Just Merveilleux

Life at № 42

Category Archives: Mazamet

From Istanbul to Moscow, cold snap wreaks havoc across Europe (PHOTOS) — RT News

“Bone-freezing cold, heavy snowstorms, and floods have been plaguing the European continent this week, causing power outages, traffic jams, cancelled flights, and even a stream of plastic eggs with toys … Continue reading

January 9, 2017 · 13 Comments

Dear Eagle’s Talons

This just arrived. I got it online. It says: Dear Eagle’s Talons, We await your arrival with impatience. Are you enjoying yourself? Goodbye my dear Eagle’s Talons. Hug Jeanne for … Continue reading

December 28, 2016 · 14 Comments

Light-hearted things

In the first half of the 20th century there were squads called Einsatzgruppen- HA! Just kidding. No depressing history or politics today. I promised a picture of the Louis Philippe … Continue reading

December 27, 2016 · 25 Comments

It’s not cold

14 degrees celsius today. We had a couple of colder and rainy days earlier in the week but the predictions are that this winter in the Tarn will be mild. … Continue reading

December 22, 2016 · 47 Comments

The end of an era?

That’s the cover of this month’s municipal magazine. The major item is the motorway. It’s reminding us we’re in the final stage before the concession. It’s also reminding us this … Continue reading

December 10, 2016 · 22 Comments

Books, Food & 10 Year Plans

We left Spain 2 years ago today. What you see above is my last bloody mary at the marina. I loved the marina in winter, barely a tourist in sight. … Continue reading

December 9, 2016 · 14 Comments

Photos of historical England ‘challenge Downton Abbey myth’ | Art and design | The Guardian

“Images of factories, schools, universities and civic buildings rising among old streetscapes – but also of rotting houses, barefoot children and faces pinched with poverty – have been unearthed from … Continue reading

November 28, 2016 · 21 Comments

Building II, Apartment 5

We’re speeding this along because the tenants want to move in on Saturday. A newlywed couple. He’s in the military- got transferred here and they weren’t finding it easy to find somewhere … Continue reading

November 1, 2016 · 17 Comments

1911: The first time an aeroplane flew over Mazamet

It was photographed at the precise moment it was flying over our neighbourhood. Right under the portrait of aviator Roger Morin you can see the Temple at the end of … Continue reading

October 26, 2016 · 18 Comments

which in turn was based on, which in turn was based on, which in turn was based on

In trying to see if I could find a replica of the Cormouls house in Canada I got distracted and ended up revisiting the career and history of Horace Trumbauer. … Continue reading

October 25, 2016 · 28 Comments

Indian Summers in France

Today it’s 21º Celsius. Perfectly pleasant. The sun has been coming and going and I have been raking. Endless raking under the walnut tree. And pruning. I want to keep … Continue reading

October 24, 2016 · 25 Comments

When Grand Meant Grand. Resurrecting a house.

As I’ve mentioned previously I was mystified when I heard the story of the property that used to neighbour number 42. A most impressive hôtel particulier owned by the Cormouls-Houlès family. … Continue reading

October 23, 2016 · 29 Comments

Mazamet, then and now

The Napoleon III building on Boulevard de Lattre de Tassigny is getting a face lift. It was for sale when we moved here, but the sign soon disappeared. I wonder if … Continue reading

October 22, 2016 · 15 Comments

A Saturday in Mid-October

I’m politically exhausted. This weekend I don’t want to hear about Trump, Theresa May, Spain’s lack of government- or François Hollande (France’s version of lack of government.) So let’s talk … Continue reading

October 15, 2016 · 16 Comments

Another year (and a half)

This is our eighteenth month at number 42. It’s very little time, but the town seems to be changing already. Businesses are opening left and right. There’s a whole new commercial centre with … Continue reading

September 20, 2016 · 25 Comments

Heat & more heat. Vegetarians look away now.

Today is supposed to be the hottest day yet this summer (in France). Fortunately not here in Mazamet. Albeit 29 isn’t exactly refreshing. Last year the weather was really great … Continue reading

August 24, 2016 · 22 Comments

A Saturday in August

Morning in Castres We went to the market in Castres where the girls bought all sorts of cheeses, we got charcuterie and that became lunch here on the terrace with … Continue reading

August 6, 2016 · 26 Comments

Super-cute. Down the street & around the corner.

This house has just come on the market. I know because I still get real-estate newsletters for our town even though we’ve already bought. It’s a very decent size, 450m2 which … Continue reading

August 5, 2016 · 20 Comments

A Tuesday in July

Recognize the church? That’s our street in the late 19th century. The building at the end no longer exists, and the trees are gone. Well, there are trees now, but … Continue reading

July 5, 2016 · 11 Comments

Life at no. 42, month 16. The good and the not quite

  So it’s been sixteen months. I’ve more or less lost my sense of time. Some days I feel like I’ve been here forever, others I wake up and still … Continue reading

July 4, 2016 · 21 Comments

Glorious weather!

It’s an absolutely gorgeous day. Life is good! The garden is coming along very nicely. The Medici vases I had made arrived a few days ago. I put two by … Continue reading

July 3, 2016 · 14 Comments

First week of June at no. 42. The garden, the scullery and fish

The lilies are opening! Absolutely stunning. The weather’s been superb and so I’ve spent much time in the garden. Pruning, cleaning, weeding- and digging.   And there’s been progress in … Continue reading

June 8, 2016 · 10 Comments

An Espalier of Citrus- and gardening in May

From the Italian spalliera (something to rest on). You take a tree and you train it flat. If done well it can look really extraordinary. Here’s an apple tree: Last year … Continue reading

May 26, 2016 · 23 Comments

Ukrainians, Castles & Eurovision

Guests have come and gone. They’re now back in den Haag and Kiev. After the exhaustion of cleaning was over, I had a fantastic time. We took them to visit the chateau … Continue reading

May 16, 2016 · 9 Comments

This week at № 42

The tiles for the scullery have arrived. They’re by an Italian company called Marca Corona- from their new Terra collection. I’ve been sanding the cupboards which are going to be … Continue reading

April 28, 2016 · 13 Comments

The kitchen garden + The Russians are coming!

The baby bok choy has come and been eaten. Excellent, easy crop. It only takes 30 to 45 days from seed to table. They’ve been replaced by a variety of … Continue reading

April 21, 2016 · 25 Comments

Blue skies, wisteria & other things

The wisteria looks glorious this year. I’ve planted euphorbia characias wulfenii at the base- and also liatris spicata. I think the ton-sur-ton effect will be amusing. Elsewhere in the garden … Continue reading

April 20, 2016 · 18 Comments

April at number 42

…I’ve been up a ladder cleaning the facade. Up a very tall ladder-and it was incredibly frightening. Between not falling off and holding the power-washer gun (big and heavy) with … Continue reading

April 4, 2016 · 42 Comments

Work on apartment #3; Two bed, two bath

Work has begun. This is one of the apartments I prefer, which means it’s more fun. It’s got an interesting L shaped layout with a bedroom at each extremity (each with … Continue reading

February 12, 2016 · 15 Comments

Signs of Spring

It’s 17° and the sun is shining today. The forecast says that in a couple of weeks it’ll be around 20°. Then it’s practically March and if last year is anything to … Continue reading

February 5, 2016 · 16 Comments

The last sprint (not really!)

Very little left to do in the 1 bedroom. By this time the mirror is probably up in the shower room but the floors will still take half a day. I’ve put … Continue reading

January 20, 2016 · 15 Comments

They just scream number 42!!!

Just got a pair of amazing candle sconces. HUGE! 85cm x 75cm (that’s 33 by 29 inches.) They’re going to be absolutely perfect for number 42. I’ve been having a … Continue reading

January 17, 2016 · 9 Comments

Winter has de-facto arrived!

A cold front has arrived. For three consecutive days the temperature will fall to minus 1 at night. Today’s the first day we decided to turn on the heating in … Continue reading

January 16, 2016 · 9 Comments

Winter tomatoes and other green matters

I’ve stupidly been ignoring the greenhouse for the past couple of months. I just presumed cooler temperatures meant the season was over. So when I went to have a look … Continue reading

January 13, 2016 · 23 Comments

One dining room, many kitchens. Design changes.

Slight change of design plan for two of the two bedroom flats… the kitchens are going to be white lacquer. Instead of black Friday in France the soldes (sales) start … Continue reading

January 9, 2016 · 18 Comments

Of camellias and futures

The white camellias are now in full bloom and what a show it is (for a sense of scale, compare to the chair at the bottom right of the first … Continue reading

January 5, 2016 · 21 Comments

Christmas in the Haut-Languedoc

I took a walk into town yesterday and it seems they take Christmas quite seriously here. You wouldn’t know it on our street, where none of us have put up … Continue reading

December 20, 2015 · 17 Comments

Are roses still supposed to be blooming?

  I’ve never had roses before, so this is a learning experience. After the big blooming experience of the summer, the occasional few flowers still pop up. This week it’s … Continue reading

December 16, 2015 · 14 Comments

Chinese Ancestor Portraits, Dog Blankets & Tapas

In practical news I’ve had blankets made in the same colours as the sofas in the green salon. As you can see in the pictures, I can just yank them off … Continue reading

December 13, 2015 · 33 Comments

Work at the 1 bedroom

A ton going on this week. The double glazing is in place in the 1 bedroom flat. Big, lots of light. Showing off the bedroom window is Ted Thatcher, our friend … Continue reading

December 9, 2015 · 10 Comments

Please do detest me; and don’t hesitate to offend me.

  Just because I think I wouldn’t be half the person I am had I not been as truculent as I was born to be. The other day someone from … Continue reading

December 7, 2015 · 19 Comments

Superb Design: Sabine Medina

Sabine Medina, the interior designer, has just updated her portfolio and it’s absolutely stunning. You may not know her name because she’s the ultimate in discretion, but she’s responsible for … Continue reading

November 29, 2015 · 11 Comments

The Balustrade Gilding Test

This is one of those things that we only really know once we see it. I was going through my Maison Jansen books yesterday after posting and I decided to … Continue reading

November 28, 2015 · 14 Comments

To gild or not to gild

This week’s conundrum: to gild details of the wrought iron balustrade (as they were in the hall’s original decor) or to leave them black as they are now (and have been … Continue reading

November 27, 2015 · 24 Comments

Dr. Zhivago Time

We’ve had a cold front since last Friday with night time temperatures fluctuating around 3 degrees. It means I get to go out in coats which I haven’t worn in … Continue reading

November 24, 2015 · 19 Comments

What makes a home?

  Work on the flats is well on its way. We’ve started with floor plan changes. That meant knocking down a couple of walls because the room distribution in two … Continue reading

November 15, 2015 · 27 Comments

Like Summer

If this is what autumn is like every year in this part of the world, we’ve chosen well. Today is a definite working in the garden day. There’s a whole … Continue reading

November 10, 2015 · 6 Comments

A warm autumn day in southwest France

  The temperature’s a lovely 20 degrees, the sun is out- and so we took the dogs for a walk just outside Mazamet. Total peace and quiet. Superb.   

October 31, 2015 · 19 Comments

Intimate dinner

We had a couple of friends over for a terribly informal dinner last night. As the dining room is still not done we put a table in the grey salon. It … Continue reading

October 25, 2015 · 15 Comments

I Dream of Jeannie, Garden Version

Just merveilleux, really. Most of the work was done by yesterday afternoon. And before I knew it, it looked like this: I was planning a round wrought iron bench around … Continue reading

October 21, 2015 · 23 Comments

That was quick

The last post made me go through the pictures since our arrival. The first night here was Monday, March 9th. As the gates opened I was in absolute awe of the … Continue reading

October 12, 2015 · 12 Comments

Bedroom progress

The bedside chests are mirrored, art-deco style. The bedding is Christian Lacroix.  Lamps arrived- still waiting on the Tibetan rug. Haven’t decided which paintings go where. We also got a … Continue reading

October 2, 2015 · 18 Comments

Light at the end of the… scraping.

The dining room: My floor scraping activities are going well. A bit hard on the hands, but there you go. The chandelier arrived and I couldn’t be more pleased. The … Continue reading

September 30, 2015 · 10 Comments

A Master Bedroom Is Born (Almost)

I’ll take pictures next week once everything is in place. The only thing not yet chosen is the fabric for the curtains. It was all looking a bit too dur … Continue reading

September 28, 2015 · 23 Comments

My gardener is broken

The gardener, Olivier, plays rugby. He’s apparently quite good at it- except he’s in hospital now, only to be released next Wednesday. That’s actually him in the picture under the … Continue reading

September 24, 2015 · 18 Comments

Work and then more work. Months of work ahead.

I did ask for it. Now I’ve got a total of six serious reforms on my hands. Six kitchens to be redone, six bathrooms- goodness knows how many square metres of … Continue reading

September 18, 2015 · 26 Comments

In all, a good week.

The backsplashes in the kitchen are finally fitted. So is the mirror in the master bathroom. And we’ve finally moved into the master bedroom even though it’s not quite done … Continue reading

September 12, 2015 · 13 Comments

Homes of the Great Wool Industrialists of Mazamet

I’ve been trying to map them out and count them. There are two books that have been written about these houses, but I haven’t yet been able to get my … Continue reading

September 7, 2015 · 15 Comments

Sushi attempt #2 & gardens

Less vegetarian this time around as it included prawns and caviar. I’d never had sushi with proper caviar before, it’s usually red roe, but I was bored so I decided … Continue reading

September 1, 2015 · 13 Comments

The Dining Room: Upping my game

We had our first dinner party a few days ago. Small but exceedingly lively. It lasted eight hours, which I suppose means it went well. It was all very casual … Continue reading

August 28, 2015 · 15 Comments

New camera. Testing, 1,2,3

  Playing with the camera. My old little red camera is broken. The same person who doesn’t let me use his camera because I’m allegedly not careful enough, dropped mine. … Continue reading

August 27, 2015 · 23 Comments

Photographic Impossibilities. Me or the house

I wanted a picture of me in front of the house that included the whole house. I thought sitting on the steps might be amusing. It cannot be done. By … Continue reading

August 27, 2015 · 32 Comments

The Works. August in Mazamet

The bathroom in the master bedroom is finally nearing completion! I wasn’t sure about a new bathroom in a century old house, but I’ve been converted. Everything Mike chose is … Continue reading

August 16, 2015 · 30 Comments

If sculptures could speak

I hadn’t noticed how funny that composition was until I uploaded the photo to the computer. One can just hear her saying, “there he goes again taking pictures of himself.” … Continue reading

August 8, 2015 · 21 Comments

What you can get in our region

Prices vary tremendously, but in general they’re amazing value compared to major cities or other parts of Europe that have this sort of mild, sunny weather. A couple of blocks down from us … Continue reading

July 8, 2015 · 28 Comments

Spanish, Italian & French: O’Marseillais in Mazamet

We decided to try the little Italian place in the town centre today because I liked the look of it from the online pictures. We walked in and were greeted … Continue reading

June 18, 2015 · 7 Comments

Small town life

It’s different. Very different. Sotogrande was small, but in an entirely different, urban way. Most people were originally from big cities, and so we carried with us that distance we learn … Continue reading

June 14, 2015 · 21 Comments

It’s all happening!

The shuttering for the terrace is done. Now the metal is going in. This afternoon the concrete gets poured. Also this afternoon, the countertops for the kitchen get installed. It’s so … Continue reading

June 11, 2015 · 17 Comments

Exciting!

We went to see this property today. It’s massive, It used to be a presbytery- but fortunately religion is dying down. Just fifty years ago there were thirty people living … Continue reading

June 10, 2015 · 28 Comments

And suddenly

…the silk curtains are up, and there’s music playing. The lighting is my lighting. Moody. The wind, the one that seems to have been following me from continent to continent … Continue reading

June 6, 2015 · 29 Comments

Schizophrenic Weather

We’re slowly trying to get accustomed to this completely different sort of weather. The temperature changes from day to night are drastic. Sometimes up to a 20 degree difference. Although … Continue reading

June 5, 2015 · 14 Comments

In Bloom + New People

I’m doing my best to restrain my urge to fiddle with the garden- well, I’m trying to learn everything I can about English style planting as quickly as I can … Continue reading

June 1, 2015 · 12 Comments

A Big Week

A lot going on. Work has begun on the future floating terrace. A bit over 30m2, so there’s enough room for outdoor seating and a dining table and chairs. It’s … Continue reading

May 30, 2015 · 11 Comments

Roof-work, kitchens and sculleries

Now there’s a good picture for proportion! Doesn’t he look tiny? He’s replaced eight broken roof tiles and repaired cracks on the chimneys. Fortunately the roof is in quite good condition. … Continue reading

May 21, 2015 · 11 Comments

Pattern, Colour and Progress

Working with such an intense pattern is not easy. It takes tremendous skill. To be honest I think it’s only brilliantly done in England and in India. Henrietta Spencer Churchill comes to … Continue reading

May 20, 2015 · 14 Comments

Spring cleaning, figmares and the basket case

Okay, not actually scrubbing, I’m powerwashing. Starting with the steps and then moving on to the walls.  In case you’re ever tempted to try the same thing, be advised that … Continue reading

May 9, 2015 · 13 Comments

Promising

  We went to see this building today. It faces two streets, which is good because that means a reasonable amount of light in every room. It’s got a business on … Continue reading

April 29, 2015 · 7 Comments

And now back to work

The fabric for the formal (grey) salon arrived, I’m thrilled. I’ve been looking at fabric samples for months. I wanted something special and different because the house deserves it; that … Continue reading

April 28, 2015 · 10 Comments

Mazamet & the house: a bit of history

Although most people probably never heard of the place, it was once one of the wealthiest towns in the world. 80% of the planet’s wool was processed here. In the … Continue reading

April 28, 2015 · 18 Comments

Mountains of Paperwork & Ducks

We’ve signed for the flats! It was exhausting. Instead of signing for the building as a whole, we had to sign for each individual apartment. And in France it’s not just deeds. … Continue reading

April 27, 2015 · 12 Comments

Gentleman of the Camellias

  That’s an array of camellia petals covering the ground in our new garden. Just extraordinary. Mazamet is known for Camellias, especially the variety known as the Japonica Mazamet of … Continue reading

April 25, 2015 · 16 Comments

Flowers Everywhere

  When I first arrived I thought the garden was a mess, I’m used to more order- but I took a deep breath and decided to wait and see how … Continue reading

April 19, 2015 · 22 Comments

Pictures of week one

Still no internet. We’re supposed to be connected this Friday. That means we’ve been internet free from December 9th to March 27th. Strange, but it wasn’t the end of the … Continue reading

March 25, 2015 · 26 Comments