La Belle Ancienne
This scrumptious boulangerie, run by John (the baker) and Lisette (a fine artist painter) is my new favorite place :) They sell THE most heavenly goods made with organic ingredients baked onsite in John’s huge wood-fired oven, as well as other goods (olive oil, tea, honey, herbs & spices, woven baskets and hats… the list goes on). Lisette sells her paintings from postcards to larger prints. These scenes of the region make perfect gifts or memory treasures. Sit back and relax with a coffee or tea and freshly baked treat!
Summer fun in the sun
Besides being Assignan's annual Fête d’été on June 11, it was also the opening of the Saison 2022 Art Galerie
Grand opening of Les Brasseurs de Castigno
and a weekend street fair!
Painting with Nicola
La Belle's roof terrace just got washed in living color! After I filled in the sky and earth, artist Nicola Blakemore painted delightful settings depicting the beauty of the Languedoc. On one wall, she created a mélange of potted herbs and flowers and on another, an impressionistic french countryside vineyard scene, set against the Pyrenees.
Enjoy a meal or drink to the beauty of what this part of southern France has to offer. Perhaps it may strike the artist in you to dream up something of your own. Nicola teaches painting courses; group or one-on-one tutoring and offers instructional videos online. Check out her website: painting-holidays-france or her YouTube channel.
Helge Blumen :)
My dear friend, Helge, left me a large crate of beautfiul flowers when she returned to Germany from her second home here in Assignan. I couldn't have asked for a nicer gift. Danke Helge!
Authentic Thai Restaurant in the village square
Treat yourself to scrumptious Thai food served in Assignan's center. Cozy and comfortable inside or outside seating. Food is freshly prepared to suit your dietary needs and sourced locally :-)
Summer on the Midi Canal
Not far from La Belle Ancienne runs the Canal du Midi; 241 km (150 mi) long, built to connect the Atlantic to the Mediterranean. Walking and hiking enthusiasts may use the paths along the entire canal to visit quaint little villages (or bigger cities) in Languedoc style.
Back home in La Belle Ancienne, you'll find a newly remodeled roof terrace, complete with a hideaway room for the kids. Shower in bathroom is now entirely enclosed with glass. Upstairs bedroom holds a new sofabed; comfy yet firm for sitting with double mattress for sleeping. Several rooms have been freshly painted. See updated photos throughout this website.
Even the public restroom in the square has character...
La Table Restaurant ... for an exquisite gastronomic experience in Assignan
Featuring hand-reared cured and fresh tender meat / Catch of the day / Local seasonal produce / Handpicked herbs & vegetables from an organic garden onsite / Organic Château Castigno wines Dine al fresco in their beautiful gardens or simply enjoy the indoor atmosphere.
"ART Galerie is an invitation to inquire about the need of human being to enter into an artistic and collective dimension, where existence happens to be collective, and for a redefined aesthetic experience."
Art in Residence
The time has come for change; big time... Assignan is spreading her wings to invite art, music, dining, wine-tasting and more! Check out my most recent slideshow for a glimpse of new colour in the village.
The work is finished and she looks grand!
High speed internet/wi-fi is now available.
The village tapas bar reopens in mid-May and a new restaurant will commence in June.
I have been curious to find out what lies beheath this facade and am thrilled with what has been revealed!
In the midst of restoration, La Belle Ancienne is truly living up to her name.
La Petite Table
The little village of Assignan is being revitalized with tasteful refinement. Another lovely couple (I hope one day to meet) have returned their second time to La Belle Ancienne, just as this quaint little wine bar opened. Thanks, Judith and Ian, for sending me these photos; I can't wait to go back and check it out for myself!
A great way to explore
... is on bicycles! Experience the Languedoc on paths that wind in all directions - whether along the Canal du Midi, Mediterranean beaches or simply in and around Assignan amongst the vineyards. Bike rentals can be found as close as St Chinian - less than 7 kilometers from La Belle Ancienne.
Three years in a row
Trip Advisor and Flipkey have given La Belle kudos, based on "excellent reviews and quality listing". 'Merci beaucoup' to all of my guests who help to make this happen for the sweet little place it is.
Changes are afoot (literally) on Carriera Granda. Renovations will bring back cobblestone streets. I'm looking forward to seeing it for myself and am sure it will serve as an improvement for the village.
Friends I haven't met yet...
These delicious-looking berries ended up in a pie that was graciously given to Manuel (super-cool caretaker)
from Nina and Joep, guests at La Belle Ancienne for two consecutive years. On this most recent France holiday,
they became enagaged. I was delighted to hear the news ~ as was Manuel to eat the treat!
By far, the best part of sharing this house with others is the opportunity to connect with people around the globe.
I love receiving photos that visitors take on their adventures too. Here are a few more that my new friends shared. Thanks, Nina and Joep!
Springtime in the area
I just completed a glorious two-month journey, making more renovations to the 'Ancient Beauty'. This time concentrating on the terrace, my mate Tomas built an extension to the roof, providing a bit of shade (and respite for the wooden doors), as well as laying more tiles. He rebuilt the patio table and amused himself with the challenge of old world masonry; an assembly of local rocks were gathered under a niche and ~ voilà! ~ a little stone wall was erected (not to mention filling in some stones on the back side of that alcove). I pitched in by providing some artistic touches and added a fresh paint and staining job. A new comfy lounge chair has been tested and approved for the land of Nod... I only ask that you please place a towel between you and the chair if body oil/lotion is applied and return it to the storage room when not in use.
Cinderella returned this past winter to add her own brand of TLC; the bath tub now has a wrap around pole with deluxe shower curtains and liners, cotton flannel sheets for cozy winter snuggling and other practical items for your comfort and pleasure.
Le Languedoc au Printemps ~ a slideshow of nature in and around several medieval villages within an hour's radius from La Belle Ancienne is now up on Vimeo and YouTube (available in HD) or smaller resolution on video page.
Eglise du Trou
I just finished and posted another video ~ ~ a montage of what you may find with a bit of adventure. I am simply amazed at all the beauty surrounding and wanted to share it.
A short video has just been added to the site; a quick tour of the house and neighbourhood (Un coup d'oeil). Enjoy.
I'd like to present a few photos recently taken by guests, John and Felicia. It's such a pleasure to make contact with new people; bringing the world closer together with the common goal of leaving positive impressions for all. John shared another photo taken from the roof terrace. Beautiful works of art ~ thank you John!
One of Assignan's small streets
Vineyards flourish as far as the eye can see... this photo reveals Assignan in the far right.
What makes this property unique compared to the vast majority of rental houses on offer is that I live here too, whenever I find the opportunity. And so I welcome you with new photos; tasteful renovations for the summer ahead.
While at one of the nearby antique shops, I came upon a lovely (and very comfortable) chair and couch ensemble for the living room, fitting La Belle's character perfectly! Changes have happened in the kitchen as well ~ with durable copper pots and pans hung along a beam above a butcher block of quality knives ~ ~ ideal for preparing fine French cuisine. I have also added several other useful new items, allowing you to assemble your menus with ease.
The bathroom now has a towel warming rack which is a luxury during the cooler months. Of course, the house is well equipped with Egyptian cotton linens and duvets to fit each season.
Marie will likely be your caretaker at La Belle Ancienne or Carriera Granda. She is an artist with many talents; from jewelry-making to handbags and pottery to photography. I am excited to showcase photos from her collection of the 'Old World'. Selecting any image will allow you to see Marie's gallery in more detail.These make wonderful unique gifts or treasured keepsakes from the south of France. If you would like further information on dimensions and cost please contact me.