Tuesday, March 6, 2012

The village I call home

This month, "By Invitation Only" members are learning about each other hometown.
Do you really want to know about my home town?

My village, Clermont Dessous

I still and will always call home my village of Clermont Dessous, still standing since the 12th century, with 500 inhabitants, overlooking the Garonne valley and surrounded by vineyards, wild poppies  and sunflower fields.

Image by candy2nd's photostream

I grew up on a vineyard and fruit farm and our lives were closely linked to the rhythm of seasons. At a very early age I went to boarding school to the main city in Lot et Garonne, Agen.
Agen is famous for 3 things, its prune trees, its museum and most important of all, its Rugby team

To this day, I love to watch a good rugby game. Both my sons were on their Harvey school's rugby team

Growing up in the countryside was just wonderful. I lived in a rather large house with my parents and grandparents and during the summer, Easter and Christmas vacations, the bedrooms would fill up with all my cousins, their parents, our friends. The house was noisy with kids running everywhere, chasing the cats and the dogs. The poor cook could not keep up with our insatiable appetites. I had my own share of the vegetable garden with a tiny attached cottage and started to play house at a very young age.

Lot et Garonne is one of France's best kept secret. It was home to the famous and notorious King Henry IV, and it was there that the "french mousqueteers" were born. They have become over the centuries, heroic figures in literature and on the big screen. The villages of Lot et Garonne are still unspoiled and one can still appreciate life in the french coutryside as it was once.

The tiny village of Port Sainte Marie where one would buy all groceries, newspaper, have a coffee, since Clermont Dessous does not have any shops, only an excellent restaurant.

Henry IV castle in Nerac

Beautiful Bed and Breakfast

From Paris, one can fly, hop on the TGV or drive to Agen. Discover the small street of that laid back city, lined with house still standing from the Middle Age. From there you can take a wonderful cruise on a Peniche (traditional boat that sails on the canal) all the way to the Mediteranean. This is life at its best, slow, with time for naps, great meals, for reflexion and appreciating the beauty of the countryside.

cruising on the Canal du Midi

Hope you enjoyed the tour. Would you like to visit? contact me.

A bientot,


See the home towns of By Invitation Only members

TISH JETT an American in France http://afemmeduncertainage.blogspot.com/ 
CATHERINE ROBINSON in London http://www.catherinerobinsoncashmere.com/ 
ANNIE BOUTERSE USA http://plumsiena.blogspot.com/
COTY FARQUHAR in Australia http://cotyfarquhar.blogspot.com/
DEBORAH PETERSON between Houston & Scotland http://www.dumbwittellher.com/
DUSTJACKET ATTIC, Debra in Australia http://dustjacketattic.blogspot.com/
SHARI MILLER USA http://www.littlebluedeer.com/
TINA USA theenchantedhome@gmail.com http://theenchantedhome.blogspot.com/
MONA THOMPSON USA http://providenceltddesign.com/
JACQUELINE MUMFORD England http://home-biba.blogspot.com/
KARIN JANSKY France http://lapouyette-unddiedingedeslebens.blogspot.com
VICKI ARCHER an Australian in France http://frenchessence.blogspot.com/
CECILIA GONZALEZ Spain http://desdemventana.blogspot.com/
RENEE GRANIER & ANGELA FOSTER USA http://underspanishmoss.com/
LISA USA  http://amidprivilege.com
FRANCINE GARDNER a woman of the world in NYC http://interieurs.com blog
CHRISTINA FLUEGGE USA http://greigedesign.blogspot.com/
STACEY BEWKES USA http://quintessence.com
LEANN BROWN USAhttp://linenandlavender.blogspot.com/
LENE Norway http://theessenceofthegoodlife.blogspot.com/
SANDE CHASE Canada www.agiftwrappedlife.com
SHARON SANTONI France http://myfrenchcountryhome.blogspot.com/
KAREN MALAN UK Pas Grand-Chose Blog http://athousandmiles-k.blogspot
DEJA PSEU USA unefemme.net.
ISA CHANDLER http://isaslittleworld.blogspot.com/

VERONICA  www.tasselsandtwigs.blogspot.com  veronica clark


  1. Looking at your photos and reading about life in your little village makes me wonder how you manage in NYC so well. It's so beautiful, so peaceful and so full of tradition, isn't it? I would love to know your mother and listen to her thoughts on life in the countryside. Yes, I would love to go there, Francine. I think I could relate to everything so well. Beautiful post. xx's

  2. Your home town is enchanting Francine... xv

  3. Francine-
    If I could wake up and look out onto this home of yours, I would think that I was in a dream. Such an amazingly beautiful place. I understand now where you talent for impeccable design originated.
    Thank you for sharing.

  4. Francine, I am just enchanted...totally spelbound.I adore the all the history and always feel so small when I relise how old some places are compared to my city. I have always wanted to do a barge trip on the Canal du Midi!! One of the thing is would love to do is live in France for a while since I am from French stock. Your village is so gorgeous and I can just imagine that it must have been amazing to grow up like that. Stunning pics. I was lucky to visit Normandy, Provence and Paris a few years back and remember the poppies and the cows so well..lol.. looked like they had sunglasses on! Of course rugby is huge over here as well, as you can imagine. I do hope you come to Cape Town and it would be delovely to meet you!


  5. Idyllic...comes to mind...growing up on a vineyard and fruit farm sounds wonderful...the images you have selected really convey your hometown...I adore the photograph of the canal...I want to be there ;-)
    Have a great week, Francine...fabulous post!

  6. I think that you are going to have quite a few takers that would like to visit Francine! I know that I would! It seems so far from me though, non? Did you take the TGV to Avignon for your recent visit (I am still kicking myself for not coming up to see you)? These photos show to me what I have always dreamed that "La France Profonde" must look like...something between dream and reality...I understand more why you go home as often as possible!
    All my best from Arles--the place du Forum is entirely decorated with balloons today like a pre-Carnaval...

  7. Dear Francine,
    What an idyllic place to grow up in.Such wonderful places to explore and climb and investigate as a child and also as an adult !!!! Our friends have a house near Lectoure which is about 18 miles from Agen. When we next visit, I shall make sure that we take a trip to Clermont Dessous.
    I think that it's lovely to have the countryside and the beautiful surroundings of your hometown and then to also live in the bustling city of New York. XXXX

  8. Absolutely beautiful photos and your narration is as well. I will keep this, it is one of those places that will go on my 'must see' lists. I loved this post.

  9. Fabulous post and such great advertising for the lovely part of France that I am lucky enough to call "home".

    A tres bientot, Leeann x

  10. Just beautiful - nature, tranquility and tradition. I hope the surrounding area of the village in which we will be staying in the north east of France is as beautiful the area you call home. Thank you for this inspiring post.

  11. Francine How lovely and historic.Your images bring your home town to life. So very idyllic.

    Art by Karena

  12. francine,

    in my book....this is probably one of the most fabulous places
    to be born and raised in.

    thank you for sharing
    i see you now in a little bit of a different light.

    love xxx

  13. What a nice article, I miss France so much. You are very lucky to live there, thank you for sharing so much passion and fabolous places in your blog.

    Thank you Francine.

  14. I like this blog, is very interesting. My best regards from the site juegos de chicas

  15. What a beautiful home you have! It is so rich in so many different ways, from the culture to the architecture and you are so lucky to have grown up in such a town. Thanks for sharing!


  16. Thank you so much for visiting my blog and leaving a note so that I could find you! I love this - I am your newest follower! Thanks for sharing and have a great day! Jalon

  17. How incredible, Francine! I always enjoy visiting your blog, always, and this post is such a nice finish to the week :)

    Wishing you the loveliest weekend…


  18. Francine,

    Oh my goodness... if only I could live a moment in that place... So amazing! Wishing you all the best as Spring starts, I know I am a little late on this one.


  19. Dear Francine,
    So sorry for my late visit and comment to this post which I surely love very much!!!
    It gives me the feeling that you see your home in France in the same way, with the same love for it, with the same 'eyes' for the country as I do here in the Périgord.
    All images, your words - just simply good!

    So, are you here 'at home' at the moment/for-over Easter? And when are you driving up to the Dordogne/Périgord for garden places...? I guess that you'll probably go to Bergerac, yes?, or?
    We're living about 40 minutes (easy) drive, slightly north-west of Bergerac. Any chance to visit us????? I certainly would love to meet you! You could stay overnight in our simple guest house. Maybe one day....

    Tres amicalement,

    p.s. sorry about my English


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