Above: The Festival

Last Sunday (Sept. 23), I was so lucky to stumble into Carcassonne’s Fête de la Gastronomique, (Feast of Gastronomy) in our main market square, Place Carnot (a 15 minute walk from our house). A VERY fun feast of food and wine! I’ve included photos and captions below.

There were 15 booths, each with different specialties – wine, beer, olive oil, crepes and sweet condiments, seafood, beef, charcuterie, coffee, and so much more. And a wide variety of musicians throughout the day. 

I met Alphonse Carvaca, the gregarious President of our region’s (called Occitanie) Gastronomique Society, who told me a bit about the history of these festivals – 8 years ago, the French government decided to organize festivals to promote the country’s best purveyors of all kinds of food, wine, and more – now there are thousands of festivals like this across France throughout the year. I told him I would love to volunteer – I hope for some fun opportunities!

As I sat down with my lunch of an excellent glass of local sparkling rose (for 1 euro*) and my Joue de Boeuf (tender Beef Cheek), with potatoes and bread (for 10 euros), Ken and Donna Hill from Glasgow, Scotland, sat down across from me. Our lovely conversation tells you so much about Carcassonne: The day before, they had just taken a 2-hour direct Ryan Air flight from Glasgow to our little, easy-to-manage airport in Carcassonne (which is only 20 minutes away from our house) – and they were thrilled to have escaped the grey, rainy, miserable weather in Glasgow for the warm, sunny, blue skies of Carcassonne. They’ve come to Carcassonne three times since April 2018, so I’m sure we’ll see them again! 


*Compare my 1 euro glass of excellent local sparkling rose here, with my $14 glass of mediocre white wine in a Chicago airport hotel two weeks ago.  We are so happy with how inexpensive everything is here!

Above: Glasgow’s Ken and Donna – happy to escape northern Europe’s crummy weather!


Above: Huge platters of shrimp, oysters and mussels!


Above: Alphonse Caravaca, president of our region’s Club Gastronomique



Above: My first crepe since moving here. Her customers get to choose the filling – Nutella for me. Yum!


Above: I just love watching the French talk with their hands!
Above: One of the bands


Above: Another shot of the festival