house near the river Lot - or should I say on the river - strange things are happening.

During the day an enormous noise can be heard. And from the terraces three white "things" can be seen.
During the night all is quiet and sometimes the three white "things" are gone to return the next day.

With my lively fantasy I like to imagine it could be a Viking longship or drekar.
Or is it rather an encounter of the third kind?

As I haven't had time to go and see I can't give you no more information.
Hope to tell you more next week.

Have a nice Armistice Day.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

White wine out of the red Malbec grapes

This week a "premiere" in the Lot : one of the Lot winemakers has succeeded in making white wine from red Malbec grapes.

As you can read in the regional newspaper La Dépêche du Midi of today - avec du raisin rouge il fait du vin...blanc! - it is the first time this is done in the Lot.

The principle is to harvest red Malbec grapes at an early stage where the grapes have little maturity but a correct acidity to make a white wine. If you then press it like a white wine it gives you a juice that is comparable to a pinot blanc.
After all it is the skin of the grape that gives the color.

Curious already to taste it.

After château de Fages last year with producing their top wine partially in amphoras this is another great experiment in the Lot - a true sign that nowadays the winemaking in the Lot is very dynamic.
To the benefit for the whole appellation Cahors Malbec.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Exterior of the house finished

In two periods of time and with a big help from a friend the exterior of the house, i.e. the borders of windows and doors, were finished just in time before winter.
Up to now they were still in the red stone they were build in, now they are polished with a light grey enduit - with a product coming from Sweden.

As we worked so hard I forgot to take pictures of the "raw" situation before.
Therefore only two pictures.
Everybody who has been to the house will notice the difference and can imagine how the look will have changed.

Have a nice halloween on tuesday night.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

End of the wine harvest

After some three weeks this weekend the harvest came to an end - as usual with the "vendanges à la main" for the top quality wines.

As last year - see blog - I went to Château Fages (Luzech) to give a helping hand.

Here is the whole bunch of helpers with your little servant somewhere on the back row.
For those who would have some difficulties to recognise me after all these years there is a little hint. And no, it is not the man with the glass of wine in his hands.

Afterwards - as is the custom - a delicious meal was offered - this year accompanied by guitar music as you can see on facebook.

Some of the repertoire : Jacques Dutronc (Paris resp. le château de Fages s'éveille), Alain Bashung (Vertige de l'amour), Claude Nougaro (Tu verras), Serge Gainsbourg (La javanaise), Boris Vian, Sascha Distel, etc.

Very nice indeed and a feast for young and old.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

autumn colours

Everyone who has visited the Lot in autumn will known that this season is a time of beautiful colours, not only in the vineyards but also in the sky.

For the moment - the wine harvest is not yet finished - the vineyards haven't undergone the change yet and the leaves don't show off their beautiful autumn colours that range from red over brown to yellow.

Therefore some examples of beautiful sunrises, sunsets and mornings - here in the Lot valley mostly accompanied by fog.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Wine harvest 2012

This week the red wine harvest has started.

Finally, one could say as it is only the third time in the last 30 years that the red wine harvest begins in October.

This is mostly due to the very rainy and variable weather in April and May.
This caused the blossoming to spread over some two weeks instead of normally two or three days.
As a consequence of this the grapes are very unequal in maturity : on one grape you can see mature raisins, still green ones and on the other hand already dried ones.

The harvest started on the lower terraces which are the terraces around Mas de l'Houvande. First day : Wednesday, October 3rd.

Some pictures taken from our garden.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Heritage days in the Lot near Prayssac

As every year the "Journées du Patrimoine" (Heritage Days) were organised the third weekend of September. During these days you can visit an endless variety of well-known (but usually off-bounds) historical monuments.

Some history

The European Council instated the EU-backed Heritage Days in 1991 on a French idea dating back to 1983 (when the Ministry of Culture held its first historical-monument open days). More than 40 French countries and regions hold Heritage Days now.

We went to two places near-by : Les Junies and Saint-Medard.

The monastery Notre-Dame of Les Junies was a 14th century monastery for dominican nuns, heavily destroyed during the French Revolution.
In the last ten years it has been beautifully restored, e.g. the chapter-house.


Further information (in French) see couvent Notre-Dame.

The Manoir du Rouergou in Saint-Medard is an ancient wine castle in local 17th and 18th century country architecture where during the year e.a. art exhibitions are held.
We loved the bread oven covered with tiles and one of the small barns.
Unique is the big barn for its wooden construction.


More historic information see manoir du rouergou.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

And the winner is ....

Some posts ago I told you about a competition to choose the village prefered by the French.

This tuesday the results were transmitted nationwide in a two hours programme on FR2.

And the winner is ... the art village Saint-Cirq-Lapopie in the Lot.

Yes, yes, yes !! Unbelievable as the competition was very hard.
Between the competitors were e.a. - to name only a few - : Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert, Les Baux-de-Provence, Vézelay, Barfleur, Yvoire et Riquewihr.

You can re-watch the whole programme here

The whole palmares you can see on this internet address :

So, from now on nobody has any reason whatsoever not to visit the Lot this summer.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

The gardens of Marqueyssac

Today we continue our visit of smaller touristic jewels of the region : the gardens of the château of Marqueyssac, near Sarlat.

The castle of Marqueyssac is famous for its beautiful seventeenth- and nineteenth-century gardens.
Marqueyssac's 22-hectare park and XVIIIth century château offer more than 6 kilometers of shaded strolling alleys edged by - 150,000 hand-trimmed boxes -, and adorned with panoramic viewpoints, rockeries, waterfalls and natural sceneries.
It is one of France's most beautiful "Parc à l'italienne".

Just enjoy

Sunday, June 17, 2012

All of a sudden I realise that I've never told you something about Lacapelle Marival, one of the most beautiful villages of France.
I don't know why but it is like that.
So today let's remedy that.

Lacapelle Marival - half way between the rivers of the Lot and the Dordogne - is located some 20 km in the North-West of Figeac, nestled within the verdant valleys and wooded hills at the western edge of the Massif Central.

The grand chateau Cardaillac occupies a dominant place in the village and was the foundation of the community here.
Built by the feudal family of Cardaillac in the 13th Century, effectively the local rulers at this time, it was the central point around which the village developed.
The architecture of the building and of the old houses in the village, give a strong feeling of history to the commune.

Today - thanks to its geographical situation - Lacapelle Marival forms a lively centre for trade, artisans and village fairs.

Let's have a look and enjoy !

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Rocamadour - Pilgrimage

Rocamadour, in the Lot, is one of the most important places of France on the Saint James Way, the route to Santiago de Compostela.

Wikipedia tells us all about it.

Every year Rocamadour is visited by one million and a half tourists and more than 50 000 pilgrims.

See the beauty of this place for yourself.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Artists in the Lot - I

Today we start with a new series, entitled "Artists in the Lot", a series which I will continue at rather irregular intervals.

As you know : the Lot is not only a great territory of beautiful landscapes, historic sites, healthy and natural products as duck liver paté, cabécou goat cheese, Malbec wine, etc. but it is also the department where artists found and find a place to exercise their "métier".

The first artist in the spotlight is Martine Faupin Jado, a lady artist coming from Paris who turned her hobby into a profession.
She works with chalk, has a lovely eye for colours and interior harmony and re-decorates ancient pieces of furnitures like cabinets, cupboards, etc.

DireLot, a well known magazine that on a bimonthly turn-out puts the multiple aspects of the Lot into the limelight, focussed on Martine Faupin Jado in its May / June 2012 edition.

(click on the picture to read the text)

Among many other things she has also decorated all the guest rooms and the common sitting- and dining-room of Mas de l'Houvande.

For further information and to contact her, see her web site.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Another voyage in the Lot

Today we make another voyage in the Lot guided by two young people who start in Gourdon and visit Uzech les Oules (pottery), Carrenac (monastery), les Grottes de Lacave, Rocamadour, Gouffres de Padirac, Figeac, St-Cirq-Lapopie, Bouzies, Les Causses and end their trip in Cahors (its market and its Pont Valentré).
Inbetween they do some fishing and canoeing on the Lot and the Dordogne.

In a not too serious way it gives a nice overview of everything you can see and do in the Lot.

Motto: la vie est un chemin (life is a path to walk down).

Voyage dans le Lot par MonNuage

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Competition : the favorite village in France

The national television channel France 2 has started a campaign to choose the favorite village of France - everybody can participate.
The results are published in June.

Here you can discover the beauty and diversity of France.

In the list there is one village situated in the Lot that all of you know and have visited : Saint-Cirq-Lapopie.

As a reminder just visit their site and watch the beautiful video.

So, don't forget to vote here - it is a vote of a different kind and one never knows where it is good at.

Have a nice first May week end.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Touristic Highlights of the Lot

Waiting for the real spring to begin I would like to present you a video of some of the touristic highlights of the department of the Lot with some new interesting points of view - very worth watching !!

In chronological order:

* Cahors,
* Vire-sur-Lot (château du Cèdre),
* St-Cirq-Lapopie,
* Figeac (museum of Champollion),
* le Gouffre de Padirac,
* Rocamadour,

  and last but not least

* a picnic with all the nice products of the terroir.

Have a nice day. Hope to see you again in the Lot.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Hello again !

Some nice activity here at Mas de l'Houvande during the last week.

For the first time in seven (!) years the field in front of the house and the terrace has been ploughed.
Up to now we and the guests could only "admire" the weed and the disorder, now grass for hay is sown and will probably come out soon, thanks to the nice rain of the last days.

Our cats have grown up by now, especially little Marcello who is now one year old - he has become a real acrobat climbing trees like a champion.

A "world premiere" in the valley of the Lot: Château Fages develops its 2011 cuvée as in ancient Roman times, namely in amphoras.
And then to say that Toni, Rita and I contributed unconsciously to that by helping out with the vendange.

I can hardly wait to taste it.

Have a nice sunday.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Website re-styled

Today a message of another kind.

Due - or should I say - thanks to external reasons I had to re-work the codes of the mashouvande- website. All is working fine again now.

At the same time I profited of the occasion to re-style some visual parts of the site : esp.
I modernized the script for the slideshow,

changed a lot of photos to present mas de l'houvande as it is today

added photo galleries per year with a selection of lovely pictures given to us by our guests (again thanks for that).
From now on every year there will be added one.
Here is the link : .

Finally, a favicon for the url- and tab bar was created.

I hope you like the changes.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Week of real tough winter

It all started last Sunday with 7 hours of snow falling.
At times it looked a bit like snow storm.

Chiara and especially Marcello were just fascinated by the snow - as it was the first time in their still short life they saw some.
So so cute !

Today, seven days later, the snow is still there - something unseen in my five years of Prayssac life.

Whole week we got temperatures between -7° and -17°.
As you can see from the bucket picture - shot today - the ice is not about to melt immediately.

So, just keep warm
in front of a cosy fire.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

A New Year

Hello again.

As they say : a new year, good intentions.

Mas de l'Houvande hopes that the end-of-year celebrations have been very fine for you all.
We wish everybody for 2012 peace, serenity, a lot of joy and happiness and above all good health.

May the new year be a year of progress, stability and harmony.

And let's look into the new year and into the world with an open mind and curiosity just as our two cats, Chiara and Marcello, every morning when we open the door to let them out.

See you.