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A taste of the sweet life

Self-guided tour part 2

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If you read us last week, then you'll be right at home with this week's post - and we continue on into Le Plo...Plo...on the way towards the center, approaching the opening called Route de Rome.  Take a look right, down Impasse de Plo and see one of the old rampart towers, still standing as part of someone's home.
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Don't bother trying to get closer to the tower, as the further you walk down this quiet street, it disappears into the wall along the way.

You then continue into the fortification, through the Porte de Narbonne to find yourself in the main market place square, where goods were bought & sold by all the locals and many out-of-towners arriving several times a week. place-aux-herbes

The vendors rented the planks to set up their wares, from St. Julien, the church's stock, providing extra income for the church as well as saving the load of the sellers.

While in the square, take a look up at a large, private home in the corner to find a statue of St. Jacque, carved right into the stone wall.

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Self-guided tour part 1

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Finally done and ready to go, the self-guided tour our lost village of Azille.  As you saw in previous posts, I have been preparing and putting together a small map with many points of interest on it, and a bit of history so that you can take a walk around Azille and understand what it is all about.  It took longer than I imagined it, but I have learned so much about our little village in the middle of the vineyards and can now share it with all of you in full confidence!

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Here is the first of part of the tour, getting you ready for your visit to Azille and the walk around town! Start at La Dolce Vita, of course - walk around the back of the house, down the very narrow path and discover a grand chateau, owned by the well-known book publisher Gallimard - originally built in the early 19th century by an established wine merchant.

You move on down the street to imagine, as private property and olive trees now cover it, the visigoth cemetary excavated to show over 300 graves of a nearby community of Visigoths.

 

3-penitentsWalk down another little path between houses and arrive in the 'Place' (currently called le place de Plo, however, Plo means Place) where the "sinners" church still stands, Eglise de Penitants!  The church was constructed with private funding and was home to the sinners who searched for penitance - later it was turned into a theatre and a cinema for the villagers 20-30 years ago.

This is only the beginning, so join us next week to continue our journey through Azille with more photos & history!

 

Holidays in Azille

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We had a wonderful holiday season, guests & family joined together to celebrate Christmas eve dinner, Christmas day lunch and New Year's Eve.

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Cornish game hens stuffed with Black rice and cranberries, roasted potatoes and corn gave us the strength to watch darling Laiyla open her many gifts, and they say she's not spoiled!

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Lunch was very non-traditional - we chose to do a La Dolce Vita meal and go with something international, Chinese dim-sum.  A close friend, Yi-Wen, joined us for the meal and brought a few dishes herself.  I opted to make kim-chi & pork stuffed, steamed dumplings served with a black rice vinegar and soy dipping sauce, sauteed salt & pepper squid and black bean wok'd pork ribs.  Yi-wen made us a wonderful (and for her traditional) bean thread salad that always goes down well, sauteed shrimp in spicy sauce and pork buns, homemade and very yummy! We ate too much, but enjoyed every bite. Happy-New-Year

New Year's eve dinner was enjoyed with Anna & her family who stayed with us over the New Year from Spain.  We all shared an untypical meal, however very comfortable for me, starting out with an amuse-bouche of pumpkin & za'atar hummus, that was followed with foie gras sirred with a sprinkling of sea salt & a side of fig jam.  The main dish was a joint effort with my dad, home-prepared pumpkin & cheese ravioli drizzled with olive oil & a fried sage leaf and served with a family style dish of Basil & Kadaifi fried prawns with a pinenut tarator to dip.  If that was not enough, we then ate a vanilla & orange creme caramel, which turned out devine.  We all brought in the New Year at friends' house with a glass of champagne!

Now it is time to get back to work and inform you all of what is to come this year, 2013 at La Dolce Vita - HAPPY NEW YEAR!  we hope to have many visits from all of you...

Winter in Azille

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We are in the folds of winter...it is cold, but not to fret, there is still life and activities to fill your time.  Inspire, Azille's very own art gallery and 'Art Space' is open and showing a very colorful and inspiring exhibition, with plenty of gift ideas and treasures.exh-12-12There are several artists featured in this exhibition so close to the holidays and the beautiful red ceramics (Pauline Pailly) and large flowers on canvas (Sandy Holden), which can also be found on smaller prints, are well presented within the unique walls of the gallery.

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Children's workshops are running regularly as well and the kids seem to enjoy very much creating their own jewelry, games, masks, paintings and learning about the artists behind the inspiration.  Laiyla, my own daughter, doesn't like to miss them, begs to go on Saturday mornings and always returns with a smile and something to hang on the wall or on me!

If you want to meet the artistsexhi-12-12there is a special evening planned on Friday the 21st of this month.  All are welcome and Angela Saunders, the gallery coordinator, will personally introduce you the them and their body of work!

Winter is cold and can be a bit daunting, but we here in Azille keep things alive!  Enjoy

Azille's self-guided tour

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Discover the small surprises that Azille has within the village confines.  Currently "in progress", a self-guided tour map, which includes points of interest with short narratives of the interesting and historical points along the path through the center and edges of town.  This map is being made in collaboration with Maguey Guery, a noted and very valuable member of Azille.  She has spent many years being a tour guide with in depth knowledge of Azille's colorful past.  I will give this information to you in a brief format to enjoy on your leisurely walk around.  Here is a sneak peak!

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The ramparts, the old walls and entry passageways into the very center will appear several times on your tour, showing you the fortification of Azille and the importance established during the early years of the Visigoths, Celts & Romans.  Although the Cathars were here and came through Azille, there is only slight evidence, as there was more support from the King and Church, which shows in the 14th church, standing in the middle and remains of convents, monestaries & chapels throughout your tour in and around the thick, stone walls still standing strong!

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The path will lead you to the "source" - our own natural spring, which still today brings life to Azille. On the edge, near la Dolce Vita, there have been recorded findings and remains of a Visigoth burial ground.

If that is not enough to entice you to visit, then just remember the wine-tasting, relaxing & cuisine that awaits you here in Azille, at La Dolce Vita - come and taste "the sweet life!"

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