This meant the village was hovered over by 3 noisy helicopters filming live for French national TV.
While CdM got no obvious benefit from the Tour de France, over the past 2 years we have been getting more tourists.
This despite the fact that the magnificent enticing tv adverts for midi Pyrenees only feature the west of the region.
When I first returned from CdM people not un naturally asked what was it like to which I answered, the middle ages is alive, well and living in the Tarn.
In the 20 years since then things have moved on but not a lot.
CdM has a much improved hotel now run by Mark and Helene, has lost some of its shops and the farmer who used to bring his cows into the village each evening has retired, more car parks, brighter street lights, re cobbled streets except for ‘dog shit alley’ which is unfortunately unmade and one of the first alleys on the tourist walk…
Otherwise this 13th century village is largely untouched by the 21st century.
Other less visible changes include some large trees not replaced and the arrival of ADSL, the French version of what the Brits call Broadband and on that subject we have the arrival of a lot more semi retired Brits with a love of ‘doing up’ old properties thus we hear a lot more English spoken around here than in days of yore.
The French preferring new cost effective housing.
Never the less although this is a relatively poor area the incomers have steadily driven up house prices here to levels similar to most other parts of France.
Most French people here are philosophical about this.
They realise te Brits and to a lesser extent Dutch, Germans, Americans, Canadians who buy properties here for the most part bring money, expertise, create jobs and mostly embrace the local way of life.
Besides they are mostly older/elderly so will soon die off!
Unlike the burgeoning Arab/Muslim population which is perceived as creating over population (high birth rate, average family produces 5 as opposed to 1.75 by the French), a high proportion of unemployed arrogant unemployable young men, a drain on state benefits including hospitals, religious problems (most French people don’t want a minaret in every town) because Islam actively chases possible converti the great majority of whom are the weaker more vulnerable in society, and tends to be a closed society rarely taking part in French life or even inviting French people to their homes.
I don’t like far right politics but can see and hear in towns like Toulouse, Castres and even Abli and Gaillac why more people are voting for Marin LePenn.
They see pressure on housing and jobs, people of who a high proportion of the men don’t want to work, are vilolent with women and difficult if not impossible due to an entirely miss placed attitude of we Muslim men are superior to every one else, our women, animals, you infidels and Jews – in that order because Islam is “the ultimate solution to religion”.
The French find these people difficult to re educate and feel Europe is bing inundated and invaded by a culture that projects a smile but of which there is no friendship in its eyes, the reality is it is devisive, pushy, aggresive, assertive culture, Islam.
The country side has hardly changed, trees are bigger, wild live even more abundant and the climate remains one of the sunniest in France.
People here mostly think the increase in tourism is due to significant improvements in the regional ‘Gaillac wines’ and the city of Albi some 1/2 hour drive from here gaining UNESCO World Heritage status last year so driving the regional economy better.
Thank God not all Muslims are like that, some are decent people.
Unfortunately my experience with them is all even the most liberal agree more or less strongly it is a desirable goal to see France converted to Islam as the state and official creed and anyone who does not understand this should spend more time with French Muslims and check it out.
It is worrying, for example, most Muslims, although the Koran does not forbid it, don’t drink wine, very odd behaviour.
On the subject of wines, this rather cool day, a mear 18 C after 35 C a few days ago finished sweetly for some of us eating dancing and being entertained at Domain Barry as you can see in the photos here.
On your left, musicians Francis, Alain and Jean Marie.
Ask for Alian and say Gordon sent you…