As summer, and tragically Europe, slipped away from us in September, I was lucky to spend a few wonderful days with friends in the Haut Languedoc. It’s a quieter corner of France. Stunning mountains with dramatic rock escarpments, beautiful medieval villages with rivers running through them, lush vineyards yielding robust reds and vibrant rosés and mystifyingly, a Scottish person round every corner who has made a home and a life here. I can see some similarity with Scotland, and certainly the appeal. We were staying in a house a schlepworthy distance away from the nearest village but our bonus was a black velvet sky studded with stars and shot through with the Milky Way, with late summer shooting stars and the silent flashes of distant thunderstorms making frequent guest appearances. Of course we ate wonderful food, cooked by friends, and made the delightful discovery of a delicious local speciality Pizza Somail: chèvre, honey, black olives and hazelnuts. In spite of France’s reputation for haute cuisine I find that often the simplest things are the most delicious.

Words and pictures by MT Rainey

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